COMMON SCHOOLS AND SECTARIAN CONFLICT
Since Confederation scarcely any controversy has been so bitter and sustained as that which revolved around certain features of the Common Schools Act. During the early seventies and again in the eighteen-nineties, the Act, or the operation of the Act, became the storm centre of a controversy involving so many issues and interests that in itself it becomes a major topic.
When Superintendent Rand wrote his first report to the legislature, he said that since New Brunswick was almost the last country on the continent to enact a Free School Law, the success of the Free School system did not depend on its success or failure in New Brunswick. In fact it was not the Act but the people of the province who were on trial. Less in words than by means of figures and comparisons he implied that under the Act the people were beginning to accept the responsibility of educating the children of the country. The enrolment during the summer term of 1872 showed an increase of 5,856 over that of the corresponding term of the preceding year, a greater advance than that made during the whole of the previous ten years. Moreover, comparing the school attendance in New Brunswick in 1872 with that reached in Nova Scotia during the first year of the Free School system in that province, the educational progress of New Brunswick had surpassed that of the sister province. This, Rand thought, must be regarded as very satisfactory.1
The advance had been made, however, in only ten of the counties. In Kent, Northumberland, and Victoria the aggregate school attendance had remained stationary, and in Gloucester County there had been a drop of 1,117.2
The report of the Inspector for the latter county admitted that opposition to the Act had prevented the establishment of schools,3
a state of affairs which continued in that area for several years. The inspectors for the other recalcitrant counties told of the same difficulty. In fact, when Inspector Balloch took office in May of 1875 for the new county of Madawaska, which, until 1873 had been part of Victoria County, be found no schools in operation there under the Act4
. As late as 1876 Inspector Wood of Kent County reported the embarrassment to school trustees who had incurred liabilities for school purposes in reliance on a share of the county fund, when their drafts on that fund remained unpaid, because in several parishes ordinary means had proved insufficient to secure the collection of the county rates. The unpaid claims upon the Kent County school fund amounted to $ 13,000, and many schools inconsequence had to close. People, so it seemed, had come to believe that the Government
either could not or dared not enforce the requirements of the Act.5
While one realizes from these and similar official reports that the new Act was by no means universally accepted, only from the newspapers and parliamentary debates of the time can one gain an adequate idea of the sustained bitterness of the controversy evoked by the non-sectarian clauses of the measure. Local aspects of the imbroglia, such as failure to establish schools and refusal to pay taxes, hindered the development of education, created ferment in many communities, and set the newspapers by the ears. Such incidents as rioting at Caraquet in Gloucester County, the sale at auction of Bishop Sweeney's carriage and span of horses because of his refusal to pay taxes, the confiscation of Father McDevitt's cow, and the arrest of Father Michaud, who had accepted the seizure of his goods with less grace than had Father McDevitt, furnished copy for the most vocal of both parties. When, however, the Roman Catholic minority appealed to one court after another the controversy gained wide publicity, and when they annually carried their grievance to the Canadian House of Commons the question became a constitutional one, of significance for both Dominion and Provincial politics, since in it were involved such matters as provincial autonomy and dominion coercive powers, delicate questions in an infant federation.
At the parliamentary session of 1872 Auguste Renaud, member for Kent County, called for the correspondence relative to the School Act of New Brunswick, and complained of the tyranny and injustice of the law.6
Anglin of Saint John explained that under the old law, in Catholic Districts Catholic teachers were appointed and the Catholic catechism was taught, not only orally, but by means of Catholic textbooks.7
He said that on the passage of the Act of 1871 the Catholics of New Brunswick had most respectfully petitioned the Dominion Government, and after months of waiting had been informed that the Act would not be disallowed, whereupon the local legislature had made it still more “intolerable and hateful” to the Catholics by the regulations they had framed under it.8
He declared that since the Act deprived Catholics of rights which they had previously enjoyed, it was unconstitutional. Under Confederation, which professed to protect the rights of all classes, such a law ought not to be allowed to remain in force, and the Dominion Government should have treated the question not merely as a legal one but as one of policy and justice.9
With this preliminary the subject of the New Brunswick School Law began its course as a topic of debate in Dominion politics. Early in the session, Sir John A. MacDonald expressed the opinion that the nature of the law was not a matter in which the House of Commons could take action. He said that although he had always been a consistent friend of separate schools, he must re-
mind the House that under Confederation the question of education had been expressly left to the different provinces. In his view, according to the British North America Act there were only two cases in which the Government of the Dominion was justified in advising the disallowance of a local act—first, if the act was unconstitutional; second, if it was injurious to the interests of the whole Dominion. His colleagues, who included men whose opinions as lawyers must be respected, and men who as Roman Catholics sincerely desired to protect their religious privileges, were unanimous, he said, in believing that the New Brunswick Act could not be impugned on the ground of unconstitutionality. On the second ground, Sir John disposed of the argument that the Act prejudicially affected the whole Dominion by pointing out that it was a law setting up a Common School system for New Brunswick alone. Whether it was good, bad, fair or unfair, was a matter for the consideration of the representatives of the people of New Brunswick. In his opinion, it was indiscreet to agitate against the law on the ground that it repudiated an Act which authorized a Separate School system. The Catholics of New Brunswick might think that the old Act was less objectionable than the new one, but no separate school system had been provided by the Act of 1858. The true course for the New Brunswick Catholics was, he advised, to follow the example of the Catholics of Ontario, and fight the matter out in the local legislature. He thought that if a large body like the Catholic people of New Brunswick desired a separate school system, they should have it, but it could only be obtained by working for it. They might not succeed during the current session of the New Brunswick legislature but they could afford to wait as the Catholics of Ontario had waited. The Government of the Dominion could not act in the matter. “The constitution which bad hitherto worked so easily and so well, could not survive the wrench that would be given if the Dominion Government assumed to dictate the policy or question the decision of the Legislatures of the different provinces on subjects reserved by the British North America Act to those Legislatures.” 10
Sir George E. Cartier, while anxious to uphold the interests of his co-religionists, concurred in the Prime Minister's remarks. He said that the old School Act of New Brunswick granted no separate schools to the Catholics and no special rights, but he believed that if they went to work properly, not fanatically, but justly, they would obtain the same right of separate schools that had been granted in Ontario.11
Thomas Costigan of Victoria County dissented, however, from this view of the government leaders, contending that in New Brunswick under the old law Catholic and French schools had existed, kept up at the expense of the country. He declared that when at Westminster the Quebec resolutions had been altered to provide that if special schools existed by law at the time of union, their rights should not be affected, it almost seemed that those words had been put in for the purpose of working against the Catholics of New Brunswick. He questioned the constitutionality of the Act of 1871 on the second
grounds also. “It had already interfered with immigration and had been the cause of driving from his part of the country settlers both from the United States and from Quebec.” 12
Later in the session Costigan pressed his views, by moving a resolution calling on the House to present an address to the Governor General praying him to disallow the New Brunswick law.13
Cartier again attempted the thankless task of convincing his fellow Catholics of the potentialities for trouble bound up in Costigan's resolution. He pointed out that the address tended to place the rights of the Catholics of the Dominion in the hands of a Protestant majority. The Protestants of Lower Canada were satisfied at the time, but if this motion should pass to satisfy the Catholics of New Brunswick, then the Protestant minority of Quebec might some day demand a change in the school law of Quebec. He trusted that the mover of the resolution would see the false position in which he had placed the matter, and he declared that to ask the House to advise the Governor to disallow the act was to upset the basis of responsible government. He concluded by terming Costigan's motion “imprudent” and “fallacious” .14
In this lengthy debate, religious sympathy seems to have been the guide to the conduct of many of the members, but political and constitutional considerations came first with others, especially with members of the government. We note that Catholics as well as Protestants opposed Costigan's resolution, and that a few Protestants joined with Catholics in urging relief for the latter. The viewpoints of the following speakers present a fair cross section of the whole debate.
The Honorable Hector Langevin, who later came to be regarded as the political leader of the French-Canadian clericals, like his colleague and fellow Catholic, Cartier, opposed the resolution as a threat to the Constitution.15
So did the Honorable A. J. Smith, at one time the leader of the anti-Confederation party in New Brunswick. Smith said he had been opposed to the “unholy influences” which had brought Confederation about, but that after it was carried he had considered it his duty to give the union loyal support. He appealed especially to the members from Quebec not to do anything which would seem a violation of the constitution. From that province, with her especial institutions, he had expected support for the local government of New Brunswick.16
The Honorable J. H. Gray defended the non-sectarian principle of the New Brunswick School Act, declaring “it did seem lessening the dignity and character of religion to teach it in the same way as a rule of arithmetic or grammar” . He also said that if Parliament interfered in this matter, the advocates of Confederation would be charged by their constituents with allowing the rights of New Brunswick to be trifled with. Such interference, he warned, would remove any guarantee to new provinces that if they entered the Dominion their rights
would be preserved.17
Dorion differed from his colleagues on the question, maintaining that New Brunswick had had separate schools before Confederation “in point of view” , whatever that may mean. His warning was that if the New Brunswick law were allowed to remain, it might lead to such union among the Catholics of New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, and such hostility of class against class, as would stop the action of the Dominion Government.18
The Honorable Edward Blake, although he agreed with Dorion that the schools of New Brunswick previous to 1871 were practically denominational schools, and asserted that the change from the elasticity of the old law to the rigidity of the new was not necessary to satisfy the scruples of Protestants, feared that the rights of the provinces would not be worth the paper on which the constitution was written if it could be said that all rights could be changed on addresses alone.19
Still another minister, Chauveau, admitted the validity of the objections to interference with provincial legislation, but said that to him the matter was a question of two evils, either of allowing the minority in New Brunswick to suffer under a grievous wrong or of applying such a remedy as was within the power of the House to afford.20
Colby, like Chauveau and Dorion, a member from Quebec, believed that education must be subordinated to religion, but did not believe in the employment of the veto power unless there were a palpable violation of the constitution. Under the existing circumstances he thought that the House should refrain from the exercise of that power.21
Alonzo Wright said that as a Protestant representative of a Catholic county in Lower Canada he felt bound to express his opinion, which was that the motion was simply to secure for the Catholics of New Brunswick the same rights which were accorded to the Protestant minority in the Province of Quebec.22
Thus the debate seesawed back and forth, enlivened by a number of suggestions and amendments. The first of these, moved by Gray, stressed the importance of provincial rights, declared that the New Brunswick legislation in question could be repealed or altered only by the local legislature, and concluded that the House of Commons did not deem it proper to interfere with whatever advice the responsible ministers of the Crown might tender to His Excellency respecting the law.23
An amendment was then moved by Chauveau that an address be presented to the Queen, praying her to cause an act to be passed amending the British North America Act, so that every religious denomination in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia should continue to possess all the rights and privileges with regard to their schools that they had enjoyed at the time of the passing of the British North America Act, and to the same extent as if such rights and privileges had been duly established by law.24
An amendment moved
by Colby, who did not want the constitution tampered with, merely recorded an expression of regret on the part of the House that the School Law of New Brunswick had proved unsatisfactory to a large portion of the population of that province25
—an amendment which Sir John indicated the Government would be inclined to support, but which Anglin criticized as of no substantial benefit to the Catholics.26
Blake suggested that the proper course was to ask the local Government to take action, or to obtain the opinion of the law officers of the Crown in England as to the right of the New Brunswick legislature to make the changes in the school law which had been made.27
When Colby's amendment had passed, Dorion wanted added to it an expression of regret that the Governor General had not been advised to disallow the School Act of 1871. MacDonald and Cartier having intimated that this was equivalent to a vote of non-confidence, Dorion's amendment was defeated by 117 votes to 38.28
The end of the matter was, that to Colby's motion expressing regret at the dissatisfaction which had been caused by the New Brunswick law, the Honorable Alexander MacKenzie moved an addition along the lines of Blake's suggestion. This was, in effect, that the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, and if possible of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, should be obtained as to the right of the New Brunswick legislature to change the school law as it had done, with a view to ascertaining whether or not the Dominion Parliament had the power in this case to pass remedial legislation under the fourth subsection of clause 93 of the British North America Act.29
