CCHA, Historical Studies, 54 (1987), 5-25
The Face of Upper Canadian Catholicism:
Culture and Metropolitanism in the Establishment
of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada,
1800 - 1825*
by James LAMBERT
It is a fact too little recognized that, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, Upper Canada was to some extent a colony of Lower Canada. In trade, for example, Upper Canada formed the hinterland of Montreal, and in the founding and development of certain religious denominations the influence of Lower Canada was strongly felt.
In religion, the least structured denominations developed missions in Upper Canada uninfluenced by congregations in Lower Canada, themselves struggling merely to survive in the midst of a population overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The two most highly structured churches, however, the Anglican and the Roman Catholic, ministered to the new colony through their respective dioceses of Quebec. In particular, the establishment and development of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada was strongly influenced by two distinct but inseparable factors: metropolitanism – which I shall loosely define as a relationship of dominance – and culture – which I shall define, also loosely, as a relationship of difference.
Fernand Dumont has written that a society is composed in part of “representations and dreams that give a sense – usually accepted, sometimes violently disputed – to the people and groups that live within it.” “Culture,” he added, “is nothing more than the more or less heterogeneous reunion of these representations and dreams.” Over time these representations and dreams harden into ideologies, which Stanislas Brown defined as arrangements of ideas that “reflect less the order of the world than the objectivation of a force and a self-awareness, by which a society (or community) affirms in the face of another group from which it differentiates and divides itself, the autonomy of its existence and its acts.”2 This paper views the development of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada as one manifestation of the efforts by a developing but culturally divided community to affirm its autonomy and identity vis-à-vis a long-established and culturally different metropolis.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Lower Canada was an overwhelmingly rural society, profoundly religious, and – the influence of American and French revolutions notwithstanding – largely respectful of the traditions and rites of the Church and of the moral, social, and religious authority of the clergy. The Roman Catholicism of Lower Canada was, in the words of Benoît Lacroix, “a religion of conservative tendencies, well-structured.... traditional and customary.”3 These tendencies the Lower Canadian Church inherited from the first French bishops in New France, François de Laval and Jean-Baptiste de La Croix de Chevrières de Saint-Vallier, who had brought to New France the views of the Council of Trent, filtered through the French Counter-Reformation.4 In its determination to combat the growth of Protestantism the Council of Trent had sought to imprint on the Church a number of characteristics, some of which became hardened and exaggerated subsequently; among these characteristics were administrative centralization on Rome, uniformity of practice, specialized clerical education, moral rigorism, and the cult of the saints and of church decoration. The ecclesiology of the Council of Trent is at the root of metropolitanism within the Church and is expressed in the view that the Church must be transplanted, or reproduced in its plenitude, in the regions of mission. This ecclesiology contrasts with that practised, to some extent, by the Jesuits in China, for example, and subsequently endorsed by Vatican II: that the Church should be planted, that is the Word announced, and the form of its expression left to be determined by each culture according to its traditions.
Joseph-Octave Plessis, bishop of Quebec from 1806 to 1825, was a product of Lower Canadian society and its religious culture.5 He became firmly anchored in the traditional values of the Canadians, as his people were known, and shared their determination to retain their language and faith. Plessis was not a xenophobe, however. The descendant in part of Protestant New England captives, accustomed as a boy to meeting the British traders and merchants who had patronized his father’s blacksmith shop, he was receptive to Anglophones. This receptivity became Anglophilia in the 1790s and early 1800s when Britain was the last line of resistance to anticlerical and revolutionary France and to the pretensions of Napoleon. Dealing as bishop with the British authorities was not for Plessis the ordeal that it had been for his predecessors. Indeed, he seems to have assimilated certain British diplomatic tactics. An English ecclesiastic in Rome, where Plessis visited on business in 1820, remarked that, when faced with the lumbering bureaucracy of the Vatican, Plessis “went a good John Bull way to work, which forced several to bestir themselves, who were well enough inclined to take their own time.”6
Plessis’s openness to other nationalities was evident in his pastoral work. In November 1820, for example, he asked the rural parishes of Lower Canada to adopt destitute immigrant Irish families stranded at Quebec. “These are fellow Catholics,” he argued, "strangers in a land to which they have been led by overly optimistic reports.” But an appeal to religious solidarity made little impression on a people who equated religion and nationality.7 Even the Tory Quebec Mercury expressed admiration for the bishop’s pastoral zeal on behalf of Anglophones when, in July 1825, a worn-out Plessis (he would die five months later) journeyed to the out-of-the-way and isolated village of Frampton. “The application,” the Mercury noted, “was from a population unknown to him, composed of English, Scotch, and Irish Emigrants, and might have proceeded more from caprice than real want.”8
For most of his episcopate Plessis's diocese extended from the Atlantic Ocean to beyond the Red River settlement, and Plessis took seriously his responsibility to the Catholics outside Lower Canada. "The distant sheep have for me an indefinable attraction, which I do not feel equally for those under my eyes,” he confided to a Canadian. priest in 1815. “Obviously there is more good to be done with the former than with the latter. I like to see my priests share this solicitude.”9 Few did, however. Along with the Canadian laity in general, most disapproved of Plessis’s pastoral visits outside Lower Canada – to the Maritimes in 1811, 1812, and 1815 and to Upper Canada in 1816 – as a large risk for a small return. In part they feared that a misadventure might deprive them of their bishop at a time when British colonial officials were hoping to profit from an eventual vacancy to impose British influence through the appointment of a successor. Plessis combatted this attitude constantly and vigorously, but to little effect.10
