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DIOCESE OF MONTREAL.
FRANCIS FULFORD, D.D.,
In any future history of the Anglican Church, no unimportant chapter will be that in which its rise and progress in the Colonies of England is described ; and as the chief agent in promoting this good work, “the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel” will merit special acknowledgment and commendation. The earliest labours of that Society were connected with this Continent; and though interrupted in the United States by the political revolution which separated them from the mother country, yet some of the good seed sown there, before that event took place, has produced fruit; while in these Provinces, for the greater part of a century, down to the present time, the Society has never failed to act as the careful and beneficent nursing-mother of the Church and all her institutions. For a long period, the Clergy who officiated in Canada were, in the strictest sense, Missionaries of that Society : they were selected and sent out from England, reported all their proceedings directly to the Secretary, and drew their stipends from the Treasurer in London. And even after the appointment of one or more Bishops, the actual position of the Church here was for many years practically but little altered, though its administration was in some respects more regular and effective. Presided over by a Bishop, resident within the Colony, who could confirm the baptized, ordain the Clergy, and consecrate the Churches,
still the Clergy were only so many isolated individual missionaries, and continued to be largely dependent for their stipends on the grants of money made by the Society in London. There are some names connected with the Church during this period that will well deserve being recorded in her annals, as having borne the burden and heat of the day in the early life of the Colony; and to whose unwearied exertions and faithful ministrations we are indebted for those foundations of the building which we, their successors, have been allowed to assist in erecting. We must ever cherish with feelings of reverence and gratitude the names of my two predecessors Bishop Stewart, and the late Bishop Mountain ; while many individual clergymen who, like them, are gone to render up their account, are affectionately remembered as having, in the true spirit of Christian Missionaries, lived, and laboured, and died in various parts of the earlier rough settlements of the Province. If our position is now altered or advanced in any measure, we must acknowledge what we owe to these faithful men, who, like the emigrant in the backwoods, made the first clearance in the spiritual wilderness, and, in faith and hope of future harvests, cast in a few seeds of heavenly truths amid the stumps and boulders that seemed almost to forbid their growth.
It was evident, however, as the work began to prosper, and the Church to multiply, that such a state of things could not continue ; and that, while some more complete provision was needed for the government and internal regulation of the Church, so also the Church ought to be acquiring such strength and influence in the country as would enable it to maintain itself without depending upon the aid hitherto so largely received from England.
It was just about the period of the formation of the Diocese of Montreal, by the division of the old Diocese of Quebec, în 1850, that “the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel” began to enforce its reasonable demand that some more systematic efforts should be made by the Church, in order to raise the necessary funds for its own support, and thus relieve them from the burden they had so long and so
kindly, borne. While in the following year, at a conference of all the Bishops of British North America, held at Quebec, and presided over by Bishop Mountain, the first public move was made towards obtaining the establishment of Diocesan and Provincial Synods for the government of the Church, and its internal regulation and discipline.
In order to show that, as elsewhere, so in this Diocese, we are making some effectual progress towards the support of the Church from its own internal resources, I subjoin an extract from a letter sent at the close of last year to the
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,” in reply to some inquiries received by me from the Secretary :
When this Diocese was formed in 1850, there were forty-nine clergymen officiating in it, and one catechist. Of these, thirty-six and the catechist received aid from the Society; three others, two of them being also on the Society's list, were in the receipt of grants from the Imperial Treasury, and two were army chaplains, leaving only eight who were entirely supported from funds raised in the Province. The largest suin we ever received annually, since 1850, from the Society, was £3,660, out of which we also had to pay a pension of £100 to one of the Society's retired Missionaries. In 1853, instead of remitting their salaries to the individual Clergy, this Diocese was allowed by the Society a block sum, with which we were to do the best we could ; and which was to be subjected to periodical reductions. I have done my utmost, since that arrangement began, to carry it out most conscientiously for the Society; while, at the same time I kept in view the real object of the Society, which was to give effectual help to the Church, where it was bona fide required. But when this block sum was granted it was with the express proviso that “strict regard was to be had to the observance of good faith, with all those to whom the Society was already pledged," some of whom have been on the Society's list for fifty years, and many others for very long periods; and who always considered that they were assured their stipends by the Society for life; while the elder ones, those engaged prior to 1833, had a further promise of pensions for themselves, if disabled from doing duty, and also for their widows. In proof that this was always so understood by the Society, I have had my attention directed by some of them to the Society's Report for 1847, p. 37: “In past times, stipends were