Borderland Religion 1792-1852 by J.I. Little

Borderland Religion – 1792-1852 – The emergence of an English-Canadian identity – J.I. Little
QFHS Library #HG-100.44 L5 – 385 pages

In December 1811 ‘A Poor Farmer’ in Shipton Township wrote the following plaintive words to the editor of the Québec Gazette:
Eleven years have elapsed since I first entered these woods, with my family, and seven years since my residence in this Township … On my first arrival in these woods, with my wife, both of us about the age of Twenty, we had one child, at present we have six, and have lost three. Our first care and inquiry was, in what manner shall we have our children Baptized, Educated, and taught the true Religion of Christianity. Hope led us to believe, living under so good a Government, we shall shortly have men placed among us for these purposes. Alas, Eleven years are now gone over, and I dont see the least prospect of these blessings.
With what sorrow do I declare that in the Townships, in this District, it is estimated that near Two thousand Children live without Baptism, upward of Six hundred men and women live together without lawful marriage; and that the greatest part of these people have not, for the last Ten years, heard the Word of God on a Sabbath day; as for our dead, they are disposed of in the same manner that most people dispose of a favorite Dog who dies, by placing him quietly under a Tree.

In the 1831 census the largest cohort in the Eastern Townships declared no religious affiliation whatsoever. By this time, however, British missionary societies had been attempting to fill the religious vacuum for more than a decade. Many who declared affiliation with the Church of England were probably doing so because it was the only one available to provide the basic services of baptism, marriage, and burial.
J.I. Little

Other books by J.I. Little, on the subject of the Eastern Townships of Québec;
> Loyalties in Conflict: A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion, 1812-1840
> The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society
> State and Society in Transition: The Politics of Institutional Reform in the Eastern Townships 1838-1852
> Crofters and Habitants: Settler Society, Economy, and Culture in a Quebec Township, 1848-1881
> Nationalism, Capitalism, and Colonization in the Nineteenth Century Quebec: The Upper St Francis District

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.