Even as coadjutor bishop Plessis had continually searched for priests to man the distant missions. It was with pleasure, therefore, that in the fall of 1804 he announced to Bishop Pierre Denaut the arrival of “a young man, less than 40 years old [he was in fact 42], who augurs health and good spirits.” His name was Alexander Macdonel.11 Under Denaut, Macdonell ministered chiefly to the Highlanders of Glengarry, Upper Canada. His initiative and ability to negotiate matters with the government of the colony did not escape Plessis who, within a month of succeeding Denaut as diocesan bishop in January 1806, decided to appoint Macdonell vicar-general for Upper Canada. There subsequently grew up between the two men a mutual respect that transcended cultural differences. Plessis saw in Macdonell an alter ego, “a man of good, zealous for the propagation of the faith, obedient, charitable, disinterested, capable of establishing solid institutions, calculating well his plans for religious education and adopting the proper means to ensure their success.” From the beginning Plessis insisted on writing to Macdonell in English even though to do so was laborious for him.12
Clearly, although Plessis was firmly anchored in his society and culture, he did not consciously allow nationality or language to influence his administration of the diocese. However, unremarked by himself, Plessis harboured attitudes that were the product of his development in the metropolis of Roman Catholicism in British North America and probably the most socially advanced of the colonies remaining to Britain. By the time he visited Upper Canada in 1815, Plessis was a seasoned traveller outside his own province. Yet he had not entirely divested himself of the mentality of a metropolitan visitor to the hinterland.13 He complains generally, for example, about rudimentary accommodations, meals, and transportation facilities and more specifically about the conditions imposed on Catholic travellers.14 His attitude towards Upper Canadian Catholics of all ethnic origins, including Canadians, reflects these metropolitan attitudes. “It is known that the people who leave a country where industry is rewarded to settle elsewhere are not ordinarily the most virtuous and estimable,” he mused while visiting Kingston.15 In the shipyard there he found Irish, Scottish, and Canadian Catholics all “busier making money than working for their salvation.” Several frequented the local Anglican priest and church, and the observance of Catholic fast and holy days was a practice almost foreign to them.16 Later he was relieved to meet the “Christians” of Sandwich (present-day Windsor), “because, truth to say, since. ..Kingston we have encountered hardly any at all.”17 Even there, however, few of the 1,000 communicants were fervent, he remarked. The sacraments were less well-attended “than in any place in the diocese with a resident priest,” communion was taken only at Easter, confession was avoided, abstinence and fasting were rare, and the performance of other religious duties was replaced by a vulgar display of luxury, vanity, and immodesty in women, by love of entertainment, “and by evening strolls without precautions on the part of parents, such as would be difficult even to conceive in Lower Canada.”18 To a bishop from the capital of North American Catholicism, however, Malden (Amherstburg) offered the most striking scene: the chapel was a tight fit for the congregation, the presbytery was small for its occasional occupant and the cemetery was miniscule for its permanent residents. “Everything here is in miniature,” he observed, “except irreligion and licentiousness, which are evidenced in imposing proportions.”19 Plessis’s moral strictures were not necessarily a faithful reflection of the moral climate in Upper Canada, however, for Plessis was a product of the rigorist moral teaching of the Séminaire de Québec and recognized – as did some members of his clergy – that he could be too severe.20
Compared to the longer established, more mature Maritime missions, Upper Canada had little of interest to offer Plessis except the challenge of promoting its spiritual development.21 Hard-pressed even to meet the needs of Lower Canada, let alone the Maritimes, Plessis’s predecessors had had few missionaries left to serve the small western settlements, which consequently became the poor cousins of the diocese. Yet the development of the church among them was largely dependent on the metropolis. Prayer books and catechisms were imported from and through Lower Canada, plans for large churches were drawn up by Lower Canadian architects, and construction was financed in large part from Lower Canada.22 Although Macdonell was thankful to Plessis for his efforts on behalf of the Upper Canadian missions, it was to the Sulpicians in Montreal that he gave most of the credit for providing concrete assistance in various forms.23 As in business and commerce, Upper Canada was dependent on Lower Canada generally, but more particularly on Montreal.
It was the bishop of Quebec, however, who tried to determine the direction in which the Church in Upper Canada would grow, and he inevitably did so on the basis of his cultural formation and metropolitan attitudes. Plessis was by nature a man of great regularity, and this natural bent, reinforced by his classical and clerical education at the Séminaire de Québec, made him a bishop much concerned with order and discipline. He imposed on his Lower Canadian clergy a strict adherence to the rules, rubrics, and ceremonies of the Church, which were fully developed in Lower Canada.24 He also attempted to impose on the missions a greater respect for forms, making as few concessions as possible to cultural differences or geographical constraints such as those resulting from a frontier environment. While visiting the Maritimes in 1812 he was surprised to see that Scottish missionaries, accustomed in Scotland to going about their work incognito, never wore cassocks while making their rounds. He was then dismayed to find that “it is almost impossible to make them understand that the respect due to religion in a diocese where it is entirely free, demands from them a little more external decorum.”25 In 1814 he instructed Macdonell to tell the Anglophone Catholics of Upper Canada that they were negligent in the decoration of their churches and added that the preoccupation of Lower Canadian parishes for such matters ought to serve as a guide to missions. “This zeal has always been a particular characteristic of Catholics, essentially distinguishing them from Protestants,” he asserted.26 On the other hand, while visiting a Canadian community on the Thames in 1816, Plessis noted that the chapel was “provided with decorations, linens, holy vessels, etc., and in this regard does honour to the zeal and piety of Mr Marchand,” the Canadian missionary who served it from Sandwich.27
Plessis was not blinded by forms and externals. He clearly noted that the faith of those served by the cassockless missionaries “is so lively as to surpass the imagination.”28 But he was the product of a church which, from simple beginnings, had evolved a highly structured and elaborate expression of the faith that reflected the increasing sophistication of Lower Canadian society. Educated in this form of expression, Plessis believed it to be the only proper one. In addition, following the views of the Council of Trent, he saw in the distinctive rules, forms, and ceremonies of the Church a means of distinguishing Catholics from Protestants, and in the imposition of them, as practised in the centre of the diocese, a way to graft the scattered and isolated congregations of the missions on to the main stock.
