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Title: McGill and its Story, 1821-1921
Author: MacMillan, Cyrus, 1880-1953
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "McGill and its Story, 1821-1921" ***

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[Illustration: _James McGill_


_Founder of McGill College_]

STORY 1821-1921





Copyright, 1921, by JOHN LANE


    WHO FELL IN THE WAR 1914-1918

    We who remain shall grow old,
    We shall feel the snows of cheerless winter;
    But you shall be forever young,
    With you it shall be forever spring,
    Where you wander through the willows
    Of the valley in your West.


The following pages give in general outline the century story of McGill
University. They have no pretension to the title of detailed History,
for it has been possible to chronicle only the circumstances which
shaped the University in its infancy and the important events of its
succeeding years. The story is one of struggle and disappointment, of
discouragement and controversy, and of ultimate success and triumph. The
men who made McGill were men of far and clear vision, of unfaltering
courage and unwavering faith. They never doubted the final breaking of
the clouds; they were baffled only to fight better in their forward
march on behalf of national enlightenment. They believed in the future
greatness of Canada, and of the place of education in moulding their
country's destiny. The students of to-day who enjoy the advantages of a
great seat of learning are not always conscious of the toil and the
anxiety, the weariness and the fret of their College's early years; they
perhaps do not always appreciate their glorious heritage and the efforts
and the sacrifices of those who scorned delights and lived laborious
days in order to leave that heritage behind. The author's hope is that
the story of struggle herein recorded may deepen our gratitude for our
privileges, and our reverence for McGill and the men who made it.

It has been impossible here to enter into minute details of
organization or administration or personnel. The book is a story of
epochs rather than of individuals,--but epochs in which the sign posts
ever pointed onward. Biographical material has, therefore, been reduced
to a minimum and no attempt has been made to give names or notices of
Professors, many of whom, the writer is well aware, should otherwise
receive appreciative reference as among the makers of McGill. With the
exception of the portrait of the present Principal, too, the photographs
include of necessity only those who are already numbered with the
University's past.

The writer's deepest thanks are here expressed to those without whose
assistance this story could not have been told. He is grateful to
Professor Stephen Leacock for advice and encouragement; to the
Principal, the Governors, and the Secretary of McGill, Mr. A. P. S.
Glassco (Science, 1901), for permission to examine letters and minutes;
to Dr. J. A. Nicholson, (Arts, 1887) for his valuable aid in locating
and obtaining access to documents; to the staff of the Redpath Library,
especially Miss D. A. Lomer, for their unfailing and patient help in the
search for records; to Mr. J. W. Jeakins, Secretary of the Graduates'
Society, and to Mr. E. Ardley of the Redpath Museum for kind assistance;
to the attendants in Archives for many courtesies; to George B. Fraser,
Esq., for permission to photograph prints; to the late Rev. Dr. Robert
Campbell whose knowledge and memory of old Montreal was wide and vivid;
and particularly to John Lane, Esq., of the Bodley Head for his personal
interest and experienced advice in the preparation of this volume.

Since the information concerning the ancestry of James McGill is at
present meagre, I should be glad if any reader possessing information as
to his ancestry and early career would communicate with me in Canada, or
with my publisher, Mr. John Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd., Vigo Street,
London, England, so that this section of the book may be amplified in
future editions.

C. M.

 July, 1921.


  CHAPTER                                                       PAGE


    II. THE DAWN OF MCGILL                                        29

   III. DELAY AND DIFFICULTY                                      44

    IV. THE COLLEGE OPENED                                        73

     V. ANXIOUS YEARS                                            102


   VII. THE STRUGGLE FOR EXISTENCE                               184

  VIII. COLLEGE LIFE IN MID-CENTURY                              212


     X. HIGHER EDUCATION FOR WOMEN                               248

    XI. THE LARGER MCGILL OF OUR DAY                             256

        EPILOGUE                                                 271

        APPENDIX A. (THE WILL OF JAMES MCGILL)                   277

        APPENDIX B. (THE CHARTER)                                281

        APPENDIX C. (THE DAWSON MEMORIAL ADDRESS)                291



JAMES MCGILL, FOUNDER                               _Frontispiece_
  _From painting attributed to Gilbert Stuart_

                                                      FACING PAGE

MONTREAL IN THE DAYS OF JAMES MCGILL                           32
  _From a print in the collection of Sir Frederick
  Williams Taylor_


THE REV. DR. G. J. MOUNTAIN, PRINCIPAL 1823-1835               74

  _Copy by R. Harris of painting destroyed in fire at Medical
  Building. Artist unknown._

THE REV. JOHN BETHUNE, ACTING PRINCIPAL 1835-1846             102

PLAN OF MCGILL GROUNDS                                        118

PROPOSED ORIGINAL BUILDING                                    134
  _H. B. Parry, Architect_

  _From a painting by Wyatt Eaton_

E. A. MEREDITH, PRINCIPAL 1846-1851                           184

MCGILL IN 1855                                                212

SIR WILLIAM DAWSON, PRINCIPAL 1855-1893                       222
  _From a painting by Wyatt Eaton_

WILLIAM MOLSON                                                232
  _From a painting by John Phillips_, 1861

PETER REDPATH                                                 236
  _From a painting by Robert Harris_

SIR WILLIAM MACDONALD                                         238

SIR WILLIAM PETERSON, PRINCIPAL 1895-1919                     240

JOHN H. R. MOLSON                                             244


PERCIVAL MOLSON                                               252

LORD STRATHCONA                                               254

DR. CHARLES E. MOYSE, VICE-PRINCIPAL 1903-1920                258

SIR ARTHUR CURRIE, PRINCIPAL 1920-                            266

DR. FRANK D. ADAMS, VICE-PRINCIPAL 1920-                      268

MCGILL IN 1921                                                272

_The photographs from which the prints were made are the
work of Norman and of the Rice Studios._




The Charter under which McGill University was established, was obtained
on March 31st, 1821. The century mark in the University's history has
now been passed. One hundred years is a long period in the life of a
nation or a country; it is a longer period still in the life of an
individual; but it is perhaps longest relatively in the life of an
educational institution, particularly if that institution had its birth
in struggling pioneer days. It is a period in university life which
sees, as a rule, an undreamed of growth and development from small
beginnings to unlimited influence, from scanty resources and great
disappointments to a large if not always adequate endowment and
equipment, from a merely local service to a national and even a world
educational power. This is distinctly true of the century of McGill
University's story. It began as a College, intended to minister to a
very small community. It has grown in one hundred years to serve the
world. It has graduated over twenty-five hundred Bachelors, over
thirty-three hundred Doctors of Medicine, over nineteen hundred
Engineers, over eight hundred Lawyers besides holders of higher or
graduate degrees; it has given hundreds of graduates to high positions
in the Church, the State, and industrial and educational institutions.
It has drawn its students from all lands, and it has sent its products
in trained men and women into every country on the globe. Long ago it
divested itself of the merely local, and to-day the old term, _Studium
Generale_, used in the middle ages to designate a University, may well
be applied to McGill,--"a School where students of all kinds and from
all parts are received."

The establishment of McGill University was but part of a more
comprehensive plan to improve educational conditions in Canada in the
beginning of the 19th century. After the peace treaty of 1763, which
ended the Seven Years' War and gave Canada to the British, immigration
to the colony was comparatively small, and little effort was made by the
Home Government to provide educational opportunities for the children of
those who sought happiness or fortune in the new land beyond the ocean.
Indeed, in that time the authorities were too busy trying to solve
difficult problems at home to devote much energy to the internal
problems of the colony. They had no time and perhaps they had even less
care for their colonists. The treaty of 1763 had not brought peace. The
advocacy for political change was causing deep anxiety and the new
radicalism under the plea for the new democracy was making a slow but
steady advance which troubled the statesmen of the age. Then came in
quick succession the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the
Peninsular War, all of which absorbed the attention of the Home
Government. By her steadfast attitude in 1776, Canada had proved her
right to expect and to receive sympathetic attention and encouragement
from the Home Government, but it is perhaps not to be wondered at that
in the circumstances of the troubled period the educational advancement
of Lower Canada was neglected or ignored, and that educational
opportunities were practically non-existent.

In other parts of Canada education seems to have received more
sympathetic interest. Particularly in the Maritime Provinces good
schools had been established, largely, however, through the efforts of
the colonists themselves. A new impetus was given to education by the
arrival of many settlers from the United States during and after the
Revolution. These settlers had enjoyed in New England excellent
educational advantages; they had lived close to great universities with
their beneficent influence, the Universities of Harvard and Yale, of
Williams and Dartmouth and Brown, and they determined to establish in
their new home the educational facilities which they had already enjoyed
in another land. It was felt in Lower Canada that similar opportunities
should be speedily provided for the English-speaking children of the
country. The majority of settlers in Lower Canada were of Scottish
origin. They were largely soldiers or the descendants of soldiers who
had fought in the Highland Regiments during the campaign of 1759, and
who after the Treaty of Paris in 1763 had taken up the land assigned to
them by the Crown. Many of these soldiers, too, later became fur-traders
and entered the service of the North-West Company. These settlers were
all eager that their children should have at least an elementary
education. It was felt, too, that in the unrest and the uncertainty of
the period immediately following the American Revolution it was not
advisable to send students in search of higher professional training to
the universities of the United States, which in the days of their
British allegiance had attracted Canadian students in large numbers. But
above all, the settlers realised the necessity for the establishment of
schools in which the children of the French-Canadians should be taught
English. It was declared that from the national point of view such
training would have a far-reaching influence on the future of Canada as
an integral part of the British Empire, and that without such
instruction, which would result in a bond of language, Canada could
never be a united land.

Efforts were accordingly made to establish a system of free schools,
with the hope that later a university might be founded. As early as 1787
the matter received the serious consideration of the Legislative
Council, and a scheme of education in the Province was actually
prepared. But the scheme met with vigorous and determined opposition
from one section of the community and it was in the end abandoned by the
authorities after a somewhat bitter controversy. Some years passed
without further action. In 1797 General Simcoe, the first Governor of
Upper Canada, and his Executive Council decided to establish a Seminary
for higher learning in that Province. They invited Mr. Strachan, a
graduate of St. Andrews' University, Scotland, to organise the College
but before he arrived in Canada General Simcoe was removed from office
and the establishment of the proposed university was long delayed. The
plans of Upper Canada in 1797 to establish a university, although their
fulfilment was long postponed, inspired the people of Lower Canada to
greater efforts on behalf of education. They continued their agitation,
but their efforts had little immediate success. The conditions in Lower
Canada were earnestly and anxiously set forth in the following appeal
made to the Governor-General, Sir R. S. Milnes, by the Rev. Dr. Jacob
Mountain, Lord Bishop of Quebec, on October 19th, 1799:

"There is so intimate and obvious a connection between the education of
youth and the general state of public morals, that I trust I shall not
be thought to deviate from the duties that are more particularly
assigned to me, if I presume to solicit your Excellency's attention to
the disadvantages under which the Province has long laboured from the
want of proper schools for the instruction of the children both of the
higher and of the lower orders of the community.

"In doing this, it is by no means my intention to enter into the
examination of these disadvantages so far as they are common to us with
every other society which is without proper institutions for the
education of youth; I shall take the liberty of mentioning such only as
appear to be in a great measure peculiar to ourselves.

"Let me be permitted, then, to suggest the danger which may result to
the political principles and to the future character as subjects of such
of our young men among the higher ranks as the exigency of the case
obliges their parents to send for a classical education to the colleges
of the United States.

"In these Seminaries, most assuredly, they are not likely to imbibe that
attachment to our constitution in Church and State, that veneration for
the Government of their country, and that loyalty to their King, to
which it is so peculiarly necessary in the present times to give all the
advantage of early predilection in order to fix them deeply both in the
understanding and the heart.

"To obviate this danger, it would seem expedient to found at least one
good Grammar School in this Province and to invite able Masters from
England by the liberality of the endowment.

"It may not be improper to state here that there is already at Quebec a
respectable school, which offers the means of instruction to those who
are designed for the more accurate professions, or for the pursuits of
Trade and Commerce in which, together with the lower branches of
education, are taught the Latin language, Mathematics, and Navigation,
by a master well qualified for the task he has undertaken. I would wish
to suggest the expediency of insuring the continuance of this advantage
(which has not hitherto been duly appreciated) by some mark of the
protection of the Government.

"But it is not only good Grammar Schools for the education of such young
men as are designed for the learned Professions or who from their rank
in society may hereafter fill situations of great political importance
in the Province that are wanted; a more humble but a not less important
branch of the community seems to call also for your Excellency's
benevolent attention.

"It is well known that the lower orders of the people in this Province
are for the most part deplorably ignorant; that the very slender
portion of instruction which their children obtain is almost entirely
confined amongst those, who do not live in the Towns, to the girls
alone; and more especially, it is notorious that they have hitherto made
no progress towards the attainment of the language of the country under
which government they have the happiness to live.

"This total ignorance of the English language on the part of the
Canadians draws a distinct line of demarcation between them and His
Majesty's British subjects in this Province, injurious to the welfare
and happiness of both; and continues to divide into two separate peoples
those, who by their situation, their common interests and their equal
participation of the same laws and the same form of Government, should
naturally form but one.

"If the evils are confessedly great which arise from this want of a
community of language, it should seem expedient to endeavour to provide
an immediate remedy for the defect, and it should also seem that this
can only be done by facilitating as much as possible the means of
acquiring the English language to the children of the Canadians.

"The plan which I would beg leave to submit for this purpose is simple
and I trust practicable. Its aim may appear to be humble, but its
effects, I am persuaded, would be in a high degree beneficial and

"It is briefly this:--that a certain number of English School Masters,
to be hereafter determined, should be employed and paid by the
Government; that one of these should be placed in each of the cities and
towns, and in the most considerable villages for the purposes and under
the express obligation of teaching the English language _gratis_ to a
certain number of the Canadian children, and writing and arithmetic when
required, at an easy rate; that Trustees or Commissioners should be
appointed to manage the fund which the Government in its bounty may see
fit to appropriate to the end, to determine the number of Masters that
may be required, their respective salaries, and the number of children
they shall respectively teach _gratis_, to fix the rate at which Writing
and Arithmetic shall be taught on, and to have the power of removing the
Masters for incapacity or neglect of duty, and of promoting them
successively to the more lucrative situations for able and meritorious

"I would barely hint, by way of a leading idea upon this subject, that
the salaries might perhaps extend from £20 to £60 per annum according to
the number of inhabitants in the Village, Town, or City in which the
Teacher should be placed, and that it might perhaps not improperly be a
condition that he who received a payment of £20, should be obliged to
teach English _gratis_ to _ten_ Canadian children, he who received £30
to fifteen children, and so on in proportion.

"The importance and extent of this subject demand, I am well aware, more
local information and better judgment than I have been able to apply to
it;--I presume only to suggest it as an object not unworthy of immediate
consideration to your Excellency's superior wisdom."

This appeal was submitted by the Governor-General to the Executive
Council of Lower Canada and was approved by that body. It was then
forwarded to the Colonial Office for further consideration. As a
result, on July 12th, 1800, the Duke of Portland, sent to the
Lieutenant-Governor a long despatch from which the following extracts
indicate that the Home Government sympathised with the Lord Bishop's

"With respect to making a suitable provision for the education of youth
in Lower Canada, and more particularly for laying a foundation for
teaching the English tongue generally throughout the Province, I not
only fully coincide with the sentiments expressed by the Bishop of
Quebec and concurred in by the Executive Council on this point, but I am
of opinion that the proposed Free Schools for this purpose should be
established under the express condition of teaching the English language
_gratis_ to the children of His Majesty's subjects resident within the
district for which such schools are established, without any limitation
as to the number of such children.

"The Master should certainly be authorised to make a reasonable demand
for teaching Writing and Arithmetic or, what would be still better, the
terms may be settled from time to time by the Trustees or Governors of
such Free Schools in the appointing of which it is His Majesty's
pleasure that the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or person
administrating the Government for the time being, the Bishop of Quebec,
the Chief Justice of the Province, and the Speaker of the Assembly
should always be of the number.

"In addition to the Free Schools for teaching the English language,
(which I consider to be of the first necessity, and for the
establishment of which you will consider yourself hereby authorised to
appropriate from the Provincial revenues such sums as may be necessary
to pay the salaries of the Masters who shall from time to time be
appointed by you), it will be necessary in one or perhaps two instances
to have recourse to others of the higher order and of the nature of our
Public Schools here, in order that neither the means nor the necessary
encouragement may be wanting to cultivate the study of the learned
languages. It appears to me that this establishment will be sufficient
for the present, although in due progress of time Foundations of a more
enlarged and comprehensive nature will be requisite for the promotion of
Religious and Moral Learning and the study of the Arts and Sciences.
With this view His Majesty, ever ready to manifest his paternal
consideration and regard for his subjects, and desirous to afford all
possible assistance and encouragement to his Province in carrying into
execution an object of such importance as the instruction and education
of youth, has signified to me his Royal pleasure that you should upon
consulting the members of His Majesty's Executive Council report to me
in what manner and to what extent it would be proper to appropriate a
portion of the Crown Land or revenues arising therefrom for this

As a result of the agitation for the providing of educational
opportunities in Lower Canada, the Royal Institution for the Advancement
of Learning was established by Act of the Legislature in 1801. Under
this Act, the King gave directions for the establishment "of a competent
number of Free Schools for the instruction of children in the first
rudiments of useful learning; and also as occasion should require for
foundations of a more comprehensive nature." It was declared that "His
Majesty had further signified his intention that a suitable portion of
the Lands of the Crown should be set apart, and the revenue thereof
appropriated to these purposes." The Act provided that all property
which should thereafter be given, bequeathed or purchased for
educational purposes was to be vested in the trustees of the Royal
Institution, with the necessary powers of management. Provision was made
for the establishment of Free Schools at specified places throughout the
Province by the authority of the Government, and for the building and
repairing of schoolhouses, but not for the salaries of the masters.
Accordingly, elementary free schools were soon erected in different
parts of the Province, and several teachers were appointed by the

Notwithstanding the passing of the above Act, educational advancement in
the Province for many years made but slow progress. There was no
adequate system of management. In 1803, Lord Hobart issued instructions
to the effect that a portion of the Crown Lands was to be set apart for
the promotion of education. These instructions were not carried out; at
best such a scheme would have been insufficient for the purpose;
subsequent experience in the case of the Clergy Reserves proved the
inefficacy of such an appropriation. There was a long delay in
establishing the Corporation which the Act of 1801 had in view. In 1815,
the Home Government directed the Provincial Government to proceed with
the election of trustees under the Act, but it was not until 1818 that
trustees were finally appointed. The trustees included the Lord Bishop
of Quebec as Principal; the Lord Bishop of Montreal; the Chief Justice
of Lower Canada; the Speaker of the Legislative Council; and the Speaker
of the Legislative Assembly.

It is unnecessary to enter here into the details of the early history of
the Royal Institution. Its first years were years of struggle. The
schools erected under its authority were one-room buildings of cedar
logs. Indeed, they were mere log-huts, but they provided the first free
English Education in Lower Canada, and laid the foundation for a
Canadian nationality. The records of the Royal Institution indicate the
determination with which teachers and officials battled sturdily with
poverty, and with discouraging conditions. The Secretary's salary was
always many months in arrears, and he frequently complained, with
unfortunately but little satisfaction, that not only had he given his
time for some years without remuneration, but that he had expended even
his own fuel and candles. In 1819, thirty-seven schools were in
existence in the Province; these were occupied by fifty-three Teachers;
the total expenditure for education was £883.10; the highest salary paid
was £100,--at Quebec and at Montreal; the lowest salary was £11.5; the
average salary was £18. It was pointed out by the authorities that these
salaries were not intended to be the sole support of the teachers, but
that they were meant "to operate as an aid and encouragement for the
exertions and contributions of the inhabitants themselves."

Although the salaries were small and the school-buildings and equipment
very poor and uncomfortable, the discipline of the Royal Institution
seems to have been surprisingly strict and exacting. Criticism of
teachers, their methods and the books they used, was plentiful and
continuous. It was not unusual for teachers to be censured "for not
keeping school at all," or for giving too many holidays, or for
tardiness in opening school in the morning and eagerness in closing it
in the afternoon. At least one teacher was warned that his arrears in
salary would not be paid, and that he would be instantly dismissed "if
he did not treat his wife with greater kindness." The teachers were
billetted among the inhabitants in their respective districts; after a
few days' sojourn in one house they moved on to another, thus making all
the settlers bear in turn the burden of providing their food and
lodging. In this way they managed to exist on their scanty salaries,
which were frequently unpaid for many months. The school-buildings were
used at times by travelling missionaries for religious services. This
seems to have been a source of much annoyance to the authorities; the
teachers rather than the inhabitants of the district were always held
responsible, and were frequently severely reprimanded for permitting
such use of the schoolhouses. It was not unusual for teachers to be told
plainly by letter from the Secretary that they would be dismissed or
"that no part of the salary hitherto granted by the Government would be
allowed, unless the Methodists were wholly and immediately excluded from
using the school-room as a place of worship."

The Royal Institution had many difficulties to contend with. Although
its methods were not always efficient and its management was not always
adequate, it is deserving of gratitude for laying the foundation of
English education in what was to be later the Province of Quebec. It not
only guided for many years elementary and grammar school education, but
it planned for the establishment of a State or Government College where
higher education could be obtained. But before the proposed plan was
carried into effect, provision was made by a citizen of Montreal for the
endowment of a College to bear his name. As a result, the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning supervised the establishment
of McGill College and directed it in its infancy, for under the Act of
1801 all property and money given for educational purposes in the
Province of Lower Canada was placed under its control.



During the discussion in the Legislature of educational conditions in
Lower Canada which resulted in the establishment of the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning under the Act of 1801, one
of the most prominent members of the Provincial Parliament was James
McGill, a merchant and fur-trader who represented the West Ward of
Montreal in the Legislative Assembly. Only meagre facts about the life
of James McGill are available and the documentary evidence bearing on
his career is scanty. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 6th of
October, 1744. His parents were natives of Banffshire. After an
elementary school education in his native town he entered Glasgow
University at the age of twelve, in accordance with the custom of those
days which permitted attendance at a University at a very early age. The
Matriculation Album of Glasgow University contains the following entry:

1756, Jacobus McGill, filius natu maximus Jacobi mercatoris Glasguensis.

Nine years later, his younger brother Andrew entered the University, as
indicated by the following record in the Matriculation Album:

1765, Andreas McGill, filius natu quintus Jacobi mercatoris

Like so many other adventurous Scotchmen of that period, after
completing his education James McGill determined to seek his fortune in
the new land beyond the horizon, from which wondrous stories of the
wealth and romance of the fur-trade were drifting to the old world. He
emigrated to the American Colonies, where he remained for some years,
and where he was later joined by his younger brother, Andrew. But before
the American Revolution the brothers moved to Canada and in 1775 they
were firmly and prosperously established in business in Montreal, where
the older brother became connected with the famous fur-trading
North-West Company. That he was at that time regarded as one of the
leading citizens is evident from the fact that he was selected for many
important and responsible civic duties. During the American Revolution
when Canada was invaded and General Guy Carleton withdrew all the troops
to Quebec and left Montreal to its fate, James McGill was one of those
who saw the folly and uselessness of resistance. He preferred to save
the city from unnecessary destruction and he was one of the twelve
citizens,--six French and six English,--who were selected to sign the
capitulation of the city to General Richard Montgomery on November 12th,
1775. His five associates were John Porteous, Richard Huntley, John
Blake, Edward Gray and James Finlay. On December 2nd, 1776, he married
Mrs. Marie Charlotte Guillemin, a French Roman Catholic lady, the widow
of a French Canadian gentleman, Joseph A. T. Desrivières. The ceremony
was performed by the Rev. David Charbrand Delisle, Rector of the
Protestant Parish of Montreal and Chaplain of the Garrison. The Church
record reads:--"1776, James McGill, Esq., and Mrs. Charlotte Guillemin,
widow, were married by Licence the 2nd December, 1776." Mrs. James
McGill was born in Montreal in 1747, the daughter of William Guillemin
and Claire Genevieve Foucault. She married Joseph A. T. Desrivières in
Montreal on the 19th of September, 1763, at the age of sixteen.

Soon after his arrival in Montreal James McGill acquired the Burnside
estate of forty-six acres, with the Burnside Manor, in which he resided
during the remainder of his life. He took into partnership, under the
name of "McGill and Todd," his friend, Isaac Todd, a man of keen
business ability and of civic prominence.

James McGill is described by his contemporaries as of "a frank and
social temperament," in figure "tall and commanding, handsome in youth
and becoming somewhat corpulent in his old age," and in his leisure time
"much given to reading." He was a prominent member of the Beaver Club,
the members of which were all fur-traders who had amassed considerable
wealth in their calling. A contemporary had a memory of him in jovial
mood at one of the festal meetings of this Club, "singing a voyageur's
folk-song with sonorous voice, and imitating, paddle in hand, in time
with the music, the action of the bowman of a canoe ascending a rapid."

Because of his pleasing personality, his prosperity and business
strength, and his marriage connections with another race and religion,
he was held in respect and popularity by all classes, irrespective of
nationality or creed. It was therefore but natural that he should enter
political life after the granting of the Constitutional Act by the Home
Government in 1791. He was selected, with J. B. Durocher as his
colleague, to represent the West Ward of Montreal in the first
parliament of Lower Canada which met on the 17th of December, 1792.
Later he became a member of the Legislative Council, and in 1812 he was
appointed one of the commissioners for removing from the city the old
walls which had been built in 1724. He took a prominent part in the
Militia organisation; during the war of 1812 he was honorary Colonel of
the Montreal Infantry Volunteer Regiment; later and before hostilities
ended, although he was too old for active service, he was promoted to be
Brigadier General, and he seems to have had a large part in directing
the administration of the various Militia units. After a busy, active
and strenuous life of unselfish service for his community and of devoted
efforts for the promotion of tolerance and harmony between races and
creeds as the one sure foundation for a united Canadian nationality, he
died in Montreal on December 19th, 1813, at the age of sixty-nine, and
was buried on December 21st. The official record of his death reads: "On
the nineteenth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and thirteen,
the Honourable James McGill, Colonel, Commandant of the Montreal
Militia, died, and was buried on the twenty-first following." The
certificate of death was signed by his partner, Isaac Todd, and by
Thomas Blackwood, a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, who was at one time
employed in the firm of McGill and Todd, and who later formed a business
partnership with Francis Desrivières.

[Illustration: Thomas Pattendel--P. Canot Sculpsit
_Montreal as James McGill knew it_]

Mrs. James McGill survived her husband less than five years. She died in
Montreal on the 16th of April, 1818, aged seventy years and nine months,
and was buried on the 18th following. There were no children from the

James McGill was born of Scotch Presbyterian parents and he grew up in
the church and religion of his fathers. When he settled in Montreal
there was no Church of Scotland in the city. The first Presbyterian
congregation in Montreal consisted of a small group of Scottish
settlers. It was organised without a church building in 1786 by the Rev.
John Bethune, who ministered to its members from March 12th in that year
until he moved to Upper Canada in May, 1787. But it was but a temporary
organisation and had no continuous status. From 1787 to 1790 there is no
record of the holding of a strictly Presbyterian service in the city.
The only Protestant body holding service regularly was known as "the
Protestant Congregation of Montreal," the pastor of which was the Rev.
David Charbrand Delisle, one of the three clergymen who had been
employed by the Church of England to labour among the French-Canadians.
He was Rector of the Parish of Montreal and Chaplain of the Garrison.
This congregation worshipped until 1789 in the Church of the Recollet
Fathers, which with great tolerance and courtesy was for twenty years at
their disposal; in 1789 they were given the Chapel belonging to the
Jesuits' College, then Government property; they opened it for public
worship in December under the name of Christ Church.

Like all the young Protestant Scotchmen living in Montreal at that time,
James McGill became by necessity a member of the Protestant Episcopal
Congregation. The adherents to the two Protestant creeds were tolerant
and harmonious in their relations one with the other and they were
content to worship together. In 1789 when the Bishop of Nova Scotia
visited Montreal an address was presented to him by the Church Wardens,
and by "a committee of the Protestant inhabitants of Montreal,"
irrespective of their former creed. The majority of the latter were
Scotch Presbyterians. The Bishop was met at Pointe aux Trembles by the
reception committee. One of the "Protestant inhabitants" who signed and
presented the address was James McGill. There is no doubt that the
larger number of this "committee of Protestant inhabitants," at that
time identified with the Protestant Episcopal Congregation of Montreal,
returned to the Church of their fathers as soon as a Church was built,
several of them becoming office-bearers. The precise action taken by
James McGill is uncertain. He seems to have divided his allegiance
between the two communions; while not severing his connection entirely
with the Church of England he gave his support to the establishment of a
Church of Scotland and later became identified with it. When the St.
Gabriel Street Church, the first Presbyterian Church in Montreal, was
built in 1792, he subscribed ten guineas towards the construction of the
building. He signed the call to the first pastor of the Church, the Rev.
James Somerville; he thereafter contributed three pounds a year to his
stipend and occupied pew No. 16 in the Church. His brother Andrew later
contributed five pounds towards removing the remaining debt from the
building. The Rev. Mr. Somerville, the pastor of the Church, officiated
at Andrew's funeral. There is little doubt from the records that James
McGill regarded himself as of the Church of Scotland although he was for
a time, in those days of somewhat surprising religious harmony and
tolerance, a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Montreal.

One of James McGill's most intimate friends and confidants in Canada was
the Rev. John Strachan, afterwards the Right Reverend Bishop of Toronto,
who was thirty-four years his junior. He was a native of Aberdeen,
Scotland. He received his M. A. from King's College, Aberdeen, in 1797,
and then attended for some months Divinity Classes at St. Andrew's
University, near which he had a post as a Parish schoolmaster. Towards
the end of 1797, he came to Canada by invitation to organise a seminary
of learning in Upper Canada, but the plan was abandoned and he became
tutor in a private family in Kingston, Ontario. He offered himself as a
candidate for the pastorship of the St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian
Church on September 21, 1802, but before his letter was received another
applicant, the Rev. James Somerville, had been accepted. Later he took
orders in the Anglican Church and was appointed to the Church at
Cornwall. He opened there a school and his fame as a teacher was soon
widespread. Among his pupils were the three sons of the Rev. John
Bethune who had established the first Presbyterian Congregation in
Montreal, one of whom afterwards became Rector of Christ Church and
acting-Principal of McGill University. In 1807, he married the widow of
James McGill's younger brother, Andrew, formerly Miss Wood of Cornwall,
and he was thus brought into closer relationship with the McGill
family. His enthusiasm for education and for its advancement in Canada
was unbounded and it is evident that he impressed his ideas as to ways
and means and methods on the mind of his wealthy merchant friend. James
McGill was a believer in the value of education; he knew what it had
done for his own home-land, and what Scotland, educationally, was doing
for the world. He determined that the torch which for him had been
lighted in Glasgow University should burn likewise for those who would
succeed him in the land of his adoption. He had indicated that
determination during the consideration of the subject in the
Legislature. But on the question of method he sought advice from his
young teacher friend, Strachan, whom he frequently visited in the
latter's home in Cornwall. During these Glengarry visits there was many
a happy and roseate night of mingled sociability and high seriousness,
after the custom of their race and time, when the two friends, the young
educationalist and the older man of wealth, with similar vision, sat
late in discussion of the Canadian educational problem and of plans for
its solution.

In a letter to the other surviving executors of James McGill's will,
written from York [Toronto] on May 31, 1820, seven years after James
McGill's death, the Rev. Dr. Strachan gave interesting information on
these discussions and their bearing on the circumstances leading up to
the practical working out of James McGill's dreams on education as
evidenced later in his will. He wrote: "It was, I believe, at Cornwall
during one of the visits which Mr. McGill made to Mrs. Strachan and me
that his final resolution respecting the erection of a College after
his name, endowing it, etc., was taken. We had been speaking of several
persons who had died in Lower Canada and had left no memorial of
themselves to benefit the country in which they had realised great
fortunes. And particularly I mentioned a University, as the English had
no Seminary where an Academical Education could be obtained. We had
repeated conversations upon the subject, and he departed determined to
do something and with some inclination to leave twenty instead of ten
thousand pounds, together with Burnside, and even to make some
preparations before his death, expressing at the same time a wish that
if he did anything I should take an active part in the proposed

It was soon after the visit referred to that James McGill made his
will,--on March 8, 1811. He bequeathed to the Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning, in trust, the sum of £10,000 and his Burnside
Estate of forty-six acres, together with the dwelling house and other
buildings, for the erection on the estate, and the endowment, of a
University or College on the express conditions,--and these were the
only conditions imposed,--that the University be erected and established
within ten years of his death and that one of the Colleges to be
comprised in the University should be called "McGill College." If the
College was not erected in the time specified the conveyance to the
Royal Institution was to be null and void; and the estate and endowment
were to revert to his widow, and after her death to her first husband's
nephew, Francis Desrivières and to his legal heirs. He named as
executors of the will John Richardson, James Reid, John Strachan, and
James Dunlop.

These executors were all close personal friends of the testator. The
career of John Strachan has already been outlined. Although it was not
specified in the will that he should be connected with the proposed
College, it may be assumed that because of his close friendship, his
marriage connection, and his established reputation as a brilliant and
successful educationalist with definite ideas on Canadian nationality,
James McGill desired that he should have a prominent part in the
organization of the College and that possibly he should be its first
Principal. That this desire was stated to the trustees seems certain. In
a letter written from Toronto some years after James McGill's death,
while the trustees who knew the circumstances were still living, Bishop
Strachan said:

"If it had been my desire, it was certainly in my power to have been at
the head of it [McGill College] for it so happened that I had some
difficulty in prevailing with my friend, Mr. McGill, to forbear annexing
it as a condition to his bequest that I should fill that situation;" and
he added that "a Professorship in McGill College was never desired or
thought of by me, nor could any situation in that institution have
formed an inducement to me to leave this Province to which I have been
for so many years devoted."

The three trustees associated with the Rev. Dr. Strachan as
administrators of the will were all prominent in civic and provincial
affairs. They were all Scotchmen and were connected with St. Gabriel
Street Presbyterian Church. John Richardson, partner in the mercantile
house of Forsyth, Richardson and Co., was a native of Banffshire,
Scotland. He represented the East Ward of Montreal in the first
Parliament of Lower Canada, which met in 1792, and he took his seat at
the same time as James McGill, his colleague from the West Ward. With
the latter, he was one of the commissioners appointed for the removing
of the old city walls in 1802 and it was through his influence that the
bill providing for the construction of a canal to Lachine was passed.
The firm of which he was a member contributed £20 towards the building
of St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian Church and he personally subscribed
£3 a year towards the minister's stipend; he occupied pews No. 6 and No.
47. He was one of a committee of three formed to purchase the land on
which the General Hospital now stands; he was chairman of the committee
which superintended the construction of the Hospital and was later
chosen as its first president. He died in 1831, aged seventy-six.

The Honourable James Reid, the second trustee named, was admitted to the
Bar of the Province in 1794; he was raised to the Bench as a puisne
Judge in 1807, and later in 1823 he was made Chief Justice of Montreal.
He subscribed one guinea a year to the stipend of the first pastor of
St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian Church and occupied pew No. 14. He died
in 1848 at the age of seventy-nine. After his death, his widow erected
to the memory of her husband the southwest wing of the Montreal General

James Dunlop, the fourth trustee named, settled in Montreal in 1777 and
established a general store in St. Paul Street. He took an active part
in the military organisation during the War of 1812, and served as Major
under Brigadier General James McGill. He subscribed ten guineas towards
the building of St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian Church and his name
appears for ten pounds on a special subscription list for liquidating
the debt on the original building; he signed the manifesto in favour of
the first pastor of the Church, the Rev. James Somerville; he
contributed five pounds annually towards his salary and occupied pews
No. 19 and No. 99. He died in 1815 at the age of sixty.

James McGill's estate sloped from the base of Mount Royal towards the
St. Lawrence River. It consisted of forty-six acres of fertile land
extending south to what is now Dorchester Street and reaching from the
present University Street on the east to what are now McTavish and
Metcalfe Streets on the west. St. Catherine Street and Dorchester Street
were not then in existence and Sherbrooke Street was but a narrow road
running through the farm. East, west and south of the estate were open
fields and a few scattered houses, and the city proper lay a long
distance away, beside the water-front. A small stream of water passed
through the farm. It entered from the east near the present Milton
Street entrance on University Street; it then turned south and was
increased in volume by the water from a spring near the site of the
Macdonald Engineering Building. It passed on through the present tennis
courts in "the hollow" by the Physics Building, crossed Sherbrooke
Street where it was joined by another small stream from the southwest,
and then flowed close to Burnside House and on towards the city. It is
recorded that the name Burnside was given to the estate because of this
stream or "burn" as the Scotch called it. James McGill's home, Burnside
House, a large stone building, was situated on the present McGill
College Avenue, about midway between the present Sherbrooke and Burnside
Streets on the left-hand side looking south; it was demolished in 1860
to make room for the buildings now in that locality. A narrow road led
from near the front of the house to what is now St. Antoine Street. The
estate was divided into small sections which were later rented for
purposes of cultivation or pasture. It contained numerous trees and
shrubs, and was at that time regarded as one of the most valuable and
desirable parts of the district of Montreal.

In the days of James McGill, Montreal was a small town of from twelve to
fifteen thousand inhabitants, and of these the large majority were
French. Indeed, the whole province had but a scanty population.
One-third of the houses were wooden huts. The town stretched out along
the water-front in a series of narrow blocks and straggling streets. The
trade with foreign countries was exceedingly small. The entire carrying
capacity of ships annually arriving at Quebec did not exceed 12,000
tons, and only a few of these ships went on to Montreal. In 1813, the
year of James McGill's death, only nine vessels entered Montreal from
the sea, and their total capacity was but 1,589 tons. At the end of the
18th century, the exports of furs and other products from the entire
province was little more than half a million pounds sterling. Strange
and primitive customs were still in vogue in the city. The price of
bread was regulated by "His Majesty's Justices of the Peace," and bakers
were required to mark their bread with the initials of their name.
Slavery was not unknown, and a sale advertisement towards the end of the
century included in the articles to be sold "a stout, healthy negro man
about 28 years of age,--an excellent cook, and very fit for working on a
farm." A mail for England was dispatched about once a month. It went by
way of New York and took from three to four weeks to reach that city; it
was then forwarded by packet-ship to England, and usually at least four
months passed before an answer could be received. The incoming mail was
put off the New York packet at Halifax; it came overland from Halifax to
Montreal, this part of the journey alone taking nearly four weeks.

[Illustration: Photo Rice Studios
The Burnside Estate]

Such was the somewhat primitive city in which James McGill lived and
laboured and amassed his wealth. Such was the community to the service
of which he contributed unstintingly of his material substance, his
energy and his talent. Such, too, were the conditions in which this
hard-headed, practical business man dreamed a dream,--a dream of a
greater Canada with a distinctly Canadian nationality trained to solve
its own problems in its own way, and of the necessity for providing for
the youth of the great land mirrored in his mind the privileges of an
adequate education similar to that which he had enjoyed in his own
native country. For James McGill seems to have been a combination of the
practical Scottish business man and the dreaming Scottish mystic. Like
the other early Canadian pioneers of his race he was a hard-fisted man
battling by necessity in a hard-fisted new world, but he kept in that
new world the spiritual vision born of Scottish glens and mists and
hills. He worked like his ancestors for the building of churches and
schools and court houses, symbolic of religion, education and law, as
milestones of civilisation in a new land and without which no country
could make progress. He knew that without the torch of a free and
liberal education the land of promise to which he had come and from
which he had received much, could not advance to what he believed to be
its destined place of power and service in the world. And so he dreamed
of a great University which would not only be local in its usefulness,
serving a small city which his faith told him would one day grow to
giant size, but also national in its influence, and ministering to the
enlightenment of that larger Canada which his vision saw in the far and
dim distance. The making of his bequest two years before his death for
the establishment and the endowment of McGill College was the first step
towards the fulfilment of his hopes. But between the dream and its
ultimate realisation lay long and troubled years of baffling difficulty
and bitter discouragement, and at times, despair.



Less than three years after he had made his bequest, James McGill died,
in December, 1813. Soon after his death the executors of his will sought
to fulfil his desire with reference to the establishment of a College,
and to ensure that the conditions imposed with regard to time would be
complied with as speedily as possible. But they were confronted by
obstacles over which they had no control. The will bequeathed the
Burnside Estate and the Endowment Fund to the executors in trust, on the
understanding that they should as soon as convenient after the
testator's death convey it to the Royal Institution for the Advancement
of Learning, to be used by them as provided under the Act of 1801. But,
as we have seen, the organization of the Royal Institution was bitterly
opposed by one section of the community. Every effort to have trustees
appointed and to have the Institution put in actual operation was
frustrated. The authorities feared to cause friction or discord, and
they preferred postponement. There was therefore no Royal Institution,
other than in name only, to which the McGill bequest could be conveyed.
There were no trustees. It was necessary first for the executors and
those interested in the establishment of the College to effect the
actual organization of the Royal Institution by securing the
appointment of trustees as called for by the Act. They continued, with
vigour, to impress this necessity upon the authorities in order that the
McGill bequest should not lapse, and they were promised prompt action.
But in that troubled period of warfare the Home Government was involved
in too many difficulties to devote time to the problem. Action was for
these various reasons consequently long delayed and it was not until
1818 that the promise was fulfilled and that the authorities at last
appointed Trustees and established in fact the Royal Institution. Were
it not for the fear of losing the legacy,--a misfortune which after all
was narrowly averted,--and the persistent efforts of the executors, the
appointment would have been doubtless longer delayed. The Provincial
Legislature could not appoint trustees without orders and they were
unwilling to make any grant of money without authority from the Colonial

But as a result of the hopeful promise made to the executors by the
authorities towards the close of 1814, the former began to discuss and
to put forward plans for the carrying out of the desire of the founder
of the College. The Rev. Dr. Strachan was their spokesman. On February
14, 1815, he wrote to three personal friends who were then members of
the Legislature of Lower Canada asking their co-operation and
assistance, advising haste, and setting forth his own ideas on the
establishment of McGill College,--ideas based on his knowledge of
educational conditions in Canada and on his own experience of nearly
twenty years in educational work. He urged the Provincial Legislature to
act independently of the Home Government and to grant the funds
necessary to put the College at once in operation, and he suggested
making use of the Jesuits' Estates or the Crown Lands for this purpose.
From this letter the following extracts are of interest:

"As we [the Executors] have sent the necessary documents to the
Commander of the Forces to point out the necessity of his acting
promptly in establishing a College according to the conditions of Mr.
McGill's Will, and as it is probable he may apply to the House of
Assembly upon the subject, I furnish you with my ideas.

"The scheme enclosed for the two Schools and College is as economical as
it can well be to render it respectable and useful. The number of
students will not be great for some years, nor will it ever be such as
to make the Professorships lucrative. Even the Principal will hardly
ever be able to reach one thousand pounds per annum, a remuneration
sufficiently moderate for the accumulated duties which he will have to
perform and to maintain in such an expensive place as Montreal the
dignity of his station. If the Provincial Parliament waits for something
to be done by the King all will be lost,--for the Government have too
many things to call their attention. But when the matter is once set on
foot, an address from the Legislature can at any time procure assistance
from His Majesty's Ministry. Yet six thousand pounds per annum appears
to me a trifle, considering the increased opulence of the country. It is
not probable that the Roman Catholics will object to such an
arrangement,--they have already three Seminaries said to be well
endowed,--but if any of them be poor the Legislature ought to grant them
pecuniary relief.

"I say nothing respecting religion, but in the Chapel of the University
Lectures on Theology may be given to Protestant students, which Roman
Catholics shall not be required to attend. There are many particular
regulations which I do not mention, I just furnish a crude outline.

"You are to recollect that if nothing be done, you will soon lose Mr.
McGill's donation. The time will never again be so propitious. I say
nothing about the nomination of Professors; men of some talent must be
selected and of great zeal for the promotion of the Sciences. The first
Principal will have many difficulties to encounter and may not live to
see the Seminary in a very flourishing condition, but it will ultimately
exceed the most sanguine expectations.

"I prefer the form of the Scotch and German Universities to the English,
or rather a mixture of both plans, because much more may be done at
one-fourth of the expense. In the English Universities the public
Professors seldom lecture more than once a week,--many of them not at
all; the whole system of teaching is conducted by Tutors and emulation
and a love of study is kept up among the students by fellowships, etc.
The great opulence of Cambridge and Oxford is far beyond our reach, and
although I should be sorry ever to see them lose a shilling, for I think
them wisely adapted to so rich and populous and learned a country as
England, I consider them unfit for this country. Our professors must
each during the session, give two, three, or even four courses of
lectures, till the funds afford the means of increasing their number.

"I must further add on the subject of finding Professors, that gentlemen
newly from England, and accustomed to the wealthy Universities of that
country, may not always possess the qualities necessary to make them
useful in this projected Seminary. Learning they may have in abundance,
but the industry, labour (I may say drudgery) and accommodation to
circumstances cannot be expected from them. There are several gentlemen
in this country qualified for the first race of Professors, and after
the Seminary is once set agoing there will be no risk in electing
Englishmen to fill vacant chairs, because the rules and regulations
being established, all must submit.

"I have only mentioned one restriction, the Principal to be of the
Church of England. This, I think necessary on many accounts. The
Seminary must and ought to have a distinct religious character, and this
simple regulation will confer it without circumscribing its liberality
and openness to all persuasions. I think also the Principal's department
should be Moral Philosophy or Theology."

In the same letter Bishop Strachan outlined his suggested scheme for the
organisation of McGill College. He pointed out "that the necessity of
sending young men out of the Province to finish their education has been
found both dangerous and inconvenient; that reason and policy equally
demand that our youth be educated in the Province, or in England, if we
wish them to become friendly to our different establishments and to the
Parent State; that few can defray the expense of sending their children
to England, and, if they could, the distance from parental authority is
dangerous to their morals; and that there is at present no Seminary in
which the English youth of Canada can obtain a liberal education."

To remedy these alleged evils, he therefore proposed that there should
be established "two Grammar Schools, one at Quebec, and one at Montreal,
each under a Rector or Head Master and three Assistants, at which the
following branches of education shall be taught: the Greek, Latin,
French and English languages, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, and
Practical Mathematics. These schools, to be appendages and nurseries for
a University to be established on the model of the Scotch and German
Universities in the neighbourhood of Montreal, on the property
bequeathed for that purpose by the late Honourable James McGill, and to
be named as he desired, McGill College or University; that the following
branches of academical education be taught in the said University, (1)
Greek and Latin; (2) Natural History and Botany; (3) Mathematics and
Astronomy; (4) Natural Philosophy and Chemistry; (5) Moral Philosophy,
Logic and Rhetoric; (6) Surgery and Anatomy; (7) Civil and Public Law;
that the Professors of Surgery and of Civil and Public Law shall not be
required to reside within the College; that a house be provided within
the College for a Principal and four Professors; that the members of the
University be constituted a Corporation capable of sueing and being
sued, and of receiving donations of money and lands, etc., for the
benefits of the Institution; that the Principal be always a clergyman of
the Church of England; that young men of all denominations, as
Christians, be freely admitted to the different lectures; that new
Professorships be established as soon as the funds will admit; that the
University be represented in the House of Assembly by two Members; that
no degree be conferred upon a student who has not resided three years;
that an attendance of three years at the University shall entitle a
student to be called to the Bar one year earlier than any other,
provided he be of age; that a report of the state of the University be
annually laid before Parliament; that there be frequent Visitations by
the Bishop, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the House of Assembly,
etc., appointed a committee for that purpose; and that there be two
public examinations every year."

