Chapter VII. The Diocese of Montreal
THE Diocese of Montreal was formed out of that of Quebec, in the year 1850, eleven years after the foundation of Toronto. The Rev. Francis Fulford, who belonged to a knightly family which traces its history back to Saxon times, was chosen first Bishop. He was, at the time, minister of Curzon Chapel, Mayfair. He had previously been Rector of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and Croydon, Cambridgeshire. He was consecrated Bishop of Montreal in Westminster on the 25th July, 1850.
When the first Anglican Bishop arrived at Quebec, he was heartily welcomed by the Gallican Bishop, who, with a kiss on both cheeks, expressed the pleasure he felt at receiving his Episcopal brother. "For," continued the French Canadian Prelate, "your people want you very badly."
The Bishop of Montreal did not, on his arrival, receive any such greeting from his Roman Catholic brothers, for the attitude of the Roman Church was changing, had changed already from the old Gallican to the new Ultramontane attitude. It was, however, quite as true now, as in that earlier time, that the people to whom the Bishop of Montreal came needed him very greatly. The theological questions that had been agitating the Church at home for nearly twenty years had long ago been wafted over the [177/178] sea. The party strife had been daily waxing hotter, and when Bishop Fulford was appointed, there was the greatest anxiety on the one side and the other to know whether he was high or low. The Bishop, however, had made a solemn resolve that he would neither be "the lion of a sect, nor the leader of a party." Little could be gathered about his antecedents, and he knew full well the wisdom of keeping his own counsel, and of saying nothing as to his theological convictions, till duty called upon him to do so. Shortly after his arrival, a certain coterie of the clergy, who were growing daily more anxious as to what the Bishop's convictions might be, appointed one of their number to put the question plainly to him. They chose a public luncheon given in honour of the Bishop, as the occasion for this catechizing. At a lull in the conversation the gentleman appointed, addressing the Bishop, began rather abruptly by saying in the first place, "My lord, I shall frankly make a confession with regard to myself, and then I shall as frankly ask a question with regard to your lordship. I am a low Church man, my lord, a very low Churchman, I may say," but before he could proceed with the threatened question the Bishop interfered--"By which I hope you mean, Mr.----, that you are a very humble Churchman." Then turning to the host he said, "I think we had better join the ladies."
The Bishop was enthroned in Christ Church, Montreal, on the 14th Sept., 1850. Immediately there after he began the visitation of the scattered parishes of his extensive Diocese, and by his free and friendly intercourse with the clergy and their families, he won the hearts of all. In 1852, he held his primary visitation, and delivered his first charge. There were only fifty-two clergymen in his Diocese, and fifty of these were present at the visitation. The Church, [178/179] as we have seen, was a good deal agitated by the controversies that were raging in England. "The Gorham case" and the surplice question were then to the fore, and were evoking not a little angry feeling on the one side and the other. The Bishop wisely passed them by, and addressed himself to the practical needs of the Diocese, and of the Church at He had been but a short time in the country and yet he had grasped the actual status of the Church with a clearness which many distinguished men, brought up in the land, had not yet attained to. In speaking of the subject in his charge, he says--"While, spiritually, we are identified with the Church the mother country, emanating from her, using the same Liturgy, subscribing the same articles, blessed with the same Apostolic ministry, visibly terming part of the same ecclesiastical body and claiming as our own all her mighty champions, confessors, and martyrs, yet in a political sense, and as regards temporalities and everything that is under stood by legal establishment, or as conferring special privileges above other religious communities, we are m a totally dissimilar situation. We exist but as one of many religious bodies, consisting of such persons as may voluntarily declare themselves to be members of the Church of England. There cannot be the slightest advantage or wisdom, but quite the reverse in putting forward claims for special consideration claims which, circumstanced as we are here if they were to be granted to us to-day, it must be absolutely absurd for us to expect to maintain."
