The Loyalists: Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial

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The Loyalists: Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial
J. W. Lawrence
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THE LOYALISTS. Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial. Letters of J. W. Lawrence, Esq. No. 2. Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot, Lieutenant Governor. SIR: -- The year 1839 was the centennial of Methodism, John Wesley one hundred years before, having planted the Methodist Church in England. On the 17th of August, 1839, the 100th anniversary was held in the Germain street church, St. John. The speakers were Rev. Robert Alder, one of the secretaries of the London Missionary Society; Hugh Bell, Esq., Halifax; Rev. Mr. Knight, Rev. William Temple, James Carson, Esq., Dublin; Mr. J. Avard, Westmoreland and the Rev. Sampson Busby. The subscription at the close of the meeting was £1,452. OPENING OF THE CENTENARY CHURCH. On Sunday, the 18th of August, 1839, the Centenary Church, St. John, was opened. The Rev. Mathew Richey, principal of the Wesleyan Academy, Coburg, Upper Canada, preached in the morning; the Rev. William Croscomb, Windsor, Nova Scotia, in the afternoon. The evening preacher was the Rev. Robt. Alder. In 1815, Mr. Croscomb was stationed at St. John, and in 1825 Mr. Alder. Memorials of many kinds marked the centennial of the Methodist church. THE SACKVILLE ACADEMY. The Mount Allison Academy, Sackville, took form that year. The following tells the history of its birth, in “thoughts that breathe and words that burn”: -- ST. JOHN, N.B., January 4th, 1839. REV. AND DEAR SIR: -- My mind of late has been much impressed with the importance of that admonition of the wise man, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it.” The establishment of schools in which pure religion is not only taught but constantly brought before the youthful mind, and represented to it as the basis of groundwork of all happiness which man is capable of enjoying here on earth, and eminently calculated to form the most perfect character, is, I think, one of the most efficient means in the order of Divine Providence, to bring about the happy result spoken of by the wise man. It is, therefore, under this impression, connected with a persuasion of my accountability to that gracious being, whom I would ever recognize as the source of all the good that is done in the earth, that I now propose through you to the British Conference, and to the Wesleyan missionaries in the Province of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to purchase an eligible site and erect suitable buildings in Sackville, in the county of Westmoreland, for the establishment of a school of the description mentioned, in which, not only the elementary but the higher branches of education may be taught, and to be altogether under the management and control of the British Conference in connexion with the Wesleyan Missionaries in these Provinces. If my proposal should be approved of, and the offer I now make accepted, I will proceed at once to make preparation, so that the buildings may be erected in the course of next year; and I will, as a further inducement, by the blessing of God, give towards the support of the school, one hundred pounds per annum for ten years. I shall be glad to hear that my offer is accepted; and to have the earliest information of your decision on the subject, and am, rev. and dear sir, Yours sincerely, C.F. ALLISON. REV. W. TEMPLE. At a meeting at St. John, May 1839, the historic year of Methodism, the offer was accepted, and a committee appointed to act with the donor. On the 9th of July, 1840, the corner stone was laid by Mr. Allison. “The foundation stone of this building, I now proceed to lay, in the name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and may the education ever to be furnished by the Institution, be conducted on Wesleyan principles, to the glory of God and the extension of His cause. – AMEN.” All venerate the noble man who gives His generous dollars while the donor lives. Gives with a heart as liberal as the palms, That o’er the needy spread his honored alms; Gives with a head whose yet unclouded light, To worthiest objects points the giver a sight; Gives with a hand still potent to enforce, His well-aimed bounty, and directs its course. Such is the giver who must stand confest, In giving glorious and supremely blest! One such as this in noble Allison shone, E’re heavenly kindred claimed him for their own. MONUMENT IN SACKVILLE GRAVEYARD. In memory of CHARLES F. ALLISON, ESQ. He fell asleep in Jesus November 20, A. D. 1858, aged 63 years. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirt, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. In all the relations of life he eminently adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour by a blameless and beneficent character, which reflected with peculiar lustre the meekness and gentleness of Christ, firmly attached to the principles and connexion of Methodism. He was also a lover of all good men, and rejoiced in the spread of the religion of Christ by whatever agency achieved, having lived to see the noble institution founded by his munificence occupying a high position and exercising a wide and salutary influence. In 1851 the Government of New Brunswick appointed Mr. Allison to a seat in the Legislative Council, a position he declined. CENTENNIAL OF MARITIME METHODISIM. Rev. John Lathern, president of the Nova Scotia Conference, asks: Ought not the Conference celebration be followed by at least one memorial service in each circuit? Might not contributions from such services, and spontaneous offerings, be appropriated for some connexional monument to the memory of the venerable William Black, the apostle of Methodism? As the cap stone of the Centenary Church, St. John, was laid in 1881, the centennial of Black’s first work, and will be opened for service in 1882, the year of the Conference celebration to his memory. Independent of the suggestion of the president of the Conference, would it not be a noble act on the part of the “grand army of Sunday school scholars” of the Methodist Churches in the Maritime Provinces to present the Centenary Church, in 1883, a chime of nine bells, with the names, date of birth, and death of Black, Bishop, Bennett, Mann, Marsden, McColl, Bamford, Ferguson and Allison, stars in