In Macdonell, Plessis believed that he had the energetic and able lieutenant necessary to impose his views on the Catholics of Upper Canada much better than he himself could from distant Quebec. He thus kept Macdonell informed of all his actions with the intention that, as vicar-general, Macdonell would supervise their execution. In March 1807, for example, he told Macdonell that he had sent to the missionary at St. Andrew’s, James Fitzsimmons, regulations that Denaut had given him in 1802 for the organization of Macdonell’s own mission of St. Raphael.29 Through “the negligence” of Fitzsimmons’s predecessor, the Scot Roderick Macdonell, the regulations had never been put into effect. After urging Fitzsimmons to introduce them immediately, Plessis ordered him to discontinue his practice of celebrating mass in private homes, “that practice being contrary to the common law of the Diocese.” He did authorize it, however, at a distance of more than six miles from the chapel, as a concession to frontier circumstances.30
The congregation at Kingston, because of the diverse origins of its members, required some modification of the standard rules for parish organization. Under Plessis’s orders the people there elected three wardens in 1807 to establish an inventory of the mission’s property and possessions, open an account book and baptismal, marriage, and burial registers (even though registers were not required by law in Upper Canada as they were in Lower Canada), and undertake a subscription campaign to finance construction of a church. The church was built under Macdonell’s supervision, but the mission did not progress as regularly as Plessis had hoped his regulations would enable it to. No doubt ethnic divisions among the Canadians, Scots, and Irish who composed the congregation and disruption caused by the War of 1812 – the church was commandeered for a barracks – account for the pitiful state in which Plessis found the mission on his pastoral visit of 1816. The church had “neither decorations nor sacristy” and the priest, having no presbytery, resided in rented lodgings several miles distant.31 Plessis immediately drew up new regulations which, although maintaining the Lower Canadian model of parish organization, authorized special dispositions to accommodate the ethnic diversity of the people. A “Fabrick” consisting of a Canadian, an Irish, and a Scottish elder was elected by the congregation under Plessis’s eye. The regulations stipulated that three more elders, one from each ethnic group, would be elected each year for the following four years after which time, as in Lower Canada, the actual and former elders would alone elect the new ones annually. All regulations governing the parish and the auctioning of pews were to be written in both English and French. Before leaving, Plessis regularized the use of the cemetery, in which Protestants as well as Catholics had been buried, and initiated proceedings for construction of a presbytery.32 However, when William Fraser became priest at Kingston about 1820, Plessis had again personally to write out regulations governing the administration of the parish. Macdonell ordered Fraser to conform to them “as far as circumstances would permit.”33
That little attention was paid to Plessis’s regulations seems clear, however. By 1823 Macdonell had distributed copies to the missionaries at Perth and Richmond, but he warned Plessis “that the whole of them could [not] be followed everywhere at least for some years.” He acknowledged, none the less, that they would “form an excellent basis or foundation for the regulations of all the Mission in the Upper Province.”34 In January 1825 as the congregation at York organized a parish council, Plessis informed one of its leaders, Jacques Baby, that “it would be impossible to give more detailed or better calculated rules, in my opinion, than those which I left with St. Isidore’s Church in Kingston when I passed through in 1816.” “However,” he added,
it would appear that they have not been considered in the least. The Scots are too much strangers to these sorts of things. The cruel persecutions under which they laboured for so long had driven from their view this external discipline and nearly reduced the entire practice of the faith to the administration of the sacraments and the word of God. Wardens, parish councils, decoration of the sacristy, decoration of the altar, are things unknown among them.35
The nature and extent of relations between Protestants and Catholics in Upper Canada provide further indication that Plessis was at least partially unsuccessful in his efforts to impose metropolitan rules and practices in the new colony. In Lower Canada Plessis pursued the traditional practice of the post-Conquest bishops of Quebec in attempting to separate Catholics from Protestants as much as possible in all matters, but particularly in religious affairs. He largely succeeded because the Canadians associated Protestantism with the “English” conqueror. In attempting to impose the same separation in Upper Canada, however, he encountered a very different reaction to Protestantism on the part of Scottish Catholics. In Scotland theological debate had not been characterized by the same bitterness resulting in widespread persecution (Plessis’s beliefs to the contrary, notwithstanding) that had been common elsewhere.36 Thus, in Upper Canada, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Scots could still see each other as fellow countrymen; indeed their relations were rendered closer by a common national tradition of resistance to domination by, once again, the English conqueror. The different reaction to Protestantism on the part of Scots and Canadians was due also to a considerable difference in the degree of social development in the two colonies. In the scattered settlements of Upper Canada social distinctions of all kinds were considerably less pronounced than in the more established society of Lower Canada. Thus the French missionary at Perth, Pierre-Jacques La Mothe, complained to Plessis in 1817 that in his mission “faithful and infidels, Protestants and Catholics, circumcized and uncircumcized are buried one beside the other by their respective ministers or by other persons who, without being such, perform the functions of them, in a wood open in all directions.”37
The difference in the religious composition of the populations of the two colonies forced Plessis to make some concessions to Upper Canada. The Catholics there being few in number, Plessis did not object to their receiving funds from Protestants for the construction of churches, particularly since Macdonell had, and was eager to use, excellent contacts among prospective Protestant donors. Plessis drew the line, however, at Catholic contributions to Protestant churches and at shared accommodations.38 Macdonell apparently objected to neither practice, remarking that cohabitation of churches was widely practised in Europe.39 Plessis retorted that Catholic use of Protestant churches was “as yet unprecedented in this Diocese” and argued that, in reconciling themselves to worship in Protestant churches, Catholics would “easily accustom themselves to considering the protestant service and the protestant clergy with the same eye as they do their own.”40
To impose Lower Canadian practices in Upper Canada Plessis counted in part on Canadian missionaries working there. The introduction of Canadian clergy into the province was not an easy task, however. They had to be fluent in English, but few Canadian ecclesiastics were interested in learning the language,41 and even they were helpless to serve the many Scots who spoke only Gaelic.42 Rémi Gaulin was the most satisfactory of such Canadian missionaries. He arrived in 1811 to assist Macdonell at Glengarry.43 In sending Gaulin, Plessis underlined that the young priest, one of his protégés, “desires to wear his ecclesiastical dress, and I fancy he may do so everywhere in Upper Canada, with the exception of a very few places.”44 Gaulin’s ‘desire’ was strongly encouraged by the bishop who, indeed, ordered him to “uphold as much as possible the wearing of the ecclesiastical robe” and to attach himself “ever more and more to maintaining the spirit of your state of which the robe is but a symbol.”45 In January Gaulin reported to Plessis:
I have not yet been obliged to leave my Cassock, and hope I shall never be. Mr McDonell thinks it Impossible to ride with it, but I will show his reverence that, we Canadian priests, are not so awkward in this habit, as the Irish and Scotch who can hardly even walk with it.46
In the same letter he told the bishop that Macdonell had ordered him to baptize a baby in a farm house because the child was sick and the farm at a distance from the church. Gaulin had complied, although reluctantly, “knowing that the regulations of this Diocese allow in Such Cases water only to be given,” but he asked for orders to guide his future conduct “for I think it is a practice here.”
