Chapter IX. First Visitation of the Diocese--Notes of Visitation Tour in 1846
ALTHOUGH, as is plainly seen, the Bishop's mind was earnestly set upon the erection of the Cathedral, there was no neglect of other arduous duties pertaining to his office. Not long after his arrival in the Diocese he had visited every parish and mission. There were no railways in those days. The means of reaching his destinations by steamers were very limited. Trying, beyond measure, must have been many of his frequent and extensive journeys.
The following notes, taken from the "Annals of the Diocese," are of interest as giving an account of the Bishop's first official work:
1845. On Monday, July 28th, the Bishop consecrated the church of St. Thomas, in Stanley, the service being compiled from writings of Bishop Andrews, Bishop Wilson and Bishop Patrick. The holy communion was administered. A burial ground was also consecrated, not far from the church, on the hill.
August 4th. The Bishop left Fredericton, accompanied by his Chaplain (the Rev. R. King), on his primary visitation. He confirmed at St. Andrews, twenty-one; at Campobello, nine; at Grand Manan, twenty-eight; at St. Stephen, six; at St. David, two; at St. George, twenty-five; at Portland, St. John, seventy-eight; at Trinity, St. John, sixty-eight; total, two hundred and thirty-eight.
At Grand Manan, the Bishop held his first ordination, when the Rev. James Neales, missionary on the Island, and the Rev. Thomas McGhee, were admitted to the holy order of the priesthood, after due examination.
At St. Andrews, on his return, the Bishop consecrated a piece of ground for a new burial ground.
From St. John the Bishop proceeded to Norton, where he confirmed forty-two; at Hampton, thirty-six; at Upham, fifty-four; at Sussex Vale, thirty-four; at Studholm, nineteen; total, one hundred and eighty-five.
The Bishop also visited the churches of Upper and Lower Loch Lomond, accompanied by the Rev. W. Gray, and preached in them; and also visited the village of Quaco, where he was desirous to establish a new mission. He preached there and baptized five children.
At Upham, the Bishop confirmed fifty-four and made provisional arrangements for a settled missionary.
The Bishop proceeded from Studholm to Springfield, where he confirmed fifty, and made arrangements for a weekly offertory; at Kingston, sixty-four; total, one hundred and fourteen.
On the 28th August, he returned to Fredericton and made arrangements for the excavation of the ground granted for the site of the Cathedral.
On Monday, September 1st, the Bishop proceeded to Woodstock. He was met at Eel River by the Rev. Lee Street, who accompanied him the next day to Tobique.
On Wednesday, the 6th, the Bishop consecrated the church at Tobique, by the name of the Holy Trinity, administered the holy communion, and confirmed three persons.
He then proceeded to Grand Falls, and on Thursday, held divine service in the large room of the principal inn, there being no church. He confirmed seven and baptized three. Several persons had come sixty-five miles to be present. After service the Bishop selected a spot for a church, to which the people undertook to subscribe £100, since increased to £168. The Roman Catholic landlord offered £5 and refused to take any remuneration for the Bishop's entertainment.
On Thursday night the Bishop arrived at Tobique. On Friday he confirmed at River de Chute church, nineteen, and returned to Woodstock, having held divine service at an inn on the road, where no clergyman had held service for three years.
On Saturday the Bishop confirmed at Richmond, fifteen; on, Sunday, at Woodstock, twenty-three; at Jacksontown, ten; and endeavored to remove the objections of some of the people to the offertory.
At Prince William church, the Bishop confirmed seven, and consecrated a burial ground at Dumfries.
On Thursday he returned to Fredericton, having held service in a school-room at Long's.
During the Bishop's visitation he licensed three lay readers, Mr. George Street, Mr. Thomas Turner, and Mr. Charles Bliss. He also held a meeting of the Church Society and inhabitants at St. John, when arrangements were made for a union with the Society, and some new regulations were agreed to.
The Bishop likewise, at the request of some of the inhabitants of Lubeck and Eastport (in the State of Maine), held divine service at both these places, when he was staying at Campobello. He also licensed Mr. Bartholomew to a lay readership for the Island of Campobello.
