Chapter XIV. A Western 'Boom' (1881-1883)
RAILWAY building gave a sudden, dramatic, and, though it Was not perceived at once, an almost tragic acceleration to the volume of settlement into Manitoba and the North-West in the years 1881-84, which was focused in what came to be called the "Winnipeg Boom." These "Booms"--periods of rapid speculative expansion, resulting in unreasonable inflation in the values of land followed by equally unreasonable collapse--are common to the experience of most Western communities in both the United States and Canada; one of the most frequent causes of them is the construction of railways. A line of railway connecting Winnipeg with the railway systems of the United States was in operation in the autumn of 1879, but the line was to all intents and purposes an American railroad and not a Canadian. The Dominion, including Manitoba, wanted a railway wholly on Canadian soil, passing through Winnipeg east to Toronto, Montreal, and the Atlantic, and west across the long leagues of prairie and mountain to the Pacific. The Dawson route, a way of travel at best nothing but a bad waggon-road, was a confessed failure, and, in any case, could not compete with the facilities offered by the American railways to intending settlers. In 1880 the Dominion Government, after having done some railway building in Manitoba, made a contract with a syndicate, known as the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, for the construction of a railroad from Montreal through Winnipeg to the Pacific coast.
Writing to his Commissary, the Rev. C. A. Jones, in February 1881, the Bishop said:
An Act has just been passed by the Dominion Parliament by which the construction of the Canada Pacific Railway has been committed to a great financial company. There are 280 miles of railway branching out from Winnipeg in my Diocese, on which trains now regularly run. By July 1882, Winnipeg is to be connected with Lake Superior. By July 1883 Winnipeg is to have a line for 1000 miles west through fertile prairies for, you may say, the whole distance, or through vast coal regions, to the Rocky Mountains. The wheat grown in this country is the first in quality in America by, I believe, common consent. This will open up the largest extent of wheat land in America. There has never been such an opening to emigration. There is no doubt of the issue and of the future. The United States, to-day, has over fifty millions of people. There is just here in Manitoba and the North-West the beginning of another empire as great. It is beyond a question.
Winnipeg, which has now become the greatest rail road centre on the American continent, with perhaps the exception of Chicago, was in 1881 the centre of considerable railway construction both east and west, and had the certainty of being the centre of a vast amount more. The great prospects of the country, both from the extent and fertility of its arable land, and the comparative ease and quickness with which it could be reached, had been noised abroad. Manitoba wheat, particularly, had aroused the attention of the world by its unsurpassed excellence, its famous "No. 1, Hard" wheat setting a standard or "grade" higher than any previously known. These attractions drew to Winnipeg in 1880, 1881, and 1882 a "strange concourse of speculators from all parts," as the Bishop described it in a letter of the time to the C.M.S., all intent on exploiting them to their own advantage. By the beginning of 188I the Boom w developing; all through that year it went on growing in intensity, coming to a head in the winter of 1881-82, and continuing, though with ever-diminishing force, into the winter of 1882-83.
For a time a wild fever of speculation held the country in its grip; it chiefly raged round the prices of "lots," or plots of ground for building purposes, in Winnipeg and in the towns and villages that grew up, mushroom-like, almost in a night, along the railway tracks. "Lots" in Winnipeg, which, a year or two before, were practically unsaleable, or could have been sold for trifling sums only, changed hands for hundreds, then thousands, of dollars; in a less degree it was the same elsewhere. It so happened that i 881 was a "good year," with splendid weather and an abundant harvest. The Governor-General of the Dominion, then the Marquis of Lorne, now Duke of Argyll, and his wife, the Princess Louise, accompanied by a brilliant suite, paid a visit to Winnipeg, and well pleased with all they saw, the Governor-General spoke in glowing terms of the vast resources and magnificent prospects of Manitoba. Many visitors came to spy out the land, and carried away a favourable impression of it; not a few of them invested in lots and farms. In a word, everything conspired to help the Boom. Speculation ran riot, men went mad, and prices soared higher and higher.