Dr. Strachan estimated the expense of the necessary buildings to be
£18,000, "made up of £4,000 for each of the two Grammar Schools
including residence for the Head Masters, and £10,000 in addition to
James McGill's bequest of £10,000, an excellent site and house extremely
commodious for the Principal or one of the Professors." The annual
expense of the Grammar Schools was estimated at £2,000, "made up of £300
a year to each of the Head Masters, £200 a year to each of two second
Head Masters, £100 a year to each of four Under Masters, and £300 to
each school for servants, repairs, library, premiums, etc." It was added
that "this will render them desirable, and together with a moderate fee,
payable by each scholar to his respective Teacher, will make them an
object to men of talent!"

The total annual expense of the University was estimated at £4,000, made
up as follows: "The Principal to be also a Professor, £750; the Senior
Professor, £500; three Professors, £400 each; the Professor of Surgery
and Anatomy, and the Professor of Civil and Public Law, £200 each; in
addition each Professor is to enjoy a moderate fee from the students
attending his lectures; for the purchase of books for the Library,
£300; for the purchase of Philosophical and Chemical apparatus, £250;
for the purchase of Plants for the Botanic Garden, £100; Librarian's
salary, £100; Gardener's salary, £100; Servants and Contingencies,
£300." It was explained that smaller salaries were given to the
Professors of Surgery and Law because "they will be Professional men not
expected to reside in the College or to be exclusively confined to its
duties, but attending at the same time to their private practice."

Three reasons were given by Dr. Strachan for preferring Montreal to
Quebec as the place for the establishment of the University: "its more
central position; its greater suitability for a Botanic Garden; and the
large sum of money and a most beautiful estate already given for the
express purpose." In conclusion, Dr. Strachan wrote: "Thus it appears
that for an appropriation of £18,000, and six thousand pounds per annum,
an establishment may be formed of incalculable importance to the
Province, in a religious, moral and political light. The Legislature
might in a few years be relieved from the burden by procuring from the
Crown the Jesuits' Estates to be given for the support of the
Institution, and by grants of lands capable of becoming productive. The
allowance for Philosophical and Chemical apparatus will in a few years
become too great; the surplus may then assist the library."

The three members of the Legislature to whom this letter was sent by Dr.
Strachan at once brought it to the attention of their colleagues, and
the question was again referred to the Home Government. It seems to have
been pressed with earnestness and persistence but it was apparently not
regarded as very urgent by the Colonial Office. The authorities were
evidently too busy with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and America, and
with their own internal problems to give much attention to Colonial
education, and the year passed without further action. Finally, on the
30th of December, 1815, Lord Bathurst wrote from Downing Street to Sir
Gordon Drummond, then administering the Government of Lower Canada, the
following letter asking for information about the Jesuits' Estates, and
intimating the intention of the Government to proceed with the
establishment of a College or Colleges in the Province, for the erecting
of which the revenues of these estates might be used:

"His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, being desirous of marking by
some permanent establishment the high sense which he entertains of the
exertions made by the Provinces of Canada during the late war with the
United States, has been pleased to signify his intention of founding and
endowing in the Province one or more Colleges for the education of
youth. An establishment so necessary cannot be too early accomplished,
and although the details of such a measure are not completely arranged,
yet Montreal has been from its central situation selected as the town
best fitted for such a purpose. There does not appear any reason why the
commencement of the work should not take place immediately. You will,
therefore, lose no time in selecting such a spot in the immediate
vicinity of Montreal, taking care that the ground selected be
sufficiently extensive to leave an adequate space for the formation of
walks and gardens, and you will proceed without delay to enclose it for
that purpose. You will further take the necessary measures for
acquainting the trustees in whose hands the late Mr. McGill deposited by
will a sum of £10,000 in aid of this object, that it is the intention of
His Majesty's Government to commence such an undertaking and to call
upon them as soon as the plan shall have been definitely settled for the
application of the funds entrusted to them for the purpose of erecting
the building. I forbear in this first stage of the undertaking to
mention either the assistance which His Majesty's Government is prepared
or may be enabled to give or that which the Province may be disposed to
contribute. The benefits of such an establishment are such as must be
felt both in the Colonies and in the Mother Country, and when felt
cannot but ensure on the part of both a hearty co-operation and liberal

"With a view to the endowment of a College, the estates lately belonging
to the Jesuits and now in possession of the Crown, afford a resource of
which His Majesty's Government are to a certain extent determined to
avail themselves. But previous to deciding upon the extent of the
establishment it is necessary that I should be informed of the present
value of these Estates, of their capability of improvement and of the
mode in which their revenues have hitherto been disposed of.

"I have therefore to desire that you will as early as possible furnish
me with adequate information upon these several points. Upon the receipt
of which His Majesty's Government will lose no time in entering upon the
final arrangement of an establishment calculated to afford to all
classes of His Majesty's subjects in the Province that degree of
education and those means of improvement which they have hitherto been
compelled to seek at a distance from home."

It is evident from the above letter that the writer had no knowledge of
the conditions of James McGill's will nor was he aware that before
Colleges could be established it was first necessary to appoint Trustees
for the Royal Institution and thereby to enable that body to assume
control of educational institutions established in the Province, as
already provided for by the Act of 1801. However, the Executors of the
McGill will were informed, as requested, of the Home Government's
intention, and the information asked for with reference to the Jesuits'
Estates was forwarded to the Colonial Office. Lord Bathurst was
apparently meanwhile made acquainted with the conditions of the will and
with the Act of 1801. A few weeks later, on March 14th, 1816, he again
wrote to Sir Gordon Drummond, as follows:

"My despatch of the 30th December will have informed you of the
determination of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to avail himself
of the return of peace to forward the important objects of education and
instruction in His Majesty's Dominions, and especially in the Provinces
of Canada. When I then addressed you I had not had an opportunity of
perusing the will of Mr. McGill which afforded by the liberality of his
bequest such important assistance in carrying such an object into
effect. I have since been furnished with a copy of the will of which an
extract is enclosed for your consideration. You will no doubt observe
that the mode in which the bequest is directed to be made, no less than
the nature of it, superseded the necessity of carrying into effect the
instructions conveyed to you on the 30th December under an erroneous
impression of its contents. You will therefore consider that instruction
to be recalled and in lieu of adopting any measures for enclosing a spot
well fitted for the erection of the University, you will suspend all
measures of such a nature till the necessary preliminary arrangements
have been made in conformity with the Act of Parliament of the Province
of Lower Canada passed in the 41st year of His Present Majesty, entitled
'An Act for the Establishment of Free Schools and the Advancement of
Learning in this Province.' Those arrangements you will immediately
carry into effect, by appointing under the Great Seal of the Province
the following persons to be Trustees of the Schools of Royal Foundation
in the Province in the manner and for the purposes specified in the Act
and constituting them a Body Corporate by the name of the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning. The persons to be nominated
in the first instance are the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or person
administering the Government for the time being; the Right Reverend
Jacob Mountain, Bishop of Quebec; Jonathan Sewell, Esq., the Chief
Justice of the district of Quebec; James Monk, Esq., the Chief Justice
of the district of Montreal; the Reverend J. O. DuPlessis,
Superintendent of the Romish Church.

"As soon as this preliminary arrangement shall have taken place you will
call upon the persons named in Mr. McGill's will for the execution of
the trust reposed in them, and you will by an early opportunity receive
detailed instructions for your future proceedings."

Three weeks later, on the 9th April, 1816, Lord Bathurst forwarded to
Sir Gordon Drummond the following despatch containing the names of
additional Trustees and cancelling for obvious religious, political and
racial reasons which would prevent criticism the former appointment of
the Governor:

"In my despatch of the 14th ult., I conveyed to you the instruction of
His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, to nominate and appoint under the
Provincial Act of 1801 a Body Corporate for the Advancement of Learning,
and I communicated to you the names of several persons who appeared best
qualified for such a duty. It has since appeared more advisable to
increase the number of Trustees to eight in order to obviate the
inconveniences which if the number were less might arise from the
non-attendance of individual members. It has been deemed proper also in
order to obviate all objections which might be grounded on the
circumstances of the peculiar situation in which with regard to this
commission the Governor is placed, to withdraw from that commission the
name of the Governor or Officer administering the Government. You will
therefore take the necessary measures for inserting in the Patent the
following names in lieu of those which I have previously specified,
viz.--Jonathan Sewell, Esq., Chief Justice of the district of Quebec;
James Monk, Esq., Chief Justice of the district of Montreal; the Right
Rev. Jacob Mountain, Bishop of Quebec; Rev. J. O. DuPlessis,
Superintendent of the Romish Church; the Rev. Dr. Alexander Sparke of
the Church of Scotland; John Richardson, Esq., of Montreal, a member of
the Executive and Legislative Councils; William Bachelor Coltman, Esq.,
of Quebec, a member of the Executive Council; and John Reid, Esq., of
Montreal, one of the Judges of the Court of King's Bench."

Notwithstanding the above instructions the Provincial Government was
slow to act, for reasons already specified. Opposition to the
establishment of the Royal Institution continued to be powerful and
somewhat bitter, and two years passed before trustees were finally
appointed. The Rev. J. O. DuPlessis, the Superintendent of the Romish
Church, objected to becoming a member of the Board, and later declined.
Meanwhile vigorous efforts were made to have the grants for schools and
the McGill bequest augmented by the Crown, through the use of Crown
Lands or the revenues of the Jesuits' Estates as partly promised in Lord
Bathurst's letter of December 30, 1815.

As a result of these persistent efforts by some members of the
Legislature and by church authorities interested in education, the Home
Government realised that the funds devoted to educational institutions
were lamentably insufficient and that additional means should at once be
provided for the better equipment of schools and for the engagement of a
greater number of teachers. They seem to have realised, too, that the
bequest of James McGill was not in itself sufficient to provide for the
erection of College buildings and for a subsequent endowment. They
therefore decided after much consideration to make use of the estates of
the Jesuits which had reverted to the Crown on the extinction of the
order. For several years the assigning of the revenues of these estates
to educational and religious purposes under Protestant control had been
advocated and by the strange irony of history this was in time brought
about. Indeed, as early as February 10th, 1810, Sir Gordon Drummond,
then administering the Government of Lower Canada, wrote from Quebec to
the Colonial Office stating that the Anglican Cathedral in Quebec "was
badly in need of repair and that for the purpose of repair there was
little hope of obtaining from the inhabitants of Quebec any contribution
worthy of consideration." He therefore asked that the Home Government
should authorise him to devote to the purpose part of the revenue
arising from the Jesuits' Estates, the whole of which "to the amount of
more than £4,500 annually has hitherto been transferred to the Military
chest." And he added, "I beg leave to suggest my opinion that this is
the most proper source from which the means of repairing the cathedral
can be drawn, and indeed, that this fund might with propriety in the
future be applied to the general support of the places of worship of the
Established Church throughout the Province."

In answer to this request, however, no immediate action was taken, for
although the Home Government had a legal right to dispose of the Estates
as they saw fit, they naturally wished to proceed slowly and tactfully
in order to avoid religious friction or bitterness within the Province.
In 1815, when, as already pointed out, it was intimated by the Colonial
Office that the Jesuit Estates might possibly be appropriated in aid of
the McGill bequest, there seems to have been no intention to limit the
assistance which should be provided by this increased revenue to McGill
College alone. On the contrary, the object appears to have been to use
the additional funds in order that, irrespective of race or creed, the
benefits of education might be diffused as widely as possible throughout
the country. But delay again followed, and it was not until the next
year that definite instructions were issued by Lord Bathurst for the
transfer of the Jesuits' Estates to the Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning. These instructions were contained in the
following historic letter, destined to have so large a part in the
establishment of McGill College and in Canadian education, and forwarded
to the Officer Administering the Government of Lower Canada by Lord
Bathurst from Downing Street on May 10th, 1816:

"I have already expressed to you the gracious intention of His Royal
Highness, the Prince Regent, to forward the extension of education in
the Provinces of Canada and I have pointed out the preliminary measures
necessary on your part to give effect to that intention. In furtherance
of this object, I have received the commands of His Royal Highness to
instruct you to transfer to the Trustees of the Royal Institution for
the Advancement of Learning all those estates which formerly belonged to
the Society of Jesuits, which, since the abolition of that order, have
been vested in the Crown, in order that the Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning may possess present means for establishing and
maintaining the Seminaries which it may be necessary to found and may
possess the revenue which cannot fail progressively to increase in
proportion to the improvement of the Provinces and the consequent demand
for additional means of instruction.

"In transferring, however, those estates to the management of the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning, you will retain for the
future disposal of His Royal Highness the accumulation of the rents and
profits of preceding years which may be either in the hands of the
Receiver of those estates, or which may have been by him paid to the
Colonial Government, and you will with as little delay as possible
transmit to me a detailed account of the amount of the Fund which has
been so created."

Meanwhile the executors of the will of James McGill had been again
informed of the definite intention of the authorities to proceed with
the erection and endowment of a College at Montreal, and on May 13th,
1816, John Richardson, one of the surviving executors, acknowledged on
behalf of himself and his colleagues receipt of the information in the
following letter, in which, remembering perhaps Lord Bathurst's letter
of December 30, 1815, they emphasised the conditions imposed in the

"We have the honour of receiving your letter of the 9th inst., written
by command of His Excellency, the Administrator in Chief, to acquaint us
that His Majesty's Government have it in contemplation to erect and
endow a College at Montreal and that it is their intention as soon as
the plan of this establishment shall be definitely settled, to call upon
us as Trustees of the Will of the late Mr. McGill for the application of
the lands entrusted to us for that purpose.

"And further desiring to be acquainted for His Excellency's information,
what are the extent and advantages considered with reference to the
object proposed of the House and property of the late Mr. McGill in the
vicinity of Montreal and whether the grounds are sufficiently extensive
to have an adequate space for the formation of walks and gardens,--in
compliance with His Excellency's desire, we have to acquaint you that
the grounds above mentioned contain about forty-six superficial arpents
in a very healthy, moderately elevated, and pleasant situation, well
watered, at a convenient distance from the city towards the mountain,
and consequently appear to be sufficiently extensive and well calculated
for every purpose of the contemplated establishment. There are already
upon the premises a good stone house of two and a half stories, a barn,
office, and a large garden, which may be applied to the residence of the
President or some of the Professors or to other useful purpose connected
with the object in view.

"We have further to acquaint you for His Excellency's information that
the devise by the late Mr. McGill is upon several conditions, one
whereof is that 'one of the Colleges be named McGill College, or if only
one College should be selected, then that the said one shall be called
McGill College!' Another of the conditions is 'that it be erected upon
the tract so devised.'

"We therefore take the liberty of suggesting that it will be needful in
forming the plan of the establishment to attend to these conditions so
as to enable the Trustees to act in conformity to the trust reposed in
them by the will of the deceased."

Two years of inaction followed, and even after the trustees of the Royal
Institution were appointed, delay characterised the efforts of the
authorities. There seems to have been considerable disagreement between
the Home Government and the Provincial Government with regard to the
exact objects for which the revenue of the Jesuits' Estates was
intended, and on the method of distribution. The Home authorities would
not agree to assign any of the revenue to aid in the establishment of
McGill College. Finally, in 1819, Lord Bathurst directed the Duke of
Richmond, the Governor-General, immediately to commence the building of
McGill College, and he authorised him to defray the expense which it
might in the first instance be necessary to incur "from any funds which
might be in the hands of the Receiver of the Jesuits' Estates." But this
instruction was not carried out. Its object seems to have been merely to
prevent the lapse of the McGill bequest in conformity with the expressed
condition of the will that the College should be erected within a
definite time. Further, the proposed assistance from the Jesuits'
Estates seems to have been an advance and not a gift. It is unnecessary
here to follow in detail the disagreement and the struggle arising from
the distribution of the revenue of these estates. For several years the
subject was one of controversy, and meanwhile the cause of education
suffered. In 1823 Lord Bathurst recommended to the Lords Commissioners
of the Treasury that a loan of £50,000 at 4% interest should be granted
to the Royal Institution, but this recommendation was not complied with.
In 1825 a system was proposed by Lord Dalhousie, and subsequently
followed, by which the management of the estates was taken over by the
Inspector of the King's Domain under the control of the Governor in
Council. He was allowed an agent in each district to collect the rents
which were then turned in at stated periods to the Receiver General. For
several years, however, particularly in 1830 and 1831, the question of
assigning the revenues from the estates for the purpose of education was
repeatedly under discussion, but no pledge for such financial assistance
was given by the Home Government. At last, in 1831, the Home Government
surrendered the Jesuits' Estates to the Provincial Legislature, and
against much opposition the schools were placed under the control of the
House of Assembly. The salaries of teachers were greatly reduced; they
were granted on an annual vote on condition that instruction be given by
each teacher to at least twenty pauper scholars. As a result, it was
stated by those opposed to this new plan that "the schools were nothing
more than places of cheap education for the children of people in the
lower walks of life." But notwithstanding this criticism the schools of
the Province seem to have flourished to some extent at least under the
new system. But it should not be forgotten that the Jesuits' Estates
which had so long been the subject of discussion and controversy had in
the end a very prominent part in the early history of McGill College. It
was because of the funds derived from them when all other sources of
revenue were exhausted that the trustees of the Royal Institution, and
the executors of the will of James McGill, were permitted to prove in
the courts the legality of the McGill bequest and to prosecute
successfully their claims to his Burnside estate.

In accordance with Lord Bathurst's instructions to the Duke of Richmond
in 1819, the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning proceeded
to have the McGill property transferred from the executors of the will
to their own control. They gave a power of attorney to S. Sewell, who
subsequently continued for several years to act on their behalf. But
delay again characterised the efforts of the Royal Institution, and it
was not until January 18th, 1820, that final application for the
transfer of the McGill estate was made to the three surviving executors,
Hon. John Richardson, Hon. James Reid, and the Rev. Dr. Strachan. The
estate was then in possession of Francis Desrivières, the nephew of the
first husband of Mrs. James McGill. He was occupying Burnside House,
James McGill's former home, and he was in control of the lands, products
and rents of the estate. On receipt of the request from the Royal
Institution, the executors wrote to Mr. Desrivières on January 20th,
1820, informing him that a University or College was about to be erected
and established "for the purpose of education as designated in the will
and in conformity to the conditions therein presented," and asking "when
the tract of land and premises now in your possession can be delivered
over without subjecting you to unnecessary inconvenience."

This inquiry was the beginning of a long and wearying controversy which
resulted in protracted litigation and ended finally in an appeal to the
Privy Council. The reply to the above request indicates that the
Desrivières family was not inclined to give up the property without a
struggle. Francis Desrivières wrote, "I beg leave to mention that when
the demand for the property in question is made by the Corporation
referred to [The Royal Institution], I will determine how far a
compliance with that demand ought to take place on my part." The
executors forwarded this reply to the Attorney for the Royal Institution
with the comment "you will perceive that it is evasive." They further
stated their intention to proceed nevertheless with the conveyance,
"which, when completed, will be handed over to you; it will then rest
with your Corporation to pursue such measures as may be considered
proper on the occasion."

The necessary papers for the transfer of the estate, but not the
endowment fund,--from the executors of the will to the Royal Institution
were finally completed in May, 1820; on June 7th following, the
conveyance was effected and the Deed was recorded on August 3rd. It was
evident, however, to the executors that difficulties were in the way of
securing possession of the property. In a letter to the Rev. Dr.
Strachan, written on the 24th of May, 1820, the two remaining living
executors, John Richardson and James Reid, said: "We are sorry to say
that a general belief prevails, and we fear is too well founded, that
Mr. Desrivières, the residuary legatee, means to contest this bequest of
his venerable benefactor. If that shall be really his intention, it will
speedily be known by a refusal after a formal demand is made by the
Corporation for the delivery of possession of the aforesaid grounds and
premises,--whereupon a suit will be instituted against him in the
October term." To this letter Dr. Strachan replied, "I should hope that
Mr. Desrivières will have a greater respect for the memory of his
greatest benefactor than to contest a Legacy which goes to establish an
institution which he had so much at heart."

That the "general belief" and the fears above referred to were not
groundless was soon apparent. Formal application for the vacating and
the giving up of the estate was made by the trustees of the Royal
Institution. The application was curtly refused. Francis Desrivières was
in possession of the estate and he determined to remain in such
possession until the Courts should decide otherwise. His solicitors
based their claim, on his behalf, on the plea that a college had not yet
been erected, that no steps had been taken towards its erection, that
there was no intention to proceed with its establishment, and that it
was now too late to comply with the conditions of the will with
reference to time. With respect to the endowment fund, they claimed that
they were not obliged to pay it until a college had been actually
erected as provided in the will. As a result of these claims, a suit was
at once instituted in the Courts by the Royal Institution for the
purpose of obtaining possession of the estate, and on October 3rd, 1820,
the Board passed a resolution authorising their attorney, Mr. Sewell, to
secure the aid of Mr. Stuart as counsel in the case. Mr. Sewell
subsequently had the assistance of Mr. Ogden, Mr. Vallières de St. Real,
Mr. Griffin, and Mr. Cochrane.

The Board soon realised that if their suit was to be carried to a
successful conclusion they must have funds to meet necessary expenses.
They applied to the Governor-General for financial assistance, and as a
result a sum of £200 was advanced to them as a loan, from the proceeds
of the Jesuits' Estates. They realised, too, that it was necessary at
once to give the College some semblance of organisation. Their
solicitors advised the securing of a Charter without delay, and on
February 7th, 1821, the Secretary of the Board wrote to Mr. Sewell,
stating that "application for a Charter will be made to His Majesty's
Government without loss of time, but it is the unanimous opinion of the
Board that the case should proceed." The Charter [here included as
appendix B] received the sanction of the Crown on March 31st, 1821, and
formed the basis of the court plea of the Royal Institution. Two years
later the Board decided to secure a teaching staff, and by 1824 they had
appointed a Principal, who was to be also Honorary Professor of
Divinity, and four Professors. The latter held merely _pro forma_
appointments, and were intended to fulfil a technical legal requirement;
none of them ever lectured in the University, and when the College was
actually opened five years later those who still remained willingly
resigned to leave the Governors free to fill all Professorships as they
desired. But the fact of their appointment doubtless helped the Board in
the suit then pending.

It is needless here to outline in detail the litigation that followed.
In answer to the Desrivières claim, the Board contended that, as
required by the testator, McGill College had now been, to all intents
and purposes, erected and established by Letters Patent under the Great
Seal, and by the appointment of Professors. All the conditions of the
will had therefore, they said, been fulfilled. Accordingly on November
8th, 1821, they made a formal demand upon the executors, the Hon. John
Richardson and the Hon. Justice Reid, for the transfer of the legacy of
£10,000 with interest due since the death of the testator. Francis
Desrivières was in possession of this money, and on December 4th, 1821,
the executors called on him for its payment. He replied that it would
not be paid until the college had been built and established, as the
case connected with property only had not yet been decided, and he did
not regard the mere obtaining of a Charter as fulfilling the conditions
of the will. As a result the executors and the Board issued instructions
on December 26th, 1821, for the instituting of a second suit to obtain
possession of the endowment fund, and the two suits proceeded.

The settlement of the first case was long delayed, and was attended with
numerous discouragements. It involved, too, great expense, which the
Board was not always able to meet. The judgment of the Court of King's
Bench in Montreal was in favour of the Royal Institution. Mr.
Desrivières then appealed from this judgment to the Privy Council, and
again an irritating delay ensued before the appeal was heard. In July,
1823, the Board asked the Governor-General for a further loan of £300
from the revenues of the Jesuits' Estates as they were again in
financial straits. The advance was made, but it was soon expended, and
when forwarding a payment on account to Mr. Sewell on April 15th, 1824,
the Secretary of the Board wrote, "this payment exhausts within a few
pounds all the money of the Royal Institution. We are therefore in no
very enviable situation as to funds." Four more years passed before the
first suit was finally settled; they were years during which in the face
of obstacles that threatened the very existence of the College, the
Board frequently despaired of success. On August 17th, 1824, the
Secretary wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, Sir F. N.
Burton, pleading for his assistance and co-operation in bringing the
case to a speedy conclusion, and asking for further financial
assistance. The following extract from his letter indicates that the
outlook was not entirely hopeful:

"The judgment of the Court of King's Bench at Montreal in favour of the
Institution in suit against Mr. Desrivières has been confirmed by the
Court of Appeals; but a further appeal has been made to the Privy
Council; the sum of £300, advanced by way of Loan, by order of His
Excellency, the Governor in Chief, in consequence of the address above
referred to (in addition to £200 before received), from the proceeds of
the Estates heretofore belonging to the late Order of Jesuits' has been
subsequently expended. Your Excellency is likewise aware that not only
is a question arising out of these complicated legal proceedings now
pending in the Court of Appeals, but also that the action for the
£10,000 which promises to be at least as expensive to the Institution as
that for the Estate of Burnside, is as yet undecided in the Court of
King's Bench at Montreal. Of the final result of these proceedings no
doubt can reasonably be entertained; but the Institution have before
them in the meantime the prospect of protracted Litigation without any
means whatever of meeting the heavy expense attendant upon it,--or even
of defraying their ordinary contingent expenses, however trifling their
amount. In these circumstances of unexampled difficulty, the Institution
once more humbly pray that your Excellency in transmitting their
Memorial to His Majesty's Government, will be pleased to accompany it
with such representations as to your Excellency may seem best calculated
to relieve them from the extreme embarrassment of their situation; from
which, if it is not speedily extricated, not only must all hope be
relinquished of the actual establishment of McGill College, already
erected by the Royal Charter, but their operations must be suspended
altogether and their very existence as a Corporation virtually cease."

The reply to this letter was unfavourable, or at least indifferent, and
on November 14, 1824, an appeal was made for a grant or a loan of £50
from the revenues of the Jesuits' Estates. Finally, towards the close of
1828, the judgment previously given in favour of the Royal Institution
was confirmed by decree of the Privy Council in Appeal, and early in
1829 the Burnside Estate was given into the Board's possession. The suit
in connection with the endowment fund was still pending. Because of the
judgment given in the first suit, there was no doubt, however, about its
ultimate result, but it was not finally settled by the Privy Council in
favour of the Royal Institution until 1837.

When the Board took possession of the Burnside Estate they decided to
lease to a farmer named O'Connor, the farm and garden for one year, "on
the halves," on condition that the lease could be cancelled by the Board
on three months' notice. The leasing of the property was frequently the
cause of controversy and annoyance. O'Connor contracted a bill for
garden seeds amounting to over £3. He was unable to pay it and the seed
merchant held the Estate liable, as the products of the seeds had
improved the property. There was a long and technical discussion, until
at last the bill was paid from the proceeds of the sale of wood from
apple trees O'Connor had cut down, apparently to end the trouble. On the
whole, the leasing was for a time profitable to the Board, but it was
not always attended with harmony. Later, the land was leased to another
farmer named Kelly for seven years, on condition that the lease could
be surrendered on four months' notice, "and that Kelly should cut down
the poplar trees." Subsequently, the estate was leased in smaller

In order to strengthen the claims then before the courts for the
possession of the endowment fund, it was desirable actually to open the
College in Burnside House as speedily as possible. It was decided that
the opening should take place on Wednesday, the 24th of June, 1829, and
notification of this intention was published in the press. In April a
committee of the Board was appointed to draw up a Code of Statutes for
the government of the College. The Rev. Archdeacon Mountain, son of the
Principal of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, had
been appointed Principal of the proposed University five years before.
But no arrangements had been made for the future. There was apparently
but little promise of a grant from the Government, and until the second
suit should be settled in the courts and money thereby made available,
it was obvious that all plans must be indefinite. The future would, it
was hoped, take care of itself; the main object to be considered for the
present at least was the opening of the College. With that accomplished,
and the endowment fund paid, all difficulties, it was thought, would
vanish, and the College would go forward to its intended place. But
before it lay troubled years of uncertainty and anxiety. It was only the
firm determination and the undefeated optimism of those who believed in
its destiny that kept it from being merely the hope or the dream of a
Scottish pioneer rather than a place of everlasting influence in our
national life. The struggle of those years was not always without great
disappointment, and even bitterness. But the product that emerged from
the turmoil was perhaps greater and stronger for that fact.



The Principal who guided McGill College in its infancy and for six years
after its opening, was the Rev. George Jehosophat Mountain. He was
appointed to the Principalship in 1824, while the University was a name
only. The family from which he was descended had won distinction in
education and in the church, and it was fortunate that the young College
should be cradled under the care of a guardian of his learning, his
traditions and his breadth of vision. His father, the Rev. Jacob
Mountain, was given livings by the younger Pitt in Lincolnshire and
Huntingdonshire in England, and later a prebend's stall in Lincoln
Cathedral. When a diocese was created in Canada his name was at once
suggested, because of his success at home, and in 1793 he came to Canada
to become the first Anglican Bishop of Quebec. He subsequently acted as
Principal of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning and
as such he had an active part in the educational affairs of the
Province. His son, George, was born in England in 1789 and when he
arrived in Canada with his parents he was but four years old. He
therefore justly regarded himself as a Canadian. He received his early
education in Quebec and continued his studies in England, where he took
his B.A. degree at Trinity College, Cambridge. He then returned to
Canada and assisted his father as Secretary until he was ordained in
1816, at a time when the establishment of McGill College and the methods
of fulfilling James McGill's desire were under discussion. In 1817 he
became Rector of Quebec, and in 1821 Archdeacon of Lower Canada. When in
1824 the Board of the Royal Institution found that it was necessary, in
order to secure the McGill bequest, to appoint Professors to the
proposed College they selected Archdeacon Mountain as Honorary Professor
of Divinity and Principal of McGill College. But he gave no lectures and
received little or no remuneration for his work. His duty seems to have
been mainly to preserve the forms which the terms of the will required.
He laid the foundation for the creation of the Faculty of Arts, and
while he believed that instruction should be given in a manner
consistent with the English National Establishment, he desired that the
University should be open to students of all creeds with equal
privileges and that Professorships should be tenable by graduates of the
Scotch Universities. He retained the Principalship until 1835, when he
retired, to return for a time to England. It is unnecessary here to
follow in detail his subsequent career. In 1836 he was made coadjutor of
Dr. James Stewart, Bishop of Quebec and became thereby Bishop of
Montreal, the consecration ceremony being performed at Lambeth. After
his retirement from the Principalship he continued, as we shall see, to
devote much time and attention to the affairs of the growing University
as a Governor, and he lived to see the College of which he was the first
guardian advance to growth and usefulness even far beyond his dreams.
During his last years he occupied the Anglican See of Quebec, where he
died in 1863.

[Illustration: _Rev. George Jehosophat Mountain_ 1789-1863
_First Principal of McGill University_ 1829-1835]

The ceremony which marked the official opening of McGill University was
held on Wednesday afternoon, June 24th, 1829. It had been advertised in
the press for some time, and in addition special invitations were sent
out to many citizens interested in educational advancement. It was
therefore attended by what the contemporary press called a gathering of
"numerous and respectable individuals." Because of the historical
importance of this meeting, the report of it, which appeared in the
_Montreal Gazette_ in the issue of Monday, June 29, and which is similar
in its details to the Governors' minutes of the meeting, is here given
in full:

"In consequence of a notification having been published--that this
College would be opened, and that formal possession of the estate of
Burnside, upon which it was established, would take place on Wednesday,
a very numerous assemblage of the inhabitants of this City were present
at what we consider to be one of the most important and interesting
ceremonies lately witnessed in this part of the Province. Though there
was none of the gaudy appearance and display characteristic of religious
or Masonic Processions, yet to the mind of the philosopher and friend of
education, the simple and appropriate ceremony, an account of which we
are about to lay before our readers, presented more charms than if
decked out with all the pageantry of chivalry and romance.

"A large room in the house which has been for some time existing on the
estate having been fitted up, it was soon after one o'clock filled by
the numerous and respectable individuals who had assembled to witness
the ceremony. Among the company we noticed several officers of the
government, the principal members of the Bar, the lecturers at the
Montreal Medical Institution and several gentlemen, more or less
connected with the proposed College.

"The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, attended by the Rev.
G. J. Mountain, D.D.; the Rev. J. L. Mills, D.D.; the Rev. B. B.
Stevens, A.M.; the Rev. A. Norman; and the Rev. A. F. Atkinson of
Montreal; the Rev. James Reid of St. Armand; the Rev. W. Abbott of St.
Andrews; the Rev. J. Abbott of Yamaska; the Rev. I. Braithwaite, A.B.,
of Chambly, and the Rev. H. Esson, and E. Black of the Kirk of Scotland
in Montreal having entered the Hall, the business of the day was soon
after proceeded upon.

"The Royal Charter incorporating the Governors and Professors of the
University being placed on the table, His Lordship the Bishop of Quebec
rose and addressed the assembled body. He stated that in consequence of
the absence of His Excellency the Administrator of the Government, who
was one of the Governors of the corporation of McGill College, it became
incumbent on him to make a few remarks on the present occasion. He
would, however, first state that he was commissioned by His Excellency
to express his regret that in consequence of the very late arrival of
the April and May mails he was unable to leave Quebec in time to assist
at the ceremony of promulgating the charter which had been conferred on
the College. His Excellency in his letter was pleased to add that he
would not fail to use all his exertions to promote the Institution.
Having fulfilled this duty, the Lord Bishop begged to observe that the
bequest which had been made in favour of this College by the late Hon.
James McGill consisted of the valuable estate of Burnside, comprising
the building in which they were then assembled, and the garden and
grounds adjoining, together with the sum of £10,000, in furtherance of
his benevolent intention. This liberal bequest was made in 1811 (two
years previous to the death of Mr. McGill), in trust to a corporation
called the Royal Institution which was contemplated by an act passed in
1801. This Institution was to transfer the bequest, when a College, in
pursuance of his views, was established and bearing his name. To this
most benevolent legacy, he could not help referring as characteristic of
its liberal donor, with whom he had the honour of an acquaintance, and
as furnishing an example which he hoped to see more frequently followed
in the Province. The late Mr. McGill, who had assumed a very
considerable fortune within the country, did not, like many others,
leave the Province and spend his money in some other part of the globe,
but having no direct heirs, he had left a very handsome legacy for the
laudable purpose of commencing a University in a country where such an
establishment was very desirable. The Institution was to bear the name
of its excellent founder, and he firmly hoped that it might prove a
blessing to many generations yet to come, that it might tend to
immortalise his name, and be the best monument that could be erected to
his memory. The Royal Institution was incorporated in 1818 and through
their instrumentality, this College was in pursuance of the will of Mr.
McGill incorporated in 1821 by a charter which would be read to them.
Under that charter the Governors of the College were the Governor and
Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper
Canada, the Chief Justices of Montreal and Upper Canada, the Bishop of
Quebec and the Principal of the College. It would be needless for him to
refer to the detentions and obstacles which had hitherto prevented the
College from going into operation; it was known that they arose from the
residuary legatee under the will of Mr. McGill disputing the legality of
the bequest, and carrying his opposition through all the Courts of the
Province, till His Majesty in his Privy Council had finally given the
decision in favour of the Institution, whose duty it had become to
prosecute for the recovery of the bequest. The suit in relation to the
money bequeathed to the College was still before the Council, but he was
happy to say that that unfortunate dispute would soon be terminated as
it was understood the residuary legatee intended to withdraw all further
opposition. It was the intention of the Royal Institution to transfer to
the Governors of the College the property of Burnside, and on the part
of the Governors, he was authorised to say that they were willing to
accept of it. A majority of them were either now present or consenting,
for he was charged with the consent of the Governor of this, and the
Lieutenant-Governor of the adjoining Province, both of whom had
expressed a desire to attend on the present occasion, and it was known
that there was now no Chief Justice in Upper Canada. On the part of the
majority, he accepted from the Royal Institution the Charter which the
Secretary of that body would now read.

"The Rev. Dr. Mills, Secretary to the Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning, then read at length the Charter of the College.

"The Lord Bishop then again rose and said that he was authorised on the
part of the Governors of the new College to state it to be their
intention as far as it was in their power to carry into effect the
liberal intentions of the late Mr. McGill. It was not a work in which
they themselves were solely interested, but it was an institution which
concerned every inhabitant of the Province, and under such feelings the
Governors were determined that no obstacles should deter them from
following up and prosecuting the views of the testator. He deemed it
unnecessary for him to exhort them upon the advantages of education, as
he was sure they were all of opinion that a moral and religious
education on Christian principles, and a scientific course of studies on
a true philosophical system were what it was their bounden duty to
promote. The Governors in assuming the Charter hoped that their
exertions would meet with the co-operation of every individual within
the Province.

"The Venerable Archdeacon Mountain then rose, and stated that as the
individual named to fill the honourable office of Principal of the new
College, it became his duty now to say a few words. He could not but
express his sense of his own unworthiness for such a distinguished
office, and he firmly hoped that he would be succeeded by a long line of
eminent and learned principals. He had it in charge for his colleagues
to state their anxiety to put the College into immediate operation, and
he might urge as a proof of their wish that they had not been idle in
this respect. With the assistance of the Honourable Mr. Cochrane then
present, they had been engaged in preparing and modelling a constitution
and rules for the government of the Institution. Although it was not
necessary to detail at present their precise nature, yet he could take
upon himself to state that they were liberal in every sense of the word,
imposing no test upon Professors or Students. In thus applying the term
liberal he wished it distinctly to be understood that he was not
conveying the charge of illiberality against those noble and venerable
Institutions of the Mother Country, in which a test was properly exacted
of conformity to the National Religion, but there were local
circumstances which required local adaptation; and according both to the
terms of the will and the provisions of the Royal Charter, all offices
whatever in McGill College were left freely open either to Protestants
or Roman Catholics, and Students of all denominations would be permitted
to attend. He deemed it necessary for him to explain how the present
Professors happened all to be members of the Church of England. When
found necessary to name Professors in virtue of the Charter of the
College, his late father, then Bishop of the Diocese, had submitted
several names to His Excellency the Earl of Dalhousie for these offices,
among which those of the Rev. Archdeacon Strachan and the Rev. Dr.
Harkness, having been proposed as eligible, either one or the other, to
the same Professorship, His Excellency, whether swayed by a feeling of
delicacy and desire to avoid the appearance of partiality, on account of
his being himself a member of the Church of Scotland, or from whatever
cause, decided in favour of the former gentleman. This circumstance was
mentioned in proof that the original as well as the present intention of
the Governors was in all respects to shew due respect to the intentions
of the will of Mr. McGill and the terms of the Charter. It had been
deemed necessary for the present to declare that the Professors should
be graduates of some British University, but that a preference should
hereafter be shown to those who had graduated within its walls. The
Governors would feel it to be their duty under all discouraging
obstacles to push on the great undertaking, and never to cease in their
exertions for its prosperity. They hoped they would meet with general
support and they trusted with confidence that they would be assisted by
all, when the very liberal terms of the will and Charter were
considered. It would be necessary for them to make a strong and powerful
appeal to the Mother Country, and they also expected great pecuniary
assistance from those resident near the establishment, and more directly
interested in its prosperity. They would as soon as possible establish a
system of collegiate education, and there was a predisposition to
engraft upon the College the well-known and respectable Medical
Institution now in existence in the city. The door of the building was
at length open, and it was the duty of all to proceed with vigour. They
might at first complain of a great want of means for such an
Institution, for it required much to place it on a respectable footing,
but while they thus looked forward with confidence, they should not be
unmindful that the Province was highly indebted to the very liberal
disposition of Mr. McGill, who had set such a praiseworthy example to
his fellow-citizens, whose duty it now became generally to aid his work
and follow up his munificent views. The Archdeacon concluded his address
by expressing his conviction that all who were present felt alike the
dependence of every human undertaking for its success upon the blessing
of Divine Providence, and would therefore be unanimously ready to join
in the religious services with which it was proposed to conclude the
business of the day; and in which he accordingly proceeded.

"The 8th chapter of Proverbs, which had been selected as appropriate to
the occasion, was first read; after which the following verses selected
from different Psalms were repeated in the way of alternation, the
responsive part being sustained by the other Clergy of the Church of
England who were present.

"'The Lord hath been mindful of us and shall bless us: even he shall
bless the house of Israel; he shall bless the house of Aaron.

"'He shall bless them that fear the Lord both small and great.

"'The Lord shall increase you more and more, both you and your children.

"'All the whole Heavens are the Lord's: the earth hath he given to the
children of men.

"'The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly

"'Lord, thou art become gracious unto thy land: thou sendest a gracious
rain upon thine inheritance, and refreshedst it when it was weary.

"'O pray for the peace of Jerusalem,--they shall prosper that love thee.

"'Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces.

"'For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will wish thee prosperity.

"'Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do thee

"'Except the Lord build the house; their labour is but lost that build

"'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give the praise;
for thy loving mercy and for thy truth's sake.

"'Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

"'As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without
end. Amen.'

"The Archdeacon then proceeded with the following prayers:

"'O blessed and eternal God, who by wisdom hast founded the earth and by
understanding hast stretched out the Heavens--Father of Light and Author
of every good and perfect gift, from whom we receive all that we have,
and all that we are made capable of performing--upon whose pleasure both
we, and our works, and all creation depend--look down from the
habitation of thy holiness and glory, and favour the undertaking which
is here before us; let thy blessing rest upon it; let the cloud and
pillar of thy presence go with us; establish the work of our hands upon
us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Our hope is in Thee
and thou art able to do for us, in things temporal as well as spiritual,
exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Raise us
means, we beseech thee, to provide for the wants of this Institution:
dispose the hearts of men and order the course of events favourably
towards it: shed down the spirit of wisdom and of patient continuance
upon those who plant and those who water, and do thou give the increase
from on high. Sanctify all the instruction which shall hereafter be
given and all the studies which shall be pursued in this Institution,
and render them subservient to thy glory and the good of mankind. Grant
that all the stores of knowledge and science, which shall be here opened
to the minds of youth, may form them to the greater love of thy holy
name, and lead them to magnify thee in thy wonderful works. O righteous
Father, who hast hid the highest of all knowledge from the wise and
prudent of this world, and revealed it unto babes, grant that none may
be here spoiled, through philosophy and vain deceit, nor lifted up in
hearts through the opposition of science falsely so called, but give
them grace to cast down imaginations and every high thing which exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every
thought to the obedience of Christ. Yet, O Lord, while they are
subjected to this gentle and blessed yoke, enrich this Institution, we
pray thee, with ample streams of all sound learning and science; and as
we are taught in thy holy word that the Lawgiver of thy ancient people
was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and the blessed apostle
St. Paul, profited above his equals, as well in the studies of his time
and people, as in the learned lore of the ancients at large--and as thou
didst miraculously supply to the first planters of our holy faith that
knowledge which, under thy blessing, must now be acquired by labour and
length of time--grant that all beneficence and industry may be exerted
in the endowment and enlargement, the furtherance and prosperity of this
Institution; grant that the grain of seed which is here sown may
become, in process of time, a great and goodly tree; that Science and
Literature may spring up and flourish upon this dedicated spot, and bear
fruit a hundredfold.

"'With these our prayers, O Father of Heaven and Earth, we offer up our
humble thanksgiving for all thy mercies manifested to us, and especially
for that thou didst put it into the heart of thy servant, the Founder of
this Institution, to provide, out of the means which thou hadst given
him, for so needful a work. And, alike in thanksgiving or prayer, we
approach thy Throne in the prevailing name and through the powerful
mediation of Jesus Christ, whose own holy words also we couple still
with our imperfect address.' The Archdeacon here repeated the Lord's

"Then followed the Prayer for the Church Militant, from the Liturgy,
with some adaptations to render it immediately applicable to the local
authorities and to the occasion of the day. The assembly was dismissed
by a blessing pronounced by the Bishop.

"Before closing this subject, we deem it but justice to the Venerable
Archdeacon Strachan, to state, that to that Reverend gentleman the
Province is greatly indebted for McGill College, as to his suggestions
on this subject, his friend and relative the late Mr. McGill lent a
ready and willing ear, and was induced to frame the bequest, which is
now about to be employed according to the intentions of its donor. To
that gentleman, we understand, is also due the very liberal arrangement
which was announced by the Principal, with regard to the total absence
of any tests for the admission of Professors or Students...."

When the ceremony of formally opening the College and establishing the
Faculty of Arts, "as a place of liberal education," was ended and the
gathering dispersed, the Governors of the College met in the late
afternoon for the transaction of business. They received the Lecturers
of the Montreal Medical Institution, who formally placed before them the
plans for "engrafting upon the College the well-known and respectable
Medical Institution" as already indicated in the report above. The
scheme was acceptable to the Governors and the Montreal Medical
Institution became part of McGill University. The Governors' Minutes of
the meeting contains the following entry:

"The public business having been closed, the Governors of the
Corporation held an interview with the members of the Montreal Medical
Institution, who had been requested to attend the meeting for that
purpose. During this interview it was resolved by the Governors of the
Corporation that the members of the Montreal Medical Institution (Dr.
Caldwell, Dr. Stephenson, Dr. Robertson, Dr. Holmes) be engrafted upon
the College as its Medical Faculty, it being understood and agreed upon
by and between the said contracting parties that until the powers of the
Charter would be altered, one of their number only should be a
university professor and the others lecturers; that they should
immediately enter upon the duties of their offices. All of which
arrangements were agreed to."

[Illustration: _Andrew Fernando Holmes, M.D., LL.D._ 1798-1850]

The Montreal Medical Institution owed its origin to the Medical Staff of
the Montreal General Hospital, which was opened to patients in May,
1822. At that time there were no opportunities in Canada for the
obtaining of medical education. Realising the existing and urgent need
for such training, certain members of the Hospital Staff gave courses of
lectures to students during the winter of 1822-1823. Later, a memorial
was forwarded to the Lieutenant-Governor setting forth the necessity for
the foundation of a permanent school of medical education, and outlining
plans for the establishment and incorporation of the proposed Medical
Institution. The reply to this memorial stated that an endeavour would
be made to give assistance to a Medical School, and as a result the
Montreal Medical Institution was organised. It was opened in October,
1824. Efforts were then made to secure its incorporation, and in 1826 a
Charter was drawn up and forwarded through the Lieutenant-Governor to
the Solicitor-General for opinion or approval. A delay of several months
followed, and it was not until 1828 that a reply was received. The reply
was not favourable to the Institution. The Charter was refused for the
reasons that the School was not connected with any Seminary of Learning,
and that it had no foundation or endowment. No degrees could therefore
be conferred and the Institution had no standing in law. Meanwhile the
Privy Council had given judgment in favour of the Royal Institution in
the first Desrivières suit in connection with the Burnside Estate, as
already recorded, and it was clear that a similar judgment in the second
suit in connection with the endowment fund was but a question of time.
The establishment of McGill College was assured, and arrangements for
its opening had already been announced. It naturally occurred to those
interested in the Medical Institution that their problems of University
connection and of endowment referred to by the Solicitor-General could
be solved by "engrafting" the Institution on the proposed McGill
College. They accordingly forwarded a memorial to the Government,
suggesting that the Lecturers in the Institution be appointed
"professors of the University to be established at Burnside near the
city." The Government referred the suggestion to the Board of the Royal
Institution to whom formal application was then made by the Medical
body. A committee of the Board was appointed to consider the question.
The Medical Institution pressed for a decision, and on February 16,
1829, the Secretary wrote to Dr. Holmes, of the Hospital Staff, stating,
"The Committee to whom was referred the communication from the Montreal
Medical Institution have not, I am sorry to say, yet made their report;
but I trust the business will be proceeded in very shortly, and I shall
not fail to inform you of the result without delay. Of this be assured
that there is every desire on the part of the Board to meet the wishes
of the Institution as far as it may be found practicable to do so."