In New Brunswick, the upholders of the school law had followed these proceedings in the House of Commons with interest and indignation. When Chauveau's amendment was introduced the Executive Council of New Brunswick went on record in a memorandum dated May 29, 1872, in which they warned the Government and Parliament of Canada of the danger involved in the passage of such a resolution, and asserted the right of the legislature of New Brunswick to legislate without interference upon all questions affecting the education of the province.30
In the course of the year the Catholics of New Brunswick carried their case to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, urging that the Act of 1871 affected them prejudicially, contrary to sub-section one of section 93 of the British North America Act. While the case was still before the court the Executive Council in Committee, on December 23, 1872, recorded a refusal to admit the assumption of the resolution passed at the previous session of the House of Commons that the School Act of 1871 had made such changes in the law as deprived Roman Catholics of privileges enjoyed at the time of union in respect to religious education. The Council concurred in the opinion of Canada's Minister of Justice that the Acts repealed in 1871 made no reference to separate, dissentient, or denominational schools, and that examination
had failed to reveal the existence of any provincial statute establishing such special schools. With respect to claims that the Act of 1858 had legalized denominational tuition, the Council stated: “An irregular and defective administration of the law might tolerate illegal practices, and allow parties to derive unwarrantable advantages in violation of the law; but privileges enjoyed in violation of the law cannot give rights under the law” . The Council also protested against the submission to the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown of the right of the New Brunswick legislature to deal exclusively with the subject of education. They pointed out that the question whether the Act of 1871 was ultra vires within the intent and meaning of the 93rd section of the British North America Act was pending in the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. In the opinion of the Council the only legal and constitutional appeal from that judgment was by the dissentient parties to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.31
We are told that during the federal election campaign of 1872 the subject of the New Brunswick law was much discussed in the province of Quebec.32
At the next session of the Dominion House, the Catholic members from that province were almost unanimous in supporting Costigan's second attempt to secure federal intervention. By that time the Supreme Court of New Brunswick had delivered a judgment upholding the validity of the New Brunswick law, and the Law Officers of the Crown in England, to whom the Governor General had submitted the question, had also ruled that the Act was within the jurisdiction of the New Brunswick Legislature. Since the passage of the original Act, the New Brunswick Legislature, in order to prevent the contravention of the purpose of the School Law by the inhabitants of school districts, had passed a series of acts legalizing assessments for school purposes under the Act.33
Costigan's resolution of 1873 was aimed not only at the Act of 1871 but also at the subsequent legislation to implement that Act. It urged that the question of the, va4idity of the original Act be submitted to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and that in the meantime it was the duty of the Governor General to disallow the more recent legislation.34
Again Sir John A. MacDonald expressed sympathy with the Catholics, but again indicated that the question was not one of sympathy but of constitutional principle. He said that originally he had favored a legislative union but other ideas had prevailed. If a resolution like this were to pass, he would say that his original ideas had been carried out, “that a federal union of the Provinces was at an end; that the legislative union had commenced” . He pointed out that the effect of the well-meant resolution passed by Parliament at its last session had been regarded by the New Brunswick Legislature as an attempt to coerce them. What, he asked, would be the feeling if Parliament
went further and asked the Governor General to disallow measures which were within the competence of the local legislature. Because of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, and of the Law Officers in England, one must suppose that the law was valid. He warned the House that if they adopted this resolution, they must be prepared to discuss the justice of every law passed by every provincial legislature, and that Parliament would become simply a court of appeal to try whether the provincial legislatures were right or wrong in their conclusions.35
Langevin agreed with Sir John, or at least dissented from that part of the resolution which said that it was the Governor General's duty to disallow the recent acts of the New Brunswick Legislature. He said that the duty of advising the Governor General lay with the Ministry, and by adopting this resolution the House would be putting themselves in the place of the Ministers.36
In general, the debate followed the same lines as the year before, one side being actuated by religious sympathy, the other by constitutional considerations and political loyalties. The former prevailed, and Costigan's resolution, supported as it was by the Quebec representatives, was adopted on May 14 by a vote of 98 to 63.37
A few days later the Prime Minister, in reply to an enquiry from Anglin, said that the resolution had been laid before the Governor General. His Excellency, assured by the Law Officers that the Act of 1871 was a matter for the Legislature of New Brunswick, and assured also by the Minister of Justice that the subsidiary acts were equally valid, could not, at the time, comply with the terms of the resolution, but would apply to Her Majesty's Government for instructions on the subject. Sir John intimated, however, that the Government would be willing to ask Parliament for a vote of money to defray the expenses of those who wished to have the matter litigated before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.38
The House cheered the announcement and a little later assented to the appropriation of $ 5,000 for the purpose.39
His Excellency, the Earl of Dufferin, in explaining to Kimberley, the Secretary of State, those circumstances which had led to the resolution and to his own action in submitting the matter to Her Majesty's Government, said he had followed the course recommended to him by his responsible advisers. He also sub-joined a copy of a remonstrance which had been addressed to him by a delegation from the Government of New Brunswick against the interference by the Dominion Parliament with the constitutional action of the Provincial Legislature. Kimberley replied that the Law Officers of the Crown advised that the subsidiary acts on education were, like the Act of 1871, within the powers of the New Brunswick Legislature, and that the Canadian House of Commons could not constitutionally interfere with their operation by passing such a resolution as that of May 14. Kimberley also informed Dufferin that it would be in accordance with the Imperial Act and with the general spirit of
the Constitution of the Dominion for Dufferin to allow these Acts to remain in force.40
Of especial interest is the statement that this was a matter in which Dufferin must act on his own individual discretion, and on which he could not be guided by the advice of his responsible ministers of the Dominion. During the Parliamentary session of 1875 this statement was referred to more than once. Palmer interpreted it as an indication of how sacredly the British Government regarded provincial rights,41
while Blake, in bringing in a long resolution affirming the principles of responsible government, maintained that it was destructive of the spirit of those principles. MacKenzie, the Prime Minister, expressed the belief that the principle that the Governor General must act on the advice of his ministers was self-evident. He said he could only account for this observation in the despatch to the Governor General by supposing it to be some hasty expression of opinion made without considering the effect. On MacKenzie's suggestion that the matter had better not be pressed further Blake withdrew his motion.42
Before Costigan's persistence forced the subject again on a reluctant Parliament, an effort was made in New Brunswick by the Bishop of Saint John to come to an agreement with the Government; Regulation 20 of the Regulations of the Board of Education was amended; and the New Brunswick Legislature, with a provincial election coming up, devoted several stormy periods to a discussion of the whole question.
This attempt in New Brunswick to arrive at a settlement was not the first, for shortly after the Act had come into effect the Church authorities and the Saint John School Board had negotiated with each other on the subject. The School Board, faced by the scarcity of suitable school buildings in the city,43
were anxious, on their own statement, to secure the co-operation of the Roman Catholic authorities in Saint John. Correspondence relating to the conditions under which the Schools of the Christian Brothers and of the Sisters of Charity might be placed under the Saint John School Board extended over a period of several months, but efforts to bring about an arrangement satisfactory to both sides failed. The refusal of the Board of Education to deviate from the non-sectarian principles of the Act, and the insistence on the other hand of Bishop Sweeney and other Roman Catholic clergymen on a special interpretation of Regulation 20, proved a barrier to the unification of the school system of the City of Saint John.44
The second effort to arrange a settlement was made in 1873, when Bishop Sweeney submitted three propositions to a committee of the New Brunswick Government, consisting of the Premier and two other members. His
Lordship proposed that the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Charity be licensed to teach in the public schools of the province on successfully passing examinations conducted in a special manner; that the schools taught by such religious orders should be open to all the Roman Catholic children resident in any part of the district; and that books prescribed by the Board of Education, if deemed objectionable by the Bishop, might be replaced by the books of the Christian Brothers. To the first of these propositions, the Executive Council replied that it would not be objectionable to license as teachers the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Charity, permitting them to wear their own distinctive garb, but that to grant the request of a special examination would be dealing exceptionally in favor of a single denomination, and contrary therefore to the spirit and intent of the Act. In answer to the second proposal, the Council stated that the attendance of children at any particular school in their district was a matter that might properly be left to the discretion of the trustees. The third proposition received an unequivocal negative. In any school conducted under the Act no books not sanctioned by the Board of Education might be used.45
The concession indicated in the answer to Bishop Sweeney's first proposition with regard to the garb of the teaching orders became definite when, on December 18, 1873, the Board of Education ordered that Regulation 20, which prohibited the exhibition in the classroom of certain symbols, be amended by the addition of the following words: “but nothing herein shall be taken to refer to any peculiarity of the teacher's garb, or to the wearing of the cross or other emblems worn by the members of any denomination of Christians” . In order that everyone might know of the amendment, it was ordered that the amended regulation be inserted in the Royal Gazette.46
No further progress toward a reconciliation had been made when the Legislature met in 1874. As it was encumbent on the Government to take cognizance of the many petitions which had been presented praying for such amendments of the School Law as might secure separate schools to the Roman Catholics of the province, William Wedderburn moved a resolution on the subject. This resolution reaffirmed the doctrine that any state system of education should grant to all the people of the province similar and equal rights in respect to education, without distinction of class or creed, and objected to any curtailment of the powers granted to the Legislature by the British North America Act. While expressing regret that the House could not comply with the prayer of the petitioners, the resolution declared that no acts should be done or passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or by the Parliament of Canada, to impair or alter the rights and jurisdiction vested in the Legislature by the terms of the British North America Act, unless the Legislature had first signified its consent.47
Wedderburn had no sooner given warning that the rising cry for the repeal of the Act of 1871 was but an effort to divert the current of public opinion from the real question of separate schools,48
than James Nowlan moved a resolution calling for the repeal of the Act of 1871 and the revival of the Act of 1858, with necessary provisions protecting existing contracts and assessments.49
The debate which ensued was marked by less restraint and dignity than the previous debates at Ottawa, and by a greater display of personal and sectarian feeling. Indicative perhaps of a weariness which the long drawn-out controversy was beginning to induce was the suggestion of a Protestant member that Catholic children should be allowed religious instruction during the sixth hour of the school session. He would grant this concession, he said, not as a right, “but in the interests of peace” .50
Some idea of the difficulties which had impeded the operation of the Act may be gained from an observation by the Attorney General that because of the appeals to Ottawa and to England people were almost led to believe that the whole law was unconstitutional. He said that as a result, trustees, constables, and justices had been afraid to do their duty under the Act lest it should transpire that they had acted illegally. Inequality in assessments, due to no fault of the school law, but to the want of proper system in the general assessment law, had created dissatisfaction, and the impossibility of laying off school districts to suit the convenience of all the residents had been a further difficulty.51
In connection with this latter matter one member remarked that in his opinion the parties who had laid out some of the districts knew as much about the country as they did of the latitude of Heaven or of the geography of the moon.52
The address of Premier King was the longest and most vigorous speech of the debate. King, on whom as Attorney General the responsibility had fallen of defending the Act during this period of attack and litigation, made no effort to deal delicately with the sectarian question, but expressed himself with extreme frankness, even bluntness. Those who blamed the Government for precipitating this question on New Brunswick seemed unaware, he said, of what was going on in Europe and in the United States. This question of religion in education was an issue in Prussia, Austria, Switzerland, England, and in the United States. In fact, the Catholic Church was making a stand everywhere for new privileges and powers and was being everywhere resisted. The New Brunswick School Law had been characterized as oppressive to Roman Catholics. When, asked King, was it discovered that non-sectarian schools were not the same “galling tyranny” in every state in the American Union, in Nova Scotia, and in Prince Edward Island. “New Brunswick is only following the general law of the continent; and because it does not follow the peddling, compromising
policy of Ontario and Quebec, it is said that the Government is tyrannizing over the consciences of Catholics.” He claimed that the Irish immigrant settled down amongst the people of the United States and shared with them the advantages of the free non-sectarian schools of that country. It was true that in the large cities of the United States the Catholics were endeavoring to get parochial schools, but no such attempt was being made general. In the new English Education Act the provisions of the future were non-denominational; in Scotland the rights of denominations in the board schools had been swept away. “The genius of the politics of Christian nations is not in favor of separate schools.”