Gaulin’s sojourn in Upper Canada ended in 1815 when he was posted to the Maritimes. Macdonell requested another bilingual Canadian priest, this time to take charge of the polyglot congregation at Kingston. In PierreJoseph Périnault he believed that Plessis had made “the judicious selection.” However, he advised the bishop,
well aware of the malice & antipathy of the Protestants, & the jealousy of our Govert against the Catholic Religion, I would advise Mr Périnault to be extremely circumspect in the discharge of his pastoral duties in his new Mission & to avoid as much of the exterior as may not be necessary nor essential if it be liable to atract [sic] too much attention or give offence.47
Périnault did not please as widely as had Gaulin, who was more fully bilingual. “Our dear Scots, Irish &c .. . are very polite, particularly towards me [and] very assiduous, most of them, in attending services, but in nothing else,” he wrote in January 1817. “If I speak to them of confession, or communion, it is always a ‘yes very soon,’ and in the end none come. I think most of them await the return of the Reverend Mr Alex. Macdonell [from a visit in Scotland]. They have such difficulty accepting a Canadian priest, notwithstanding they seem to appreciate me enormously.”48 For his part, Périnault was eager to get out. Having heard that Macdonell had found several Scottish school masters and priests willing to emigrate to Upper Canada, Périnault prayed that the rumour was true, persuaded that they would do more good than he could and that “by this means [I will be] reunited with your clergy of Lower Canada.”49
The insufficient numbers of diocesan clergy and the rarity of those willing and able to serve in Upper Canada obliged Plessis and Macdonell to use what foreign clergy came their way. Whether French, Irish, or Scottish, most of these priests contributed to confusion in pastoral work and diocesan discipline by introducing their national and religious traditions as well as their personal idiosyncrasies. Many foreign priests were rolling stones whom their former bishops had been relieved to see roll on and, in some cases, had pushed on.50 When possible (and it was rarely so) Plessis placed immigrant priests for a time as assistants with trusted Lower Canadian clergy, who introduced them to diocesan ways.51
Most, without such training, encountered ethnic animosity from at least part of their heterogeneous congregations in addition to strong reservations about their personal worth. Yet, for a certain number in every congregation these priests were preferable to no priest at all. The result of such an ambivalent encounter was a lack of commitment on both sides that was hardly conducive to a satisfactory pastoral relationship.
One such priest was the Irishman James Salmon, waylaid en route for Kentucky in late 1818 by Macdonell, who persuaded him to assist Périnault at Kingston. Périnault, however, jumped at the opportunity to abandon the mission to him and returned to Lower Canada. Salmon immediately foundered. “French Canadians will not come to hear him offer Mass, even on Sundays ... nor support the Church,” Macdonell reported to Plessis, adding that any priest at Kingston had to know French and “something of the Canadian character.”52 Problems of linguistic and cultural incompatibility did not exist only between Anglophones and Francophones. Plessis feared that at St. Andrew’s “as long as the pastor be an Irishman [Fitzsimmons] ... his Scotch flock will hardly agree with him.”53
For Plessis the ideal solution to the Church’s problems in Upper Canada was a clergy culturally compatible with the people but trained in diocesan ways. He had, therefore, readily agreed with Macdonell, soon after the latter’s arrival, that it was necessary to get Upper Canadian Scottish boys into the Lower Canadian colleges and seminaries. By 1815 some 15 of them were studying at Quebec, Montreal, and Nicolet at a cost to the diocese of some £ 700 – £ 800. The Sulpicians supported those in the Collège de Montréal, while the others were financed by Plessis in part with funds from the Société ecclésiastique Saint-Michel, a clerical mutual aid society of which Plessis was the president. His use of these funds to support “foreign” students was often criticized by the board of the society.54 However, Upper Canadian boys were poorly prepared intellectually and culturally to confront life in Lower Canadian colleges. The idea of establishing a preparatory school in Upper Canada seems never to have got off the ground,55 and in the end few Upper Canadians became priests to their people in this period.
Of those who did, some fulfilled Plessis’s expectations of them. Two such were the brothers John and Angus Macdonald. Capable of ministering in French when necessary, they even corresponded with Plessis, their former benefactor, in that language.56 Angus bombarded Plessis so frequently with questions on rules and discipline that the bishop was obliged to remind him that those were matters on which he should consult the vicar-general, and John “surrounded St. Raphael’s with a rigid discipline” according to the author William Perkins Bull.57 On the other hand, William Fraser, Salmon’s successor at Kingston, was incapable of ministering in French after two years in a Lower Canadian seminary and was accused of several breaches of diocesan discipline. Macdonell reluctantly assigned a French immigrant priest to assist him, and a scandalous conflict promptly erupted between the two.58
Plessis had initially appointed Macdonell vicar-general as a preliminary measure to dispose the British government favourably towards the creation in Upper Canada of “a distinct church from the see of Quebec,” with Macdonell as bishop.59 Macdonell, who secretly dreamed of creating a largely Scottish diocese in the province, happily promoted the idea with government officials. Much as Plessis did on behalf of the Canadian population of Lower Canada, Macdonell urged the Colonial Office to support the cultural cohesiveness of the Scottish Catholics. “Thus secured by the double barrier of their language [Gaelic] and religion,” he told the Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst, “they might for a long time stand proof against the contagious politics of their democratical [American] neighbours.”60
In 1816 Edmund Burke, negotiated, without Plessis’s knowledge, the erection of an apostolic vicariate of Nova Scotia completely independent of Quebec. The experience offended Plessis’s strong sense of organization and institutional development; he feared that the British government would profit from the weakness and isolation of such small units to divide and conquer the Church in the colonies. He preferred to have ordinary dioceses united in an ecclesiastical province under the leadership of an archbishop of Quebec.61 Macdonell did not view the matter in the same light. In 1816 he went to England with Plessis's blessing to negotiate with the British government a division of the diocese of Quebec. Unknown to Plessis, he urged Bathurst to create a "separate Spiritual Jurisdiction - or apostolic vicariates - for Upper Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (the erection of which into an apostolic vicariate had not yet been confirmed) with a priest named from Britain at the head of each. Although he acknowledged that Plessis was "a good man, an excellent Prelate, . . . sincerely attached to the British govert" and capable of making competent appointments, Macdonell suggested that the bishop would favour Canadians for the prelacy to the detriment of the government and Upper Canadian Catholics. The affirmation was unkind - Plessis had always had in mind Macdonell for Upper Canada and Angus Bernard MacEachern for New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island. In the end neither Plessis nor Macdonell got what he wanted; politics dictated a unique arrangement by which Plessis was named archbishop without an ecclesiastical province and Macdonell (Upper Canada), MacEachern (Prince Edward Island), Jean-Jacques Lartigue (Montréal), and Joseph-Norbert Provencher (Red River) episcopal vicars-general, suffragans of the archbishop of Quebec.62
Plessis consecrated Macdonell bishop of Rhesina on 31 Dec. 1820. Aware of his lack of resources, Macdonell apparently resigned himself to continued dependence on Plessis and Lower Canada, and in May 1822 he requested of Plessis “a priest reared under your own particular care who would act as vicar general in this District,” in part “because an uniformity in the external part of our holy Religion ought now to be introduced by degrees into this part of your Lordship [sic] Diocese & that can only be properly done by those who have been reared in the observance of the same in an early stage of life.”63 Plessis, of course, agreed and the task was imposed on a reluctant Antoine Manseau, a former secretary of the bishop.
If Macdonell accepted a gradual uniformization of practices on the Lower Canadian model, he expected in return to have a say in the direction of diocesan matters. On several occasions he suggested to Plessis
the idea of convening his vicars general & some of the most experienced, & judicious of his Clergy once a year for the purpose of devising & concerting the most efficatious [sic] measures for the advancement of our Holy Religion in these Provinces, because I am perfectly convinced that without unanimity of sentiments & perfect concert, we can never effectually resist the insidious machinations of our enemies.64
Plessis ignored the suggestions. The centre, in effect, refused to risk aganging up on it by the peripheries. It was not a consensus of minds and wills that Plessis sought, but an administrative mechanism to establish and maintain uniform adherence to religious practice in its most perfectly evolved form – that found in the Lower Canadian parishes.
One reason that Macdonell wanted to have a say in diocesan administration was to ensure that he would get the financial and material resources necessary to minister to the nearly 20,000 Catholics living in the upper province by 1821.65 In July 1822 he pleaded with Plessis for support:
Divine Providence has put more ample means in your power than perhaps any other Prelate in the Church of Christ has at this day at his command & has bestowed on you at the same time an enlarged mind and a great heart in proportion, add to this the opulency of your clergy & their generous and active zeal to promote Religion. Apply a small proportion of those means to this Province & the progress of Religion with the blessing of God will be beyond your most sanguine expectation.66
Desperately short of priests himself, hampered by the indifference if not hostility of his clergy and people towards the missions outside Lower Canada, deeply in debt and unable, even were he not, to meet the many financial demands on him “from Cape Breton to Red River,” Plessis could only attempt to reason with Macdonell and urge patience.67 But Macdonell, who had never been endowed with an abundance of patience, grew increasingly impatient. “If your Lordship has it not in Your own power to afford me the relief I stand so much in want of,” he wrote in April 1823, “I am sure you have too much zeal for the Glory of God & too much generosity of heart to prevent me from receiving it from other quarters that may be disposed to offer it.”68
By May 1822 Macdonell was taking the first steps to what he hoped would be an administrative separation of his charge from the Diocese of Quebec, and one year later he asserted flatly to Plessis, “with the powers of Vicar Apostolic I could procure more assistance from other quarters than I now receive.”69 Macdonell returned to Britain in 1823, and by June 1824 he had persuaded Bathurst to accept the establishment of an ordinary diocese for Upper Canada. Although he refused to recognize Plessis as an archbishop, Bathurst insisted, however, that Plessis remain Macdonell’s spiritual superior. Considering half a loaf better than none at all, Macdonell urged Plessis to accept the new arrangement, even without recognition as archbishop, promising to consider himself “as much under your control & authority as ever for ... your Lordship's authority has been always sweet & easy to me.”70
Sick and feeling old, Plessis reluctantly agreed officially to the arrangement, but he had strong reservations, rooted in his metropolitan view of the colonial Church. He expressed them fully to his representative in England, the vicar apostolic of London, William Poynter.
The Canadian missionaries, preferring to depend on the bishop of Quebec rather than on a foreigner, will naturally return to Lower Canada of which they are natives and where they received their education, and will leave vacant important missions that the new bishop will not know how to fill. He will be no further ahead with respect to the Scottish and Irish missions, because, having no seminary, or the wherewithall to establish one, he will be obliged to employ vagabond ecclesiastics, adventurers, subjects rejected by their bishops and good only for causing him trouble. Finally, if he were to die, as did the bishop of Sion [Edmund Burke, vicar apostolic of Nova Scotia] who would bother to find him a successor? The bishop of Quebec will no longer dare to intervene in a jurisdiction that will be foreign to him, and the people of Upper Canada will perhaps bemoan, as do now those of Nova Scotia, that they were separated from the Diocese of Quebec and deprived of the resources they drew from it to gratify the fantasy of an individual who will have believed he could find his happiness in an independent ministry. These are the reflexions that I would have put under the eyes of the Bishop of Rhesina if he had informed me of his project before seeking to execute it and if delicacy had not made me fear that he would attribute my observations to a desire to keep him subordinate to me, which I am far from desiring. The consequences of the new order of things would be less serious if I or my successors could exercize on the separated territory the rights of a metropolitan.71
Poynter found Plessis’s fears weighty, and contrary to Plessis’s wishes, communicated the reservations to the Vatican.72
During Macdonell’s absence Upper Canada was administered by Antoine Manseau. He made a pastoral trip through the province in 1823, reporting breaches of diocesan discipline under Macdonell’s administration but, with Plessis’s agreement, changing nothing. Even so, his visit aroused the susceptibilities of the Upper Canadians, who viewed it as ill-treatment of the absent bishop.73 To Manseau the archbishop expressed his disappointment with the turn of events. Macdonell would come back “with plans which will in all likelihood not correspond to my own,” he wrote. “As you observe so correctly, the same fate will await the rules I would give to York as those I had left in Kingston. All will be travestied into the Scottish manner.”74 When Macdonell finally left Rome in early 1826 it was in anger with Plessis for his having retarded, through the expression of his personal reservations, the realization of Macdonell’s plan. None the less, he had genuine affection and admiration for Plessis, and the news he received on his arrival, of the archbishop’s death in December 1825, left him “stunned and confounded.”75
Plessis’s death changed nothing of Macdonell’s situation, however. In theory Macdonell had created a diocese independent of that of Quebec; as bishop he was responsible directly to Rome. Shortly after his return he fulfilled one of Plessis’s prophecies by declaring that “no ordinances or regulations [being] yet established ... for the guidance of the clergy,” he would introduce the regulations of “the missions of Scotland.”76 He had laid the groundwork for clergy formation even before he left by establishing a seminary called Iona College in his presbytery in 1821. No longer would Upper Canadian boys have to study theology in Lower Canada.77
In Montreal, however, a forceful Jean-Jacques Lartigue, like Plessis before him, deplored Macdonell’s apparent success as “tending to make of our different episcopal districts so many isolated churches, without a point of union, without connection from one to the other.”78 In practice, however, the fledgling Diocese of Kingston would long remain dependent on the strength and resources of the metropolitan church. Plessis had accurately foreseen the problems that Macdonell would encounter. Immediately on his return Macdonell suggested to Plessis’s successor, Bernard-Claude Panet, that progress in Upper Canada would “be extremely slow . . . without assistance from Lower Canada,” and by the end of 1826 his frustration was already resurfacing. For twenty-two years he had struggled to fan the sparks of faith in Upper Canada, he complained, but “I am sorry to be obliged to observe that my feeble efforts never were seconded or supported as they ought as if [the salvation of] the souls of Irishmen and Scotchmen and other inhabitants of these woods ... [were] not . . . of the same consequence with that of their more fortunate fellow Christians of the plains and cities.”79 Macdonell’s was the frontier’s cry of neglect, addressed to the metropolis on which, despite itself, it was dependent.
