Between Damnation and Starvation

Between Damnation and Starvation

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Between Damnation and Starvation
    Book Description:

    While some scholars have focused on various aspects of the denominational origins of the education system, and others have revealed the influence of religion on the electoral results of the pre-1864 period, the complete story has never been told. In Between Damnation and Starvation John Greene presents a first time, far-reaching analysis of the origins and evolution of developments in both religion and politics in Newfoundland. He reveals the full details of political struggles, presenting them against the background of the historical evolution of churches in the century prior to the granting of representative institutions. Between Damnation and Starvation provides a comprehensive treatment of a complex subject, taking into account the social, economic, and political developments of the entire period.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6796-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xiv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    In Newfoundland the blending of religion and politics has generally been a subject of much myth making and many unfounded assumptions. The tendency has been to overstate the religious influence and to regard as unique many of the political and constitutional conflicts of the past. Two historians have noted that “to embark upon an exploration of the twentieth century history of Newfoundland is therefore to enter a dark labyrinth where comforting myths and fading memories serve as substitutes for historical reality.”¹ The same can be said, but with even greater effect, of the earlier centuries of Newfoundland history.

    In Newfoundland...

  7. 1 Religious Competition, 1745-1825
    (pp. 10-25)

    Official government support tends to lead to lead to complacency on the part of any organization in receipt of it. So it was with the Church of England in Newfoundland. Contributing to the same result was the little competition facing that church for almost one hundred and fifty years following its first introduction to Newfoundland society. Therefore, when powerful new religious forces, such as the Methodists and the Roman Catholics, arrived, the Church of England was unprepared to meet the challenge.

    At St John’s in 1745 the Church of England missionary expressed jealous annoyance at the presence of ecclesiastical competition....

  8. 2 The Anglican Response, 1820-34
    (pp. 26-46)

    The end of the Napoleonic Wars unleashed new political movements in Britain. Following twenty-five years of focusing on the continent, the British people now looked at themselves. Some detected a need for political reform while others concluded that changes to the established church were necessary. Within the Church of England itself, a revival began that was to spread to Ireland and Newfoundland.

    In June 1824 the British cabinet made a rather belated decision to recognize Newfoundland as an official British colony and, as noted in the previous chapter, appointed Sir Thomas Cochrane its first governor. For Newfoundland, recognition as a...

  9. 3 Bishop Fleming and Newfoundland Catholicism, 1829-37
    (pp. 47-67)

    Governor Thomas Cochrane must have approached the 1830s decade with a great deal of anxiety. Internal divisions rent the church he supported, and Methodists were bitterly complaining of high Anglican actions. Compounding Cochrane’s fears were two political movements for change that built up momentum in the 1820s: one, in England, held as its goal Catholic emancipation, and the other, in Newfoundland, aimed for constitutional change. Together, these movements held out the possibility of Irish Catholics becoming involved in the political process. More than ever before in Newfoundland, there was anxiety over how the Roman Catholic Church might behave. Already there...

  10. 4 Religion and Politics, 1832-36
    (pp. 68-107)

    While Bishop Fleming had been busy planning his moves against the lay people and recruiting nuns for the implementation of his educational plans in 1831-32, the evangelicals in the Protestant community were quarrelling over educational plans of their own. Both struggles took place against a background of constitutional reform, for early in 1832 Governor Thomas Cochrane received instructions to summon Newfoundland’s first House of Assembly.

    The new constitution called for a two-house legislature consisting of an appointed upper house, styled the Legislative Council and an elected lower chamber. The former, which would also serve as an executive council, originally consisted...

  11. 5 The Catholic Crusade, 1836-38
    (pp. 108-134)

    H.J. Boulton had been removed from Upper Canada because of his intransigence in the political struggle there. It was Newfoundland’s ill luck that a change in Colonial Office personnel led not to his political oblivion but to his transfer to St John’s as chief justice. In spite of heading Newfoundland’s Supreme Court, he became a central figure in the colony’s political debate and was destined to play a key role in the general elections of 1836-37. To the Reformers seeking control of the House of Assembly, Boulton was a godsend. His penchance for controversial decisions along with his extremist positions...

