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Thursday, June 26, 2014

History - Orangemen in Canada and the Jesuits.

During the French regime Jesuits were granted considerable property and seigneuries, which they used for educational purposes and for their Indian missions. After the conquest, ownership of these estates passed to Britain, which held them 1763-1800, when the last Canadian Jesuit died. In 1831 London awarded the estates to Lower Canada. In 1838 Catholic bishops began to petition unsuccessfully for the appropriation of the Jesuits' estates in accordance with the wishes of the donors.

The Death of General Wolfe is a well-known 1770 painting by Anglo-American artist Benjamin West depicting the death of British General James Wolfe during the 1759 Battle of Quebec of the Seven Years' War. It is an oil on canvas of the Enlightenment period. West made an additional and nearly identical painting of the same scene for King George III in 1771. (More..)

The Jesuits, re-established in Canada in 1842, were authorized by Rome in 1871 to begin negotiating a settlement of their estates with the Québec government, the estates' owner since Confederation. Archbishop Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau of Québec then intervened, arguing that revenue from these estates should be divided among Catholic schools rather than being given to the Jesuits, who wished to establish a university in Montréal to rival Québec's Université Laval. As Québec's Roman Catholic hierarchy quarrelled, Québec Premier Honoré Mercier called upon Pope Leo XIII to arbitrate the dispute.


In July 1888 the Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the Jesuits' Estates Act, which provided a monetary settlement: the Jesuits would receive $160 000 and surrender all claims; $140 000 would go to U Laval and $100 000 to selected dioceses. A further $60 000 was allocated to Protestant institutes of higher education. Since Pope Leo XIII had been arbiter, the Orange Order in Ontario vehemently opposed the settlement as a papist intrusion into Canadian affairs. A heated debate occupied the House of Commons in March 1889; the motion to disallow the Québec law was defeated by 188 votes to 13. The Jesuits' Estates Act put additional strain on English Protestant-French Catholic relations. (Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia)

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Jesuit Estates Act - law adopted in 1888 by the Quebec legislature, partly to indemnify the Society of Jesus for Jesuit property confiscated by the British during the period after the suppression (1773) of the society by Pope Clement XIV. The act caused a violent controversy in Canada, and Protestants generally demanded that it be disallowed; the federal government finally decided not to interfere with provincial legislation, and the act was allowed to stand. (Source: Infoplease.com )

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Jesuit Estates controversy,  in Canadian history, dispute that arose between Protestants and Roman Catholics after the re-establishment of the Jesuit order.

When the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order) was suppressed by the papacy in 1773, its extensive landholdings in Canada were transferred to the British government, with any revenues derived from them to be applied to educational programs. Popular demand for the educational and missionary services of the Jesuits forced Pope Pius VII to restore the order in 1814. In 1842 a number of Jesuits returned to Canada. (Source: Brittanica.com )

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The Jesuit Estates Act (From Canadianorangehistoricalsite.com )

One of the major political controversies of nineteenth century Canada and one which divided the country both politically and religiously was the Jesuit Estates Act. The problem of the Jesuit estates dated back to 1775 when the Jesuit Society had been suppressed in Canada. When its last surviving member died in 1800 the Crown had taken over its estates. However, in 1773 the Pope had dissolved the Society itself thus automatically, it was claimed by the Roman Catholic Church, transferring its property to the bishops of Montreal and Quebec.

The Society of Jesuits, revived abroad between 1811 and 1814 and readmitted into Canada in 1842 began to press ffor repossession of the confiscated estates. The political leader of Quebec at the time, Mercier, a former Jesuit student, secured for them from the Quebec legislature in 1887 an act of incorporation. The next year he set aside $400,000.00 as compensation for their confiscated estates to be paid to whichever beneficiary the Pope might indicate.

Orangemen, who had long struggled in vain for legal recognition through an act of incorporation were furious over the Jesuit act of incorporation and angrier still over the payment of money. They reached their boiling point at the introduction of papal authority into Canada's affairs. The Grand Master of Canada, Nathaniel Clarke Wallace M.P., tore apart the Jesuit Estates Bill in a speech before the Grand Lodge of Canada meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He pointed out that it was a dangerous precedent to have a foreign power allowed a final say over Canadian government policy.

Conservative leaders did not sense, as they should have done, the mood of the Orange leadership and indeed of the rank and file members. They were furious with the Conservative leadership. In parliament Lieutenant-Colonel O'Brien, an Orangeman, moved an amendment that the House of Commons should request the Governor General to disallow the action of the Quebec legislature. He was supported by only twelve other members, including Clarke Wallace, but the number proved to be unlucky for the government. "The Noble Thirteen" were toasted and cheered everywhere that they went.

The Orange Conservative M.P.'s who had failed to support them had stirred up hornet's nests of voter dissatisfaction in their own constituencies. One Orange Conservative, William McCulla M.P. for Peel County, had the following censure given to him for failing to vote with his fellow Orangemen:

"To Brother McCulla, explaining that we "view the altar", and emphatically condemn the action of the Dominion Government in not disallowing the Jesuit Estates Act....not raising your voice against it, but voting for the same, and placing party before country to the detriment of the Protestant religion and the equal right and liberties which you as a member of the Orange Order are sworn to support....Too many members of the society use the Association merely as a stepping-stone to influence and position, thereby traducing the sacred principles of the order....use your best endeavours to have the same brought before the Privy Council on its merits....we pledge ourselves in future to support only those...."

Orangemen had spoken. For the first time in the young history of Canada they had finally flexed their political muscle on the national scene and used their voting power to bring not only their own Orange members of parliament into line but to force the government to act. The government of Canada brought in an Orange Incorporation Bill and this time it passed through the House of Commons and received Royal Assent. Some fifty years after the first tries at incorporating the Association it was finally realized. The election of 1891 was a bitter one with many Orangemen refusing to vote for those members who had not voted against the Jesuit Estates Bill whether they were Orange members or not. McCulla's loss of the Orange vote cost him his seat in this election and the Conservative majority in the House of Commons was greatly reduced. Clarke Wallace, the Grand Master of Canada, retained his seat in the election. A commemmorative medal was struck by the 'Toronto Globe' newspaper to honour the 'Noble Thirteen' and today the Orange Lodge in Niagara Falls is known as Noble Thirteen L.O.L. in their memory.

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