This state of things could not last long; it would not have lasted as long as it did last if it had been all speculation. The land, with its riches, was there in solid truth. The people who had come into the Canadian West were not all shrewd speculators, crazy gamblers, or transient visitors, for there was a large advance of settlement south and west of Winnipeg, and thousands of homesteads were taken up. The broad levels of the prairies on both sides of the railways, and for some distance back from them, were dotted over with tents, huts, or houses of farmers seeking and finding these new lands of promise. In 1882 the population of Winnipeg had grown to 20,000, and there were 80,000 people in the Province, while settlement was overflowing into the adjacent Territory of Assiniboia. What was the Church to do in face of this great opportunity--these new spiritual fields white to the harvest, needing husbandmen? was the question the Bishop asked. "What we most require is to be enabled to do most for ourselves. If 'Canada,' the S.P.G., the C.C.C.S., and the S.P.C.K. do what I ask, I think we shall be able for a year or two to occupy the chief settlements, and our people will build the necessary churches," he wrote. With the endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he had appealed for help to the Societies towards the close of 1880. He turned to Eastern Canada, and again pressed home, not without effect, the claim for assistance made by the people coming from it to settle in his Diocese.
In the beginning of 1881 he went by invitation to Montreal to attend a meeting of the central committee of the Church in Eastern Canada and place before it the needs of Rupert's Land; he stated at it that a contribution of $4000 (£800) a year would meet its most pressing wants, and the committee decided to assess the Dioceses of Eastern Canada for that amount; he wished them to act as did the Presbyterian Church in similar circumstances--while voting the money, to assume the responsibility and send out the men, but this was not done, and in the end all that he received from "Canada" in that year was $860 (£172).
In the meantime the Boom had made some difference in the position of the affairs of the Church in Manitoba. The great rise in the value of land in and about Winnipeg had enabled the Bishop and the Executive Committee of the Diocese to sell portions of the glebe lands of the Cathedral, St. James's, and Headingley for considerable sums. The most valuable and extensive of these glebes, the Cathedral lands, which had been included within the limits of the City of Winnipeg by this time, produced an amount that enabled him to fill in some of the details of his plan for making St. John's a "real Cathedral," while the money realised from the sale of portions of the glebes of St. James's and Headingley provided an endowment which, in the case of the former, did away altogether with the necessity for its receiving assistance from the S.P.G., the Society which had supported it from the start, and, in the case of the latter, had the same effect with respect to the C.C.C.S. Thus grants which had been given to these two parishes were set free for helping missions elsewhere.
While the Boom lasted Winnipeg was very prosperous, and this condition was reflected in its leading church, Holy Trinity, to which was added a nave costing $5000 (£1000), and an organ for $4000 (£800); this church also guaranteed at least $800 (£160) to the Home Mission Fund of the Diocese. Winnipeg then had two "English" churches--Holy Trinity and Christ Church, but it was apparent that more would be required, and a year or two later All Saints' and St. George's were established, the former west of Holy Trinity and the latter north of Christ Church. The enlargement of the boundaries of Winnipeg had brought St. James's earlier within the city limits.
This improvement in the state of things was con fined almost wholly to Winnipeg, Headingley being the exception; this parish was immediately west of St. James's, and only a few miles from the city. In the Country there was but one story of settlements being founded here, there, and everywhere, needing the quick founding of missions also. More little towns were springing up--one of them, Brandon, well to the west of Winnipeg, had a hundred buildings by the autumn of 1881, though it was not in existence at all in the spring of that year. Holy Trinity, Winnipeg, offered to take charge of a new mission, and the Bishop assigned Brandon to it. The grants which had been set free by the endowment of St. James's and Headingley provided part-stipends for a missionary in the new settlements in the Turtle Mountain district, and for another at Gladstone On behalf of the Church in Eastern Canada, Mr. C. J. Brydges, the Treasurer of its Synod, authorised the Bishop to provide for two districts, and missionaries were stationed at Birtle and Pembina Crossing on the strength of this pledge. A clergyman was placed at Rapid City where a new church had been opened. St. James's Cathedral, Toronto, came forward with a grant in aid of any mission in Manitoba, and the Bishop gave it to a large district with Beaconsfield as its centre. A mission was established at Morris, a small town between Winnipeg and Emerson, the latter a town on the American frontier a short distance from Pembina, and a missionary was placed in charge of it. Other missions were opened, most of which were served by the College Cathedral staff. Wherever the supply of men and means permitted--sometimes when the means were not in hand--the Church occupied the new settlements. In 188o the Bishop had under him twenty-three clergy and several licensed catechists; in 188 I he had thirty--two clergy and nine catechists and lay readers.