Dealing with those provisions of the British North America Act which related to education, King said that when the Quebec scheme was before the people it contained nothing but a general clause vesting the powers of legislating in regard to education in the several provinces, but that when the delegates met at Westminster they found, sitting side by side with them, arch-bishops and clergy of the Catholic Church. When the Confederation Act was passed the people of the province discovered that something had been put in, added surreptitiously as far as the people were concerned, something which was meant by those who placed it there to perpetuate the liberties which the Catholics had been permitted to take with the New Brunswick Parish School Act. He described the theory of the School Law of 1871 as one of equality, symbolizing the genius of the country in terms of which all men were equal before the law. He warned his hearers that the policy of the Catholic Church had undergone a great change during the preceding twenty years, under the development of the Ultramontane doctrine. That doctrine, he said, taught the faithful that the State was but a usurping power with which the Church had, for the time being, to make the best terms it could. How was it, he asked, that the Catholic conscience was so much more tender in New Brunswick than in Ontario, where, of the 70,000 Catholic children in the public schools, only 20,000 attended the separate schools, while the other 50,000 attended the non-sectarian schools. Calling on the Assembly not to yield for the sake of peace, he said that under the cloak of repeal church endowment was sought. “The little band of Repealers are but the drift wood and seaweed on the crest of the wave of separate schools, which is urging and driving them forward.” His final warnings were urgent. “Beware of compromise; accept none. There is no half-way house between religious equality and separate schools. If our privileges are given away today they are given for all time.” 53
At the close of the debate Nowlan's amendment was lost by a vote of 24 to 12, and Wedderburn's resolution passed by practically the same vote reversed.54
A few weeks later, in a new Parliament under a Liberal administration, Costigan moved for an address to the Queen praying Her Majesty to cause an act to be passed amending the British North America Act, so that every religious denomination in New Brunswick should continue to enjoy all the rights
and advantages with regard to their schools which they had enjoyed at the time of the passage of that Act, to the same extent as if such rights and advantages had been duly established by law.55
A short time later, however, he asked leave to withdraw the proposed motion, saying that he believed it was inexpedient at that time to press the matter any further.56
A month later the people of New Brunswick went to the polls, after an electoral campaign in which the School Act was the main issue. Out of 41 members elected, only 5 candidates, representing Gloucester, Kent, and Madawaska Counties, were returned in favor of separate schools.57
Shortly after the election the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council rendered a decision affirming the constitutionality of the Common Schools Act.58
With that question definitely settled and with a local legislature strongly opposed to Separate Schools, the Roman Catholics of New Brunswick pinned their hopes on an amendment to the British North America Act to cover their case. If that hope should fail, and if the Government of New Brunswick should refuse to compromise, they were faced with the necessity of paying taxes for schools to which they could not send their children unless they disobeyed their clergy. A riot at Caraquet in January of 1875 did nothing to improve the feeling on either side, although by calling attention to the importance of a settlement, it may have helped to bring about the eventual compromise. There is no evidence, however, that violence was deliberately planned with that purpose in mind, for the disturbance seems to have been the simple and spontaneous reaction of an impulsive and probably illiterate people,59
susceptible to mass emotion and capable of strong family, community, and national loyalties.
The disturbance grew out of feeling over a local school meeting. From remarks made in the Assembly in 1875, when Blanchard of Caraquet introduced a bill to legalize the proceedings at a parish school meeting held in November, 1874, we learn that the meeting had been declared illegal and that subsequently a minority, presumably English and Protestant, had held a second meeting on January 4, 1875, and had sent returns to the Sessions which had been confirmed by that body. Blanchard warned that if his bill did not pass, there would be more serious trouble than had occurred already, for the people of Caraquet declared that they would not obey the trustees appointed at the second meeting. The Provincial Secretary thereupon explained that Blanchard, who had been the chairman of the first meeting, had not paid his county assessment for schools and was therefore not legally qualified to occupy the chair, and that the persons elected as officers, and those who voted for them, were disqualified for the same reason. He deprecated Blanchard's threatening language, and asked if that gentleman came before the House as an advocate of such scenes as Caraquet had already witnessed. No member, said the Provincial Secretary,
should say in the House that the people were bound not to obey officers duly appointed. The Government would not permit the laws of the Legislature to be trampled upon, and people who set themselves above the law would be taught their duty, even if anarchy reared its head for a time. Were citizens, he asked, who had paid their rates to be “swamped” at parish meetings by those who had refused to do so.60
So much for the immediate cause of the trouble! The version given by the New Brunswick Reporter
of the events which followed the second school meeting was as follows: “Encouraged by the defiant and disloyal tone of The Freeman
, a number of the baser sort in and around Caraquet” broke in on the school meeting and assaulted the trustees. Then, “maddened with liquor” , they proceeded to break into houses, demolished windows and furniture, demanded liquor from the trustees, and “with a rope bowled around the streets searching for the Sheriff” . Knowing that the Honorable Robert Young was absent from home, they entered his dwelling, terrified his wife and children, demanded money, and threatened with vengeance all those who had paid their school taxes.61
A few days later, presumably when they heard that the Sheriff was coming, they fortified and loop-holed Andrew Albert's house, even, said The Reporter
, with the accessory of boiling water. When they were called on to surrender by Deputy Cable and his men, they discharged shot guns and pistols from a loft, and when the Sheriff's party made a rush one of his men, John Gifford, was killed. In the melée Louis Meyou, one of the rioters, was wounded. “Then the French poltroons yielded.” When Meyou subsequently died every rioter seemed prepared to swear it was he who had shot Gifford. Following the arrival from Newcastle and Chatham of a battery of artillery and a company of volunteers, the rioters were arrested and order was restored.62
While the Reporter wrote thus, the Freeman
, whose editor represented Gloucester County in the House of Commons, endeavored to make excuse for the rioters. Referring to the school meeting, the Freeman
remarked: “At Caraquet, we are told, the majority, acting on their natural instincts, drove away from the place of meeting the little clique who sought to rob them by process of law” .63
In reference to the violence which followed, The Freeman
contended that the rioters, goaded to desperation, hunted down by a posse of strange intruders, only fought for their lives.64
The original records of the enquiries into the death of Gifford and Maillieau, (this name appears under a variety of forms), and the court record of the subsequent murder trial are available.65
These papers are handwritten,
incomplete, and in places nearly indecipherable. Supplemented, however, by the arguments which were presented before the Supreme Court of New Brunswick when Judge Allen reserved the case, they furnish something more than the outlines of the story.
It seems clear that the rioters, frightened and excited when they heard that the sheriff was coming with warrants against them, had hidden in the loft of Andrew Albert's house and had had guns with them, but whether they had taken these to bolster up their courage, to make a brave show in the hope of frightening the posse away, or with deliberate intent to shoot, is not certain,66
although Albert did testify that they had said if they were attacked they would defend themselves. In the second place, we note that the rioters and their friends seemed generally unwilling or unable to give very explicit information about the course of events. One man had hidden in a sail and so had seen nothing; another had been asleep in the loft until after the firing began; the attention of Andrew Albert, in whose house the shooting occurred, had been distracted by his wife. She had fainted, he explained, when one of the Sheriff's men, on entering the house, had pointed a gun at her; consequently he was too busy looking after her to notice what was going on. There was also uncertainty among the rioters as to the identity of the persons who had brought and fired the guns. There was a tendency, however, to attribute the shooting of Gifford to the deceased Maillieau. A number of witnesses testified that Maillieau had had a gun, and one of the rioters said he saw him shoot straight at the door of the loft, whereupon a man fell from the trap.
On several points the evidence was conflicting. Clotel Chesson swore that the water on the stove was cold. Stanislaus Albert, however, said that he saw pots of water boiling on the stove. Richard Sewell, one of the first of the Sheriff's men to enter the house, swore that he took a can of hot water from one of the women who met them and spilled it out, and a constable in the Sheriff's party swore that two women had “made at them” with scalding water. Which party had taken the lead in the shooting was another question which produced contradictory evidence. Andrew Albert claimed that the search party had fired first, and two of the men who had been in the loft said they thought Gifford was shot from below, thus intimating that a mistake had been made on the part of Gifford's colleagues. The Deputy Sheriff swore, however, that two shots were fired from the loft before Gifford was killed, and Henry Bannister, who had been immediately behind Gifford, said that as Gifford got his head and shoulders above the floor a shot rang out and Gifford fell back into Bannister's arms with about a dozen slugs in his head and neck. “None of our party” ,
said Bannister, “used any violence until Gifford was shot, so far as I could see.” 67
Maillieau, according to the coroner's jury, had been killed by a “ledden” bullet fired by some person unknown. In Gifford's case the verdict was directed against the rioters, and in the autumn of 1875 the trial began, before Chief Justice Allen, of the nine men charged with Gifford's murder. A panel of one hundred and fifty jurors had been summoned for the trial. There seems to have been a liberal use of peremptory challenges and some difficulty in obtaining men willing to acknowledge “indifferency” . The defence claimed that the Honorable Robert Young, a resident of Caraquet and President of the Executive Council, frequently consulted with the Attorney General and the Counsel for the prosecution regarding the rejection of certain jurors, and that he had been heard to say that no Roman Catholic should be on the jury.68
The petit jury which was finally selected was composed of Englishmen with one exception that is, if the names listed in the original court record are any indication.