1845. St. Matthew's Day, September 21st, the Bishop held his second ordination in Fredericton Cathedral, when the Rev. E. J. Roberts was ordained priest, and the Rev. W. Ketchum, deacon. Mr. Roberts then accepted the mission of Kingsclear, and Mr. Ketchum was appointed curate of Fredericton.
Michaelmas Day, a confirmation in the Cathedral, when one hundred and six were confirmed, eighteen of whom were from Kingsclear. The holy communion was administered. Total confirmed, seven hundred and twenty-seven.
On Tuesday, October 29th, the Bishop confirmed twelve persons at the church at Oak Point; on Wednesday, ten persons at Westfield; and baptized at the former place two children by immersion.
On Thursday he consecrated the church at Long Reach, in the Parish of Kingston (the seats being made free).
On Sunday, November 2nd, he consecrated the church of the Ascension in Norton, the seats being all free; and on Wednesday, St. Paul's chapel, Portland, was consecrated. On Friday, November 7th, forty-five persons were confirmed at Gagetown.
October 10th, by the divine blessing, the foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid.
On the 16th July, 1846, the Bishop consecrated the chapel of St. John Baptist, at Chamcook, St. Andrews, the seats being all free.
Returning to Fredericton--at Carleton, St. John, he received into the Church a convert from the Church of Rome. (The form of reconciliation is given in full in the Annals.)
Summary for 1846--Travelled two thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, miles; ordained five deacons and two priests; confirmed five hundred and four; consecrated two churches.
A similar summary is given at the close of each succeeding year. After that for 1849, the Bishop adds these words: "Travelled two thousand three hundred and ten miles; preached and addressed the people about sixty times, besides the ordinary sermons of the year. All praise be to God!" We find this ascription appended at the close of each year.
From the Bishop's report to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel are taken the following notes of the visitation tour of 1846:
On June 25th, I left Fredericton at an early hour, and reached St. Andrews (about seventy-five miles) in the evening. I remained in the neighbourhood for a few weeks (being kindly received by Dr. Alley) in order to visit the neighbouring parishes and missions. Whilst there I consecrated the little chapel at Chamcook, three miles from the town, which has been built by the exertions of the missionary, the subscriptions of the inhabitants and others, and the liberal aid of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, who reside on the spot, and take a lively interest in all that concerns the Church in that neighbourhood. The building is of stone, and the seats are all free. The holy communion was administered, as is my invariable custom on such occasions. The chapel is beautifully situated on a piece of ground beneath a high wooded hill, overlooking one of the numerous creeks with which that part of the country abounds. The people were very orderly and attentive. Service is performed once every Sunday, in the morning, and at a more distant station in the afternoon.
July 18th, I left St. Andrews for St. Stephen in the steamboat which plies up the River St. Croix, and the next day I preached, administered the holy communion to (I think) between fifty and sixty persons, and confirmed one, a confirmation having been held there the preceding year. In the afternoon I preached again at St. James, seven miles distant, and visited a sick person.
The next Sunday, the 26th, I preached at St. David's church in the morning, and late in the afternoon at St. Patrick's, which is fifteen miles distant, part of the way through an unusually bad road. Generally speaking, the roads in the Province are better than the English country cross-roads, and some of them are equal to any turnpike roads in England.
Both St. David's and St. Patrick's churches are beautifully situated on hills, the former overlooking a wooded island, surrounded by the Rivers St. Croix and Didueguash; the latter on a high wooded knoll, with a most picturesque prospect. The people at St. Patrick were very desirous of having a missionary to themselves, and they require it as much as any persons in the Province. Their settlement is nearly twenty miles from any town, and is large and increasing. They were not prepared to do much for the support of a clergyman, so that I was compelled to depart without accomplishing the object of my visitation to them. As, however, they attended the church in great numbers, some having come twelve miles, I hope that matters may be arranged.
The whole of this mission, including six churches, and being more than thirty miles in length, is at present under the care of one missionary, Dr. S. Thomson. Since his return from England, himself and his curate, the Rev. H. Tippet, undertake to serve five churches every Sunday, each taking three full services. St. Patrick's has only been served once a mouth. The Dissenters in this mission are very numerous, and owing to its contiguity to the United States borders, and the multitude of conflicting sects, the difficulty of keeping steady congregations is very great. Added to which, in the remote country districts, it is difficult to sustain a good Sunday School, and the ordinary religious teaching in the Province is lamentably deficient. There is also a great want of good books.
