Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

covered carts drawn up side by side, and filled with little bright-eyed French women offering their wares for sale. Lamb, butter, eggs, cheese, maple-sugar, syrup, homespun cloth, and home-grown vegetables form the staple commodities of the habitant. The chief religious fête is that of St. Jean Baptiste. Not even in papal Italy is the procession more picturesque. Emblematic cars and various bands playing the air of "A la Claire Fontaine" form part of the procession; but all the interest centres in St. John, who is personated by a small lad wearing a golden wig, dressed in sheepskins, carrying a crook, and accompanied in his car by a lamb. Another great day is that of the Fête de Dieu, in which the Host is carried through the streets to various stations, the habitants prostrating themselves before

it. Very picturesque, too, are the ceremonies in connection with the first communion. Troops of little girls in white muslin frocks, wearing white gloves, and caps covered with white veils, are to be seen, accompanied by proud mothers and fathers, walking about the streets.

The manners of the French Canadian are superior to those of his English compatriot in the same rank of life. He condescends on occasions to say "monsieur" and "madame;" but he is absolutely devoid of any feeling of social inferiority, and merely gives these titles from a sense of politeness, and as he would do to his equals. Without the slightest taint of Republicanism or of Communism, the habitant's views find expression in John Ball's lines:

When Adam dolve and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? In a country where all men work, the only distinction between classes recognizable to him, is that of wealth and poverty, which he understands. With all his simplicity, M. Jacques is keenly alive to the advantages of money, and no Jew can drive a better bargain.

With the upper class of French Canadians (descendants of the ancienne noblesse who fled from the horrors of the guillotine and Reign of Terror) it is not within the province of this article to deal. I may say, however, without undue digression, that there are many French Canadian seigneurs who received their lands earlier than the French Revolution, under charters of Louis XIV. and Louis XV.

The habitant, however, is menaced with a change from his idyllic stagnation. The overflow of French Canadian population is gradually finding its way to the broad lands of Manitoba. Here a struggle for supremacy between the English and the French recently began. The habitant wished to apply his limited views of life. He insisted, besides, upon a dual language, and that French should be taught in the schools. Fearful lest the priesthood should become all-powerful, as in the Province of Quebec, and the laws be framed exclusively for the French population, the English Canadian resisted. In the end the Englishman triumphed; but time alone can show how far the French Canadian transplanted to Manitoba will assimilate with English ways. The National Review.

[blocks in formation]

THE GENERAL CONFERENCE.

BY THE REV. E. BARRASS, D.D.

London was the place at which the Quadrennial of Canadian Methodism assembled in September, and was in session from the 6th to the 24th inclusive. This ecclesiastical assembly never met so far westward before. Never was a body of men more hospitably entertained, and we believe that many will declare that no better General Conference has been held in the Dominion.

In 1823, the now sainted Rev. Robert Corson, a famous pioneer Methodist minister, was sent to the region of which London forms an important part. It was then largely a wilderness. Mr. Corson's first circuit has been divided again and again, so that now it embraces several circuits and even districts. London is one of the centres which may be regarded as a Methodist object-lesson. In 1883, when the various branches of the Methodist family united, five of them were represented in London, and only a few of them were self-sustaining; now they are all one body, having nearly a dozen churches, three thousand members, nine thousand attending public worship, and church property valued somewhere about $180,000.

The Absent.

During the past year, Drs. Stafford, Pirritte and Douglas, and Revs. J. Gray and W. H. Laird, have finished their course; but if we review the whole decade, we are reminded that of the five honoured brethren who have filled the office of General Superintendent, only one remains in the Church militant, our present beloved incumbent, Rev. A. Carman, D.D. Long may he be spared to us. Of the 198 ministers and layman who attended the first General Conference in 1874. Fifty-three are known to be dead: 112 ministers have died during the quadrennium. Of those who attended the said Conference we only find the names

of twenty-eight in the list of the delegates of the present assembly, while more than thirty of those in attendance were never so honoured before.

The Fraternal Delegates.

Rev. H. J. Pope, ex-President of the English Wesleyan Conference, conveyed the greetings of the parent body and of the Irish Conference to their brethren in Canada. He discharged his duties in a highly creditable manner, both in the pulpit on Sabbath and in Conference. He attended the Conference sessions every day for a week, and again and again he expressed his admiration for the debating power of the Conference. Two debates which he heard, the Itinerancy, and the Epworth League Movement, he pronounced to be among the best he had ever heard. Mr. Pope endeared himself to Canadian Methodists, for as representative to Canada he spent nearly all his time in our territory, and the only regret he felt was that he could not extend a visit to the Maritime Provinces.