  12. 6 Checkmating Reform, 1837-41
    (pp. 135-166)

    Faced with the reverses of 1836-37, the Newfoundland Conservatives were forced to accept the fact that control of the House of Assembly was out of their reach for some time to come. Their future strategy would have to be based on a more realistic assessment of the local political scene as well as on lessons they had learned in their unsucceessful attempts to have Bishop Fleming removed. Perhaps, it was thought, a more comprehensive strategy on the constitutional front might be more rewarding than shortsighted efforts to blame all the discord on Fleming.

    Nevertheless, Boulton’s removal deeply rankled the Tories....

  13. 7 Constitutional Change, 1837-47
    (pp. 167-196)

    The dissolution of the House of Assembly on 27 April 1841 was the culmination of a series of bitter blows for the Nugent Reformers. It had struck with such abruptness that it pre-empted their stipends for the session then running. The break-up left Reformers without a forum from which to launch their political assaults upon the British Tory government’s efforts to modify the Newfoundland constitution. Reformers were reduced to complaining once again about a conspiracy and to lashing out at former friends and allies such as Douglas and Edward Dwyer, whom they from time to time charged with abetting their...

  14. 8 The Rise of Philip Little, 1848-52
    (pp. 197-233)

    Behind the quiet, non-sectarian politics of the 1840s powerful economic and political undercurrents were transforming Newfoundland society. Two immigrant, lawyer-politicians from Prince Edward Island were the first to acknowledge those new forces and the result was the birth of a new political movement. It eventually would transform the Newfoundland constitution yet again but this time into a progressive, instead of a regressive, instrument.

    After the demise of the amalgamated constitution in 1847, a new governor, Gaspard LeMarchant, continued to enjoy the cooperation of the Nugent Reformers. Nugent still favoured the coalition on account of the patronage dispensed to him, to...

  15. 9 Religion and Electoral Representation, 1852-54
    (pp. 234-252)

    The anti-Catholic campaign launched by the Conservative press at the beginning of the 1852 general election was reminiscent of the conflicts of 1840-41. But the seeds of disunion among Protestants had been deeply sown in the last three sessions of the legislature prior to dissolution. And, in contrast to the Conservative successes of 1841, the 1852 election campaign was destined to be a great disappointment to the Conservatives.

    In the dying moments of the 1852 session of the House of Assembly, Philip Little had decided not to pursue the representation dispute with the Council. His decision came not from reluctance...

  16. 10 The Election of 1855
    (pp. 253-268)

    In late 1854 the Conservatives were licking their wounds, embarrassed by the threat of a remodelled Council and the awarding of responsible government. As for the Liberals, they were inclined to believe that, with the Representation Bill now law, only an election campaign lay between them and their taking office. But there were unexpected obstacles ahead.

    When the Council had passed the Representation Bill, the Liberals rushed a supply bill through the Assembly and made provision for the registration of voters in the new district of Burgeo-La Poile in eager anticipation of a general election. The Conservatives, however, had other...

  17. Conclusion
    (pp. 269-274)

    Although Newfoundland was claimed for England by right of discovery in 1497, permanent settlement did not really commence on the island until the seventeenth century. Then, for two hundred years, it developed only haphazardly and slowly. As a result, its constitutional development lagged far behind that of British colonies on the mainland of North America. No governor remained permanently on the island until 1818, and full colonial status was witheld by the British government until 1825. Thus, an indigenous Newfoundland state did not receive an oppportunity to develop until the nineteenth century. One of the victims of this state of...

  18. Appendix
    (pp. 275-288)
  19. A Note on Sources
    (pp. 289-292)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 293-330)
  21. Index
    (pp. 331-339)