Addressing the Diocesan Synod held on November 23, 1881, the Bishop, as usual, considered the situation from all points 0 view, and then spoke of a new feature--the desire of the C.M.S. to withdraw from its old missions gradually, leaving such glebes as these missions possessed to the Church, to be administered as a trust for their benefit. Alluding to the Society, the Bishop said, "I think occasion should be taken by the Synod to express with no ordinary emphasis our sense of the infinite obligation which not only the Church of this land, but the land itself, lies under to the Church Missionary Society. Personally, I desire to bear affectionate testimony to the kindness, the consideration, and the regard for the episcopal office that have marked the dealings of the Society with myself. The successive Honorary Secretaries, Prebendary Venn, Prebendary Henry Wright, and now the Rev. Fred. Wigram, have been among our chief friends and helpers."
Referring to the Cathedral, the Bishop remarked that he hoped in the following year to appoint a Dean, as a sufficient income was in prospect from the sum realised by the sale of the glebe of St. John's, and he trusted the appointment would relieve himself, for, as matters stood, the Bishop was reckoned as one of the clergy of the Cathedral, and as it often happened that, owing to the pressure of mission work, he was left to take duty on Sundays at St. John's, the appointment of a Dean would give him greater freedom for the pastoral work of the Diocese. Speaking of St. John's College, the Bishop said it was progressing satisfactorily, but the buildings were no longer suitable or adequate. Both St. Boniface College (188o) and Manitoba College (1881) had put up much better and more permanent buildings than they had previously possessed, and as St. John's needed the same an effort was being made to raise funds for a wing of a new College, towards which $20,000 (£4000) had been subscribed in Winnipeg and its immediate neighbourhood--about half the amount required, and the S.P.C.K. had voted, on certain conditions, a grant of £1000 ($5000) for the same object.
Concluding, the Bishop asked how they were to meet the ever-growing needs of the incoming population. First, he said, they must do the best with the resources the Diocese possessed, and for that purpose new mission regulations were to be put in force; second, the Diocese was to be divided into Rural Deaneries, so that the clergy in a specified district could meet in conference and take counsel together; third, use was to be made of earnest and godly men as lay readers, who were to be formally commissioned by the Bishop with a special Service. As regarded help for the work of the Church from outside the Diocese, he regretted to have to say that the S.P.G. had not been able to give an additional grant, and the C.C.C.S. had slightly reduced their grant. The S.P.C.K., however, had come forward with in valuable assistance by voting a large block grant of £2000 ($10,000) for the building of churches. (The Society gave one-fifth of the cost of a church, when the cost was £500 ($2500) or less, and one-sixth when the cost was more than that sum.) But it was to the Church in Eastern Canada, the Bishop observed, that they "turned their longing eyes." He said:
Will it rise to the occasion? I have just read in the address of a Presbyterian minister the following reference to the action of the Presbyterian Church of Canada: "This year the estimates were made for about fifty missionaries and $16,000 (£3200). It would be easy to employ twice that number of men, and use double the amount of money, if we had it." We received from the Church of "Canada" $860 (£172), and we are employing one missionary, and looking out for another. Yet there are Churchmen in "Canada" who seem to doubt the wisdom and right of doing even this. It is too sad to comment on the matter. There is a great country rising up here. We would gladly take a large part in supplying it with the best gift--the unsearchable riches of Christ. If the means are not provided us for doing what we could wish, and what might be done, let us, at any rate, do what we can. It is a blessed thing to work for God, to lay out effort in any way in His service. We shall not be forgotten, and the harvest is sure.