He further stated that while the political and le-al position of the Church here was essentially different from that in England, and while we were thus deprived of the administrative power provided by the establishment at home, no organization adapted to our condition here had yet been provided. "We have [179/180] been deprived of the ecclesiastical laws of England, and we have as yet no effectual means of self-government." He therefore threw himself with great earnestness into the movement, in which all the Bishops concurred, for the establishment of Diocesan and Provincial Synods. Toronto had already led the way in constituting a Synod, consisting of Bishop, clergy, and laity, and all the Bishops seem to have concurred in the wisdom of that constitution. Bishop Fulford writes in this first charge--"I most firmly believe that a provision such as is there recommended for the purpose of supplying sufficient means of self-government for the Church, would not only have the happiest influence on the Church at large, but would also strengthen the true and legitimate influence of the Bishop, and cause increased reverence and respect for his office and authority."
The Bishop of Montreal differed from his Episcopal brother of Toronto in his aversion to claim for the Church of England the hereditary rights of an establishment, or to insist upon a disputed privilege. This policy was attended with the happiest results. He won respect from all, Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, by his declaration that "the Church of England in Canada, politically considered, exists but as one of many religious bodies," and therefore it was that all denominations, with a readiness amounting almost to enthusiasm, accorded to him the chief place in the religious and social community of Mon treal, and they treated his office with a respect which it had never received before from the general community. (F. Taylor.)
The common school question was another of the burning issues of that time, and Bishop Fulford, in the east, adopted a line altogether different from that pursued by Bishop Strachan in the west. The Athanasius of the west would not yield one inch. [180/181] He regarded education as the development of the whole man, body, soul, and spirit; and believing that the Truth of God was the only mould by which human character could be fashioned, after the pattern of the perfect and pattern Man, he maintained that any system of education which did not make that truth the basis of its work, which did not at least include it in its necessary learning, was an interference with the divine plan, and an insult to divine truth; and so when no arrangement could be made for teaching even the generally accepted doctrines of the Christian religion in the public schools, he demanded separate schools for his own people in cities and towns where they could be worked, and nearly all the clergy and a vast majority of the laity sup ported his policy.
He of Montreal, however, took another view. He felt that as all education is only relatively perfect, therefore an imperfect education is better than no education at all. He saw that the very possibility of having any education for a large number of people scattered among the French settlers, depended upon the possibility of having public schools, and he saw that the possibility of having common schools in a country divided by such manifold forms of religious belief, could only be secured with difficulty and by compromise, and so he spoke appreciatively of the difficulty of the Government, and extended not only his sympathy but his assistance to those rulers constitutionally chosen, who were probably, he believed, as earnest as he was to promote the happiness and welfare of the country. "Let us," he said, "in effect not embarrass, but rather, if we may, let us help the Government; let us show our anxiety to assist in the great work of educating the people, and not raise difficulties or objections because we cannot have everything our own way." The utterance of these [181/182] sentiments conciliated the good-will and respect of the Government, and tended greatly to increase the Bishop's popularity. Whether they are consistent with true allegiance to the Governor of all is a ques tion which we will not further discuss here.
During the first ten years of the Bishop's ministration the Church population increased from less than a fourth to more than a third of the entire non-Roman population of Montreal. Among the early plans of usefulness which he tried to carry out, was the establishment in Montreal of a Church school for girls, where the higher branches of learning would be taught, and where the truths of the Faith and their moral influence would be inculcated and enforced. The work, as is usual with such enterprises, met with great disappointments and hindrances, and did not become finally successful during the Bishop's life.
The next step was the subdivision of Montreal into parishes. The cathedral was allotted a certain district, and two Canons were imported and appointed the Rev. Henry Marty n Lower and the Rev. S. Gilson. They were able men, and became favourites in the Diocese. The Bishop had laid himself out, not to be the bishop of a party, or the patron of a sect, and so thoroughly did he shrink from being such, that he was accused of seeking to propitiate his enemies, at the cost of injustice to his friends, of acting weakly and partially, and of being manipulated by those whose doctrines and aims were very different from his own. At all events the result of his administration was, that the Diocese at his death fell under the control of his theological opponents, who are taking good care that it shall not soon fall back again. The policy that has since been pursued is the opposite of Bishop Fulford's. Men of his school, who are in possession of parishes, are kindly treated, but [182/183] promotions are not for them, nor are vacancies or new missions supplied by men who will continue their work in their way.
