« ZurückWeiter »
182 RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.
conversation, among all persons and all classes generally in these provinces, also struck me. This appeared the more peculiar, as, after my visit to New England, I was sensible that in these respects the same classes in the provinces went greatly beyond the mass of their neighbours in the older States. Along with it there was also, in New Brunswick and elsewhere, especially in the towns, evidences of discontent—in fact, a tendency to it, and, as I thought, to unreasonable and unfounded complaints against the mother country. The reduction of salaries effected by the Provincial Legislature had created great dissatisfaction among the older officials, brought out or appointed from home, but paid out of the provincial purse. These gentlemen thought the Home Government should have protected them from such reduction, and at all risks. The opponents of responsible government, as it is called, which had lately been conceded to the colonies, were dissatisfied, maintaining that a large majority of the people did not wish or care for it, and therefore the Home Government ought not to have conceded it. But these men did not consider that it is the public voice of a colony only, expressed especially by its Legislature, which the Home Government can judge by, and that the silent and indifferent utter no voice. If ten thousand of the New Brunswickers demanded repeatedly and loudly a certain change, and the mass of the people make no effort, and express no opinion on the other side, the Home Government would feel called upon to do something to quiet these men—and the more especially if the thing demanded, as in the case of this responsible government, was in consonance with— was, in fact, only an extension to the colonies of the principles of the British constitution enjoyed by us at home.
It is strange, though not unaccountable, how every party in these colonies makes the mother country the scape-goat in all their quarrels and mutual defeats, and
DESCENDING TO INFERIOR OFFICES. 183
how, at the same time, both in the provinces and States, the home or British born, when they have or fancy a grievance, either public or private, become the loudest and bitterest against their dishonoured mother. It is the new convert, or the renegade, who is always the most zealous. A circumstance which first struck me in New Brunswick, but with which I afterwards became more familiar in the States, was the acceptance of inferior offices, in rank and emolument, by those who had long held the highest offices their fellow-citizens could bestow. It was obvious that the ideas as to what it was beneath a man, in certain circumstances, to do or accept, were very different here from what they are among ourselves. It is easy to see, indeed, that, where public functionaries are poorly paid—are appointed only for a time, and have no retiring pensions—necessity may compel the ousted party to descend and gladly accept an inferior appointment; and where such a necessity presses upon great numbers at once, it will soon banish fastidiousness, and create a new public opinion, sanctioning in all and recommending the course it compels. The society at the “little court” of Fredericton, as the St John people sneeringly call it, consists of the officers of state and of the garrison, of the clergy, the judges, the professors of the university, the Government employés, the medical men, and a few resident gentry and local merchants, and, during the sitting of the Legislature, of the members of the Legislative Council and of the Assembly. It is a quiet place to live in, without any great variety, and with the usual cliques, parties, discontents, and private squabbles and backbitings to which all small towns are liable. Among the public buildings there are two which will attract the stranger's attention—the new Cathedral and the University. The former, still unfinished at the
184 DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS.
period of my visit, has been erected through the exertions of Dr Medley, who was consecrated the first bishop of Fredericton in 1845; the latter was established in 1828, during the governorship of Sir Howard Douglas. Both of these buildings are connected with shades of public opinion at present in a progressive state.
The prevailing denominations of Christians in New Brunswick are those of the Church of England, the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. Their relative numbers are not precisely ascertained, but the general attendance at places of worship is stated to be, among the
Roman Catholics, - - 32,300
Were these numbers taken to represent the relative proportions of the Roman Catholic and Protestant sects, they would give too high an estimate for the former. The clergy of the Church of England are principally supported by the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,” and their incomes vary from £200 to £300 a-year currency; those of the other denominations are supported by their respective congregations. The position of the Church of England in the colonies is rather anomalous, and is the cause of considerable jealousy on the part of the other denominations. It is in some measure established, and has a lead in New Brunswick, and the Bishop takes precedence after the Lieutenantgovernor and Commander of the Forces. But it is not established by provincial law, has no provincial endowments, and performs none of the functions of an established church in the province. The Bishop, since his appointment, has been very zealous in placing more clergy and building more churches; but these clergymen, not being sustained by the people to whom they
UNIVERSITY OF KING's COLLEGE. 185
minister, have not that hold upon the affections of their congregations which the reciprocal bond of giving and receiving begets among the other denominations. The united strength of these latter, therefore, has been for some time exercised to deprive it of all distinctive honours or privileges in the colony; and it is easy to perceive that they will ere long prevail. The Tractarian element—chiefly, I believe, since the arrival of the Bishop—has also been introduced as an element of division among the Church of England party, and has tended to repel from its communion the more purely Protestant portion of its members. The University has been to the colony another source of angry feeling and strife. The Methodists possess their own flourishing academy at Sackville, and the Baptists their seminary at Fredericton, erected and supported by the funds of their respective communions. The University of King's College was built at the public expense, chartered as an Episcopalian institution, and endowed with six thousand acres of land and £2000 a-year in money. Jealousies arose soon after its foundation, and complaints on the part of the Presbyterian and other bodies. The charter has finally been made more liberal, so as to admit members of all persuasions into the governing council. But the Bishop is still president, the system of instruction is still modelled after the older English universities; and in so far as I was able to understand the present wants of the people of New Brunswick living in an undeveloped country, and the nature and plan of studies in the College, I must sympathise with the many who think that it is still not such an institution as the province requires, or such as, in return for the money paid to it, the people ought to possess. Besides its alleged sectarian character, and especially since economy has become so popular, this college is represented to cost more than its labours are worth. A
186 THE TEACHING NOT ADAPTED TO THE
college and university with fifteen students and large endowments! “The funds are sufficient,” said a leading member of council to me, “to send all the students home to Oxford, and educate them as gentlemen-commoners.” One cannot wonder that, where money-incomes are so small, this great cost of an education given only to a small number of young persons of one denomination— for few but members of the Church of England yet avail themselves of its advantages—should add to the other causes of its unpopularity. Yet the establishment of this university on its present restricted basis was a natural, and, as very many will consider, a commendable act on the part of its first founders. The early settlers—at least such of them as had anything to say in the management of provincial affairs—were nearly all gentlemen, men of education, merchants, and others, whom loyalty brought from the United States at the close of the War of Independence, or whom large grants or public appointments induced to come from home. These men, seeing their sons growing up, and the sons of others, who had already grown up, roughening and becoming rude in the absence of the educational advantages they had themselves enjoyed, naturally availed themselves of the earliest opportunity of supplying in the province what they could not send their sons to England to procure; and it was just as natural that the institution they founded should be framed after the model of those famed seats of learning at which they and their fathers for generations had studied, and where they themselves had spent so many happy days. Nothing was more natural than all this. But the circumstances were not favourable to the growth of an institution such as in an old country may still flourish. People who are battling with nature in the clearing of a new country require material and positive knowledge to aid them. They have no time to spare from the