Whilst I was staying at St. Andrews, I attended a treat annually given to the Sunday School children connected with the Church, of whom about one hundred were present. It was conducted much after the English manner (except that none of the parents were present), and seemed to give the greatest satisfaction. During my visit to this place, I had the gratification of receiving a letter from a gentleman in England, reminding me that about thirty years ago, I had taught him and others in a Sunday School, and acknowledging the obligation he felt for such instruction. I need hardly say that I had entirely forgotten the circumstance. I only mention it, to show how ready we should all be to do the smallest act of love to our fellow-Christians, and how certain we may be that "the seed cast upon the waters," shall not be suffered to lie wholly waste.
On Monday, July 27th, I left St. Patrick for Pennfield, a parish In charge of the Rev. Samuel Thomson, an old missionary of the Society, and confirmed twenty-five persons, one of them an old man of seventy, who had once before presented himself for confirmation, but had been prevented from receiving it by an accident. I proceeded on my journey that night, and the next day confirmed fifteen young persons at Musquash, an old mission revived. I also administered the holy communion.
When I first arrived in the Province I found the church in this parish deserted, and no missionary visits paid there. The settlement is large and flourishing. I am happy to say that good has arisen from the revival of the mission. The Rev. Thomas Robertson, ordained by me, having been educated in Windsor College, Nova Scotia, was very kindly received by the people. Appreciating his activity and diligence, they speedily commenced and completed a parsonage house; and two additional churches, one within three miles of St. John, and one in an opposite direction, several miles distant, at a settlement called Dipper Harbour, have been commenced, and the former is nearly ready for consecration. The people have also liberally subscribed toward his maintenance. He receives only £25 a year from the Society, the rest is made up by the people and the Church Society of the Province. Thus a district of twenty-two miles in length is brought within the teaching and? privileges of the Church of England.
From Musquash I proceeded to St. John, where I was met by several of the clergy, who accompanied me the next day to Carle-ton, the mission of the Rev. F. Coster, where I held an evening-confirmation for the convenience of the poorer classes, baptized after the second lesson two adults, confirmed forty-six persons, and received into our communion a convert from the Church of Rome, who was recommended to me as a sincere and intelligent person. I can safely say that no efforts were made to proselytize, and that a considerable sacrifice on her part was made in joining our branch of the Church Catholic. She appeared fully to understand the points on which we agree with the Church of Home, as well as those on which we differ, and as far as I could discover, showed no-unchristian bitterness of feeling.
The next day I returned to Fredericton, and again, on August 4th, I set out on my visitation of the north and eastern part of the Province. Having travelled thirty-eight miles, chiefly through the woods, I reached Boiestown, where I was met by the Rev. S. Bacon and the Rev. J. Hudson, the travelling missionary of a large district, in length ninety miles. There being no church in the place, I held an evening service in the school-house, and preached.
The next day we set out at seven for Ludlow, fourteen miles, where I consecrated a burial ground; and, as the heat of the day was very great, was obliged to ride in my robes in a common wagon to the place where confirmation was to be held. This was nothing more than an open barn, where, however, a congregation had assembled, and before a rough table thirteen persons, several of them of mature age, knelt down with great apparent devotion to receive the solemn blessing of the Church of God. I addressed them afterwards at some length, and took occasion to point out to them the advantages of a more settled and orderly place of worship. Their poverty has. hitherto been their hindrance to the execution of my wish. They presented me with an address signed by, I think, one hundred and thirteen persons, couched in earnest, affectionate language, expressive of their sense of the value of Church ordinances. At present, however, Mr. Hudson is only able to devote to them one Sunday in a mouth. No place, I confess, struck me as more lonely than this, or more needing the care of one who would rather leave the ninety and nine than lose one stray sheep in the wilderness.
From this place, we journeyed on thirty miles to Blackville, and reached it at half-past five, and soon had a full congregation in a very neat little church, I there confirmed twenty-nine young persons; addressed them on the usual topics; replied to an address presented to me, and consecrated the burial ground. After service, we repaired to the inn, where I had some conversation with the members of the flock. We then proceeded fifteen miles further, and needed no cradle to rock us to sleep.
