Info

Only from this tumultuous period in the mid-1750s did a continuous Protestant history begin in Canada, as British authorities recruited New Englanders and various European Protestants to fill up the Acadian land they had evacuated.

In Quebec, similar traumas faced the church with the triumph of British arms at Quebec (1759) and at Montreal (1760). Overlords in London looked for a speedy extirpation of the French and Catholic presence along the St Lawrence, but leaders on site were more realistic. Gov. James Murray disregarded instructions to exclude Roman jurisdiction from Quebec (though the Treaty of Paris of 1763 did allow for the practice of Catholicism). His tact was matched by the skilful diplomacy of Jean-Olivier Briand who, after reassuring Murray and the British of Quebecois loyalty, was in 1764 consecrated as the new bishop. Through delicate negotiations between Murray and Briand, Britain eventually provided funds and other support for the Catholic Church in British North America, more than sixty years before it conceded full civil rights to Catholics on its own soil. In 1760, about 180 priests and 190 nuns were at work among Quebec's roughly 70,000 inhabitants.

The ratio of people to ministers was considerably higher in the thirteen colonies to the south, but the construction of churches, the calling of pastors, and the encouragement of Christian practices was for the most part keeping up with a rapid rise in population. At mid-century, with white colonists in the thirteen colonies totalling roughly one million, there was about one church for every 600 New Englanders (living mostly in well-defined towns and adjacent farms), one for about every 470 middle colonists (mostly rural, though with Philadelphia and New York as rising urban centres), and one for about every 1,050 whites in the southern colonies (with the population mostly dispersed along waterways).9 As an indication of how influential old-world patterns of state establishments for religion remained, in 1740 over half of all the churches were 'established', either Congregational (423) or Anglican (246). In Virginia at this date there were no non-Anglican churches, and the colony's leaders intended to keep it that way. New England had come to tolerate a few non-Congregationalists, but only grudgingly. In both the south and New England, governments still controlled religion more tightly than was the case in England. By contrast, in the middle colonies denominational pluralism had become a fact of life. This was the region where in 1740 most of the thirteen colonies' non-established churches were found: Presbyterian (160), German and Dutch Reformed (129), Baptist (96), Lutheran (95), Quaker (c. 50), Mennonite and Moravian and Brethren (c. 30), and Catholic (27).

Well before tumults at mid-century drastically altered the shape of religion, incremental developments brought evolutionary change. The Bloodless

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment