Church in the Colonies.
Diocese of Newfoundland.
A Journal of the Bishop’s Visitation of the Missions on the Western and Southern Coast,
August and September, 1845.
[By Bishop Edward Feild]
With an Account of the Anniversary Meeting of the Church Society, held October 15, 1845.
London: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1846.
AUGUST & SEPTEMBER, 1845.
AFTER remaining a week at St. John's, the Church-Ship again went forth on her errand of grace.
His Lordship, on this occasion, was attended by the Rev. Mr. BRIDGE (his Commissary and Rural Dean). They were towed out of harbour by the boats of H.M.S. Spartan, on the evening of Wednesday, July 16th,—it being at the time a dead calm. On the following day they put into the harbour of Ferryland to land the Rev. Mr. HOYLES, Missionary of that district, where they remained the night. The winds were light the rest of that week, and they only reached Trepassey on Sunday evening (July 20th). Here they were kindly received and entertained by George Simms, Esq., Clerk of the Southern Circuit Court. No ministerial act was performed there, as the whole settlement is now Roman Catholic, with the exception of that worthy gentleman's family. They departed the next morning, but the winds were again light till the following day, when a strong breeze came up from the Southward, and with it, as usual, thick fog. It had been intended to touch at St. Peter's, but the fog was so dense that it was not deemed prudent to attempt it, and they ran on to Burgeo, which they reached, and entered the harbour safely, early on Wednesday. The chief object of calling here at this time was to take on board the Rev. Mr. Blackmore, the Missionary of this district, in order to convey him to the extreme point of his Mission (Port au-Basque) nearly seventy miles to the Westward. There was not, however, any clear weather till the afternoon of Friday, July 25, when they departed.
The fog again thickened soon after leaving Burgeo; and for two nights and nearly two days they stood on and off the shore at Port-au-Basque, hoping to see the harbour, but without success; till at length, on standing on the second day a little before noon, they found they had been carried by the current to the westward of Cape Ray; and suddenly emerged from the bank of fog into a clear, bright atmosphere, with the high land of the Cape on the right glittering in the sun's rays:—a sight truly pleasant and refreshing to eyes wearied with trying for days to peep through that ever-brooding, all-concealing fog. The danger of thus standing on and off was only fully understood, when it was seen on their return how numerous are the rocks and shoals on this part of the coast. This pleasant escape and change occurred on Sunday, July 27; and, it may easily be supposed, made more comfortable the services of that Holy Day.
It was useless now to attempt to land Mr. Blackmore, and he was constrained to accompany the Bishop to his extreme point of Visitation at Sandy Point, the head of St. George's Bay. They entered the harbour in a strong gale of wind on Monday evening, the ship performing her duty to the admiration of all on board, and of many persons watching her from the shore. The male inhabitants were generally absent on their fishing-grounds; but notices were sent to them of the Bishop's arrival, as well as to the people of the Barrysways, three settlements in this district, about twenty-one miles from Sandy Point, and included in the Rev. Mr. Meek's mission. The rest of the week was happily spent in attending daily the services of the church, in examining the schools, visiting from house to house, and surveying land for a glebe. The weather was delightful—warm, and clear; a great contrast to the dull dripping fog of the southern coast; and the, land is dry and level, covered with rich herbage and healthy timber. But the chief charm, or charms, of this rising settlement to ministers of religion are, the new Church, new School, new Mission-house; all of which have been erected and nearly completed by the inhabitants, within the last three years, aided by grants from the Society, and directed and cheered on by the Rev. Mr. Meek, the faithful and zealous Missionary of that remote district; which, though not yet brought under the benefits of law and the civil government, is not, thanks to the fostering care of the Church, without the blessings of Christ's gospel, and the means of divine grace. The Church, School, and Mission-house lie near together in that happy alliance which forms such an interesting feature and promises such manifold blessings in many English parishes. May these blessings be fully realized in Sandy Point!
The Church is large, and, if wooden structures deserve such an epithet, handsome; fitted up in simple, but correct, style, with low open seats and kneeling stools, as for one common family engaged, with, and for, each other, in one common purpose.
The inhabitants were assembled by the end of the week, and on Sunday morning the Church was consecrated, and in the afternoon an ancient burying ground, well fenced, in a neighbouring part of the settlement. The scene may be supposed interesting indeed to the inhabitants, many of whom a few years ago had never seen a Church or a clergyman; and now there was among them a Bishop of the Church, with two Priests and a Deacon, solemnly setting apart this temple, their work and offering, to the honour and service of Almighty God, that they and their children may enjoy for ever the privilege of united praise and prayer, and partake of the means of grace—may "hear of heaven and learn the way." After the consecration of the Church the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered for the first time. The next morning the Bishop confirmed sixty-two persons, who had been prepared and recommended for that holy ordinance by the Missionary; and then with mutual prayers and blessings, took his leave of that promising settlement,—promising, it is hoped, to increase in religious grace and knowledge, as it increases in wealth and prosperity. Must the continuance of these greatest of all blessings, which should sanctify and make profitable outward prosperity, depend always on the bounty of strangers?