From this record we learn that feeling evidently ran high at times during the trial. At one point the counsel for the crown was fined fifty dollars for calling one of the defence counsels a liar. He paid his fine with a cheque of the Honorable George E. King on the Bank of New Brunswick. The Attorney General himself addressed the jury for the crown. On December 7 the jury brought in a verdict of guilty against Joseph Chasson, the first of the nine men to be tried. The other defendants then retracted their plea of not guilty, and pleaded guilty of manslaughter. Judge Allen, however, reserved the case for the opinion of the Supreme Court, and postponed judgment until after the decision of that Court on a number of points of law in connection with the case. On these points of law he asked forty-eight specific questions, the greater number of which related to the correctness or incorrectness of his action in admitting or rejecting certain evidence. For example, he asked if the depositions taken by Coroner Blackball should have been admitted as evidence, since Blackball, in lieu of a sworn interpreter, had questioned the witnesses in French and translated their answers into English. This meant, so the defence claimed, that these statements had been filtered through the mind of a hostile judge.69
On a number of points the Judges of the Supreme Court upheld the action of Judge Allen; in a considerable number they found that he had been in error; their conclusion was that the conviction should be quashed or arrested.70
The result was therefore that the accused were freed. As Le Gresley says “les portes de la prison s'ouvrirent” .71
According to Hannay the whole episode
of the riot and the trial cost the province approximately $ 20,000.72
During the session of the New Brunswick Legislature following the riot the subject of the disturbance received but little mention in the House. Beyond the remarks already cited in connection with Blanchard's ineffectual effort legalize the proceedings of the first school meeting, no reference was made to the riot except when the question of a police force and lockup at Caraquet was under discussion. The Gloucester members objected strenuously to such a measure and presented petitions against it signed by 1500 residents of the county. Burns declared that the people of Caraquet were peaceable and law-abiding, as was proved by their record of forty years, and that the fact a disturbance had taken place there recently, under very peculiar circumstances, did not justify the imposition of the burden proposed.73
The Government defended the measure on the grounds that Caraquet was forty miles from the shiretown, and that the business men of the village wanted to have a means of securing small debts, and a place in which to confine the disorderly. Finally the Honorable William Kelly asked the House to reflect on what might have been saved to the Province and to the people of Caraquet themselves if a lockup and police force had been available there a few months before.74
In 1875 the House of Commons once again devoted hours of debate the New Brunswick School Law, but Costigan's wish that the subject of the Caraquet disturbances should be avoided75
was respected. Costigan's resolution at this session was along the same lines as that which he had moved and withdrawn the year before. This time, however, in the amendment which he suggested to the British North America Act, separate or dissentient schools were definitely requested for the Catholics of New Brunswick, with exemption from taxation for the support of the public schools.76
This fourth resolution of the Costigan series raised many of the same questions that the previous resolutions had brought up. The history of school legislation in New Brunswick, the constitutional problem involved in interference with provincial powers, the claims of the Catholic conscience, the sense of injustice which Catholics felt at having to support schools which they could not patronize, the Protestant view of the Act as just because it treated all on the same terms—all these subjects were again topics of discussion. The debate, however, had its own peculiar features.
One of these was the appeal which was made to the Liberal party and administration. Costigan said that the Catholic population of the country had expected that when the Liberal party came in, this question would be satisfactorily solved. He hinted that the Honourable gentlemen supporting the Government were expected to pursue, upon the Treasury Benches and behind them that “liberal” policy which they had advocated upon the opposition side of the House, and he expressed the hope that many of them would support him on this occasion.77
Devlin of Montreal Centre said the same. As a humble mem-
ber of the Liberal party he expected that the Government which he and his friends were supporting would show by their acts that they were Reformers not only in name, but in practice, and that wherever they found a law operating unjustly toward any class of Her Majesty's subjects, they would come to the rescue.78
It would seem, however, that the duty of the Government to uphold the Constitution appealed more strongly to the administration than did this challenge to their liberal principles. The Prime Minister said he believed in a system of free non-denominational schools, but that he could not shut his eyes to the fact that in all the Provinces there was a large body of people who believed that dogmas of religion should be taught in the Public Schools. He admitted that on a former occasion he had voted with those who favored a parliamentary request for disallowance of the New Brunswick Act, but since then the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council had given its decision. He adhered, he said, to the principle that the House had no right to interfere with the legislation of a Province when that legislation was secured by an Imperial compact to which all parties had submitted, and he therefore felt bound to move an amendment placing on record his views of the federal compact and the obligations that rested on the House in connection with it.79
The Honourable J. E. Cauchon agreed with the Prime Minister that it was dangerous to violate the compact entered into by the several provinces in the Act of Confederation. He did think, however, that there had been want of foresight in framing that Constitution, for although it secured separate schools to the minority in Quebec, the Catholics of New Brunswick were placed on a different footing. He said that the Catholics of New Brunswick, if they had known that, would not have agreed to Confederation, nor would the Catholics of Lower Canada. Nevertheless he believed that an accepted constitution should not be violated even to redress a wrong which should have been foreseen and guarded against.80
He approved of the Premier's amendment that any interference by Parliament which encroached on powers reserved to a Province by the British North America Act was an infraction of the Provincial constitution, and was fraught with danger to the autonomy of the Provinces, but he did not think that the motion went far enough. He therefore added a rider in which the House regretted that the hope expressed by Parliament in the resolution of 1872 had not been realized, and recommended an address to the Queen praying her to use her influence with the legislature of New Brunswick to procure such a modification of the Act of 1871 as would remove the grounds of Catholic discontent.81
This amendment indicated the limited extent to which the Liberal Government was prepared to go in dealing with the New Brunswick school problem.
In reading the debate of 1875 one becomes aware of an emotional quality which was not so noticeable in the previous debates at Ottawa on the same subject. Members who were opposed to a discussion of the New Brunswick School
Law showed signs of impatience and resentment at the re-opening of the question. Appleby probably spoke for many when he expressed the hope that this subject was before the House for the last time.82
The “calm” , “moderate” and “logical” manner in which Costigan presented his case, according to both his opponents and his supporters,83
was not always maintained by others in the course of the debate, and was abandoned at times by Costigan himself as the tension mounted. Personalities, accusations, and threats were more frequently employed than in the earlier debates. Costigan was twitted84
with the fact that he had sent three of his children to a common school in New Brunswick.85
Superintendent Rand's name was dragged into the debate, Power of Halifax contending that Rand had made trouble in Nova Scotia between the local government and the Catholics, and had been dismissed in consequence.86
Then the New Brunswick Government, said Power, had received him with open arms and had found him, as they had believed they would, “a willing assistant for their coercive purposes” .87
Appleby characterized the Catholic Church as “an ecclesiastical establishment which drew its inspiration from a foreign power, which, to say the least, was not abreast of the civilization of the day” .88
The New Brunswick Legislature was accused by Power of being bigoted and intolerant,89
and Costigan described the Government in power in New Brunswick in 1871 as one composed for the most part of young men of little experience, who were unfortunately unable to retain power in any other way than by exciting the worst feelings of the people of New Brunswick through agitation on the school question, thus making political capital out of it.90
A member from New Brunswick replied that interference from the adjoining province of Quebec had excited opposition in New Brunswick, and had prevented the people from viewing the matter as dispassionately as they would otherwise have done. He declared that the sooner the province of Quebec left New Brunswick alone to do its legitimate business without interference, the sooner and the more satisfactorily this question would be settled.91
There were even hints, not only from New Bruns-
but also from Nova Scotia,93
that if the resolution passed, there would be an agitation in those provinces for the repeal of union.
Besides these evidences of feeling there was a lack of complete harmony among the Catholics themselves, and a difference of opinion as to the course which would best serve the end desired by all the Catholics. Costigan blamed Devlin for supporting Cauchon's motion after having first supported Costigan's.94
Devlin accused Costigan of moving an adjournment, following Cauchon's amendment, without consulting with the Irish Catholics. He said that he himself had consulted with those who were deeply interested in the spiritual welfare of the Catholics in New Brunswick, having communicated with the Right Reverend Prelate of that Province, who had intimated to him that in his, the Bishop's, opinion Costigan's resolution would fail to accomplish the object they had in view, and that it was therefore better to accept the next best alternative, namely, the amendment proposed by Cauchon.95
Flynn, another Irish Roman Catholic, also disapproved of Costigan's action in moving an adjournment to harass the Government. He commended Costigan for the warm interest he had shown in the welfare of the Roman Catholics, but advised him not to arrogate to himself the credit of being the only earnest Catholic member of the House.96
Costigan then inferred that he doubted if Devlin had had the authorization he said he had from a high church dignitary,97
and Masson, who said that he shared Costigan's doubts, expressed regret that the name of the Bishop of Saint John had been dragged into the debate to influence the vote.98
After the Premier's amendment and Cauchon's rider had passed by a large majority,99
Baby attempted to move a stronger amendment but was ruled out of order.100
Then when Cauchon had moved for a select committee to draft the address to the Queen, Costigan attempted to move another amendment that the address should include words to the effect that the House reserved its right to seek by an address to Her Majesty an amendment to the British North America Act, should the first address fail to bring about such an amendment as the Catholic minority of New Brunswick desired. This motion was also ruled out of order, and the House adjourned at a quarter of three in the morning.101
Later in the session Devlin read from the Montreal Gazette
a statement by the Ottawa correspondent of Le Nouveau Monde
charging Devlin with deserting Costigan, and bolstering his position by lying that he had Bis-
hop Sweeney's approval in voting as he did. Devlin denied that he had lied, and called on several Catholic members of the House who had been present at a conversation during which they had decided to vote for Cauchon's amendment. Power stood up and said he believed then, and still believed that they had the concurrence of His Lordship in the course which they took. Flynn corroborated this, and it developed that the Bishop had been in Ottawa and that they had met with him several times.102
These evidences of cross-purposes among the Catholics in the House of Commons add significance to Hannay's statement103
that the Quebec members were surprised when the rumor became current that the Bishop of Saint John had made a compromise with the New Brunswick Government, and that they were offended because they had not been consulted after all their trouble to aid the Catholics of New Brunswick. Actually, of course, only in the province where the difficulty had arisen could a solution be arrived at, and it is doubtful if the interest of Quebec in the whole affair facilitated the eventual settlement.
The negotiations leading to the compromise extended over several months. On August 6, 1875, the Executive Council gave official answer to certain propositions which had been submitted to that body by the five Catholic members of the Legislature, who assuredly were working for and with Bishop Sweeney in the matter. By empowering school trustees to allow the children from any part of a district to attend any of the schools within the bounds of the district, provided the regulations for grading were observed, the Council granted the first proposition, which, in effect, asked that in populous places all the Catholic children might be grouped in the same school or schools. The Council gave an affirmative answer to only part of the second proposition, that is, they were willing to recognize the certificate of the Superior of any Roman Catholic teaching order as a substitute for attendance at the Normal School, but not in lieu of an examination for license. The third proposition asked that in schools taught by the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Charity the teachers should not be compelled to use any books which might contain anything objectionable to them in a religious point of view, with particular reference to the History and Readers prescribed by the Board of Education. To this the Council replied that the greatest care had been taken to keep the school books free from matter objectionable to anyone on religious grounds, and that it would be the aim of the educational authorities to render the textbooks suitable for all. As for the prescribed History of England, the Council said they were prepared to recommend to the favorable consideration of the Board of Education the adoption and insertion of notes, compiled from Lingard, upon such portions of the text as might be deemed objectionable in a religious point of view. The fourth proposition was in reference to religious instruction after the regular secular school hours, and requested that the said hours should be shortened to the extent allowed for religious instruction. The Council in reply referred to that section of the Common Schools Act which gave trustees permission to rent
for school use buildings belonging to religious orders or to the Roman Catholic Church, and intimated that no restriction would be placed upon the use of such buildings after the close of the school.104
These concessions, which, in a sense, legalized within the non-sectarian system of the province schools of a sectarian bias, fell short of the demands of the Roman Catholics, but were accepted as the best terms possible, and “a fair degree of harmony was restored” .105
There was a mild flurry, however, in September, when the Sisters of Charity in Saint John refused to write examinations for license along with the other candidates. Telegrams were exchanged between Rand, who was supervising examinations in Fredericton, and his deputy in Saint John, H. C. Creed; the Fredericton members of the Board of Education were hastily summoned; and the Premier, J. J. Fraser, wrote the former Premier enquiring if the latter had at any time promised Bishop Sweeney a separate examination for the Sisters. With King's emphatic denial before them, a full meeting of the Board of Education on October 22 went on record against any departure from, or annulment of, its former decisions and regulations for the government and control of license examinations. But since Rand had authorized Creed at the time of the incident to announce at the close of the regular examinations that an adjourned session of examinations for license would be held on October 28, the Board, rather reluctantly, ratified that exception to the general ruling.106
However, according to a statement in the Legislature by Premier Blair in 1893, a separate examination was again allowed to the Sisters in 1879, and such examinations were continued from year to year whenever application for the purpose was made.107
In 1884 the Board of Education ordered that members of religious orders holding certificates of professional qualification might have a separate examination in June of each year in Saint John or Chatham, at the same time as the other provincial examinations. All candidates, of course, were to write the same papers.108
This regulation, however, did not appear in the school manual, a circumstance which led, during the trouble at Bathurst, to talk of “secret” regulations.