The Board had in 1824 appointed Dr. Fargues of Quebec Professor of
Medicine, but he expressed his willingness to resign in order to leave
the Board free to negotiate with the Medical Institution. On April 10th,
1829, the decision of the Board was conveyed to Dr. Holmes, in the
following letter:

"Referring to a former communication upon the subject, I lose no time in
transmitting to you the following Extract from the Report of a
Committee of the Royal Institution, to whom it was referred to consider
what measures it may be necessary for the Board to take, on having now
obtained possession of the Estate of Burnside.

"The Medical Institution at Montreal, connected at present with the
Montreal Hospital, having solicited the aid and protection of the Royal
Institution, and expressed a desire to become a branch of McGill
College, it is conceived that the gentlemen of that Institution might be
willing (in consideration of being so associated with a legally
constituted establishment) to execute gratuitously the duties of one or
more Professorships in the College, connected with the Faculty of
Medicine. The Professorships being limited to _four_, it is obvious that
there can be only _one_ Medical Professor, and I am happy to inform you
that Dr. Fargues, having been solicited to resign, has consented to do
so with the utmost readiness, and it is accordingly open to the
gentlemen of the Montreal Medical Institution to recommend for the
consideration of the Governors of the College any one of their members,
being a graduate in Medicine, as his successor."

As a result of this decision the Governors of the College agreed to
appoint one of the Lecturers in the Montreal Medical Institution to the
Professorship of Medicine vacated by the resignation of Dr. Fargues.
Meanwhile there was a misunderstanding between the Governors and the
Board over the number of Professors already appointed in 1824. The
Charter provided for a Principal and four Professors; the Governors made
these appointments, but also made the Principal Honorary Professor of
Divinity. The Board contended that five Professorships had thus been
created and filled, contrary to the provisions of the Charter. On April
22nd, 1829, Dr. Stephenson wrote to the Board on behalf of the Medical
Institution urging that the number of Professorships in the College be
increased to enable all the Medical Lecturers to be attached to McGill
College. The Secretary replied on May 19th, 1829, as follows:

"Your letter of the 22nd ult., was duly submitted by me to the Board of
the Royal Institution, and I am directed to inform you in reply, that
the Board having carefully considered the subject, are of opinion that,
as the matter actually stands at present, it is not in their power to
procure an augmentation of the number of professorships. They conceive,
however, that the Medical Professor of the University might deliver
Lectures in one particular branch of the Science, and that the other
Departments might be conducted by gentlemen, who should be named
Lecturers in the College, as is the case with respect to the different
branches of Learning and Science, which are taught in the Colleges of
the Universities at home. The words of the Charter are evidently
restrictive. The College shall 'consist of a Principal and four
Professors,' and in this view of the subject the Board are supported by
high legal authority. This limitation, for which it is difficult to
assign an adequate reason, is much to be regretted. The Governors of the
College have committed an oversight in some way or other. It had not
escaped the previous notice of the Board. The Bishop, the Archdeacon and
myself intend visiting Montreal next month, when we shall have an
opportunity of discussing the subject at full length. I have only now
to add that we all of us, both as a body and as individuals, feel
interested in the success of the Montreal Medical Institution, and that
we shall be most happy if it can be in any way promoted by a connection
with McGill College."

After the College was formally opened it was necessary for the Governors
and the Board of the Royal Institution to wait for the final decision of
the courts on the possession of the endowment fund, which was still held
by the Desrivières heirs. No money was available for salaries; no
building on the estate was suitable for classes. It was therefore
considered impossible, for the present at least, to undertake actual
teaching in the College. But meanwhile the Montreal Medical Institution
had received from the Royal Institution the "aid and protection" it
required, and it continued to carry on its work and to give instruction
to students as before, but with a definite connection with the
University as one of its Faculties. Pending the securing of the
endowment fund which would make possible the putting in operation of the
College proper, as provided for in the will, the Governors of the
College therefore decided to appoint, temporarily, and without
remuneration, the lecturers in the newly formed Medical Faculty to the
four professorships at their disposal, in order that degrees in at least
one department of the University could be conferred. To make this
possible the Professors who had already been appointed in the Faculty of
Arts, and whose duties could not yet begin, willingly consented to
resign. But before degrees could be granted it was necessary, under the
terms of the Charter, to draw up statutes for the government of the
University, such statutes to receive the approval of the Crown. The
Statutes, Rules and Ordinances for the Medical Faculty were agreed upon
by the Governors; and were submitted to the Colonial Office by Lord
Aylmer on March 8th, 1832. The Royal approval was forwarded to the
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province in a despatch dated May 2nd, 1832,
together with the confirmation of the appointment of William Caldwell,
John Stephenson, Andrew F. Holmes and William Robertson of the Medical
School to the four University professorships, "without specifying at
present the precise nature of each Professorship." They received no
remuneration from the College. Later, Dr. Stephenson acted for a brief
period as supervisor of the Burnside Estate.

The Home Government's knowledge of the exact circumstances and terms and
even the making of the Montreal Medical Institution into a Faculty of
McGill seems afterwards to have been somewhat hazy. On August 20th,
1834, the Colonial Office wrote to Lord Aylmer, the Lieutenant-Governor,
saying, "It would appear from Sir James Kempt's Despatches of 1830, that
it was contemplated to incorporate with the College an association of
Medical Practitioners but that difficulties arose as to the selection of
the Governors ... but I do not gather from your despatch whether the
incorporation of this association is still desired." He asked for a
report on the question--a question that had been decided five years
before. It was pointed out in reply that the Montreal Medical
Institution no longer existed independent of the College and that the
several Lecturers in that school now occupied all the four
Professorships provided for by the Charter. There was misunderstanding,
too, as we shall see, between the Governors of the College and the Royal
Institution with reference to the temporary or the permanent nature of
the above appointments, three of which the latter Board had never
ratified, and of which they were apparently not informed. For several
years the tradition of a distinct Institution, as it had already been
known, continued. The Medical Faculty carried on its work more or less
independently of the College, although it was incorporated with it and
was legally a part of it, but because of tradition it was not always
regarded as an integral part of the University. It was looked upon as a
well established teaching body now linked up with the new College. The
Rules and Ordinances of the University did not apply to the Medical
Faculty, and for several years after the actual erection and opening of
the College buildings the students of the Medical School were not
included in the statement of enrolment annually sent to the Home
Government by the Visitor to the University.

On the 24th of May of 1833, four years after the opening of the College,
the first University degree awarded was conferred in the Faculty of
Medicine on William Logie. On May 7th, 1833, Dr. J. Stephenson,
Secretary of the Medical School, wrote to Principal Mountain with
reference to the conferring of this degree:

"I am directed by the Medical Faculty of the University to inform you
that Mr. William Logie of Montreal, after having produced to the
Secretary of the Faculty credentials entitling him, was examined, as the
Statutes, Rules and Ordinances of the College direct, touching his
Classical knowledge and then got a general examination on all the
branches of Medical and Surgical Science. The Medical Faculty found him
well qualified to practise Medicine and Surgery and accordingly have
announced to him that they will forward his name to the Governors to
obtain the Degree of Doctor of Medicine and Surgery.

"In consequence I am directed by the Faculty to address you on the
following points:

"1st. That we will, with your approbation, have our Gowns made as that
of a Bachelor of Laws except the Cowl.

"2nd. That we will have the Theses printed by Mr. Armour of Montreal.

"3rd. The Faculty desire to know how the degree will be conferred on the
24th of May and the tenor of said Degree that they might be getting it

Under the rules of that time, it was necessary for a student proceeding
to a degree to defend before the members of Faculty a Thesis on some
previously approved topic. The Thesis was printed at the expense of the
student. The rules provided, too, that "the student be required to
attend the Hospital during the time required by the Statutes, and to
receive clinical instruction from the Professors at the bedside of the
patients." The legal power of the University to confer degrees on the
graduates of the Medical Faculty was questioned by rival authorities,
and was later tested in the courts, but the legality of the degree and
the privilege of the holder to practise Medicine in the Province was

The Governors now decided that an effort should be made to begin actual
teaching in the liberal Arts and Sciences as called for in the will of
the founder. They determined to appoint professors and to conduct
classes, temporarily, in Burnside House. At a meeting of the Governors
held on the 4th of January, 1834, at which were present Lord Aylmer,
Governor in Chief, The Lord Bishop of Quebec, and the Principal of the
College, it was decided to ask that the Charter be amended, and that the
Governing Board of the College be changed to consist henceforth of the
following: The Governor in Chief, the Lieutenant-Governor or person
administering the Government; the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada;
the Lord Bishop of the Diocese; the Chief Justice of Montreal; the Chief
Justice of Upper Canada; the Speaker of the two Houses of the Provincial
Parliament of Lower Canada; the Senior Executive Councillor residing in
Montreal; the Archdeacon of Quebec; the Solicitor-General; the Principal
of the College; the Rector of Montreal; together with four other
Governors to be named by the Governor in Chief, the Lieutenant-Governor
or the person administering the Government under a power to be
introduced into the Charter to that effect. Efforts were made afterwards
to have the Minister of the Church of Scotland added to this list,
ex-officio, but it was pointed out in reply that he was "not conceived
to have any perpetual capacity in law and thence cannot be an ex-officio
Governor." It was decided also that His Excellency be requested to
recommend to His Majesty's Government that power should be given in the
amended Charter to the Governors of the College to establish additional
professorships from time to time, at their discretion, according to the
exigencies of the University and the means at their command.

It was further resolved that in the meantime until endowments for
Professorships were available from the McGill bequest, "gentlemen
resident in Montreal qualified to give lectures should be appointed on
the same footing as the four Professors in the Medical Faculty and that
they should receive fees from their students ... with the duty annexed
of delivering occasional lectures, fees being paid by those who will
attend them according to a regulated scale, there being at present no
means of endowing Professorships with salaries." Professors were
recommended for the following subjects: Classical Literature and
History; Natural Philosophy and Mathematics; and Hebrew and Oriental
Languages--all to be appointed on the same footing as provided for by
the foregoing resolution. At this meeting, too, a recommendation was
made that a Vice-Principal should be appointed--or that one of the
Professors be empowered to act as Vice-Principal--because of the
frequent absence of the Principal on other duties. Later, the Chair of
Natural Philosophy was separated from that of Mathematics. As a result
of the Governors' decision an amended Charter was drawn up for
submission to the authorities, providing, among other things, for an
increased number of Professorships. It was prepared by the Professors of
the Medical Faculty, but it was greatly altered by the Governors at a
meeting called to consider it. The Colonial Office to whom it was
forwarded would not approve of it, and even the consideration of it was
very long delayed. The question was debated until January, 1837, when
the Colonial Office declared that it was impossible further to discuss

In April, 1834, the occupation of the House and Premises of Burnside as
a "Classical School" was approved. But it was to be conducted by the
Professors in their private capacity and no provision was made for their
maintenance, and the occupation of the premises was to be subject to the
conditions imposed by the Governors and the Royal Institution acting

The Principal, Archdeacon Mountain, now expressed his desire to retire
from office. Other duties were calling for his attention. Indeed, at
intervals for several weeks in succession he had been obliged to take
little part in the management of the University, for his presence as
Archdeacon of Lower Canada was required in many places. Frequently, too,
it was necessary for him to be absent from the Province for a
considerable length of time. He felt, also, that he had been appointed
Principal mainly for the purpose of putting the College in operation and
that his work was now done. The Governors then decided to offer the
Principalship to the Rev. S. T. Wood of Three Rivers, and if he declined
to accept it, to offer it to the Rev. Thomas Littlehales of Christ
Church College, Oxford. But neither of these men would agree to occupy
the proffered post; indeed, the former entirely ignored the Governors'
letter. Archdeacon Mountain was induced to remain some months longer, or
until a competent successor could be found. The Professorship of
Classical Literature was offered to the Rev. James Ramsay, a graduate of
Trinity College, Dublin; that of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy to
Mr. Alex. Skakel of King's College, Aberdeen; and that of Hebrew and
Oriental Languages to the Rev. E. Black, of the University of Edinburgh.
Difficulties resulting from the Charter prevented these appointments
from being actually made at that time. Because of irritating delays,
the somewhat hopeless situation brought about by the refusal of the Home
Government to permit the increase of Professorships, and numerous other
differences of opinion, trouble was now growing between the Governors
and the Crown. At a meeting of the former held on November 14, 1834, at
which were present Lord Aylmer, Governor in Chief, the Chief Justice and
the Principal, the Governor was asked to bring to the notice of the
Secretary of State "the great inconvenience which it is feared may
result from the necessity of referring to His Majesty's Home Government,
as required by the Charter, every appointment of a Professor or even of
a Principal." This was the beginning of a bitter and prolonged
controversy which did not end until 1846, and which involved the College
in perhaps the gravest difficulty and uncertainty of its history.

Meanwhile, the case against the Desrivières heirs, James McGill
Desrivières, Henri Desrivières, Francis Desrivières, and Alex McKenzie,
had proceeded. Every effort was made to have the suit settled. On
December 21, 1833, the Governors authorised the Medical Professors to
join them in a Memorial on the subject to the Home Government. The Board
of the Royal Institution persistently urged haste, but delay followed
delay. At last, on February 7th, 1835, the Order in Council deciding the
case in favour of the Board was issued, but it was not forwarded until
the 21st of May. But notwithstanding the decision of the Privy Council
the heirs of James McGill were slow to accede to the demands of the
Royal Institution. On March 8th, 1836, the Secretary of the Board wrote
"as to Burnside we are extremely perplexed by the pertinacity of the
heirs in resisting and threatening further resistance to the payment of
any money on account of the debt due to the Royal Institution unless
terms are granted them ... which ... members of the Board think that we
could not accept without rendering ourselves personally liable if any
further loss should accrue thereby to the College. I should be strongly
disposed to try and borrow money to begin with, if I knew what tangible
security we could offer." A further delay resulted, and even after the
suit was settled the executors of the will hesitated to transfer the
money to the Board or the Governors until the Home Government fulfilled
certain promises which they understood to have been made. It was not
until October, 1837, that the case was brought to final conclusion. As a
result of delays, negligence, and unsatisfactory communications, the
Governors appointed a special agent in London to conduct their business,
with the frank comment, "If documents are sent through the Public
Offices to Great Britain by way of the Colonial Office, there will be no
end to the delay."

In July, 1835, two months after judgment was given in favour of the
Board, Principal Mountain retired from office in order to proceed to
England. Now that the possession of the endowment fund was assured he
believed that the College would soon be without difficulties and that
its infant days of helplessness had passed. The Principalship was
offered to the Rev. S. J. Lockhart, M.A. (Oxford), Chaplain and
Secretary to the Bishop of Quebec. He seems to have accepted the post,
but he never assumed the duties of his office. A meeting of Governors
was held in Quebec on November 18, 1835, attended by Lord Gosford, who
had meanwhile become Governor in Chief of Lower Canada, the Lord Bishop
of Quebec, and the Chief Justice of Montreal. It was there resolved
"that the Rev. John Bethune, Rector of Christ Church, Montreal, be
appointed Principal of the College _pro tempore_; and that it be
conveyed to him that his appointment shall not interfere with any future
appointment which the Governors of the College may see fit to make." The
office of Principal was accepted by Mr. Bethune on November 24th, 1835,
in the following letter:

"I cordially accept the appointment which the Governors of McGill
College have done me the honour to confer on me, of Principal of the
Institution _pro tempore_, under the explanation given to me by the
Chief Justice of Montreal of the following passage in your Lordship's
communication 'that the appointment shall not interfere with any future
appointment that the Governors of the College may see fit to make,'
viz., that if the funds of McGill College should at any future period
enable the Governors to offer the Principal a sufficient emolument to
secure his exclusive services to the Institution the present nomination
shall not interfere with any such future appointment--but that the
present nomination is not to be cancelled to make room for any future
_pro tempore_ appointment."

During the six years that had passed since the formal opening of the
College definite progress had been made. But apart from the activity of
the Medical School, which did not owe its origin to the University and
had merely changed its name, the progress was connected only with laying
plans for the future and with securing adequate resources and a
definite habitation. The Governors were harassed by litigation and by
not a little uncertainty; they were dismayed at times by the evident
lack of sympathy and the discouraging indifference of officials of the
Home Government. But they did not cease to hope, and they did not dream
of abandoning their educational scheme. They would struggle on to the
fulfilment of the founder's vision. It was the task of the newly
appointed acting-Principal to carry out these plans and to take up the
administration of the University in one of the most difficult and
critical periods of its existence. The years that followed were to be
troubled years of poverty, anxiety and controversy, not unmixed with
bitterness, during which, at times, extinction and oblivion threatened
the University's life.



The Rev. John Bethune, appointed acting-Principal of McGill in temporary
succession to Principal Mountain on November 18th, 1835, was a Canadian
by birth and education. His father, the Rev. John Bethune, a native of
the Island of Skye, Scotland, and a graduate of King's College,
Aberdeen, emigrated to America before the War of Independence. At the
beginning of the Revolution he served as Chaplain of a militia regiment
fighting in the Carolinas on the British side; he was taken prisoner by
Republican troops, and after his release by exchange he moved with other
British Empire Loyalists to Canada. He lived for a short time in Nova
Scotia, became Chaplain again of a Highland Regiment fighting in defence
of Canada against Montgomery's Army, and when the War ended he settled
in Montreal. Here he organised, as we have seen, the first Presbyterian
Congregation in the City, and ministered to it from March, 1786, until
May, 1787. He then removed to Williamstown in the county of Glengarry,
where he became minister of the Church of Scotland.

[Illustration: _Rev. Dr. John Bethune
Actg. Principal of McGill University_

The future acting-Principal of McGill, the Rev. John Bethune, the
younger, was born at Williamstown, Glengarry County, in January, 1791.
He received his education at the school of the Rev. Dr. John Strachan
at Cornwall, already referred to. After serving in the War of 1812, he
entered the ministry of the Church of England, possibly through the
influence of his former teacher, who left a deep impression on the minds
and lives of all his pupils, and in 1814, he was ordained by Bishop
Mountain at Quebec. He was stationed for a time at Brockville and
vicinity, and in 1818 he was made Rector of Christ Church, Montreal,
where he remained for more than fifty years, eventually becoming Dean of
the diocese. He was acting-Principal of McGill from November, 1835,
until May, 1846. He died in August, 1872.

Soon after his appointment, the acting-Principal entered into
negotiations with the Board of the Royal Institution on the question of
the erection of a suitable building on the Burnside Estate for the
reception and instruction of students, as required by James McGill's
will. The Medical lectures, the only lectures given in the name of the
College, were given in a building far removed from the College property.
The College authorities did not even pay the rent of the building nor
did they pay the salaries of the Professors, and the School, except in
name, and for its own protection and the privilege gained thereby for
the conferring of degrees, was still, to all intents and purposes, a
private institution. Technically, it was contended, it was not a part of
the University at all. It was not situated on the Burnside Estate as the
will of the founder required, and it could not therefore be considered
as fulfilling any of the provisions of the bequest. Even the legality of
the degrees conferred had been questioned, and had been accepted on the
basis of equity and intention rather than on that "of justice and of
fact." The Principal and Governors realised the force of these
arguments, and the necessity of removing the cause. The situation could
only be met, they believed, by the erection of a building or buildings
on the Burnside Estate, as the terms of the bequest demanded, and the
Governors urged immediate action. They pointed out that "without
provision for resident students very little good can be expected to
result from the opening of the College, and without residence within the
College for one or more professors it cannot be expected that resident
students will be obtained." The acting-President of the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning, A. W. Cochrane, wrote to
Principal Bethune on January 11th, 1836, stating "with respect to the
measures proper to be taken towards the speedy erection of a College on
Burnside property, it was my intention to have submitted to a meeting of
the Royal Institution which was fixed for Thursday next a proposal to
advertise for plans and estimates of a suitable building.... My own
opinion is that a new building calculated for 40 students (_intimus_)
with a suitable public apartment and accommodation for two professors
would be sufficient for the present demands of the country (perhaps even
beyond what is necessary) and that at all events it would not be
justifiable to exceed the expenditure of £4000 or £5000 out of the
bequest for such a purpose at the outset. The present building, Burnside
House, might be adapted to the residence of the Head of the College." He
added that, as promised in 1801, the Crown should give an endowment for
general education in the Province, in a way that would not rouse
political or sectarian feelings. "I should not," he said, "wish to see
the question connected with the proceedings of any political
association. If taken up in this general way, I think that some public
movement at Montreal in favour of it would not fail to have a good
effect; but great caution and moderation are requisite." But the Board
and the Governors could not agree on the kind of building required and
over a year passed without any action on the part of either body.

Further difficulty arose in connection with the amended Charter of 1834,
which had not received the approval of the authorities. Until it was
given confirmation no additional professorships could be appointed. That
it did not conform to the ideas of the Board of the Royal Institution is
evident from a letter written to Principal Bethune by the President in
June, 1836. Objection was taken to making the Governors a self-elective
body, and the necessity of making it essential that the Governors or a
majority of them should be of the Protestant faith was also insisted on.
That the discord between the Governors and the Board which led in the
end to unfortunate bitterness and disaster, was then developing is also
apparent in this letter. The President of the Board wrote: "Whatever
changes are proposed to be made in the existing Charter must, I should
conceive as a matter of course, be submitted for the consideration of
the Royal Institution, the Visitatorial body who are bound to see that
the views of the founder of the College are not defeated." The Governors
then decided to submit new amendments, and at a meeting held on November
14th, 1836, attended by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Chief Justice and
the Principal, the Charter recommended in January, 1834, was changed to
read as follows: "The Governors of the College shall consist of the
Governor in Chief of Lower Canada; the Right Rev. Charles J. Stewart,
Lord Bishop of Quebec and his successors, Bishops of Quebec; the Right
Rev. George J. Mountain, Lord Bishop of Montreal and his successors,
Bishops of Montreal; the Rector of Christ Church, Montreal, and his
successors of the said Church; a minister of the Church of Scotland
resident in Montreal, to be selected for the purpose by the Presbytery
of Montreal to be perpetually succeeded by a minister of the Church of
Scotland chosen in like manner; the Principal of the College; the Hon.
James Reid; the Hon. George Moffat; the Hon. Peter McGill; William
Robertson, M.D.; William P. Christie; Samuel Gerrard and John Samuel
McCord." Authority was given to fill all vacancies by a majority vote of
the Governors, seven to constitute a quorum. It was stipulated that all
Governors of the College must henceforth be residents in the district of
Montreal. The Chief Justice and the Principal agreed to the above
changes in the Charter, but the Governor of the Province "declined under
existing circumstances to give any opinion on the subject, and his vote
was not recorded." It was also decided at this meeting that the rents
from the Burnside Estate be expended on repairs and that the premises be
placed in the occupation and charge of the Principal for the time being,
he to keep them in a good state of repair. This latter decision was not
approved by the Royal Institution and it gave rise to further
controversy. Without the approval of the Board of the Royal Institution
the Governors forwarded their amendments to the Governor-General for
transmission to the Home Government, but at the request of the Board he
stayed proceedings.

Meanwhile, the ultimate possession of the endowment fund was causing
anxiety. The case was settled in favour of the College in 1835, but the
Governors were unable to secure the money. The Desrivières heirs who
were in control of the legacy demanded terms as we have already seen,
but their terms were refused. When the Executors at last secured
possession of the funds they declined to convey them to the Royal
Institution until certain promised conditions were fulfilled by that
body acting for the Home Government. On November 10th, 1836, a memorial
on the subject of the legacy was forwarded to the Colonial Office by Dr.
Strachan, one of the surviving Executors of the will of James McGill. He
pointed out that the original bequest had increased by the accumulation
of interest to £22,000. This amount together with the Burnside Estate
would, he said, be transferred to the Royal Institution when two
conditions were fulfilled--first, the contributing by His Majesty's
Government towards the erection and endowment of the proposed
University, and second, the carrying out of the intention of the
testator, to which Dr. Strachan stated himself to be a living witness,
that the proposed College should be essentially Protestant. To this
Memorial the Colonial Office replied that the will did not stipulate for
a contribution from His Majesty's Government towards the proposed
University, and added "nor can we perceive any disposition on the part
of the testator to impress on the Institution to which he so liberally
contributed a character of religious exclusiveness.... The testator did
not in his will either directly or indirectly introduce such a
condition, and adverting moreover to the even-handed liberality with
which his bequests were distributed between the poor Catholic and
Protestant inhabitants of Montreal, we apprehend it would be impossible
to impose such a restriction founded on mere verbal testimony as to the
intention of the testator.... His Majesty's Government cannot now advise
His Majesty to reconsider it for the purpose of narrowing the Charter of
1821." In November, 1836, the Board conveyed to the Governors of the
College the possession of the Burnside Estate, subject to the Board's
subsequent approval of all decisions affecting it. But the controversy
between the executors and the Colonial Office over the conveyance of the
funds, which the heirs had not yet given up, continued for several
months. It was not until October 20th, 1837, that the litigation finally
ended. In December following, a transfer of all monies, investments,
etc., was obtained by the Trustees of the Royal Institution, estimated
at the value of £22,000, the amount of the legacy and accrued interest,
and yielding an income of between £800 and £900. But in the meantime the
College suffered and its progress was retarded.

There were other worries than those of buildings and charter and
endowment fund. Since the College was opened in 1829 no repairs had been
made on the Burnside property. The buildings and fences were rapidly
falling into decay; the neighbours were complaining that the fences of
Burnside had disappeared and that through the property cattle wandered
at will to their lands and gardens, and the farmer who had leased the
premises "on the halves" had neither the money nor the inclination to
effect a remedy. There was also a demand for streets or roads through
the estate. The Governors had no money at their disposal; they must beg
every cent expended from the Royal Institution. The situation was
incongruous. On December 17th, 1836, Principal Bethune wrote to the
Secretary of the Board informing him that "there is a demand on the part
of the neighbours for fences, which on a close inspection are found to
be unserviceable with the exception of 170 cedar rails or rather logs
which will serve by being split into two for rails." The neighbours, he
said, preferred "a fence 10 feet high, but they will be satisfied with
one 6 feet high." He also advised that the Royal Institution should join
in the proposal of one of the neighbours, Phillips (who is remembered in
the present "Phillips Square"), "a man difficult to deal with if
thwarted by delay," for opening streets through the estate of Burnside.

As a result of this appeal the Board granted £75 to be expended on the
buildings and fences. The expenditure of this sum created further
friction between the Governors and the Board. The latter body was not
informed until February, 1837, of the Governors' decision at their
meeting on November 14, 1836, to put Burnside House and premises into
the occupation and charge of the Principal of the College. When they
received the information they wrote to the Principal asking him what use
he intended to make of the estate. The Principal in his reply questioned
the authority of the Board, and said: "With regard to the use intended
to be made by the Governors of the House, the Governors do not conceive
themselves in any way accountable to the Board in this respect ... yet
they feel no objection to communicating it for the information of the
Board." To this letter the Secretary of the Board replied: "The Board
was only originally induced to make the grant of £75 on the 14th of
November last, for the repairing of the Burnside House and fences in the
expectation that the same would be made tenantable and be let to the
advantage of the Trust, and have learned with much dissatisfaction that
the House is to be occupied by the acting-Principal without any
advantage to the Trust; and a personal interest thereby given to him to
prevent the College going into speedy operation; and that the Board do
also think it necessary to record their opinion that as the Visitors of
McGill College they are at all times entitled to inquire into the
management of the Burnside property, especially when a demand is made
upon the Board for a grant of money to be laid out on the said property.
It was ordered [by the Board] that Mr. Bethune be further informed that
under the circumstances disclosed to the Board for the first time in his
letter, the Board cannot feel themselves justified in advancing any
further sums for the repairs on the Burnside property." The Principal
answered that the Board had no right to act in any matter affecting the
College without consulting the Governors; that "the Governors cannot
recognise the Visitatorial powers of the Board to the extent claimed";
and that the Board was "illegally and unjustly detaining the funds." He
emphasised his desire "to effect a restoration of harmony and unanimity
between all the parties"; but it was clear that because of the rapidly
growing friction and misunderstanding a crisis was not very far off.

For several months thereafter no meetings of the Governors were held.
The Rebellion of 1837 and the struggle for Canadian autonomy required
all the attention and the energy of the Provincial authorities, and the
subject of Collegiate education was again somewhat neglected. But in
May, 1837, the Royal Institution announced to the Principal that they
were about to erect buildings for the University, and they asked for
suggestions which might guide them in calling for plans. But the
Principal and Governors declined to make suggestions. They denied the
right of the Royal Institution to undertake the erection of buildings,
and they contended that the whole property and management of the affairs
of the College devolved upon the Governors. They would therefore not
surrender into other hands what they conceived to be their own vested
rights. They pointed out, too, that the case between the executors and
the Royal Institution for the possession of the funds was not yet
settled. The Board replied that until a College was actually erected
they were in control, under the terms of the will. They were somewhat
inconsistent in their attitude. In the first suit against the
Desrivières heirs for the possession of the estate they had pleaded that
by the mere obtaining of the Charter the College was to all intents and
purposes "erected and established." The courts sustained their plea.
Now, however, they repudiated their own former contention; they
maintained that the College had not yet been "erected and established";
and that until buildings were actually constructed they had the sole

Discord continued to characterise the relations of the two bodies. The
Governors' meetings were usually attended only by the Principal and the
Chief Justice. The former had a double or casting vote in case of
dispute. He was virtually in control. The Board of the Royal Institution
declared that he did not represent the views of the Governors. Apart
from the disagreements arising from a dual management, other causes
contributed to the bitterness of the controversy. The period was not
conducive to harmony. Downing Street was not a name to conjure with, and
"Downing Street rule" had become in Canada a synonym for indifference or
coercion. The suspicion that the Royal Institution was but the
mouthpiece, or at least the meek and unprotesting agent, of Downing
Street only added to the irritation. The suspicion was not well founded,
for the Royal Institution did not willingly submit to dictation from the
Home authorities. But a new and sturdy Canadian spirit was evident in
education as well as in politics. It was apparent as early as 1815 when
Dr. Strachan outlined his plan for a University and expressed his doubts
on the suitability of English methods in Canada. It had grown rapidly
since that time. The year 1837 was a year of turmoil, with a cry for the
privilege of solving Canadian problems in a Canadian way by those who
were familiar with the requirements and conditions, and were not
dwelling thousands of miles away. In such a period, aside from the waste
of time, it was doubly distasteful to the Governors and to those
interested in education to have to submit all appointments and all plans
to the Home Government for ratification. The friction was, on the
surface, between the Governors and the Royal Institution, but its roots
lay deeper. Its cause was not far removed from the cause of the
political rebellion of the hour.

After several months of somewhat discordant discussion the Principal
finally agreed to submit to the Board suggestions on the proposed
buildings, and on June 30th, 1838, he forwarded an outline of what he
believed the College should include. He suggested that it should provide
"(1) Accommodation for 100 students, namely, 100 sleeping rooms, and 50
sitting-rooms, two students in one set of apartments; (2) apartments for
the Principal, and Vice-Principal, and family, and for four other
Professors. The present house of Burnside might, he said, be adopted for
the residence of the Principal; (3) a College Hall which for the present
may be used both for lectures, exercises and refectory; (4) a Library;
(5) a Chapel; (6) Steward's apartments." As an alternative to (3) he
suggested three lecture rooms with some adjacent small apartments. It
was proposed that prizes should be offered for the first and second best
plans with specifications and estimates, not only for the buildings, but
also for the laying out of College grounds on the northwest side of
Sherbrooke Street "in avenues and ornamental and kitchen gardens." It
was pointed out that this land consisted of about seventeen acres, and
was considered sufficient for the College grounds, and that the upper
side of Sherbrooke Street, which was then being opened to the width of
80 feet, was considered the best site for the College, as it was the
most elevated land on Burnside and had the best approach. It was desired
that the Building should include "a large room for the business of the
Professor of Latin and Greek which might also be appropriated to many
general purposes; a room for the Professor of Mathematics, Natural
Philosophy and Astronomy with suitable adjacent apartments for his
apparatus; a room for the Medical Department with suitable adjacent
apartments for Chemical apparatus." The Professorships proposed to be
established in the first instance were four: that of Divinity and Moral
Philosophy to be occupied by the Principal; that of Medicine, with a
suitable number of Lectureships in the different departments of Medical
Science; that of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy; and that
of Latin, Greek and History. It was pointed out that "in the present
state of the College funds the greater number of these Professors can
have little more allowed them than the fees derivable from pupils and
that their salaries will therefore be uncertain."

The Royal Institution refused, however, to proceed at that time with the
erection of buildings on so large a plan as suggested. On August 1st,
1838, they announced their intention to "proceed immediately on such an
extent as the limited resources at their command will justify." They
agreed to call for plans for a building containing lecture rooms and a
public hall, but no apartments for students or professors, the building
to cost not more than £5000. They contended that all the money in their
possession was required to endow professorships and that they could not
therefore make so great an expenditure as the large building suggested
by the Governors would entail. They stated, too, that only three
professorships could at present be established, those of Classical
Literature, Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and Metaphysical and
Moral Philosophy, on the understanding that when the charter was
changed to permit it, each of these professorships should be divided
into two. They pointed out that their University scheme "in the absence
of the long hoped for assistance from Her Majesty's Government will not
embrace either Theology, Law, or Medicine." It was stipulated that the
Principal should be also one of the Professors. An interesting condition
with reference to the teaching of Theology was also set forth by the
Board in the following resolution:

"That it is not expedient that a Professor of Divinity be appointed
under the Charter, but that it be intimated to the Right Reverend the
Lord Bishop of Montreal on behalf of the Church of England in this
Province and to the Reverend the Presbytery of Quebec or the Synod of
Canada on behalf of the Church of Scotland that Lecture Rooms will be
set apart and that application will be made for such an alteration in
the Charter as will give all rights and privileges of the University to
such Professor or Professors as they may appoint and endow, or procure
endowments for, for the instruction of students of Divinity of their
respective churches; and that the authorities in both churches be
respectfully requested to recommend or to enforce on their students
attendance on the classes of general education in the College."

It was later decided that the Board of the Royal Institution and the
Governors of McGill should write a memorial to Her Majesty's Government
asking for the means of endowing at least four Medical Professorships;
that a similar memorial be prepared with respect to a Professorship of
Law; and that until such Professorships be established, every facility
be given within the College to Lecturers in the various branches of
Medical and Legal Science. These memorials had no response.

Another effort was now made by the Governors to secure the passing of
the new Charter as amended in 1834 and 1836, which had been ignored by
the Home Government. But Lord Gosford, the Lieutenant-Governor, refused
to give it his sanction. Application was then made to Lord Durham, but
no answer was received from His Lordship, who declared that he was "too
busy to consider the question."

The correspondence during this period indicates that the Board and the
Governors were working in harmony. But the peace was not of long
duration. It lasted but a few days. It was, however, of sufficient
length to permit of temporary agreement on the kind of building
required. As a result, plans for the laying out of the grounds and for
the erection of buildings were at last called for by the Board of the
Royal Institution, and the following advertisement appeared in the
_Mercury_ and the _Official Gazette_ on the 16th of August, 1838, and in
the _Quebec Gazette_ on the day following:

                   TO ARCHITECTS

                                  Quebec, 16th August, 1838.

By order of the Principal and Trustees of this Board, Public Notice is
hereby given that they are desirous of obtaining plans, specifications,
and estimates for the erection of suitable buildings on the estate of
Burnside, near Montreal, for the McGill College; and that the sum of
fifty pounds currency will be paid for the plan which shall be accepted
by the Board as the best plan; and twenty-five pounds for the plan which
shall be adjudged as second best. The said plans to provide:

1ST. Apartments for 100 students: to consist of 50
       sitting rooms and 100 sleeping rooms.

2ND. Apartments for a Vice-Principal and family,
       and for 4 Professors.

3RD. College Hall.

4TH. Library.

5TH. Chapel.

6TH. Steward's Apartments.

With a connected plan for the distribution of the ground on the
northwest side of the continuation of Sherbrooke Street in avenues--with
ornamental and kitchen gardens.

The said plans to provide for the erection in the first instance of such
portions of the building as are specified below to be hereafter
incorporated with the general design when completed; the sum at present
disposable being limited to about £5000.

1ST. Two large rooms, each calculated for separate
       classes of 50 non-resident students.

2ND. Two rooms available for medical students,
       chemical apparatus, etc.

3RD. College Hall.

4TH. Library.

5TH. Steward's Apartments.

Information respecting the proposed site and grounds, with other
particulars, can be obtained on application to the Rev. Dr. Bethune,
Principal of McGill College, Montreal, to whom the plans are to be
delivered on or before the 1ST of October next.

    For the Rev. R. R. Burrage,
   (Sec'y to the Board of R. I.)

Plans were accordingly submitted by several architects, and were
forwarded by the Board to the Governors of McGill for their comments.
The Governors pointed out that even in the best and most suitable plan
submitted "no provision was made for retiring rooms for Professors!" The
plans provided for a Post Office at the entrance to the grounds, a
Botanical Lecture-house and "ornamental bridges" over the stream that
ran through the grounds near the present University Street. The Board of
the Royal Institution declined to accept any of the plans submitted on
the ground that they involved too great an expenditure, and building
operations were again indefinitely delayed.

[Illustration: _The Plan of the Proposed University_]

The Governors continued to urge with vigour the immediate erection of a
building. They tried to force the Board, for no apparent legal reason,
to have the building completed before the 29th of June, 1839, the tenth
anniversary of the opening of the College, and in October, 1838, the
Principal wrote to the Board: "I am well informed that it is the
intention of the heirs Desrivières, should not a College be erected on
Burnside property within ten years from the period of possession thereof
by the Royal Institution, to sue for the recovery of the whole bequest.
No legal advice has been taken on the subject, but we think it
prudent to avoid the contest." The Board sought legal advice on the
latter question and were assured that there were no grounds whatsoever
for such an assumption on the part of the heirs, and that such a
contention could not be defended in law. No attempt indeed was made to
put forward such a plea, and it is very doubtful if such an attempt was
ever contemplated. But that the Board feared this possibility is evident
from their determination speedily to establish the College on a more
real basis. They decided to begin instruction in Burnside House.
Difficulties, however, were in the way. The Principal was occupying the
dwelling house, and although he had taken possession of it without the
Board's approval they could not well compel him to leave. Moreover, he
had expended a considerable sum from his own private funds on repairs to
the estate. He had submitted a bill for the amount to the Board, but the
Board declined to pay it as they had not authorised the expenditure.
They contended, too, that he could reimburse himself from the products
of the farm. The situation was a delicate one, and gradually the evils
of a dual control were being disclosed. The Board knew that the
Principal would not vacate the building in which they wished to begin
instruction until his bill was paid. On November 21st, 1838, they voted:
"that a communication be made to the Governors of McGill College that it
is in the opinion of the Board expedient that a permanent Principal and
Professors be appointed and the actual working of the College commenced
as speedily as possible in Burnside House till such time as more
convenient buildings be erected, by which means the wishes of the
Governors to have the College established and in operation before the
29th of June next will be met, and that the Board will take into
consideration the claim of Dr. Bethune arising out of expenses incurred
by him on the estate of Burnside while in his possession on his vacating
the premises and rendering an account." Meanwhile the Governors'
meetings had dwindled to two, and sometimes to one member. There was
criticism that their meetings were no longer representative, and to
these statements, because of their own objection to the alleged Downing
Street methods of the Royal Institution, the Governors were sensitive.
To meet this criticism they established the "Corporation" of the
College, to include not only the Governors, but a number of the members
of the teaching staff, and certain citizens selected because of their
interest in education. The first meeting of this body was held on
November 27th, 1838. There were present Sir John Colborne, the
Governor-General; the Principal; Drs. Robertson, Stephenson and Holmes
of the Medical School, and the Hon. George Moffat. It was at this
meeting that the resolution of the Board above referred to was

The resolution was not received with applause nor with delighted
approval. The Governors doubted the efficacy of the plan. The Principal
was not eager to vacate Burnside House. The Professors in the Medical
School resented the suggestion that the "actual working of the College"
had yet to be commenced. In answer, it was resolved that "in the opinion
of Corporation it is expedient that a College be _built_ before the 29th
of June next on the Burnside Estate as the surest means of securing the
bequest of the late Mr. McGill." But the bequest had already been
secured; it had been paid over to the Royal Institution in December,
1837! Notwithstanding the Board's decision, the Governors insisted on
the erection of a building before the 29th of the following June. The
amended Charter had not yet been approved. There was still provision
only for four professorships, and these had been filled by the members
of the Medical School. Only one of them was now vacant. Until the
Charter was approved, then, and provision made for the appointment of
more professors, the building erected could only be occupied mainly by
Medical teachers. In December, 1838, the Royal Institution again
recorded their opposition to the Governors' desire for "the hasty
erection in a few weeks of a building adapted only for instruction in
Medical Science." They expressed their belief "that the first proper and
most pressing measure to be adopted in execution of the plain expression
of the testator's will and of the Charter is to commence forthwith a
course of general instruction in the ordinary branches of a learned
Collegiate education in the buildings now erected on the Burnside
Estate." They added that "they see no difficulty in accomplishing this
object before it would be possible to commence the erection of a new
building, and they are of opinion that it would be a nearer approach to
a real performance of the testator's intentions than the attempt to run
up a new building before the 29th of June, next, which even if it could
be finished by that time would not deserve the name of a University."
They did not consider that the terms "erect" and "establish" used in the
will "could with any propriety be interpreted as meaning the erection
of a material building." They declared that it was undoubtedly the
testator's intention to establish an institution for collegiate
education; they expressed their determination to apply the funds first
of all to the payment of "a Principal and of such Professors as may be
required, and to proceed in due course with the erection of a more
extensive building than even that suggested by the Governors."

To this the Governors would not agree; they urged that a decision on the
Charter be obtained at once. On February 5th, 1839, the Board again
expressed their views. They were sensible, they said, of the necessity
for the appointment of additional professors, but they emphasised the
folly of waiting for this permission before erecting a College building.
Approval of the amended Charter might be postponed indefinitely, and the
present Charter provided for a building for collegiate education. They
added: "The Board are not aware of the circumstances under which the
_Medical Faculty of Montreal_ became possessed of all the Professorships
of the College but they must suppose that it could only have been a
temporary arrangement, without remuneration, adopted with such
precautions as not to allow the present holders of Professorships
setting up the pretension to continue to fill them to the exclusion of
other branches of knowledge. The existing arrangement appears to the
Board to be clearly liable to the objection that it is contrary to the
terms of the Charter and the intention of the founder since an
institution of which the offices are so filled for the purpose of one
science alone cannot in law or in common parlance be considered as a
University where all the branches of literature are or may be
universally taught, and such an Institution is erected by the Charter
according to the express will of the testator."

Their plan was to appoint a permanent Principal who should be required
to lecture in some branch or branches of knowledge, and to establish
temporary Lectureships which could be changed to Professorships when the
amended Charter, permitting an increase in the number of Professorships,
was approved. Under this plan they saw "an easy means of opening at once
a course of public instruction which would meet the present wants of the
Province and be capable of future extension." They would devote the
endowment fund, they said, to the payment of Professors' salaries. The
house on the Burnside Estate was sufficient, they thought, "for the
limited purpose at present contemplated," and "in that building, if
nowhere else, a College should be put in actual operation," for by so
doing "an effective answer would be afforded to any demand or pretension
that might be raised to obtain the forfeiture of the property bequeathed
on the pretence of the College not being in operation." They promised to
proceed to the erection of a building "with all despatch consistent with
due caution. But at least a year from next summer must elapse before a
building suitable to the purpose of a University can be prepared for
occupation." They therefore urged the use of Burnside House for the
present, at least.

In answer to this letter the Medical Professors contended through the
Principal, that their appointment was not a temporary arrangement and
that it was not their intention to resign their commissions. The
Governors stated further, that they could not feel themselves justified
in pressing for the resignation of any of these Professors, who were
receiving no salary, but who "now had a near prospect of reaping some
advantage from their appointment." They condemned the Board for
unnecessary delay in erecting a building in which to hold classes and
their letters did not add to the harmony so desirable in that critical
period. The Principal and Governors did not approve of using Burnside
House for lecture rooms, because, in their opinion, it was unfit for
such a purpose "except on such a scale as would entitle it only to the
name of a Grammar School; because they believed a suitable building
could be erected within a year; because it was intended to be the
residence of the Principal; and because they could not see that any
object would be attained by such a temporary, insufficient and
unsatisfactory arrangement." They stated further, with some suggestion
of defiance, that they would be prepared to open the College with
suitable teachers as soon as the necessary building or buildings were
erected "on the most extensive scale and in the most efficient manner
which the funds that may be at their disposal will admit of, and that
until such a building was provided no instruction would be given."

The Royal Institution seems to have desired harmony and to have been
willing to meet the wishes of the Governors at least half-way. At a
meeting of the Board on February 20th, 1839, it was decided to call
again for plans to be submitted before the 10th of May following. It was
resolved at this meeting "that the accommodation of the Medical Faculty
be limited to two rooms for class rooms, these to form part of the
general building unless separate accommodation in detached buildings
could be obtained for them within the limits of the £5,000 allotted for
the whole edifice, and without interfering with or embarrassing the
general plan; and that if the Medical Faculty required other or larger
accommodation than was consistent with these conditions they must be
left to their own resources to obtain it, the Board, however, being
willing to allow them to build on some part of the grounds of Burnside
if they found funds for doing so." They had meanwhile petitioned the
Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Colborne, and Council, for a Provincial
grant to aid in the construction of the building, but their appeal had
no success.

The Governors of the College then decided to agree to the erection of a
smaller building than that at first requested. The Medical School, too,
for various reasons concluded that they did not desire accommodation in
the new building. The Governors wrote to the Board stating that they
would be satisfied with the erection of a building for 60 students,
without sitting rooms; necessary class rooms; College Hall; Library;
Steward's Apartments and accommodation for the Principal and two
Professors--which could be built for £6,000. They pointed out that in
this estimate there was no provision whatever for the Medical Department
"nor perhaps will such provision be at all necessary. The present
Medical Professors are now of opinion that the situation of Burnside is
too remote from the centre of the population for this department,
because, besides the inconvenience to the Professors themselves, the
attendance there of Medical Students who will be generally resident in
the Town at 4 or 5 different Lectures daily will be attended with very
serious inconvenience if not insuperable difficulty. They would
therefore much prefer that a sufficient allowance should be made for
renting a building in Town for the Medical Department. To meet their
views in this respect the House on Burnside (which will not be required
for the residence of the Principal if accommodation be provided for him
within the walls of the College), together with that portion of the
premises on the southeast side of Sherbrooke Street, might be let for a
sum fully adequate to the expense of renting sufficient accommodation
for the Medical Department in Town."

To this latter suggestion the Board agreed. They were still determined
that pending the completion of the proposed building, Collegiate
teaching should be undertaken at once in Burnside House. But it was
first necessary that the Principal give up the house. A dispute then
arose between the Board and the Governors with reference to the
responsibility for the repairs to the estate. More money had been
expended than the Board had authorised. The Board contended that the
Principal should make an allowance for rent of the house, which he had
occupied for nearly two years, and they refused to pay the account
submitted for the expenses incurred. The Governors declined to admit the
justice of this claim. The Principal had already written to the Board in
January, 1839, stating that he would "keep possession of Burnside until
his full account was paid, and that he would vacate the premises when
required to do so by the Governors."

The Board then agreed to pay to the Principal the whole amount claimed
by him, "however liable to objection, with whatever deduction for rent
he himself should agree to," if he would consent to vacate Burnside
House. The Principal, in a somewhat scornful reply, declined for two
reasons, first that this proposal implied the necessity of bribing him
to vacate the premises; and second that by accepting it, he might be
considered as selling for the settlement of his account the possession
which the Governors held of the premises by reason of his occupancy. But
he again stated that he would vacate the premises when ordered to do so
by the Governors. The result was a protracted and bitter discussion
between the two bodies, with many recriminations on both sides and more
frankness than tact. The Lord Bishop of Montreal, the Rev. Dr. G. J.
Mountain, who was Principal of the Royal Institution and formerly
Principal of McGill, naturally interested himself personally in the
discussion. On February 25th, 1839, he wrote to the Principal, saying,
"I will tell you unreservedly what I think, which is that ... you are
apt to give colour to the transactions in which you are engaged.... I
say this without reserve because if you will receive it in good part I
think it may be of use to you and save upon occasion hard constructions
being put upon your proceedings.... It is very unwillingly indeed that
as Principal of the Board, I have been drawn into any sort of collision
with you."

To this the Principal promptly replied, accusing the Board of gross
neglect and unnecessary delay. "Indeed," he said, "their zeal for the
interests of the College has for some time past chiefly manifested
itself in their efforts and schemes for dislodging me from Burnside and
in their proceedings they seem to have adopted the favourite peroration
of Cicero which may be freely translated thus, 'and Bethune must be
ousted.'" He added: "I can afford to forgive the Board for any hard
constructions they put upon my proceedings; they may be necessary for
their own justification." To this Bishop Mountain replied: "I have had
quite enough of this painful collision."

The Principal declared his intention of remaining in possession of
Burnside House, and he wrote to the Board that "no precise period is
fixed for my vacating the premises." The Board contended that they
"desired an amicable adjustment of such differences as had unfortunately
existed"; but for several years no adjustment was made. It is
unnecessary to enter here into the details of the subsequent dispute
between the Board and the Principal and Governors over the occupancy of
Burnside House. It was but one of many unfortunate disagreements in
which each side contended for what they believed to be just. The
Principal's account for repairs to the property was in the end paid and
in November, 1839, he vacated Burnside House. But the controversy
between the two bodies did not then end.

In the summer of 1839, the Governors decided to ignore the Board and to
seek direct aid from the Provincial Government. They asked for a grant
of £5,000 for building purposes and £5,000 for the purchase of
philosophical apparatus, furniture and books for a Library. They
included also £100 a year for a Professor of Classical Literature and
£100 a year for a Professor of Mathematics; £50 each for two Divinity
Lecturers, one of the Anglican Church and one of the Church of Scotland;
£50 each for three Medical Professors; and £50 for a Professor of Law
"much wanted." They expressed their desire, if the building fund was
granted, to rent Burnside House and with the proceeds therefrom to pay
for a building in town for the Medical School. "The Medical Faculty,"
they said, "could then go into immediate operation, and all the other
Professors, with the exception of the Principal, could also commence
instruction at their respective residences." Apparently it was their
opinion that the Medical School had not yet begun to operate as an
integral part of the University. For obvious reasons the above appeal
failed. The Government declined to interfere. The grant was not made and
the Governors of the College turned again with reluctance to the Royal

There was likewise further difficulty in connection with the amended
Charter, which the Home authorities had not yet ratified. The Board of
the Royal Institution had been asked by the Governor-General for their
detailed opinions and suggestions on necessary amendments. The Board was
slow to answer. The delay was preventing the appointment of Professors
and the growth of the College. The hands of the Governors were tied. On
August 11, 1839, the Principal wrote to Sir John Colborne, the
Governor-General, protesting against the continued failure to decide the
issue. "When I agreed to the appointment of another Principal in my
room," he said, "it was in the confident expectation that the amended
Charter would have been in our possession before this period. By that
Charter I should retain my office of Governor of the College even if
vacated by my resignation of the Office of Principal, but as obstacles
are thrown in the way of a speedy accomplishment of the wishes of the
Governors in respect of the amended Charter, I feel myself constrained
to retain the office of Principal until the Charter shall have been
procured." He also objected on behalf of the Governors to the
appointment of any Professors and to the opening of the College, except
the Medical Department, until approval was given to the Charter.
Possibly the fact that the amended Charter permitted the
acting-Principal, after his retirement, still to be a Governor of the
College as Rector of Christ Church, Montreal, influenced the Board in
their disapproval of it. For the quarrel was not always above personal
prejudices, to which the advancement of the College was often
unfortunately sacrificed.

On August 17th, 1839, the Board at last broke their silence, and in a
letter to Sir John Colborne they gave utterance to their reasons for
opposition. They blamed the Governors for not having first submitted the
Charter to them before sending it to the Colonial Office,--and in this
they were well within their rights. They had not, they said, even seen a
certified copy of the document. They now agreed, however, that the
existing Charter required alteration. They suggested that all the
Governors of the College should be residents of the Province, but they
objected to giving the Governors power to fill vacancies as they
occurred, as this would lead in the end to a clique or cabal rule which
would lead to abuses in the management of the Institution. The number of
Professorships should, they thought, be left unlimited, at the joint
discretion of the Governors and the Board. The Governors were to be
subservient in power to the Board, and all appointments were to be
ratified by the Crown. There should also be permission given for the
granting of Honorary degrees. The Visitatorial duties and powers of the
Royal Institution should be more clearly defined. "The Board," the
letter stated, "also think it important, seeing that the declared object
of the Royal Charter was the promotion of true religion, that the body
of the Governors should be Protestants, and they beg leave also to call
the particular attention of your Excellency to the necessity of
introducing some provision into the amended Charter for requiring not
only the Principal, Vice-Principal and Professors, and all others
engaged in the instruction of youth in the University, but also the
Governors themselves before being admitted to office, to make and
subscribe a declaration of their belief in the Holy Scriptures as the
Word of God, and in the doctrine of the Trinity of persons in the
Godhead, as held by orthodox Protestant Churches."

To the majority of these suggestions the Governors agreed. But they
denied the right of the members of the Board to exercise so great a
power as such suggestions, if carried out, would give them. They
protested against the necessity of having appointments ratified by the
Crown. There was a rapid cross-fire of correspondence to the
Governor-General, in which the various suggestions were presented and
answered by each of the contending parties. But into the details of this
long-continued and at times bitter correspondence it is unnecessary here
further to enter. Meanwhile the Charter waited.

In the autumn of 1839, the Medical School was in need of funds. They
appealed to the Governors. The Governors had no money, but they voted
£500, and on September 19th, they applied to the Royal Institution for a
grant of that amount "in order to enable them to commence a course of
Medical Instruction." The Board refused in the following letter
forwarded on October 12th: "The Board resolve with regret that they
cannot give sanction to this vote of the Governors, as they conceive
themselves bound in the first instance to apply the means at their
disposal for purposes of general instruction, and those means are so
limited as to render it impossible to grant the sum demanded by the
Medical Faculty without sacrificing general to one branch of
professional education.... The Board are, however, fully aware of the
advantages to McGill College and to the public generally which the
proposed course of Medical lectures cannot fail to be attended with."
They hoped at a later date "to be able to entertain the application," if
the appeal for funds recently made to the Government should succeed.

Principal Bethune desired to procure a legal decision before a competent
tribunal on the Board's refusal to make the above grant. The Governor of
the Province was appealed to, but as he was about to leave Canada at the
end of his term of office he again declined to interfere. He felt, too,
with reference to a Provincial grant that he was only authorised to
issue from the funds of the Province such a sum as was absolutely
necessary to carry on educational work until a meeting of the Special
Council could make provision for such an object and also for the voting
of "a sum of money towards the erecting of McGill College." The
discussion was finally closed by a resolution of the Board on the 4th
of April, 1840, in which they said that in addition to having voted
£8,000 for the erection of a building they had provided for the
establishment of three Professorships with £300 a year for each chair,
and an additional £100 for the Principal. "In these arrangements," they
pointed out, "the Board did not lose sight of the necessity of
subsequently providing for the instruction of students in the Medical
and Legal professions, but they were clearly of opinion that in the
actual state of the funds, these objects, however desirable, must be
postponed for the opening of the Institution in the other branches of
general education. To these arrangements the Governors offered no
material objection and it was obvious that the resources at the disposal
of the Board did not warrant any material increase of expenditure." With
reference to the requested grant for the Medical School, they expressed
surprise that such a demand should be made on their scanty and already
inadequate resources, and they declared that they "would not be
justified in the administration of their trust, in suffering their
resources to be diminished for any object however desirable or important
but that which they conscientiously judged the most desirable and
important and primarily contemplated in the will of Mr. McGill,--which
was the providing of collegiate education." There the discussion ended.
The Medical School continued to be regarded as an independent
institution, under the protection of the McGill authorities for the
purpose merely of legalising their degrees. The Board had won in their
contention, and the question was temporarily dropped.

In the meantime, during the brief armistice between the Governors and
the Royal Institution, plans for the College building had been agreed
upon and the contract had been let. The original plans had been greatly
modified so that the expenditure might be in keeping with the funds
available. But even with many changes the first estimate of £5,000 was
soon found to have increased in fact to between £10,000 and £12,000. One
of the original plans herewith reproduced, and typical of all the plans
submitted, called for a large building in the form of the letter H. The
two main wings looked east and west, instead of north and south as at
present, and between them was a connecting structure. Rooms were
provided for 100 students. The Medical building was to be separate. The
College building was to have a Chapel, but it was also to have a large
"cellar for beer and wine." Certain sections attached to the building
were distinctly classified and designated "for Professors," "for McGill
students," and "for servants and Medical students." It was found that
such a building would entail too great an expense, and the plans were
changed to provide two buildings, the present Central Arts Building and
the present East Wing, or Administration Offices. The latter was
intended to contain the Principal's apartments and rooms for Professors,
and there the Principal subsequently dwelt for several years. Between
the two buildings provision was made for a covered passage.

[Illustration: Original in McGill Library Photo Rice Studios
_The Proposed McGill College Original Building_]

It was soon apparent that the cost of the new buildings would be greater
than estimated. Before June, 1840, a sum of £2,783 had been expended and
provision had to be made for the payment of a further sum of £5,000 in
the following January. In order to secure this amount it was decided
to advertise for sale certain lots adjoining the College site on
Burnside Estate, and to procure plans for the laying out in building
lots of all the land not in use. This was the beginning of the disposal
of the unused part of the estate, a sacrifice which relieved the College
from temporary financial embarrassment but which in later years, when
real-estate increased in value, greatly depleted its revenue. The funds
at this time were so low that the Governors could not pay a watchman or
caretaker and the Board wrote to the Governors in October, 1840, asking,
"Is any suitable person known to you who would consent to have charge of
them [the buildings under construction] without remuneration, on
condition of the requisite fuel being provided?" The gross annual
revenue from the McGill properties vested in the Board for the support
of the College was only £559. 6. 8. The Board again appealed to the
Government for a grant of £5,000 to finish the building, also for "a
very moderate sum to purchase the large collection of books formerly
belonging to the late Mr. Fleming, the greater part of which would form
a suitable foundation for a Library." This appeal was again

During the summer of 1841, amidst many discouragements and financial
worries, the erection of the buildings went forward. On October 21st,
1841, the Principal, who was one of the building committee, notified the
Board that they were nearly ready for the reception of pupils. But their
completion was for various reasons delayed several months. The Governors
then decided to apply to the Legislature for a grant of £1,500 a year
for current expenses and £5,000 for Philosophical Apparatus, the
rudiments of a Library, and furniture; to ask also for the passing of an
act repealing the Act of 1801, and vesting the McGill bequest in the
Governors of the College; and to request that the Chief Justice and the
Principal be authorised to communicate with the Royal Institution and to
take steps to carry out this resolution. This application was again
without avail, and the submitting of it was obviously not conducive to
harmony and peace.

Arrangements were now completed for the sale of lots from the Burnside
Estate. In all 25½ acres were offered in small sections "as soon as
Mr. Phillips' consent could be obtained to give one-half of the ground
required for a proposed street," and negotiations were entered into for
the leasing of any of the land left unsold. The Governors demanded that
the Royal Institution should transfer to them the entire property, but
the Board refused, claiming that they were prohibited from so doing by
the terms of the will.

The Governors then devised an ingenious scheme to secure possession of
the premises. The Principal proposed to the Board in May, 1842, that
they lease the estate to the Governors for a period of 99 years. This
the Board refused to do. They had obviously no desire to allow the
Governors to get control. An endeavour to secure a lease was then made
by a Mr. Pelton, and his application was recommended by the Principal.
The Board replied that there were legal and insuperable objections to
the granting of such a request and that they had no power under the law
to give a lease for a longer period than 21 years. They agreed to give
Pelton a lease for that period, and they guaranteed "that the same
shall be renewed for each subsequent term until the whole period of 99
years shall be accomplished." The lease seems to have been actually
entered into, but because of difficulty over the security offered,
combined with legal obstacles, it was cancelled soon afterwards. It
transpired later that Pelton was merely the agent of the Governors and
that in order to secure possession of the property, they had engaged him
to act on their behalf, on the understanding that he was to transfer the
lease to them when he received it.

Of the Governors' connection with this plan the Board was obviously not
aware at the time. The details were frankly and clearly outlined in an
interesting letter written by acting-Principal Bethune to the Hon. R. A.
Tucker, Principal of the Royal Institution, on November 4th, 1845, when
Pelton tried without success to establish a claim to some of the
property. Extracts from this letter give further indication of the
bitterness and hopelessness of the controversy:

"After the sale of the 99 years' lease had been advertised, it occurred
to me that a good opportunity was thereby afforded to the Governors of
the College for getting the management of the property into their own
hands, by purchasing the lease. I need hardly say that the difficulties
which had occurred between the late Board of the Royal Institution and
the Governors of the College with regard to the right of possession
naturally led to such a desire. Being the only Governor then resident in
Montreal, and His Excellency, the late Sir Charles Bagot, having left
the management with reference to that sale to me, I took upon myself the
responsibility of making the purchase for the Governors;--but I felt
convinced that if I did so in my own name, the Board of the Royal
Institution would throw difficulties in the way. I therefore employed
Mr. Pelton to purchase the property for me, and he did so on the perfect
understanding that the property should, in the first instance, be
conveyed to him, and afterwards by him to me, as he supposed, but really
to 'the Governors, Principal and Fellows of McGill College.' In that
transaction therefore Mr. Pelton acted as my agent; and continued to do
so, placing only such tenants on Burnside as were approved by me, and
collecting the rents for and paying them to me until the 1st May, 1844,
after which he refused to continue to pay them to me. Immediately after
the adjudication of the property, a correspondence took place with the
Royal Institution about security for the payment of the rents, before it
was discovered that a 99 years' lease could not be granted, and Mr.
Pelton took upon himself without consulting me to offer security, which
he said was accepted by the Board; and then, knowing that I had not
offered any security, proposed to me to let him be the _bona fide_
purchaser; but I refused, saying that I supposed the same person who was
willing to be security for him would also be security for me. It was
immediately after this discovered that the Royal Institution could not
grant a lease for a longer period than 21 years, and the whole affair
was considered by me as at an end, that is, that it was no sale, because
the Royal Institution could not be expected to do that which they had no
legal authority to do...." The lease was subsequently cancelled, and it
was shown that Pelton had no legal claim upon the property.

When the College buildings were nearing completion, towards the end of
1842, the Board prepared the necessary documents for the transfer of the
Burnside Estate to the possession of the Governors of the College. But
they took care to safeguard their own powers. They retained the right to
inquire from time to time into the management and administration of the
University, to remove officers of the College for misconduct, to examine
into the compliance of the Governors with the Charter, and to establish
statutes and by-laws for the government of the College. In short, the
Governors, although they were at last to obtain possession of the
property, were still to be subservient to the Board.

This was naturally not satisfactory to the Governors. In accordance with
the resolution passed on August 8th, 1842, they drew up a bill the
object of which was "to abolish the Royal Institution, and to provide
for the better government of McGill College." It stipulated that all the
monies, goods and chattels of which the Royal Institution was possessed
under the will of James McGill should be vested in the Government of the
University. The Principal went to Kingston to endeavour to have the bill
passed during the following session of Parliament but the abrupt ending
of the session prevented even its introduction. He went to Kingston
again in 1843, but he was frustrated by a similar cause. Against the
bill the Board emphatically protested. They declared it to be an attempt
to overthrow the plainly expressed intentions and directions of the
testator, and an action "as unexampled in the history of British
legislation as it is contrary to the first principles of law, justice
and reason." They stated further that "they have executed the
intentions of the testator diligently, faithfully and efficiently, so
far as they have not been obstructed in doing so by the acts of those
whose duty it was to have facilitated their proceedings." The bill was
not passed. It helped only to shatter whatever hopes may have existed
for the ending of the quarrel between the Governors and the Board as
then constituted. It made it plain that there was now no possibility of
an amicable agreement.

In the spring of 1843, the buildings were completed as far as the funds
available would permit. Because of lack of money, the Board did not feel
justified in making any outlay on the College grounds. Meanwhile,
however, they had increased the value of the estate by giving to the
City of Montreal the continuation lines of Dorchester and St. Catherine
Streets on condition that the additional fences required on opening
these streets should be erected at the expense of the city.

In June, 1843, it was decided to open the buildings for the reception of
students in the first week of the following September. To this the Board
and the Governors, strangely enough, agreed, but the agreement was only
momentary. The Board asked the Governors for an estimate of the amount
required for furniture for the buildings. The Governors refused to make
an estimate. They were unable, they said, to do so; they desired a
covering grant of £500 to buy what they needed. The Board suggested with
some touch of sarcasm that they should get "a carpenter or a tradesman"
to make an estimate if they could not make it themselves, but the
Governors again declined. The Board contended that they could not make
a grant unless they previously knew precisely the details of the
proposed expenditure; and the Governors answered that they would borrow
£500 if the Royal Institution would not give it to them. The Board then
asked for an accounting of the money "already received and expended by
the Principal in connection with the rents and products of the Burnside
Estate." The Secretary was instructed to reply that no account would be
submitted as the Governors felt that any money so received was but a
very small remuneration for services rendered by the Principal. To this
the Board rejoined with bitterness that the Principal had not been
regularly appointed, that he had done no duty as Professor, that they
had never authorised his taking possession of Burnside and that the
products from the farm should provide for him more than a sufficient
remuneration; they were determined, they said, to pay no salaries unless
accounts were rendered to them and approved. Such, at this critical
period, was the co-operation arising from a dual control!

On June 21st, the opening of the College in the autumn was approved by
the Governor General. The Rev. F. J. Lundy (a graduate of Oxford) had
been appointed Professor of Classical Literature in November, 1842. He
had received, with the Principal, one of the first D.C.L. degrees
conferred by McGill in the spring of 1843. In addition to his duties as
Professor he was now appointed Secretary of the College, and was later
made Vice-Principal. His appointment to the Faculty of Arts was not
ratified at once by the Board of the Royal Institution, and they
intimated that they would not pay his salary. The Governors voted £300 a
year and fuel for a Professor of Mathematics. As a result of the
Board's contention that the Principal had not been regularly appointed,
a commission or warrant of appointment was issued by the Governors on
July 12th, and on the following day the Principal was appointed to be
also Professor of Divinity, at a salary of £250, "as soon as funds
derived from the property shall admit of it." A Bursar, Secretary and
Registrar was appointed at a salary of £100 a year and fees, to be later
sanctioned, and a Beadle was selected at £30 a year and fees and board.

A Code of Statutes, Rules and Regulations for the government of the
College was now prepared by the Governors. Without the approval of the
Board it was forwarded to the Governor-General for submission to the
Crown for ratification. Six years passed before these Statutes, with
slight alterations, received Royal sanction, with the result that the
College opened without definite rules for its guidance. The reasons for
this delay will be outlined elsewhere. It is only necessary to mention
here that the first difficulty in connection with the Statutes arose
from requirements connected with religious instruction in the
University. Two of these, which were later disallowed by Her Majesty's
Government, provided first, that "no Professor, Lecturer or Tutor shall
teach in the College any principles contrary to the doctrines of the
United Church of England and Ireland," and second, that "on every Sunday
during the term, all the resident members of the University under the
degree of B.C.L. who have not obtained a dispensation to the contrary,
shall attend the morning service in the Protestant Episcopal Parish
Church of Montreal." It was also stipulated that "the prayers in the
College Chapel shall be said in rotation by such officers of the College
as shall be in Holy Orders of the United Church of England and Ireland."
These provisions, together with the fact that the acting-Principal, who
was also Rector of Christ Church, had just been appointed Professor of
Divinity, gave rise to critical discussion, and made Lord Metcalfe, the
Governor-General, pause before advising the Colonial Office to obtain
the Royal ratification of the Statutes. He wrote to Lord Stanley, "The
main point involved in these questions is whether the Religious
Instruction to be given at McGill College shall be exclusively that of
the Church of England....

"The grounds on which the Governors have adopted the affirmative of the
proposition, and appointed a Divinity Professor of the Church of
England, are ably stated in their letter to me. On the other hand, there
are strenuous remonstrances against this arrangement on the part of the
Ministers of the other Protestant persuasions in the Province, and a
strong feeling against it in the community; and the design manifested to
connect the Institution, in that respect, exclusively with the Church of
England will most probably deprive it of that support from the
Provincial Legislature without which it will necessarily be crippled.
The opinions on this subject, understood to be prevalent in the
Province, are likely to lead to discussions in the Legislature; and it
may become necessary to modify the Institution so as to make it more
suitable to public expectation and general utility. If, therefore, it
rested with me to determine on this reference, I should be disposed,
either to disallow the Professorship of Divinity, or to suspend the
decision until it could be seen that the Institution can stand on the
footing on which the Governors have placed it.

"I am, by the Charter, a Governor of the Institution, but have not acted
in that capacity; at first, simply because more urgent business
prevented my going to Montreal to take a part in the proceedings of the
Governors; but subsequently, on reflection, for the following
reasons:--I doubt the expediency of the Governor-General's taking a part
as one of the Governors of an Institution in which he may be overruled
by a majority, and apparently sanction measures which he disapproves.
The perusal of the correspondence between the Governors of the College
and the Royal Institution of Quebec satisfied me that I ought not to
place myself in a position which would render me liable to become a
party concerned in such a correspondence, and subject to the assumed
authority and control of another Institution. The Income of the
Institution having become a bone of contention between the Church of
England and the other Protestant Churches, it appears to me to be right
that I should perform my part as Governor-General without being
embarrassed by proceedings to which I might be a party as a Governor of
the College."

The action of the Governor-General was approved by Lord Stanley and
consideration of the Statutes was consequently postponed.

In shaping the policy of the University the place of religious
instruction and theological training received earnest consideration. On
the necessity of including it in the College curriculum the Governors of
the College and the Board of the Royal Institution agreed, but they
differed on the nature of the instruction and on the theological creed
which should dominate or dictate such teaching. It was recognised as a
vexed question. The Governors attempted to explain and justify their
attitude of alleged religious "exclusiveness" referred to above in Lord
Metcalfe's despatch, and to give reasons for the Statutes already
mentioned. The following extracts from a long and somewhat laboured
letter forwarded by the Governors to Lord Metcalfe on July 15, 1843, are
of interest. The arguments advanced in the letter and the frequent
"begging of the question" need no comment. The Governors still pleaded
for a Provincial grant, but they wished part, at least, of that public
grant devoted to one exclusive form of theological teaching, and they
were not averse to giving to the entire University a distinctively
sectarian character.

"Another reason which compels us," they said, "to commence on a scale so
limited, is the scantiness of our means. At present, the resources of
the College, arising from the property bequeathed by the founder, supply
only an annual income of £560 Provincial currency, and that not clear of
deductions. The Legislature has occasionally appropriated £500 annually,
in aid of these funds, and though we trust there can be no danger of
this assistance being withdrawn, after the College shall have begun to
be more extensively useful to the Province, yet, it is incumbent on us,
to consider that even this small aid is not permanently assured to the
University, and that to enable us to go beyond what we have now
proposed, it will be necessary that the funds should be very
considerably increased.... To meet the exigency of the present moment,
we earnestly hope that the liberal suggestion, in which the late
Governor-General concurred, will be acted upon with effect by Your
Excellency and the Legislature, and with as little delay as may be
consistent with the unspeakable importance of the object to be obtained.
In Lower Canada, which is supposed to contain a population of not less
than 800,000 souls, there is at present (except in regard to the Medical
Faculty) no seat of Learning, either Catholic or Protestant, in which a
Degree can be conferred in any Art or Science. This is a defect which,
we believe, has not existed since the era of civilisation among so large
a community of British subjects, and we very anxiously hope that from
this moment no time may be lost in establishing McGill College upon such
a footing as may command the confidence of the country, and enable the
Institution, though indeed too tardily, to answer the purposes
contemplated by its munificent founder.... There is one point (and it is
the last) upon which, from the interest naturally and properly attached
to it, we are aware much discussion may arise, and upon which, from its
paramount importance, we desire, above all things, to be open and

"It will be found, on examination of the Statutes now submitted, that no
test of a religious character is requisite, either from the Teachers or
Scholars. Persons of any religious creed may, therefore, dispense
instruction or receive it, except as regards religion itself, the
College being equally open to all. But it will be found also that it is
proposed to be distinctly made a Statute of the College, that no
Professor, Lecturer or Tutor shall teach within it any principles
contrary to the doctrines of the United Church of England and Ireland.

"We have not been able to bring ourselves to take part in the
establishment of an Institution for the education of youth without
making provisions for their Religious Instruction, and for inculcating
as a duty the worship of their Creator. We have therefore made certain
Statutes respecting the performance of, and attendance at, Divine
Service, and we have established, so far as our power extends, a
Professorship of Divinity in our College.

"Taking these provisions in connection with the Statutes which enjoins
that nothing contrary to the doctrines of the United Church of England
and Ireland shall be taught within the College, it follows obviously
(and this we wish to be plainly understood) that the Divine Service to
be performed, and the Professorship of Divinity to be established, will
be of the Church of England, and of no other. But we have been careful
at the same time to exempt from any necessity of attending Divine
Service, or of being present at the Lectures on Divinity, all such
Scholars, being members of other Religious Communities, as may desire a

"Knowing the diversity of opinions entertained respecting the footing on
which religious instruction should be placed in Seats of Learning, and
how futile have been the efforts made to reconcile them, we came to the
consideration of this subject with a dire sense of its difficulty, and
with much anxiety that we should ourselves arrive at the soundest and
best conclusion, and that our conclusion may, for the sake of the
Institution and of the Province, be sanctioned by that authority to
which under the Statutes it must be submitted. We offer no further
arguments for the propriety of not leaving religious instruction and
public worship unattended to, or inadequately provided for, in a College
which is destined to conduct in a Christian country the education of
youth at a period of life when they are most exposed to temptations, and
when, if ever, the attempt should be made to furnish them with the
highest and most sacred motives to the discharge of their religious and
moral duties.

"We do not believe that there is, rationally speaking, a choice between
the two alternatives, of omitting wholly to establish any system of
religious instruction and public worship in the College, or of providing
for it by placing the Institution in strict and acknowledged connection
with some one recognised Church or form of doctrine. Not assenting to
the former course, we have unanimously agreed on the latter, and we have
in favour of the course we have adopted the examples of the Universities
of the Mother Country, which have been for ages looked up to with
undiminished confidence and respect. We have also in its support the
acknowledged favour of an experiment made in England under many
advantages to recommend it to public favour, an University established
on other principles; and we have, in addition to this, the very strong
arguments to be derived from the well supported and most useful
Institutions of learning established in Lower Canada in strict
connection with the Roman Catholic Church, and from the efforts made by
the Roman Catholics, the Church of Scotland, and the Methodist Society
to found Colleges in Upper Canada as closely connected with their
respective religious bodies,--Colleges in which there is not only
nothing taught contrary to their respective Creeds, but in which the
whole government and business of the Institution is carefully confined
to those who profess the one form of Doctrine.

"We have considered, too, that while these Religious Bodies, comprising
together the great bulk of the population, have given this strong and
plain evidence of their conviction that this system is the soundest,
they have not thought it unreasonable to solicit the aid and countenance
of the Government and the Legislature towards the establishment of such
Colleges, and have not found their solicitations hopeless. So far as
regards our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, who form a great majority of
the population in this portion of Canada, we do not apprehend that we
shall be offending any prejudices of theirs, for we believe they would
be as unwilling to throw impediments in the way of Institutions of
Learning not intended to belong exclusively to their Church, as they
would be reluctant to admit the interference of others in the management
of their own valuable Seminaries where the exclusive maintenance of one
form of doctrine and worship tends to secure in all respects the
advantages of unity and peace.

"It then only remains, in the view which we have taken on the subject,
that we should state shortly the reasons which have led us, where we
thought a connection with some one Church should be established and
acknowledged, to make that Church the Church of England.

"They are these:--1st. The founder, Mr. McGill, is silent in his will
upon the subject of religion, and gave no direction to which these
Statutes will be repugnant. He was himself a member of the Church of
England, in communion with that Church. We do not feel at liberty to
imagine that he desired religious instruction to be excluded, and we
think it reasonable to believe that in selecting some Church whose
ministration should be recognised in the College which he intended to
found, he would naturally have desired the choice to fall on that Church
of which he was a member.

"2nd. The Charter which appoints us to be Governors declares that His
Majesty desired the erection of this University in order to provide for
the instruction of youth in the principles of true religion, as well as
in the different branches of Science and Literature; and whatever may be
the honest convictions of opposing Churches and Sects, we think it right
to assume that when the Sovereign speaks of the principles of true
religion, he means that which is the prevailing National Religion of the
British Empire, and which he must himself have solemnly professed. We
consider, therefore, that in placing McGill College on the footing
proposed, we have taken the only course which we could satisfactorily
account for, whatever may be the opinions or acts of others, whom it
does not rest with us to control.

"3rd. While other religious communities have their separate Colleges
closely connected with their form of doctrine and worship and partaking
of public support, there is none in the Province of Canada which is
bound by plain and acknowledged ties to the Church of England. We have
felt it not to be unjust or illiberal to allow to the members of that
Church this advantage so desirable to themselves in an Institution
founded by the munificence of one of their communion while the youth of
all other religious bodies may, in the discretion of themselves and
their parents, resort to it for instruction in the several branches of
Science, with the assurance that no attempt will be suffered to be made
to bias their religious belief; and with the satisfaction at the same
time of knowing, that whenever instruction in Religion may be desired,
it cannot be uncertain in what form it will be conveyed.

"We hope that our fellow-subjects of all persuasions will view, without
jealousy or alarm, the provisions which we have proposed to make on this
subject, and that they will carry their liberality so far as to give
efficient aid to an Institution, founded, as we believe, on the only
principles of which reason and religion can approve,--namely, the
principle of giving it a known and acknowledged religious character. At
all events, we have not refrained from adopting that course which our
judgment has led us to prefer; we have had no difficulty in resting in
the conclusion which we have come to, and no difference of opinion among
ourselves. It now rests with Her Majesty to dispose of these measures,
which we humbly submit to the Royal consideration."

Her Majesty's Government, however, on the advice of the
Governor-General, ultimately withheld their assent from the
controversial clauses referred to.

Before the College was opened the Governors made a final effort to
curtail the powers of the Board of the Royal Institution. They
considered that with the erection of College buildings the duties of the
Board in connection with the McGill bequest were at an end and that with
any other buildings which might later be erected the Board was not
concerned. They wrote to the Royal Institution and to the
Governor-General setting forth their views. "If the Board's power is
what is stated and assumed," they said, "it will not be possible for the
Governors to attain the object of the Charter." They deplored the spirit
in which the authority of the Board had been exercised. They assumed
that James McGill intended his bequest to be administered by the Board
only until buildings were erected and a Charter granted to a Corporate
body, for the Board's control was primarily over grants from the Crown
and not from private individuals. The Board had now, therefore, no legal
existence, for the objects for which it had been created were gone. It
was clearly apparent, in their judgment, that when he gave control of
his bequest to the Board, James McGill thought public funds would be
added to his gift; this, they believed, was proved by the stipulation of
"ten years" after his death as the required term for the erection of the
College; hence he had given his bequest to the Board simply and solely
because they controlled public funds given for education. But
practically no public funds had been regularly given; hence the Board's
control automatically ceased.

It is unnecessary to follow here the Governors' subtle reasoning. They
seem to have forgotten the Provincial funds granted from the Jesuits'
Estates, and to be unmindful of the fact that they were at that very
moment still pleading for a Provincial grant, as indicated in the letter
quoted above. They justly emphasised, however, the necessity of
providing a convenient power of management within the College itself and
the ending of the dual control. It was absurd, they rightly contended,
that every cent expended for a piece of stove pipe or a chair should be
first approved by the Board. The Governors resented, too, the
visitatorial power of the Royal Institution. "In what spirit," they
asked, "and for what purpose do they carry out the right of visitation?"
Such power was useful, they declared, only for the purpose of
interposing in the minutest details of the management of McGill College,
although a Corporation and a board of Governors existed for that
purpose; the Royal Institution, in short, was, in its connection with
McGill, nothing more than "a source of interference and impediment," and
the Governors asked that the Legislature should investigate the whole
situation with a view to remedying it. This appeal, like the others,
failed to make any impression on the authorities, and the causes of
friction were not removed.

In this atmosphere of discord and dissension and disputed powers the
College buildings were opened on September 6th, 1843, and collegiate
instruction was at last commenced in accordance with the founder's
bequest. Twenty-two years had passed since the College had been
established by Charter, and fourteen years had gone since its actual
opening. They were years of doubt and uncertainty, of protracted
litigation and differences, even of virulent wrangling and bitter
strife. But amidst it all and in the face of all its obstacles, the
College had gone slowly but steadily forward. Its sign-posts had pointed
onward. Reading to-day the troubled pages of its early story revealed in
a mass of musty documents written by hands long since folded, or
dictated by voices long since stilled,--which then helped to shape its
destiny,--we wonder how it survived. The explanation lies in the fact
that the men who guided it, whether of Governors or of Royal
Institution, were men of unfaltering faith; they believed in the future
of McGill; amidst their disagreements and their controversies, they
never lost sight of the founder's hope although their ways for the
fulfilment of that hope lay often painfully apart. From the struggles of
its early years McGill now emerged to be an established fact. The first
of its buildings, the present Arts or Centre Building, had been erected
and opened. The College had at last an actual home. But the days of its
travail and its worry, its poverty and its depression, its fight for
life itself, had not yet passed.



The original College buildings were opened for the reception and
instruction of students on September 6th, 1843. Only twenty regular
students were in attendance during the first session, seventeen of whom
took the Classical course and three the Mathematical course. Steps were
at once taken to provide an adequate collegiate education as called for
in the founder's will, and to organise the teaching and administration
on as extensive and sound a basis as the available funds would permit. A
few books and some scanty school equipment were received from the Normal
School recently closed. The fees of students were fixed at £5 a year, of
which £1 13s. 4d. was assigned to the Senior Professor as his portion,
6s. 8d. to the Bursar, and the remaining £3 to the "House Fund." In
addition, each student paid to the Registrar who was also Secretary and
Bursar, a matriculation fee of 10 shillings which that official was
allowed to keep for his own use. The fees were reduced a few months
later to £3, of which the House Fund received £2 13s. 4d., and the
Bursar 6s. 8d. Students under fourteen years of age and over eighteen
were not allowed to matriculate into the ordinary classes except in very
exceptional cases. The matriculation examination was at first mainly in
Latin and Greek Grammar and the 1st Book of Cæsar's Commentaries.
Students who failed to pass this examination were allowed to enter the
College and were formed into a separate class. They paid an additional
entrance fee of 10 shillings and an annual fee of £2, for which they
were not to expect the attention given to other students. Students over
eighteen were permitted to enter as "Fellow Commoners," and were allowed
the special privilege of dining at "the high table." They paid a double
matriculation fee, and their ordinary fee was twenty-five per cent
higher than that of other students. For a brief time only there was a
common dining-room, but because of financial storm and stress and the
necessity for additional room this was in the end abandoned and the
students boarded with the professors who had rooms in the College.
Indeed, the willingness to accept students as boarders seems, in some
cases at least, to have been a condition of appointment, and little
choice in the matter was left to the professor. It was decided that all
examinations for degrees should be held "within the walls of the College
in the presence of all the officers of the University and College," and
that every candidate for a medical degree "must forward his inaugural
dissertation to the Principal before the last day of March."

Soon after the opening of the building, Principal Bethune and the
Governors looked about for additional professors or instructors or
tutors. In negotiating with prospective tutors it was pointed out that
"no gentleman would be elected to a Tutorship who was not able to
translate fluently the works of Horace, Xenophon, and Herodotus,
together with the other Classical authors of that stamp; and that an
examination of all candidates would be held." One candidate inquired
about rooms in the College for himself and his wife, but the
Vice-Principal replied, "I must inform you that there will be no
accommodation for your wife in the College at present, but that you will
yourself be expected to reside within the College. The Tutor is not
allowed his board during the long vacation." In February, 1844, William
Wickes, M.A., a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, was appointed
Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. He was promised £20 to
defray his travelling expenses "as soon as it can be paid." Mr. E.
Chapman was appointed Tutor, at a salary of £100 a year payable, it was
hoped, from students' fees, and his board and lodging; and the Rev. Dr.
Fallon was appointed Lecturer in Divinity.

Because of the shortage of funds it was decided that no further
appointments could then be made and that only absolutely necessary
expenses should be incurred. A valuable lot of scientific instruments,
which would be of use in the Natural Philosophy classes, was offered to
the College "for £70 if paid in six months, or £81 4s. 6d. if paid after
that time." The Secretary replied that "they would take the instruments
but they could not name any period of payment." The Governors were
sorely pinched for funds during this first year, and the anxieties of
poverty pressed hard upon the College authorities. In January, 1844, the
Governors made a formal demand for the payment of expenses incurred by
them amounting to £1,736, and also for the payment of all monies in the
Board's possession. The Board had but little money at their disposal and
they refused to grant the Governors' request. The gross annual income
was then scarcely more than £500, while the salaries and fixed charges
amounted annually to £730. The Board accused the Governors of having
made "wasteful and extravagant expenditures without precedent or
principle," some of which did not appear to have any connection with the
opening or the carrying on of McGill; many of these, they said, were
wholly unnecessary, and had never been authorised by the Board, whose
consent had not even been asked. The expenditures for contingencies
alone, it was pointed out, amounted in five months to more than the
total income of three years. "It is obvious," the Secretary added, "that
the Governors and the Board entertain views entirely opposite as to the
nature of the trust committed to the Board and to the duties which that
trust imposes.... There can be no proper understanding between the Board
and the Governors until it can be authoritatively settled which view of
the duties and the functions of the Board is right according to law. The
Board has no desire to retain funds to which they have no right." In
November, 1844, application was accordingly made to the Law Offices of
the Crown for a decision, but as usual the decision was slow in coming.
But pending the decision the Board agreed to liquidate the legal debts
as far as they were able and they did so to the extent of £1,550. By so
doing the Board reluctantly sacrificed a part of the capital of the
trust and thereby diminished by £90 the annual income, which was already
insufficient. But this payment was only a temporary relief; the debt was
in reality over £2,500; other and larger accounts remained unpaid, and
liabilities continued to increase.

In May, 1844, in order to make the academic management of the College
more democratic, the Governors made provision for the formation of a
College Board which should hold weekly meetings. As early as 1841 the
Board of the Royal Institution had recommended the formation of a
College Council "for the ordinary exercise of discipline," consisting of
the Principal, the Vice-Principal and Professors, the Rector of Christ
Church, Montreal, and the Minister of the Church of Scotland, Montreal.
This recommendation was not considered, pending the actual opening of
the College buildings. The College Board now formed consisted of "the
Principal, the Vice-Principal, Professors, and (until the whole number
of Professors in the University be increased to six) the Lecturers in
the Faculties in Divinity and the Arts, not under the degree of M.A.,
and of the person holding the office of Secretary, Registrar and Bursar,
provided he shall be a graduate of some University in the British
Dominions and not under the degree of M.A." This Board was called "the
Caput"; two of the members, with the Principal or Vice-Principal,
constituted a quorum. Its duty was to frame rules and regulations for
the discipline and internal government of Lecturers, students and
"inferior officers" of the College, to supervise the system of living
within the College, and to consider applications for degrees, except
honorary degrees. It had no jurisdiction over the Medical School.

The period that followed was a period of critical wrestling with
financial troubles. The College was suffering from lack of funds. Part
of the cost of the erection of the buildings was yet unpaid. An action
was instituted against the Governors on account of the College
furniture, the payment for which was long in arrears. Tradesmen and
workmen were pressing for a settlement of their bills, and lawyers'
letters threatening suits were daily coming in. The salaries of
Professors were not paid, and in January, 1845, only £250 was given by
the Board to pay the combined yearly salaries of Professors, Tutors and
Bursar. The Vice-Principal's allowance of fuel for the entire year was
reduced to "30 cords of maple wood and 2 chaldrons of coal." Frequently
appeals were made to the Home Government for assistance, but the
authorities disagreed in their opinions on the actual state of the
College. They had little first-hand knowledge of the facts, and their
attitude was one of indifference or at least delay. Lord Stanley wrote
from the Colonial Office: "I cannot but regret that the circumstances of
this Institution should have hitherto prevented the Province from
deriving the benefit which its founder contemplated; and as the chief
obstacle at present consists in the want of funds, I am of opinion that
measures should be taken to procure the requisite assistance from the
Legislature." On the other hand, Lord Metcalfe, the Governor-General,
replied, "The financial prospects of the Institution appear to be more
promising than was formerly anticipated." There the matter for the time
ended, and while the authorities waited and differed, the future
existence of the College was in grave doubt.

It was apparent, too, that internal dissension was growing within the
College itself. Charges in connection with the administration and with
the Principal's management were laid before the Royal Institution by the
Vice-Principal, who seems to have had the support of certain other
College officers, including Professor Wickes, and the Tutor, Chapman. As
a result of these charges, combined with the hopeless financial
situation in which the College was floundering, the Board of the Royal
Institution determined to exercise their visitatorial power and to make
an investigation. They would examine the entire working of the College,
its discipline, its administration and also the methods of collecting
and expending the rents and profits of the Estate of which no adequate
accounting had for some time been received. The visitation was made on
the 13th and 14th of November, 1844, and the meetings, not always
peaceful, were held in the council-room of the College. The Visitors
found that there were five Professors or Instructors, while only nine
students were enrolled in the college, that there was a lack of harmony
among the College officers, "some of whom were not on speaking terms
with each other," and that the outlook was not promising.

The following official report was forwarded to Lord Metcalfe, the
Governor-General, by the Lord Bishop of Montreal, the Rev. Dr. Mountain,
Principal of the Royal Institution, on December 11th, 1844:

"The Board of the Royal Institution, at the request of Professor Lundy,
Vice-Principal of McGill College, and in consequence of a variety of
circumstances leading them to believe such a step expedient and
necessary, met at Montreal on the 14th November, and, as Visitors of
McGill College under the Royal Charter, entered into an examination of
the whole affairs of that Institution.

"The general result of their investigation they are now desirous to lay
before Your Excellency, both because it is to Your Excellency's
interposition that the Board look for obtaining certain important
measures, which appear to them indispensable to the prosperity of the
College of which they are Visitors and Trustees.

"When the visitation of McGill College took place the Visitors found in
it nine students (fewer by half than at the same period last year, and
these, with one or two exceptions, boys) under the tuition of a
Principal, who is also Professor of Divinity, a Lecturer on Divinity, a
Vice-Principal, who is also Professor of Classical Literature, a
Professor of Mathematics, and a Classical Tutor; the establishment
having also the services of a Bursar, a Beadle and others. The regular
expenditure for the College Establishment in salaries and contingent
charges is two-fold of the income applicable to it; and the Governors
have contracted a debt of £1,550 in opening the College, the various
items of which expenditure appeared to the Board to be on a scale of
extravagance and wastefulness entirely unsuitable to the pecuniary
resources of the Institution. There is a great want of cordiality and
harmony among the Professors and Officers of the College; some not even
speaking to others. There are no Statutes in operation which are binding
in Law.

"The Principal refused to acknowledge the authority of the Visitors, or
to furnish them with any information. The united testimony of the
College Officers induces the Board to believe that one main reason of
the College having received so little support is that the
acting-Principal does not enjoy that confidence on the part of the
public of which an individual, standing in his position, ought to be

"The Board also had the testimony of the College Officers that the
inefficiency and unpopularity of the College are also, in part, owing to
the general want of confidence, rightly or wrongly entertained, in the
Vice-Principal, Professor Lundy.

"The Bursar is the Rev. Mr. Abbott, who has a Salary of £100 a year, and
is permitted to do his duty by Deputy. He does not, he says, understand
accounts; nor do those of his Deputy appear to be regularly and
correctly kept.

"There are only two Governors resident in Montreal--the Chief Justice of
the District, and Dr. Bethune, who is a Governor in consequence of his
holding the interim appointment of Principal. The other Governors, who
occasionally act, are the Chief Justice of Upper Canada, and the Bishop
of Montreal, both too distant from the College to take much part in the
management of its affairs, and the latter having only very recently a
title to do so. The Chief Justice of Montreal is unwilling, as a Roman
Catholic, to interfere more than he can avoid in the government of a
Protestant Institution; and the practical result of this state of things
in the governing body is to throw almost the whole management of the
Institution into the hands of Dr. Bethune, the acting-Principal. Both
the resident Governors resisted the authority of the Visitors, and
refused to co-operate with them.

"Between the Governors and the Board of the Royal Institution certain
differences do also exist in respect of the possession of the funds of
the College, now held in trust by the Board. The Governors are of
opinion that such funds should be unreservedly handed over to them. The
Royal Institution, acting on the opinion of eminent Counsel, and holding
that in this course they are supported by manifest expediency, as well
as Law, decline to make such transfer. The knowledge of the Public that
such differences exist is also stated as one ground of the want of
public confidence in the Institution.

"A more full and accurate account of the whole investigation, contained
in the Minutes of the Board, is herewith respectfully submitted for Your
Excellency's information; but such, we have to state to Your Excellency,
is generally the disorderly and inefficient state of an Institution from
which the public looked, and were justly entitled to look, for great

"The remedy for existing evils is, it appears to the Board of Visitors,
to be sought in various quarters. In part, it rests with the Board
itself to apply a remedy; and, in so far, they are prepared to act
without delay.

"The differences between the Board and the Governors may be settled by
an amicable suit in a Court of Law; or by the opinion of the Law
Officers of the Crown. The Board have repeatedly expressed to the
Governors their desire to have the matter so decided.

"And the debts of the Institution the Board are also prepared to
liquidate, though in doing so they must of necessity trench deeply on
the capital in their possession.

"And the changes of the Institution itself, which the Board consider
necessary, and which it is more immediately the province of the
Governors to effect, are these:

"1st. To obtain the services of an able and efficient Principal,
possessing the public confidence, who should reside in the College, and
take an active part in the education of the students.

"2ndly. To dispense with the Office of Vice-Principal altogether, which,
in that case, would be unnecessary, and to confine Professor Lundy's
duties entirely to the work of Classical Instruction.

"3rdly. To dispense with the Office of Bursar, and require the nowise
onerous duties thereof to be performed by some of the Resident Officers
of the College.

"4thly. To dispense with the services of a Classical Tutor till the
attendance of students render them necessary, which, at present, is
manifestly not the case.

"Preparatory, however, to these changes, and without which, indeed, they
cannot be carried into effect, there needs, the Board would humbly
represent, an interposition of Her Majesty's Government for the removal
of the present Principal, and for an addition to the number of Governors
resident in Montreal.

"The Board of Visitors believe they are by Law entitled to remove the
Principal from his Office on the sole ground of his contumacy in
refusing to appear before them; and they have restrained from depriving
him of his Office by their own authority, simply by a consideration of
the still greater disorder which must have been the result of the

"The Board of Visitors would, however, represent to Your Excellency
that, in their judgment, such removal is indispensable to the well-being
of the College; and that as Dr. Bethune was never appointed, except
temporarily, and his appointment has never received the necessary
sanction of Her Majesty's Government; if that sanction were refused, the
office would be forthwith vacant, and it would be competent for the
Governors to appoint an able and efficient Principal in his stead.

"Even such removal, however, would serve but little purpose, greatly as
the Board believe it would contribute to restore public confidence,
unless an addition were made to the number of Governors resident in
Montreal. If three or four enlightened and intelligent men were united
in the government of this institution, who, from their residence in
Montreal, could give a fair share of their attention to its interests,
the most beneficial consequences might be expected; and the public
confidence would be greater if, in the selection of these Governors,
regard should be had to different Protestant bodies in the Provinces,
none of which (except by such limitation as may be conceived to be
included in the words 'sound religion') are, by any Clause, either of
Mr. McGill's will, or of the Royal Charter, excluded from the Offices,
Honours, or Benefits of the College.

"May it therefore please Your Excellency to use your influence with Her
Majesty's Government to refuse to sanction Dr. Bethune's appointment,
and to give, as speedily as possible, a Supplementary Charter, making an
addition to the number of resident Governors in Montreal. The Board are
persuaded that the result of such action on the part of Her Majesty's
Government would be to rescue the College from its present disorderly
and inefficient state, and to render it, according to the intentions of
the benevolent founder, a public benefit."

Against the justice of this report the Governors entered a vigorous and
emphatic protest. They denied the right of the Royal Institution as
Visitors to investigate College conditions. They contended that McGill
University was a private foundation, and as such might only be "visited
by the legal representatives of James McGill and not by the Sovereign
Lady the Queen, her heirs or successors, or by any person or body
appointed by the Crown as supposed and assumed in the Royal Charter
incorporating the College." As the Statutes had not yet been approved,
they forwarded at the same time a resolution to the Colonial Office
declaring that "the College being a private foundation has the undoubted
right and power as such to make its own Statutes, Rules, etc.," and that
they would therefore no longer wait for the Royal sanction. They also
made representations to the Legislative Assembly asking support for
their contention that "the provision of the Charter by which the right
of the Crown is reserved to disallow the appointments made by the
Governors is an assumption of power inconsistent with the very nature of
the Foundation and is absolutely null and void in Law." They sought
legal means for obtaining from the Royal Institution all rights and
titles to the properties and monies in their possession belonging to
McGill University. Their main argument was that the University was a
"private institution." But their protests were of no avail.

The Governors then summarily dismissed the Vice-Principal and Professor
of Classics, the Rev. F. J. Lundy, mainly because of the allegations he
had made before the Royal Institution. His dismissal caused further
trouble, not, however, without its lighter side. Dr. Lundy appealed to
the Royal Institution from the Governors' decision. In his petition he
suggested that the Governors who dismissed him were not a representative
body and that their action was illegal. He stated that "the Chief
Justice of Montreal and the Rev. John Bethune, _two_ of the Governors of
McGill College, did proceed to hold a special meeting in the parlor of
the residence of the Chief Justice and not at the College; that ...
without previous summons or notification he was there informed ... [on
being called in] that his further services were not required in the
College, and that he was accordingly dismissed ... without any semblance
of a trial or investigation. ... That on asking for an explanation he
was informed that no explanation would be rendered and that he would not
be allowed a hearing in the matter." With his appeal the Royal
Institution, in the absence of Statutes and Rules, was powerless to
deal. Dr. Lundy was dismissed on the 4th of January, 1845. He was
allowed to retain his rooms in the College until May 1st "because of the
inconvenience to his family of moving in winter," but he was considered
"as removed on and after the day of his dismissal." In June he was still
occupying his College rooms, and he was told by the Governors to vacate
them or he would be ejected in fourteen days. In July he was still
there, and the Governors again told him that if he was not out at the
end of two days they would remove him, "using no more force than might
be necessary for that purpose." He went; and the controversy ended.

Professor Wickes then became Vice-Principal, but he retired two years
afterwards. Chapman, the Tutor, became Lecturer in Classics, but he
retired a few weeks later. His salary was long in arrears and he could
not collect it, and when he left he had to be content with a return of
the money he had expended "in making a window into a door in his room."
The Beadle was also dismissed, and the entire personnel of the College
officers was soon changed. Other appointments were made and were
approved by the Royal Institution. In making the appointments provision
was made for "a Librarian," and the Rev. Joseph Abbott was selected as
the first Librarian of McGill at the beginning of 1845. The Royal
Institution considered the Governors' actions to be growing daily more
drastic and intolerable, and they urged the Home Government to take
steps to end the struggle between the two bodies. On January 13th the
Lord Bishop of Montreal, the Rev. Dr. Mountain, who had meanwhile become
one of the Governors of the University, again wrote to the
Governor-General, Lord Metcalfe, as follows:

"It is with extreme unwillingness that I obtrude upon Your Excellency,
with the purpose of their being submitted if you should see fit, to Her
Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, any
representation relating to the affairs of McGill College, in addition to
those which are already before you from other quarters; and it is with
feelings of a nature more seriously painful that I find myself compelled
to state to Your Excellency the conviction at which I have arrived, of
its being inexpedient for me to take my seat at the Board of Governors
of that institution so long as the Rev. Dr. Bethune, in virtue of his
acting as Principal of the College, is also a member of the Board.

"Your Excellency will readily believe that unless I had strong and what
I conceive to be imperative grounds for my proceeding, one of the last
things which I could possibly be prompted to do would be to bring under
the notice of Her Majesty's Government any disadvantageous exhibition of
the management of important public interests in the hands of one of my
own Clergy, and one who occupies so prominent a position in the Canadian
Church as the Rector of Montreal.

"I have, however, long felt that the College could never prosper while
presided over by Dr. Bethune. And I should have been impelled before
this day officially to submit my views upon the subject to Your
Excellency had it not been that I had no seat among the Governors till
after the passing of the Act of the last Session, which confers upon me,
as Bishop of Montreal, all the legal powers vested in the Bishop of
Quebec; and, moreover, that having all along regarded the appointment of
Dr. Bethune simply as an ad interim arrangement (in which I believe
there are abundant means of showing that I was perfectly correct) I
anticipated that his retirement would have taken place in time to save
me from the necessity of making official statements, from which it is
sufficiently obvious that I must desire to be spared.

"When, however, I consider the general character of Dr. Bethune's
proceedings in those matters connected with McGill College which it has
devolved upon him to conduct, or in which he has taken a leading part,
and more especially in the intercourse of business with the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning; when I consider again his
too evident deficiency in very important points of qualification for his
office, such as academical experience (for he never studied at any
University), actual classical attainments of the nature and extent which
the case requires, and I am constrained to add, such temper, such
discretion, and such weight of personal influence and possession of
public confidence, as must be necessary on the part of the Principal, to
preside with effect over an infant University in a country like this, or
to execute his part in recovering it from the utterly inefficient and
discreditable condition in which it now lies, I am brought to the
unavoidable conclusion not only that his appointment ought not to be
confirmed, but that every delay in the disallowance of it opens a door
to some new mischief within the Institution; more particularly as the
powers committed to the body of Governors, in something more than their
mere ordinary exercise, are, from peculiarity of circumstances, in a
manner left in his hands. The long continued ill health and infirmity of
the Chief Justice of Montreal, the consequent seclusion in which he
lives, and the fact of his not having either the sort of interest in the
Institution or the opportunities of familiarly knowing the relations
subsisting between Dr. Bethune and other parties concerned which he
would naturally have if he were of the Protestant religion, appear, I
may venture to say it, to justify the conclusion that the proceedings of
the Governors resident at Montreal are to be regarded as little or
nothing more than the decisions and acts of the individual filling the
office of Principal, at the same time that they have in several
instances involved a result of which I can hardly be persuaded that two
Governors were sufficient to dispose. These proceedings have been
recently crowned by the summary dismissal, without a hearing, of the
Vice-Principal and Professor of Classical Literature, under
circumstances with which Your Excellency, as I am informed, has recently
been made acquainted. I feel that I am now called upon to state to Your
Excellency both as the Head of the Body of Governors, whenever you may
see fit to take part in their proceedings, and also as the Head of the
Government, that till Dr. Bethune shall cease to occupy a place at the
Board of Governors I must abstain from attending it, persuaded as I am
that I cannot do so either with the hope of advantage to the public or
with comfort to myself.

"With reference to the question intimated above, respecting the
competency of two Governors to dispose of some matters such as have
actually been disposed of by that number only, Your Excellency is aware
that the number to whom the wisdom of Government had originally within
their particular province confided the interests of the College was
seven, and comprised the highest functionaries of Upper and Lower
Canada: and I conceive it to be necessary for those interests, not to
say for the very existence of McGill College, that an efficient Body of
Governors should, as soon as possible, be given to the Institution.

"I have only to add, although it is not within the more immediate scope
of the representations here submitted, that the observations which I
have made with reference to the inexpediency of Dr. Bethune's retention
of the office of Principal, will manifestly suggest reasons of at least
equal force against the confirmation of his appointment to the
Professorship of Divinity."

This communication was forwarded by the Governor-General to the Colonial
Office, but over a year passed before definite action in connection with
it was taken by the authorities.

Meanwhile the Governors carried on the work of the University, harassed
always by debts and by insufficient revenue. The Medical School now
sought a closer union with the University. Its connection with the
College since the latter's establishment had been more or less nominal;
it was at least indefinitely hazy, other than in the mere fact that it
was "engrafted," and in the imprimatur of its degrees. Since its request
for a grant from University funds six years before was refused, there
was little actual intercourse or connection between the two bodies. They
worked, on the whole, independently, although the legal incorporation of
one with the other was recognized. The Medical School had carried on its
work in temporary quarters. It had begun its work in 1824 in a building
at 20 St. James Street, on Place d'Armes. Its Statutes, Rules, etc., had
been approved, as already seen, in 1832. About a year later the School
was moved to a larger building near the present Bank of Montreal, where
it remained for more than two years. It then was again moved to a
building on St. George Street, not far from the corner of Craig Street.
In 1843 the Medical Faculty applied to the Governors for a piece of
ground on the Burnside Estate, near the recently erected McGill
buildings, "for the purpose of erecting lecture rooms." The request was
granted and the giving of sufficient ground was approved by the Royal
Institution. But like the College, the Medical School had no funds. The
grant asked for from the Provincial Government by the Board of the Royal
Institution to help "in bringing the Faculties of Law, Theology and
Medicine into actual operation," and partly promised, had in the end
been refused. The Royal Institution, as we have seen, did not feel
justified in giving the Medical School assistance from the funds already
inadequate to provide for Collegiate education, as called for in the
bequest. As a result, although ground for a building was willingly
given, the erection of a building had to be indefinitely postponed. The
Medical Faculty then applied for permission to use any rooms that might
be available in the College buildings. On September 16th, 1845, the
Governors agreed--and the Royal Institution later approved their
action--to give the Medical School the refectory or dining-room for its
exclusive use--as the students were now for the most part boarding with
Professors or outside the College--together with the southwest
lecture-room as a lecture-room and museum, the private room of the
Bursar for the Professors' office, and two small adjoining rooms "for
anatomy and dissecting rooms." Medical students, too, were to be
permitted to reside in the College, on condition that they were to be
under the same discipline as the College students. The Medical Faculty
accordingly moved to these rooms provided in the McGill buildings, and a
closer contiguous connection with the University was thereby
established. There the Faculty remained until 1851, when because of its
growth and the inconvenient distance from the city and the Hospital, it
moved to the building at 15 Coté Street, erected for its use by three of
the members of its staff.

Efforts were made to increase the attendance in the College and students
from the French-Canadian Colleges were admitted to equal standing with
McGill students. The need for funds became gradually more acute. The
Royal Institution would not listen to the Governors' demands for the
payment of salaries and contingent expenses. In December, 1845, they
again appealed to the Governor-General, Lord Metcalfe, but he declined
to interfere, pointing out that the Royal Institution were the trustees
of the Trust; that all the Statutes, Rules, etc., of the College should
be confirmed by Royal authority before they became law; and that as the
statutes under the authority of which debts had been contracted by the
Governors of McGill had never received Royal sanction, these debts had
no effect in law. The Governors were therefore themselves liable. But
the Governors had already borrowed £500 from the Bank of British North
America to meet necessary and vital requirements. That amount had not
yet been paid off, and they naturally were not disposed to assume the
responsibility for further personal indebtedness.

All the correspondence in connection with the whole situation, in
addition to the various petitions and appeals, was forwarded to the
Colonial Office, with which the Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone had meanwhile
become connected as Secretary of State for the Colonies. It was hoped
that Mr. Gladstone would display more interest and energy than his
predecessors, and that a decision would soon be reached. The College
authorities expected that the Provincial Legislature would be asked to
make an investigation by Committee. Accordingly, on April 15th, 1846,
they issued instructions "forbidding officers and members of the College
from answering any summons from a Committee of the Legislative Assembly
acting on the petitions of Chapman, Wickes or Lundy." The excuse for not
answering was that "McGill College was a private foundation and was
therefore not liable to the action of the Legislature." But their
expectations were not realized and no investigation was held by the

It was clear, however, that action was soon to be taken by the Colonial
Office; the Governors were not aware of the precise nature of the
action, but they felt that the Home Government would support the Royal
Institution. Before the decision was received, a final effort was made
to give to the University a more pronounced character of "religious
exclusiveness," a tendency which the Governor-General had already
deplored. In October, 1845, this desire had been indicated by the making
of a rule requiring that prayers in the College were to be said "by a
College Chaplain appointed by the Governors, or by any other person
appointed or approved by the Principal, he to be a member of the Church
of England"; a sum of £50 was voted for such Chaplain. On April 25,
1846, at a meeting attended by two Governors--the Chief Justice of
Montreal and the Principal, and two Fellows--the Rev. J. Ramsay and the
Rev. J. Abbott, it was resolved on motion of the Principal to ask that
the Charter be amended in the following particulars: "That the
Governors of the College consist henceforth of all the clergy of the
Church of England now holding or who may hereafter hold preferment in
the Parish of Montreal, and of a certain number of laymen of the Church
of England resident in the aforesaid Parish to be named in the Charter.
That vacancies occasioned by the death, resignation, etc., of any of the
lay Governors shall be filled up from time to time by the majority of
the Governors present at a meeting. That the Bishop of the Diocese shall
be the Visitor of the College. That appointments to office in the
College are not to be subject to disallowance by any other authority
than that of the Governors. That the Statutes, Rules, and Ordinances
made by the Governors are to be in full force and effect until
disallowed by the Judges of the Court of Queen's Bench for the District
of Montreal. That a committee be appointed to draft a petition to Her
Majesty the Queen with reference to this resolution, the Committee to
consist of the Principal, the Vice-Principal, and the Professor of
Classical Literature." The Professor of Classical Literature was then
the Rev. W. T. Leach, who had been appointed on April 4th preceding. The
Vice-Principal was the Rev. J. Abbott.

A few days later, and before this resolution could be acted on, however,
Mr. Gladstone's despatch disallowing Principal Bethune's appointment and
asking for his retirement was received. In forwarding it to the
Secretary of McGill on April 24th, 1846, the Civil Secretary wrote: "I
have only to add the expression of the hope that the Governors will
forthwith proceed to replace Dr. Bethune and that in so doing they will
anxiously endeavour to secure the services of a man in all respects
qualified for such important posts." Mr. Gladstone's despatch, which
embodied in the main the suggestions of the Lord Bishop of Montreal, the
Rev. Dr. Mountain, quoted above, was written on April 3rd, 1846, and was
as follows:

"I have had under my serious consideration your Lordship's confidential
Despatch of the 19th of February, on the subject of McGill College at
Montreal, and in connection with it I have reviewed the copious
correspondence which passed between your Lordship's predecessor and Lord
Stanley on this question. I have observed with great regret the state of
disorder and inefficiency in which the Institution appears to be.

"The question which has appeared to me to call for my immediate decision
is that of the continuance in the office of Principal of the College,
and in the Professorship of Divinity, of the present holder, the
Reverend Dr. Bethune, whose appointment it is still competent for the
Crown, according to the Charter of the College, to disallow.

"It is with regret that I have come to the conclusion that it is my duty
to recommend to Her Majesty to disallow this appointment.

"Into the various and somewhat complicated charges which have been
brought against Dr. Bethune, in his capacity of Principal of the
College, I do not find it necessary to enter; nor do I wish to state at
the present moment any decided opinion as to the extent to which the
present condition of the Institution is owing to the character and
position of its Principal. My decision is founded upon reasons which
are not open to dispute; the first, the weight of the Bishop's
authority, together with your own, independently of any reference to
that of the Board of Visitors, which may be considered to be to some
extent at this moment in dispute; next, the fact that Dr. Bethune did
not himself receive an University education, which I must hold to be,
unless under circumstances of the rarest occurrence, an indispensable
requisite for such a position as he occupies. To these I am disposed to
add, although I express the opinion without having had the advantage of
learning what may be the view of the Lord Bishop in this particular,
that I cannot think it expedient that the offices of Principal and
Professor of Divinity in McGill College should be combined with that of
Rector of Montreal. This latter circumstance is not much adverted to in
the papers before me; but I am strongly impressed with the incongruity
of this junction of important collegiate appointments with a no less
important pastoral charge in the same person; either the former or the
latter of which, especially considering the large population of the Town
of Montreal, I must, as at present advised, hold to be enough to occupy
his individual attention.

"I have, therefore, felt bound to advise Her Majesty to disallow this
appointment in both respects, in pursuance of the power vested in her;
and have only to add the expression of my hope that the Governors will
forthwith proceed to replace Dr. Bethune, and that in so doing they will
anxiously endeavour to secure the services of a man in all respects
qualified for such important posts.

"With regard to the general position of the College, there are indeed
many points as to its Constitution, its Laws, its Revenues, and its
Administration which obviously require a careful consideration and an
early and definitive settlement; among which perhaps the most prominent
is the confirmation, or otherwise, of the Statutes which have for some
time been awaiting the decision of the Crown. But adverting to the
course adopted by Lord Stanley, and to the information received from
your Lordship's predecessor, with particular reference to the Despatches
noted in the margin, I have resolved to suspend any active measure on my
part, at least till the conclusion of the present session of the
Canadian Legislature, thinking it not improbable that the proceedings of
that body may tend to throw some light on the questions connected with
the College, by which I may be guided in the consideration of my own
course in this important matter."

As a result of the above despatch, Dr. Bethune retired from the
acting-Principalship in May following. On July 3rd he protested in a
memorial to the Colonial Office against the legality of the act of the
Home Government in the disallowing of his appointment, but no action was
taken by the authorities, and there the matter dropped.

Dr. Bethune did not give up the acting-Principalship, which he had
filled for eleven years, without the regrets and the tributes of men who
had been closely associated with him during his term of office. The
Chief Justice of Montreal, the Hon. James Reid, one of the Governors of
the College, had already written to him on February 13th, 1845, not long
before his death:

[Illustration: From Painting in McGill Library Photo Rice Studios
_Venerable Archdeacon Leach D.C.L., L.L.D. Vice-Principal of McGill
University_ 1846-1886]

"I am enabled to say that after your appointment as Principal the
interests of the College, which had previously been much obstructed and
delayed, were more closely pursued and attended to, principally by your
exertions, your declared object being to bring the College into
operation as soon as possible, and to render all the means belonging to
it available for this purpose."

On May 11th, 1846, after Mr. Gladstone's despatch had been received, and
Dr. Bethune was about to leave the College, the Rev. John Abbott, the
Vice-Principal and Secretary, and E. Chapman, formerly Lecturer in
Classical Literature, whose relations with the Principal had not always
been harmonious, wrote as follows:

"We, the undersigned Officers of the University of McGill College, from
our personal knowledge, as far as we have been respectively connected
with it, do hereby certify that the Reverend John Bethune, D.D., has
performed the duties of his Office of Principal of this Institution with
a zeal, ability, and moderation only equalled by his patient and
enduring perseverance, under circumstances of great and harassing
difficulty; and that the opening and establishing of the College, and
consequently its very existence, are mainly to be ascribed, as we verily
believe, to his active and indefatigable exertions."

To this letter the Rev. W. T. Leach, who had been appointed Professor of
Classical Literature on April 4th preceding, added:

"My connection with McGill College has been of very recent date, and I
have no objection to add my testimony to the above."

It was also certified by the Bursar, the Rev. John Abbott, that the
Principal was jointly responsible with the Chief Justice of Montreal
for £500 borrowed from the Bank of British North America, and for £100
for outbuildings; that he was personally responsible for a debt of £120
for fuel, which "by his own individual means and credit he had obtained
and provided for the College while the funds belonging to it were
withheld during a considerable period." These liabilities, however, were
all liquidated later by the Royal Institution.

The eleven years that had passed since the acting-Principal assumed
office were among the most critical in McGill's history. They were
fraught with a hopeless misunderstanding arising from a dual control,
the causes of which have been made sufficiently clear in the documents
quoted. The Governors resented the interference of the Royal
Institution, which in those days of advocacy of political autonomy and
sensitive abhorrence of Downing Street coercion they could not easily
tolerate. It was contrary to the spirit of the age. Whether the
Governors helped their cause by their attitude or by their attempt to
give to the College a character of sectarian exclusiveness need not be
here discussed. They had, however, urged the actual erection and
equipment of a College, and it was in a large measure because of their
persistence and their faith that the original buildings were so early
constructed. They had the good fortune to see the buildings actually
opened, students enrolled and collegiate instruction commenced in
accordance with the will of the founder. They saw, too, the Medical
School made an integral part of the University.

And the controversy in which they had so prominent and at times so
painful a part, although unfortunate in many ways, had at least one
good result--it showed plainly and unmistakably the hopelessness of dual
supervision and divided authority. Nevertheless, by the dissension of
those bitter years of storm and stress the College had been brought
financially, at least, to a feeble and uncertain state, and many who
watched its progress were wondering if it could still endure. But again
it struggled forward. Those who were really interested in its existence
never doubted its ultimate concord and prosperity and growth. But to
bring it to its destined place of usefulness and power it needed
unfaltering strength and unwavering faith to guide it through the
troubled period that lay yet before it.



On July 7th, 1846, the Governors of McGill met at Government House to
appoint a Principal to succeed Dr. Bethune. The meeting was attended by
the Lord Bishop of Montreal, the Rev. Dr. Mountain; the Chief Justice of
Upper Canada and the Governor-General. The seriousness of the situation
that had developed was indicated by the presence of the two last named
members, who had not attended a meeting for several years. It was
resolved that pending a decision on the former acting-Principal's
memorial to Her Majesty's Council, protesting against the disallowance
of his appointment, a temporary appointment of Principal be made. The
choice was Edmund A. Meredith, B.A., LL.B., a graduate of Trinity
College, Dublin. He was at once informed of the Governors' decision; he
accepted the post and took his seat at the meeting. He was to receive no
remuneration for his services. The condition of the College was reviewed
by the Governors and was found to be critical. Dr. Holmes of the Medical
School reported that no degrees had been conferred in the spring "in
consequence of the disallowance by Her Majesty of the former election of
Principal." The Governors therefore changed the date for the conferring
of Medical degrees from the 25th of May, previously fixed, to "a date to
be agreed upon by the Governors on application from the Medical
Faculty," and the deferred Medical degrees were given at a convocation
held on December 17th, following. It was found that the liabilities of
the College amounted to over £3300, made up of £2300 for old unpaid
bills and over £1000 for arrears of Professors' salaries. The revenue of
the College was shown to be only about £900 a year, and the current
expenses, exclusive of salaries, about £500 a year. The financial
outlook, considering the large liabilities, was therefore not

[Illustration: _Edmund A. Meredith, L.L.D.
Principal of McGill University_ 1846-1849]

The new Principal, Edmund A. Meredith, was the son of the Rev. Thomas
Meredith, D.D., a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and a mathematician
of distinction. His mother was a daughter of the Very Rev. Richard
Graves, also a Fellow of Trinity, Dean of Ardagh, and a theologian of
note. He graduated in 1837 from Trinity College, Dublin, where he won
the second classical scholarship, the prize for political economy, and
the graduation medal in science. He then began the study of law, but
before his course was completed he came to Canada in 1843. Here he
resumed his legal studies, and on fulfilling the requirements he became
a member of the Bar in both Upper and Lower Canada. When he was
appointed Principal of McGill he was a lawyer in active practice in
Montreal. In scholarship he was well qualified for his duties, as
Lecturer in Mathematics and as Principal of the struggling College in
which courses had to be arranged and the whole academic policy reformed.
He was possessed, too, of unusual administrative ability and of legal
knowledge of great value in that time of College chaos and disagreement;
and he displayed uncommon tact and abundant patience and energy in his
efforts to solve the delicate problems with which the University was
then confronted. It was largely through his initiative that the movement
was undertaken for the securing of a new Charter. In 1847 he accepted
the post of Assistant Provincial Secretary, but as the seat of
Government was then in Montreal he still remained Principal of McGill.
After the burning of the Parliament Buildings and the violence in
connection with the Rebellion Losses Bill, when the seat of Government
was moved to Toronto, Mr. Meredith tendered his resignation as Principal
on October 26, 1849. He was induced to retain the Principalship,
however, although living in Toronto, until a successor could be found,
and it was not until 1851 that he finally withdrew. His name appears as
Principal in documents of that year. In recognition of his services the
University conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D. in 1857. When
Thomas Workman gave the workshops to the Faculty of Applied Science he
directed that a sum of $3000 be paid to the former Principal, Dr.
Meredith, "inasmuch;" he said, "as I have long been convinced of the
value of the services rendered to the University of McGill by Edmund A.
Meredith, LL.D., during a very critical period of its history." Dr.
Meredith afterwards became Under-Secretary of State for Canada, and he
was connected with the Civil Service until 1878.

The nine years between 1846 and 1855 were years of continuous financial
perplexity during which the Governors had great difficulty in keeping
the College in operation. There is little else to record than a
discouraging battle with poverty and want. But in this period hope for
ultimate success was not abandoned. The new Board of Governors had first
to reorganize the teaching staff and make new appointments. In addition
to his other duties the Principal undertook to conduct, as Lecturer, the
classes in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. The Professor of
Classical Literature, the Rev. W. T. Leach, was made Vice-Principal in
September, 1846. It was also realised that in a country of two languages
instruction in French was an absolute necessity. No funds were available
for the purpose, but Monsieur L. D. Montier accepted the position of
Lecturer in return for lodging and fuel and a portion of students' fees,
on the understanding that he was to receive a salary of £30 a year as
soon as money was available. But students' fees, because of the small
number in attendance, gave but little reward, and as a result the new
French Lecturer was apparently not always as zealous and enthusiastic in
his unremunerative labours as the Caput desired. It frequently happened
that for several days he gave no instruction, and soon after his
appointment the Caput censured him for neglecting his work and for
"conduct highly reprehensible and subversive of all College discipline."
In recognition of his services, however, and perhaps to keep him from
becoming weary in well-doing, the Governors allowed him half an acre of
land "in the northeast corner of the College grounds, to pasture his cow
and make a garden," from the products of which they hoped he might
receive some slight return for his work. The Rev. G. F. Simpson,
Headmaster of the High School, consented to act as Lecturer in
Mathematics without any salary or fees. In March, 1847, the Hon.
Justice Badgley, LL.D., was appointed Lecturer in Law without
remuneration other than fees, and instruction in Law which later led to
the establishment of the Law Faculty was commenced during the following
term. In July, 1848, a Lecturer in Hebrew and Oriental Languages was
appointed without salary. It was decided not to appoint a Professor of
Divinity in succession to Dr. Bethune, not only because of the lack of
funds, but because the clauses in the Statutes bearing on the nature of
the theological instruction to be given had not yet been agreed upon by
the Home Government.

But the gravest and most important duty of the new administration was in
connection with the serious financial condition of the University, and
with efforts to improve the situation. When the Governors met in July,
1846, the Professors and Lecturers, some of whom had already retired
because of resignation or dismissal, appealed to them for payment of
their salaries. They had worked without pay for several months, and in
some cases for a year and a half. It was even difficult for them to
obtain fuel and candles. The Governors expressed their "sympathy with
them in their embarrassment and distress," but regretted that they were
unable to relieve them. The Vice-Principal was given land behind the
College to enable him to make a garden, "on condition that he would not
interfere with the Bursar's garden." The Governors and the Board of the
Royal Institution were unwilling to encroach upon the meagre capital to
pay for ordinary running expenses. They believed that if the burden of
debt which the College carried could be removed they could meet in some
way all current obligations, and that there would be no doubt about the
future success of the University. In liquidating the debt they hoped for
assistance from the Government. In November, 1846, the Secretary of the
Governors wrote: "The prospects of the College are now in so promising a
state as to lead the Governors to entertain the most sanguine hopes, if
they would but be relieved from their present embarrassments, of
succeeding in carrying into full effect the great object its benevolent
founder had in view." But their hopes for direct assistance from the
Government or the Home authorities were not early fulfilled.

It was soon evident that the removal of the burden of debt without
Government assistance would be an arduous task uncertain of
accomplishment, and that a problematical period doubtless lay ahead.
Many of the debts were of ten years' standing. Some of them had been
incurred with mechanics and tradesmen in connection with the
construction of the College buildings. Professors had long been unpaid.
Since July, 1845, no money had been placed at the disposal of the
Governors to meet expenses. The Statutes for the government of the
College were still unsanctioned by the Crown, and this fact and the
dispute between the Board of the Royal Institution and the Governors
continued to furnish an excuse, whether valid or not is questionable,
for paying no money for several months out of College funds. The
Governors had borrowed from the Banks on their own personal security,
and had obtained small sums at different times on their own personal
undertaking to pay for fuel and to meet the most pressing demands made
by absolutely necessary contingencies. Were it not for this timely
assistance it is probable that the College would have been closed; its
fortunes at best were precarious.

The Royal Institution had meanwhile concluded to transfer to the
Receiver-General of the Province all sums paid to them on account of the
College. But the Receiver-General would not pay them to the College
authorities, pending the Crown's decision on the Statutes. The Governors
urged the Royal Institution to a hasty consideration of their
embarrassment. They did not blame or censure the Board for the
extraordinary situation in which they found themselves. In the question
as to the cause of the situation they were not primarily interested.
Debating on the responsibility for it and on bygone disputes would not
improve it. The fact was plain that the College's existence was in the
balance because of financial conditions, and that this fact must be
faced. "The buildings are becoming dilapidated and useless," they wrote,
"and those who inhabit them will be frozen or starved unless the
Governors contribute from their private means." They likewise vigorously
called the attention of the Home Government to their incongruous and
lamentable plight. "We desire earnestly," they said, "to impress upon
Her Majesty's Government that the attainment of the benevolent and noble
object of the founder of McGill College has been unfortunately if not
culpably delayed." Yet they insisted that the present problem "will work
out and the whole income will soon be available for expenditure." There
would then be no difficulty, they thought, "in maintaining the College
on a scale large enough to be of use in a colony of a million people
without means for obtaining education for youth." And they declared
with astonishing optimism, "the Governors have great hopes that when
once fairly put in action this Institution will speedily attract
patronage and support and will expand with the wealth of the country."
This note of courage and faith is all the more remarkable when we
realise the exact condition of the University, without money, without
Statutes, a fact which was used as an excuse for withholding funds, with
but little sympathy from Provincial Government or Home Government, with
its few Professors unpaid and pleading even for fuel and light, with
unfinished and poorly equipped buildings falling rapidly into decay,
with grounds uncared for, and with a very small enrollment of students.

The Governors were determined, however, not to decrease the capital
funds of the College and that payments, if any, must be made out of
surplus revenue. In this they had the approval and co-operation of the
Board of the Royal Institution. Nor did they wish to dispose of any of
the land until it was absolutely necessary to do so, and then only with
a unanimous consent. They made an effort first to increase the value of
their real estate. A large portion of the land had been let for pasture
and for grass, but the leaseholders were slow to pay the rent and many
of them were several months in arrears. The Board of the Royal
Institution now endeavoured to collect all rents promptly when due. They
decided to discriminate between their own various debts. They would pay
tradesmen first, in the order of the age of their bills. When the
tradesmen had all been paid they would then pay the Professors, but not
until all other debts had first been liquidated. The Professors must
wait. An agreement was then entered into with the various creditors to
pay their debts off in installments. In order to secure more revenue the
students' fees were increased. They had already been raised from £3 to
£4 6s. 8d., of which £2 13s. 4d. went to the House Fund, 6s. 8d. to the
Bursar, the same amount to the Library, and £1 to the servants. The fees
were now advanced to £10. Every matriculant was also to pay £1 5s. to
the Bursar for his use and benefit, and all students were to deposit
10s. "caution money," to cover breakages and damages to furniture, this
deposit or the portion of it not used to be refunded in the spring.
Expenses during this period were reduced to a minimum. In 1845 the large
dining-hall or refectory had been given over to the Medical Faculty, and
one of the small rooms had then become the dining-room. In 1847,
however, because of the financial loss incurred even the small
dining-room was closed and, as we have seen, the students boarded with
Professors. In 1848, when Law students were first permitted to reside in
the College, it was on the express condition that "Professor Leach would
board them."

The necessity for much needed repairs to fences and buildings and for
fuel for the College rooms called urgently for funds. But there was no
money to provide these necessities. Permission was asked and received by
the Governors to pull down and remove an old wooden hut on the College
grounds, "which had long been considered an unsightly object and a
nuisance fast falling to decay." It was arranged that "the boards of the
roof and floor would mend fences and that the old logs would be used for
fuel." It was later decided to sell the surplus furniture in the
College, scanty enough at best, and also the sand that had been taken
from the excavations for the buildings, the money from the sales to be
put to "repairs to the spouts of the buildings and to the fences, also
to bring water from the spring near the bridge [in the present
'hollow'], to put a railing on the bridge, and to make passable the road
between the College and Sherbrooke Street." But in the midst of all
their financial worries the determination of the College authorities to
encourage students is evident from their establishing two exhibitions of
the value of £10 each, to be awarded yearly to the two students standing
highest in the matriculation examination. Professors might starve or
freeze and creditors might wait, but ambitious and meritorious students
must be practically encouraged.

The Governors were at last given some slight relief by the receipt of
over £1400, on account, from the Receiver-General, to whom the revenues
arising from College funds and properties were being periodically
transferred by the Royal Institution. Of this amount only £50 was voted
for current expenses; the remainder was used to pay off a portion of the
debts, among them the amount borrowed from the Bank by the former
Principal and the Chief Justice of Montreal. A further sum of £280 was
received by the Governors from rentals, of which £100 was paid to the
Vice-Principal, £100 to the Bursar, Registrar and Secretary, £50 to the
Professor of Mathematics and £30 to the Lecturer in French, in part
payment of their long overdue salaries. But it was decided that in
consideration of these payments "no fuel could be provided for the
present for any College officer."

The relief resulting from the above receipts was of but brief duration.
In November, 1848, the Governors had only the sum of £54 at their
disposal. They divided it between the Bursar and the two Lecturers in
proportion to the amount of salary in arrears, and as a result the
Lecturer in French, M. Montier, received £2 14s. as his share from
January 1st, 1848, to November 29, 1848. That was the full amount of
salary received by him during the year; but he still had his cow and his
garden! As if to increase the worries of the College authorities the
College buildings caught fire on January 24, 1849. Fortunately the
damage was only small, but any damage, however trifling, could at that
time be ill-afforded. To add to the embarrassment, several of the few
students enrolled failed to pay their fees, and the Bursar could not
collect them. In February, 1849, he was in urgent need of funds, and on
the 13th he sent out to the student debtors appealing letters of which
the following is typical: "I beg that you will pay your fees this week
if possible, as I have a heavy College claim to meet on Saturday without
the wherewithal to pay it." He supported this appeal by letters to
parents, "I beg that you would be good enough to pay your son's College
fees on or before Saturday next, as I have a heavy College debt to pay
on that day and not sufficient funds to meet it." These appeals were not
always successful, and the revenue from this source remained indefinite.
In the spring the students who had paid their dues were not given back
the caution money they had deposited because "no funds were available."
There is a record of one student, more persistent than the others, who
was difficult to placate. He was finally promised that his "caution
money would be refunded when possible," and he was assured that "funds
would soon be available because the Statutes would soon be ratified."

The gross revenue available to the College in 1849 was £494, made up of
£70 from the rent of Burnside House, £274 from rents of building lots
and other lands, and £150 from the rent of a large stone building known
as the King's Arms or Mack's Hotel, situated on Jacques Cartier Square,
formerly Nelson's Market. The rent of this latter building was first
£250 a year, but from depreciation in value because of the removal of
the Market it had decreased by £100. After deducting the amounts
required for insurance, etc., the net revenue was only about £440. Only
thirteen students were in attendance; two of these had obtained
exhibitions and were admitted free, and the income derived from the fees
of the remaining eleven was £110. The salaries, which, however, were
several months in arrears, amounted to £292 a year. The Principal
received no remuneration. The salary of the Rev. W. T. Leach,
Vice-Principal and Professor of Classical Literature, was supposed to be
£100; that of T. Guerin, Lecturer in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy,
£50; the Hon. W. Badgley, Lecturer in Law, received no stated reward,
but he was entitled to a fee of £2 per term from each student attending
his lectures; the Rev. J. Abbott, Registrar, Bursar, Secretary, and
Lecturer in Ancient and Modern History, Geography and Logic, was
supposed to receive a salary of £100, and in addition several small fees
from students, which amounted the previous year to only £4 5s.; L. D.
Montier, Lecturer in French, received £30 a year, and the Beadle, F.
Hewitt, was given £12; the Lecturer in Hebrew, the Rev. A. De Sola,
received no salary. Later in the year a lecturer in Botany was appointed
"without remuneration for the present."

The Board of the Royal Institution endeavoured earnestly to relieve the
financial situation of the College, and they requested the
Receiver-General to make all possible payments to the Governors. But the
liabilities far exceeded the assets. In January, 1850, the College
officers urgently pleaded for their overdue salaries. It was decided to
pay them 2s. 9d. in the pound. Accordingly, Vice-Principal Leach
received £55 of the £404 in arrears; L. D. Montier, the Lecturer in
French, was given £4 of the £34 due him, and the others were paid very
small amounts in proportion for a year or, as in the case of the
Vice-Principal, several years of work. A grant of £25 was asked for by
the College authorities to purchase books for students, but it was of
necessity refused. The supply of fuel for the year was reduced to "ten
cords of maple wood," and altogether the outlook of the College was not

Meanwhile the Statutes, Rules, etc., which had been forwarded to the
Colonial Office for Royal sanction in 1843, had been approved with some
alterations, and the Royal confirmation was announced in a despatch from
Lord Grey to Lord Elgin, the Governor-General, on September 27th, 1848.
The Home Government had delayed their approval of the Statutes because
they were not sure of the attitude of the Provincial Legislature towards
the College. Remembering the political events of 1837 and realising as a
result Canadian resentment of any semblance of dictation or coercion,
they decided to proceed with caution. In this they followed the advice
of the Governor-General, Lord Metcalfe, who, as we have seen, strongly
urged delay and a careful consideration of the clauses bearing on
religious instruction, in his despatch of September 6, 1843. To this
despatch Lord Stanley replied from Downing Street on October 13, stating
his approval of the suggestions and expressing his desire to meet first
the wishes of the Provincial Assemblies. "It is evident," he said, "that
these questions cannot be decided without the intervention of the
Legislature of Canada and that it must rest with the Provincial
Parliament to determine whether pecuniary aid shall or shall not be
afforded to the College.... It could answer no useful purpose, but may
lead to a most embarrassing controversy if, by the confirmation of those
Statutes ... Her Majesty should hazard a collision on such topics as
these, between the Royal Authority irrevocably exercised and the future
recommendation of both or either of the Houses of local Legislature.
Consequently, until I shall be apprised of the results of their
deliberations, the decision of the Queen will be suspended."

There were rumours that a bitter attack against the College, its
administration and its religious exclusiveness would be made in the
Legislature, and that a Bill would be introduced which might possibly
lead in the end to its abolition. Lord Metcalfe feared such a
possibility. But no attack was made, and on January 17, 1844, the
Governor-General wrote to Downing Street: "No attack was made on McGill
College in the shape of a Bill during the late Session. The Institution
perhaps owes its escape to the prudence of the French Canadian party,
who, having several Roman Catholic Colleges that are exclusive, are not
disposed generally to join in attacking other Institutions on account of
their exclusiveness, lest the same weapons should be turned against
their own. Under those circumstances McGill College being in Lower
Canada appears to be in a safer position than it seemingly occupied
before the late Session; and I do not consider the expediency of
withholding confirmation of their Statutes to be so urgent as I then
conceived it. Nevertheless, it is not certain that the Institution may
not be attacked in any future Session, for the Presbyterians and
Dissenters of all classes are bent on destroying the exclusive character
which it has acquired in the hands of the Church of England." Efforts
were now renewed by the Royal Institutions to have the Statutes, in part
at least, approved, but the Board was informed by the Colonial Office
that "it does not appear to Her Majesty that the College has the means
of sustaining itself on a reasonable scale of efficiency." The closing
of the College was looked upon by the Home authorities as a mere matter
of time!

After much discussion and delay, when it seemed probable that the
College would weather the storm, the Statutes were finally in part
approved in the autumn of 1848. The time for action had come and the
Home authorities realised that "further delay might issue in the ruin of
the College." As we have already seen, the clauses relating to the
sectarian character of theological instruction and of the College
prayers were not confirmed. In giving reasons for the vetoing of these
clauses, Lord Grey wrote that in his opinion, based on the advice of
Lord Metcalfe, "aid would not be granted [to the College] if the Royal
confirmation of the Statutes should first have impressed indelibly on
that Institution a character of exclusiveness in whatever relates to
Theological degrees and studies and to the public worship of the
place.... The Will and Charter are both silent on the subject of the
peculiar religious tenets or ecclesiastical principles to be inculcated
at the College, a silence very significant in the case of a Testator who
was himself the member of a Christian Church, a silence not less
significant in the case of the Sovereign ... a silence not to be
explained by any supposed forgetfulness or intentional omission of the
subject, since the inculcation of 'the principles of true religion' is
expressly provided for by the Charter; a silence, therefore, apparently
indicating a design that Christianity should be taught, not in any
single or exclusive form, but in any and in every form in which its
great fundamental truths and precepts could be imparted to the
students.... The questions respecting the religious and ecclesiastical
principles to be inculcated in the College will, therefore, for the
present rest in the same state of indecision as that in which the Will
of the founder and the Royal Charter have left them."

With the approval of the Statutes, the Governors made an effort to
reorganise the College on a better working basis. In December, 1849, the
Principal forwarded to the Board of the Royal Institution suggestions
for amendments to the Charter in order to provide a greater freedom of
action which might render the management more efficient. This step
resulted largely from a report sent to the Governors by the Board of the
Royal Institution, setting forth the latter's observations on conditions
found during their official Visit in 1848, and including an outline of
the remedies they thought should be applied. The Board approved of their
suggestions and urged immediate consideration of the question. Three
months passed without action. Meanwhile a peculiar situation had
developed. The Principal of the College had desired in October, 1849, to
resign, as he was about to move to Toronto because of the change in the
seat of Government. He was now Assistant Provincial Secretary. But as no
successor was available he was persuaded to retain the office for the
present, although no longer able, because of his residence in Toronto,
to take a very active part in College affairs, or to exercise any direct
supervision over the administration. The remaining Governors consisted
of the Lord Bishop of Montreal, who resided at Quebec; the Chief Justice
of Upper Canada, the Hon. J. Beverley Robinson, who, like the Principal,
dwelt in Toronto; and the Governor-General, Lord Elgin, who, after he
had been attacked by a mob in 1849 as a result of his attitude on the
"Rebellion Losses Bill," no longer resided in Montreal. None of the
Governors was therefore able to exercise any oversight of the College of
which they were the legal guardians. In April, 1850, a Committee of the
Board of the Royal Institution was appointed to suggest a solution of
the peculiar problem. They wrote to the Governor-General, setting forth
the absurdity and the hopelessness of a condition which permitted the
College to be controlled by Governors no longer resident in Montreal,
and emphasising the necessity that existed for "a prompt application of
remedies to relieve the College from its present unfortunate state of
depression." They urged an amended Charter as the first requirement. A
long correspondence followed between the Board and the individual
Governors, relating to the details of the Charter. In June the Board's
Committee wrote again to the Governor-General, stating that if the
Charter were amended according to the draft prepared "McGill College
would speedily be relieved from the difficulties by which it has been so
long surrounded."

The Board desired to amend the original Charter rather than to abrogate
it in order not to raise any question of the tenure of the estate
through a lapse of possession. They feared that between the brief period
of time which would necessarily intervene between the annulment of the
old Charter and the passing of the new, the heirs-at-law of James McGill
might, even at that late date, claim that the College no longer existed
in fact, and that they were entitled to the estate. They therefore
preferred an amended Charter, even if more cumbersome. One of the
amendments provided that the members of the Board of the Royal
Institution should henceforth be the Governors of the College, the
members still to be appointed by the Crown. The number of Governors was
left indefinite, but the Board suggested strongly that "the number
should not be less than thirteen, and that they should be selected from
the different Protestant denominations in the city and district of
Montreal." Later they suggested that the number should be nine or
eleven, exclusive of ex-officio members. They pointed out that "so long
as the Board of the Royal Institution and the Board of Governors are
composed of different bodies of men exercising a co-ordinate and
uncertain jurisdiction over matters very ill-defined ... it is
impossible to expect either unanimity in the bodies themselves or
harmony in the system.... The only means of imparting to these bodies
unity of action and design will be found in making them identical." Such
an amendment would forever end the dual control which had brought about
in the past disaster and depression.

Other clauses in the amendment provided that all Statutes and Rules of
the College could be approved by the Governor-General at his discretion
without transmission to England; and that the visitatorial power be
transferred from the Royal Institution and vested in the
Governor-General. The purpose of the amendments was to simplify the
government of the College and to secure an efficient administration. The
suggestions with reference to numbers and to the selecting of the
Governors from the different Protestant denominations were not followed
by the Government. There was much correspondence between the Board and
the Governor-General and his Council over the proposals. But it was on
the whole amicable. The objections of one side were always met with
reasonableness by the other, and a harmonious agreement was finally
reached. The Governor-General forwarded the amended Charter to the
Colonial Office with his approval and his advice that it should receive
Royal sanction. The Board of the Royal Institution, realising from past
experience the slow methods of Downing Street, appointed an agent in
London to hasten the passage of the Charter through the different
offices of the Imperial Government. It was not until August, 1852,
however, that the amended Charter was finally approved.

Between 1849 and 1852 very few meetings of the Governors were held,
owing to the absence of the Governors from Montreal. The affairs of the
College were largely in the hands of the Vice-Principal and his
assistants. Conditions gradually became graver. The Lecturers in French
and Mathematics were dismissed because no money to pay them was in
prospect. By 1851 the buildings, which had not been completed and were
uncomfortable at best, had fallen into a dilapidated state. Rain and
snow fell freely through the cracks in the roof, and leaked to the rooms
below. Windows and doors, which in the course of time had been
shattered, were still unrepaired. There was not enough fuel to heat the
broken and damaged structures, for an allowance of "ten cords of maple
wood for the winter" was not sufficient to bring warmth. The College
grounds were uncared for. Students who dwelt in the city tramped through
snowdrifts to the cold College classrooms. Because of the discomfort,
the lack of adequate accommodation, and the inconvenient distance from
the Hospital and the city, the Medical classes, which had been held in
the Centre building since 1845, were removed in 1851, as already
recorded, to the building on Coté Street, built by three members of the
Medical Staff, Drs. Campbell, MacCulloch, and Sutherland, and leased to
the Faculty. A year later the City began excavations for the reservoir
in rear of the College grounds. The blasting in connection with this
work did not add to the peace or the safety of student life in McGill,
and later serious breaks in the buildings were caused by heavy stones
falling on the roof. For these various reasons it was ordered by the
College authorities that all occupants except the Vice-Principal should
withdraw from the College buildings. The chief excuse given was economy,
but the real reasons were not then disclosed to the public. The Arts
classes were afterwards carried on in part of the building used for the
High School. The McGill buildings were abandoned, except by the
Vice-Principal, and it was not until 1860 that they were reoccupied by
the Faculty of Arts.

Several changes now took place in the administration of the College. In
1851 Principal Meredith resigned. His resignation was followed the next
year by that of the Rev. John Abbott, who had been Secretary and Bursar
and Registrar for several years. The Hon. Judge Charles Dewey Day was
now President of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning,
and as such he assumed, in conjunction with Vice-Principal Leach,
direction of the College management.

Charles Dewey Day was a native of Bennington, Vermont. While he was
still a boy he moved with his parents to Montreal, and there he received
his education. He studied law, and in 1827 he was admitted to the Bar.
Ten years later he was made a Queen's Counsel. When the Rebellion of
1837 ended he was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate-General, and he
consequently had an active part in the courts-martial appointed for the
trial of accused insurgents. He was made Solicitor-General in 1839. At
the election of 1841 he was chosen to represent the County of Ottawa,
but he retired from political life in the following year and accepted a
Judgeship in the Court of Queen's Bench. In 1849 he was elevated to the
Superior Court. He was later appointed a member of the Royal Institution
for the Advancement of Learning, of which he became President, and after
the amended Charter of the University was approved in August, 1852, he
became in virtue of that position a Governor of McGill. In 1857 he
became Chancellor of the University, a position which he occupied until
his death twenty-seven years later. He filled many important offices. In
1859 he was one of the Commission entrusted to prepare a Civil Code for
the Province of Quebec; he subsequently served on Commissions appointed
at different times to determine the amount of the Provincial debt to be
assumed by the Dominion; to investigate the details of the Pacific
Railway scandal; and to settle the amount of subsidy which should be
paid to the railroads for carrying the mails. He also helped to prepare
Canada's case in the negotiations for the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and
after his retirement from the Bench he assisted in prosecuting the
Hudson Bay Company's claims against the United States under the treaties
of 1846 and 1863. After his appointment as a Governor of McGill, Judge
Day took, a deep and earnest interest in the activities of the College.
He devoted his energy and his time to advancing the College's welfare,
to removing the causes of its many troubles, and to giving it a place of
power and usefulness in Canada. He died in 1884. He was referred to in
the contemporary press as "one of Montreal's most upright, honourable
and useful citizens"; and speaking a few days after his death, on his
connection with McGill, Lord Landsdowne said, "In this University he
leaves an irreparable void and an enduring memory."

With the approval of the amended Charter in the autumn of 1852, efforts
were made to reorganise the University, and to commence a forward
movement. The new Board of Governors authorised and established under
the amended Charter found the University in an unsatisfactory and almost
hopeless predicament. It was struggling under lamentable deficiencies in
its educational arrangements; it was faced by heavy pecuniary
embarrassments and altogether inadequate resources. It was, in short,
destitute of funds. Even its buildings had been abandoned, but it was
hoped only temporarily. Conditions in the Faculty of Arts were
particularly bad. Yet there was hope. It was evident to the Governors
that an attempt at resuscitation must immediately be undertaken. An
agreement was entered into with creditors for the making of small
periodical payments with interest. Arrangements were made for the
appointment of a competent Treasurer, and for the holding of regular
meetings of Governors and of Corporation. A Committee on Ways and Means
was selected, consisting of the President, Judge Day, and Messrs.
Davidson, Ramsay and Dunkin. The Provincial Government was appealed to,
and in December, 1852, the Legislature gave the College a grant of £1000
"to help liquidate the debts." It was clear that a new era in the
University's life was about to begin, but that persistent energy and
determination would be required to guide the University through the
night that still covered it.

In February, 1853, a Finance and Building Committee of the Board was
appointed, consisting of James Ferrier, Benjamin Holmes, and T. B.
Anderson. One of the first acts of this Committee was to take legal
proceedings against the purchasers of lots, for the most part "persons
of ample means" who had failed to make payments long overdue. In June,
1853, a sum of £75 was voted by the Governors to complete the portico of
the Arts Building, "the Board being very desirous of correcting as soon
as possible the present unsightly aspect of the Centre building." They
also called for estimates for "the putting up in front of the College on
Sherbrooke Street of a fence of the same description as that of the new
Cemetery." To effect greater efficiency the office of the Secretary of
the Royal Institution was moved to one of the rooms of the McGill
buildings--the East wing--in July, 1853, and the Secretary became also
Secretary of the Governors. The two offices became identical. Later,
because of the cold and the general discomfort, the office was
transferred for some time to a building at the corner of Dorchester and
University Streets, known as Burnside Hall. But that conditions there
were not ideal is evident from an appeal made in December, 1854, to the
firm that had previously repaired the antiquated furnaces. The Secretary
wrote: "Instead of imparting to us an equable and cheering warmth such
as might reasonably be expected from their matronly development ... to
me they are painfully and consistently cold. Do, then, come to our
relief and save us from the horrors of frozen limbs, hospitals and
amputations; or first, if you prefer it, pass a morning without
overcoat, cap and comforter in my office with the thermometer at zero."

In the summer of 1853 repairs were made to the College buildings in the
hope of making them again habitable. The blasting in connection with the
reservoir had caused much damage. Windows were wholly shattered and
there were wide cracks and breaks in roof and walls. The contractor
failed to make restitution, and the City Corporation was then urged to
make the necessary repairs and to guarantee that there would be no
further wreckage. The City authorities were slow to respond, but in the
end they made reparation. Fences were also restored or newly built, and
an effort was made to lay out the College grounds in some semblance of
order. In September the lower part of the grounds was granted free for
the holding of the annual Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition. In the
spring of 1854 the City threatened to enter suit against the College for
unpaid taxes, but the dispute was amicably settled. The total income
from rents on which the taxes were based amounted to £182, of which the
sum of £102 was derived from the rent of Burnside House and gardens, £60
from the Professor and £20 from two students who still occupied rooms in
the College buildings. This income was exclusive of the rents of lots,
which amounted to about £400. In the summer of 1854 the Governors gave
to the city free of charge land for the opening of streets "on condition
that all the College property shall be entirely exempt from every sort
of assessment until it shall have been sold." Land for the opening up of
University Street had been given in 1851. The Streets now provided for
were Union Avenue, between Dorchester and St. Catherine Streets; McGill
College Avenue; Burnside Place; Victoria, Mansfield, St. Catherine,
Cathcart, Dorchester, and Monique Streets. It was stipulated that
Victoria Street and McGill College Avenue "should not be opened, for the
present, higher than Burnside Place."

But notwithstanding the Governors' efforts, the University was still far
from adequate prosperity. It was not yet in a flourishing condition and
its outlook while hopeful was not wholly auspicious. Greater
co-operation on the part of the public was obviously needed, and the
contemporary press frequently deplored the lack of public encouragement.
There was peace and concord in its administration, but there was little
advancement in its academic activities. It was clear that it had either
to go forward or to cease to function. It was plain, too, that in
addition to funds a new Principal and several instructors should be
appointed as expeditiously as possible. The Governors, it was rumoured,
were looking abroad for a Principal; they were also, it was said,
considering the reorganising of the College on the plan of English
Universities. Neither of these suggested procedures was popular, and
neither was in the end followed. In August, 1854, one of the
contemporary newspapers, the _Sun_, which has long since disappeared, in
referring to the needs of the University voiced editorially the opinions
of the people:

"All we need," it said, "are persons at the helm who will take an
_active interest_ in the progress and advancement of the institution....
It won't do to sit idly down--to follow the dignified and majestic
example of Cambridge and Oxford. Montreal is not in England--it is in
Canada. We have a way of doing things for ourselves. It is not necessary
in order rightly to accomplish an end to ask how they do it 'at home';
we can find out a mode ourselves. McGill College will never be anything
until some exertion is made by those who have control of it. A languid
indifference or a sickly half-dead interest will never secure to it a
permanency among the institutions of the day"; and the writer added that
"unless measures for its improvement are speedily undertaken there is a
danger that McGill College will soon be numbered among the things that

The Governors in the end decided to look nearer home for a Principal--a
man of strong personality to take the helm in this critical period. They
determined, if possible, to appoint a Canadian who was familiar with the
country, its spirit, its temper and its educational needs. Down in
Pictou County, Nova Scotia, they found him in the person of William
Dawson, a native Canadian and a graduate of Edinburgh University. In
1855 they offered him the Principalship. He accepted the position and
began his duties in the autumn of that year. In the thirty-four years
that had gone since its establishment and the twenty-six years since its
opening, the College had struggled through many vicissitudes and trials.
It had frequently been on the border of extinction. But the crisis in
its troubled history had at last been passed. A new era, more wonderful
and more successful than even its most optimistic friends dared look
for, was about to begin. The foundations had been laid, perhaps not
always wisely, but at least firmly and hopefully. The College was now to
go forward--for again, as in the past, its sign-posts pointed onward.
The faith of its founder was at last to be justified. It remained for
the new Principal, William Dawson, to guide it on its unwavering march
to usefulness and to power, and by his tact, his judgment, his wisdom
and his strength to impress his name upon its century story as the man
who was greatest among "the makers of McGill" in the first hundred years
of its existence.



College life in mid-century, or rather in the "forties and fifties,"
during the early dark days of struggle and ten years thereafter,
differed greatly from College life in our day. It is difficult perhaps
fully to realise the changes since that time in other ways than growth.
The McGill of our day is not the McGill of seventy years ago, not merely
in its accommodation and its advantages, but in its internal activities.

[Illustration: _McGill College in_ 1855]

Under the original Statutes of the College the administration was under
the control of four distinct bodies: (1) The Corporation, which met
annually on the day after commencement day "to inspect the Books and
Accounts of the Registrar, Bursar and Secretary and to transact all such
business relative to the property of the University as might be
necessary." This body seems to have taken no part in strictly Academic
discussions. (2) The Board of Governors, which met quarterly in March,
June, September and December, and which was in supreme control; two
constituted a quorum and the Principal had a double or casting vote. (3)
The Caput, which met weekly and consisted of the Principal,
Vice-Principal and Professors, three forming a quorum. The duty of this
body was "to frame Rules and Regulations for the discipline, lectures,
studies and internal government of the Lecturers, Scholars, Students,
Inferior Officers and other members of the College and to make
regulations regarding the expenses and system of living within the
College." They had no control at first, however, over studies or
lecturers in the Faculty of Medicine. (4) The Convocation, which met
"four times in every Term for the purposes of conferring Degrees, such
meetings being regulated by the Caput." Every Professor, Lecturer and
Tutor had to take the oath of allegiance and of office.

Discipline was severe and was rigidly enforced. Every Professor was
given power to punish students by confinement and fine, the fine not to
exceed five shillings and the confinement not to exceed twelve hours.
Many of the early regulations are of interest. The duties of the
Vice-Principal seem to have been responsible and arduous. All
disciplinary measures as well as the general conduct of the University
were under his direct supervision. He was compelled to reside in the
College, and during the non-residence of the Principal he was to be "the
parent and guardian of the College Household." It was his duty "to
examine students for matriculation, maintain the observance of the
Statutes by Professors, Students, Inferior Officers and all other
resident members of the College, enforcing such observance by
admonitions and punishments; to direct the students in their studies,
promoting by all the means in his power their progress in Religion, and
Learning; to preside over the Collegiate Exercises and regulate the
Inferior Officers and Servants of the College." At meals served in the
College distinctive tables were provided, one for "Members of
Convocation and Bachelors of Civil Law, Lecturers, Fellows and Tutors";
one for Bachelors of Arts and Students in Law and Medicine who had
graduated in Arts; and one or more for undergraduates. The academical
year consisted of three terms, the Michaelmas Term, the Lent Term and
the Easter Term, and it extended from the first Wednesday in September
until the third Wednesday in June. The Arts course extended over three
years. Until a Chapel should be built it was imperative that Divine
Service should be held in some convenient room, and on the first and
last days of every term the Principal or one of the Professors,
Lecturers or Tutors selected by the Principal for the purpose, preached
a sermon in the College or in one of the Protestant churches of
Montreal; attendance in full academic dress of all the members of the
University excepting those who had obtained a dispensation was
compulsory. The prayers in the College Chapel were said morning and
evening; the service was conducted in rotation by Officers of the

It was required that "the dress of all members of the University should
be plain, decent and comely without superfluous ornament." No member of
the Arts Faculty was allowed to appear in Church, Chapel, Lecture or
Dining-hall without his gown and only by special permission from the
Vice-Principal was a student permitted to go outside of the College
grounds without his academic dress. Students were not allowed to resort
to any inn or tavern or place of public amusement without special
permission from the Vice-Principal. They were not allowed to remain out
of College nor to entertain visitors in their rooms after 10 o'clock at
night, and the Vice-Principal, Professors, Lecturers and Tutors had
authority to enter at all hours the rooms of undergraduates. Junior
students were required "to pay the respect due to their Seniors both in
public and in private by taking off their caps, giving place to them and
by other useful modes of attention and civility."

The course of study leading to a degree in the Faculty of Arts was of
three years' duration. Courses were of two kinds, from which students
could make a choice. One consisted of Mathematics, Logic, and Ethics;
the other of Classics. In the former the First Year was devoted to the
study of six books of Euclid, Algebra to the end of Quadratic Equations,
and Trigonometry to the end of the solution of Plain Triangles. In the
second year the course included a repetition of all the first year work,
Analytic Geometry, Differential and Integral Calculus, and Logic,
consisting of Fallacies, Induction and "a sketch of a system of
Philosophy of the Human Mind." The work of the third or final year was
in Physics, Astronomy, and Ethics, principally "Butler's Analogy." In
the Classics course selections from Homer, Virgil, Euripides and Horace
were read in the first year; selections from Cicero, Horace, Demosthenes
and Sophocles in the second year; and selections from Herodotus,
Æschylus, Thucydides, and Tacitus in the third year. In the first and
second years the students were "exercised in Greek and Latin
Composition, and they were also given a few lectures in Ancient History
and Geography." In the third or final year they were exercised in
English Composition.

Conditions in the Medical School at that period have been described by
a contemporary, Dr. D. C. Maccallum, who graduated in 1850, when the
Medical Classes were held in two rooms of the Arts building:

"A large proportion of the students," he said, "were men verging on, or
who had passed, middle age. Indeed, several of them were married men and
the heads of families. There was sufficient of the youthful, however, to
keep things lively. 'Footing Suppers,' practical jokes, and special
country excursions to secure material for practical anatomy, were of
frequent occurrence. The last, involving as it did a certain amount of
danger, commended itself particularly to the daring spirits of the
class, who were always ready to organise and lead an excursion having
that object in view. These excursions were not at all times successful,
and the participators in them were sometimes thwarted in their attempts
and had to beat a precipitate retreat to save themselves from serious
threatened injury. They contributed, moreover, to the unpopularity of
the medical student. 'Footing Suppers' were functions of the simplest
and most unpretentious character. Each new matriculant was expected,
although many failed to conform to the arrangement, to select an evening
on which to entertain his fellow students, the entertainment consisting
generally in furnishing biscuits and beer--the old, time-endorsed 'cakes
and ale.' In partaking of these, smoking, relating humorous stories,
chaffing each other and singing rousing songs, the evening usually
passed with much _bonhommie_. But sometimes they were rather boisterous,
or, at least, noisy and exciting....

"Dissections and demonstrations were made only at stated times during
the morning and afternoon of the day. There evidently existed a marked
disinclination on the part of both demonstrator and student to work at
night in the highest story of a lonely building, far removed from other
dwellings, imperfectly heated, and lighted by candles, the light being
barely sufficient to render the surrounding darkness visible. Having
occupied for two seasons the position of Prosector to the Professor of
Anatomy, I had to prepare, during the greater part of the session, the
dissections of the parts which were to be the subject of the Professor's
lecture on the following day. This necessitated my passing several
hours, usually from nine to twelve o'clock at night, in the dismal,
foul-smelling dissecting room, my only company being several partially
dissected subjects, and numerous rats which kept up a lively racket
coursing over and below the floor and within the walls of the room.
Their piercing and vicious shrieks as they fought together, the thumping
caused by their bodies coming into forcible contact with the floor and
walls, and the rattling produced by their rush over loose bones,
furnished a variety of sounds that would have been highly creditable to
any old-fashioned haunted house. I must acknowledge that the eeriness of
my surroundings was such that I sometimes contemplated a retreat, and
was prevented from carrying it into effect only by a sense of duty and a
keen dislike to being chaffed by my fellow-students for having cowardly
deserted my work....

"The examinations for the degree of the University were conducted
orally, ten minutes being allowed to each examiner. The janitor,
supplied with a watch and a large bell, was placed in the hall outside
the door of the library, the room in which the examinations took place.
At the expiration of each ten minutes he rang the bell, and the
candidates went from one examiner to another. This was repeated until
the student had completed the round of examining professors. Immediately
on the termination of the examinations, the professors met and decided
then and there the fate of the candidates. The latter, in the meantime,
waited in the College in a rather painful state of suspense. They were
summoned separately before the Professors, and the result, favourable or
unfavourable, was in each case made known to the individual....

"It was customary at this time for the student to be indentured to a
practicing physician, or, if not so bound notarially, to make a private
arrangement with him to be allowed to study in his office and to be
considered as his pupil. For this privilege a fee of £20 was usually
demanded. Apart from the éclat which was supposed to be attached to the
position of a student under a popular physician, and the belief of the
possibility of the patron being able to forward the interests of his
pupils, there were, as a rule, few advantages derived from this
association. It is true that in exceptional cases, if the physician had
a large clientele and took a warm interest in his students, he could, by
arranging their studies, occasionally examining them on the work done,
and directing them in the routine of office work, be of material
assistance to them. The office work of a physician in large practice,
however, offered an excellent opportunity to acquire much practical
knowledge. As, with few exceptions, physicians prescribed and dispensed
their own medicines, the articled student had the opportunity of making
up all the prescriptions. He compounded pills, a variety of which were
always kept prepared for use, and he made the different tinctures and
ointments. He had the privilege, also, of assisting at minor surgical
operations, such as were performed in the office, of making physical
examinations, of applying tests; in short, office practice offered the
same facilities for acquiring practical knowledge, although in a minor
degree, that the outdoor practice of a hospital or the practice of a
dispensary affords...."

The recreations of students who dwelt in the College or its vicinity
were few and simple. There were no athletic teams or athletic games.
Indeed, the number of students in Arts and Law was scarcely sufficient
to permit the forming of athletic teams, and the medical students were
too busy all day and were too far from the College grounds to take an
active part in college sports. There was no gymnasium and no physical
instruction. There were no fraternities other than the fraternity of
McGill itself. There was no Union, no Y. M. C. A. On evenings in spring
and summer a military band usually played near the "ornamental bridge"
over the stream in "the hollow" near the present Physics building.
Citizens came up from the City to listen to the band, and before the
Easter term ended students, too, enjoyed the music. The College grounds
were long used by citizens as a park. The students seemed to have had an
occasional dance during the spring term, and at times there were
receptions in Professors' rooms to which students were invited. Later in
the "fifties," after the coming of Principal Dawson, other forms of
entertainment were added. Of these Dr. Dawson wrote: "Evening gatherings
at regular intervals during the session were arranged, and cards of
invitation for these were sent to the different classes or years in
rotation. At such gatherings there was usually music, sometimes a short
recitation or address on some topic of interest, and scientific
instruments, specimens and photographs were shown, simple refreshments
provided, and every effort made to cause those who attended to feel
thoroughly at home." Sometimes there were gatherings which took the form
of what were known as "conversaziones," during which conversation,
supposedly on literary or scientific subjects, but more frequently on
less dignified topics, took the place of the dances of to-day.

On the whole, college life in the mid-century was characterised by a
Spartan simplicity. The students of that period seemingly enjoyed its
somewhat humble joys and its unostentatious and frugal amusements. Life
in that time was, at least, not artificial or luxurious or competitive
or sectional; but whether the plain living of the period was more
conducive to high thinking than the multifarious student activities of a
later day cannot here be answered.



James McGill made his will, providing for the founding of McGill
College, on January 8th, 1811, two years before his death. He was
dreaming of a great University which would rise at some distant but
certain day in the new land of his adoption. He was doubtless dreaming,
too, of a strong personality who would guide the University to its
destined place in the country in which he had made his fortune and in
which he had unbounded faith. At that very time another Scotchman,
twenty-two years of age, was dreaming in his home in Banffshire--also,
by a strange coincidence, the home of James McGill's ancestors--of the
land beyond the horizon from which tales of fortune and happiness came
drifting across the ocean. He was a Liberal in politics and a dissenter
in religion. His independent spirit was revolting against conditions in
his own land. It was not easy to sever the ties which bound him to the
old home and to venture alone into an unknown and far-off country. But
the new land was calling, and its lure was upon him. He resolved to go
to Canada where he had heard that all things were possible to the
courageous and the industrious, and where men lived a man's life based
on merit and achievement, and unhampered by the fetters of worn-out
fetishes and conventions. And so it happened that on the 8th of March,
1811, exactly two months after James McGill had made his will, this
young Scotchman set out for the new world. The ship in which he was to
take passage--a square-rigged, clipper sailing vessel in those steamless
days--was to clear from Greenock, one hundred and eighty miles from
Keith, his Banffshire home. He had no money to spare to pay for a
conveyance. He must cover the distance on foot. He sent his heavy
luggage by carrier, and with a pack of necessary clothes and provisions
on his back, he set out with three adventurous but hopeful comrades on
his journey. He walked through the Grampians, by Kildrummy Castle, on
through the town of Perth, along the base of Cairngorm in the Highlands,
through the long valley of Glenavon, and thence to the sea-port town of
Greenock from which the packet ships went weekly out into the mists,
heading for the land of promise somewhere beyond the sky-line. He slept
with his companions on heather beds in front of peat fires in the homes
of the Highlanders through whose villages they passed, and the Gaelic
tongue of one of their number was always a charm sufficient to secure
them food. He reached Greenock on the 20th of March, but because of
unforeseen delay it was not until April 11th that he embarked for
Canada. After a voyage of five tempestuous weeks he landed in Pictou,
Nova Scotia, on May 19th, 1811, and there he determined to make his
home. The young Scotchman was James Dawson, whose son was destined in
1855 to become Principal of McGill.

[Illustration: Redpath Museum Photo Rice Studios
_Sir William Dawson, C. M. G., M.A., L.L.D., F.R.S., Principal of McGill
University_ 1855-1893]

In his new home James Dawson soon prospered as a merchant and
ship-owner, and later as a publisher, and in a few years he was head
of one of the most successful business firms in Eastern Nova Scotia. In
1818 he married Mary Rankine, a Scotch girl from Lonerig, in the parish
of Salamannan, who had emigrated to Nova Scotia after her parents' death
with her brother William, the only other member of her family. Like the
other pioneers of that time, they, too, were resolved to make a new home
and to restore their shattered fortunes in the new world. To James
Dawson and Mary Rankine two children were born, William and James, the
latter of whom died while still a boy.

William Dawson was born in the town of Pictou, Pictou County, Nova
Scotia, on October 13th, 1820, and there he received his early
schooling. His parents believed in the value of education. Early in his
career they determined that he should have whatever school privileges
the country provided, and that he should later receive a college
training. Many years afterwards he wrote: "To this day I cannot recall
without deep emotion the remembrance of the sacrifices they made, and of
the anxieties they incurred to secure for me opportunities of
improvement.... I would specially record with gratitude that, at a time
when he was in straitened circumstances, my father contributed liberally
in aid of educational institutions then being established in Pictou,
with the view of securing their benefits for his sons, and that he and
my mother aided and stimulated our early tastes for literature and

The childhood influences that moulded William Dawson were typical of the
homes of the early Scottish pioneers in the Maritime Provinces of Canada
at the beginning of the last century. They were characterised by
simplicity, by frugality and by reverence. They were founded on an
unwavering belief in religion and education and honest labour as
necessary to the development of the individual and the nation. They were
based on principles inculcated in the youth of these early Canadian days
long before Carlyle with rugged pen and organ tone declared them. Later,
when Principal of McGill, Dr. Dawson used to speak with affectionate
remembrance of the agencies which fashioned him in the little seacoast
town of black wharves, and tossing tides, and far-come sailing ships
bearing mysterious cargoes from unknown and romantic lands, and manned
by strangely-garbed and bearded seamen speaking a foreign tongue. "Our
home," he said, "was a very quiet one except when strangers, especially
men engaged in missionary and benevolent enterprises, were occasionally
invited as guests. To some of these I was indebted for much information
and guidance ... There was always much work and study in the winter
evenings, and I remember with what pleasure I used to listen to my
father's reading, chiefly in history and biography, for the benefit of
my mother when busy with her needle, as well as of my brother and
myself, after our lessons were finished.... My early home had much in it
to foster studies of nature, and both my parents encouraged such
pursuits. A somewhat wild garden, with many trees and shrubs, was full
of objects of interest; within easy walking distance were rough
pastures, with second-growth woods, bogs, and swamps, rich in berries
and flowers in their season, and inhabited by a great variety of birds
and insects. Nothing pleased my father more than to take an early
morning hour, or rare holiday, and wander through such places with his
boys, studying and collecting their treasures. The harbour of Pictou,
too, with its narrow entrance from the sea, affords ample opportunities
for such investigations, and its waters teem with fish: from the gay
striped bass and lordly salmon to the ever-hungry smelt--the delight of
juvenile anglers. In such a basin, visited every day by the ocean tides,
there is an endless variety of the humbler forms of aquatic life, and
along the streams entering it a wealth of curious animals and plants
with which an inquisitive boy could easily make himself familiar in his
rambles and occasional angling expeditions." It was here that the
interest of the future scientist was first aroused in natural history.
Of his mother he wrote: "She was a woman of deep affections and many
sorrows ... her girlish years had been saddened by the death of her
parents, and by the mournful breaking up of her old home ... She had a
few warm and attached friends, and was very kind to such of the needy as
she could help."

The first scholastic training of William Dawson was received in a small
private school in Pictou. From there he went to the recently founded
Grammar School conducted on "the good old-fashioned plan of long hours,
hard lessons, no prizes, but some punishments." His parents desired that
he should study for the Church; he began his college career with that
object in view, but it was changed by circumstances. He entered Pictou
Academy, which had just been established primarily for the training of
young men for the Christian ministry; it was presided over by the Rev.
Dr. Thomas MacCulloch, a Scottish teacher and preacher who exercised a
large influence on the intellectual life of Nova Scotia. It was during
his course at the Academy that William Dawson first became interested
scientifically in geology and natural history, subjects which were later
to form so large a part of his life work. As a result he took long
excursions during vacations for the purpose of obtaining specimens and
studying the minerals of his native province. In 1840, he entered
Edinburgh University, where he completed his course in 1847. It was in
one of his summer vacations in the Maritime Provinces that he first met
Sir Charles Lyell, the distinguished geologist, and Sir William Logan,
who later originated the Geological Survey of Canada. In 1847 he married
Margaret Mercer of Edinburgh and with his wife he returned to Pictou.
For a time he gave a special course of extension lectures at Dalhousie
College, Halifax. In 1850, Joseph Howe, for whom he had a deep
admiration, and with whom he had formed a friendship early in life,
offered him the Superintendency of Education in Nova Scotia,--a newly
established office. He accepted the post with many misgivings; and for
the next few years he devoted all his efforts to bettering the
educational conditions of the Province, addressing school meetings
throughout the country and stimulating improvements.

In 1853 while he was still Superintendent of Education, his old friend,
Sir Charles Lyell, revisited Nova Scotia and the friendship formed a few
years before was renewed. On the same ship with him was Sir Edmund Head,
then Governor of New Brunswick, who, on this first meeting, was deeply
impressed by Mr. Dawson's views on educational reforms. As a result he
appointed him the following year to the commission formed to report on
the re-organisation of the University of New Brunswick, which was then
in a precarious state.

In 1854, the Governors of McGill, on the advice of Sir Edmund Head who
was about to become Governor-General of Canada in succession to Lord
Elgin, offered the Principalship to William Dawson. He accepted the post
and began his duties in the autumn of 1855. The outlook of the
University when he arrived was not encouraging. The College buildings
were not used for classes, but part of them was occupied by professors
and students; Medical classes were held in the Coté Street building;
classes in Arts and Law were held in part of the High School building.
The conditions of James McGill's will were not being carried out; there
was a College building on the Burnside Estate, it was true, but it was
not in operation.

But nevertheless the call for educational opportunities was urgent. One
hundred and ten students registered at the commencement of the session
in all departments of the University, of whom fifteen were in Law,
thirty-eight in Arts and fifty-seven in Medicine. The Faculty of Arts
consisted of five professors and one lecturer; the Faculty of Law had
one professor and two lecturers; and the Faculty of Medicine had nine
professors. The annual calendar for the previous session, 1854-55,
announced that "the board and lodging of students is a matter of much
practical importance. From fifteen to twenty [Arts and Law students] may
be received by the Professors resident in the College buildings and
provision will be made when necessary for the reception of others into
boarding houses, licensed by the Governors, upon settled economical
terms and subject to proper rules of discipline and conduct." Medical
students, it was pointed out, "could obtain board and lodging in the
town for from eight to sixteen dollars a month." It was clear that the
attendance would rapidly increase in succeeding years, and that
provision must at once be made for their accommodation and instruction.
The greatest hindrance to advancement was of course lack of funds.

The actual condition of the University at that time and the obstacles to
be overcome were afterwards frequently described by Sir William Dawson,
whose reminiscences of the period were always vivid:

"When I accepted the principalship of McGill," he said, "I had not been
in Montreal, and knew the college and the men connected with it only by
reputation. I first saw it, in October, 1855. Materially, it was
represented by two blocks of unfinished and partly ruinous buildings,
standing amid a wilderness of excavators' and masons' rubbish, overgrown
with weeds and bushes. The grounds were unfenced and were pastured at
will by herds of cattle, which not only cropped the grass, but browsed
on the shrubs, leaving unhurt only one great elm, which still stands as
the 'founder's tree,' and a few old oaks and butternut trees, most of
which have had to give place to our new buildings. The only access from
the town was by a circuitous and ungraded cart track, almost impassable
at night. The buildings had been abandoned by the new Board, and the
classes of the Faculty of Arts were held in the upper story of a brick
building in the town, the lower part of which was occupied by the High
School. I had been promised a residence, and this, I found, was to be a
portion of one of the detached buildings aforesaid, the present east
wing. It had been very imperfectly finished, was destitute of nearly
every requisite of civilised life, and in front of it was a bank of
rubbish and loose stones, with a swamp below, while the interior was in
an indescribable state of dust and disrepair. Still, we felt that the
Governors had done the best they could in the circumstances, and we took
possession as early as possible. As it was, however, we received many of
the citizens, who were so kind as to call on us, in the midst of all the
confusion of plastering, papering, painting, and cleaning. The residence
was only a type of our difficulties and discouragements, and a not very
favourable introduction to the work I had undertaken in Montreal....

"On the other hand, I found in the Board of Governors a body of able and
earnest men, aware of the difficulties they had to encounter, fully
impressed with the importance of the ends to be attained, and having
sufficient culture and knowledge of the world to appreciate the best
means for achieving their aims. They were greatly hampered by lack of
means, but had that courage which enables risks to be run to secure
important objects....

"Our great difficulty was lack of the sinews of war, and the seat of
Government being, at the time, in Toronto, I was asked by the Governors
to spend my first Christmas vacation in that city, with a view of
securing some legislative aid. There was as yet no direct railway
communication between Montreal and Toronto, and of course no Victoria
Bridge. I crossed the river in a canoe, amidst floating ice, and had to
travel by way of Albany, Niagara, and Hamilton. The weather was stormy,
and the roads blocked with snow, so that the journey to Toronto
occupied five days, giving me a shorter time there than I had
anticipated. I received, however, a warm welcome from Sir Edmund Head,
saw most of the members of the Government, and obtained some information
as to the Hon. Mr. Cartier's contemplated Superior Education Act--passed
in the following year--which secured for the first time the status of
the preparatory schools, whilst giving aid to the universities. I was
also encouraged by Sir Edmund and Cartier to confer with the
Superintendent of Education and with the Governors of McGill on my
return to Montreal, with reference to the establishment of a Normal
School in connection with the University. This was successfully carried
through in the following year."

With the loyal aid of the Board of Governors the Principal at once
undertook to arouse the interest of the general public in the
University. He realised the necessity of securing their speedy
co-operation and assistance. His belief was that the University should
not be isolated nor removed from the stream of national life; his hope
was that it should minister in a practical and tangible way to the
community in which it was situated. On November 5th, 1855, he was
inaugurated as Principal. A few days later he established the first real
link between University and citizens, on the purely instructional side,
by the commencement of a course of thirty popular lectures in Zoology,
Natural Philosophy, Civil Engineering, Palæography and the Chemistry of
Life. The fee for the course was £1. The course in Engineering was the
origin of the department of Applied Science, which later expanded into a
Faculty. Soon afterwards a course of lectures in Agriculture was given
by the Principal, who, while Superintendent of Education in Nova Scotia,
had given several lectures on that subject throughout the province. The
fee for this course was £1 5s.

A direct appeal for financial assistance was then made to the citizens
of Montreal. It met with an encouraging response, which greatly relieved
the situation and was what Dr. Dawson, forty years later, called "the
beginning of a stream of liberality which has floated our University
barque up to the present date." But other anxieties were soon to be
felt. Early in 1856 the building occupied by the High School and the
Faculty of Arts was destroyed by fire, together with the few books and
the scanty apparatus that had been collected or had been given by Dr.
Skakel many years before, as well as many of the Principal's natural
history specimens. Teaching was not interrupted, however, and during the
remainder of the session, the classes in Arts were held again, in part,
in the original College buildings, then undergoing repairs, and, in
part, in the Medical Faculty's building on Coté Street, in which rooms
were generously placed at the disposal of the Faculty of Arts. Because
of the occupation of part of the College buildings, and the expectation
of soon again putting them to permanent use, improvements were commenced
on the College grounds, by the planting of trees and the making of roads
and walks, the cost of which was borne largely by the Principal. In
1856, general courses in Applied Science were established in connection
with the Faculty of Arts, and degrees were first conferred in that
department in 1859. The courses in the Law School, which had been
formed into a separate Faculty in 1853, were extended to suit the
conditions and needs of the country. But funds were necessary to meet
the heavy extra expenses incurred, and in order to provide sufficient
money for the payment of debts and contingencies, it was thought prudent
to sell a portion of the College lands. From 1858 to 1860, therefore,
forty-four lots, averaging in size one hundred by one hundred and twenty
feet, were offered for sale by the University. Some of these were sold
at auction. They were situated on Sherbrooke, Victoria, Mansfield and
University Streets. Money was also loaned by the College authorities to
purchasers of lots to enable them to erect buildings. The temporary
revenue of the College was thus increased and expansion was consequently
made possible.

[Illustration: _William Molson, Esq.,_ 1793-1875
_Founder of Molson Hall_]

In 1860, the number of students in Arts, Law and Science had increased
to one hundred and five, of whom sixty were in Arts. It had been
previously decided that when the students in Arts should exceed fifty,
the original College buildings should again be wholly occupied. They had
meanwhile undergone extensive repairs. The College grounds were now
taking on some semblance of order as a result of trees and walks and
clearings. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1860 the classes in Arts,
Science and Law were moved back to the buildings which had been
practically abandoned eight years before. The centre building was used
for classes; the east wing was given up to rooms for the Principal and
some of the professors and students. The erection of a third building,
corresponding with the east wing, was then undertaken through the
generosity of William Molson. It provided for a convocation hall
above, and a library below. It was formally opened in 1862, and is known
as the William Molson Hall. Through the efforts of Mrs. Molson the three
buildings were soon afterwards connected into one, by intervening
structures, and the Arts building as we know it was completed. One of
the connecting structures was used first as a museum; the other as a
Chemical and Natural Science room and laboratory. The museum received at
once a portion of the Principal's own collection of specimens, and
others purchased by the Principal from his own resources. Later Dr.
Carpenter's valuable collection of shells was added, and the whole
furnished the nucleus for the present Peter Redpath Museum. The Science
room and laboratory were used for chemistry and assaying. It was there,
in small rooms and with but scanty equipment, that Dr. Harrington later
laid the foundations for the departments of Chemistry and Mining which
were subsequently to contribute so largely to the industrial development
of Canada. The Library in Molson Hall had room for twenty thousand
volumes, but when it was opened the College possessed only two thousand
books. These, however, formed the nucleus for the Peter Redpath Library.

During the following years the expansion of the University was steady.
It is unnecessary here to describe its growth in detail and only
outstanding additions to its equipment can be mentioned. The deeper
interest of graduates in their University was manifested in the
formation of a Graduates' Society by a small number of McGill men
resident in Montreal. Greater co-operation with the smaller colleges in
the Province was effected, and St. Francis College, Richmond, and
Morrin College, Quebec, were affiliated with the University. Theological
schools established by the various Protestant denominations were erected
in the shadow of the University and were granted affiliation. The
Congregational College was affiliated in 1865; it was followed by the
Presbyterian College in 1873, the Wesleyan College in 1876, and the
Diocesan College in 1880. Speaking of the connection of the Theological
Colleges with McGill, Principal Dawson said: "The value of these to the
University no one can doubt. They not only add to the number of our
students in Arts, but to their character and standing, and they enable
the University to offer a high academical training to the candidates for
the Christian ministry in four leading denominations."

The growth and development of the University was made possible only by
the generosity of its graduates and friends. In 1871 a second appeal was
made for funds, and the result was a large increase in endowments, and
in revenue. Several chairs were established and scholarships and
exhibitions were provided. It was in this year that the first attempt
was made to offer facilities for the higher education of women, not yet,
however, within the University, but unofficially connected with it. But
this movement must be left to another chapter.

At this period the Medical Faculty which had carried on its work for
twenty years in the Coté Street building required more accommodation and
a closer connection with the University. Funds for its adequate
equipment were not available. Indeed, ten years later Principal Dawson
wrote: "It is somewhat singular that this school so ably conducted and
so useful, has drawn to itself so little of the munificence of
benefactors. Perhaps the fact of its self-supporting and independent
character has led to this." It was decided, however, to undertake the
construction of a Medical Building on the College property. In 1872 the
front block of what was afterwards known as "the old Medical Building"
was erected for the Medical School, and the Medical Faculty returned,
this time permanently, to the College grounds. Funds for its endowment
were afterwards given by its friends. The year 1872 is a notable one in
the history of the McGill Medical School, for another reason than the
erection of its first McGill building,--it was also the year of the
graduation of William Osler, destined later to exercise so great an
influence on medical education in Canada, America, and Europe. The
department of Applied Science which had been connected with the Faculty
of Arts since 1856 was expanded into a separate Faculty in 1878. It had
been temporarily suspended because of a lack of funds in 1870; it was
now re-created, greater than before. But it had yet no building and no
adequate equipment. These, however, were to come in due course.

Speaking later of the decade between 1870 and 1880, Principal Dawson
referred to it as the middle period in his connection with McGill, "a
period of routine and uniformity, succeeding the period of preparation
and active exertion and preceding the period of culmination. During
these ten years," he said, "the University outlived for the most part
its earlier trials and struggles. Its revenues expanded considerably....
The number of its students greatly increased, as did also its staff of
instructors. Gold medals and scholarships were founded. The beginning
of a museum was formed, and the library, although still small, was
growing rapidly, by donations and occasional purchases. A suitable
building on the College grounds was provided for the Medical Faculty. A
new Faculty of Applied Science was active and prosperous, though as yet
without any building of its own. The statutes and regulations had become
fixed and settled, and the whole machinery of the institution was moving
smoothly and regularly. It had, in short, reached a position in which it
could challenge comparison with its sister institutions and rivals and
which to many seemed adequate to all the requirements of the time.
Still, there were many wants unsupplied, and constant difficulty was
experienced in meeting the demands made upon us, from our limited
resources, whilst many promising fields of usefulness had to remain
uncultivated.... On the whole, the ten years had been characterised by
steady, if slow, advance, achieved by much toil and many sacrifices."

But the Principal was not yet satisfied with the University's service to
the community. "It has been a matter of sorrow to me," he said, "that we
have been able to do so little, directly, for the education of the
working class and of the citizens generally, more especially in

[Illustration: _Peter Redpath_

_Founder of the Redpath Library and the Redpath Museum_]

The final period of Principal Dawson's connection with McGill, from 1880
to his retirement in 1893, saw a further growth in the University. Into
the details of that growth we cannot here enter. The University was now
becoming a national rather than a local institution; it was contributing
more and more to national development. The Principal wrote, "we
should not regard McGill merely as an institution for Montreal or for
the Province of Quebec but for the whole of Canada." Its expansion was
fortunately in keeping with this ideal. In 1881 the erection of a museum
was undertaken through the generosity of Peter Redpath, and in 1882 the
Peter Redpath Museum was formally opened. In the former year, too,
another appeal was made to the citizens of Montreal for funds to relieve
its now straitened circumstances, and again the response was generous
and encouraging. In 1882 Principal Dawson said in his annual University
Lecture: "In these thirty years, [since 1852 when the amended Charter
was obtained] the College revenues have grown from a few hundred dollars
to about $40,000 per annum, without reckoning the fees in professional
Faculties and the income of the more recent benefactions. Its staff has
increased from the original eight instructing officers to thirty-nine.
The number of students has increased to 415 actually attending college
classes, or reckoning those of the Normal School and of affiliated
colleges in Arts, to nearly 600. Its Faculties of Law and Applied
Science have been added to those of Arts and Medicine. It has two
affiliated Colleges in Arts and four in Theology, and has under its
management the Provincial Protestant Normal School. Its buildings, like
itself, have been growing by a process of accretion, and the latest,
that in which we are now assembled, [the Peter Redpath Museum], is far
in advance of all the others, and a presage of the college buildings of
the future. We have five chairs endowed by private benefactors, fourteen
endowed scholarships and exhibitions, besides others of a temporary
nature, and eight endowed gold medals. More than this, we have sent out
about 1,200 graduates, of whom more than a thousand are occupying
positions of usefulness and honour in this country."

[Illustration: _Sir William Macdonald_]

This final period of Principal Dawson's work saw a sure and steady
advancement and many changes in the University. Among the evidences of
growth were the establishment of courses for women in 1884, with their
extension in 1886; the addition of the Medical Building in 1886, and its
still further enlargement in 1893; the endowment of several chairs; the
increase in the teaching staff; the establishment of scholarships and
exhibitions; the creation of new courses, and the plans for new and
much-needed buildings. In 1886 the Vice-Principal, the Rev. Dr. Leach,
retired after over forty years of service. He was succeeded as
Vice-Principal by Dr. Alexander Johnson, Professor of Mathematics.
Towards the close of this period the Faculty of Applied Science, which
had been established as a separate school in 1878, was placed, at last,
on an independent foundation--after its many trials and struggles--by
the munificent gifts of Thomas Workman and William C. Macdonald,
afterwards Sir William Macdonald, a native of Prince Edward Island.
Preparations were made for the erection of Science buildings with
adequate equipment and endowment. In February, 1893, a few months before
Sir William Dawson's resignation of the Principalship, two buildings for
the Faculty of Applied Science were opened--the Macdonald Engineering
Building, including the Workman wing, and the Macdonald Physics
Building, the equipment and facilities of which soon afterwards enabled
Professor Ernest Rutherford to carry on his experiments in
radioactivity. Meanwhile the Library in Molson Hall had become totally
inadequate for the volumes and documents that had been gathered by the
University. Peter Redpath, who had already given the Museum, was now the
Senior Governor of the University. On November 12, he wrote to the
Chancellor enclosing plans of a projected library and proposing to
commence building operations early in the following spring. The building
was practically completed before Sir William Dawson's retirement, but it
was not formally opened until October, 1893. In the last four years of
the Principalship of Dr. Dawson the University was given more than a
million and a half of dollars for endowment and equipment. What
gratified him most in receiving this amount was the fact that it
included many minor gifts which testified, at the close of his long
career, to the good will and confidence and co-operation of the general

As a result of Sir William Dawson's constant anxieties and strenuous
labours, his health had been for some time in a precarious state. In his
annual University Lecture ten years before, he had said, "My connection
with this University for the past twenty-eight years has been fraught
with that happiness which results from the consciousness of effort in a
worthy cause, and from association with such noble and self-sacrificing
men as those who have built up McGill College. But it has been filled
with anxieties and cares and with continuous and almost unremitting
labour on the details of which I need not now dwell." Ten years had
passed since then, and the "anxieties and cares and unremitting labour"
to which he referred had not grown less. They had finally broken his
already weakened strength. On the 26th of May, 1893, after thirty-eight
years of arduous service, he tendered his resignation of the
Principalship of McGill to the Board of Governors, and reluctantly it
was accepted. After his retirement his interest in the University did
not diminish. He continued his researches and his writings. There was a
last visit to England in the summer of 1896, to attend meetings of the
Evangelical Alliance, the Royal Society, the Victoria Institute, the
Geological Society, and the British Association, at the latter of which
he illustrated to a large meeting of eminent geologists the structure of
_Eozoon_. In the summer of 1897 he was stricken with partial paralysis
from which he recovered somewhat, but which left him an invalid. Two
years later, in the autumn of 1899, his illness became acute. He lapsed
into partial unconsciousness. For several days he lingered. Then on
November 19th, a gray Sunday morning, very quietly at the last, he
slipped away. The next day, the Governors, Principal, members of the
teaching staff, and students gathered in the Molson Hall to do honour in
a Memorial Service, to the memory of the teacher, the administrator and
the man they admired and loved. The Memorial Address, here included in
the Appendix, was given by his successor, Principal Peterson.

[Illustration: _Sir William Peterson
Principal of McGill University_ 1895-1919]

Sir William Dawson was Principal of McGill for thirty-eight years, more
than a third of the century that has passed since the establishment of
the University, and almost half of the period since its actual opening.
It has not been possible here to speak of his researches, his writings,
his connection with learned societies. Many honours came to him from
Britain, from America, and from Canada. He was the first President of
the Royal Society of Canada; he was President at various times of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the American
Geological Association, and of the British Association. In 1884 he was
knighted. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he received
honorary degrees from Edinburgh,--his old University, from McGill and
from Columbia. But all his activities were incidental and subservient to
his work as Principal of McGill and to his efforts for the advancement
of the University. He saw the institution grow slowly but surely under
his guidance, in the face of many discouragements, from very small
beginnings to a foremost place among the great seats of learning of
America and Europe. He found in 1855 a college struggling under debt,
with inadequate revenue, with abandoned buildings, with few professors
and with only one hundred students. In the last session of his
Principalship more than a thousand students were in attendance, of whom
three hundred and fifty were in the Faculty of Arts, and one hundred and
thirty-five degrees were conferred; more than half a dozen spacious
college buildings had been added to the original structure; the lower
campus or yard was practically what it is to-day except for the new
Medical Building; the endowments had increased to over a million and a
half of dollars, the yearly income to nearly a quarter of a million and
the disbursements to nearly two hundred thousand dollars. The growth of
the University in equipment, in instructors, in courses and in general
educational opportunities has already been indicated. In bringing about
this marvellous growth, the Principal had the generous assistance and
sympathetic encouragement of a loyal band of friends, among whom his
greatest gratitude was recorded to William Molson, John H. R. Molson,
Peter Redpath, Sir Donald Smith, afterwards Lord Strathcona; Thomas
Workman, and William C. Macdonald. Without their aid and their generous
gifts the expansion of the University, needless to say, would not have
been possible.

But greater perhaps than the material and numerical growth which he
accomplished, was the spirit of service William Dawson brought to
McGill, and the influence of that spirit on the men and women who went
out from the University to help in the development of Canada. It is
difficult briefly and adequately here to outline the ideals which shaped
his policy in guiding the University and the students over whose
instruction he presided. They are found in his addresses on various
occasions. Perhaps they are best summed up in his farewell message to
the students in December, 1893, when he was leaving the University to
pass a few months in the South in a vain effort to restore his already
shattered health:

"I had hoped, in the present session," he said, "to be among you as
usual, doing what I could, officially and personally for your welfare,
but was suddenly stricken down by a dangerous illness. In this, I
recognised the hand of my Heavenly Father, doing all things for the
best, and warning me that my years of active usefulness are approaching
their close, and that it is time to put off my armour and assume the
peaceful garb of age, in which perhaps I may yet be spared to be of some
service in the world.

"For the time being, I must be separated from the work that has always
been to me a pleasure, and you will excuse me for addressing to you a
few words, on topics which seem to me of highest moment to you as
students. I may group these under the word 'Loyalty,' a word which we
borrow, with many others, from the French, though we have the synonym
'leal,' which if not indigenous, has at least been fully naturalised
both in English and Scottish. These words are directly associated with
the idea of law and obligation, and with the trite, though true, adage,
that we who would command must first learn to obey.

"I need scarcely remind you of that loyalty which we owe to the
sovereign lady the Queen, and to the great Empire over which she rules.
I have had frequent occasion to note the fact, that this sentiment is
strong in the rising generation of Canadians, and nowhere more so than
in McGill. It is indeed not merely a sentiment, though, even in a time
which boasts of being practical and utilitarian, the feelings of the
heart count for something: it is based also on the rational appreciation
of the benefits of a rule, which, while allowing the greatest freedom of
individual action, secures equal rights and protection for all.

"We are, every one of us I hope, loyal to our University, and _to the
University as a whole_, not merely to any particular faculty of it.
McGill has endeavoured, more than most universities, carefully to adapt
its teaching to the actual wants and needs of the student, whether in
the matter of that general academical learning which makes the educated
man, or of that special training which fits the graduate for taking his
place, creditably, in the highest walks of professional life. To this, I
think, its success has been largely due. Yet, with all the breadth and
the elasticity of our system, we cannot perfectly meet every case, and
there are still desiderata, the want of which is most deeply felt by
those engaged in the management of the University. Our course, however,
has been onward and upward, and it may be truly said that no session has
passed in which something has not been added to our means of usefulness.
The future, indeed, has endless possibilities, and there will be ample
scope for improvement--and perhaps also for occasional complaints--when
the youngest students of to-day have grown to be grey-haired seniors.
You have good cause, notwithstanding, to be proud of your University,
and to cherish feelings of affection and gratitude to the wise and good
men, who, amid many difficulties, have brought it to its present
position, and are still urging it onward.

"You should be loyal to the ideal of the student. You are a chosen and
special band of men and women, selected out of the mass, to attain to a
higher standing than your fellows, in those acquirements which make life
noble and useful. It is not for you to join in the follies of frivolous
pleasure-seekers, or to sacrifice the true culture of your minds and
hearts to the mere pursuit of gain. Your aims are higher, and require
isolation from the outer world, and self-denial, in the hope that what
you are now sowing and planting, will bear good fruit in all your future
lives. Live up to this ideal, and bear in mind that self-control, and
the habits of mind which it implies, are of themselves worth more than
all the sacrifices you make.

[Illustration: _J. H. R. Molson_]

"Be loyal to the memories of home. I regret very much that McGill cannot
at present offer to its students such temporary homes as college
halls could supply. The time for this is coming, I hope soon. But most
of you have those at home who look on your residence here with
solicitude and longing, who will rejoice in your successes, and perhaps
be heartbroken should any evil befall you. It is customary to say that
young people at college are removed from the restraints of home and its
influences for good. But this need not be. To the truly loyal, absence
should make these influences more powerful, and the thought of those who
are watching you with loving hearts, in distant homes, should be a
strong impelling motive in the students' life.

"Next to home is heaven, and let me now add, loyalty to Him who reigns
there, and to the Captain of our salvation made perfect through
suffering for us. Many of you, I know, are earnest Christians and
growing in spiritual life, as you advance in learning. To those who are
not, let me say,--read, as a serious study, the life of Jesus Christ as
given in the Gospels. Read it in the light of His own sayings, that 'He
came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for
many,' and that 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal
life.' Read of His life as the Man of Sorrows, of His agony in
Gethsemane, of His death on the Cross, crushed not merely by physical
agony, but by the weight of our iniquities--and you may then judge, if
there is any obligations so great as that under which we lie to Him, any
loyal service so blessed as that of the Saviour. The gate may be strait,
and we may have to leave some things outside, but it is held open
lovingly by the pierced hand of our Redeemer, and it leads through a
happy and fruitful life to eternal joys--to that land which the Scottish
poet, whose religious ideal was so much higher than his own life, or the
current theology of his time, calls the 'land o' the leal.' That happy
country is near to me, but I hope separated from you by a long, useful
and happy life; but let us all alike look forward to meeting beyond the
River of Death, in that promised land where He reigns who said 'Him that
confesseth Me before men will I confess before My Father that is in

"In the meantime you remain here to pursue useful work; I go to seek
restored health elsewhere, and can only remember you in my prayers. Let
us hope that when the winter is passed we may meet once more, and that I
may be able to congratulate you on well merited success, not merely in
regard to the prizes and honours which few can obtain, but in that
abiding education of the mind and heart, which McGill offers to all her
studious children without exception."

On his last convocation as Principal, on April 29, 1893, he said to the
graduating class: "I may say, we have full confidence that you will
sustain the honour of the University, and will regard the education you
have received as a sacred trust, of which you are the stewards, and
which is to be used for the good of all, for the advancement of your
country, and for the glory of God."

Those who worked with him or who studied under him and who are best
qualified to speak, tell that it was, after all, the noble humanity with
which Dawson invested his teaching and his administration that gave
greatness to his occupancy of the Principalship. It was his
personality, his energy, his deep and vivid sympathy with student
interests, even more than his learning and his contemporary influence in
other spheres, that helped to re-create McGill. Under his spell there
were many undergraduates who had thoughts and aspirations beyond the
McGill of their day, thoughts of sacrifice, and of future service to the

In forwarding his resignation to the Governors, he wrote: "Much has been
attained, but much still remains to be accomplished, especially with
reference to the purely educational or academical faculty, which, in the
present stage of Canadian society, demands more than any other, generous
support. Means for this have hitherto been deficient, and much precious
time and energy have been wasted in the inevitable struggle to maintain
the ground already gained. It has been my earnest prayer that I might be
permitted to carry out in the case of McGill my ideal of a complete and
symmetrical university suited to this country, and particularly to the
English population of this Province. It has pleased God to deny me this
satisfaction; but I entertain the firm belief that good foundations have
been laid, which will not be disturbed, but will be built on and carried
to full completion, by the energy, care, and judgment of my immediate
successors." These hopes were destined to be fulfilled in the larger
McGill of our day.



When Sir William Dawson became Principal of McGill in 1855, there was no
provision in the University for the instruction of women. They were not
permitted to attend the classes available to men. Indeed, women's
education was then under discussion and debate in Great Britain and the
United States. It had many supporters but it had also many opponents.
The agitation for the higher education of women on equal terms with men,
particularly in the liberal arts, went back to the days of Defoe's
"Essay on Projects" in which he included a section on "an Academy for
Women." It had echoed from his time down through the eighteenth century
until 1791 when Mary Wollstonecraft published her systematic treatise,
"A Vindication of the Rights of Women." Thereafter the original plea
merely for education became but a minor part of a larger demand for the
franchise and for general equality; and instead of a sober emphasis on
the necessity for learning, there was a somewhat hysterical clamour that
women "should be admitted side by side with men into all the offices of
public life with respect both to kind and degree." This agitation soon
gathered abundant ridicule by the advocacy, led by Amelia Jenks Bloomer,
of reform in women's dress, which would make it, as far as possible,
the same as that of man, and would consequently be an outward and
visible sign of the equality of the sexes.

[Illustration: _Dr. Alexander Johnson
Vice-Principal of McGill University_ 1886-1903]

The derision and scorn incurred by the movement because of the unwise
zeal of some of its advocates had not yet passed in the fifties. In
Canada, the question of higher education for women was avoided, or
regarded with doubt or indifference. But Principal Dawson was an earnest
and enthusiastic believer in women's education, and early in his
connection with McGill he formed plans for the providing of facilities
to make such education possible in the University. Because of the
indifference and the opposition to what was looked upon as a useless
innovation, these plans were slow in maturing and in actual
accomplishment. The Principal, however, persevered; circumstances were
favourable, and in the end his hopes were fulfilled.

In Montreal at that time there was a girls' school, presided over by
Hannah Willard Lyman, who later received an appointment to Vassar
College. In this school no adequate course of instruction was given in
Natural Science. Miss Lyman was desirous that her students should
receive some knowledge of that subject, and she asked permission to have
her pupils listen to Dr. Dawson's lectures, which were given in the
afternoons. Her request was granted and the school girls attended the
lectures for one session. But the experiment, for some unexplained
reason, was not satisfactory and it was not repeated.

In his annual University Lecture in the autumn of 1869, the Principal
expressed his belief in the benefits that might be conferred by the
University in providing means for women's education. "I think," he said,
"it would be quite possible for the University to provide lectures on
scientific and literary subjects, which would be open to all the ladies'
schools in the city, and that certificates of attendance and examination
might be given to such pupils. I do not propose either that young women
should attend the ordinary College classes, or that except in special
cases the ordinary professors should lecture to them. I should have
special classrooms, and in many instances at least special lecturers
appointed by the University. Of course, this is a purpose for which the
constitution of the University does not permit its funds to be used,
even if they were sufficient for it--which they are not. I only wish to
intimate my conviction that an opening for usefulness lies in this
direction--one which I have often wished to have the means of
cultivating, knowing that in this country very few young women enjoy, to
a sufficient extent, the advantages of the higher kind of education; and
that the true civilisation of any people is quite as much to be measured
by the culture of its women as by that of its men."

A few months later, at a meeting of Governors and friends of the
University, held in February, 1870, preparatory to making an appeal for
funds to the citizens of Montreal, the following resolution was
unanimously passed:

"That this meeting rejoices in the arrangements made in the mother
country, and on this continent, to afford to young women the opportunity
of a regular college course; and being persuaded of the vital importance
of this matter to the cause of higher education, and to the well-being
of the community, respectfully commends the subject to the consideration
of the Corporation of the University, for such action as the expected
addition to the endowment may enable them to take."

But no part of the funds which were contributed as a result of the
appeal were specially assigned to the education of women. In December
following a reception was given in Molson Hall to the benefactors of the
University who had recently subscribed so generously to its revenue. At
this gathering, Chancellor Day referred to the necessity for providing
the means of furnishing a higher education for women, "a matter," he
said, "in which we are wofully behind the age.... I trust the time is
not far distant when McGill College may become the privileged instrument
of ministering to this urgent need. In this whole matter of education
for either sex, women are directly and deeply interested."

A few months later, in 1871, Hannah Willard Lyman, the former Principal
of the school for girls, died. Her former pupils in Montreal determined
in some way to perpetuate her memory. They collected the "Hannah Willard
Lyman Memorial Fund" for the establishment of a scholarship or a prize
for women to be awarded in McGill when women would be admitted to its
classes, "in a College for women affiliated to the University or in
classes approved by the University." But no way existed for the carrying
out of this desire. The Governors showed little sympathy with the idea
of admitting women students to men's classes; they had no objection to a
distinct women's College, but no funds for such an undertaking were
available. Dr. Dawson then appealed for help to the women friends of
McGill, and his appeal at once met with a ready response. In the autumn
of 1871 a number of women interested in the higher education of their
sex met at the residence of Mrs. John Molson, and formed the "Ladies'
Educational Association of Montreal," for the purpose of obtaining, in
the absence of University opportunities, instruction for its members.
This Association carried on its work for thirteen years, until women
were at last admitted to McGill. It was self-supporting, although it
asked only very moderate fees from its students and paid its lecturers
generously. Principal Dawson gave the introductory lecture of the first
session in October, 1871. The students who took the full course of
lectures and passed an examination on the work received a certificate of
"Associate in Arts."

[Illustration: _Percy Molson
Founder of the Molson Stadium
Killed in action July_, 1917]

But the hope of admitting women to the classes in Arts had not been
abandoned. On October 25th, 1882, Professor Clark Murray moved at a
meeting of the Arts Faculty a resolution, which was carried, to the
effect "that the educational advantages of the Faculty of Arts should be
thrown open to all persons without distinction of sex." In the summer of
1884 a deputation of women who had already passed the examinations for
Associate in Arts waited on Principal Dawson and asked that
opportunities be provided in the College to enable them to proceed to
the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The obstacle in the way of granting this
request was the lack of funds. But a few weeks after the request was
made, Sir Donald Smith agreed to give a sum of $50,000 for the purpose,
on conditions to be settled by him. These conditions stipulated that the
classes for women were to be wholly separate and distinct from those for
men, and that no expenditure was to be incurred beyond the income of the
endowment. The offer was accepted by the Board of Governors. The sum
given was sufficient to provide the necessary duplicate courses for the
first and second years in the Arts Faculty, and in the autumn of 1884
the first session for women in McGill commenced with fourteen regular
and thirteen partial students. The women's classes were given in the
lecture rooms of the east wing of the Arts Building. The students were
known as "Donaldas," after the name of their generous benefactor, and
the course was known as the "Donalda" course.

After two years had passed, in October, 1886, Sir Donald Smith increased
his endowment to $120,000 in order to provide sufficient income for
courses in all four years, and thereby to enable women students to
proceed to the B.A. degree. In the session of 1886-87 there were twenty
regular and fifty-eight partial students enrolled in women's courses,
and in 1887-88 the number increased to twenty-six regular and eighty-two
partial students. At the end of that session eight women received for
the first time the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Higher education for
women in McGill was now an assured fact. The Principal's dream had at
last been realised.

But Dr. Dawson had hope of a still greater development of women's
education. He said: "This great work is not yet complete. We look
forward to a College for women, either a College of the University
co-ordinate with McGill College, or affiliated to the University. Such
College while taking advantage of the Museum, Laboratories, Library, and
other appliances of McGill College, and to a certain extent of its
staff, will have its own building, provided with all modern improvements
and refinements for educational work.... I desire to express, as a
matter of personal experience, my entire sympathy with those who hold
that the education of women should be conducted, as far as possible, in
separate classes." The hope here expressed was again to be realised--and
Principal Dawson lived to see the accomplishment of his plans. Sir
Donald Smith, then Lord Strathcona, was again appealed to. He increased
his endowment fund for the erection and equipment of a building such as
the Principal had in view, and the building of the Royal Victoria
College was begun in 1895. On September 4th, 1899, two months before Sir
William Dawson's death, the Royal Victoria College for women was opened,
and the women students of McGill had at last a home and lecture-rooms of
their own, "provided," as Sir William had dreamed, "with all modern
improvements and refinements for educational work."

[Illustration: _Lord Strathcona_]

Since the opening of the Royal Victoria College the opportunities for
the education of women in the University have been greatly enlarged and
developed. To-day women students are enrolled on equal terms with men,
not only in the Faculty of Arts, but in the Faculties of Law and
Medicine, and in the Departments of Commerce and Physical Education.
Indeed, women students are admitted to all Faculties and Departments of
the University with the exception of the Faculty of Applied Science.
Women graduates of McGill have continued to go out for thirty-three
years to fill important posts and to take a prominent place in the
building up of Canada and in service to humanity. In the half-century
that has passed since the formation of the "Women's Educational
Association of Montreal," with its humble beginnings and its scanty
courses for "Associates in Arts," the higher education of women has made
undreamed of progress. In McGill it owes its guidance and its growth to
the tolerance in a time of prejudice, the determination in a period of
opposition, and the patient faith in a day of discouragement, of Sir
William Dawson, who believed in the greatness of women's sphere and
influence in his country and in the world.



In writing of the final epoch in McGill's first century, and the larger
McGill of our day, we must of necessity be brief. We are too close to
that epoch justly to judge its significance, or to give to the events
and the incidents of which it is made up the fair and adequate reference
which they doubtless deserve. Only the passing of the years can place
them in their true perspective. Any estimate of them in our day would
perhaps be proved false by time. Matthew Arnold said: "No man can trust
himself to speak of his own time and his own contemporaries with the
same sureness of judgment and the same proportion as of times and men
gone by." The growth and development of McGill, then, during the last
quarter of a century will be here given in bare outline only. The
details of that growth are vivid in the memory of living men.

In May, 1895, Dr. William Peterson, Principal of University College,
Dundee, Scotland, was appointed to succeed Sir William Dawson as
Principal of McGill University, and at the opening of the session in the
following September he arrived in Montreal to begin his work. The new
Principal was born in Edinburgh in May, 1856. He received his education
at the Edinburgh High School and at Edinburgh University, where he
graduated in 1875 with Honours in Classics. On his graduation he was
awarded the Greek Travelling Fellowship, and after a period of study on
the continent he entered Oxford University for further post-graduate
courses in Classics. On leaving Oxford he was appointed Assistant to the
Professor of the Humanities in Edinburgh University. Two years later, in
1882, he was appointed to the Principalship of University College,
Dundee, which included among its other duties the Professorship of
Classics and Ancient History. Thirteen years later he became Principal
of McGill.

The twenty-four years during which Principal Peterson guided the
destinies of McGill were years of steady growth and development. They
were years, too, of notable and generous gifts from men of wealth and
vision who believed in the value of education and of the beneficent
influence of McGill in Canada and the world. Soon after Principal
Peterson's appointment two projects for which his predecessor, Sir
William Dawson, had planned were carried to completion. Both of these
were made possible by the loyal aid of two benefactors who had already
contributed greatly to the expansion of the University. William C.
Macdonald had already given the Macdonald Engineering Building and the
Macdonald Physics Building for the advancement of Applied Science. He
now added to these the Macdonald Chemistry and Mining Building with full
equipment for the carrying on of courses which, we have seen, Dr.
Harrington had originated years before in the cramped and poorly
furnished rooms in the narrow corridor of the Arts Building. The
building was opened on December 20, 1898. The Faculty of Applied Science
had now passed from small beginnings and inadequate accommodation to a
complete organization and a modern home. On September 4th, 1899, the
Royal Victoria College for women was formally opened. It was the gift of
Lord Strathcona, formerly Sir Donald Smith, who, in 1884, had made
possible the establishment of the first courses for women given in
McGill, and who, in 1886, had made provision for the complete four
years' courses in Arts, the Donalda courses leading to the B.A. degree.
The former Principal, Sir William Dawson, lived to see realised the two
dreams for the fulfilment of which he had worked so arduously--the
completion of the Science Buildings and the erection of a women's
College as part of the University.

[Illustration: _Dr. Charles E. Moyse
Vice-Principal of McGill University_

Over the period that followed since the turn of the century we may pass
briefly. It was a period of continued development, not always, however,
without its discouragements and problems which need not be here
recorded. But disappointments and obstacles were met by Dr. Peterson
with courage and energy and hope. The result was progress. The Medical
Faculty, which had grown beyond its quarters, needed more room if it was
to keep pace with modern research and with the increased number of its
students. Lord Strathcona, who had given the first Medical endowment
fund in 1882, again came to the rescue, and in September, 1901, a new
wing to the Medical Building was opened. In October, 1904, the
Conservatorium of Music was established. Later, by the will of Sir
William Macdonald, it was left an endowment fund which placed it on an
independent basis and enabled it to be expanded into a Faculty of the
University. In 1903 Dr. Alexander Johnson, who had been
Vice-Principal for seventeen years, retired and was succeeded by Charles
E. Moyse, Professor of English. In the spring of 1907 two disastrous
fires occurred; in April, within eleven days of each other, the
Macdonald Engineering Building and the largest part of the Medical
Building were destroyed. Again the University's two great benefactors
came to its assistance. Sir William Macdonald replaced the Engineering
Building with a new building which was opened on April 27th, 1909, and
Lord Strathcona provided for the erection of the new Medical Building,
which was opened on June 5th, 1911.

Meanwhile Sir William Macdonald had undertaken to provide in connection
with the University an institution intended to meet the needs of the
country at large, particularly the rural districts, and to afford better
facilities for the training of teachers. With this object in view he
founded, in 1907, Macdonald College, at St. Anne de Bellevue, twenty
miles from Montreal. It was designed to include three schools, one for
Agriculture, one for Household Science and one for Normal Training. The
gift for buildings, grounds, consisting of nearly eight hundred acres,
equipment and endowment amounted to over six million dollars. The
College was incorporated in the University as the Faculty of

There were many other gifts from Sir William Macdonald during this
period. In 1909 an attempt was made by a syndicate to purchase the block
known as the Joseph property at the southwest corner of the College yard
or campus, for the purpose of building an hotel. The Principal was
alarmed. He appealed to Sir William, whose pride was great in McGill
and in the buildings he had erected. Sir William had no desire that the
grounds of McGill should become the backyard of an hotel, however
exclusive. He at once purchased the corner, and presented it to the
University, thus completing the McGill square and providing a home for
the McCord National Museum. Two years later he purchased, as he said,
"for a playground for McGill students, the grown-up children of all
Canada," the Frothingham, Molson and Law properties, consisting of
twenty-five acres, just east of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the
Medical Building. This property, known as Macdonald Park, is the
athletic centre of the University. In October, 1920, the Stadium in this
park was formally opened. It was the gift of Percival Molson, B.A., who
graduated in Arts in 1901, and who was killed in action in front of
Avion, near Lens, on July 3rd, 1917, while serving as a Captain in the
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The McGill Union, erected
on Sherbrooke Street, as a centre of student activities, was also the
gift of Sir William Macdonald, McGill's greatest benefactor, whose
donations to the University during the Principalships of Sir William
Dawson and Sir William Peterson amounted to over twelve million and a
half of dollars. In 1912 the four affiliated Theological Colleges formed
a co-operating Divinity School in affiliation with the University for
the instruction of joint classes, and Divinity Hall on University Street
was opened.

The last five years of Sir William Peterson's Principalship were the
years of war tragedy. When the war came in 1914 the University gave all
its energy to the allied cause. When the trumpet blew for freedom, the
Principal, although he could not actually enter the combatant lists,
gave all his strength unstintingly. The part taken by McGill in the war
cannot be here detailed; it must be left for another story. Only the
bare outline need be mentioned. When the war cloud broke, the Canadian
Officers Training Corps already in connection with the University was
reorganised, and grounds and buildings became centres of military
activity. In the spring of 1915 the McGill General Hospital, known later
as No. 3 (McGill) went overseas. It was a distinctively McGill unit. It
was organised within the Medical Faculty. All its officers were members
of the teaching staff or graduates of the Medical School. The nurses
were graduates of either the Royal Victoria Hospital or the Montreal
General Hospital, and practically all the men in the unit were drawn
from the student body. Early in the following year a heavy artillery
unit was organised within the University, and was permitted by the
Militia department to use the name McGill until its arrival in France.
It was also allowed to embody the McGill crest with the artillery badge.
It was organised as No. 6 (McGill) Siege Battery, but after its arrival
at the front it was known as No. 7 Battery, Canadian Siege Artillery.
The Commanding Officer and the second in command were members of the
teaching staff of the University; the other officers and
non-commissioned officers were largely graduates, and more than half the
gunners were McGill students. Because of rapid promotions and consequent
transfers of officers and men, as well as of the usual circumstances and
changes of war, this unit lost before the end of hostilities its
distinctively McGill character. The majority of McGill men in the
original unit received commissions. Five full companies of infantry and
part of a sixth were recruited in the University. They were known as
"The University Companies," and were sent to the front as reinforcements
for the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The majority of the
officers of these companies and a large number of the men were graduates
or students of McGill. The 148th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, recruited
in Montreal, although not under the authority of the University, was
affiliated with the McGill Canadian Officers Training Corps, and a large
number of its officers and men were members of that organization. Later,
two reinforcement drafts were organized in the University and each
contained a large proportion of students. One was a heavy artillery
draft, which on arrival in England in the autumn of 1917 was absorbed
into the artillery pool and was used to supply new siege artillery
batteries about to be organised or to reinforce field and heavy
batteries already at the front. The other draft was recruited for the
Tank Battalion raised in the universities of Canada. But apart from the
men in the units and drafts organized in the University, McGill men,
students, graduates and professors, were found in practically every
branch of the service, whether army or navy. The attendance of students
in the University was reduced to a minimum; the teaching staff was
depleted. In all, over twenty-five hundred McGill men enlisted. Three
hundred and forty-one were killed in action, or died of wounds or
disease; five hundred and twenty-two were wounded; three hundred and
eighty-two received decorations or honours, two of which were the
Victoria Cross. In recognition of its services in the allied cause the
University received a grant of one million dollars from the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. McGill's war record, tragic
but glorious, is one of her proudest possessions.

Principal Peterson's health had been impaired even before the war by the
cares of an active and busy life spent unsparingly in the interests and
the advancement of the University. Like his predecessor, his life at
McGill was one of unremitting labour and ceaseless, strenuous tasks
which drew in the end a heavy toll from his strength. Then the war came.
With its activities and the continuous demands it made upon his time and
energy, it severely taxed his already weakened constitution. During the
summer of 1918 he had been urged by his physicians and friends to rest
because of his failing health. He did not heed the advice; he felt,
indeed, that he could not in that troubled and anxious time obey it. He
refused to curtail his exertions, and he continued to give his great
ability and his unstinted service in every way to help the allied cause.
On Sunday, the 12th of January, 1919, although he was not then in good
health, he presided at a meeting on behalf of a fund for the benefit of
the dependents of Scottish soldiers and sailors killed or disabled in
the war. While the meeting was in progress he was stricken with apoplexy
and partial paralysis. In the course of a few weeks he recovered his
speech almost entirely, and later he regained the partial use of his
right leg. When it became evident that he could not recover sufficiently
to resume his place at the head of the University he resigned, and after
May 1st he ceased to be Principal of McGill. On July the 24th he sailed
from Montreal for England, where he resided until his death in February,

Sir William Peterson was Principal of McGill University for a period of
twenty-four years, one quarter of its century of life. During that time
many honours came to him. He occupied the presidency of many learned
societies; he was knighted in 1915; he received honorary degrees from
the leading universities of Britain, America and Canada; he was Chairman
of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching; he won great distinction as a scholar and a writer. It
would be unwise here to attempt to estimate the significance of his work
as Principal of the University. We are perhaps too close to judge it
with correctness or with justice. The McGill he left in 1919 was not the
McGill he found in 1895. In the intervening years its development on the
sure foundations that had already been laid was extraordinary and
unprecedented for a university. Among the external evidences of growth
during that time are the McGill Union, the centre of student activities;
the Conservatorium of Music, with courses leading to the degree of
Bachelor and Doctor of Music; the establishment of a Department of
Dentistry, now grown to the stature of a Faculty; the acquisition of the
Joseph property at the southwest corner of the Yard, and the new Molson
and Law properties, consisting of 25 acres, the site of the Molson
Stadium, and of the gymnasium and student residences of the future; the
new Medical building; the establishment and development of the Graduate
School, and of the Departments of Commerce, Social Service and Physical
Education, and above all, the addition of Macdonald College with its
vast acres at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, where the work of the Faculty of
Agriculture, Household Science and the training of teachers is carried
on. In these twenty-five years the number of students more than doubled.
Financially, too, there was a change. In 1895 endowments amounted to
over a million and a half of dollars, in 1919 they were over twelve
millions, a sum to which the citizens' response to the appeal for funds
in 1911 largely contributed; the income in 1895 was two hundred thousand
dollars and the disbursements one hundred and eighty thousand; in 1919
the income and disbursements each amounted to approximately one million
dollars. In addition to these visible evidences of progress many new and
improved courses were established; the teaching staff was greatly
increased, and the reputation of the University was enhanced at home and
abroad. Externally and internally the newer and greater McGill bears
testimony to the energy and determination of Sir William Peterson during
his twenty-four years' occupancy of the Principalship. With the
criticisms of his administration--that as Principal Sir William was an
Imperialist first and afterwards a Canadian, and that in making
professorial appointments he did not often consider Canadian scholars,
with at least equal qualifications--we are not here concerned.

In the spring of 1919 Sir Auckland Geddes, Minister of National Service
in the British Cabinet, and formerly Professor of Anatomy in McGill, was
appointed Principal. He never assumed the duties of his office and a
year later he resigned to become British Ambassador at Washington,
U. S. A.

In May, 1920, Sir Arthur Currie, formerly Commander of the Canadian
Corps in France, was appointed Principal, and in the following August he
took up his new duties. In June of that year Vice-Principal Moyse
resigned after forty-one years of service as Professor of English. He
was succeeded as Vice-Principal by Dr. Frank D. Adams, Dean of the
Faculty of Applied Science.

One of the first acts of the new Principal was the making of a general
appeal, with the Governors, in the autumn of 1920, for public
subscriptions to increase the endowment fund and revenues for the
purpose of increasing professors' salaries and for the erection of new
buildings or extensions. The response to this appeal was generous; a sum
of over six million dollars was subscribed, of which one million was
from the Province of Quebec. The renewed interest of graduates in their
University was evidenced by the fact that they subscribed over half the
amount raised. As a result of the increased endowment, two structures
were at once undertaken, one an extension to the Library, and the other
a new building for the Medical Faculty.

[Illustration: _Sir Arthur Currie
Principal McGill University_ 1920]

With an encouraging interest in its welfare by graduates and by
citizens, with a large increase in students who last year numbered over
three thousand, with forward face looking hopefully to the future,
McGill University has rounded out its first century of life. The road
over which it has passed, as we look back from the hilltop of to-day,
has been long and arduous. It has been beset with many trials and
difficulties. But the obstacles in the way of its advance were not
unsurmountable; they were perhaps objects of discouragement, but never
objects of total despair to the men of stout heart and firm faith and
far-off vision who made McGill.

[Illustration: _Dr. Frank D. Adams
Vice-Principal of McGill University_ 1920]



What has been written in these pages is based on authentic documents and
sources rather than on tradition--on fact rather than on rumour.
Necessity required that it should be the story of epochs rather than of
individuals. It is sometimes said unwisely that "epochs are but
resting-places or halts in history." But that is not a truthful
definition when applied to the epochs of McGill, for they have all been
times of progress. With steps sometimes accelerated, sometimes slow,
sometimes even faltering, its movement has been always onward. There
have been no stopping-places in its life. It has not been possible here
to give adequate notice or even reference to all its benefactors and to
all the noble and unselfish men and women who helped in its advancement,
to the distinguished graduates and sacrificing professors who brought
honour to its name, to the discoveries, the theories and doctrines for
improvement, whether intellectual or social or political, first
fashioned in its shadow. Through the medium of these men and women, and
their theories and doctrines carried into practice, it has won undying
glory. Their names are safe in our University's past; we can leave their
memories in its keeping.

When James McGill made his bequest he was dreaming of a University that
would first serve Canada and assist in its development. He himself had
set his face westward. When he made his will he knew that he was of the
past, but he had faith in the coming youth and manhood of his adopted
land. He saw the possibilities of the vast new country in which he had
prospered but which he was so soon to leave, and he had a firm belief in
its future greatness. The Founder's dream has been realised even to a
greater extent than perhaps he hoped. The men who in its hundred years
of life brought to McGill the largest portion of its fame, whether
graduates or professors, were products of the new country in the young
manhood of which he had such unbounded faith. They were, for the most
part, native Canadians whose feet were rooted in the soil. They were men
whose ancestors, like the Founder himself, had crossed the ocean in
comfortless craft to face unknown hardships in forest and on plain, to
build homes from the wilderness in which they might find happiness and
fortune. Dawson in Education, Osler in Medicine, Laurier in
Statesmanship, and a host of others, these are gone; they are behind us;
their achievements are part of our century story. Elsewhere than in
McGill their services, their doctrines, and their theories have been
assimilated; they have ministered to the nation's and the world's life.
And the men and boys who went out from McGill to die for their
principles during the world's five years of tragedy were similar to them
in sacrifice and spirit; they contributed in another form to the
advancement of civilization. In their ideals they were typical of the
Canadian youth of James McGill's vision. They justified the Founder's

[Illustration: _McGill College in_ 1921]

With this reference to our great dead we bring these chapters to a
close. The next, unwritten, chapter in McGill University's history is
one of which we do not see the end. It must be left to other hands and
other pens. When it is written it may or may not revolve about
individuals. Like its preceding chapters it, too, will more probably be
the story of an epoch. For while the individual must always vanish in
his due time, the College must survive. One fact is certain--after one
hundred years of struggle and of ultimate triumph, life still beats
strongly in the veins of the University--more actively than in the days
of its youth, and more hopefully than at any period in its history.
There is a new spirit in McGill. To-day its pulsing life, under the
guidance of its great Canadian leader, reaches through all grades and
faculties and departments of its students as it has never done before.
There is a general forward movement, unhampered and undivided by
considerations or competitions of sections or of faculties. The
University is closer, too, than it once was to the current of national
feeling. It is seeking to minister to Canada, the land which gave it
birth and from which its greatness sprang. But while it will serve
Canada, it will continue to draw its students, like the true _Studium
Generale_, from every country on the globe, and to send them back to
serve their individual countries to advance the enlightenment of the
world. McGill's first century has been a century of trial, but a century
of great accomplishment. Its struggles and its triumphs are an
inspiration for the coming days. If we but follow the ideals of the men
who made our University, with their noble sacrifice, their splendid
achievement and their unwavering faith as our heritage, the unwritten
story of McGill's future will be more glorious even than the record of
its past.




"I give and devise all that tract or parcel of land, commonly called
Burnside, situated near the city of Montreal aforesaid, containing about
forty-six acres, including an acre of land purchased by me from one
Sanscrainte, together with the dwelling-house and other buildings
thereon erected, with their appurtenances, unto the Honourable John
Richardson and James Reid, of the City of Montreal aforesaid, Esquires,
the Rev. John Strachan, Rector of Cornwall, in Upper Canada, and James
Dunlop, of the said City of Montreal, Esquire, and to their heirs, to,
upon, and for the uses, trusts, intents, and purposes, and with, and
subject to, the provisions, conditions, and limitations, hereinafter
mentioned and expressed, of and concerning the same, that is to say,
upon trust that they the said John Richardson, James Reid, John
Strachan, and James Dunlop, or the survivors or survivor of them, or the
heirs, executors, or curators of such survivors or survivor, do and
shall, as soon as it conveniently can be done after my decease, by a
good and sufficient conveyance and assurance, convey and assure the said
last-mentioned tract or parcel of land, dwelling-house, buildings, and
premises, to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning,
constituted and established, or to be constituted and established, under
and by virtue of an Act of the Parliament of the Province of Lower
Canada, made and passed in the forty-first year of His Majesty's Reign,
intituled 'An Act for the Establishment of Free Schools and the
Advancement of Learning in this Province'--upon and under the
conditions, restrictions, and limitations, and to and for the ends,
intents, and purposes following, that is to say, upon condition that the
said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning' do and shall,
within the space of ten years, to be accounted from the time of my
decease, erect and establish, or cause to be erected and established,
upon the said last-mentioned tract or parcel of land, an University or
College, for the purposes of education, and the advancement of learning
in this Province, with a competent number of Professors and Teachers, to
render such establishment effectual and beneficial for the purposes
intended; and if the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning' should so erect and establish, or cause to be erected and
established an University, then upon condition also that one of the
Colleges to be comprised in the said University shall be named, and
perpetually be known and distinguished, by the appellation of 'McGill
College'; and if the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning' should not so erect and establish, or cause to be erected and
established, an University, but should erect and establish, or cause to
be erected and established, a College only, then upon the further
conditions that the said College shall be named, and perpetually be
known and distinguished, by the appellation of 'McGill College'; and
upon condition also, that until such University or College be erected
and established, the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning' do and shall permit and suffer my said wife, and in case of
her death, the said Francis Desrivières, to hold, possess and enjoy the
said last-mentioned tract or parcel of land, dwelling-house, buildings,
and premises, and to recover, have, and receive all and every the rents,
issues, and profits thereof to and for her and his use and benefit: and
upon this other and express condition, that if the said 'Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning' should neglect to erect and
establish, or cause to be erected and established, such University or
College as aforesaid, in manner aforesaid within the said space of ten
years, to be accounted from the time of my decease, then and in such
case the said conveyance and assurance so made to the said 'Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning' shall, from and after the
expiration of the said space of ten years, become and be absolutely null
and void, and all and every the estate, right, title, and interest of
the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning' of, in, and
to the said last-mentioned tract or parcel of land and premises shall
cease and be determined, and be as completely extinguished as if such
conveyance and assurance had never been made or executed: All which
conditions, restrictions, and limitations shall, in apt and sufficient
language, be fully expressed in such conveyance and assurance. And upon
trust that the said John Richardson, James Reid, John Strachan, and
James Dunlop, or the survivors or survivor of them, or the heirs,
executors, or curators of such survivors or survivor of them do and
shall permit and suffer my said wife or, in case of her death, the said
Francis Desrivières, to hold, possess, and enjoy the said tract or
parcel of land, dwelling-house, buildings, and premises, and recover,
have, and receive the rents, issues, and profits thereof until the
making and executing of the said conveyance and assurance so as
aforesaid to be made to the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement
of Learning'; and if the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning' should refuse to accept and receive the said conveyance and
assurance of the said last-mentioned tract or parcel of land and
premises, upon the conditions, restrictions, and limitations herein
before expressed and directed, of and concerning the same, or should,
after the making and accepting of the said conveyance and assurance
neglect to erect and establish, or cause to be erected and established,
such University or College as aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, within the
said space of ten years, to be accounted from the time of my decease, or
if, from any legal cause, matter, or thing, the said trust so as
aforesaid to convey and assure the said last-mentioned tract or parcel
of land and premises to the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement
of Learning,' in the manner herein before directed, should be incapable
of being accomplished or carried into effect, or otherwise become, or
be, or be deemed or construed to be invalid, illegal, or inoperative,
then and in either or any of those cases upon trust, and that they the
said John Richardson, James Reid, John Strachan, and James Dunlop, or
the survivors or survivor of them or the heirs, executors, or curators
of such survivors or survivor do and shall, from and immediately after
the expiration of the said space of ten years, by a good and sufficient
conveyance and assurance, convey and assure the said last-mentioned
tract or parcel of land, dwelling-house, buildings, and premises to the
said Francis Desrivières (if then living), and to his heirs and assigns
forever, or if the said Francis Desrivières should be dead, then to the
legal heirs then living, and to their heirs and assigns forever.

"I give and bequeath, from and out of the rest and residue of my
estates, real and personal, movable and immovable, which shall and may
remain after the fulfilment and satisfaction of the several legacies in
this my Will contained, the sum of _ten thousand pounds_, current money
of the said Province of Lower Canada, to the said John Richardson, James
Reid, John Strachan, and James Dunlop, _their heirs, executors, or
curators_, upon the trust, and to and for the intents and purposes, and
upon the conditions following, that is to say, upon trust, that they the
said John Richardson, James Reid, John Strachan, and James Dunlop, or
the survivors or survivor of them or the heirs, executors, and curators
of such survivors, do and shall pay the said sum of ten thousand pounds
(with the interest to accrue thereon from and after the expiration of
three years from my decease) to the said 'Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning,' when and so soon as the said 'Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning' shall have erected and
established, or cause to be erected and established, an University or
College upon the last-mentioned tract or parcel of land, herein before
directed to be conveyed to the said 'Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning,' in manner aforesaid, to be by the said 'Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning' _paid and applied towards
defraying the expense incurred in establishing the said University or
College_, and towards maintaining the same after it shall have been
erected and established, in such manner and form, and under such
regulations as the said 'Royal Institution for the Advancement of
Learning' shall in this behalf prescribe. Provided always, that such
University or College be erected and established within the space of ten
years, to be accounted from the time of my decease: and if such
University or College should not be so erected and established within
the said space of ten years, then upon trust that they the said John
Richardson, James Reid, John Strachan, and James Dunlop, or the
survivors or survivor of them, or the heirs, executors, or curators of
such survivor, from and immediately after the said expiration of the
said space of ten years do and shall pay the said sum of ten thousand
pounds, with all and every the interest accrued thereon, to the said
Francis Desrivières, if then living, to and for his use and benefit, or
if dead, then to his legal heirs then living, to and for their use and



Victoria, by the Grace of GOD, of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

To all whom these presents shall come,


Whereas his late Majesty George the Fourth was graciously
pleased, by Letters Patent bearing date at Westminster, on
the Thirty-first day of March, in the Second year of his Reign,
to establish at Burnside, near the City of Montreal in the Province
of Lower Canada, an University, the first College of which,
by the said Charter, is called "McGill College," which Charter is
in the following words:

     "George the Fourth, by the Grace of GOD, of the United Kingdom of
     Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith.

     "To all to whom these presents shall come,


     "Whereas the Honourable James McGill, late of the City of Montreal
     in the Province of Lower Canada, now deceased, by his last Will and
     Testament, bearing date at Montreal the Eighth day of January, in
     the year of Our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and eleven, did
     give and bequeath a certain tract of Land near the said City of
     Montreal, with the dwelling-house and other buildings thereon
     erected, to Trustees, in trust, to convey and assure the same to
     the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, established
     by virtue of an Act of the Provincial Parliament of Lower Canada,
     made and passed in the Forty-first year of the Reign of his late
     Majesty, intituled 'An Act for the Establishment of Free Schools
     and the Advancement of Learning in the said Province,' upon
     condition that the said Institution should, within ten years from
     the decease of the said James McGill, erect and establish or cause
     to be erected and established upon the said land, an University or
     College for the purposes of Education and the Advancement of
     Learning in the said Province, with a competent number of
     Professors and Teachers to render such Establishment effectual and
     beneficial for the purposes intended; and also, upon condition that
     one of the Colleges, to be comprised in the said University, should
     be called McGill College; And whereas, the said James McGill,
     Esquire, by his said last Will, did further give and bequeath to
     the said Trustees the sum of Ten Thousand pounds, in trust, to pay
     the same with interest to accrue thereon from and after the
     expiration of three years from his decease, to the said Royal
     Institution for the Advancement of Learning, to be applied as soon
     as the said Institution should have erected an University or
     College on the said land towards defraying the expenses thereby
     incurred, and towards maintaining the said University or College so
     erected and established. And whereas, we have been humbly
     petitioned by the said Royal Institution for the Advancement of
     Learning, that we should be pleased to grant Our Royal Charter for
     the more perfect erection and establishment of the said College,
     and for incorporating the members thereof for the purposes
     aforesaid, and for such further endowment thereof as to us should
     seem meet. We, having taken the premises into Our Royal
     consideration, and being desirous that an University or College
     should be established for the Education of Youth in the principles
     of true religion and for their instruction in the different
     branches of science and literature, are willing to comply with the
     prayer of the said petition, and to afford every assistance towards
     carrying the intentions of the said James McGill into execution.

     "Therefore, know ye that We of Our special grace, certain knowledge
     and mere motion, have willed, ordained and granted, and do by these
     presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, will, ordain and grant,
     that upon the said land and in the said buildings thereon erected
     or to be erected, there shall be established, from this time one
     College at the least for the Education of youth and students in the
     Arts and Faculties, to continue forever, and that the first College
     to be erected thereon shall be called McGill College; and that Our
     trusty and well-beloved the Governor of Lower Canada,
     Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper
     Canada, the Bishop of Quebec, the Chief Justice of Montreal, and
     the Chief Justice of Upper Canada, for the time being, shall be
     Governors of the said McGill College, and that the said McGill
     College shall consist of one Principal, to be elected in manner
     hereinafter mentioned, and who shall be, during his continuance in
     the said office, a Governor of the said College; of four
     Professors, to be also elected in manner hereinafter mentioned; and
     of Fellows, Tutors, and Scholars, in such numbers, and at such
     salaries, and subject to such provisions, rules and regulations, as
     shall hereafter be appointed by the Statutes, Rules and Ordinances
     of the said College; and We do by these presents for Us, Our Heirs,
     and Successors, will, ordain and grant, that the Principal and
     Professors of the said College shall be, from time to time, elected
     by the said Governors or the major part of them, as shall be
     present at any meeting to be holden for such election; and in case
     of an equality of votes, the officer present at such meeting, whose
     office is first described in order in these presents, shall have a
     double and easting vote: provided always, that the persons by whom
     such elections shall be made shall notify the same respectfully to
     Us, Our Heirs or Successors, through one of Our or Their principal
     Secretaries of State, by the first opportunity, and in case that
     WE, Our Heirs or Successors, shall disapprove of any person so
     elected, and shall cause such disapprobation to be notified to him
     under the Royal signet and sign manual, or through one of the
     principal Secretaries of State, the person so elected as aforesaid
     shall immediately, upon such notification, cease to hold the office
     of Principal or Professor to which he shall have been elected as
     aforesaid, and the said Governors shall thereupon proceed to the
     election of another person to fill the office of such Principal or
     Professor respectively, and so, from time to time, as often as the
     case shall happen.

     "And we do by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
     will, ordain and grant, that the said Governors, Principal and
     Fellows, and their Successors, forever shall be one distinct and
     separate body politic and corporate in deed and in word, by the
     name and style of 'The Governors, Principal and Fellows of McGill
     College, at Montreal, in the said Province of Lower Canada,' and
     that by the same name they shall have perpetual succession, and a
     common seal, and that they and their successors shall, from time to
     time, have full power to break, alter, make new, or change such
     common seal at their will and pleasure, and as shall be found
     expedient, and that by the same name the said Governors, Principal
     and Fellows, and their successors, from time to time, and at all
     times hereafter, shall be a body politic and corporate, in deed and
     in law, and be able and capable to have, take, receive, purchase,
     acquire, hold, possess, enjoy and retain.

     "And we do hereby for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, give and grant
     full authority and free license to them and their successors, by
     the name aforesaid, to have, take, receive, purchase, acquire,
     hold, possess, enjoy, and retain, to and for the use of the said
     College, notwithstanding any statutes or statute of mortmain, any
     manors, rectories, advowsons, messuages, lands, tenements, rents,
     hereditaments of what kind, nature, or quality soever, so as that
     the same do not exceed, in yearly value, the sum of £6000 above all
     charges; and, moreover, to take, purchase, acquire, have, hold,
     enjoy, receive, possess and retain, notwithstanding any such
     statutes or statute to the contrary, all or any goods, chattels,
     charitable and other contributions, gifts and benefactions
     whatsoever; and that the said Governors, Principal and Fellows, and
     their successors, by the same name, shall and may be able and
     capable in law to sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, answer
     and be answered, in all or any Court or Courts of record, or places
     of judicature within Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and
     Ireland, and Our said Province of Lower Canada and other Our
     Dominions, and in all and singular actions, causes, pleas, suits,
     matters, and demands whatsoever, of what kind and nature or sort
     soever, in as large, ample, and beneficial a manner and form as any
     other body politic or corporate, or any other Our liege subjects
     being persons able and capable in law, may or can have, take,
     purchase, receive, hold, possess, enjoy, retain, sue, implead, or
     answer, in any manner whatsoever.

     "And we do by these presents for Us, Our Heirs, and Successors,
     will, ordain, and grant that the Governors of the said College, or
     the major part of them, shall have power and authority to frame and
     make statutes, rules and ordinances, touching and concerning the
     good Government of the said College, the performance of Divine
     Service therein, the studies, lectures, exercises, and degrees in
     Arts and Faculties, and all matters regarding the same, the
     election, qualification, and residence of the Principal,
     Professors, Fellows, and Scholars; the salaries, stipend and
     provisions for the Principal, Professors, Fellows, Scholars, and
     Officers of the said College; and touching and concerning any other
     matter or thing which to them shall seem good, fit, useful, and
     agreeable to this Our Charter: provided that no such statutes,
     rules and ordinances shall have any force or effect until allowed
     and confirmed by Us, Our Heirs or Successors; and also, from time
     to time, to revoke, augment or alter the same as to them or the
     major part of them shall seem expedient, subject always to Our
     allowance and confirmation as aforesaid, provided that the said
     statutes, rules, and ordinances, or any of them, shall not be
     repugnant to the laws and statutes of this Our Realm, and of Our
     said Province of Lower Canada; and We do hereby for Us, Our Heirs,
     and Successors, charge and command that the statutes, rules and
     ordinances aforesaid, subject to the said provisions, shall be
     strictly and inviolably observed, kept, and performed, so long as
     they shall respectively remain in force and effect, under the
     penalties to be thereby or therein inflicted or contained. And we
     do by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, will, ordain
     and appoint, that the Members of the Royal Institution aforesaid,
     for the time being, shall be Visitors of the said College. And we
     do further will, ordain, and grant, that the said College shall be
     deemed and taken to be an University, and that the Students in the
     said College shall have liberty and faculty of taking the degrees
     of Bachelor, Master and Doctor, in the several Arts and Faculties,
     at the appointed times, and shall have liberty within themselves,
     of performing Scholastic Exercises, for the conferring such degrees
     in such manner as shall be directed by the statutes, rules, and
     ordinances, of the aforesaid College; and we do, by these presents
     for Us, Our Heirs, and Successors, grant and declare that these Our
     Letters Patent, or the enrolments or exemplifications thereof,
     shall and may be good, firm, valid, sufficient, and effectual, in
     the law according to the intent and meaning of the same, and shall
     be taken, construed, and adjudged in the most favorable and
     beneficial sense for the best advantage of the said Governors,
     Principal, and Fellows, and Scholars of the said College of
     Montreal aforesaid, as well in all Our Courts of Record, as
     elsewhere, and by all and singular Judges, Justices, Officers,
     Ministers, and other subjects whatsoever, of Us, Our Heirs and
     Successors, any misrecital, non-recital, omission, imperfection,
     defect, matter, cause, or thing whatsoever, to the contrary
     thereof, in anywise notwithstanding, without fine or fee, great or
     small, to be for the same in any manner rendered, done, or paid to
     Us in Our hanaper, or elsewhere, to Our use. In witness whereof we
     have caused these our letters to be made Patent. Witness Ourself at
     Westminster, the thirty-first day of March, in the second year of
     Our Reign. (1821.)

     "By Writ of Privy Seal,

                       "(Signed)    BATHURST."

And whereas it is deemed expedient for the interests of the said
College, and for the augmentation of its funds, and for the better and
more easy management of its affairs and the government of the said
College, to make certain alterations in the provisions of the said
hereinbefore recited and existing Letters Patent, which said alterations
are and have been assented to by the said Royal Institution for the
Advancement of Learning and by the said Corporation of the said

Now Know Ye, that We, of Our special Grace, certain Knowledge and mere
motion, have willed, ordained and granted, and by these presents do, for
Us, Our Heirs, and Successors, will, ordain and grant that henceforth
from the date hereof, the members of the Royal Institution aforesaid for
the time being shall be and remain Governors of the said College, and
shall have and exercise all and every the powers, authority and
jurisdiction given and granted unto the Governors nominated and
appointed in and by the said Letters Patent, save only in so far as the
provisions of the said Letters Patent in that behalf are or may be by
these presents altered; and shall also have and exercise all and every
the powers, authority and jurisdiction given and granted under and by
virtue of these presents;

And We do further by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will and ordain, that henceforth from the date hereof, the Governor of
Lower Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada, the
Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, the Bishop of Quebec, the Chief
Justice of Montreal, the Chief Justice of Upper Canada, and the
Principal of the said College, shall not, nor shall any or either of
them, as such Governor of Lower Canada, Lieutenant-Governor of Lower
Canada, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Bishop of Quebec, Chief
Justice of Montreal, Chief Justice of Upper Canada, and Principal of the
said College, be Governor of the said College, or use or exercise any
power, authority or jurisdiction in or over the same in any manner or
way whatsoever.

And We do further, by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will, ordain and grant, that the said College shall consist of one
Principal, of such and so many Professors in the various Arts and
Faculties as from time to time may be judged necessary and expedient by
the said Governors, and of Fellows, Tutors and Scholars, in such numbers
and at such Salaries, and subject to such provisions, rules and
regulations as shall be appointed by the Statutes, Rules and Ordinances
of the said College; that save and except for the purposes hereinafter
specially mentioned and excepted, three of the said Governors shall be a
sufficient number to be present at any meeting for the transaction of
the ordinary business of the said College; that the determination of all
questions, matters and things submitted to the said Governors at their
meetings shall be made by the votes of the majority of those present,
including the vote of the Governor presiding at such meeting, who shall
have a double or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes
thereat; that the President or Principal for the time being of the said
Royal Institution, in all cases when present, shall preside at the said
meetings, and in his absence the member of the said Royal Institution
first or senior in order of appointment of those present at the meeting,
shall preside thereat; that the Principal and all the Professors of the
said College shall from time to time be elected by the said Governors or
the major part of them present at a meeting specially convened and
holden for the purpose of such election, and shall and may hold their
respective offices subject to the right and power of a motion by the
said Governors for the time being, at a meeting specially convened and
holden for the said purpose; provided always that no less than five of
the said Governors shall be present at every such special meeting for
the purpose of election or amotion, and that special notice in writing
of the time, place and object of every special meeting, by the Secretary
of the said College, addressed to each of the said Governors, shall have
been delivered by the said Secretary into the Post Office of the said
City of Montreal at least fifteen days before the time appointed for
such meeting; that within forty-eight hours after every such election or
amotion, notice thereof in writing, sealed with the College Seal, signed
by the Secretary of the said College or in his absence by the Governor
who shall have presided at the meeting whereat such election or amotion
shall have been voted, and addressed to Our Visitor of the said College
hereinafter mentioned, for the time being, shall be delivered into the
Post Office of the said City of Montreal; that every such election or
amotion shall be subject to the review of Our said Visitor, whose
determination thereon being signified in writing to the said Governors
within sixty days after such delivery as aforesaid at the said Post
Office of the City of Montreal, of the said notice of such election or
amotion, shall be final and conclusive, unless the same by any order or
orders to be by Us, Our Heirs or Successors made in Our or Their Privy
Council shall be altered, revoked or disallowed as hereinafter is
provided; that during the said last-mentioned period of sixty days the
said election or amotion, as the case may be, shall have no force or
effect; and that failing such signification within the said
last-mentioned period, such election or amotion shall be and be held and
taken to be by him approved and confirmed;

And We do further by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will and ordain, that henceforth from the date hereof such election
shall not be required to be notified to Us, Our Heirs and Successors, in
the manner provided and required in and by the said Letters Patent, or
in any other manner or way whatsoever;

And We do further by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will, ordain and grant, that the said Governors, Principal and Fellows,
and their Successors forever, shall be one body politic and corporate,
by the name of "The Governors, Principal and Fellows of McGill College,"
and by the said name shall have perpetual succession, and a common seal,
and shall by the same name sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded,
and answer and be answered unto, in every Court of Us, Our Heirs and
Successors, henceforth from the date hereof, and shall no longer be
known by the name in the said Letters Patent mentioned, and shall retain
all and every the property, franchises, rights and privileges granted
under and by virtue of the said Letters Patent, and belonging to the
said Corporation immediately before the date hereof, and shall be and
remain liable to all claims and duties to which immediately before the
date hereof they were subject, save only in so far as by these presents
may be otherwise specially provided;

And We do further by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will, ordain and grant, to the said Governors, Principal and Fellows,
and their Successors, by the name aforesaid, full authority and free
license to have, take, purchase, and hold, to them and their Successors
to and for the use of the said College, any goods, chattels or personal
property whatsoever; and also that by the name aforesaid they shall be
able and capable in law, notwithstanding any Statutes or Statute of
mortmain, law, usage or custom whatsoever to the contrary, to have,
take, purchase and hold to them and their Successors to and for the use
of said College, any other Manors, Rectories, Advowsons, Messuages,
Lands, tenements, rents and hereditaments of what kind, nature, or
quality soever, over and above the manors, rectories, advowsons,
messuages, lands, tenements, rents and hereditaments in the said Letter
Patent mentioned of the yearly value of six thousand pounds above all
charges as in the said Letters Patent is set forth, but not for the
purpose or with the view of reselling the same; provided always, that
the whole shall not exceed the yearly value of Twelve thousand pounds
above all charges, such annual value to be calculated and ascertained at
the period of taking, purchasing or acquiring the same;

And We do further by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
appoint as our Visitor in and over for the said College, Our Governor
General of Our said Province of Canada, for the time being, or in his
absence the Administrator of the Government of the same for the time
being; who shall exercise, use and enjoy all and every the powers and
authority of a Visitor, for and in the name and behalf of Us, Our Heirs
and Successors, of the said College in all matters and things connected
with the said College, as to him shall seem meet, according to the
tenor and effect of these presents, and of the laws in force in Our
Realm of England in relation to such powers and authority;

And We do further by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
revoke and annul the power and authority in and by the said Letters
Patent given and granted to the members for the time being of the Royal
Institution for the Advancement of Learning, to be Visitors of the said
College; and do will and ordain that henceforth from the date of these
presents the power and authority so given and granted to the said
members of the said Royal Institution to be such Visitors, shall
absolutely cease and determine, and shall not be exercised or used by
them or any of them;

And We do further by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors,
will, ordain and declare that the Statutes, Rules and Ordinances from
time to time framed and made by the said Governors of the said College,
touching the matters and things in the said Letters Patent and in these
presents enumerated, or any thereof, or for the revoking, augmenting or
altering of any Statutes, Rules or Ordinances theretofore framed and
made, so always as the same be not repugnant to the Laws of Our Realm or
of Our said Province of Canada, or to the objects and provisions of this
Our Charter, shall have full force and effect, without the Allowance and
Confirmation of Us, Our Heirs and Successors, as ordained in and by the
said Letters Patent; provided always, that a certified Copy of all such
Statutes, Rules and Ordinances, sealed with the College Seal and
addressed to Our said Visitor of the said College for the time being,
shall have been delivered into the Post Office of the said City of
Montreal, and that the same shall not have been disallowed by Our said
Visitor, and such disallowance signified in writing to the said
Governors, within sixty days after such delivery of such Copy into the
said Post Office;

And We do by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, expressly
save and reserve to Us, Our Heirs and Successors, the power of
receiving, and by any order or orders to be by Us, or Them made in Our
or Their Privy Council revising, confirming, altering, revoking or
disallowing, all or any of the decisions, sentences or orders so as
aforesaid from time to time by the said Visitor to be made and rendered
in reference to any such Statutes, Rules and Ordinances, or the
disallowing thereof, or in reference to any matter or thing whatsoever,
as to which any power or authority is by these presents given and
granted to him;

And We do by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, will,
ordain and grant, that nothing herein contained shall be held,
construed or considered to have in any manner or way whatsoever revoked,
cancelled, abrogated or altered the provisions, powers, authorities and
grants in and by the said Letters Patent ordained and granted, or any
thereof, save and except in the particulars hereinbefore specially and
expressly set forth; but that all and every the said provisions, powers,
authorities and grants in and by the said Letters Patent ordained and
granted, shall subsist and continue in full force and effect, save and
except in the particulars aforesaid, in the same manner as if these Our
Letters Patent had never been made, ordained or granted; And We do
further by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, grant and
declare that these Our Letters Patent, or the enrolment or
exemplification thereof, shall be in all things valid and effectual in
the Law according to the true intent and meaning of the same, and shall
be taken, construed and adjudged in the most favorable and beneficial
sense for the best advantage of the said College, and of the said
Governors, Principal, Fellows and Scholars thereof, as well in Our
Courts of Record as elsewhere, and by all and singular Judges, Justices,
Officers, Ministers and other subjects whatsoever of Us, Our Heirs and
Successors, any misrecital, non-recital, omission, imperfection, defect,
matter, cause or thing whatsoever to the contrary thereof in any wise

In witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent.

Witness Ourself at Our Palace at Westminster, this sixth day of July, in
the sixteenth year of Our Reign. (1852.)

By Her Majesty's command,

(Signed)        EDMUNDS.



On November 20th, 1899, the day after Sir William Dawson's death, a
Memorial Service, attended by Governors, Professors, and students, was
held in Molson Hall. Principal Peterson in his address said:

"Since we met in our various classrooms last week, a great and good life
has been brought to its appointed end. Sir William Dawson had
considerably overpassed the span of life of which the Psalmist speaks:
it was 'by reason of strength' that it was for him well-nigh fourscore
years. Ever since he assumed the Principalship in November, 1855--that
is, for a period of exactly forty-four years--he has been the most
prominent figure connected with this University. The last years of his
life--since 1893--have been spent, it is true, in retirement from active
work, but he has been with us in spirit all this time. Many of us know
how closely, and with what a fatherly interest, he has followed all our
later history. And now his life has closed, in great physical weakness,
but happily unaccompanied by distress or suffering:

    "'Of no distemper, of no blast he died,
      But fell like autumn fruit that mellow'd long.'

"Busy, active and strenuous all his days, he must have chafed, I fancy,
during recent years under a growing sense of uselessness--almost an
impatience at being laid aside from work, which had been to him so long
the very breath of life; yet none ever said with more simple, childlike
resignation, 'Thy way, not mine!' For such a painless passing out of
life, no vote of sorrow need be struck. There is no sting in a death
like his: the grave is not his conqueror. Rather has death been
swallowed up in victory--the victory of a full and complete life, marked
by earnest endeavour, untiring industry, continuous devotion and
self-sacrifice, together with an abiding and ever-present sense of
dependence on the will of Heaven. His work was done, to quote the
Puritan poet's noble line: 'As ever in his great taskmaster's eye'; and
never for a moment did he waver in his feeling of personal
responsibility to a personal God. Others will speak to you of his
record as a scientific man. I shall permit myself only to say that few
can have an adequate idea of the power and forcefulness revealed in the
mere fact that one who had so onerous a part to play as a college head
should have been able to keep up scientific work at all. A weaker nature
would have exhausted itself in the problems of administration.

"He, himself, has left it on record, in his paper entitled,
'Thirty-eight Years of McGill,' that these years were 'filled with
anxieties and cares, and with continuous and almost unremitting labour.'
There are on my library table at the present time three volumes, in
which three college presidents may be said to have summed up the
lifework it has been given them to do for the institutions with which
they were severally connected--Caird of Glasgow, Eliot of Harvard, and
Gilman of Johns Hopkins. The first was a massive intellect which, in the
security of a long-established university system, delighted to deal, in
a series of addresses to the Glasgow students, with such subjects as the
unity and progressiveness of the sciences, the study of history, the
study of art, and the place in human development of Erasmus and Galileo,
Bacon, Hume and Bishop Butler. The two American Presidents have lived
more in the concrete, and they have put on record their attitude to, and
their methods of dealing with, the various problems they have had to
face in the educational world in which their work has been done.
Alongside their memorial volumes I like to place a still more
unpretending collection of 'Educational Papers,' which Sir William
Dawson circulated among his friends. They mark the various stages, full
of struggle and stress at every point, of his college administration,
and they form a record of what he was able to accomplish--apart from his
work as a geologist--in the sphere of education, for the High School and
the Normal School of this city, for the schools of the province, and
above all for McGill itself, which he found in 1855 a mere college with
eighty students, and which he raised to the level of a great university
with over a thousand.

"Not even in his well-earned retirement could he permit himself to be
idle. To me, one of the most touching sights in the first year of my
arrival here, was the indomitable perseverance with which every day the
well-known figure of the old Principal would make its way, bag in hand,
across the campus to the museum he loved so well, there to work for a
time among the valuable collections which the University owes to his
zeal, industry and devotion. It was in 1841 that he published his first
scientific paper, and the activity which began then was continued down
to the Thursday in the week before his death, when some reference to the
mining industry of this country suggested to him that once more with
failing hand and wearied brain he should put pen to paper on the subject
of the 'Gold of Ophir.' And now he has entered into his
rest,--affectionately tended to the last by the gentle care of a devoted
and heroic wife, and solaced by the presence of a distinguished son and
loving daughter. The world had no power to hold him any more. His work
was done and his spirit yearned to pass beyond all earthly bounds.

"He is gone and we shall see his living face no more. But teachers and
students alike may have ever with them the inspiration of his noble life
and the stimulus of his high example. What he was to those who were so
long his colleagues I leave others on this occasion to set before us. My
closing words to the students of McGill must be the expression of a
confident hope that the record of Sir William's life and work will
always be an abiding memory in this place. If you will bear it about
with you in your hearts, not only will you be kept from lip service,
slackness, half-heartedness in your daily duties,--and from the graver
faults of youth at which his noble soul would have revolted,--from
dishonesty, sensuality and impurity in every form,--but you will be
able, each in his sphere, to realise more fully the ideal of goodness
and truth, so that at the last you, too, may hear the voices whispering
as they have now spoken to him,--'Well done, thou good and faithful
servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'"



On January 16th, 1921, a University Service in Memory of Sir William
Peterson was held in the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, of which Sir
William was a member and where he had worshipped during his twenty-four
years in Canada. The following memorial address was given by the Rev.
Principal D. J. Fraser (Arts '93), D.D., LL.D., of the Presbyterian

"Sir William Peterson had a fine reverence for sacred things and a keen
appreciation of church worship. In the absence of a college chapel,
which leaves McGill still lacking one note of catholicity, it is fitting
that the Service to his memory, although a distinctively University
Service, should be held in this Church where he worshipped with both the
understanding and the spirit during the twenty-four years of his life
amongst us. He had the Scot's proverbial taste for a good sermon, and he
exacted that the pulpit should deal with Christianity as a rational
religion and should make its appeal to the intelligence of the people.
Knowing as he did that the Bible is the foundation not only of
individual and national character but also of a comprehensive culture,
and regretting that many children through home neglect had their only
knowledge of it from the lessons heard in church, he pleaded that the
Scriptures be reverently and clearly read. He was one of our highest
authorities on hymnology and church music; he loved to join in singing
the familiar psalms and paraphrases and hymns, and he appreciated as few
in the congregation could the majestic anthems rendered by the choir. He
never wantonly absented himself from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
the Presbyterian ritual of which, in close keeping with the form of the
original Holy Meal, naturally appealed to him. Intellectual and
mystical, historical and sacramental elements entered into his worship.

"I think his last diet of public worship, except the one at which he was
stricken, was a Memorial Service in this Church to those who would not
return from overseas, when I gave the sermon on a text chosen from those
immortal verses of poetic beauty which have just been read by his
successor (Revelation 22:4-5). Those, however, who laid down their
lives for the cause of Empire and Humanity do not all sleep in Flanders
and in France. Although in delicate physical health, he threw himself
with abandon into the grim struggle from its very outset; he undertook
the work of colleagues who had enlisted; he carried in his heart a
tender solicitude for the lads from McGill who were exposed to peril; he
acted almost as confidential adviser to the Government's Department of
Militia; he advocated ceaselessly by voice and pen the cause so dear to
his patriotic soul, until he inevitably broke under the strain; and
to-day we memorialise as bonnie a fighter and as genuine a hero as any
whose name is on our military Roll of Honour.

"Sir William Peterson was greatest as a scholar. It is hardly necessary
that I refer to his brilliant career as a classical student at Edinburgh
and Oxford, his priceless legacy to scholarship in the works of the
Latin authors he edited and translated, his successful administration of
University College, Dundee, at an extremely difficult time in its
history, and his guidance of the affairs of McGill during its period of
phenomenal growth from 1895 to 1919; for many of you who were his
colleagues are better qualified than I to estimate the value of these
activities. He preserved to the end the instincts and habits of the
scholar. When he enjoyed a period of freedom from his administrative
duties it was to the libraries of America and Europe that he gravitated
in the scholar's quest for old documents that would yield the scholar's
joy of new discovery; and on his last holiday visit to Scotland,
deprived by the war of access to the libraries of the Continent, he
happened upon an unpublished document of the seventeenth century by what
he modestly called 'a lucky chance.' We know, however, that these happy
finds come only to those who have the genius of the literary discoverer,
and characteristic of the textual critic is his parting message to us in
his delightful description of his new-found treasure given in a magazine
article under the prophetic title--'A Last Will and Testament.'

"As an educationalist Sir William Peterson was a mediator between the
champions of pure learning and the advocates of the practical sciences.
To him the University had a two-fold function; first 'to make good
citizens,' and second 'to hand on the torch of knowledge to successive
generations of students.' He believed that in order of teaching pure
learning should precede applied science, that classical subjects should
precede professional; but in spite of his Oxford training he could never
be accused of sacrificing the practical in the University to the
disciplinary. He recognised that the development of the pure sciences
was effected in history by the practical needs of life and that the
marvels of modern scientific activity are based on abstract and
theoretical learning. He found a place for the classical and the
specialised, the humanistic and the utilitarian, and his ideal was that
the University should give practical men a sound training in theory and
also keep theory in touch with practice. It was a blessing to McGill and
to education in Canada that we had as our guide a believer in the
humanities at a time when our youthful enthusiasm for the practical was
in danger of blinding us to the ideal of our educational ancestors that
the function of the school is to develop men and women of character.

"Principal Peterson was widely known as an ardent champion of
Imperialism, although here he failed to carry with him some of his
warmest Canadian friends; but it is not so generally known that he did a
great and needed work on this Continent in the interests of Anglo-Saxon
unity. He frequently visited the United States and gave addresses to
universities, learned societies, Canadian clubs and similar influential
groups, and he always appealed for mutual good-will between the two
children of the same British mother. In fact he earned a more generous
recognition there than in Canada or in Great Britain. Harvard and
Princeton, Yale and Johns Hopkins conferred their highest honour on the
representative of our national University, and acknowledged that it was
not a mere international compliment but a real recognition of a scholar
who had made lasting contributions to the cause of higher learning and
human progress. He was also elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of
the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Holding an
almost unique place among the College Presidents on this Continent, his
words reached influential audiences and carried great weight. His first
visit to the United States was in 1896, during the first year of his
incumbency at McGill for the purpose of addressing the Phi Beta Kappa
Alumni of New York, and he chose for his theme 'The Relations of the
English-speaking Peoples.' It was the time of the Venezuela incident
when there was imminent danger of misunderstanding between Britain and
America. His plea for friendship is of special interest to us to-day
when there is a highly organised propaganda for stirring up strife
between the two nations, a propaganda that is causing real anxiety to
the spiritual descendants of Britain in Canada and New England. In these
chaotic days we do well to heed and herald his message on that occasion.
'It is well-nigh inconceivable,' he said, 'that in this age of the
world's progress the two representatives of Anglo-Saxon civilization
will ever enter on a fratricidal struggle to decide which shall be the
greater.... The best guarantees for the continuance of mutual good-will
are surely to be found in that of which I know we are all equally
proud--community of race, language, literature, religion and
institutions, together with the glorious traditions of a common
history.... A racial federation between Britain and America would
probably prove a potent factor in hastening the era of general
disarmament.... The authority, more fortunate even than President
Monroe, will lay impossible, and then it will be seen that every man who
by rash action or hasty word makes the preservation of peace difficult
has committed a crime not only against his own country but against
civilization itself.' That last sentence obviously referred to President
Cleveland. I was a student at Harvard at the time and every Professor
whose classes I attended took the same attitude. By such appeals
Principal Peterson helped to strengthen the body of American opinion
that exists to-day against the intolerable thought of strife between the
two peoples who have lived for more than a century in peace and harmony
and mutual affection, and his weighty words are a warning to Canadians
who share his imperialistic ideals against irresponsible criticisms of
our friends and neighbours to the South. His Imperialism, while it gave
him the vision of a commonwealth of nations within the British
Possessions, did not blind him to the larger vision of the unity of
English-speaking peoples, and to the still nobler vision of universal
brotherhood of which his fellow-countryman sang under conditions of
unrest very similar to our own:--

    "'Then let us pray that come it may,
    As come it will for a' that,
    That man to man the warld o'er,
    Shall brithers be for a' that.'

"While Dr. Peterson was primarily a scholar and administrator, he was
also a public-spirited citizen who mingled freely with his fellows in
varied walks of life and who identified himself with many movements in
the interests of human welfare. His last public address was to a group
of our Greek fellow-citizens with whose propaganda against Turkish rule
over their brethren in Asia Minor he rightly or wrongly sympathised. His
chief public interest, however, was in education, and he not only served
diligently on the Council of Protestant Instruction for the Province of
Quebec but he gladly gave the encouragement of his presence and counsel
to the teachers in primary and secondary schools throughout Canada at
their annual gatherings; and one of his favourite pleas on these
occasions was for the rightful place of English Literature--and
especially Poetry--in the school curriculum. He magnified the office of
the teacher and deplored the apathy of the public towards those
entrusted with the training of the future manhood and womanhood of the
nation. 'No expenditure,' he cried, 'is considered too great to be
grudged on war and armaments by land and by sea, on construction works
such as railways, bridges, harbours and naval stations, but the needs of
the common school rouse little, if any, interest or enthusiasm. And yet
it is there that the national character is being moulded.' He never
ceased to protest against the narrow idea that education consists merely
in the acquiring of knowledge and is to be measured by success in
examinations; and he constantly held up to the teachers of youth the
need of caring for such things as 'good manners, courtesy, consideration
for others, respect for seniors, friendly politeness towards all.' He
was also an enthusiastic supporter of the teaching of music in the
public schools. He saw what had been accomplished by training in this
department in Scotland and Germany, for example, among peoples not
naturally musical, and he feared that through our neglect we might
become a songless race. Himself finding in music one of his exquisite
delights, he endeavoured to bring to the rural districts its elevating
and enriching influence.

"Although not a social reformer in the popular sense of that term, he
was deeply interested in efforts for the betterment of the community;
and especially in the last years of his active life the social situation
in Montreal weighed heavily on his heart and conscience. He beheld the
city from his uptown coign of vantage and the vision troubled him. The
social evils of this great commercial centre challenged him to do
something for the alleviation of distress, the improvement of housing
conditions, the prevention of such slums as are a blot on the fair city
which gave him birth, the reduction of the infant mortality which is a
scandal to our population and the bringing of the simple joys and
pleasures of life to the greatest possible number. He saw so many worthy
separate agencies trying to grapple with the social problem without
unity of purpose and co-ordination of effort, he saw the churches so
relatively powerless to effect any appreciable cure because of their
sectarian divisions, that he dreamed a dream that McGill University
might do in this respect what the existing agencies and churches were
helpless to effect, that it might become not only the inspirer of a
great passion for social redemption and not merely a school for the
scientific training of social workers, but also a unifying centre of our
manifold social efforts where existing agencies might be strengthened
and stimulated and co-ordinated. This is really the thought that lay
behind his organizing the Department of Social Service in the
University. Whatever we may think of his method of ministering to the
crying social needs of our time and place, we cannot doubt the sincerity
of his purpose and the intensity of his desire. It was also his
solicitude for the students coming up from the country and smaller towns
to this populous centre, exposed to the moral perils of a great city,
that kept him strongly appealing for dormitories under University
supervision and control, an appeal to which we turned a strangely deaf
ear, but to which, we are thankful to say, he lived long enough to see a
fairly generous response.

"One hesitates to refer to the personal qualities that endeared him to
his intimate friends. I always detected in his life a certain undefined
loneliness. The scholar's shyness and the isolation of his exalted
position hardly account for it. A humanistic scholar in a University
where the practical departments were making greatest progress, engrossed
in his intellectual interests in the solitude of his upper chamber while
the busy commercial world went heedless by, always leisurely in the
midst of a most active life, a man of religious reticence who was
misunderstood because he did not make a noisy profession of his faith,
an old countryman in a new land that he never could quite call 'home,' a
controversialist skilled only in the use of the rapier and compelled at
times to enter the lists with those who wielded the bludgeon, a subtle
humourist who must 'carry on' with the prosaic and matter-of-fact, a
lover of his own fireside who must of necessity be socially advertised
with the vulgar, his spirit dwelt apart from the busy world in which he

"Loyalty was the supreme virtue in his ethical code, and disloyalty was
to him the unpardonable sin. No man could have done for McGill what he
did and not make academic enemies. He found a group of professional
schools, each more or less autonomous, and he transformed it into a
University. His ideal of the unity of learning made it necessary that he
should run counter to the traditions of the various schools in seeking
to co-ordinate all departments of study, and he exposed himself to
criticism, just as President Eliot of Harvard did in his similar work
for his University; but I never heard him speak a disloyal word of any
of his colleagues. No man could have advocated Imperialism as he did
without making political enemies, and many a vigorous attack was made on
him by young Canadians; but I do not recall any spoken word or any
printed sentence of his that dragged his advocacy of Imperialism into
the realm of party politics or personal controversy. I know how true and
generous he was to one of his friends who always found in him a
congenial fellow-worker in the things of the spirit. I also know how
large a place he kept in his heart for the students,--rejoicing in
their success, proud of their manly conduct, heart-sad over the tragedy
of guilt and shame that befell any one of them. He had a warm heart,
although he did not wear it on his sleeve for daws to peck at. To me as
I go about the College yard he is a spiritual presence, summoning me to
do my best, to be accurate, fearless, loyal to the truth as I know the
truth, and loyal to those for whom I hold the truth in stewardship; and
such a spiritual comrade he will be while memory lasts. My experience is
that of many of you who were fond of him and of whom he was fond, and
our tribute to his memory, while quite unworthy, has at least, what he
would most desire, the merit of sincerity.

"Students of McGill, our former Principal is gone and we shall see his
living face no more. But the stimulus of his high example remains with
us. It is fitting in conclusion that I repeat to you the inspiring and
earnest words with which he ended his address to the students at the
Memorial Service to his illustrious predecessor, Sir William Dawson,
twenty-one years ago:--'My closing words to the students of McGill,' he
said, 'must be the expression of a confident hope that the record of Sir
William's life and work will be an abiding memory in this place. If you
will bear it about with you in your hearts, not only will you be kept
from lip-service, slackness, half-heartedness in your daily duties, and
from the graver faults of youth at which his noble soul would have
revolted, from dishonesty, sensuality and impurity in any form, but you
will be able, each in his sphere, to realise more fully the ideal of
goodness and truth, so that at the last you, too, may hear the voices
whispering, as they have now spoken to him, "Well done, thou good and
faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."'"


Abbott, Rev. John, 181, 195, 204

Abbott, Rev. Joseph, 76, 163, 169, 176

Abbott, Rev. W., 76

Academical Year, 214, 215

Adams, Dr. Frank D., 266

Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition, 208

Am. Association for the Advancement of Science, 241

Am. Geological Association, 241

Anderson, T. B., 207

Anglican Bishop of Quebec, 73

Anglican Cathedral in Quebec, 58

Arnold, Matthew, 256

Arts Building, 207, 257

Atkinson, Rev. A. F., 76

Aylmer, Lord, 92, 95, 98

Badgley, Hon. W., 188, 195

Bagot, Sir Charles, 137

Banffshire, Scotland, 38, 222

Bank of British North America, 175, 182

Bathurst, Lord, 52, 56, 57, 59, 62, 63, 285

Beaver Club, 31

Bennington, Vermont, 204

Bethune, Rev. John, 33, 100, 102, 104, 105, 109, 110, 118, 120, 121, 132,
  137, 156, 166, 168, 170, 171, 172, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 184, 188

Bishop of Nova Scotia, 34

Black, Rev. E., 76, 97

Blackwood, Thos., 32

Blake, John, 30

Bloomer, Amelia Jenks, 248

Board of Visitors, 165, 179

Braithwaite, Rev. I., 76

Branches of Academical Education, 49

British Association, 240, 241

Brockville, 103

Burnside House, 40, 64, 71, 95, 104, 109, 120, 123, 124, 126, 128, 129,
  195, 207, 277, 281

Burrage, Rev. R. R., 118

Burrage, Wm. S., 118

Burton, Sir F. N., 68

Caldwell, Dr. Wm., 86, 92

Caird, Pres. of Glasgow, 292

Cambridge, 47

Campbell, Dr., 203

Canadian Officers Training Corps, 261

Caput, The, 159, 187, 212, 213

Carleton, General Guy, 30

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 263

Carpenter, Dr., 233

Cartier, Hon. Mr., 230

Central Arts Building, 134

Chapel of Jesuits' College, 33

Chapman, Mr. E., 157, 161, 176

Chemistry and Mining, 233

Christ Church, 33, 100, 103

Christie, Wm. P., 106

Church, Anglican, 35

Church at Cornwall, 35

Church of England, 34, 48, 49, 80, 103

Church of the Recollet Fathers, 33

Church of Scotland, 34, 80, 102, 106

Church, St. Gabriel Street Presbyterian, 34, 35, 38, 39

Clergy Reserves, 25

Cleveland, Pres., 297

Cochrane, Mr. A. W., 66, 104

Colborne, Sir John, 120, 125, 129, 130

College Chaplain, 176

Colonial Office, 96, 107, 176, 180

Coltman, Wm. Bachelor, 56

Congreg. College, 234

Constitutional Act by the Home Government in 1791, 32

Cornwall, Upper Canada, 277

Corporation of the University, 250

Currie, Sir Arthur, 266

Dalhousie College, Halifax, 226

Davidson, 206

Dawson, Jas., 222, 223

Dawson, Wm., 210, 211, 219, 220, 221, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 231,
  234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 242, 246, 248, 249, 251, 252, 253, 254,
  255, 256, 257, 258, 260, 291, 292, 293, 300

Day, Hon. Judge Chas. Dewey, 204, 205, 206, 251

Dean of Ardagh, 185

Delisle, Rev. David Charbrand, 30, 33

Dep't of Soc. Service, 298

De Sola, Rev. A., 196

Desrivières, Francis, 32, 37, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 98, 278, 279, 280

Desrivières, Henri, 98

Desrivières, James McGill, 98

Desrivières, Joseph A. T., 30, 31

de St. Real, Vallières, 67

Diocesan College, 234

Divinity Hall, 260

Donaldas, 253, 258

Dorchester Street, 40

Drummond, Sir Gordon, 52, 56, 58

Duke of Portland, 23

Duke of Richmond, 62, 63

Dunkin, 206

Dunlop, James, 37, 39, 277, 278, 279, 280

DuPlessis, Rev. J. O., 55, 56, 57

Durocher, J. B., 32

East Ward of Montreal, 39

Edinburgh High School, 256

Edmunds, 290

Elgin, Lord, 196, 200, 227

Eliot, Pres., of Harvard, 292, 299

Endowment Fund, 44

Eozoon, 240

Essay on Projects, 248

Esson, Rev. H., 76

Evangelical Alliance, 240

Executive Council of Lower Canada, 23

Faculty of Applied Science, 186, 236, 238

Faculty of Agriculture, 259

Fallon, Rev. Doctor, 157

Fargues, Dr., 88, 89

Ferrier, Jas., 207

Finlay, James, 30

Fleming, Mr., 135

Forsyth, Richardson and Co., 38

Foucault, Claire Genevieve, 31

Fraser, Rev. D. J., 294

Frothingham property, 260

Geddes, Sir Auckland, 265

Geological Society, 240

Geological Survey of Canada, 226

Gerrard, Samuel, 106

Gilman, Pres., of Johns Hopkins, 292

Gladstone, Right Hon. W. E., 175, 177, 181

Glasgow University, 29, 361

Gosford, Lord, 100

Government House, 184

Governors, Principal and Fellows of McGill, 288

Graduates' Society, 233

Graves, Very Rev. Richard, 185

Gray, Edward, 30

Greenock, 222

Grey, Lord, 196, 198

Griffin, Mr., 66

Guerin, T., 195

Guillemin, Mrs. Marie Charlotte, 30, 31

Guillemin, William, 31

Halifax, 42

Harkness, Rev. Doctor, 80

Harrington, Dr., 233, 257

Harvard University, 296, 297

Head, Sir Edmund, 226, 227, 230

Hewitt, F., 195

"His Majesty's Justices of the Peace," 41

Holmes, Benjamin, 207

Holmes, Dr. Andrew F., 86, 88, 92, 120, 184

Howe, Joseph, 226

Hudson Bay Co., 205

Huntingdonshire, 73

Huntley, Richard, 30

Island of Skye, Scotland, 102

Jacques Cartier Square, 195

Jesuits' Estates, 46, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66

Johnson, Dr. Alexander, 238, 259

Johns Hopkins University, 296

Joseph property, 259

Keith, 222

Kelly, 71

Kempt, Sir James, 92

King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland, 35, 97, 102

Kingston, Ontario, 35, 139

Lachine, 39

Ladies' Educational Assoc. of Montreal, 252

Landsdowne, 206

Law property, 260

Leach, Rev. W. T., 177, 187, 195, 196, 204, 238

Legislative Council, 18

Library, 135, 136, 169

Lincolnshire, 73

Littlehales, Rev. Thomas, 97

Lockhart, Rev. S. J., 99

Logan, Sir Wm., 226

Logie, Wm., 93

Lonerig, Parish of Salamannan, 223

Lord Dalhousie, 62

Lord Hobart, 25

Lundy, Rev. F. J., 141, 161, 163, 168, 176

Lyell, Sir Charles, 226

Lyman, Hannah Willard, 249, 251

Lyman, Hannah Willard Memorial Fund, 251

McCord, John Samuel, 106

McCord National Museum, 260

McGill, Andrew, 30, 34, 35

McGill No. 6 Siege Battery, 261

McGill Canadian Officers Training Corps, 262

McGill General Hospital, 261

McGill, James, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 57, 58, 59,
  60, 61, 63, 64, 77, 81, 85, 86, 98, 103, 107, 139, 152, 167, 201, 221,
  222, 227, 271, 272, 281, 282

McGill, Mrs. James, 31, 32, 64

McGill Medical School, 235

McGill, Hon. Peter, 106

McGill Union, 260

McKenzie, Alex., 98

Maccallum, Dr. D. C., 216

MacCulloch, Dr. Thomas, 203, 225

Macdonald Chemistry and Mining Bldg., 257

Macdonald College, 259, 265

Macdonald Engineering Building, 40, 238, 257, 259

Macdonald Park, 260

Macdonald Physics Building, 238, 257

Macdonald, Sir Wm., 238, 242, 257, 258, 259, 260

Mack's Hotel, 195

Medical Faculty of Montreal, 122, 173, 174, 185, 234, 235

Mercer, Margaret, 226

Meredith, Edmund A., 184, 185, 186, 204

Meredith, Rev. Thomas, 185

Metcalfe, Lord, 143, 145, 160, 161, 169, 175, 197, 198

Mills, Rev. Doctor J. L., 76, 79

Milnes, Sir R. S. Gov.-General, 19

Milton Street, 40

Moffat, Hon. George, 106, 120

Molson Hall, 233, 239, 240, 251, 291

Molson, John H. R., 242

Molson, Mrs. John, 252

Molson, Percival, 260

Molson property, 260

Molson Stadium, 260, 264

Molson, Wm., 232, 233, 242

Molson, Mrs. Wm., 233

Monk, James, 55, 56

Montgomery, General Richard, 30

Montier, L. D., 187, 194, 195, 196

Montreal Gazette, 75

Montreal General Hospital, 39, 86, 261

Montreal Medical Institution, 86, 87, 88, 89, 92

Monroe, Pres., 297

Morrin College, 234

Mount Royal, 40

Mountain, Rev. Dr. Jacob, Lord Bishop of Quebec, 19, 55, 56, 73

Mountain, Rev. Geo. Jehosophat, 71, 73, 76, 79, 93, 97, 99, 106, 127,
  128, 161, 169, 178

Moyse, Chas. E., 259, 266

Murray, Prof. Clark, 252

Nelson's Market, 195

Norman, Rev. A., 76

North-West Co., 30

O'Connor, 70

Ogden, Mr., 67

Osler, Wm., 235

Oxford, 47

Parliament of Lower Canada, 39

Pelton, Mr., 136, 137, 138

Peter Redpath Library, 233

Peter Redpath Museum, 233, 237

Peterson, Dr. Wm., 240, 258, 260, 263, 264, 265, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297

Phi Beta Kappa Alumni of New York, 296

Phillips Square, 109

Philosophical Apparatus, 136

Physics Building, 40

Pictou, Nova Scotia, 210, 222, 223, 225, 226

Pointe aux Trembles, 34

Porteous, John, 30

Presbyt. College, 234

Prince Edward Island, 238

Princess Pat. Canadian Light Infantry, 262

Princeton University, 296

Protestant Congregation of Montreal, 33

Protestant Episcopal Congregation of Montreal, 34

Protestant Episcopal Parish Church of Montreal, 142

Provincial Legislature, 45, 196

Provincial Parliament, 46

Quebec, 41

Ramsay, Rev. James, 97, 176, 206

Rankine, Mary, 223

Rankine, Wm., 223

Rebellion Losses Bill, 186, 200

Rebellion of 1837, 111, 204

Redpath, Peter, 237, 239, 242

Reid, Hon. James, 37, 39, 64, 65, 67, 76, 106, 180, 277, 278, 279, 280

Reid, John, 57

Richardson, John, 37, 38, 56, 60, 64, 65, 67, 277, 278, 279, 280

Richmond, College, 234

Robertson, Dr. Wm., 86, 92, 106, 120

Robinson, Hon. J. Beverley, 200

Roman Catholics, 46, 47

Romish Church, 57

Royal Charter, 76, 167

Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, 25, 37, 44, 59, 63, 64,
  65, 66, 67, 74, 77, 104, 105, 106, 107, 204, 205, 277, 278, 279, 280,
  281, 282, 285, 286, 287

Royal Society, 240, 241

Royal Victoria College, 254, 258

Royal Victoria Hospital, 261

Rutherford, Prof. Ernest, 238

Salaries, 26

Sanscrainte, 277

Sewell, Jonathan, 55, 56, 66

Sherbrooke Street, 40, 41, 113, 117, 126, 193, 207, 232, 260

Simcoe, General, 18

Simpson, Rev. G. F., 187

Skakel, Mr. Alex., 97, 231

Smith, Sir Donald, 242, 252, 253, 254, 258

Somerville, Rev. James, 34, 35, 40

Sparke, Dr. Alexander, 56

St. Antoine Street, 41

St. Francis College, 234

St. Lawrence River, 40

St. Anne de Bellevue, 259, 265

Stanley, Lord, 143, 144, 160, 180

Stephenson, Dr. John, 86, 90, 92, 93, 120

Stevens, Rev. B. B., 76

Stewart, Rev. Charles J., 106

Stewart, Dr. James, 74

Strachan, Rev. John, Right Rev. Bishop of Toronto, 19, 35, 36, 37, 38,
  45, 64, 65, 80, 85, 103, 107, 112, 277, 278, 279, 280

Strachan, Mrs., 36

Strathcona, Lord, 242, 254, 258, 259

Superior Education Act, 230

Super. of Education in Nova Scotia, 226, 231

Sutherland, Dr., 203

Todd, Isaac, 31, 32

Trinity College, Cambridge, 73, 157

Trinity College, Dublin, 97, 184, 185

Trustees, The, 26

Trustees of the Royal Institution, 61

Tucker, Hon. R. A., 137

University College, Dundee, Scotland, 256, 257

University Companies, 262

University College, Dundee, 295

University of Edinburgh, 97

University of New Brunswick, 227

University Street, 40

Vassar College, 249

Victoria Bridge, 229

Victoria Institute, 240

Vindication of the Rights of Women, 248

Webster-Ashburton Treaty, 205

Wesleyan College, 234

West Ward of Montreal, 32

Wickes, Professor Wm., 157, 161, 169, 176

Wollstonecraft, Mary, 248

Women's Educational Assoc. of Montreal, 255

Wood, Miss, 35

Wood, Rev. S. T., 97

Workman, Thos., 186, 238, 242

Workman Wing, 238

Yale University, 296

Transcriber's Note: Made the following changes--

Page 60:     Changed the date from December 30, 1816 to December 30, 1815.
Page 80:     Corrected typo--Mr. Cochran changed to Mr. Cochrane.
Page 120:    Corrected typo--Moffatt changed to Moffat.
Page 156:    Corrected typo--Heroditus changed to Herodotus.
Page 175:    Corrected typo--Cote changed to Coté.
Appendix A:  Corrected five instances of Desrivieres to Desrivières.
Index:       Corrected typo--Edmondes changed to Edmonds.
Index:       Corrected typo--Phi Betta changed to Phi Beta.
Index:       Sherbrooke Street--Added page numbers.

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