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Fraser's Scottish Annual
Some Phases of Scottish Faith


By Archibald Blue, Toronto

There is something in heredity. Dr. Holmes of Boston evidently thought there was much in it, as shown by his reply to the woman who asked when she ought to begin to train her child. ''Begin a hundred years before he is born." He had a leaning for the man with the family portraits, and for the man who inherits the cumulative traditions of at least four or five generations. But the philosopher seems to have had doubts, as in the case of poor little Iris, whose glances off from the parental probabilities led him to believe that the matter of hereditary descent two and two do not always make four; ''sometime they make three, and sometimes five." That bright and promiseful new writer, Neil Munro, also believes in heredity, within limits. He goes the whole length when it concerns genius in playing the national pipes. "To the make of a piper," he says, "go seven years of his own learning and seven generations before. If it is in, it will out, as the Gaelic old word says; if not, let him take to the net or sword." He exemplifies it well, too, in John Fine Macdonald, though in the chieftain's daughter the Lady Betty the fox was not there; ''it was skipping a day, as the fox will do sometimes when the day before has been good hunting." There are influences in a strain of blood, in tradition and example, in thought, opinion and belief; and with man in the individual and in the group it seems to me that there is a continuity of qualities from one generation to another s definitely marked and developed as are the characteristics of species and genera in the lower orders of creation.

Buckle has remarked in his History of Civilization that the doctrine of Calvinism has always been connected with the democratic spirit, that it is a doctrine for the poor rather than for the rich, that it stands for simplicity, in external worship, and that its professors by the terms of their creed are likely to acquire habits of independent thinking.

These traits are Scottish and Presbyterian, and however they may have been preserved and transmitted from father to son through ten generations, we know that they are distinctive and vital.

But these are also Baptist traits among men of every race who have accepted the principles of Baptist faith—in Germany, in Austria, in Switzerland, in Russia, in the Netherlands, and in England, as well as in America. And this suggests agreeably with the view of Buckle, that there is more in the mental bias than in the strain of blood.

How then has it come to pass in two democratic countries contiguous to each other, that relatively, to the whole population Baptists are weak in Canada and strong in the United States, while the Presbyterians are strong in both countries? In the United States in 1890, with a population of 62,622, 250, there were 1,278,332 Presbyterian and 3,712,468 Regular Baptist communicants, being twenty in every 1,000 of the former and sixty in every 1,000 of the latter. In Canada in 1891, with a population of 4,833,239, there were 83, 110 Regular Baptist and 173,904 Presbyterian communicants, or seventeen in every i,000 of the former and thirty-six in every 1,000 of the latter. It is an interesting question, this one of differing relations, yet one not hard to understand.

There were few Presbyterians or Baptists who left the United States to find homes in Canada at the close of the war for Independence, because as a rule men of both faiths had taken the popular side.

The Presbyterians were largely Scotch from Ulster, who had come to America in the colonial days because under the law in Ireland no one was capable of any public employment, or of being in the magistracy of any city, who did not receive the sacrament according to the English Test Act. They settled in all the colonies from New Jersey to Georgia. In Scotland the people were loyal because they enjoyed their own religion and there was no bar to position, and those of them who had come to the American colonies sought chiefly the regions of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia—far distant from the Canadian lines. Yet one of their number, the Rev. John Bethune, chaplain of the 84th regiment, who had endured imprisonment for his loyalist opinions, came from North Carolina to Upper Canada in 1787 and settled at Williamstown near Cornwall. The first Presbyterian church in this province was built by him in 1796, a little more than 100 years ago. He was the father of the late Bishop Bethune of Toronto. Another Presbyterian minister, Rev. Jabez Culver, the father of Presbyterianism in Norfolk county, had been a large landholder in New Jersey. It is said that during the war his sympathies were on the side of the British, but yielding to strong influence he joined Washington's army as chaplain. He came to Norfolk with a large family in 1794, and built the first log house in Windham. Three congregations were organized by him, one at Turkey Point, one at Windham, and a third in Oakland. Mr. Culver was ordained in 1760 in New Jersey.