Next morning, at eleven, we had service in an unfinished church, furnished with a spacious chancel, and an open roof, by the exertions of Mr. Hudson, and the liberality of his friends and neighbours. The church was quite full, though the morning was stormy, a large party having come to meet me from Miramichi. I preached to them from Acts ii. 42. I did not hold a confirmation, as Mr. Hudson wished that his church should first be completed.
In the afternoon, in company with some esteemed members of Mr. Bacon's flock, we reached Miramichi. Having received, on Saturday, a visit from the Church corporation, on Sunday I confirmed eighty-one persons in St. Paul's church, and addressed them from the pulpit, on various topics connected with their growth in grace. The congregation was very full and attentive. In the evening I preached again to an overflowing congregation (among whom were many dissenters) on the text: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."
The next day Mr. Bacon accompanied me to Bathurst, forty-seven miles. The day following I confirmed thirty-two persons, and addressed them especially on the practical duties of a holy life. After church, a gentleman of the Scotch Kirk, named Ferguson, very politely offered me the use of his carriage, and accompanied me in it all around the beautiful harbour of Bathurst, pointing out the most agreeable views. He also showed me his farm, which is one of the best in this part of the country. On the same day I received an address from the vestry, which was couched in kind and respectful terms.
The next day we drove in company with the newly appointed missionary, Mr. Disbrow, to New Bandou, an interesting settlement of North-country Irish, many of them strongly attached to the Church. The little building was crowded to excess, though it was the harvest season. I confirmed sixteen, and administered the Lord's supper to fifty, including ourselves. I was much struck with the simplicity and earnestness of these people; and their devotion at the communion was remarkable. They expressed an earnest wish to see me soon again.
The next day, Thursday, we set out for Dalhousie, the most northerly part of my tour, distant fifty-four miles. Thither we were conveyed by the kindness of Mr. J. Cunard and other gentlemen (as indeed, all the way from Boiestown), free of expense. The road led through several fine settlements (many of them French), along the bank of the Bay of Chaleur, a magnificent sheet of water, one hundred and twenty miles long, by from twenty to thirty miles wide, with the mountainous coast of Gaspe and Bonaventure in Lower Canada on the other side. The weather was fine, and the whole ride most exhilarating; the road, moreover, one of the best in the Province. Dalhousie, from its distance, had not been visited by any Bishop, except on one previous occasion by the Bishop of Quebec, and had scarcely ever been visited by a clergyman of our Church. There were formerly many members of our communion there, most of whom, however, have left us, and have joined the Presbyterians, who are the prevailing body. The few remaining Churchmen received me cordially, and we were hospitably entertained at the house of Mr. Barbarie, one of the members for the County. The next day I went to see Campbellton, a flourishing village, near to which is a church glebe; and went on eight miles further to view the enchanting scenery with which this neighbourhood abounds. The Restigouche, which flows into the interior one hundred and fifty miles, is, at its mouth, three miles wide, and for twenty miles has a width of from three to five miles, with hills of from one thousand to one thousand two hundred feet, wooded to the very top, rising from its banks. The farmers here are of industrious and active habits, many of them Highlanders.
In the evening, after travelling forty-eight miles, we had a service in the court house, there being no church, and I confirmed six persons and administered the Lord's supper to ten, one of whom had had no opportunity of receiving it from a clergyman of our Church for seventeen years. Nothing but necessity would, of course, induce me to perform this most holy rite in such places; but we must hope that he who requireth "mercy, and not sacrifice," will accept what was the only available means for comforting and sustaining the hearts of his destitute and scattered flock. The next day, before I left them, they placed in my hands a guarantee for £50 a year, for two years certain, towards the support of a clergyman, in case I could send them one, which I fully intended to do immediately; but unfortunately on my return home, the illness of the esteemed and laborious missionary at Portland, the Rev. W. Harrison, demanded the assistance of the young clergyman on whose service I had reckoned.