As Plessis had also foreseen, Macdonell encountered difficulty finding a coadjutor to ensure his succession. His efforts in Britain being ultimately frustrated, Macdonell was refused by three Lower Canadian priests (two Anglophones and a Sulpician) before Rémi Gaulin, Plessis’s former protégé, finally accepted the post in 1833. Gaulin had been recommended by Lartigue, who saw in Macdonell’s dilemma “a favourable opportunity to introduce [into Upper Canada] a succession of Canadian bishops who will re-establish there, the discipline in effect in our province.”80 Gaulin did indeed reinforce Lower Canadian influence in the Diocese of Kingston as did his successor, Patrick Phelan, an Irishman by birth but a priest trained by the Sulpicians of Montreal.81 The source of Lower Canadian influence in the new diocese was no longer Quebec, which officially became an archbishopric in 1844, but rather the natural metropolis of Upper Canada, Montreal. This influence would reach its zenith under Lartigue’s powerful successor, Ignace Bourget, the driving force behind the Church in the Canadas down to the 1870s.82
The relations between the hierarchy in Lower Canada and the clergy and people in Upper Canada in the first quarter of the nineteenth century constitute a case study in metropolitan-frontier confrontation. They also represent an interesting study in the relations between culture and metropolitanism. Joseph-Octave Plessis, the Canadian bishop of Quebec, represented the influence of the centre and, through his administration, the efforts of a metropolis of French language and culture to impose its values on a hinterland of a very different social and cultural complexion. Because of those differences, and notwithstanding the real cultural openness of the bishop, the metropolis met with resistance and rejection, and Plessis was frustrated in his metropolitan design. The resistance of the Upper Canadian Church was personified in Alexander Macdonell, the Scot who claimed for it a right to develop its own religious culture. Once Macdonell believed that he could no longer count on the metropolis to sustain the material growth of his Church, he sought the freedom to develop that Church and its culture in the direction that he felt they should take. He used two other metropolises, London and Rome, as counterweights and levers to pry himself and his Church from subordination to that of Lower Canada. London and Rome, however, were distant and their influence in reality so slight that the freedom they gave to Macdonell and the Church in Upper Canada was relative indeed. Macdonell, too, was frustrated in his design. Both Plessis and Macdonell were more open to the secular and religious culture of the other than the societies they represented. Yet both, too, were so firmly (and to some extent unconsciously) anchored in their culture, and their culture itself was so thoroughly implanted in their respective Churches, that the tensions normally present in the relations between a metropolis and its hinterland could not help but be aggravated by their cultural commitments. In the end, the overwhelming strength of the long-developed Church in Lower Canada allowed it to retain a strong administrative presence in the autonomous Church in Upper Canada. As the nineteenth century advanced and the population of Irish and Scottish origins increased, however, that presence and the French-Canadian culture that it represented would be beaten back and even thrown on the defensive.
Note Original French quotations
6. «Il s’agit de catholiques, nos frères, étrangers dans ce pays où ils ont été amenés sur des rapports trop avantageux.»
8. «Les brebis éloignées ont pour moi je ne sais quel attrait que je ne sens pas également pour celles qui sont sous mes yeux. Aparemment il y a plus de bien à faire avec celles-ci. J’aime à voir des prêtres partager cette sollicitude.»
10. «C’est un jeune homme au dessous de 40 ans qui annonce de la santé et de la bonne humeur.»
11. «Il est homme de bien, zélé, pour la propagation de la foi, obéissant, charitable, désintéressé, capable de faire des établissements solides, calculant ses plans d'éducation Religieuse et prenant les vrais moyens de les faire réussir.»
14. «On sait que les habitants qui quittent un pays où l’industrie trouve des ressources, pour s’établir ailleurs, ne sont pas ordinairement ce qu’il y a de plus vertueux et de plus recommandable.»
15. «plus occupés de gagner l’argent que d’opérer leur salut.»
16. «car, en vérité, depuis [...] Kingston, nous n’en avions guère rencontré.»
17. «que dans aucun des endroits du diocèse qui ont des prêtres résidents»; «et par des promenades nocturnes sans précaution de la part des parents, dont on aurait peine à concevoir une idée dans les paroisses du Bas-Canada.»
18. «Tout est ici en miniature, excepté l’irreligion et le libertinage, qui s’y montre en grand.»
24. «il est presque impossible de leur faire entendre que le respect dû à la religion dans un diocèse où elle est entièrement libre, exigerait de leur part un peu plus de décense extérieure.»
25. «Ce zèle a toujours été le caractère propre des Catholiques, qui les distingue essentiellement des protestants.»
27. «est d’une vivacité qui surpasse l’imagination.»
33. «il serait impossible de donner des règlements plus détaillés et mieux calculés, à mon avis, que ceux que j’avais laissés à l’Église de S. Isidore de Kingston, lors de mon passage en 1816. Cependant il parait que l’on en a nullement tenu compte. Les Écossais sont trops étrangers à ces sortes de matières. Les cruelles persécutions sous lesquelles ils ont longtemps gémi leur ont fait perdre de vue cette discipline extérieure et réduire presque tout le culte à l’administration des Sacrements & de la parole de Dieu. Marguilliers, Fabrique, ornements de sacristie, décoration d’autel, sont des choses inconnues chez eux.»
35. «Aujourd’hui fidèles et infidèles, Protestants et Catholiques, circoncis et incirconcis sont enterrés côte-à-côte par leurs Ministres Respectifs ou autres personnes qui sans l’être en font les fonctions dans un bois ouvert de tous côtés.»
42. «Conservez autant que vous pourrez l’usage de l’habit ecclésiastique. Attachez-vous encore davantage à conserver l’esprit de votre état dont l’habit n’est que le symbole.»
46. «Nos chers Écossais, irlandais & [...] Sont fort polis surtout à mon Égard, fort assidus Pour la Pluspart, aux Offices, mais Rien de Plus. [...] Si Je Leur Parle de Confession, De Communion, c’est Toujours un yes very soon, & au Bout du Compte Rien ne vient. Je crois que La Plus grande Partie attend Le Retour Du RevdMrAlex. Mcdonell, ils ont Tant de Peine à se faire à un Prêtre Canadien, malgré qu’ils Paraissent m’estimer infiniment.»
69. «Les Missionnaires Canadiens aimant mieux dépendre de l’Évêque de Québec que d’un étranger, reviendront naturellement dans le Bas-Canada d’où ils sont natifs & où ils ont pris leur éducation & laisseront vaquer des missions importantes que le nouvel Ordinaire ne saura comment remplir. Il ne sera pas moins embarassé des Missions Écossaises & Irlandaises, car n’ayant pas de Séminaire ni de moyens d’en établir, il sera réduit à employer des Ecclésiastiques vagabonds, des aventuriers, des sujets rebutés par leurs Évêques & qui ne seront propres qu’à lui donner du déboire. Enfin s’il vient à mourir, comme a fait l’évêque de Sion, qui s’intéressera à lui procurer un Successeur? L’Évêque de Québec n’osera plus interférer dans un territoire qui lui sera devenu étranger, & le peuple du Haut Canada aura peut-être à gémir, comme fait maintenant celui de la Nelle Écosse, d’avoir été séparé du Diocèse de Québec & privé des ressources qu’il en tirait pour gratifier la fantaisie d'un individu qui aura cru trouver son bonheur dans un ministère indépendant. Voilà des réflexions que j’aurais mises sous les yeux de l’Év. de Rhésine, s'il m'avait fait part de son projet avant de chercher à le mettre à exécution & si la délicatesse ne m’eut fait craindre qu’il n’attribuât mes observations au désir de le garder sous ma dépendance, chose dont je suis fort éloigné. Les conséquences du nouvel ordre de choses seraient moins fâcheuses, si moi ou mes successeurs pouvions exercer sur ce démembrement les droits de Métropolitain.»
72. «avec des plans qui vraisemblablement ne rencontreront pas les miens. Il en sera, comme vous l’observez très bien, des règlements que je donnerais à York, comme de ceux que j’avais laissés à Kingston. Tout sera travesti à l’Écossaise.»
76. «tend à faire de nos différents districts épiscopaux autant d’églises isolées, sans point d’union, sans rapport les unes aux autres.»
78. «l’occasion favorable pour y introduire une succession d’évêques qui puissent y rétablir la discipline en vigueur dans notre province.»
*The author would like to thank Professor Jean Hamelin of the Department of History, Université Laval, for his comments on an earlier version of this paper and for his encouragement to present it.
2Fernand Dumont, “Transformations within the religious culture of Francophone Quebec,” Association for Canadian Studies, Religion/Culture: comparative Canadian studies, William Westfall, et al, eds., 7(1985) : 23.
3Ibid., cited p. 27.
4See the biographies of both bishops in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume II.
5For more information on Plessis and a fuller account of his episcopacy, see James H. Lambert, “"Monseigneur, the Catholic bishop: Joseph-Octave Plessis; church, state, and society in Lower Canada: historiography and analysis” (D. ès L. thesis, Université Laval, 1981; see also my biography of Plessis in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (10 volumes to date, Toronto and Buffalo, 1965- ), VI: 586-599.
6Archives of the Archbishop's House, Westminster, London, England (AHWL), Gradwell Papers, B3, Gradwell to Poynter, 19 Feb./20. Cited in Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 1002.
7Lambert, “"Plessis,” p. 663.
8Quebec Mercury, 26 July 1825, cited in Lambert, "Plessis," p. 374.
9Archives de L’Archevêché de Quebec (AAQ), 210 A, 8: 383. Plessis to Perinault, 6 Nov./15.
10J.-O. Plessis, “Journal de deux voyages apostoliques dans le Golfe Saint-Laurent et les provinces d’en bas en 1811 et 1812 par Mgr Joseph Octave Plessis, Eveque de Quebec,” Le Foyer canadien, 3 (1865): 151-52, cited in Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 566.
11AAQ, 22A, 6: 3. 15 Oct./04.
12AAQ, 210A, 9: 19. Plessis to Cardinal Litta, 15 Oct./16, cited in Lambert, “Plessis,” pp. 976-77. Ibid., 8: 518. Plessis to Macdonell, 27 April 1816. For Macdonell’s view of Plessis, see AHWL, Poynter Papers, VI, B4, Box A65a, 24 June 1819. Cited in Lambert, “Plessis,”, p. 398, and H.J. Somers, The life and times of the Hon. and Rt. Rev. Alexander Macdonell. D.D.. first bishop of Upper Canada. 1762-1840 (Washington, 1931), pp. 73-75.
13Re Plessis’s metropolitan attitudes while on pastoral visits outside Lower Canada, see also Cyril Byrne, “The Maritime visits of Joseph-Octave Plessis, bishop of Quebec,” Nova Scotia Historical Society Collections, 39 (1977): 23-47.
14Plessis, Journal des visites pastorales de 1815 et 1816 par Monseigneur Joseph-Octave Plessis, évêque de Québec (Quebec, 1903), 1816: 10.
15Ibid. p. 16.
16Ibid. pp. 15-16,
17Ibid. pp. 25-37.
18Ibid., pp. 44-45.
19Ibid., p. 51. Cited in Somers, p. 68, and Robert Choquette, L’Église catholique dans l’Ontario français du dix-neuvième siècle (Ottawa, 1984), p. 32.
20Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 698.
21Plessis, Journal, 1816: 72.
22AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 17, 21-22, 55; 210A, 8: 344-45; Choquette, L’Église catholique, p. 45.
23AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 22, 31-32; Choquette, L’Église catholique, p. 45.
24Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 379.
25Plessis, Journal, 1812: 203-4, cited in Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 381.
26AAQ, 210A, 8: 220. Plessis to Macdonell, 17 Aug. 1814, cited in Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 382.
27Plessis. Journal, 1816: 57.
28Plessis, Journal, 1812: 203-5.
29AAQ, 210A, 7: 258, Plessis to Macdonell, 15 March/07.
30Ibid., 7: 255, 258. Plessis to Fitzsimmons, 13 March 1807; Plessis to Macdonell, 15 March 1807.
31Plessis, Journal, 1816: 17-18.