Bishop Fulford was throughout his Episcopate very popular with the general public. This was in part the result of his just and generous treatment of those who differed from him, and in part the result of his ready sympathy and co-operation with all movements and Societies of benevolent, philosophic, scientific, or useful character. He was the frequent and popular lecturer at the gatherings of these institutes and Societies. When steps were being taken to provide Montreal with cemetery accommodation outside the city, Bishop Fulford won great applause by suggesting that denominational distinctions should not be perpetuated in the grave, by having separate burying-places, as at Toronto arid elsewhere. As a result of this feeling he was asked to consecrate, and did consecrate, the whole of the General Burying-ground at Montreal.
In the midst of active preparations to carry forward the work of the Church throughout the Diocese, what looked like a great calamity befell the Church in Montreal. Christ's Church, the cathedral of the Diocese, was wholly consumed by fire. This led to the determination to change the site, and to build a church which might worthily be called the cathedral of Montreal. This effort absorbed a large share of the Bishop's thoughts and energies for a long time. The corner-stone was laid on the 21st May, 1857, and the Bishop had the happiness to preach the opening sermon on Advent Sunday, 1859. As is usual with such undertakings, the expenditure far exceeded the estimated cost. An oppressive debt was the consequence. This pressed heavily upon the mind of the Bishop, and upon many besides, who with him were more immediately responsible for its [183/184] contraction. The debt, it is true, was unavoidably incurred, but how to pay it was the question. The Bishop saw no way but one of diminished personal expenditure, and increased liberality on the part of Churchmen. He himself led the way by moving into a small house connected with the Synod Hall, which had been built for the official residence of the parish school-master. In this plainly furnished residence he lived on plainest fare, only giving such entertain ments as his official connection with the Diocese made imperative, contributing, and inspiring others by his example to contribute, largely to the extinction of the debt they had incurred. Those days and months and years of personal sacrifice won their reward at last, for if we are rightly informed the cathedral debt was paid before the first great Bishop was called away.
The Bishop of Toronto led the way, as we have seen, in the establishment of Diocesan Synods. He was speedily followed by the Bishop of Quebec. The experiments were deemed sufficiently successful to warrant the extension and completion of the Synodal system. Accordingly, on the 23rd Sept., 1851, five of the Bishops of British North America assembled at Quebec, and after a week's deliberation drew up what has since been known as the Declaration of the Bishops of British North America. In this, after declaring in favour of Diocesan Synods as they now exist, they stated--"Thirdly, it is our opinion, that as questions will arise from time to time which will affect the welfare of the Church in these colonies, it is desirable that the Bishops, clergy, and laity should meet in council under a Provincial Metropolitan, with power to frame such rules and regulations for the better conduct of our ecclesiastical affairs, as by the said Council might be deemed expedient." They further say upon these grounds--"It appears to us [184/185] necessary that a Metropolitan should be appointed for the North American Dioceses."
Petitions were at once presented to the Imperial Parliament for the establishment of such Diocese, and the appointment by Letters Patent of a Metropolitan. The Home Government, however, for one reason or another deferred action, until wearied with waiting, the Church, under the leadership of the Bishop of Toronto, obtained an Act of the Provincial Legislature, authorizing not only a Diocesan but a General Provincial Synod. The Act also conferred power to appoint a Metropolitan. A majority of the Bishops, however, petitioned the Queen to make the appointment. These petitions were graciously received, and in 1860, Letters Patent were issued, promoting the Rev. Francis Fulford, Bishop of Montreal, to the office of Metropolitan of Canada.
In 1861, the first Provincial Synod of Canada was held in the City of Montreal.
In 1865, the Metropolitan of Canada had the privilege of preaching the opening sermon before the General Convention of the Church in the United States, assembled at Philadelphia. He was also asked to take part in the consecration of Bishop Wainwright, and of his successor, Bishop Potter of New York.
These acts of interlacing authority and succession were reciprocated, for Bishop McClosky of Michigan took part in the consecration of Bishop Lewis of Ontario, and nine months later the Right Rev. John Hopkins, Bishop of Vermont, assisted in the consecration of Bishop Williams of Quebec.
About this time it was determined by the Government at home, acting upon the advice of the Earl of Carnarvon, not to issue any more royal mandates for the consecration of colonial bishops. The Canadian Church went free, and from that day to this has [185/186] managed her own affairs according to her own will. It seems a thing almost inconceivable now, that the Church ever could have waited upon the will of the State, as in former times; and it seems almost equally strange that the great men who guided her destiny-then did not break their fetters long before the civil authority unloosed them.