Our brethren in England can hardly understand the desolation of spirit that must be felt by those who have been induced, by a desire of bettering their worldly circumstances, to plunge into the wilderness and find themselves reduced to the sad alternative of forsaking the communion of their fathers for a less perfect faith, or of seeing their children grow up unbaptized, uncared for, and even unburied by a pastor of their own Church. How rapidly, under such circumstances, do good impressions fade away, and the heart becomes thoroughly worldly and thoroughly callous! For good books there are few or none, except such as the settler had brought out with him. There is no association of the frequent summons to a common house of prayer; the unwearied offices of mercy; the soothing, tranquilizing, yet awakening, services of the Church. Money! get money!--is the only sound that vibrates in his ears all the year round; and for my part I know not whether the polluting worship of idols is much worse than this cold, selfish, deadening atheism, which freezes up the heart against all the holier and more vivid impressions. As to anything like a knowledge of the truths of the Creed, that of course is out of the question. It is well if the settler escapes the gross profligacy, and still baser cunning and fraud, which are ever found where "the strong man armed keepeth his palace and his goods are in peace." It is observable, also, that where some good impressions remain, the mind, irritated by a sense of neglect, easily resigns itself to the objections which are commonly made by different parties against our Church. It is felt not to be a reality; it loses all power over the minds of men; it lives only in written documents, and persons who are themselves conscious of not living up to their knowledge of duty, attempt to justify themselves in their neglect by retaliating on the Church, and by broadly asserting that her services are inconsistent or delusive. Thus, when the missionary goes into the wilderness expecting to find himself received with open arms, and the Church welcomed as their mother and their guide, he finds a rapid under-current of suspicion, jealousy and division--a feeling that the people are to be placed under some hateful, undefinable restraint which they have never known, and would be glad to shake off. Simplicity, unhappily, is not the characteristic of our North American mind; every man's wits are keen and trenchant, and this increases the difficulties of the spiritual labourer; not to speak of that awful effect of our interminable divisions, the lurking doubt that steals through many a mind, that as all cannot be equally true, all may be equally false. One circumstance has often struck me in passing through the country, as a mournful evidence of its spiritual destitution. One finds separate and lonely graves scattered about on farms, or by the roadside, without any mark of Christian, or even common sepulture. The communion of saints is not found even in our last resting place; nor is there any visible sign that "the spirit of a man goeth upward, and the spirit of a beast goeth downward to the earth." Men and beasts are mingled together; our brethren are committed to the earth without any token of Christian fellowship or a future resurrection. O that God would give our English churchmen grace, instead of "biting and devouring one another," to fight against the common foe of all; to remember how vast a field is open to their exertions, and that there is still room to occupy it; that He would give us grace to humble ourselves before Him with weeping and mourning over wealth unseasonably wasted and talents thrown away; that He may yet have mercy upon us, and save us!
But I must return to my sphere of duty. From Dalhousie we returned to Bathurst, where I preached once on the Sunday, and in conjunction with Mr. Bacon administered the holy communion, Mr. Bacon addressed the congregation in the evening.
The next morning we left Bathurst at an early hour, and reached Chatham at two, where I spent five hours in endeavouring to compose some differences between some members of the flock. The next day we set out for Baie des Vents, a remote country settlement on the coast, where I confirmed twenty-three persons, who were very devout in their behaviour. This is on the whole, I think, one of the most church-like edifices in the country; the Bishop of Nova Scotia having already mentioned it with approbation, it is not necessary for me to say more than that, though plain in its exterior, and of wood, the internal arrangements are good, and the effect reverent and devotional; and this seemed to me the natural result on the minds of the people. I observed also that means were taken to prevent the entrance of dogs, which are most commonly brought with their masters, and which are a profane and intolerable nuisance in our country churches.
Having returned once more to Chatham, we set out for Richibucto, thirty-six miles. On my way thither I was met by Mr. Desbrisay, who kindly took me into his carriage and drove me the rest of the way. A few miles from this place we were met by His Honor, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the High Sheriff, the Rev. Mr. De Wolfe, the clergyman, and several other gentlemen, who escorted us into Richibucto. Most comfortable apartments were provided for us at the truly English inn, without any expense to ourselves. Soon after my arrival, I attended a Wednesday evening service, and preached. The next day I confirmed nine young people, and addressed them and the whole congregation at some length. An aged and afflicted female came to thank me with tears in her eyes. In the evening we met several members of the Church at the Speaker's house.