the constellation of Maritime Methodism, gaining in brightness with the passing years? To John Ferguson, more than any other layman, the erection of the old Germain street Chapel is due. Its corner stone was laid by Joshua Marsden, who, for several months, worked at the building with his own hands. “I never was ever better in body, or happier in soul, than when I worked all day at the new and preached at night in the old chapel.” Before it was ready for service Marsden left for Bermuda. His successor at St. John, William Bennett, opened the new chapel on the morning of Christmas day, 1808. In 1809 Bennett removed to Halifax, changing circuits with William Black, who was at St. John two years, when, at his own request, Mr. Black was placed on the list as a supernumerary. His successor was Stephen Bamford. As the first labors of Black were in New Brunswick, and the last in full charge of a circuit – St. John – it is eminently fitting a memorial to him should be there. The corner stone of the “Old Centenary” was laid in 1838 by John Ferguson, who died at St. John, February 2nd, 1841, in his 85th year. The “chime of bells” to the “New Centenary,” while a thank offering from the young of the Methodist Church in the Maritime Provinces to the old “Patriarchs,” would be a graceful recognition of the work of the pastor of the finest of its ecclesiastical edifices, the author of “The Loyalist Idea.” The Centenary Methodist chimes, with the chimes to the Loyalists in Trinity – the two religious organizations of St. John in its first quarter of a century – should usher in the historic day, the 18th of May, 1883. HARVARD MEMORIAL HALL. Among the Loyalists at New Brunswick, James Putnam, Joshua Upham, Jonathan Bliss, Jonathan Sewell, Edward Winslow, Ward Chipman, Daniel Murray, Daniel Bliss, Mather Byles and Jeremiah Pecker were graduates of Harvard College, Massachusetts. The committee on a “memorial” to the sons of Harvard, who fell in supressing the southern rebellion reported, “That in the opinion of the graduates of Harvard College, a Memorial Hall, constructed in such manner to indicate in its external arrangement the purpose for which it is chiefly designed, in which statues, busts, portraits, medallions and mural tablets, or other appropriate memorials, may be placed commemorative of the graduates and students of the college who have fallen, and of those who have served in the army and navy during the recent rebellion, in conjunction with those of past benefactors and distinguished sons of Harvard, now in her keeping, and with those of her sons who shall hereafter prove themselves to be worthy of like honor, will be the most appropriate, enduring and acceptable commemoration of their heroism and self-sacrifice.” The suggestion of the committee was adopted, “a Memorial Hall” erected, and opened Commencement Day, 1876. In this, as in all like movements, there was “The Old Lion in the path.” It was said for the “Memorial” there could not be raised $75,000. The sum collected was $216,000, of which the Alumni contributed $150,784. On memorials a late Lippincot says: “Obelisks for memorials belong to the barbarism of the past, and in no way express the spirit of the times, which teaches that anything set apart from the uses of life, is by that divorce robbed of vitality and meaning. Common sense demands, that memorials should be in a form to serve some useful end.” A NEW BRUNSWICK MEMORIAL HALL. On the sixth anniversary of the New Brunswick Historical Society, 25th November, 1880, a paper was read, suggesting a Memorial Hall, as a fitting monument to the founders of New Brunswick, to be the home of a picture gallery, art union, museum, Natural History society, Historical Society, free library, reading room and gymnasium. The stained glass windows to illustrate the progress of the past century, in arts, science, education, manufactures, commerce and civilization. The Halifax Herald wrote: “This is a grand idea, and not to be classed as practical in the utilitarian sense, namely: Such a monument as this would appeal to the higher and finer feelings of the citizens. “As the accomplished editor of the Telegraph of St. John, a gentleman who has long advocated the establishment of institutions which would educate the aesthetic tastes of the people, says: What a convenience it would be to have a place in which the antiquities of the Province, such as they are; its geology, its Flora and Fauna; in which art, literature, music and oratory would have a home. The building itself might be made so perfect in an architectural point of view, as to be a source of pride and pleasure to the people of the Province and worthy of being shown to visitors.” In the same strain wrote the editor of the Quebec Chronicle: “We certainly wish the scheme every measure of success; it is practical, and we should think necessary, in a city like St. John, which is so representative of culture, enterprise and refinement.” PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT CENTENNIAL. St. John, the commercial capital of New Brunswick, where, in 1783, the Loyalists landed, will be the central point of the centennial celebrations. Had the centennial fallen a decade earlier, St. John would doubtless have attempted great things. Now it may be otherwise, as in the fire, 1877, four fifths of old Parr Town was laid in ashes. Then the old historic churches and chapels – Trinity, St. Andrew’s, Germain street Methodist and Baptist, with the Centenary and St. Malachi’s – were swept away. No Government would ask a vote of less than $50,000 in aid of a “Memorial” to the founders of New Brunswick. To do so would be unworthy of a centennial year, especially after the declaration of the leader of the Government, at the last session of the Legislature: “the financial condition of the Province was a good one.” In 1860, when the Prince of Wales visited New Brunswick, the Government expended over $36,000. If the alumni in 1876, of the old Alma Mater of Putnam, Upham, Bliss, Sewell, Winslow, Chipman, Murray, Byles and Pecker contributed $150,000 for a “Memorial Hall” to the students and graduates who fell in putting down the Southern rebellion, will the Province of New Brunswick, in 1883, refuse one third that sum to a memorial to the men who, one century ago, were engaged in a like loyal act?” ________ * Members of the New Brunswick Historical Society will give polished granite columns (red or blue) for the portico of a Memorial Hall.