During the third Triennial meeting of the provincial Synod, the Bishop of Ontario moved an address to the Archbishop of Canterbury, which says--"That we desire to represent to your Grace, that in consequence of the recent decision of the Privy Council in the case of the Essays and Reviews, and in the case of the Bishop of Natal, the minds of many members of the Church have been unsettled or painfully alarmed. ... In order, therefore, to comfort" the souls of the faithful and reassure the minds of the wavering, we humbly entreat your Grace, since the assembly of a General Council of the whole Catholic Church is at present impracticable, to convene a National Synod of the Bishops of the Anglican Church at home and abroad, that we may meet together, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost take such counsel and adopt such measures as may be best fitted to provide for the present distress."
The Archbishop himself was altogether inclined to such action as was thus asked for by the Canadian Church, and after consultation with his brethren on the Bench, he issued his mandate summoning the first Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church.
As the address which gave rise to the Conference emanated from the Canadian Church, the Metropolitan of the Province was naturally expected to take a prominent part in the organization and management of the Conference; and right ably did the Metropolitan rise to the duties of the occasion.
 His lordship's health had caused his friends some uneasiness before his departure for England, and those friends were greatly distressed to find that the alarming symptoms had rather increased than diminished during his absence. Work needing Episcopal attention had naturally accumulated, he therefore lost no time in setting himself with energy to over take it. On the 16th June, 1878, the annual meeting of the Synod of Montreal began its session. I he Metropolitan preached, and delivered an address of unusual interest and power. Almost immediately after the close of the Synod he visited the Eastern Townships and attended The annual Convocation of the University of Bishop's College, Lennoxville." The deep interest which he had always taken in that important educational Institution became increasingly conspicuous on this occasion, in which he spoke within its walls for the last time.
Afterwards his lordship made a confirmation tour through the Deanery of St. Andrew's, and as we learn trom the published sermon of his chaplain, Canon Loosmore, "spoke to the candidates who were presented to him for the laying on of hands with unwonted earnestness and fervour, as if his thoughts had even then ceased to be of the earth, and were the reflection of the Better Land to which he was fast hastening." (Fennings Taylor.)
Ten days before the time appointed for the meeting of the Provincial Synod, the Metropolitan returned to Montreal, and began to prepare for the meeting at which it was his duty to preside. But his work was done; a sense of oppressive weariness overtook him, and he took to his bed, to rise no more The Synod which he had summoned, assembled and carried on its deliberations in a room only separated by a partition wall from the house in which he, who had called it together, lay dying. When this became [187/188] known, the Synod, after earnest prayer had been offered by Bishop Bethune for the dying Metropolitan, adjourned. When it assembled on the following day, the Metropolitan's chair was vacant. At six o'clock on the previous evening his soul had returned to God who gave it. The announcement of this fact was received with universal expressions of sorrow. Every class of the community gathered at his burial to honour his memory. Among them many of the ministers of the various denominations in Montreal, including the Jews, followed him to his rest; and the tolling of the great bell of the Anglican Church was answered by the great bell of the Roman Catholic Church of Notre Dame. The authorities of the latter, like their Protestant fellow-subjects, paid spontaneous tribute to the worth and memory of Bishop Fulford, who, in spite of some mistakes, had established in the minds of his fellow-citizens the conviction that he was a man of just judgment, wise discretion, and all-embracing charity.
The Ritual Controversy raged with no little bitterness during the closing years of his life. It was debated with great warmth, but with no great intelligence, in that Provincial Synod which was in session when he died. In his last charge to his Diocesan Synod he thus speaks on the subject--
"If there are excesses on the part of the so-called Ritualists, there are undeniably many sad deficiencies in the other extreme. The Ritual of the Church of England, if faithfully observed, is fully capable, whether adapted to the services of the noblest cathedral or minster, or to the humblest country church, of satisfying the wants and cravings of all her faithful children, without transgressing what Sir Robert Phillimore remarks, are the only orders given in the New Testament respecting ritual; and they are of the most general kind, such as the directions [188/189] of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 'Let all things be done decently and in order.' And at the close of his judgment he says--"The basis of the religious establishment in this realm was, I am satisfied, intended by the constitution and the law to be broad and not narrow. Within its walls there is room for those whose devotion is so supported by simple faith and fervent piety that they desire no aid from external ceremony or ornament, and who think that these things degrade and obscure religion, and for those who think, with Burke, that the offices of religion should be performed, as all solemn public acts are performed, in building, in music, in decorations, in speech, in the dignity of persons according to the customs taught by their nature; that is, with modest splendour and unassuming pomp; who sympathize with Milton the Puritan, and say that these religious rites
"Dissolve them into ecstacies,
And bring all heaven before their eyes."