Returning from this most distant Mission- the Church-Ship touched at the little settlement of Codroy Island, composed entirely of members of our Church, but, alas! included as yet in no Mission, and not visited, it seems, by any clergyman since Archdeacon Wix's famous tour. At this settlement prayers were read by Mr. Bridge, on the evening of August 6th, and five children baptized. The Bishop afterwards addressed the congregation. Many of them expressed an earnest wish to have the benefit of a school for themselves and children, and at least occasional visits of a clergyman; but they are seventy miles and upwards from Sandy Point, the nearest Mission on the North, and at least a hundred miles from Burgeo, where is the first clergyman to the South. The inhabitants are about sixty in number—(at Codroy Rivers many more, but those chiefly French Roman Catholics)—a simple, kind-hearted race, very willing to impart to any teacher such things as they have. Their land is probably as rich as any in the island, and they have numerous cattle. The fishery also is productive. An enterprising schoolmaster might live and thrive and be blessed and a blessing. The French occupy the little island of Codroy during the summer, and it is to the credit of our people, that, in the absence of dl authority and example to restrain them, they are not seduced to follow the too common1 French practice of fishing on Sundays.
The next settlement visited was that at Port-au-Basque, which, though now easily discovered (the. weather being clear), was not entered without fresh difficulties, in consequence of a calm which suddenly came on, as the vessel in the evening drew near the shore. She was obliged to anchor outside for the night. Here, or in Channel, (the settlement of which Port-au-Basque is the Harbour,) are many church people. There is a school kept by a Mr. Galton on his own private adventure, but they had not seen a clergyman for nearly two years. Here also Divine Service was performed in the school-room, and seven children baptized. The Bishop delivered an address. Earnest desires for a church were expressed by many of the inhabitants, which is much needed, and a spot pointed out which had been selected for that purpose.
The 'Ship' proceeded on the evening of that day (August 8) for Rose Blanche but, for the same cause as before, (the wind failing soon after sunset,) could not enter the harbour till next morning. Some danger also was incurred through running into a small harbour at the back of Baziel, or Bas Iles, in mistake for Rose Blanche. The inhabitants were gone to their fishing-grounds before the Church-Ship entered their harbour, and could not be assembled till evening. In the mean time the report of the arrival had spread to some of the little coves and settlements in the neighbourhood, and many brought their children for baptism. The service was performed as before. These also earnestly besought to have a teacher for their children. They appeared a devout and single-minded people, and several spoke with piety and affection of their churches and clergy at borne.
It was hoped that La Poile Bay might easily be reached the next day (which was Sunday, August 10), soon enough to perform the morning service there; but the wind again failed, and the harbour was not gained till 2 o'clock. Divine service was here celebrated in a convenient room in the merchant's house,—where prayers are read every Lord's day by Mr. Renouf, the chief agent of the establishment—and the child of Mr. Renouf, and another, baptized by Mr. Bridge. The Bishop preached. The next morning the services of the clergyman were requested to baptise several children in a neighbouring settlement; and many were reported as desiring the same benefit, who could not be reached. In this harbour they were detained four days by fogs and calms, which might have been a tedious delay but for the kind attentions and hospitality of the worthy agent, Mr. Renouf, who exerted himself in every way to show clue respect to the Bishop, and forward the purposes of his visitation. Here, it is hoped, a church may he built and a clergyman placed, who would be in a very advantageous position for visiting the various settlements and becoming acquainted with the inhabitants on this coast. The establishment is large, and conducted with much spirit and liberality; and a clergyman might be greatly aided by Mr. Renouf's assistance, which, it is believed, would be most readily afforded.
On the morning of Friday, August 15. the 'Ship' was towed out by one of Mr. Renouf's boats, and saluted on her departure by a discharge of cannon. From La Poile they had a favourable run to the Burgeo islands, where is the residence of the Rev. Missionary, Mr. Black more. Two churches, a school, and a clergyman's house, have been erected in these islands since Mr. Blackmore, in the year 1842, came to reside. Both these churches were consecrated on Sunday, August 17. The Holy Sacrament was administered on the morning of Sunday in Lower Burgeo, and on the following morning in Upper Burgeo. Confirmations also were held in both Churches, at which one hundred and two persons intelligently, and it is hoped, seriously, ratified their baptismal vows, having been duly instructed and prepared by their minister. Here the Bishop was kindly assisted by Mr. Cox, who, on each occasion of visiting Upper Burgeo, furnished boats and a crew, find was otherwise most attentive and hospitable. This settlement is a rapidly increasing one—but here, as in St. George's Bay, the Missionary is wholly dependent on the societies at home.