For the greater part of the year 1882 the story, as regards the wildness of speculation, was much the same as for 1881; but by the beginning of the winter the top of the Boom had been passed, and as the winter progressed there were not wanting signs in the shrinking of the prices of lots, slow at first, then less slow, that the period of frenzied inflation was coming to an end. Settlement continued, however, on an increasing scale. A curious but significant indication of the growth of the country was afforded in the summer of 1882, when more than eighty barristers and Solicitors were added to the legal profession in Manitoba. Some of the new settlers took up land in the settlements that had been already formed, but the majority moved farther afield, while several of the older settlers sold their farms to new-comers and went westward. Early in the year the Bishop made a Visitation of the new settlements and missions as far as Rapid City, including the mission among the refugee Sioux, which had been established in 1879 under the charge of the Rev. W. A. Burman, a graduate of St. John's College. In the summer he held a Visitation of the missions in the neighbourhood of Lake Manitoba, including Indian missions, being accompanied on this occasion by Archdeacon Cowley, who spoke to the Red Men in their own tongue.
From the Church point of view the great event of the year was the development of the Bishop's plans for the Cathedral, now made possible by the sale of its glebe. The Bishop ceased to be Dean, and on April 12 a Dean and two Canons were installed. Canon Grisdale, having resigned the Professorship of Systematic Theology, was appointed Dean of Rupert's Land, that position being joined with the Professorship of Pastoral Theology, a new Chair which had been founded in St. John's College, and the general care of the theological students. Canon O'Meara succeeded the Dean as Professor of Systematic Theology. The Rev. W. C. Pinkham, who had resigned his parish of St. James's in 1881 because of the great increase of business connected with his office of Superintendent of Protestant Schools, but who had continued to assist in clerical work, and was Secretary of Synod, was appointed Archdeacon of Manitoba, and therefore, under the Statutes of the Cathedral, became one of its Canons. The Rev. S. P. Matheson succeeded Canon O'Meara in the chair of Exegetical Theology, but was not installed as a Canon until some weeks later, owing to a delay caused by legal matters not having been finally adjusted. Preaching on the occasion of the installation of the Dean, Canon O'Meara, and Archdeacon Pinkham, the Bishop said:
I have thought it well to take advantage of the installation of the Dean and two Canons to make a few observations on the place the Cathedral will fill in the Diocese; and it is, perhaps, all the better that I should do this, as I can see, in the older Provinces of Canada, there is a tendency to look on the creation of a Cathedral system as simply an effort to bring in some of the dignities and titles of the old world that, taken by themselves, may seem, if not actually out of place, at any rate unneeded, in this new world of ours. But the work of the Cathedral is older than its dignities; and it has been my care in this Diocese that the work should always exist before the name that has been associated with it, though I am conservative enough, when the work exists, to prefer to draw round it the memories and associations of the old name.
He then spoke of the place the Cathedral should hold in a Diocese, employing much the same terms and ideas he had used in setting forth his Cathedral system in 1874, when Mr. Grisdale, the Dean, had been installed as Canon (see pp. 247, 250). He announced that while funds were not yet at his command for building a suitable Cathedral edifice, nor for the holding of daily Services, still his plans had to a large extent been realised, as the proceeds of the sale of Cathedral land, together with the endowments already formed for the Professorships in the College, now gave the means of having an effective staff--a Dean and four residentiary Canons--as well as of pro viding residences for them. The Dean and the four Canons would hold the Chairs of Pastoral Theology, Systematic Theology, Exegetical Theology, Ecclesiastical History, and Music respectively; he hoped to make an appointment to the last in a short time. The endowment of the Cathedral Chapter having now been secured, the next great effort at the centre of the Diocese was to be for the College, which needed a new building. He stated that Dean Grisdale was to proceed to England to try to raise an Endowment Fund for teachers in Arts, which also was necessary.