Bishop Fulford had been appointed Metropolitan of Canada by Letters Patent from the Crown. Before his death the judgment in the Colenso case had decided that where there was a responsible local government, the Crown could not interfere directly with ecclesiastical matters. The Canadian Church was thus brought face to face with a difficulty which she had not anticipated. She was declared to be an independent voluntary association, occupying, in the eyes of the law, just the same position as any other religious body in the land, freed from all connection with and control by the Church in England, except such as she might choose to create by her own voluntary action.
This practical difficulty at once arose. The Diocese of Montreal had been constituted the Metropolitan See of Canada by the invalid Letters Patent of Bishop [189/190] Fulford. That Diocese had also the same right as every other Diocese to elect its own Bishop. The Synod would naturally elect a Bishop whose conviction would be in harmony with the prevailing sentiment of that Diocese, and when elected, if the intention of the defective Letters Patent were adhered to, he would become the head and superior of the Episcopate of Canada. After conference it was agreed between the Bishops and Synod of Montreal, that the Bishops should submit to the Synod the names of nominees who, if elected, would be accept able to them. In Nov. 1868, a Synod was held, which, after a session of several days, broke up without arriving at any result. The religious convictions of the House of Bishops and of the Diocese of Montreal were hopelessly at variance. Another Synod was convened at Montreal on May 11th, 1868. The balloting for the first few days only seemed to disclose the same deadlock. Again and again the Bishops sent down the names of all the Canadian Bishops. They unwisely, as it now seems, made known their decision not to submit the name of any priest of the Diocese of Montreal. As a matter of fact they did not submit the name of any priest of the Canadian Church. They, however, sent down, in addition to their own names, the names of the Bishops of Newfoundland, Grahamstown, British Columbia, the Coadjutor of Newfoundland, and the following priests The Dean of Norwich, the Rev. Dr. Hessey, the Rev. J. P. Cust, the Rev. F. Meyrick, and the Rev. H. T wells. The contest centred around Dr. Cronyn, Bishop of Huron, a decided Evangelical, and the Rev. F. Meyrick. A number of ballots were taken, which seemed only to evolve another deadlock, the Bishop securing a majority of lay votes, and the priest of clerical.
 After many days spent in the vain endeavour to reach a conclusion, the Bishops, on the motion, it is said of the Bishop of Ontario, sent down the name of the Rev. Ashton Oxenden Rector of Pluckney. On the first ballot, Mr. Oxenden was elected by a majority of both orders.
With genuine expressions of surprise and humility Mr. Oxenden accepted the responsible office to which he was called and was consecrated Bishop of Montreal and Metropolitan of Canada, on Sunday August 8th, 1869, in Westminster Abbey, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The difficulties experienced in this first Metropolitan election led to the adoption of the present system by which the dignity follows the individual whom the Bishops may choose as their Metropolitan, instead of being attached to a particular See to which the Metropolitan elect is transferred.
The new Metropolitan convened his first Synod of June 21st, 1870. His primary charge breathes that spirit or humble, earnest devotion which characterizes all his publications. It is replete with wise practical suggestions, and overflows with missionary zeal He states that there were fifty-nine missions m the Diocese, only eight of which were self-sustaining. He pleads earnestly for the support and extension of this work, and urges the Diocese to take part in the great foreign mission work of the whole Church-He speaks with thankfulness of the general harmony of views existing in the Diocese, and of the soundness, faithfulness, and moderation which for the most part marked the teaching of the clergy. He calls upon all to guard against running to extremes, and urges them, at the suppression of individual tastes, to strive after as great union and uniformity as was possible. He said--
"It is the policy of our great enemy to separate us [191/192] from one another as widely as he can; it should be our policy, our holy and Christian policy, to close our ranks, and wage our warfare side by side. Our strength lies in united action, and if God is pleased to draw us nearer together by the attraction of a loving spirit, this will make us strong against our common foe, and stronger in the discharge of our spiritual mission. My desire is to act not as the Bishop of a section, but of the whole Church, and wherever I see zeal, earnestness, and devotedness of heart, I am disposed to overlook little differences, in order that I may help forward the great work of Christ."