The next place of call (for several settlements were necessarily, though unwillingly, passed by) was at Gaultois, in Hermitage Bay, where is Messrs. Newmans' whaling establishment. In this bay the Bishop visited (besides Gaultois) Furby's Cove, Grole, Hermitage Cove, and Divine Service was performed and children baptized in each place. These had not been visited by a clergyman1 for three years. A school has lately been established at Grole by the Newfoundland School Society, and the benefits resulting from it are already very great and manifest. The children were carefully examined by the Bishop. Special acknowledgments are due to Mr. Gallop, who, by furnishing boats and a crew on several occasions, as well as a pilot for the 'Ship,' greatly facilitated the Bishop's objects. From Hermitage Cove they proceeded, part of the way on foot, and part by boat across Connaigre Bay, to Harbour Briton, the vessel going round the head-lands to the same destination. This was the only occasion of parting company with the 'Ship,' or of requiring or using a lodging. This they found, and all other hospitality, at the house of Mr. Ellis, who, without any previous notice, cheerfully provided for the whole party; and, the vessel not having got round, they rested this only night (Friday, August 22), during ten weeks, on shore. Here is a very neat and substantial church, completed externally, and a great ornament to the settlement: but as it is not at all fitted up, nor provided with font, pulpit, or communion table, and there is, alas! no clergyman there, or near, to minister in it, the consecration was deferred. Service however was performed in it on Sunday, August 24, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper administered, and many children baptized from this and the neighbouring settlements. The Bishop went also, with Mr. Bridge, to Jersey Harbour, and was welcomed and entertained with the same kindness as elsewhere, by Mr. Chapman, the agent of Messrs. Nicolle and Co. On Monday, August 25, they proceeded to Belleoram, having on board a pilot provided by Mr. Ellis. At this little settlement a very neat church has been built, finished, and fitted up by the inhabitants (about two hundred only) without any foreign assistance. A school-room, also, the most complete perhaps in Newfoundland, almost in the same independent way, and they are now proceeding with a teacher's house in a like spirit. These outward good appearances became more gratifying, when they were perceived to be, as might be expected, the results of muted and sincere desires for mutual edification and God's glory. No clergyman had ever before visited this church, and many children and others were to be baptized, not only in Bellcoram, but from all quarters around: and there were many candidates for confirmation, who, having been instructed by the school-master, were examined and presented by Mr. Bridge. The Bishop consecrated the church on the morning of Tuesday, August 26. At the evening prayer a large number of children were baptized by Mr. Bridge, and, after the service, the church-yard was consecrated. On the following morning the Bishop held his first confirmation, preached, and administered the Holy Communion. In the afternoon three adults were baptized by the Bishop, and many children by Mr. Bridge, and there was a second confirmation. On Thursday the Bishop examined the schools, which were found in a most satisfactory state. As it was understood that there were still many candidates for confirmation in the neighbourhood, and children to be baptized in different parts of the bay, (which had not been visited by a clergyman for three years,) it was resolved to remain till the Sunday for a third confirmation, and that Mr. Bridge, in the mean time, should visit the other side of the bay in a boat, there being no safe harbour for the 'Ship.' On Friday, Mr. Bridge visited Garnish accordingly, and held service and baptized many children there. On the Sunday morning, August 31, The Lord's Supper was again administered; in the afternoon some adults and children baptized, and twenty-three persons confirmed. The whole number of persons confirmed in this church was ninety-four. Early on Monday morning they took leave, having spent a most delightful, and, it is hoped, profitable, week among the kind-hearted and united people of Belleoram.
On the evening of that day the fore-top-mast was carried away, which was the only accident or loss of any kind during the whole voyage.
They put into Lamaline roads on Tuesday morning, where, as in other places, many children were christened, no clergyman (except on one occasion the chaplain of a man-of-war) having visited them for many years. Earnest were the desires and entreaties to have a clergyman near or among them—and ready offer made to assist in building a church. A school .has already been commenced.
Leaving Lamaline on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 4th) they reached Burin in little more than three hours.