The next day we drove before breakfast to the hospitable abode of Messrs. Chilton and Holderness, whose kindness and respectful attention I shall not easily forget. The yards of the vessels at their wharf were hung with flags as we rowed to the shore. Mr. Holder-ness accompanied me to Welford with Mr. Desbrisay, Mr. Bacon and Mr. DeWolfe. We were warmly and hospitably received by Mr. Ford, one of the principal residents; and at the little church we found an attentive congregation, and I confirmed thirteen persons. They were earnest to have a resident clergyman, being twenty-three miles from Richibucto, and having service only every alternate Sunday. They promised to contribute liberally to his maintenance, and I undertook to bring their case before the Church Society.
The next day, Mr. Bacon having returned to take his duty, Mr. Chilton kindly drove me part of the way to Shediac, and I was met on the road by Dr. Jarvis, the Society's missionary at Shediac. With him I spent the two following days. On Sunday I confirmed thirty-two at Shediac church, and eight at Cocaigne in the afternoon, returning after service. I was gratified, the next day, with the inspection of the school in connection with the Madras Board on Dr. Bell's system. The orderly behaviour of the children, and their knowledge both of scripture and the prayer book, reflected the highest credit on their teachers, and was very encouraging. I scarcely put a question which they could not answer.
On Monday I proceeded, in company with Mr. Black, the Society's missionary at Dorchester and Sackville, to his residence at the latter place, and having arranged the times of confirmation on my return, I went on with the Rev. Mr. Townshend, of Amherst, Nova Scotia, to Westmorland, a very important parish, of which Mr. Townshend had the charge until I made it a separate mission, as the Society has been informed. I found a very crowded congregation at the church, administered the rite of confirmation to nine (the smallness of the number being accounted for by the fact of there being no regular missionary in charge since Mr. Arnold's departure), and baptized three adults. A very sensible and well written address having been presented to me, we adjourned to the house of Mr. Buckerfield, an English gentleman, who, with several others in the parish, is very anxious for the welfare of the Church. We then proceeded to view the glebe and glebe-house lately erected, though not yet complete, and had much conversation with Mr. Etter, a liberal benefactor to the Church in that neighbourhood. All seemed most anxious to do their utmost towards the redemption of the glebe and towards securing the services of a resident pastor. In this parish are two churches, one at Baie Verte, twelve miles distant from that at Westmorland, with a considerable population. The whole Parish of Botsford is contiguous, being without church or clergyman, so that the Church people are sadly destitute of the means of grace. A missionary here is indispensable, and two would find ample employment.
Having visited Bay Verte and arranged with the people some matters relative to the finishing of their church, I returned to Mr. Black's at Sackville.. The next day I confirmed nine in the morning, and fifteen in the afternoon at Dorchester, addressing the congregations at both places, and replying to addresses presented to me. In the afternoon we had a very full and attentive congregation, with delightful congregational singing, led by the clergyman, who acted as organist. I dined and slept at the hospitable mansion of the Hon. E. B. Chandler.
The next day, Dr. Jarvis and the Rev. W. Scovil, who had come to meet me from Norton (upwards of seventy miles), accompanied me to the Bend of Petitcodiac, a place of great resort for persons connected with the lumber trade. The only place in the village suitable for public worship was a chapel open to Christians of all denominations, whither we went; and I administered confirmation to three persons of mature age, and preached afterwards. After service we talked over the practicability of building a church. A site was offered, and it was reported that, if a clergyman could be procured, the church would soon follow. Finally the sum of £51 was subscribed towards a clergyman's maintenance. This place, which is likely to be the centre of mercantile resort, is in Dr. Jarvis' mission, though it is fifteen miles from his residence. A missionary stationed here would be of great use, and with two assistants, Dr. Jarvis writes me word, "there would be work for us all" in the six parishes, of which his mission is composed. Having left the Bend, and having a Sunday to spare, I determined on a missionary expedition into the new county of Albert, in which there never has been any clergyman of our Church resident. It is a large and flourishing district, possessing large tracts of what is called intervale land, or as we should say in England, low meadow land. These tracts, when in the neighbourhood of water, yield almost inexhaustible crops. We set off on Saturday morning, and made our way through twenty-five miles of chiefly bad road to Hillsborough, where we put up. Our inquiries were not very encouraging, for we could meet with no Church people; and on asking where we could hold service, we were told that there were two meetings, and "we might suit ourselves with either of thorn." Having arranged for a service at Hillsborough the next day, we arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon at Hopewell, where we found that the person to whom we had been recommended was not strictly a Churchman, and lived eight miles further. The only person who could give us any information was a Baptist preacher, who most obligingly offered to do all he could, showed us where we could put up our horses, and assisted me and Mr. Scovil in taking them out of the carriage, remarking that our Lord had said: "He that is greatest among you, let him be your servant." These worthy people then offered us refreshment, and procured us horses (our own being too fatigued to go further) for the rest of the journey. Our host, to whom we had been recommended, was out when we arrived, but on his return he welcomed us heartily, and sent out a man on horseback to announce my coming, and my errand.
Next morning (Sunday), though the notice was so short, the whole country was in motion, some on horseback, some in wagons, many on foot. Having robed at a cottage hard by, we proceeded to a chapel, where three hundred people had assembled, scarcely any of whom had ever seen a Bishop, nor had ever heard the Church Service. They behaved with great decorum, and we sang the Old Hundredth Psalm. I preached from the text: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor." I never had a more attentive auditory. A few very zealous Churchmen were there, who, aided by others not Churchmen, subscribed £50 towards a missionary, who would no doubt find an opening for his labours, and might do extensive good. We returned to our friend's house, who gave us some dinner, fed our horses, and wished us God speed on our way.
In the afternoon we just escaped in the rear of a most terrific thunder storm, and I held service again, where I feel sure the sound of our liturgy was heard for the first time. I preached from, "Behold! He cometh with clouds," etc. Though the evening was wet, it was necessary that we should get into the high road again that night; so we again returned twenty-five miles, and having travelled forty in all, were very glad to retire to rest.
The next day we proceeded on a smooth and easy road to Sussex Vale, the residence of the Rev. H. N. Arnold, one of the Society's missionaries. Mr. Arnold accompanied us the following morning to a place called English Settlement, where a church is building, in which, though unfinished, I held service, and was pleased to find several of my countrymen from Plymouth, Taunton and the West of England. They rejoiced to hear of the prospect of a missionary among them, and one of them zealously undertook to be responsible for the completion of the little church, and said the clergyman should never want a home whilst he lived. This worthy man also expressed his intention of giving land for glebe.
Having been kindly welcomed and hospitably entertained by these settlers in the wilderness, we proceeded on our way to Grand Lake, the mission of the Rev. A. Wood. Our road was very bad and very tedious, and we were from half-past three till near ten accomplishing a journey of twenty-three or twenty-four miles, the last part of it in the dark. Heartily glad were we, after numberless turnings, to find ourselves within sight of the lake. This is a noble sheet of water, thirty miles long, and in one place nine miles wide, in most three or four. Mr. Wood attends to a district about thirty miles in length, chiefly on the shores of the lake.
The next day we visited Young's Cove, where a new church is in the course of erection, and called on some worthy members of the Church.
The day following I crossed the lake in Mr. Wood's boat, in company with himself and Mr. Scovil, and we proceeded thirteen miles further in Mr. Earle's wagon to Newcastle, where Major Yeaman, a liberal contributor to the Church, received us hospitably. The next morning I held service in an upper room in his house--the new church, which has been chiefly built by him, being unfinished and full of shavings. About sixty assembled for prayer and hearing the word, an opportunity seldom, alas! granted. Along this side of the lake there are settlers for forty miles, and some, though not many, members of our Church. There is also a parsonage, and there are two churches, but no clergymen. All I could undertake for the present was that Mr. Wood and Mr. Stirling, two of the Society's missionaries, should each visit once a quarter, giving them a service once in six weeks. Alas! how meagre and unsatisfactory a performance of duty; yet it was all the case admitted of. The lake is often dangerous to cross, which renders the difficulty greater than it otherwise would be, and the roads are very bad.
