No. 72, Ecclesiastical
4 August 1860
My Lord Duke
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Grace's Despatch No 26 of the 19th of May 1860 Manuscript image 1860, on the subject of the grants of endowments in land to the Clergy of the principal Christian Communities established in British Columbia, and I learn with satisfaction that Your Grace has been pleased to sanction the grants already made of about one acre each; and also to approve of a similar grant under similar circumstances in all Towns in British Columbia; and I will take Manuscript image take care that Your Grace's suggestion as to the precautions necessary in the appropriation and conveyance of the land, is not disregarded.
2. I observe and admit the force of the reasons which have induced Your Grace to withhold the sanction of Her Majesty's Government to my further proposal that free grants of one hundred acres of rural Manuscript image rural land should be made in aid of every Cure established in British Columbia, and not otherwise supported at the public expense.
3. Your Grace will perhaps permit me to remark with reference to my recommendation of that measure, that I was desirous, by it, of holding out inducements to educated and respectable Clergymen Manuscript image Clergymen to take up their residence in the Colony, and of contributing in a small degree towards their decent maintenance and support; I, in fact, regarded it as an easy and inexpensive means of providing a fund which would materially, and increasingly tend to the advancement and support of religion, without putting the Colony to any serious expense.
4. Manuscript image 4. I did not view the proposed endowment as a sufficient or exclusive means of support: it was considered in my scheme only as an attractive inducement, and important aid, for religious bodies and Clergymen, who, perhaps, having a certain amount of private means, or of funds drawn from other sources, at their disposal, might by the prospect of that additional aid, be induced to assume pastoral charge Manuscript image charge, and to found Cures. When the good work was well begun, I trusted to the effect of voluntary contributions to complete the fund necessary for the support of the Incumbent, and for Church extension throughout the Colony.
5. The circumstances of British Columbia, as your Grace is aware, are very peculiar: had the Manuscript image the Colony been settled by a population drawn from the Mother Country, holding the same religious views, and appreciating Christian privileges and instruction, there would have been less cause for anxiety about the support of religion.
6. Bodies of Christian Settlers, however poor, might reasonably be expected to unite in contributing, according to their means, to secure the Manuscript image the advantage of having a Christian Pastor resident among them.
7. But unfortunately the state of British Columbia is such as precludes the probability of such a desideratum: its population is made up of drafts from many nations, dissimilar in language, and totally disagreeing in their religious Manuscript image religious views; and it will, I fear, be many years before Christian Congregations of any denomination will be found capable of supporting their own Pastors.
8. It is for that reason that the Colony so urgently needs the fostering care of Government, for without its aid the Country may remain unprovided Manuscript image unprovided with Churches and destitute of Christian Teachers, for an indefinite period of time.
9. I hope it will not be supposed from any thing herein stated that I am pressing this matter with an earnestness beyond its merits. I have merely addressed Your Grace under a profound sense of one of the wants felt by the Colony, and for Manuscript image for which I have no other means of providing.
10. I need not further urge the vital importance of having a loyal and truly English Clergy in the Country, as those are considerations of which Your Grace is far better able to judge, than I to represent; but I may add that there is much reason to fear that unless Her Majesty's Government authorise Manuscript image authorise me to take the initiation in this great work, the Country may be found with religious teachers supported by the Propaganda, or by Missionary Bodies in the United States, whose efforts, though morally useful, may not produce, politically, the effect we desire.
11. I feel in fact, that this is a subject demanding my closest attention, and to which I am particularly directed by Manuscript image by Her Majesty's Instructions, which enjoin that I should take especial care that Almighty God be devoutly served, and that orthodox churches be built, and well and orderly kept.
12. Should it still appear to Her Majesty's Government that the peculiar circumstances of the Colony do not warrant a reconsideration of your decision in respect to the Manuscript image the proposed endowment, I trust your Grace will authorise me to substitute a money equivalent out of the Colonial Revenues, or to make some other provision calculated to advance and support the cause of Religion.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
I conclude that the refusal to endow the Clergy with 100 acres a piece must be persisted in. But surely it is desirable that the Govt should in some measure aid in the maintenance of a Protestant Anglican Church. At present the Govt has done nothing on this head in B. Columbia. It has devolved on private munificence, to endow a Bishoprick & on public subscription to place 2 or 3 Clergymen in the Country. If some activity is not used by Govt the Roman Catholic priests and Missionaries, & United States religionists will creep in, whose doctrines, religious and political, I cannot think will be conducive to the peace & happiness of this young Colony—in which we have now the opportunity of planting some good seed. As there is a Bishop of B.C. our only impediment would seem to be the want of pecuniary aid.
If that is afforded the Bishop will take care to find suitable men. My own view is that as land endowmts cannot be sanctioned to the Clergy; as it wd be undesirable, nay impossible to place the Clergy on our Parly Estimate for B. Columbia, and as it is a duty on the part of the Govt not to be supine on so important a subject as the establisht of a Protestant Clergy in this Colony, it would be Manuscript image right and proper to sanction a charge being imposed, as the Governor proposes, on the Colonial Revenue for the payment of Protestant Clergymen, whether of the Church of England or Dissenters, until such time as the inhabitants of the Colony shall be able to defray such charge in a manner more palatable to themselves.
ABd 1 Oct/60
Mr Fortescue
I have no doubt a grant of Col Revenue to support clergy who are actually doing the work of instruction in the Colony would be very wise & useful. And I understand that (as the Imperial Grant is of defined sums for certain purposes & not of a balance) the Grant would really as well as nominally fall on Coll Revenue.
But 1st I do not think any distinction could be drawn betn difft persuasions. Roman Cathc & Protestants of all denominations share (not of course equally but) on the same principle. The obvious principle is to aid those bodies or persons which appear to be really exerting themselves for the well being of the community. But it is not very easy Manuscript image to lay down a rule wh shall embody this principle. The rule of meeting contributions raised from other quarters; whether local assessments—individual donation—or grants from Societies, is very imperfect but I can suggest no better condition of Govt grants. A Govr armed with despotic authority like Govr Douglas shd be particularly careful to entrench himself if possible behind some rule.
2. Another difficulty is that the Colony will I suppose obtain before long some form of representative or semi-representative Government. Great dissatisfaction mt be felt by the Colonists if they found themselves saddled with the obligation to support a Clergy by the act of a single man.
I think therefore, all Mr Douglas' grants of money must be clearly understood to be from year to year & to involve no sort of pledge of continuance.
Manuscript image 3. Lastly it appears to me that the inconveniences of "Clergy Reserves" on a large-scale have made us unnecessarily jealous of small grants of land. One acre of land in B. Columbia (not being a town lot) is worth a few shillings. I think whenever a clergymans house is built the clergyman may well be allowed to possess, attached to it, enough land to grow his fruit & vegetables & feed his home—say half a dozen acres (at least). Such a grant will have no tendency either to make him a farmer or to obstruct the progress of improvement.
FR 19/10
I would sanction a temporary pecuniary assistance to Ministers of Religion in B.C. under such conditions as those indicated by Sir F.R.—& without distinction of denomination. As to land, the 1 acre grants already sanctioned are town lots—& land is so cheap that 1/2 a dozen acres wd cost a clergyman next to nothing, as far as the price to the Crown is concerned.
CF 20
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 56, 26 October 1860.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 4 August 1860, CO 60:8, no. 9348, 13. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

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