After the compromise of 1875, the local opposition of the Catholics to the Act of 1871 gradually subsided. We note that in 1876 many school districts were laid off in Kent and Gloucester,109
that in 1877 Inspector Balloch of Madawaska County reported the organization of thirty-two school districts against seven the preceding year,110
and that the inspector for Northumberland
County in the same year stated that sixteen districts were working harmoniously under the Act where formerly the non-sectarian character of that measure had been considered objectionable. 111
During the next fifteen years, while the question of sectarian instruction in education vexed the province of Manitoba, New Brunswick was free from controversy on this subject, but in the 1890's, at the very time when the Manitoba school question was proving even more embarrassing to the Government of the Dominion than the New Brunswick issue had been, religious feeling was again aroused in New Brunswick. It was excited on this occasion by the claims of the Protestant minority in Bathurst and Bathurst Village that the Roman Catholics had been conducting the school affairs of that area in contravention of the Act of 1871, and of subsequent regulations of the Board of Education. The circumstances which led to these allegations were as follows.
During the period between 1873 and 1890 the Roman Catholics of Bathurst Town and Village maintained at their own expense a school in each of those places, conducted by Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal. At these convent schools the greater number of the Roman Catholic children of the two communities received their education. At the same time there was in each district a school conducted under the Common School Act, and supported by assessments levied upon all ratable persons in the district, including the Roman Catholics. These schools were attended by the Protestant children and by some of the boys of the Catholic faith, as the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame did not teach boys. In 1890 the Roman Catholics of the two districts concluded it would be better to part with the Sisters, who declined to teach under the Common Schools Act, and to secure if possible Teaching Sisters who would. Several Sisters of Charity, duly licensed to teach, were engaged as teachers, and in September of 1890 certain of the convent school rooms were opened as schools under the law. Thus at one stroke the total number of children being educated in the public schools was increased by about one hundred and fifty, and the sums to be raised by taxation for school purposes were greatly increased to meet this increased attendance.
The situation was complicated by the Roman Catholic observance of holy days and by difficulties in the matter of grading, particularly as the trustees seemed not unwilling that the convent school rooms should be filled to overflowing with Roman Catholic children, while the public school buildings were so sparsely filled as to render efficient grading impossible. A further complication arose in 1892 when the trustees of Bathurst Village, on the score of economy, engaged a French female teacher, the holder of a license which was valid only in Acadian districts. In consequence, the Protestant children of the primary grades did not attend the school for a term, at the end of which time the trustees induced the teacher to resign, although she had been engaged for a year. Certain developments early in 1893 in connection with the Bathurst Grammar School strained relations between the Catholics and Protestants still further. In spite
of the consensus of opinion of both the Catholic and Protestant ratepayers at a school meeting in January of that year, that the Principal of the Grammar School should be a Protestant, a Roman Catholic, son of one of the trustees, was appointed. This appointee had been a school inspector, but had been removed from office by the Board of Education for inattention to and gross neglect of his duties. “The causes which led to this inattention and neglect were well known in Bathurst, and were his habit of life.” Moreover, he was not the holder of a Grammar School license. The appointment produced intense excitement; telegrams were sent to the Chief Superintendent; and the Board of Education refused to grant the appointee a Grammar School license. Finally the Bathurst trustees appointed a gentleman from Saint John in his stead. In the meantime, however, the exasperated Protestant ratepayers had started a private school in rented rooms. When this school had been in operation less than a week the owner of the rooms declared that he wanted them for other than school purposes, and placed a padlock on the door of the building. The next morning, “friends of the private school with an axe broke the padlock, and the teacher and pupils entered the school room without any molestation” . But the small crowd which had gathered to watch proceedings engaged in a half hour of wordy warfare, whereupon two Protestant clergymen of the locality telegraphed to the Honorable A. G. Blair, Premier and Attorney General, and to H. H. Pitts, the particular champion in the Legislature of the Protestant cause, that Bathurst was on the verge of a riot. It happened that Bathurst school matters were then under discussion in the Legislature, Pitts having moved for an investigation by a select committee of the House of Assembly. Eventually, after a heated debate, the House accepted a government resolution to refer the whole matter to a judge of the Supreme Court or of the County Courts. Accordingly, on April 18, 1893, Judge J. J. Fraser of the Supreme Court, formerly a member of the government which had made the compromise of 1875, was appointed special commissioner to investigate not only all complaints charging infractions of the school law in Bathurst and Bathurst Village, but also any and every complaint which might be laid before him touching the management of schools in Gloucester County.
The above account of proceedings in Bathurst, based largely on the dispassionate judicial statements of Judge Fraser's report,112
gives but a poor idea of the feeling which was aroused throughout the whole province. Orangemen beheld a vision of King William leading them on a crusade, the partisan press of both sides indulged in extravagant editorials and highly colored reports, and inflammatory circulars were distributed in Kent County and York County. The language question in relation to the schools was raised on the hustings and in the Assembly,113
numerous petitions signed by about 10,000 persons were presented to the Legislature, and in York County, where the fiery and outspoken Pitts seems to have made the most of the controversy, the Premier and his entire ticket were defeated in the elections of 1892. Charges of catering to the Catho-
lics in order to keep in power were levelled at the government, and the Board of Education was accused of making “secret” regulations favoring religious teaching orders, and of not acting promptly and efficiently in the Bathurst difficulty. Rumors even linked the case with the dismissal from office of Superintendent Crocket,114
and the Legislature spent hours discussing the whole question. So thoroughly was the subject debated in 1893 that sixty-nine pages of the total one hundred and sixty-four pages comprising the Synoptic Report of the Debates for 1893 are devoted to the Bathurst school question and related topics.
A perusal of those pages, and of the debates in 1892 and 1894, give one some idea of the pitch to which sectarian feelings were aroused, not only in the Legislature but also in the province generally. One is impressed too by the extent to which both government and opposition made use of the matter for political purposes. There seems to have been almost more anxiety to have the past actions of the Government and Board of Education either condemned or condoned than to arrive at a solution of the distressing problem, and much time was spent in political manoeuvres revolving around the means to be employed in investigating the Protestant complaints —whether by select committee, committee of the whole house, or special commissioner. It must be remembered that the Blair administration had been in power for ten years, and while shortly before this date it had lost support in Saint John City and County over a matter of political patronage, and had had to come to terms with the lumbermen of Northumberland County on the question of stumpage, it appeared likely to remain secure for many years to come. The opposition, not unnaturally, capitalized to the fullest extent on any matter which might harass the government, and turned eagerly to this fresh and exciting theme from the monotony of criticizing the administration for extravagance.
While all that was said and written in connection with the affair makes interesting reading, Judge Fraser's findings may be regarded as more important. The tenor of the fifteen specific complaints submitted to him in writing by the Reverend A. F. Thomson was that everything which the trustees and clerics of Bathurst had done, or were said to have done, in school matters subsequent to 1890 was in violation of the school law, and was motivated by a desire to promote the Catholic Church and to injure the Protestant ratepayers. Judge Fraser concluded that the evidence did not sustain the specific complaints nor the general allegation. In his opinion “the trustees of both town and village, in se-
curing for school purposes certain school rooms in the Town Convent building and certain rooms in the Village Convent building, intended that the schools carried on in such buildings should be bona fide carried on and conducted in all respects in accordance with the Common Schools Act and the regulations of the Board of Education” . He also thought that the evidence did not sustain the Protestant contention that there had been clerical interference with the schools in the town and village, and in some of the other school districts of the County of Gloucester,115
and he doubted that Protestant pupils had been forced by any teacher to kneel or cross themselves.116
He did not hesitate, however, to point out certain misdemeanors and cases of mismanagement. For instance, he declared that the action of the trustees of Bathurst Village in engaging a teacher of inferior qualifications was objectionable, because that teacher, while she was qualified to teach according to her license, was not such a teacher as should have been placed in charge of the department to which she was assigned.117
He also said that from the evidence there could not be a question but that the habits of the unpopular appointee to the Grammar School were as well known to the trustees as to the ratepayers, “and were such as ought to have induced them to say that they could not for a moment listen to any application looking to his appointment” .118
Moreover, in his judgment, the trustees of both localities had not discharged their duties as efficiently as they might have done in regard to grading, having tended to fill up the convent buildings to a larger extent than was consistent with satisfactory grading in both the public school buildings and the rooms of the convent.119
In regard to religious teaching, Judge Fraser's report indicated that from the evidence several teachers in the town and village had given religious instruction during the noon hour. The judge interpreted this as an infringement of the law, but not a wilful infringement, “inasmuch as the teachers who so taught the catechism honestly believed that the recreation hour was no part of the teaching day” .120
Roman Catholic prayers had also been used at the opening and closing of school in certain of the schools, but this was not illegal according to a regulation then in force. In three or four schools outside the town and village the Roman Catholic catechism possibly had been taught during school hours, the instances going back as far as 1878. Pointing out that all kinds of irregularities might occur in the carrying on of the schools in any county, Judge Fraser declared: “Unless they are brought to the notice of the Inspector of Schools for the county, and through him to the notice of the Board of Education, or directly to the notice of the Board of Education itself, it would be manifestly unjust to charge the Board of Education with any dereliction of duty in regard to such irregularities” .121
The opinions expressed by Judge Fraser were sustained by Judge Barker
of the Equity Court before whom the matter was afterwards argued in the case of Rogers et al versus the Trustees of School District No. 2, Bathurst.122
Pitts, however, was definitely not satisfied, and during the legislative session of 1894 he sifted the evidence, questioned Judge Fraser's findings, and urged a resolution, justifying the petitioners who had asked for the investigation and expressing the belief that all classes and creeds should stand equal before the law.123
The government, however, blocked this resolution by means of an amendment expressing the pleasure of the House at learning from the commissioner's report that the Board of Education had not been negligent in the discharge of its duty, and had not knowingly permitted any violation of the law. The division on which this amendment passed was mainly along party lines.124
Apparently complete harmony was not at once restored in Bathurst, as during the legislative session of 1895 Pitts introduced a resolution expressing regret that the school difficulties at Bathurst had not been amicably settled and calling on the Board of Education to insist that the dual system of grading be abandoned, so that the law might be carried out in its true intent and purpose.125
The Honorable H. R. Emmerson, speaking for the government, characterized Pitts as unrepresentative of the intelligence, respectability, and benevolent aims of the Orange Order, and charged him with bringing up the Bathurst school question so that he might seem to be earnest in the cause which had given him the only importance he had ever possessed.126
Under government guidance, and on the grounds that the case was then pending before Judge Barker, the House rejected Pitts' resolution,127
but due to his pertinacity the subject died hard in the Legislature.