On Sunday, September 6th, I held service at Mr. Wood's lower church. The congregation was larger than the Church would hold, and I confirmed thirty-five and addressed them. In the afternoon I crossed the lake and held service at Canning, on the other side, when I preached from Romans, 7th chapter, the latter part.
Having slept at a comfortable inn, about two miles above the church, I left it for Maugerville, where I found my family waiting to accompany me to Fredericton and reached my own home, through divine mercy, in good health, without any accident or serious illness, having travelled nine hundred and thirty-nine miles, and in all since January 1st, 1846, two thousand five hundred and fifty-seven miles, for which all praise be to God.
Those who read the foregoing account will, no doubt, be struck with the small number of young people confirmed in each place. This may be accounted for, in part, by the prevailing custom that each single parish should present its own flock to the Bishop.
Though the social character of the ordinance is thereby diminished, its devotional effect is increased. I do not recollect to have seen a single instance of that levity, which is so common in English churches, where vast numbers are brought together from the surrounding parishes. With us the young people come with their parents, and sit with them, the congregation taking a deep interest in the holy rite; and when service is ended, they return quietly to their homes. This appears to me to compensate abundantly for the want of numbers. Still, it must be confessed that one reason of the small number of young persons who are confirmed is the prevalence of other bodies of Christians on the eastern shore of New Brunswick, particularly of Roman Catholics and Presbyterians; although wherever an active, useful clergyman is placed, our Church not only holds her ground, but more than holds her ground, and I think we may reckon on a steady increase in such places.
But the Society will judge of the destitution that prevails, when I tell them that after filling up twelve vacancies I could find immediate and full employment for twenty additional clergymen without diminishing the labours of any one at present iii Holy Orders. Unhappily I have at present neither the means nor the men; but it will easily be seen that when one clergyman attempts to discharge the duties of three, four and even six parishes, it must be done imperfectly and unsatisfactorily; schools cannot be superintended, the sick and the whole cannot be properly visited; and after hurrying from place to place on the Lord's day, the result is exhaustion of mind and body, without a due effect on the minds of the flock.
One of the great difficulties we have to contend with is that of bringing home to the mass of professed members of our communion the duty of exerting themselves for the increase of Missions. A few give liberally to all good objects, and these few give again and again; but there are numbers, and these not the least wealthy, who seem entirely blind to their own responsibility, and indifferent to everything but making money and enjoying the good things of this life. Such is not the case (I am bound to admit) among Dissenters and Roman Catholics; and from all I can learn they do far more towards the maintenance of their ministers than we do; and had they been as supine as the members of the Church of England, many of them must, long before this, have become extinct.
The same feeling induces many persons to put their names to a subscription list, for the maintenance of a clergyman, which they have either not the means or not the inclination to act upon; and it is notorious, that no subscriptions are worse paid than those which are promised to the clergy. Some system must, I think, be devised, by which the clergy may be saved the difficulties under which they labour from this source, wherever they depend on the voluntary contribution of their parishioners. Among instances of a better feeling I am happy to notice Maugerville, where the people raised £200 towards the rebuilding of the parsonage house, besides nearly £400 raised in Fredericton on the same occasion; and Woodstock, where more than £200 has been contributed this last year for various Church purposes, the effect of which is that there are now five services on the Sunday in different parts of the Parish, the Rector and his Curate each travelling from twenty-five to thirty miles.
To arrive at a sound conclusion respecting the whole effect of our Church in the Province is a very difficult matter, but I am in great hopes that we are advancing rather than going backwards. Still I confess our state morally and spiritually seems to me to resemble the church of Laodicea much more than that of Smyrna and Philadelphia: "The deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things enter in and choke the Word," and many, if they could have their heart's wish, would have a new preacher every month, who should send them all away satisfied with themselves. It is our place, however, to labour to be what we advise others to be, to see in their faults only a type of our own, and to trust that when God has brought us to confess our sins, "He will be faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
In conclusion, I must thank God for the kind and cordial reception I met with in my visitation tour from all classes of persons, both within and without the Church; and will add my earnest prayers, in which I trust every member of the Society will join, that I and all my fellow-labourers may be found more diligent and faithful, and may see the fruit of our toil.
October 29th, 1846.