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HISTORY OF CANADA.   201

 

side of England. In the two Canadas alone was there anything in the nature of a state endowment of the Anglican Church, and there the efforts of that Church to retain this advantage gave an added bitterness—particularly in Upper Canada—to the struggle for religious equality. Some of the advantages, however, enjoyed by the Anglican Church were common to all the provinces, and to these reference should first be made.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.—One advantage possessed by the Anglican Church in America arose from its connection with the Established Church in England. Other denominations supported their ministers and met the expense of maintaining places of worship out of the voluntary contributions of their members. The Anglican Church in the colonies was Sustained almost entirely by that great missionary society of the Established Church, the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," which was in early times (1814-1834) in receipt of large annual grants from the British parliament. The Anglican clergy were thus for many years better paid than the ministers of the other churches. Objection was naturally raised to the granting of further state aid to a Church which already occupied a position of advantage ; whose members, moreover, were at least equally as able as those of other denominations to support their own Church.

"Dissenters."—The law of England at the beginning of the present century placed "dissenters" under many disabilities. English law as it stood in 1792 had been introduced into Upper Canada ; and English law of a still earlier period formed the basis of the legal systems of the Maritime Provinces. There was no law to secure to religious bodies other than the Anglican "a foot of land on which to build parsonages and chapels, or in which to bury their dead ; their ministers were not allowed to solemnize matrimony, and some of them had been the objects of cruel and illegal persecution on the part of magistrates and others in authority." That these persecutions, as a result of which several ministers were actually imprisoned, were illegal under the laws in force at that time may perhaps be doubted ; that they were cruel will not be denied ; they certainly gave rise to an agitation which, in spite of opposition, was finally successful in securing an amendment of the law.


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