During their stay at Burin heavy weather brought in the Inspector of Schools and Judge Lilly. On Sunday divine service was celebrated twice in the Court-house. On Tuesday morning, (Sept. 9,) they began the circuit of Placentia Bay, stopping first at Rock Harbour, where service was performed at the new church in the evening. This church was consecrated by Bishop Spencer, but is not yet fitted up—the inhabitants being few, and their means small. The next day was a fine run to Harbour Beaufette. Here also the church is due to Bishop Spencer's exertions and was consecrated by his Lordship, together with that of Rock Harbour, and a third at the Isle of Valen, in July 1842.
On Thursday, (Sept. 11,) twenty-one persons were confirmed in the church at Harbour Beaufette, and the children of the school, established by the Newfoundland School Society, examined by the Bishop. Here a residence has been built by the clergyman, and a school-room is in progress. On Friday, they proceeded to the Isle of Valen, where the church, as at Rock Harbour, remains in a very unfinished state, and from the same cause. Both at Harbour Beaufette and the Isle of Valen the Bishop was received with great demonstrations of respect and rejoicing. At 8 o'clock on Saturday morning, the Bishop confirmed nineteen persons, and afterwards examined the children of the school, which was established by the Newfoundland School Society, but is in great measure supported by the liberality of the Hon. C. F. Bennett. It is difficult to overrate the importance and blessing of these schools under careful and competent teachers. The contrast between a settlement with, and another without, such a school, is a very striking one; and it is believed would stir up benevolent persons, could they witness it, to copy the hon. gentleman's liberality. May it be twice blessed!
The 'Ship' returned to Harbour Beaufette on Saturday evening, and on Sunday, Sept. 14, the Lord's Supper was administered, and a second confirmation held, when twenty-eight were confirmed. On Monday they stood over to Great Placentia, where, it is known, the number of church-folk is greatly reduced, and a sacred edifice going rapidly to decay; a remnant, however, is left, faithful to God and their church, who rejoiced in the opportunity of testifying their adherence and attachment to the religion of their country and fathers. Service was performed on Tuesday morning; two persons were confirmed, and the Holy Sacrament administered. Every attention was shown the Bishop by Mr. Hogan, the agent of Mr. Sweetman's highly respectable establishment.—After the service they stood over the same day for Oderin, but, the wind becoming high, they sought shelter in the harbour of Little Paradise, where they were detained the whole following day. The time, however, was not lost, for service was performed at Great Paradise, and attended by a small but earnest and devout congregation. A woman residing at this place had been twelve years without seeing a clergyman.
On Thursday, Sept. 18, they reached Oderin, and were saluted on entering by Mr. Furlong, the resident merchant, who was unremitting in his attentions and hospitality during their stay. This large and pleasant settlement has neither church nor school, to the great grief of the inhabitants; but is visited occasionally by the Rev. Mr. Jeynes, the Missionary resident at Harbour Beaufette; to whom are committed the whole flock, or the many flocks, of church people in this extensive bay, and who accompanied the Bishop in his visits.
At Oderin they were kept all Friday by thick fog, but had no occasion to complain of the delay, as an opportunity was thereby gained of confirming several members of the church, and administering The Lord's Supper.
It was not considered prudent to remain longer in the bay, as the season was so far advanced, though it was a cause of grief and vexation to be compelled to leave several settlements unvisited, and many members of the church without the benefit of confirmation, who were expecting and desiring it. No time, it is believed, was wasted, and no opportunity lost; but they who know the delays and difficulties of coasting expeditions will not be surprised that, after all possible exertions, much which had been intended was left undone. Advantage was taken of a fair breeze to leave the Bay, and pass the dangerous shores of St. Shott's and Trepassey, and by one o'clock on Sunday, Sept. 21, they were a second time safely anchored in Ferryland harbour. Here they experienced, as on their former call, the kindest hospitality and attention from R. Carter, Esq., and his amiable family. Service was performed in the church on Sunday afternoon by the Rev. Mr. Bridge, in the absence of the Missionary, who had gone to his distant congregation at Renews. Monday proved so wet that the candidates for confirmation, resident at Renews, were not able, as they had intended, to reach Ferryland, a distance of twelve miles. The confirmation was held on Tuesday afternoon, and on the same evening the 'Ship' weighed anchor for her last trip. It was about nine o'clock; when the mate who was securing the anchor fell into the water, and for a time disappeared, and it was feared the vessel had gone over him. While all was most anxiously looking for him at the stern, he had been able to catch the anchor, unperceived, on rising to the surface, and suddenly appeared on deck, to the great comfort and joy of all on board; for to his skill and pains, seconded by the Captain's unremitting care and attention, their preservation, on several critical occasions, had, under God, been mainly due.