To assist Dean Grisdale, who left Winnipeg for London in the summer, the Bishop issued a circular, drawing attention at some length to the growth of Manitoba and the North-West, and the consequent needs of the Church. Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, was becoming a large place, wrote the Bishop, and was of great importance as a railway centre. East of it the Canadian Pacific Railway Company had built (1882) 450 miles of line to Port Arthur on Lake Superior, where connection was made with steamships on the Great Lakes for eastern points; and west of it the Company had constructed 450 miles of line across the prairies, and were still carrying the line westward at the rate of three miles a day. The line had gone beyond the boundary of Manitoba into Assiniboia, into which settlement was flowing to such an extent that it would be necessary to think very soon of providing a Bishop for that Territory. As regards Manitoba itself fifty-two new municipalities had been formed, and in thirty-eight of them, embracing over 700 townships, each comprising 36 square miles, there was no resident clergyman of the Church, while in several other municipalities, each with from twelve to forty townships, there was only one clergyman.
The Church was likely to suffer, the Bishop continued, unless it received material assistance. The Diocese did all it could for itself; but Winnipeg was the only place of any size that could help. The city, however, was growing rapidly, and its own local Church needs gave it enough to do. The Church in Rupert's Land, therefore, looked to England and to Eastern Canada. Except for a grant of £100 ($500) a year, for two years, he had been able to get no new grant from the S.P.G. since 1879. That Society had offered £3000 ($15,000) in sums of £500 to meet £1500, for the Clergy Endowment Fund of the Diocese. This, said the Bishop, was very good, but was not what the Church required at this crisis. The needs of the day were far too pressing to permit of endowment being taken up for the missions. Neither had the C.C.C.S. increased their grants since 1879. Eastern Canada was now doing better than in the past; but its aid was not given methodically, and therefore could not be reckoned on in their calculations. During that year (1882) the Church in Eastern Canada had sent them $2000 (£400) half of which had been contributed by one Diocese, that of Quebec. This was small when compared with what other Christian bodies in Eastern Canada were doing. To take one example, the Canadian Methodist Episcopal Church, a small denomination, supported fifteen missionaries in the Diocese of Rupert's Land. The Church in England and the great Church Societies must, cried the Bishop, come to the help of the Diocese at this critical epoch in its history.
But there was not only the constant want of means; there was also the old want of men. It was difficult to get suitable men, able to adapt themselves easily to colonial life, from England; and it was hardly less difficult to get men from Eastern Canada, which, as was only natural, desired to retain its best for itself; and its second best would scarcely be likely to succeed in Manitoba. The solution of the difficulty lay in St. John's College, which had already trained and sent forth men fitted for the work of the country, and was training more and more men every year. So the Bishop renewed his appeal in this circular for the assistance of the College, pointing out also, at the same time, that it was doing a great work for the Church, not only in training theological students, but students in Arts and Science, who in the College were under the constant influence of the teaching and Services of the Church. The circular, a document typical of several addressed by the Bishop to the Church and Churchmen generally, set forth the position of the Church in Rupert's Land with a force and clearness that made any misunderstanding of it impossible. The Dean, however, met with no great success.
