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John Strachan: the first bishop of Toronto, a holy man or a holy terror?

Uploaded by frollypoo on Jun 13, 2002

John Strachan: The Holy Terror



Many individuals appear to have honourable intentions but often their objectives are flawed. John Strachan lived through and influenced many key events of Canadian history. He was a highly esteemed teacher of wealthy Loyalist children, a pastoral leader during the War of 1812, a supporter of education, a member of the government, he played a prime role in the Rebellions of 1837 and he eventually rose to become the first Bishop of Toronto. John Strachan had a highly Loyalist view towards the governing of Upper Canada; he was especially faithful to the betterment of the Church of England. Strachan was in favour of a purely British Upper Canada or at least one run according to British standards. Although Strachan believed that the best way was the British way, many individuals in Upper Canada disagreed. Strachan’s attempts to monopolize all opportunities in favour of the British caused public uproar and debate. His controversial role in government was regarded by some as unnecessary and ungodly since he was a supposed man of God. His manipulation of events were protested but usually accepted; his skills of influencing were uncontested. John Strachan used his powerful status to negatively influence Upper Canadian society. John Strachan’s harmful intentions are evident in his supporting of the monopolization of the clergy reserves, controlling of non-British immigration, lobbying strictly for Anglican education in schools, his manipulation of the government and his poor reputation amongst the public.

John Strachan believed that the Anglican control of the clergy reserves was necessary in order to ensure a truly British Upper Canadian society. For example, the Constitution Act 1791 stated that one-seventh of land in Upper Canada was to be reserved for the “Protestant Clergy”. In a letter to the Bishop of Quebec, Jacob Mountain, Strachan stated, “The words ‘Protestant Clergy’…refer exclusively to the Clergy of the Church of England” (Henderson b 86). Strachan refused to acknowledge other Christian denominations because he wanted to ensure the future of the Anglican Church and Anglican educational ideals. When the bishop came to visit in 1820, he established John Strachan as the chairman of the Clergy Corporation; he was made responsible to collect and manage all revenue made from the clergy reserves. For four years, Strachan was in charge of a vast amount of wealth until the Presbyterians launched protests declaring that they had a right to the land. Strachan proposed Horton’s...

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Uploaded by:   frollypoo

Date:   06/13/2002

Category:   History

Length:   16 pages (3,538 words)

Views:   1561

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