Not the least precious articles of the freight of the Church-Ship were two large Boxes; one containing bibles, testaments, and prayer-books, for sale; the other, tracts and small school-books, for gratuitous distribution. Both were in great demand, and nearly all were dispensed—indeed, many more prayer-books and bibles were required, and would have been gladly purchased. Some good seed, it is hoped, has thus been scattered on many an uncultivated, but not (if God vouchsafe his blessing in answer to the prayers of those by whom it was sown) unfruitful shore.
The Bishop was in good health the whole voyage; but it is feared Mr. Bridge has not profited so much by the excursion, as those who can understand and value his laborious and faithful services will have desired and prayed. Indeed, since leaving St. George's Bay he has enjoyed but little rest, for his occupations have been almost incessant, and not light. What might otherwise have been vacant time, has been filled up in sketching the churches and other objects of chief interest.
The state of the colony, as regards religious instruction and the means of grace, disclosed by this first visit of a Bishop to these distant settlements, (for no Bishop of the church ever visited beyond Placentia Bay,) is distressing in the extreme. Thousands of church people are scattered along the coast, literally as sheep without a shepherd—never hearing the voice of consolation and instruction—never "tasting the good word of God, or the powers of the world to come." Between the heads of St. George's and Placentia Bays—a line of coast probably of 400 miles extent, calculating the various bays and harbours, all more or less inhabited—is one only clergyman. It will be believed that this was no pleasure excursion to the Bishop, when he was continually solicited, even with tears, to provide some remedy or relief for this wretched destitution of all Christian privileges and means of grace; and when he knew in his heart, what he had not courage to say with his tongue, that instead of an increase, there is too much prospect of withdrawal and diminution, while we depend on societies at home, and foreign aid. The number of persons confirmed would have been much larger, had .the Bishop consented to receive them without examination and preparation; and several who had been prepared were of necessity passed by. May God dispose the hearts and open the hands of all Christian people in this country to desire and provide some remedy, some relief, under his aid and blessing, for such destitution and misery. "Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." A school founded—a Church built—a District or Parish endowed—those were the methods by which our forefathers acknowledged God's bounty, in giving them power to get wealth, and returned, as they could, some portion to Him—to His glory, and the edification of His people. Many a splendid church on the hills and downs of our year native land was built and endowed by the frugal wool-merchant, whose flocks fed there: is it too much to hope that some, to whom God gives the wealth of these teeming seas—perhaps the richest harvest, in comparison of the cost and pains, of the whole world's produce—will desire to acknowledge the Giver of all, and sanctify his gifts, by raising on these shores temples to His praise? humbly seeking that His name may be known and glorified in the devout and united worship of His church and people: who surely may be expected to remember their benefactors, and return the benefit in all-prevailing prayers?—"The blessings of them that were ready to perish shall come upon you."
Account of the Anniversary of the Newfoundland Church Society, held at St. John's,
October 15th, 1845.
The Anniversary of "The Newfoundland Church Society" was celebrated, pursuant to notice, last Wednesday evening. The Governor, Sir John HARVEY, who was accompanied by LADY HARVEY, presided on the occasion, and after a missionary hymn had been sung and prayers said, His Excellency delivered the following admirable and Christian address, which we are happy in being able to lay before our readers:—
My Lord Bishop and Reverend Gentlemen—Ladies and Gentlemen,—
I present myself at this meeting, as well for the purpose of contributing my mite in aid of its objects, as of publicly manifesting the deep interest which I feel in their success.
The period appears to me to have arrived when the several Church congregations planted in the Colonies ought to come forward with zeal and unanimity to endeavour to relieve that venerable Institution, to which they owe their origin and chief support, from a portion at least of the expenses connected with the extensive and increasing establishments which are fostered by its bounty. That this cannot be done through the occasional or periodical contributions of a comparatively small number of their more wealthy members, however liberal, is a fact which has received the fullest confirmation in the ineffectual results of these, as it were, desultory efforts, during a long course of experiment throughout the whole of the North American Colonies. Accordingly the necessity would appear to be imposed upon us now to devise the means of meeting the impending crisis (for that such a crisis does impend is a fact as certain as that the population of this Island is rapidly increasing), by doing what may be found practicable towards relieving our fellow-Churchmen in the remoter parts of the Island from the sad condition in which they are at present placed—remembering that the "cry of those who are ready to perish" for lack of spiritual food,—in other words, the affecting petitions for Churches, for Clergymen, for Schools, and for Teachers, have resounded in the ears of our excellent Bishop during the greater part of his late progress through the Colony.