Towards the end of the year the Bishop, in a private letter to the S.P.G., again referred to the growth of the Territory of Assiniboia, mentioning that its capital, Regina, through which the railway passed, and which a few months earlier was so many acres of "bare prairie," had a population of 1000, and said once more that Assiniboia must have a Bishop for itself; as it was impossible for him to look after it properly. It had been hard to raise an endowment for the Bishopric of Saskatchewan, and it would be hard to raise an endowment for the Diocese of Assiniboia; but somehow it had to he done. Alluding to himself and his work, the Bishop said: "I am upheld by the loving sympathy and affection of the whole Church, clergy and laity, and by the kind feeling of the whole community." He then mentioned that a token of this appreciation had just been given in the presentation to him of his portrait, painted by a prominent Canadian artist. It may be noticed that the portrait was presented, on behalf of the subscribers, to the Bishop by the Hon. John Norquay, the Premier of the Province of Manitoba, and an old St. John's College man, at a public meeting, there being present the Hon. J. Aikins, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and four members, present and past, of the Provincial Government, besides a large gathering of the principal clergy and laity of the Diocese, and of the leading people of the country of all denominations. The Bishop, while gratefully acknowledging the gift, spoke at considerable length of the position of the Church in the Diocese, and in the course of his remarks referred to a point which has not been touched on in this book, but may now appropriately be introduced. Alluding to the growth of the various funds for Church purposes in the Diocese, he said:
I would point out one reason why our funds have accumulated so sensibly as they have. In my own raising of money, even when in England, there has been no outlay, except an almost inappreciable expenditure in advertising and meetings, so that in fact the expenses of raising and managing I may be said to have paid myself. Further, when a friend, as the Dean at present, has raised any money for our objects, there has only been at the most a partial payment for travelling expenses. The place of our representative has been supplied by our staff here, and he has lived on his usual salary. We have never had any paid organisation for raising money outside of the Diocese. Thus, though we have scarcely ever received any but small gifts, they have in our case accumulated. I think it well to say this, because our funds largely owe their existence to the willing labours of myself and the staff of our central institutions about me. I hope that this spirit of seeking to share in the common work will spread through the whole Church.
Gradually but surely in 1883 the Boom drew to its inevitable end. Many speculators, caught in their own net, as well as others who were not speculators, found they had on their hands properties which no one wished to buy at the inflated figures asked. As prices of lots could not be maintained, they fell slowly, and, after a time, rapidly, as is usual in such affairs. Still, for some months there was an extreme pressure of business in Winnipeg, and a great deal of building went on as soon as spring released the soil from the hold of winter. There was much bustle and stir, and no one anticipated such a total collapse of the Boom as eventually occurred. Meanwhile certain solid results had accrued to the Church from the Boom, though these results were not so great as was at first believed or hoped by the Bishop. The sale of the Cathedral lands had produced $100,000 (£20,000) for endowment, besides a considerable sum for residences for the Dean and Canons; but much of this sum, which might be called the capital of the Cathedral, was afterwards proved by events to exist really on paper. The Cathedral lands, like other lands in Winnipeg, were sold for so much cash down, the payment of the balance, secured by mortgage on the properties in question, being spread over a term of years. In the result, many of these deferred payments were never met; the mortgages in such cases had to be foreclosed, and in this way the capital of the Cathedral was greatly reduced. It is true, on the other hand, that such lands came back to the Cathedral, but heavy taxes had to be paid upon them. However, this state of things did not actually come about till 1884 and later.
In January 1883 the Bishop made another Visitation in the west of his Diocese, as far as the Qu'Appelle Lakes. With the spring building operations proceeded vigorously on the wing of the new College, which was situated, also on St. John's land, about an eighth of a mile from the old. A large and line stone church replaced the wooden building of Holy Trinity. In May there was a meeting of the Diocesan Synod, attended by twenty-eight clergy and thirty-four laymen; the Clergy List of the year showed there were forty-seven clergymen at work in the Diocese--a great advance on the previous year, which, in its turn, was an advance on 1881. Yet the Bishop, in his Address, had to admit that the Church was falling behind other bodies--he generally used this word when speaking of the other denominations--and said that the want of the settled ministrations of the Church in many of the new settlements constituted a grave state of affairs which must be faced. Erroneous and misleading estimates of the success of the country, of which the Boom was supposed to be an evidence, had made the situation still more grave by giving an impression, especially in Eastern Canada, that the Church in Manitoba was in a position to face it without much, if any, outside help. It was said that the Church had acquired a great deal of wealth from the sale of land, but the fact was that the glebes of only three parishes had been sold, and the proceeds of these sales were tied up to these parishes, though in the case of the Cathedral Statutes had been made by which the Cathedral income was rendered as helpful as possible to the general work of the Diocese. The Diocese had never possessed any lands for general Church purposes, and had absolutely no funds from the sale of lands for missions in the new settlements. He had been at pains fully to supply correct information on these points to the press and to the Church in Eastern Canada, yet false stories were still being circulated of the wealth of his Diocese, and were brought to his notice, "almost officially, for furnishing grounds for want of sympathy and help" from Churchmen in Eastern Canada. [Two or three months before this Synod, the Bishop had received a letter from a Bishop in Eastern Canada, who wrote that he had been informed that the Church in Rupert's Land was "bloated with money from the Boom."]