In 1896 he commended the minority at Bathurst for not appealing to Ottawa, and attempted to bring in a resolution expressing the alarm of the New Brunswick Legislature at the promotion at Ottawa of legislation which had in view interference with the public school system of Manitoba. However, a seconder of the motion could not be found, although Pitts appealed to the Liberals of the House to support the policy of Laurier, and asked nine members in turn to second his motion.128
The next year he complained of an item of one hundred dollars in the accounts for the printing of Judge Fraser's report,129
and said that the government had found the religious question a better “card” to play than any financial question. “Whenever any of the Roman Catholic members or French members get a little recalcitrant, the policy [of the government] was to prod at 'Pitts and his gang', to throw out to the country that bigotry and religious intolerance were widespread in Saint John and York Counties, and that the opposition or Pitts was responsible.” 130
By this time, however, the agitation bad spent its force. Before leaving
the question we may note that the Board of Education, when the disturbance was at its peak, modified and clarified certain of the existing regulations. Trustees might no longer permit teachers to use any prayer in opening school but the Lord's Prayer,131
and the term “school hours” was defined as “all the time between the opening and the close of the school for the day” ,132
so that no teacher might mistakenly give religious instruction during the noon hour. A regulation was also passed ordering that public school buildings must be occupied to the full extent before additional buildings could be leased. According to Provincial Secretary Tweedie this regulation was expressly passed to deal with the situation at Bathurst.133
To this regulation, however, the following clause was added: “Unless the Board of Education or the Chief Superintendent, in consideration of special circumstances in any district, shall order otherwise” .134
The opposition claimed that this clause was added, in consequence of the circumstances at Bathurst, while the school manual was in the printer's hands.135
Without seriously entertaining the various charges levelled at the government and the Board of Education of making “secret” regulations, one cannot entirely dismiss the possibility that because of the Bathurst school case many people in the province either learned for the first time of the modifications effected in the Act of 1871 by the compromise of 1875, and by several subsequent regulations, or had failed until then to realize the significance of those modifications. As a result of this controversy more interest was aroused than perhaps ever before or since in the school manuals, and in the “undistilled Statutes” ,136
—if one may use the term applied by C. E. Sissons to the Regulations of the Ontario Board of Education.
Several times in the Legislature during the crisis at Bathurst, government and opposition ranks accused each other of attempting to complicate matters by appealing to “race” prejudices. Stockton, of the opposition, claimed that when Labillois was campaigning in the Kent County elections he had accused Stockton of proposing to him, Labillois, that the study of the French language in the public schools should be prevented.137
This Stockton denied he had ever suggested. Alward charged Labillois with telling the French electors in Kent that under the leadership of Stockton and Alward an effort was being made to drive the French language from the schools, and thus to strike a blow at the religion and nationality of the French.138
Labillois, in his turn, declared that the opposition candidates in Kent had charged the government with being unfair to the French by appointing an Englishman as sheriff of the county, and by dismissing a school inspector because he was French, and that they had told the French to vote against Labillois because he was partly Irish.
He also said that in a conversation with him Stockton had shown himself averse to the teaching of French in the schools.139
Whether these charges and counter-charges were valid or not, they signify a recognition of the possibilities for dissension latent in the dual nature of the population of the province. Indeed, Premier Blair remarked in 1895 that the school difficulties at Bathurst had arisen from the fact of there being not merely two religious persuasions in that locality but also two nationalities.140
We have observed that Gloucester County, of which Bathurst is the shiretown, was predominately French, and that the strongest opposition to the Act of 1871 came from the French-speaking counties. Possibly from a thorough investigation of the French newspapers of New Brunswick and Quebec during the seventies we should find that the question of language was a more important factor in the opposition than is commonly thought. Even if religion was the main issue, there are signs that the dual elements in the language and culture of the province had become complicating factors by the time of the second great controversy. The point is that the Acadians and French Canadians of the province were growing steadily in numbers, importance, and national consciousness.
In the early years of the “Loyalist Province” the Acadians had had no part in the official life of the colony. It was not until 1842 that they were represented in the Assembly,141
and previous to 1900 only two of their number were admitted to the provincial ministry. At first they were not vocal in English on the subject of their rights and privileges, but as their numbers increased they began to press for some official recognition of their language. For example, about 1880 there were several requests to have the agricultural report printed in French, so that the many farmers among the 45,000 French of the province might benefit. A resolution passed the House in 1881 in favor of compliance with this request,142
but the government either did not act on the suggestion or carried it out for a time only, as in 1890 the Committee on Agriculture, which included four French members,143
suggested that the government be requested to have a portion of the agricultural report translated into French and distributed.144
The matter of the publication in the French-language newspapers of the province of the official reports of the debates in the House was also brought up from time to time. For example, in 1890 a French-speaking member complained that there was no provision regarding the French papers in the memorandum for publishing the debates.145
For the most part a spirit of “See how well we get along together” prevailed in the Legislature. It was perhaps not difficult for a majority group to exhibit such a spirit toward a relatively small minority sensible enough to display a pleasing combination of dignity and modesty. We read in the official
report of the debates for 1885 that an “interesting feature” of the discussion on the Portland Revisor's List bill was a series of speeches in French. This was evidently unusual, for one of the speakers, who afterwards spoke in English, said he was proud that “the language spoken by so large a proportion of the people of New Brunswick had been heard in the House” . He also thanked the members for “their kindness towards himself and all who spoke the same language” .146
In 1890, three speeches in French on a bill relating to the Colonization Company of the Maritime Provinces were received “with loud applause from both sides of the house” . Mr. Speaker White then reported the findings of the committee in French, “his remarks being applauded and the house declaring its acceptance of the committee's report by the unanimous French affirmation "Oui” .147
As far as the Legislature was concerned the century seems to have drawn to a close on a note of cordiality, to which the sentiments which were aroused by the Diamond Jubilee, Canadian participation in the Boer War, and Laurier's emphasis on an all-Canadian nationalism appeared as contributory factors. This, of course, does not mean that the minority had abandoned their claims for recognition. We note, for example, that in 1897 A. D. Richard said in the Assembly that his nationality was not as largely represented in the administration of public affairs as it should be. He believed, however, that the government would be just enough to grant to every nationality and to every class in the province due justice at the proper time and place.148
On the other hand, the prevailing good-will in the Legislature does not mean that the majority at no time felt uneasiness, although political expediencies usually prevented any strong expression of such feeling. Symptomatic, perhaps, was the remark of a member in 1881 that the printing of the agricultural reports in French would be an entering wedge.149
A few years later a rumor that a French school inspector had voiced the necessity of conserving the French language in speech and in the schools brought forth a protest. The member who protested said that he heartily approved of all that had been done to give the Acadians an education in their own language, but that he objected to speeches by an officer of the government “which were calculated to bring on in this English province a contest between the two languages” .150
In view of all this, the status of the French language in the school system of New Brunswick, both before and after the Act of 1871, becomes a matter of considerable importance to our study.
Previous to the inauguration of the Free School system, the Acadian schools received scant official attention. The larger schools were strictly church or parochial institutions, such as the school at St. Basil in 1817,151
the convent at Acadiaville in the 1860's,152
the convent schools at Bathurst, and the seminary at Memramcook established in 1854. The latter, which later became St.
Joseph's University, accepted both French and English students, and, like the Wesleyan Academy, received legislative aid more than once before the passage of the Common Schools Act. Some of the Acadian districts, like the English-speaking areas, were served in the early days by itinerant pedagogues. Later, some supported small district schools conducted by teachers who boarded around. Le Gresley implies that these Acadian districts did not share in the government allowance until after 1847,153
but the inclusion of the Acadian schools in the inspection of 1844-45 would indicate that some of them may have been in receipt of the provincial grant at an earlier date. The inspectors' report stated that for the populous parish of Caraquet no part of the government allowance had been drawn for some years, the teachers having been deterred from presenting themselves before the Board of Education from a consciousness of the want of proper qualifications. The number of Acadian schools was not mentioned in this report, but the attainments of the pupils and the qualifications of the teachers were referred to as not inferior to those found in the English schools.154
In a few instances the pupils were learning to read English as well as French,155
but of the Acadian teachers in Westmorland County, who were superior to those in other parts of the province, the report stated: “There is no reason for thinking that their qualifications would therefore enable them to teach the English language so as to make it available for the transaction of business by written correspondence” .156
Even after the establishment of the Board of Education and the appointment of a Chief Superintendent and Inspectors, official references to the Acadian schools were infrequent. Training at the Normal School was, of course, conducted in the English language and few, if any, of the Acadian teachers attended that institution. Perhaps because of that, in 1852 “Guide de L'Instituteur” , a text recommended by Dr. Meilleur, Superintendent of Education for Canada East, was sanctioned by the New Brunswick Board of Education in order to improve the instruction of the French population of the province.157
We noted earlier Superintendent Bennet's suggestion in 1867 that a teacher, competent in both French and English, should be added to the staff of the Normal School, and that in future untrained French teachers should be refused a license. Inspector Morrison, it will be remembered, complained shortly before the passage of the Common Schools Act that the texts used in the Acadian schools were inferior, and that it was a mistake not to require the French teachers to attend the Normal School. Other official references to these schools were few, and the reports give no indication of the extent to which the French language was used in the Acadian schools. Le Gresley tells us, however, that the French language held first place until 1871.158
C. B. Sissons, referring to the British North America Act and the
status of the French language in the schools of Ontario, has pointed out that we are justified in concluding “that the Fathers of Confederation did not seek either to confer any new legal right on the French language in the schools of Ontario or to confirm any rights or privileges previously existing” .159
Neither, it seems, did it infringe upon any. These statements apply equally well to New Brunswick. In other words, there was nothing in the Constitution which obliged the provincial authorities to accord to the French language any rights and privileges in the legislature or in the schools, nor were they placed under any compulsion to restrict the use of French as the language of communication and study in the schools of Acadian districts. Those who framed the Act of 1871, opposed as they were to the separation of children on religious grounds, no doubt considered separation on the grounds of language an obstacle to a unified system, but if there was serious thought on the matter, and it is difficult to find evidences of any, the attitude probably was the same as that attributed by C. B. Sissons to Ryerson of Ontario— “that it was wiser to make haste slowly in turning the French . . . settlers to the study of English” .160
The Act of 1871 said nothing whatever about the use of the French language, and in the thinking of the educationists of the time the emphasis, either deliberate or unconscious, seems to have been on the promotion of education through the medium of the English language. However, since the provincial system already included Acadian schools, it was taken for granted that the use of the French language might be continued under the Common Schools Act in the elementary schools of Acadian districts, and subsequent to the Act various regulations and provisions were made from time to time with reference to such schools. Le Gresley states that the Acadians accepted these arrangements as a makeshift, satisfactory enough from a relative point of view.161
Thus controversy on the score of language did not arise, and during the nineteenth century, if there was dissatisfaction among the Acadians, it was not expressed so strongly as to engage the attention of the educational authorities.
Regulation 16 of the Regulations of the Board of Education, published November 15, 1871, included elementary French readers in a list of school texts either prescribed by the Board or at the time under consideration.162
In 1876 the Board authorized the Chief Superintendent to procure specimens of school text-books from the Commissioner of Schools for Quebec, with a view to selecting any that might be suitable and necessary for use in the French districts of New Brunswick. A few months later a committee was appointed to examine two texts, Grammaire Elementaire française and Introduction au traite d'Arithmétique Commerciale. On January 8, 1877, the grammar was prescribed, and, rather curiously, the arithmetic for both English and French pupils, if it was preferred to the prescribed English texts in arithmetic.163
It is interesting to note that in 1879 the Superintendent reported that the Legislature of
Maine had authorized the French-English texts of New Brunswick for use in the schools of the French population of that state.164
From time to time the French texts, like the other texts, were subject to revision or alteration. In 1881 the Board received the report submitted by Pascal Poirier, an Acadian scholar and politician, and Professor Rivet of the University of New Brunswick, with a revision of the texts of the French-English readers; adopted the revisions; and ordered the Superintendent to communicate with the publishers of the readers.165
In 1888 the Board ordered that “Les Grandes Inventions Modernes” be prescribed as a text for use in the French-English schools, to alternate with the Royal Reader No. 4 or No. 5.166
This repetition of the term French-English emphasizes the fact that the so-called French schools were not separate language schools, but were bilingual schools, in which the primary pupils, whose vernacular was French, might learn both French and English, until they reached a point at which they could continue their education in the English language.