The means of meeting these just and reasonable demands ought to be supplied, and I proclaim myself of the number of those who believe that they are susceptible of being easily met—I mean without any immoderate demands, or any undue pressure upon any, even the very poorest individual of our congregation—and this by merely requiring from every adult member, as an act of conscientious duty towards God, their Saviour, and their fellow-Christians, as an evidence alike of their public recognition of, and their firm attachment to, the Church with which they profess themselves to be in communion, some trifling annual contribution, to be paid with the same undeviating punctuality as any other acknowledged Church due, to such person or persons as may be appointed by the Bishop to receive it, for the creation of a "fund" to be administered by his Lordship, and to be applied in aid of the erection of Churches and Schools, and to provide salaries for Missionaries and Teachers, wherever they may be most needed;—and I am firmly convinced that such annual contributions, however small in amount, will, if punctually paid, be found adequate to effect the noble objects to which it is proposed to apply them, aided as they will be by the continued bounty of the home Society, and by the contributions of the more wealthy members of the Church in this Island.—Thus will be laid the foundation of that independence of external aid which it appears to me so essential that the Colonial Churches should use their utmost exertions to acquire and possess, within themselves.
Reverend Gentlemen, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have had the less hesitation in advancing these suggestions, from having the satisfaction of knowing that they are far from conflicting with the opinions entertained by our excellent and most respected Diocesan on this subject, and by whom they will, I am convinced, be urged upon your consideration by arguments which, drawn as they will be from the fountain of all truth, of all wisdom, and of all knowledge, cannot but prevail.
October 15th, 1845.
At the close of the Governor's speech the Lord Bishop of the Diocese addressed the meeting, giving a sketch of his recent visitations of the Southern and Western parts of the Island, as far as St. George's Bay. We heartily wish it was in our power to furnish a full and accurate report of his Lordship's truly interesting and affecting statement: his account of the spiritual destitution which he had witnessed, only now and then relieved along an extensive line of coast by the occasional location of a Clergyman or Schoolmaster, was very distressing, and could not fail to touch the hearts and ensure the active and liberal exercise of the charity of a Christian meeting. His Lordship referred to several instances in which he had been entreated by the poor people he visited, with tears, to supply their wants; but he was compelled to state, that so many and increasing were the demands on the great and venerable Societies which had so long and so liberally fostered the Church in Newfoundland, that there was no hope of further aid from them, and that consequently the Church in the Colony must arouse itself, and provide for its own necessities. With reference to this point, the Bishop alluded, with expressions of well-merited gratitude, to the Governor's unsolicited presence, and declared his full concurrence with the opinions His Excellency had delivered, of the necessity for united exertions by the members of the Established Church throughout the Island; and that by such united exertions alone, with the blessing of God, could the ministrations of the Church and the consolations of our holy religion be extended to those who are now "scattered as sheep not having a shepherd."
His Lordship's address was followed by the reading of the annual report of the Committee, together with the Treasurer's account, by the Secretary. We regret the less our inability to give insertion to these documents, as they will shortly be published for circulation among the friends of the Society.—Besides statements of the appropriation of the funds, and of the existing but unsatisfied calls on the Society, the chief topics in the report were the establishment of a Sailor's Church and Home,—the opening of a depot for the sale of Bibles, &c.,—and the erection of an Episcopal residence on an eligible site kindly ceded to the Bishop by the Governor.
The following Resolutions were proposed, seconded, and unanimously adopted:—
Moved by Dr. STABB, and seconded by THOMAS ROW, Esq.:—
That the Report just read be adopted and printed, together with the Treasurer's account.
Moved by the Hon. BRYAN ROBINSON, and seconded by the Rev. C. BLACKMAN:—
That this meeting is fully sensible of the urgent necessity which exists for increasing exertions and sacrifices on the part of all the members of the Church throughout the Colony, to maintain and extend the operations of the Society; and pledges itself to do all that may be in its power and fall within its province, collectively and individually, to secure, by God's blessing, those desirable objects.
Moved by the Rev. T. F. H. BRIDGE, and seconded by the Rev. W. J. HOYLES:—
That the thanks of the meeting be- offered to the Committee for the past year, and that the following gentlemen be the Committee of Management for the current year:—
E. M. ARCHIBALD, Esq.
Hon. C. F. BENNETT.
Hon. T. BENNETT.
G. H. DUNSCOMB, Esq.
B. G. GARRETT, Esq.
A. HOGSETT, Esq.
H. HOYLES, Esq.
G. MELLERSH, Esq.
N. MUDGE, Esq.
J. M. RENDELI,, Esq.
Hon. B. ROBINSON.