The Baptists, who were chiefly of English and Welsh stock, had or- organized churches in nearly all the colonies. They appeared in Massachusetts in the early days of the Puritan theocracy ; they founded the colony of Rhode Island on the principles of liberty of concience and the complete separation of church from state; they became a power in Virginia, where the cavaliers had set up a state church after the English model and persecuted the Baptist missionaries with intense rigor and severity. It is a fact in contrast worth noting that down to he Revolution all the colonies excepting Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island had a, church established by law or custom, and on several occasions the Baptists had to appeal to the Crown against their colonial oppressors for redress of their religious grievances. "Hence in the Revolution," Dr. Armitage says in his History of the Baptists, "they were to fight a double battle; one with their political enemies on the other side of the sea, and the other with their religious tyrants on this side. The colonies were not about to begin a revolution for religious liberty ; that they had
but the Baptists demanded both, and this accounts for the desperation with which they threw themselves into the struggle, so that we have no record of so much as one thorough Baptist Tory,"-which latter was only another name for loyalist in American politics of the time. Five years before the outbreak of the Revolution there were less than it hundred Baptist churches in all the colonies, many of which were so small that one pastor supplied several of them lying many miles apart, preaching to them only at long intervals of time, while others were dependent on occasional visits from missionaries. The number of members was probably less than 10,000. During the war, however, there was a large increase of churches, and the membership at the close was about 35,000, which in the next ten years was more than doubled, and nearly one- third of the whole was in Virginia.

It was in this state that the contest for religious freedom was waged, and after a struggle that lasted ten years the Presbyterians and Baptists accomplished the defeat of a measure which prescribed a general assessment on all taxable property for the support of teachers of the Christian religion. In strict truth the Presbyterians were at first divided, the clergy favoring the measure provided it should respect every human belief, and the laity choosing to support their own ministry, as they had always done. ''Of the Baptists," Bancroft says, "alike ministers and people rejected any alliance with the state ;" and when the matter was dealt with in the general convention of the Presbyterians the same sentiment prevailed, and they prayed the Legislature that the bill concerning religious freedom might be passed into a law as the best safeguard then attainable for their religious rights. As passed in both houses of the Legislature, the statute declares No man shall be compelled to frequentor support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, opinion in matters of religion shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect civil capacities. The rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind.

This statute became an example to all other states in the Union, and every oppressive law concerning religion either fell into disuse or was gradually repealed. Such was the influence of the two Churches of Calvinistic faith in shaping the policy of the new Republic in a matter which has been of the keenest interest to free men in every land and in every age—the right of every man to soul liberty.

In Canada the Baptists are strongest in the Maritime provinces, where they now number more than 50,000 communicants. Their career in those provinces began at an early date, for among the many families who migrated from the New England colonies after France for the last time had renounced her claims to Acadia by the Peace of Paris, there were a few Baptists. One small church moved in a body from Swansea to Massachusetts in Trantramar, now Sackville, to New Brunswick. This was in 1763, the year of the treaty, but it is stated that some came to Newport three years before. About the same time missionaries from New En gland began to visit other parts of the country, but the only churches organized prior to the end of the American war of Independence were those of Horton, or Wolfville, in 1778, and of Lower Granville in 1780. During the next twenty years only eight Baptist churches appear to have been founded—two in 1791, one in 1795, and five in the last year of the century—and as nearly all the loyalist refugees had come in just after the close of the war it is safe to infer that there were not many Baptists among them.

In Lower Canada missionaries from Vermont visited a settlement of Loyalists from Connecticut near the boundary, and the first Baptist church in that province was founded in 1794. A little later several churches were founded throughout the Eastern Townships by missionaries sent out by the Baptist Missionary Society of Massachusetts.