Bilingual teachers were, therefore, a necessary part of the scheme. Until 1884 almost all the French-speaking teachers were untrained. In 1878 Superintendent Rand recommended to the Board of Education the establishment of a Preparatory Department of the Normal School for the benefit of such French students as might not be prepared for admission to the regular classes, and the Board ordered that such a department be opened in November. Those students who passed, at the close of the session, an examination equivalent to that required for admission to the existing department of the Normal School were to receive a license of the third class valid for two years.167
Later the license was made valid for three years and the period of attendance was reduced from five months to three months.
On the whole, the benefits of this department do not seem to have been very great. After it was discontinued in 1884 Superintendent Crocket wrote: “During the five and a half years of its existence it had done nothing towards the training of its students, nor was it established with this view. It gave good instruction in the elementary branches to those who did attend, but not any better than they ought to receive in a well-taught District School . . . . It was left to their option to enter the Normal Department if found qualified, or to accept a temporary license for three years on the understanding that when it expired they were to return to the Normal School for training. In all cases they accepted the license, but with one or two exceptions they did not return, and many of them are now teaching as local licensees. But the numbers who did attend were so small that it would have taken very many years, even if they had all continued to teach, before their influence could have been much felt in the French schools. During its existence the total number who attended was
only 113, including several whose scholarship was so limited that they were required to attend a second term, thus giving an average attendance per term of about 7” .
Continuing, the Superintendent said that some other provision was seen to be necessary, “whereby these Acadian students could be trained as well as instructed, and receive a permanent license on the same footing as the others. Only by some such provision can we hope to elevate the French schools and make them the compeers of the English” . He then described the set-up of a new French Department presided over by Alphie Belliveau, who had been Principal of the Preparatory Department. The students, he said, received instruction only in professional subjects from the Principal of the Normal School, but if they were deemed sufficiently well qualified to be presented at the close of the term for examination for license in advance of class three, they received both professional and academic instruction in the English department. At the close of the term they were examined for license on the same subjects as were prescribed for the other candidates, but an additional paper in French was set for all French candidates, for which they received credit by adding the examiner's estimate upon it to the other estimates without including the subject in the divisor.168
The conditions under which teachers trained in this French Department might be employed, if not clearly defined before 1897, were definitely set forth in that year, possibly because of an echo of the Bathurst school case. In October, 1897, the Board received letters from Inspector Mersereau and the Reverend A. F. Thomson169
calling the attention of the Board to a resolution passed at the annual meeting of the ratepayers of district No. 2, Bathurst, in reference to the employment of a French teacher for the primary grades of the school of that district. Thereupon the Board ordered the Superintendent to direct the trustees of the district to employ only such teachers as had received a provincial license after having passed through the course of training provided for the English teachers in the Normal School. The superintendent was further ordered to prepare for the consideration of the Board a regulation defining the conditions under which teachers who had received licenses after attendance at the French department of the Normal School might be employed.170
On December 1, 1897, this new regulation, as an addition to Regulation 33, ordered that third class teachers, holding a license received after attendance at the French department of the Normal School, if they had not subsequently passed through the English department, should be employed only in Acadian districts, or in districts in which the French language was the language in common use by a majority of the people, unless the written consent of the Chief Superintendent should be obtained. Moreover, no such teacher was to be employed in any district, Acadian or otherwise, if the Superintendent notified the trustees of the district that no such teacher should be employed therein.171
The French department of the Normal School drew a larger number of students than the Preparatory department had done. In 1889 the enrolment for the year was 29,172
in 1895 it was 21,173
and in 1900 it was 52, the highest it had ever been in the history of the department.174
The educational authorities, however, quite consistently lamented that the number of those who annually graduated from the French department was never sufficient to supply the Acadian districts with trained teachers. In 1894 Superintendent Inch pointed out that nearly one-half the schools in Madawaska County were still taught by untrained teachers. He said he was convinced that the fault lay largely with the people, who seemed unwilling to incur the expense of sending their sons and daughters to the Normal School while they could succeed in obtaining for them local licenses. In this way they kept their schools open at little or no expense to the district, the provincial grant and county fund supplying nearly all the salary paid in many cases. He declared that a constant effort had been made for several years to reduce the number of local licenses granted, but that the unpleasant alternative continued to present itself of either closing the schools or yielding to the importunities of those who pleaded for the local license.175
Without a careful study of the figures for school enrolment and attendance in comparison with census statistics, one cannot say authoritatively that the Acadian areas displayed a greater general apathy in educational affairs than the majority of other rural areas, but we may note that occasionally the inspectors made special reference to these districts as educationally backward. For example, in 1883 Inspector Landry reported that in one district in Caraquet over sixty children were running about the streets, and in Caraquet Centre there was no proper school for over one hundred children. The trustees, he said, were to blame, having failed to attend the last annual school meeting.176
In 1901 Inspector Mersereau reported that in Gloucester County a great deal of pioneer work remained to be done before all parts of the county would have schools.177
In 1900 Urbaine Johnson, a representative of Kent County, enquired in the Legislature if the Government had considered the advisability of appointing an inspector knowing the English language and French language for those districts where the population was wholly or predominately French. He said that it was immaterial to him whether the appointee was a Frenchman, Englishman, Irishman or Scotchman, so long as he had the essential qualification of being able to speak both languages. In reply the Honorable L. J. Tweedie said that if it was considered advisable to increase the number of inspectors at any time, the question of appointing an inspector knowing both languages would receive the serious attention of the Board of Education and of the Government.178
The next year Johnson raised the question again, and was seconded
by Joseph Poirier of Gloucester County, who said that of course the children of French extraction wished to learn the English language, but that the only proper channel through which they could become masters of both languages was through their mother tongue. Poirier also asked the Government to give the French children “a series of French school books on the same footing as the English” ,179
a suggestion which casts a reflection on the quality of the French texts hitherto provided. A few months later, when the number of inspectors was increased from six to eight, one of the appointees was J. F. Doucet of Gloucester County, whose duty it was to inspect all the French schools of the province.180
One cannot note Bishop Fallon's startling denunciation in 1911 of the bilingual schools of Ontario without wondering what might be revealed by a careful study of these schools in New Brunswick. It was not the use of the French language which Bishop Fallon denounced, but “the attempt to conduct the study of both English and French simultaneously with the same pupils in the same elementary schools. In a sentence which rang across the country he declared that the bilingual system 'encourages incompetence, gives a prize to hypocrisy and breeds ignorance'” .181
A survey made a short time afterwards of the bilingual schools of Ontario showed that a very small number of children educated in those schools ever attempted the entrance examinations, a still smaller number succeeded, and the number who ever attended any of the high schools of the province reached almost a vanishing point.182
A thorough investigation of the condition and results of the bilingual schools of New Brunswick has not yet been made. We find that during the period under consideration the Inspectors seldom even referred to the difficulties peculiar to these schools. A notable exception was Inspector Philip Cox, afterwards a professor at the University of New Brunswick, who emphasized the obstacles in the French schools to the teaching of the higher standards, “where, the Text Books being in English, the teachers are obliged to do much extra work, translating from one language to another, in order to render passages, ideas, and problems, otherwise obscure, plain and intelligible to the pupils. Neither can the latter, owing to their limited knowledge of English, make anything like an intelligent preparation of lessons in advance of recitation.” 183
The next year he stressed this matter again, saying: “With the exception of texts on Arithmetic and Grammar, a Primer, and Nos. 1, 2 and 3 French English Readers, there are no authorized French books for these schools. History, geography, Composition, Geometry, Physics, Botany and Chemistry must now be studied in a tongue but poorly understood, a circumstance that makes the inherent difficulties of these subjects still harder to be grappled with and understood. Moreover,
whatever opinions may be held respecting the knowledge of the language to be obtained from the Readers referred to, all must agree that to stop at this stage is only closing the doors against the pupils acquiring an acquaintance with the idiomatic and classic beauty of their native tongue. For these and other reasons it would seem desirable to have the list of authorized French Text Books enlarged.” 184
In the light of these remarks one is impressed by the interesting possibilities of research on the question of illiteracy in French districts. Was the economic factor of prime importance? How much significance may be attached to the question of faulty texts and inadequately trained teachers? To what extent were the teachers hampered by the necessity of having to teach the elementary grades in both languages? What correlation was there between the drop in school attendance and the transfer to an all-English programme of studies at the close of the elementary grades? No attempt was made during the nineteenth century to find answers to these questions, and the problem of backward schools in Acadian districts, if it was recognized as a problem separate from that of general rural education, was passed on as a legacy to the twentieth century. In fact one may say that no scientific study of the problem has yet been made. It may be that this question, like the question of general rural education, will demand particular attention in the near future.
^1. New Brunswick: Journal of the House of Assembly, 1873, Annual Report on Schools, Part 1, pp. XVIII-XXI.
^2. Ibid., p. XIX.
^3. Ibid., Part III, App. B, p. 12.
^4. Ibid., 1876, Part III, App. B, p. 11.
^5. Ibid., p. 22.
^6. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates 1872, p. 197.
^7. It is difficult to find any authorization in the Act of 1858 for sectarian teaching, but undoubtedly, as Anglin's statements indicate, the Act had been interpreted very liberally in many communities.
^8. A reference to the “millinery” regulations prohibiting teachers in the public schools from wearing the cross and the dress of religious societies.
^9. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates 1872, p. 197.
^10. Ibid., pp. 199-201.
^11. Ibid., p. 201.
^12. Ibid., pp. 203-205.
^13. Ibid., p. 705.
^14. Ibid., pp. 706-707.
^15. Ibid., p. 708.
^16. Ibid., p. 898.
^17. Ibid., pp. 759, 760.
^18. Ibid., pp. 708, 709.
^19. Ibid., pp. 904, 905.
^20. Ibid., p. 763.
^21. Ibid., p. 899.
^22. Ibid., p. 709.
^23. Ibid., p. 760.
^24. Ibid., p. 764.
^25. Ibid., p. 899.
^26. Ibid., p. 900.
^27. Ibid., p. 906.
^28. Ibid., p. 907.
^29. Ibid., pp. 907, 908.
^30. Office of the Executive Council of New Brunswick: Minutes of the Executive Council, Vol. 9, pp. 363-366; Also Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick 1873. Annual Report on Schools, App. 4, pp. 40-42.
^31. Office of the Executive Council of New Brunswick: Minutes of the Executive Council, Vol. 9, pp. 1-11 of memorandum inserted at p. 396 of Minutes for Dec. 23, 1972; Also Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick 1873, Annual Report on Schools, App. 4, pp. 22-40.
^32. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 311.
^33. See Index ii of Journal of House of Assembly of New Brunswick 1873 for a list of these bills.
^34. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates 1873, (Scrap Book Hansard), p. 176.
^35. Ibid., pp. 177, 178.
^36. Ibid., p. 178.
^37. Ibid., p. 179.
^38. Ibid., p. 194.
^39. Ibid., p. 206.
^40. Copies of this correspondence between Dufferin and Kimberley were tabled in the New Brunswick Legislature on March 20, 1874. See Synoptic Report of Debates of the House of Assembly of New Brunswick 1874, pp. 79, 80.
^41. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates, 1875, p. 578.
^42. Ibid., pp. 1003-1006.
^43. For the appalling state of the majority of the school buildings in Saint John at the close of the year 1871 see the Journal of the House of Assembly of New Brunswick for the year 1874, Annual Report on Schools, Part iii, App. C, pp. 62, 63.