The Bishop, while recognising the gravity of the situation, declined to take a gloomy view. There was a very great need of a considerable addition to the number of settled missionaries, but he hoped that the Church would gradually work up deficiencies. What would do more than anything to enable the Church to meet its needs would be the erection of Assiniboia into a Bishopric. Again, though the Church was weak in the immense outlying districts, it was strong at the centre, St. John's. The Cathedral and College staff formed a strong, compact organisation; it was not a name, but a reality; it was to be further strengthened by the addition of two more Canon-Professors during the summer. The Church was strong in Winnipeg, and in the chief centres of the Province of Manitoba. A most useful addition had been made in a foundation for a clergyman to be stationed in Winnipeg who was to be called the Chafyn-Grove missionary, from the name of the English lady contributing the munificent gift of £3000 ($15,000) as an endowment for him. His duty was to meet and advise immigrants in Winnipeg in particular, and in general to help in the mission work of the Diocese.
Still the staff at the centre could not fill the place of settled missionaries, who must be secured for the success of the Church. To systematise and increase their efforts among themselves for this object, the Bishop suggested the appointment of a Financial Secretary for the Diocese; he himself really had occupied that position, but it was not the function of a Bishop to "serve tables." Since the last Synod meeting five Rural Deaneries had been organised, and he hoped they would render effective help. Meanwhile a certain amount of assistance had come from outside. The C.C.C.S. had increased their grant by £100 ($500) a year. The S.P.G. had given a donation of £500 ($2500); this Society had already voted £3000 ($15,000) to the Clergy Endowment Fund, and since then the S.P.C.K. had set apart £4000 ($20,000) for the same purpose and on the same conditions, the effect of which was that the Fund received from the two Societies together Liooo ($ when a like sum was contributed to it by the Diocese or friends. At the moment the Bishop had in hand £500 ($2500), and he appealed to the laity to make up the balance so that the first thousand pounds could be claimed, and there would then be an addition of about $10,000 (£2000), thus bringing the total amount of the Fund to $21,000 (£4200), the income derived from which would be of the greatest assistance in supplying men for the missions. As it was, new missions were being or had been opened at Brandon, Minnedosa, Birtle, Rounthwaite, Russell, Mountain City, Grand Rapids, Regina, Qu'Appelle, Clearwater, the Boyne, and Carberry. Much of this was a venture of faith.
He spoke of the College and of the wing which was being erected. Before the last Synod subscriptions amounting to $20,000 (£4000) had been received, but since then there had been little further done in this way, though $15,000 (£3000) more was required. He asked that the laity would put, as the "first great self-denying effort," the placing of the College on a self-supporting basis. He mentioned that the S.P.C.K. had made a grant of £500 ($2500) for theological studentships. The Bishop concluded his remarks by alluding to the recent deaths of some of the chief friends and supporters of his work--Archbishop Tait, Archdeacon Hunter, Dr. Forbes, who had been for some time Secretary of the C.C.C.S. and one of his Commissaries, Miss Caroline Hutton, the donor of £500 to the College and missions, and others who had passed away.