T. ROW, Esq.
H. P. THOMAS, Esq.
Moved by the Hon. THOMAS BENNETT, and seconded by HUGH HOYLES, Esq.:—
That the Hon. William Thomas be requested to continue his services as Treasurer to the Society,—that the Rev. T. Bridge be Secretary, and Mr. Tremlett Assistant Secretary and Collector, for the ensuing year.
Moved by the Hon. C. F. BENNETT, and seconded by E. M. ARCHIBALD, Esq.:—
That the thanks of this meeting are due, and that they be respectfully tendered, to His Excellency Sir John Harvey, for his kindness in presiding upon the present occasion.
The several gentlemen ably and heartily advocated the holy cause which it was the object of the meeting to promote. It would be very gratifying to us, as well as highly useful to the purposes of the Society, could we lay before the public a report of all the speeches which were delivered, especially that of the Hon. Mr. ROBINSON, who, in moving the second resolution, entered into some interesting statistical details and important calculations, showing that by an average subscription of 1 d. a week per head, a sum of upwards of 7000 l. would be raised; or of one dollar a year from each Church-member, the Church Society's revenue would amount to about 9000 l. a year—an aggregate which would not only secure all the rights of present incumbents, but provide for an increase of seventeen clergymen, twenty Schoolmasters and lay-readers, the circulation of 1000 bibles, 1000 testaments, 2000 prayer-books, besides religious tracts; the erection and annual repair of Churches to the amount of between 700 l. to 800 l. and leave a balance of 500 l. or 600 l. for travelling and other incidental expenses.
For the carrying out of a plan like this, the cooperation, not merely of the Clergy, but of the influential lay-members of the Church is essential; and we are persuaded that this maybe relied upon, when, by means so easy, ends so vast are to be attained.
The meeting was both respectably and numerously attended, although just at the hour of its commencement the rain descended in torrents. At the close, a choir, under the direction of Mr. BACON, sung another hymn, and when the Bishop had pronounced the blessing, a collection was made amounting to between 30 l. and 40 l., which we understand exceeded that on the like occasion last year, and may be regarded as a substantial proof of the increasing interest taken in the Society.
CIRCULAR LETTER from the BISHOP of NEWFOUNDLAND to his Clergy on the necessity of a systematic collection for the support of the Church from all its members within the Colony.
St. John's, October 28th, 1845.
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
I have the pleasure of forwarding to you a Report of the proceedings at the anniversary meeting of the Church Society, held in St. John's, on Wednesday, October the 15th, together with the Speech or Address of His Excellency the Governor. I cannot but view those proceedings, coupled with His Excellency's most instructive and forcible remarks, as both an admonition and encouragement to attempt, at once, what I have long regarded as imperatively necessary, some systematic and general collection, to be continued and extended, year by year, for the support of the Church in this Colony, from all her members.
The necessity, I am persuaded, is apparent to, and acknowledged by, all right-minded members of our Communion, both lay and Clergy; and is most truly and touchingly, though by no means fully and adequately, expressed in His Excellency's Speech. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, on which the Church in this Colony has hitherto depended for support, is no longer able to extend and increase its bounty to us as our increasing wants demand; and it is considered, moreover, to be equally the duty and interest of the Church, in any Christian country, settled and civilized, to support their own establishment; with only such extraneous aid as any new and temporary emergency may seem to justify and require. The duty is as plain and imperative (where possible) as any duty of Reason or Religion can be: for" (not to multiply authorities) "even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel." (1 Cor. ix. 14.) And "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." (Gal. vi. 6.) To which exhortation the Apostle immediately adds, to show our interest and profit, as well as duty, "Be not deceived—God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. vi. 7.) And many, we know, are the like exhortations and promises of God's holy and unchangeable word.
It only remains, therefore, to consider the possibility of supporting the Church in this Colony by the contributions of her own members.
That the means are sufficient cannot be doubted, when we remember how large a portion of the merchandize and other wealth of the country is in the hands of Churchmen. Neither is there any just reason to doubt their will and liberality. All that is wanted—or what is chiefly wanted—is a proper and effective machinery. For this the Church looks to her Clergy: they must declare, they must carry it into operation. Just as in England the Clergy declare and maintain their claim to the tithes, and collect or receive them once a-year: so in this country the Missionaries must perform a similar duty—a duty not to or for themselves only, but to their people, nay, I will add, to their God and Saviour also.
The chief object, then, of this circular letter is to submit to you a plan, which after much deliberation, has been allowed and approved by the Committee of the Church Society, and which I desire you to put in operation in your mission (with such modifications as your experience may suggest) during the following year; but in such time and manner that, by the next fall, I may receive from your mission a contribution, through you, to the funds of the Church Society, at the rate of 5 s. a-year, or one penny a week, per head, from each and every Church member, old and young. Whilst some instances will probably occur where nothing can be demanded, it is confidently hoped that from others much larger sums will be realized and returned, according to the ability wherewith God has blessed them and their yearly gains. But whatever your collection or collections may be, all must be returned to me, or the Treasurer of the Church Society.