In his charge, delivered at the opening of the next Synod, the Bishop expresses his thankfulness for the peace and harmony with which the Church has been blessed since his coming amongst them. He again urges the claims of his missions, the improvement of the stipends of the clergy, the formation of a Sustentation Fund, and the establishment of a Theological College, for the special training of young men for the ministry, under his own eye. This has resulted in the establishment of the Montreal Theological College. He also strongly condemned the growing custom of advertising preachers and subjects as being derogatory to the dignity of the Gospel, and subversive of the true object of our gatherings together on the Lord's day. The result of the Bishop's appeal in behalf of a Sustentation Fund was stated in his next charge to have reached £55,000 in a single year. Referring to the recent visit of Bishop Selwyn of Lichfield, the Metropolitan says--"I cannot refrain from recording the fact, that one of our noblest English Bishops has visited us this year. Having spent his best days as the chief pastor of one of the most interesting Churches in the colonial field. [192/193] He came among us as a father and brother, offering us his own warm and loving sympathy, and stirring us up to fresh zeal in our Master's service."
As regards the future, the Bishop says--"I am not content that our Church should remain in her existing position, I earnestly desire that her motto be, 'Upwards and Onwards'--upwards as regards the growing piety and devotedness of her members, and onwards as regards fresh achievements in the service of the Lord. As a Church we must not stand still; we must be ever growing and bearing fruit; we must show more real earnestness in Church work, more aggressive boldness in widening the bounds and deepening the foundations of our spiritual fold. We must rise up to the duty of planting our faith on every foot of available soil."
The Bishop tells us that there were eighty-seven spiritual labourers in the Diocese when he was called to its supervision--seventy-nine in Holy Orders, the rest being catechists and lay readers. In the fervent, loving, religious, and encouraging charges which he addressed year after year to his Synod, he pleads with passionate earnestness for the increase of the clerical staff, and as a means thereto, for the increase of the mission fund. One scheme after another is adopted, and the result is generally the same--a deficiency both in money and men. But with cheerful, hopeful alacrity, he addresses himself to the old themes the extension of the clerical staff, the increase of the mission fund, and the improvement of clerical incomes.
At length, under Dr. Lobley's vigorous principal-ship of the Theological School, a sufficient number of men for all present needs is obtained, but still he presses on to the occupation of new fields. The spirit of hopefulness and enterprise seem to mark the whole spirit of the Church at this time. In his eighth [193/194] annual address to the Synod, the Bishop says "I see much that may well rejoice our hearts, and call forth our tribute of praise. I may say with truth that the Church work is making itself felt, not only among ourselves, but in the neighbouring Dioceses."
At this Synod he signified his intention of being present at the Pan-Anglican Conference, convened at the suggestion of the Canadian Church, and which was summoned to meet in the following July. The clergy of the Diocese had during these eight years increased from seventy-nine to ninety-nine; six of these were on the retired list.
No hint is given in the Bishop's charge, or the minutes of the Synod, of its intention to resign the See of Montreal, and no explanation is to be found in the records of the succeeding Synod. The Bishop transmits from England an address to the Synod to be held in his absence, in which he says--"Some preparatory step will of course be taken with refer ence to the approaching election of my successor." He concludes by expressing his thankfulness to the members of the Synod for the words of kindness addressed to him on taking leave of those whom God had committed to his care. And this is all the explanation that is recorded.
At a Synod convened on the 16th October, 1878, for the purpose of electing a Bishop of Montreal, Bishop Oxenden's formal resignation of the See was read. The only reason assigned was the conviction that his strength was no longer adequate to the satisfactory discharge of the onerous duties of this Diocese, over which he had presided for the last nine years. The Synod was speedily constituted, and the first ballot resulted in the election of the present Bishop of Montreal, the very Rev. Dean Bond.