The Methodist Episcopal Church honoured Canada by sending their greetings to us through a native Canadian, though he is now a resident in the United States. Rev. James H. Potts, D.D., received a royal welcome. He was born not far from London, and was born again at Simcoe under the ministry of the Rev. N. R. Willoughby, D.D., a member of this General Conference. The sermons of Dr. Potts and his fraternal address were of an exceeding high order, and were such as will not soon be forgotten. Potts is perfectly deaf, and yet he always looks cheerful and happy.

Dr.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, sent the Rev. E. E. Hoss, D.D., as their fraternal messenger; and the Board of Bishops may rest assured, that though they had previously honoured Canada by sending

Bishops McTyeire and Galloway, and Drs. Shedd and Kelley as their messengers to us, Dr. Hoss was equally acceptable as his honoured predecessors, and that he endeared himself to his Canadian brethren as they had done.

Principal Caven, Dr. Cochrane, Rev. J. A. Murray, M.A., and John Cameron, Esq., conveyed the Christian greetings of the Presbyterian Assembly to the Conference. Right royally did these brethren perform the duty assigned them. They even advocated organic unity between the Methodist and Presbyterian denominations, and said they could see no insuperable bar riers to be overcome in accomplishing such an event.

Scarcely had they closed their fraternal visit than Mr. Cameron and Mrs. Thornley were introduced to the Conference. One presented a very kind address from the Dominion Alliance for the Suppression of the Liquor Traffic, and the other delivered an address on behalf of the W. C. T. U. Mrs. Thornley is "out and out. She is no reed shaken with the wind, but from a full heart she pours forth burning words against the accursed traffic, nor does she spare those who are slow to espouse the cause of truth and righteousness.

Two brothers in black," were commissioned by their respective churches to visit their white brethren, and assure them that they were true Methodists. Rev. Dr. Porter, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, astonished us as he told us that his Church, which was organized in 1816, has now nine bishops, 5,000 travelling preachers and 9,000 local preachers, 600,000 members, 500,000 Sunday-school scholars, 5,000 churches, 3,000 parsonages and twenty-three colleges.

Rev. J. T. Moore, of the British African Methodist Episcopal Church, could not present such an array of startling statistics. His Church was small, but his people claimed to be a part of the great Methodist family.

Suitable resolutions were adopted respecting all these fraternal delegations, and the Churches which

they represented would always be regarded by the General Conference as parts of the Church militant, and for the coloured Churches especially our prayer would ever be that the divisions by which they were now kept apart might soon be healed, and they would be all united under one banner.

The Personnel.

There are

As far as we have been able to make out, the laymen in attendance at this General Conference may be thus divided: seven medical doctors, ten lawyers, two members of parliament, one sheriff, four judges, two mayors, and two ex-lieutenant governors. Some are members of the press, and others are engaged in mercantile pursuits, and a few belong to the honourable yeomanry of the country.

Connexional Statistics.

The General Conference Statistician presented an elaborate report from which we take a few figures. The increase in the membership is 27,085; 30,313 marriages had been performed, an increase of 1,064. The increase in church property, such as places of worship, parsonages, colleges, etc., has been very large considering the depression of trade. The increase of connexional funds exceeds 88,000; and for circuit purposes $195,242. In ministerial income, while there is an increase, yet deficiencies of more than $1,254,000 are reported for the quadrennium. The total from collections, circuit purposes and salaries exceeds $9,000,000, being an increase of $1,187,404.

The total missionary income for the quadrennium was $951,332, an increase of $94,176. The total expenditure was $933,605. The contributions per member averaged 78 cents. The Woman's Missionary Society has an income of more than $37,000 a year.

en

Rev. J. Woodsworth, Superintendent of Missions in Manitoba and the Northwest, presented an couraging report. He had travelled more than 80,000 miles. There are 160 missions, of which sixty-six are self

sustaining, 459 preaching places, forty-six new churches have been built and also fourteen parsonages. One industrial school has been erected for the Indians, and another is in course of erection. The missionary income has increased forty per cent., and the membership fifty-seven per cent., the Sabbath-schools also have increased forty per cent. Several missions have become self-sustaining and others will soon follow their example.

Changes.

There was an animated debate over the time limit question, which ended thus: A minister may remain on his circuit a fourth or even a fifth year, if three-fourths of the members of the Quarterly Board, who are present, agree to the proposal, and two-thirds of the members of the Stationing Committee vote accordingly. A minister who may be

transferred must remain in his new Conference at least six years, and cannot return to his former Conference in a less period than eight years. The number of Conferences in Ontario and Quebec is reduced from six to five.

Epworth League.