In the disposal of the funds so created it is proposed, in the first place, to return to each Clergyman the whole amount of the former annual contributions to his support, and to supply also the reductions which the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel may find it necessary or think expedient to make. It is hoped that within three years that Society may be relieved to the extent of half each Clergyman's salary, including the Bishop's; and yet the amount so deducted be more than made up to all and each from our collections, so that each and every mission will be directly concerned and interested.
In the next place, or conjointly with this adjustment of the present Clergy men's income, it is intended to send new missionaries to several districts destitute of the ministrations of the Church and her means of Grace, especially on the Western and Southern coasts.
It must be remembered that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has already, in some instances, reduced the Priest's salary to 150 l., and it seems just, that the income of those receiving the smaller amount should be made equal to that of their brethren in the same ministry.
The only worldly advantage or preferment to be conceded to one or any above others must henceforward arise from fees, residence, and glebe. These will be left undisturbed in the hands of each Missionary, only expecting of him that the Parsonage-house be kept in repair, with the fences of his garden and glebe. He will be allowed also, as heretofore, to demand and receive the customary fees. All other collections for, or payment to the Clergyman, must, at the close of this year, altogether cease.
The fund will be further applicable towards the erection of new Churches and Parsonage-houses, and any extensive repairs or alterations, made necessary by accident or unavoidable decay.
No part of the collection will arise from pew rents or assessments—all must be received directly from heads of families or individuals, who of course will be entitled, for their payments, severally and collectively, to the ministrations of the Clergyman and Church. The only further payment required, or necessary in this behalf, from the congregation will be for the ordinary repairs (including of course painting) of their churches, with other small incidental expenses, as the salary of Clerk or Sexton, the fires, lights, bread and-wine for the Holy Sacrament, &c., which in England are provided for by Church-rates; and may in this country easily be met by quarterly collections in the Churches, or by general assessment.
A Schedule has been prepared, and is herewith sent, which it is hoped will be found useful in making and recording your collection; which should be kept in duplicate, that one copy may be forwarded yearly, or as often as may be required, to me for inspection. You will, no doubt, see the advantage, if not necessity, of associating with yourself some of your influential and respectable friends and neighbours in putting this plan in operation, and making it intelligible and acceptable to the people. You may expect especially to benefit by the advice and assistance of the Merchants and Planters. Your Churchwardens of course will be associated with you in these as in all other proceedings which concern the peace and prosperity of our Zion; but you will remember that we look to you, and require it of you as a sacred duty, to direct and superintend, and make the report and return of the collections.
It is intended further that this annual payment should include the amount formerly subscribed to the School Society, so that in future those only who send children to the schools will be required to pay directly to the support of the Master. The School-room, however, should, like the Church, be kept in repair by the people, and provision made for necessary fuel. The Schoolmasters will of course expect to receive, through the Superintendent, the same amount as, on an average of former years, they have received.
The comfort and advantage of being asked for contributions by one party only, and he their Clergyman, will, it is believed, be felt and acknowledged by all, and their payments must be large and liberal in proportion.
I have now only to entreat you, for Christ's and the Church's sake, to use your endeavours, with prayers for God's help and blessing, to render this plan as general and effective as possible. You cannot feel more strongly than I do that a very laborious and irksome service will be superadded to duties already sufficiently onerous and ill requited; but if it be, as indeed it is, for the honour of God and His Church, and the maintenance of Scriptural truth and Apostolic order in this country, I confidently expect you will not shrink from performing or attempting it. Gratitude indeed to that noble Society—which, when we devoted ourselves to the service of God in this ministry, came forward to supply us with things necessary and convenient for this present life, and has encouraged and supported us in all our trials and privations,—gratitude for such benefits will constrain us to be diligent and self-denying in this emergency.
As far as possible, I am prepared to share with you all the unpopularity or other pain which may at first attach to this new and unexpected demand; and as you will ground your application upon the sacred principle of your duty, both to God and His people, so you will warn and admonish your flocks that it is their duty cheerfully to allow the application and answer your call; and that for the neglect of this duty, as surely as of any other, they will bring on themselves Divine displeasure, with all its inevitable consequences—while, on the other hand, God himself has said, by His Prophet, "Prove me now herewith (i.e. with tithes and offerings), "if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Micah iii. x.)
Earnestly praying God to prosper in your hands this and every good work,
Rev. and dear Sir,
Your affectionate Brother and Servant,