Page images

the House of Assembly,) issued a Circular in January, 1850, on the subject, to School Superintendents, Ministers and other official persons. In it, he asked for personal opinions on the provisions of the School Acts of 1846, 1847 and the (Cameron) Act of 1849. He requested that he should be furnished with such practical suggestions, in regard to the provisions of a new School Bill, as the writers were prepared to recommend.* The more important of the Replies to his Circular, which Mr. Hincks received, are embodied in Chapter III of this Volume

The whole of these Replies and Suggestions, were transferred by Mr. Hincks to Doctor Ryerson, who, at his request, embodied such of them as were approved in a Draft of Bill, which was largely based upon Drafts of School Bills which Doctor Ryerson had transmitted to the Government in 1848 and 1849* Mr. Hincks submitted this revised Draft of Bill to the House of Assembly in May, 1850, and it was passed into a Law in July of that year. From its comprehensive character it has always been considered as the Charter Act of the School System of Ontario.

A personal incident, affecting Doctor Ryerson, occurred during the passage of the School Bill of 1850 through the House of Assembly. A vigourous attack had been made on the salary of the Chief Superintendent, with a view to reduce it, and the question of his dismissal by the Government, (for having taken a leading part against the Members of that Government in 1844,) came up, in the course of this discussion. In his reply to those who had advocated the dismissal of the Chief Superintendent, Mr. Hincks said :

“ I do not find that the Reverend Gentleman, since his appointment, (in September, 1844,) has entered, in the slightest degree, into the field of politics; and, as he has discharged his duties with great zeal and ability, the Government had no reason to interfere with him . My own determination is,-to give him my most cordial support. As a Member of the Government, I consider it my duty to do so.”

Mr. Hincks honourably performed his promise to give Doctor Ryerson his "most cordial support.” As will be seen on page 23 of this Volume, he put into the Estimates of 1850 the item of $60,000, to enable the Chief Superintendent to erect Normal and Model Schools and the Education Offices. As that sum did not prove to be sufficient, he put in the Estimates of a year, or two, afterwards an item of an additional sum of $40,000,-or $100,000 in all, so as to enable Doctor Ryerson to finally complete his plans.

A Bill, with the indefinite title of : “An Act to Define and Restore Certain Rights to Parties therein Mentioned,” was introduced into the Legislative Council by the Houourable John Ross. The object of this Bill was to authorize the establishment of Roman Catholic Separate Schools in each Ward of a City, or Town. Its passage by the Legislature, in August, 1851, led to a good deal of unpleasant controversy at the time. The circumstances connected with this case are fully stated on page 239-241 of this Volume.

One of the most rare and interessing Documents, which I was able to secure for this Volume, was, as its title stated :

* These Drafts of Bills are given on pages 83-93 and 217-221 of the Eighth Volume of this Documentary History.



This rare Document was originally printed in a separate form, chiefly for circulation in England, by the promoters of Trinity College. It has no signature attached to it; but, having been favoured with the loan of a large Volume of Manuscripts, entitled : “ Original Documents : Church University," I found that this original Document is in Bishop Strachan's well-known hand writing-with sundry erasures and additions,—the most important of which I have reproduced in the copy, as reprinted in this Volume.

Of the Proceedings of the following Public Bodies, which were of general Educational interest, I have made selections of the most important parts of them :

1. The Educational Proceedings of both Branches of the Legislature, for the years 1850 and 1851, and, (in a separate Chapter,) the Reports and Papers relating to the University of Toronto, etcetera, which were laid before them*

2. The Educational Acts passed by the Legislature in the years 1850 and 1851.

3 The Educational Proceedings of the initial Meeting of the Senate of the University of Toronto for the year 1850, and the Proceedings of its second Meeting in 1851 ; also the Proceedings of the Endowment Board of the University and the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Affairs of King's College. In this connection I have given such Proceedings of the Visitation Commission of the University of Toronto as were available.

4. The Proceedings of the Board of Education, (afterwards the Council of Public Instruction), for Upper Canada for the year 1850.

5. The Proceedings of certain Churches, representing Victoria and Queen's Colleges, etcetera

This Volume also includes two important Documents by Doctor Ryerson :
1. An Appeal to the Inhabitants of Upper Canada in Favour of Free Schools.
2. Annual School Report for the year 1850.

Also, a Series of Circulars, explanatory of the Provisions of the New School Law of 1850, and various suggestions as to how these Provisions of the Act could be most satisfactorily brought into successful operation.

I have thus sought to group into separate Chapters the Educational Proceedings of the several Public Bodies named. In many cases there did not seem to be any immediate connection between the Proceedings of the Legislature and those of the other Bodies, having a separate organization. Yet, it very frequently was found, that there was a sort of interdependence the one on the other, which influenced their seperate action, more or less.

* These Papers include the Correspondence of Doctor Strachan with the Imperial and Provincial Governments, and the Despatches of the Governor General and the Colonial Secretary, on the subject of a Church University" for Upper Canada,

In thus grouping the several Chapters, in this Volume, I have sought to give a separate, yet a connected narrative, of the Educational Events of the years named, arranging that narrative in what I believed to be the order of its interest and importance,-carefully avoiding repetition, or overlapping, of topics, or subjects.

I need only refer here to the great difficulty which has been experienced in many cases, in collecting from miscellaneous and, in some cases, from unexpected sources, the materials, which go to make up these several Volumes, and then arranging that material in somewhat like systematic order, so as to give a comprehensive birds-eye view, for the specified years, of the entire collection of separate Educational Papers and Documents as a whole.




TORONTO, August the 12th, 1902.



SCHOOLS IN UPPER CANADA ......................................

« PreviousContinue »