At the meeting of the Synod held on the 17th June, 1872, the new Bishop delivered a long and able [194/195] charge, which shows the eminently practical turn of his mind. The finances of the Diocese were chronic ally in arrears; the country was suffering from serious commercial depression. The Bishop therefore announced his determination that "there should be no further Church extension until our finances show the prospect of a sufficient surplus to warrant it. We must not," he said "administer a fund which has only a prospective existence." He therefore refused to ordain any new candidates for the diaconate. He announced his determination to visit the whole Diocese every year, and in spite of advancing years he has steadily adhered to his plan.
At the Synod of the next year, he announced that he had been able to take up the work of the Church extension again, and had already in that year ordained six deacons and four priests, and had admitted into the Diocese seven clergymen, and then he continues--"I have very great pleasure in informing you that we have paid our debts to the clergy. I cannot express my thankfulness that this stain on the honour of the Diocese is at last removed, and I trust I shall not live to see the repetition of so grievous a trouble."
The Bishop urges upon the Synod the speedy increase of the Sustentation Fund, as the hope of their being able to sustain many of their missions when the grants of the S. P. G. should, in a short time, be withdrawn.
The Diocese of Montreal, like most of the older Canadian Dioceses, had before this time attained to a fairly settled state of things, not unlike the state of the Church in the old land. It had, however, wide fields still to be occupied, and many parishes and missions so weak in numbers and in material resources as to be a cause of continual anxiety. In his address to the Synod of 1881 the Bishop says--"The [195/196] past year has not been marked by great local events in our Church; our duties have been plain and continuous. We have been seeking rather to hold the ground we possess, than to extend our operations." This even was no slight task. The Synod had fixed the minimum salary of deacons at 600 dollars a year, and of priests at 800 dollars. The Bishop complains that though commercial prosperity had returned to the land, the liberality of the members of the Church had not increased. The rule adopted by the Synod as to minimum stipends had not been kept, and he urges--"It is neither wise nor right to take advantage of a clergyman's necessities, in order to get from him the greatest possible amount of service for the least possible amount of pay." And in words which it would be well for people generally to lay to heart, he continues--"Our best men morally and mentally will not suffer such treatment a moment longer than they are obliged to, and unless constrained by the love of Christ, or by the circumstances of their lives, will leave us after a while. I am constantly invited to admit this or that stranger into the Diocese, on the plea that he is willing to accept the miserable stipend offered, while our good and tried men, our young and energetic men, are allowed to leave, seeking elsewhere the justice denied them at home."
To meet this growing danger, he again and again urges the increase of the Sustentation Fund and the Superannuation Fund for the aged and infirm labourers.
The Bishop is a man of practical earnestness and unflagging zeal, and so he did not long rest content with merely holding the ground. He set himself with steadfast purpose to extend the missionary operations of the Church, and so year after year, in his address to the Synod, he appeals with unwearied courage and cheerful hope for increased contributions [196/197] to the Mission Fund. For a little while there is a marked improvement, and then a business depression, with its disheartening diminution in the treasury of God. Still the progress is onward. New missions are year after year being taken up. Continual progress, the Bishop says in his last charge, is being made. Every year all the parishes and missions are visited. He reports 960 persons confirmed during the year 1890, more than double the number confirmed during the first year of his Episcopate. The report of the Mission Fund, he says at last, is quite satisfactory, thanks being specially clue to the increased liberality of the congregation of St. George's Church.
The other great objects of interest and anxiety during all these years are the Montreal Theologi cal College, which from the first enlisted Bishop Bond's keenest interest. It is year after year reported as growing in strength, in numbers, in popularity and usefulness. The Bishop speaks of it again and again as his right hand in the work of his Diocese. In his last address he says--"I have nothing but good to say of it. It is the mainstay of the missionary work of the Diocese."