^44. New Brunswick: Journal of the House of Assembly 1874, Annual Report on Schools, Part iii, App. C, pp. 65-69.
^45. Office of the Executive Council of New Brunswick: Minutes of the Executive Council, Vol. 9, Nov. 3, 1873, pp. 433-435.
^46. Department of Education of New Brunswick: Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 17, 1873-Aug. 15, 1879, Dec. 18, 1873, p. 11.
^47. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of the House of Assembly 1874; pp. 102, 121, 122.
^48. Ibid., p. 122.
^49. Ibid., P. 123.
^50. Ibid., p. 125.
^51. Ibid., p. 127.
^52. Ibid., p. 125.
^53. Ibid., pp. 126-129.
^54. Ibid., p. 134.
^55. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates, 1874, (Scrap Book Hansard), p. 78.
^56. Ibid., p. 107.
^57. Raymond (4), pp. 421, 422.
^58. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly 1875, p. 1.
^59. In 1871 the Parish of Caraquet, which contained 3111 inhabitants, had only three schools with seventy-three pupils enrolled and an average attendance of 836. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 307.
^60. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly 1875, pp. 29, 38.
^61. The New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser, Vol. 31, No. 12, Jan. 20, 1875, p. 2.
^62. Ibid., Vol. 31, No. 14, Feb. 3, 1875, p. 3.
^63. The Morning Freeman, Jan. 16, 1875, Vol. XXIV, No. 149, p. 2.
^64. Ibid., Feb. 11, 1875, Vol. XXV, No. 4, p. 2.
^65. These papers may be found in Dr. Clarence Webster's Collection in the New Brunswick Provincial Museum. They are entitled: (1) Inquisition before Coroner Joseph Sewell in Parish of Caraquette, County of Gloucester, on the Death of Lewis Mallieau. (2) Evidence of Witnesses Severally Taken and Acknowledged on Behalf of Our Sovereign Lady the Queen, Touching the Death of John Gifford. (3) Caraquet Murder Case, Chief Justice John C. Allen, Oct. 27, 1875, Bathurst.
^66. This, of course, was an important point. In the trial which followed, the Crown tried to show that because of the rioting which had preceded the events of January twenty-seventh the party in hiding knew that they were liable to arrest and had therefore conspired to resist. The Defence contended that the shooting was done in self-defence, that some of the Sheriff's men had been rough in making arrests on the morning of January twenty-seventh, that the whole village had been terrified by “Young's Army” , and that the accused, who had gathered at Albert's house to play cards, had hidden in fear of their lives when they saw a band of armed strangers approaching. See Supreme Court of New Brunswick, Report of Cases Determined by, Vol. III 1875-1876, pp. 546-566.
^67. This evidence is taken from the record of the inquest on the body of Gifford. The testimony of the witnesses at the trial is not included in the court record, but from Judge Allen's references to the case when he submitted it to the Supreme Court, we learn that one of the constables testified that the first shot was by the Sheriff's party, straight up through the trap, to frighten the men above. The next shot came from the loft and struck the stove. When several of the attacking party gained the loft there were shots from the men there, who had retreated to one corner. Then Gifford was shot. (Ibid., p. 558), Gifford's pistol, when found afterwards, had one chamber empty. (Ibid. pp. 564, 565). Clearly, the shot which killed Gifford was not the first fired during the melée.
^68. Supreme Court of New Brunswick, Reports of Cases Determined by, Vol. III, 1875-1876, p. 559.
^69. Ibid., p. 572.
^70. Ibid.. p. 597.
^71. LeGresley, p. 151.
^72. Hannay (1) Vol. 2, p. 320.
^73. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1875, pp. 98.
^74. Ibid., 97.
^75. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates, 1875, p. 561.
^76. Ibid., p. 562.
^77. Ibid., pp. 561, 562.
^78. Ibid., p. 565.
^79. Ibid., pp. 609-611.
^80. Ibid.. pp. 611, 612.
^81. Ibid., p. 613.
^82. Ibid., p. 562.
^83. Ibid., pp. 567, 568.
^84. Ibid., p. 563.
^85. Costigan explained that he had sent one of his sons to a Catholic institution at a distance and one daughter to a convent, but that his means did not allow him to do the like for the rest of his family. Since there was a good school established by law within reach, and presided over by a gentleman of high character, he had decided it was better to send the rest of his children there than to have them go uneducated. He believed he had done right under the circumstances, but he did not wish his conduct to be taken as an indication of approval by him of the school law. Ibid., p. 628.
^86. It is true that Rand was dismissed from office in 1870, true also that he had attempted to initiate an investigation into complaints by Protestants against the Arichat (convent) public school, but two other factors seem to have been involved in his dismissal, neither of which had any sectarian implications. In the first place, there was a fundamental antagonism between Rand and the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia, particularly on the question of the relationship between himself as Superintendent and the Council of Public Instruction. Secondly, Rand and the Council did not see eye to eye in the "George affair", an incident which took its name from the Inspector who was involved. (Laidlaw, A. F., "Theodore Harding Rand," Nova Scotia Journal of Education, Fourth Series, Vol. 15, No. 3, April-May, 1944, pp. 326-329).
^87. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates, 1875, p. 569.
^88. Ibid., p. 565.
^89. Ibid., p. 559.
^90. Ibid., p. 556.
^91. Ibid., pp. 572, 573.
^92. Ibid., p. 576.
^93. Ibid., p. 574.
^94. Ibid., p. 627.
^95. Ibid., p. 629.
^96. Ibid., pp. 629-630.
^97. Ibid., p. 630.
^98. Ibid., p. 632.
^99. Ibid., p. 633.
^100. Earlier in the debate Baby had attempted to move an amendment to Cauchon's rider, but had been ruled out of order by Speaker Anglin. The New Brunswick Reporter claimed that Anglin's constituents in Northern New Brunswick felt he had been party to a conspiracy to allow Cauchon to catch his eye before Baby, although the latter gentleman had the floor first. The Reporter concluded from this, and from The Freeman's description of Costigan's speech as indiscreet, that Anglin, mindful of his position as Speaker of the House of Commons, had executed something of a volte face on the New Brunswick school question. The Reporter prophesied that as a result of the indignation which this had excited among his constituents Anglin was “politically dead in the north” . The New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser, Vol. 31, No. 21, p. 2.
^101. Canada: Dominion Parliamentary Debates, 1875, pp. 633, 634.
^102. Ibid., pp. 861, 862.
^103. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 312.
^104. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 17, 1873-Aug. 15, 1679. (Dated Aug. 6, 1875, and bound in between pages 99 and 101). In 1893 Premier Blair said that when his government came into power they found records of these arrangements but nothing formally entered among the regulations of the Board of Education, where, in the opinion of the government these memoranda and agreements should properly have appeared. They then transferred the minutes to the Records of the Board. See New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1893, p. 106.
^105. Inch, p. 231.
^106. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 17, 1873-Aug. 15, 1879, Oct. 22, 1878, pp. 308-311.
^107. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1893, p. 65.
^108. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902, June 10, 1884, p. 43.
^109. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1877, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, Appendix B, pp. 9, 18.
^110. Ibid., p. 11.
^111. Ibid., p. 15.
^112. Fraser, J. J., pp. 3-33.
^113. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1892, pp. 10-16.
^114. One of these stories was to the effect that Crocket had been dismissed because he was too friendly to the Roman Catholics of Bathurst. (See New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1892, p. 14). Another rumor said that his services had been dispensed with because he was not liberal enough towards the Catholics. (Ibid., p. 16). We should add, perhaps, that other reasons, not connected with the difficulty at Bathurst, were also mentioned. The opposition claimed that because the sons of the ex-Superintendent had refused to support Premier Blair in their newspaper their father's dismissal was decided upon. Blair, forced to make some comment on the retirement, said that the government and Crocket could not get along together, that perhaps blame rested on both sides, but that circumstances did occur under which the former Superintendent had not considered it his duty to consult with the government on matters of public business which should have been placed before the government months before. (Ibid., p. 69). Possibly these “matters of public business” had arisen out of the situation at Bathurst.
^115. Fraser, J. J., p. 58.
^116. Ibid., p. 60.
^117. Ibid., p. 29.
^118. Ibid., p. 31.
^119. Ibid., p. 59.
^120. Ibid., p. 59.
^121. Ibid., p. 60.
^122. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 365.
^123. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1894, p. 132.
^124. Ibid., p. 135.
^125. Ibid., 1895, p. 139.
^126. Ibid., pp. 143,144.
^127. Ibid., p. 153.
^128. Ibid., 1896, pp. 55-58.
^129. Ibid., 1897, p. 55.
^130. Ibid., p. 52.
^131. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Nov. 9, 1893, p. 282.
^132. Ibid., p. 283.
^133. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1893, p. 83.
^134. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education. Dec. 1, 1892-Dec. 3, 1902; Feb. 3. 1893, p. 268.
^135. New Brunswick; Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1893, p. 75.
^136. Sissons (2), p. 35.
^137. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1892, p. 10.
^138. Ibid., p. 13.
^139. Ibid., p. 14.
^140. Ibid., 1895, p. 153.
^141. Hannay (1), Vol. 2, p. 107.
^142. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1881, p. 34.
^143. Ibid., 1890, p. 19.
^144. Ibid., p. 164.
^145. Ibid., pp. 18, 19.
^146. Ibid., 1885, p. 115.
^147. Ibid., 1890, p. 175.
^148. Ibid., 1897, p. 26.
^149. Ibid., 1881, p. 33.
^150. Ibid., 1885, p. 53.
^151. LeGresley, p. 109.
^152. Ibid., p. 138.
^153. Ibid., p. 116.
^154. Abstract of the Returns of the Inspection of Grammar and Parochial Schools in New Brunswick, 1845, p. 16.
^155. Ibid., pp. 5, 6.
^156. Ibid., p. 40.
^157. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, 1852-1865, p. 15.
^158. LeGresley, p. 116.
^159. Sissons (2), p, 39.
^160. Ibid., p. 31.
^161. LeGresley, p. 152.
^162. The Common Schools Act of 1871; Regulations of the Board of Education, p. 17.
^163. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 17, 1873-Aug. 15, 1879, pp. 167, 183, 189.
^164. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1879, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p.XXXIV
^165. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Oct. 3, 1879-Oct. 1882, Dec. 10, 1881, p. 210.
^166. Ibid., Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Nov. 9, 1888, p. 175.
^167. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1879, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, p. XXIV.
^168. Ibid., 1885, pp. XXV, XXVI.
^169. This gentleman had taken an active part a few years before in the Bathurst case.
^170. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1. 1882-Dec. 3 1902, pp. 396, 397.
^171. Ibid., p. 400.
^172. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1890, Annual Report on Schools, Part III, p. A73.
^173. Ibid., 1896, p. 9.
^174. Ibid., 1901, p. 6.
^175. Ibid., 1894, Annual Report on Schools, Part I, pp. XXIX, XXX.
^176. Ibid., 1883, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix B, pp. 14, 15.
^177. Ibid., 1901, Annual Report on Schools, Appendix B, p. 12.
^178. New Brunswick: Synoptic Report of Debates of House of Assembly, 1900, pp. 173, 174.
^179. Ibid., 1901, p. 84.
^180. Department of Education of New Brunswick, Minutes of Board of Education, Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 3, 1902; Sept. 4, 1901, p. 587.
^181. Sissons (2), p. 81.
^182. Ibid., p. 89.
^183. New Brunswick: Journal of House of Assembly, 1883. Annual Report on Schools, Part II, Appendix B, p. 11.
^184. Ibid., 1884, Annual Report on Schools, Part III. Appendix B, pp. 30, 31.