Missionaries from New York state came into Upper Canada, and two or three churches were formed in Prince Edward and Northumberland counties before the close of the century,—one in Hallowell, it is said in 1794, and one in Haldimand in 1798. No authentic account of the former is available, and in the records of sixty years ago its name is not found. The latter has completed its first century and is still ill
life, although it has been weakened by migration. Its founder was Reuben Crandell, a young Baptist preacher who came from Saratoga county in New York state in J785. Other missionaries from the same state came over a few years later, and stations were established northward and Westward as settlement advanced ; but I do not find that any adherents were of the Loyalist class. In the Niagara peninsula, where a few pioneer settlements were established not long after Canada became a British province, missionaries were sent over from the Shaftesbury Association in New York state, and it is claimed that services were held by them where the village of Beamsville now stands during the first year of the Revolutionary war. Indeed it is claimed in the Year Book that the Beamsville Baptist church was organized in 1776, but I do not know upon what authority. Dr. Fyfe, writing in 1859, said it was formed about the year 1804, under the labors of two ministers from the Shaftesbury Association. The church at Boston, in the township of Townsend, Norfolk county, was formed in the same year, but not regularly organized until 1805, when it was joined to the Shaftesbury Association also. Its constituent members were settlers from the American side, but they do not appear to have been Loyalists. In the township of Charlotteville, in the same county, where a number of U. E. Loyalists settled in 1793-8, a Baptist church was organized in 1804, known as the Vittoria church. The founder was Titus Finch, a pious soldier who had fought under Sir Henry Clinton. Having got his discharge in Halifax he moved into one of the back regions of Nova Scotia, where nearly all the settlers were Baptists, and soon after joining them he was ordained to the ministry. He migrated to Charlotteville, near Turkey Point, in 1798, and was the first clergyman who came there to reside. His meetings were held each Sunday in different parts of the settlement. He preached in houses and barns without any reward, depending on the farm he worked for support. He was uneducated, as were many others of the pioneer preachers, but be vas a student of the Bible. In his humble sphere he endeavored to do all the good in his power, and many of the young people joined his church, which he served as pastor for more than a quarter of a. century. I am not sure that any members of the Vittoria church had been Baptists in their old home in the American colonies; but it is a curious circumstance that many of the early Baptist churches in Norfolk county 'were at first Free-will or Arminian, which is quite consistent with Buckle's theory if it is the fact that they were Loyalists. In every, case however, they have become extinct, and have been succeeded by Regular Baptist churches.

Many of the pioneer settlers in the Lake Erie counties had come over from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, not because they were Loyalists but because they had received good reports of the country, and the missionaries followed in the tracks of the pioneers. But for large numbers ot those people Upper Canada was only a halting place in the movement to the New West, and the churches which had been planted had in the course of time to depend for sustenance and growth upon the more stable population which flowed in at a later day from the Mother Land and countries of the European continent, few of whom were Baptists when they came to us.

This brings me to a new phase in the development of Canada, when the real life of our country began. When the long wars which had -desolated Europe were brought to an end on the field of Waterloo, and when Bonaparte was an exile on St. Helena, never again to break the peace of the nations, men who had long been awaiting the call of Patriotic duty throughout all parts of Great Britain and Ireland began to take ship and come to America. It was a long voyage in the days before steam navigation, and it needed pluck and spirit to leave home with its associations to go out into a land they knew not, where there were no friends to welcome them and only a great forest to be subdued. They were the pick and flower of the emigrating class of the old land, for the most part a well built, clean-blooded, God-fearing folk, as Ian Maclaren has said so feelingly of the men of bonnie Glenalder. Those people came to Canada by the tens of thousands, many settling in the Maritime provinces, and some in Quebec ; but the great bulk of them came into our own province, and they became the real founders of it, as their sons today are the bone and sinew and soul of it. Englishmen and Irishmen did not all come to Canada ; in far too large numbers they found their way into the United States. Still many came, and in various sections they make up a well-pronounced majority—splendid type of men from the south of England and the north of Ireland. But with the Scotchmen—and with the Highland folk in particular, although many had been cleared out to make room for sheep walks and deer forests—it was different. These preferred Canada, and up the Ottawa valley, in the midland regions, in the great counties of Huron, Bruce, Grey and Simcoe, and in the whole south-west of the province, they constitute a much larger proportion of the whole population than do Scotchmen in the British islands. And so it has come to pass that the Presbyterians are strong in Canada. A. B.


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