32Archives of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Instructions, dated 3 June 1816; AAQ, 210A, 11: 322; Plessis, Journal, 1816: 18.
33AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 80. Instructions for Fraser included in letter from Macdonell to Plessis, 28 Feb./24.
35AAQ, 210A, 12: 226. Plessis to Baby, 9 April 1825.
36W.S. Reid, “The Scottish background,” in The Scottish tradition in Canada, W.S. Reid, ed. (Toronto, 1976), p. 5.
37AAQ, 320 CN, 1: 36. La Mothe to Plessis, 11 Sept. 1817.
38AAQ, 210A, 10: 254-55. Plessis to William Fraser, 3 Sept./21 7: 259. Plessis to Macdonell, 15 March/07.
39Ibid., 320 CN, 3: 28. Macdonell to Plessis, 26 June/13.
40Ibid., 8: 86. Plessis to Macdonell, 15 July/13. See also ibid., 8: 81 Plessis to Gaulin, 5 July/13; ibid., 320 CN, 1: 21. Gaulin to Plessis, 28 July/13; see also Plessis, Journal, 1816: 65-66.
41Lambert, “Plessis,” p. 567.
42AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 31. Macdonell to Plessis, 6 May 1814.
43AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 25. Macdonell to Plessis, 21 Dec. 1811.
44L.J. Flynn, The story of the Roman Catholic Church in Kingston, 1826-1976 ([Kingston], 1976), p. 26.
45AAQ. 210A, 8: 382. Plessis to Gaulin, I Feb. 1812.
46Ibid., 320 CN, 3: 26. Gaulin to Plessis. 10 Jan. 1812. Original in English.
47Ibid., 3: 38. Macdonell to Plessis, 23 Nov. 1815.
48Ibid., 1: 28. Périnault to Roux, 8 Jan. 1817.
49Ibid., 1: 31 a, 39. Périnault to Plessis, 2 June. 10 Nov. 1817.
50Choquette, L’Église catholique, p. 57.
51AAQ, 210A, 10: 16-17, 44. Plessis to Macdonell, 19 June, 27 Oct. 1819
52Ibid., 3: 52; Flynn, Story of the Roman Catholic Church, p. 16.
53AAQ, 210A, 7: 258. Plessis to Macdonell, 15 March 1807.
54Ibid., 320 CN, 3: 9, 10, 21, 22, 30, 68, 72. Macdonell to Plessis, 3, 10 Feb. 1806, 19 Nov. 1808, Feb. 1814, 6 July 1822, April 1823; 210A, 7: 63, 8: 196, 10: 432. Plessis to Macdonell, 7 Feb. 1806, 28 May 1814, 5 Aug. 1822; Lambert, “Plessis,” pp. 499-567.
55AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 17, 22, 31. Macdonell to Plessis, 8 Aug. 1807, 20 Feb. 1810, 6 May 1814.
56Ibid., 3: 73, 75. John Macdonald to Plessis, 23 April 1823; Angus Macdonald to Plessis, 8 Oct. 1823.
57Ibid., 210A, 11: 387. Plessis to Angus Macdonald, 18 Dec. 1823; William Perkins Bull, From Macdonell to McGuigan: the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada (Toronto, 1939), pp. 89-90.
58Ibid., 10: 435; 11: 266. Plessis to Fraser, 6 Aug. 1822, 30 Aug. 1823; 320 CN, 1: 55, 61, 64. Fraser to Plessis, 10 July 1822; Michel Robert to Plessis, 1: 61, 64.
59Ibid., 210A, 7: 256. Plessis to Macdonell, 15 March 1807.
60J.E. Rea, Bishop Alexander Macdonell and the politics of Upper Canada (Toronto, 1974). pp. 25. 29-30. 42.
61Lucien Lemieux, L'établissement de la première province ecclésiastique au Canada (Montréal, 1968), pp. 97-98.
62Ibid., chapter 3
63AAQ. 320 CN, 3: 67. Macdonell to Plessis, 23 May 1822.
64Ibid., 3: 9: Macdonell to Panet, 2 April 1826:3: 65, 66. Macdonell to Plessis. 16 Nov., 6 Dec. 1821: ibid., 210A, 10: 322-23. Plessis to Macdonell. 3 Dec. 1821: Lambert. “Plessis,” pp. 1034-35.
65Choquette, L’Église catholique. p. 56: see also R. MacLean, “The Highland Catholic tradition in Canada.” The Scottish tradition in Canada, p. 98: AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 60. Macdonell to Plessis, 18 Sept. 1820.
66AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 68. Macdonell to Plessis, 6 July 1822.
67Ibid., 210A, 10: 409. 432: 11: 95-96. 158. Plessis to Macdonell. 23 May 1822, 5 Aug. 1822: Plessis to William Fraser, 12 Jan. 1823: Plessis to John Macdonald. 1 April 1823: 320 CN, 1: 54. William Fraser to Plessis, 10 Nov. 1821; 3L 71 John Macdonald to Plessis, 24 March 1823.
68Ibid., 320 CN, 3: 72. Macdonell to Plessis, April 1823.
69AAQ, 320 CN, 3: 67, 68, 72. Macdonell to Plessis, 23 May, 6 July 1823, April 1823; 210A, 10: 410, 434. Plessis to Macdonell, 23 May, 5 Aug. 1822; Lambert, “Plessis,” pp. 1152-53.
70Ibid., 320 CN, 3: 83. Macdonell to Plessis, 9 June 1824.
71Ibid., 210A, 12: 124-25. Plessis to Poynter, 20 Oct. 1824.
72Ibid., 12: 125-26, 215-26, 247. Plessis to Poynter, 29 Oct. 1824, March 1825; Lambert, “Plessis,” pp. 1152-53; Lemieux, L’établissement, pp. 229-32.
73AAQ, 210A, 11: 322. Plessis to Manseau, 13 Oct. 1823; ibid., 320 CN, 3: 77. O’Meara to Plessis, 16 Nov. 1823.
74Ibid., 210A, 12: 208. Plessis to Manseau. 20 March 1825.
75AHWL, Box A65a, VI B4. Macdonell to Poynter, 10 June 1826.
76Bull, From Macdonell to McGuigan, p. 107.
77Choquette, L’Église catholique, p. 45.
78Ibid., pp. 39-40.
79Somer, Macdonell, p. 87.
80Choquette, L’Église catholique, p. 47.
81See the biography of each in Volume VIII of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto, 1985).
82See Léon Pouliot, Monseigneur Bourget et son temps (4 vols., Montréal, 1955-1976), 2: 239-264.