He therefore pleads for its liberal endowment. It was started by Bishop Oxenden, in imitation, no doubt, of the Diocesan Theological Colleges recently established in England for the special and final preparation of candidates for the ministry under the eye of their future Bishop. Such a course was almost necessarily forced upon the English Bishops by the mere apology for a special preparation supplied in the English Universities. The condition of things in the Church Universities of Canada is wholly different; elaborate arrangement being made by a large staff of trained Professors for the efficient discharge of this work. Bishop Oxenden did not take in this difference [197/198] of conditions, and so mooted this Theological College scheme. This was eagerly espoused by men who did not approve of the Churchly character of the training given at Lennoxville, and so the Montreal Theological College was started, pledged to the narrowest Evangelical basis, the continuance of the endowment being made dependent upon that basis being maintained; the donor and his descendants being constituted judges of the fidelity with which that condition was being observed. This narrow basis, it was stated at the last Provincial Synod, would be withdrawn, and the whole foundation handed over unconditionally to the Bishop and Synod of Montreal.
The College soon became affiliated with McGill University, an institution which had itself been founded and endowed by a Churchman, and intended for a Church institution, but which had afterwards been secularized. This University holds no doubt the highest literary place of any educational institution in Lower Canada. It is held that a Theological College in connection with it, is far more fitted to supply the needs of the Diocese than the Church University at Lennoxville. It is no doubt growing into a place of great influence, and will probably be a great benefit to the Church in Montreal in future years. As McGill did not confer Divinity degrees, powers were sought from the local Legislature to enable the Theological College to confer such degrees. This was stoutly opposed by the authorities of the Church University, on the ground that it would multiply and debase divinity degrees. By the intervention of the Provincial Synod this dispute has been settled by the establishment of one board of examiners and one curriculum for all Canada; the Metropolitan being made a University Sole for the purpose of conferring degrees on those who have passed the required examinations, and do not want to [198/199] go to either of the Church Universities for degrees. Let us hope that a peaceful and prosperous future may be in store for all the institutions concerned.
The second object of Diocesan interest was the establishment and efficient working of the Dunham Ladies College, which was suggested by the Bishop Strachan School for Girls, founded in 1867 by the writer of these memoirs, for the education of the daughters of the Church. The Montreal school has had a chequered career, and though working success fully on Church lines is not now under the control of the Church.
A third object for which the Bishop frequently appeals is the "Church Home" for ladies in reduced circumstances. This is now in possession of suitable property, and has promise of a successful career.
Appeal is frequently made for the support of the French mission at Satrevois. This has lately been transferred to Montreal, a church set apart for its use, and a missionary speaking the French language put in charge of it. Its success is still an experiment. There are some in Montreal who regard it as a fore gone failure. It is carried on on exclusively Protestant lines, and that, it is held, will never reach the French Roman Catholics. What is needed, they maintain, is the presentation of the Catholic aspects of the Church of England. At present, however, with the strong national and Roman feeling, there does not seem much prospect of anything but the Holy Roman religion receiving even a respectful hearing.
The Bishop constantly urged his clergy to take pains to instruct their people in the principles of the Church, and for this purpose to introduce catechizing into the public services. Bishop Bond realizes more fully perhaps than any other Canadian Bishop, the character of an overseer of the clergy, a leader and guide of the people. He is diligent, methodical, and [199/200] incessant in his labours. He is animated by a spirit of unmistakable earnestness; and though he was an old man when called to the Episcopal dignity, he has done great things for the consolidation and advancement of the Church in his Diocese.
Reviewing, in 1886, the changed aspect of things during the previous twenty-seven years, he says--"We have more than doubled the number of our clergy, we have more than doubled the number of our church buildings, and our Church membership has at least increased in due proportion. Never was the Church of England in this Diocese numerically stronger or outwardly more prosperous than at the present time."
From the date at which these words were uttered, judging from the reports, the progress has been more marked since the delivery of that charge than in the previous years.
During the period of which we have been writing, the Diocese has been blest with a very able body of clergy. It is almost invidious to mention names: but a Diocese that has mustered on the roll of its preachers, a Balch, a Baldwin, a Carmichael, a Sullivan, and a Dumoulin; among its parish workers and influential men, a Thompson, a Looseman, a Wood, a Norman, a Norton, to say nothing of the Lindsays, Davidsons, Robinsons, and a host of noble men who have occupied the country parishes and missions, need not be ashamed to compare itself with the very foremost Diocese in the world. It would be strange indeed if the Bishop who led such a host could not speak of progress and prosperity.