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Priests and hold benefices in the Province. And from England they might have been sent to Munster in Germany, or to the Popish canton of Lucerne in Switzerland, (attended by some proper and trusty companion, who should have taken care that they should not have set their foot in Old France) with recominendations, if they had gone to Switzerland, from the Secretary of State for America to his Maje ty's Resident, or other Minister, to the Swiss Cantons; and there they they might have been ordained to the Priest-hood of the Church of Rome by the Bishop of Munster, or of Lucerne, or such other Romau-Catholick district, (not in Old France,) as his Majesty, in bis Royal Wisdom, Tould have thought fit to send them to. And, when thus ordained Priests of the Church of Rome by such foreign Popish Bishop, they should have returned to England, and froin thence to Quebeck by the first convenient opportunities, at the King's expence. Such a voyage to Europe would probably have been considered, by the young Candidates for the Priest-hood who should have had occasion to take it, as a party of pleafure rather than a hardMip. And the expence of it to the Publick would have been trilling ; perhaps 300l. or fol. once in three or four years. For, as the whole number of parishes in the Province is but 128, (at least it was no greater in the year 1767; I know not how many new parishes may have been created since :) a supply of two new Priests a year, or fix or seven
would have been sufficient to keep the benefices always full. By this obvious and easy method of procuring new Priests for the support of the Roman-Catholick Religion agreeably to the toleration promised by the Capitulation and Treaty of Peace, the suppofed necessity of permit
ting a Popish Bishop to reside in the Province might have been avoided.
If the young French, or Canadian, scholars, educared at the Popish Seminary at Quebeck, for the priest-hood in Canada, had been ordained priests in this manner by the Bishop of Munster, or some other Roman-Catholick bishop in Germany, of Switzerland, and been immediately sent back to Quebeck in a King's ship, to be appointed to officiate in the vacant Churches of the Province, it would, I presume, have been expedient to dirce that they should be appointed, or collated, to those Churches by the Governour of the Province, to hold the same during his Majesty's pleasure: and thus the whole body of them would have been dependant on the Crown, and would, probably, have used their influence over the Inhabitants of their several parishes, to promote their attachment to the English Government, and to induce them to relinquish their former prejudices in favour of that of France. And, in this state of things, it is highly probable that several of these Roman-Catholick parithpriests, or Curates, (as they were there called,) being free from the controul, or authority, of any Popish bishop, or other Ecclesiastical Superiour in the Province, would have ventured to read with attention the books of the New Testament, and to inquire into the grounds of the differences of the doctrines of the Church of Rome from those of the Church of England, and, in consequence of such examination, would often have been inclined to adopt some of the doctrines, if not all, of the Church of England, and particularly 10 think it lawful to use the Liturgy of the Church of England, tranOated into French, in their Churches, instead of the Latin Mass; and that, upon these changes
in their opinions upon these fubje&ts, they would have become the means of converting their parishioners to their new way of thinking upon them, as Wickliff, the great English Reformer, did in England, with astonishing fuccess, in the reign of King Richard the II. And, that such changes of opinion in religious matters as should have been recommended by the parish-priests to their Parishioners, would have been readily adopted by the latter,-and, more especially, that of the lawfulness of making use of the English Liturgy, translated into French, in their Churches instead of the Latin Mass,-) have hardly any doubt, from all that I could collect of the sentiments and inclinations of the people of that province from a residence in it during three years, from September, 1766, to September, 1769, and from conversing during that time with a great variety of the French, or Canadian, inhabitants of it. And this was also the opinion of that wise and judicious Statesman as well as great and successful General, Sir Jeffery Amherst, who conquered that whole Province and granted the Marquis of Vaudreüil, the French Governour of it, the Capitulation of September, 1760. For, about the month of May, 1774, when the Bill for regulating the government of the Province of Quebeck, was brought into the House of Lords by the late Earl of Dartmouth, Sir Jeffery called upon me at my chambers in the Temple, to converse upon the provisions of that Bill, of which he expressed a strong disapprobation, and more particularly of the clause that established the Popith Religion in Canada, by giving the Popish priests a legal right to their rythes, which he had expressly refuled to grant them by the Capitulation of September, 1760, and had referred to the future Declaration of the King's pleasure on that subject; which Decla2 D 2
ration had never been made from the surrender of the Province in September, 1760, to the introduction of that Quebeck-bill into the house of Lords in May, 1774, and the right of the Priests to sue their parisiioners for their lythes in courts of Justice, had therefore been considered as suspended during the long interval of 14 years from September, 1760, to May, 1774. This clause be therefore bighly disapproved-of, as being a wanton and unnecessary cablishment of Popery in the Province, inftead of a mere toleration of it, or permission to attend the worship of it in their Churches and Chapels without any molestation, either to them. selves or their priests; which was all that was ftipulated by either the capiiulation of September, 1760, or the Treaty of Paris in February, 1763. And it was certainly not necessary for the satisfaction of the bulk of the lohabitants of Canada, because they were very well pleased to be left at liberty either to pay their tythes, or to let it alone, as they thought fit; thongh, from an attachment to their religion, they, for the most part, thought fit to pay them. And I remember that Sir Jeffery told me at the same time, that he thought it would have been fufficient for ihe fatisfaction of the inhabitants of the Province, to have only peranitted the Curales, or Parifi-prielis, who were in the Province at the time of the Capitulation, to have continued in pofliffion of their benefices during their lives, and then to have supplied their places by Protestant French ministers, who should have conformed to the Church of England and have read the Liturgy of it, tranflated into French, to their leveral Congregations. And I remember ibat a French merchant at Quebeck, who was a native of old France, and a man of uncommon talents and great reading and knowledge, and
was a profeffed Roman-Catholick, (though he was reckoned by many persons of that city, to be what the French call a Philosopher, or an unbeliever in all revealed religion,) went further still than Sir Jeffery Amherst in the opinion that the Protestant religion of the Church of England might have easily been introduced into the Province. For one day, when he dined with me at my house at Quebeck, he told me of his own accord, (I having said nothing to lead to it,) that he was surprized that the English Government had not, immediately after the cellion of the Province to the Crown of England, by the Treaty of Peace in February, 1763, introduced into it at once the Protestant religion as settled in the Church of England ; adding, that he was persuaded that it would have been readily submitted-to and acquiesed-in by the inhabitants of the Province, who, as the Clergy of the Church of England have retained some of the Ecclefiaftical vest. ments of the Romish Clergy, such as the gown, and band, and surplice, would have hardly perceived the change from one religion to the other. In this, however, I could not agree with the Philosopher, but was always desirous, from motives both of Justice and Prudence, that they should enjoy a compleat toleration of their religion to the full extent of the Capitulation and the Treaty of Peace, but without an establishment of it, which the body of the People in the Province did by no means wish-for, and which was afterwards unnecessarily re-imposed upon them, rather than granted to them, by the Quebeck-act of the year 1774.
But, whatever might have been the probability of fuccess in a plan of gradually converting the Canadians to the Protestant religion, by encouraging, or, at least, permitting, their own priests to become the instruments of 2 D 3