Whenever the Bishop asked the laity of the Diocese for their aid in money, they responded, it must be said, to the best of their ability; often he referred with affectionate pride to the noble way in which they supported his efforts for the missions and the College. But at this time, and for long afterwards, Winnipeg was practically the only place in the country where there was any number of people of means, and his appeal, there fore, was really addressed to them. Winnipeg, however, was still only a comparatively small city of about 25,000 population, the majority of whom did not belong to the Church, and it was even then beginning to feel the evil effects of the collapsing Boom. During the autumn the wing of the College was completed, but with borrowed money; further subscriptions did not come in to any extent, and difficulty was experienced in collecting those that had been promised in good faith when the Boom was at its height; so a debt accumulated on the College which was very hurtful to it, and long weighed on the Bishop with a heavy and almost paralysing constraint. Not anticipating this, the Bishop took a good deal of pleasure in the building as it was being constructed, and in showing it to visitors that summer, amongst whom were Mr. Archibald, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and his old friend Mr. Williams-Ellis, who had left Sidney College, Cambridge, and had become Rector of Gayton, Northamptonshire. Of this visit Mr. Williams-Ellis contributes the following account, which, incidentally, gives a glimpse of the Bishop's life at this time and some further indications of his personality:
About twenty-five years ago I determined to go over and see my dear friend in his home on the Red River. I went up through the Lakes and took the train from Port Arthur on Lake Superior for Winnipeg. The line had just been constructed. We crossed the "trestle-bridges "over rivers and lakes very, very slowly, the piles under us trembling in the water. I was kindly given a seat in the private car of Mr. (now Sir William) Van Home, the General Manager of the C.P.R., so that I could see down the line. We arrived late at Winnipeg, and missed the Bishop's buggy. My driver did not know the way, and we were lost in a wood close to Bishop's Court when the Bishop found us.
I preached in his Cathedral of St. John's. I remember in the vestry the Bishop gave me a great thwack on the back, whether of approval or the reverse, I do not know. He showed me St. John's School, St. John's College, and the Ladies' College; we were especially interested in the last, as we had often talked of my cousin, Miss Annie Clough, and her work at Newnham. One day we went to call on Mgr. Taché, the Roman Catholic Archbishop, who was very friendly with Machray. He showed us in his dining-room a huge picture of Queen Victoria, and said he had removed the Pope to make room for it, as he heard that the Marquis of Lorne, the Queen's son-in-law, was coming to see him. The picture had been painted for him in twenty-four hours!
Another day we went out to Portage la Prairie, sixty miles west of Winnipeg, to see something of the prairies. We got exceedingly hungry, and called at the clergyman's house, where there was a strong aroma of food and rattling of plates. The mistress came bustling in. She gave us an invitation to the feast, but, seemingly, with perhaps a hope that we would not accept--possibly there were already too many guests or too little food. The too-sensitive Bishop looked towards me in doubt, and I tried by my aspect to give him confidence to say "Yes." It ended by our getting no dinner. We tried one or two fly-crowded and unsavoury eating-houses, and finished up by sitting on a doorstep and eating some mouldy biscuits!
Two additions were made to the College-Cathedral staff in 1883. The Bishop, having resigned the Chair of Ecclesiastical History, the greater part of the endowment of which had been given by himself appointed the writer, then B.A. of Cambridge (Sidney College), to the Professorship and attached Canonry, and the Rev. G. F. Coombes, M.A., a Cambridge Johnian (now Dean of Rupert's Land), was made Professor of Music, and Canon and Precentor of the Cathedral. Both Canons Machray and Coombes, besides their Professorial and Cathedral work, assisted in the College and College School, and in the missions generally whenever their services were required.
In the course of the summer the Bishop made an extended Visitation in the west of his Diocese, including the mission at Touchwood Hills in the Territory of Assiniboia--the immense district for which he wanted a new Bishop, a desire soon fulfilled, as will be narrated in the next chapter. Before passing to it mention must be made of a matter that greatly delighted the Bishop, though, strictly speaking, it concerned the Church only indirectly. This was that the University of Manitoba received in 1883 an intimation that under the will of the late Dr. Isbister, Head Master of the Stationers' School and Editor of the Educational Times of London, it had been given a bequest of £14,000 ($70,000) as an endowment to provide scholarships for meritorious students. Dr. Isbister was a native of the old Red River Settlement, and was educated at St. John's College in the early days of Bishop Anderson. As far back as 1867 he had founded an endowment, placed in the Bishop's hands, for prizes to be given at open examinations for scholars of the common schools of Red River conducted at centres by St. John's College. He had always taken a warm interest in the progress and development of the great North-West, and no more thoughtful and helpful contribution to its best interests could have been made than this magnificent bequest to its young University.