On this question more than ordinary interest was felt. The young people's societies are a power in the Church and they have come to stay. The contention was whether the official name should be, Epworth League, or Epworth League of Christian Endeavour. The two principal speakers were Mr. N. W. Rowell and Rev. A. C. Courtice, B.A., B.D., both of whom maintained their respective positions with more than ordinary ability. The General Conference, by a very large majority, decided that Epworth League should be the official name, but this did not exclude Leaguers from fraternizing with their Endeavour brethren. We are glad to believe that the decision arrived at will give general satisfaction, and that there will be no friction, but all the societies will work in harmony. The matter of appointing a secretary or agent for this department is assigned to the

General Conference Special Cominittee on Nominations, by the boards of the League and Sunday-schools.

Superannuation Fund.

During the past year especially there has been much correspondence in the Christian Guardian, respecting this fund. A commission appointed by the General Conference of 1890, presented a voluminous report, which was duly considered by a committee together with various other memorials. Instead of ministers contributing twelve dollars per year as hitherto, they are to pay three per cent. of their salaries; all under $500 are to pay fifteen dollars. Any minister who is set apart to any department outside of the pastorate is not only to contribute his three per cent., but the department which he serves is also to contribute fifty dollars in lieu of circuit contribution.

Church Union.

At the last General Conference a committee was appointed to confer with the Evangelical Association, but for some cause the association withdrew from the negotiations. Should matters be so arranged that they will wish to reopen the negotiations, the committee will welcome them.

The Protestant Episcopal Church at the beginning of the quadrennium seemed to be eager about union; but they cling so tenaciously to the historic episcopate that nothing can be accomplished.

As there are several weak missions in the Province of Quebec, all of which require financial aid from their respective denominations, the General Conference recommends that where at all practicable some of these may be brought into unison, and so prevent waste of men and money. A similar recommendation was made respecting domestic missions which overlap those of other denominations.

A federal committee was also appointed to confer with cther Churches on matters common to all, promote harmony, and form combinations on public questions, and perhaps eventually secure greater

unity-if not organic, at least federal union. They will unite in petitioning the Dominion Government re the Chinese question.

Book-Room and Publishing House.

It was very gratifying to learn that both in the East and West there had been a steady advance all along the line. The affairs of the Halifax establishment were steadily improving and the grant of credit to the amount of $10,000 was continued. The total profits of the quadrennium exceeded $90,000, of which $26,300 had been appropriated to the Superannuation Fund, being an increase of $4,300 over the preceding term. The Guardian and Wesleyan are both to be reduced to the price of one dollar, and two pages in each are to be reserved for Epworth League and young people's work.

The MAGAZINE and Sunday-school public tions have had an extensive circulation, so that during the quadrennium 200,000 000 pages of good, wholesome literature had been sent forth, every page of which was instinct with religious influence. In four years the receipts of these publications had been over $200,000.

Discipline.

At former General Conferences the report of the Committee on this subject had always excited much interest, and consumed a great amount of time. When it became known that this year the number of suggestions for amendments, etc, might be styled "legion," we anticipated that the present would be as the past and much more abundant. The report was submitted, and the gratifying intelligence was communicated that to more than one hundred recommendations the Commi tee had voted non-concurrence. The alterations adopted were chiefly verbal.

Missionary Affairs.

Considering the almost universal depression of business it is a pleasure to record the fact, that during the quadrennium there has been a steady auvance. The only decline has been

last year. The Woman's Missionary Society has also made a steady advance, having now an income of $37,974, a gain in four years of $15,667. When the General Board met to make the appropriations for the current year there was a difficult problem to solve. Applications were made from every field for an increase of grants amounting to $10,000, and a depleted income, and as the Board is not allowed to appropriate more than the income of the year next preceding, it was clear that $230,000 was the entire amount that could be appropriated. This meant cutting down. The General Secretary, Dr. Sutherland, said he would take $500 less for his allowance than he had taken the last few years. The Committee on Salaries had also recommended a reduction of $300 on the salary of the assistant. Other expenses had been reduced by lessening the number of members for the General Board and the executive; still other reductions of necessity had to be made, to make the appropriations harmonize with the income.

Rev. John Shaw, D.D., was reappointed assistant.

Rev. Dr. McDonald was reappointed treasurer and corresponding member for Japan. A joint committee of General Board, and the Woman's Society, was appointed to to adjudicate matters in Japan to prevent the agents coming in conflict with each other.

Fire Insurance.

Some of the Churches in England have insurance companies of their own, which is not only a great saving in expenditure but also brings considerab e revenue to the funds of the respective Churches. The Church property under the care of the General Conference exceeds in value $14,000.000, one half of which is not insured. A commission was appointed, consisting of a few wellknown business men, who are to look into this matter and report the result of their deliberations to the General Conference Special Committee, with power to act.

« ForrigeFortsæt »