The Christian churches of the Red River Settlement and the foundation of the University of Manitoba : a historical analysis of the process of transition from frontier college to university
Wilmot, Laurence F.,
Chapter I reports reasons for considering existing accounts of the foundation of the University of Manitoba in 1877 to be unsatisfactory. A search for an alternative explanation having uncovered clues in some correspondence of Robert Machray, second Bishop of Rupert's Land, indicates the possibility of a reconstruction of the historical process by focussing attention on Machray and his educational activities in the Red River Settlement from the time of his arrival in 1865. In Chapter II an attempt is made to provide a brief factual picture of Machray as student, scholar and academician as providing a basis for an appreciation of his educational approach to the pastoral needs of the diocese of Rupert's Land and the foundation of St. John's as a liberal arts and theological college. Attention is called to the establishment of St. Boniface and Manitoba Colleges, and to the fact that from 1871 there were three denominational colleges in Manitoba offering higher educational studies. Chapter III. The need for satisfactory certification of students emerged and became an acute problem in St. John's College from 1873 onwards, being felt to a lesser extent in Manitoba College. The account traces unsuccessful attempts on the part of Bishop Machray through his approaches to a variety of authorities, culminating In a direct appeal which takes the form of an ultimatum addressed to the local Legislature, in February, 1876. Attention is called to an attempt at this time on the part of Manitoba College authorities to focus public attention on the need for a university for Manitoba. Chapter IV reconstructs the process whereby the Legislature, unable financially to undertake the burden of founding a university, was successful in the passage of legislation enabling the existing colleges, by working together in cooperation, to constitute a university for Manitoba and carry forward the work of higher education in which they were already engaged. Chapter V traces the process whereby the Colleges, within the terms of the legislation and under the leadership of the Chancellor, worked together to create the university as an institution of higher learning having a particular structure and pattern of life and work. In Chapter VI the situation in Manitoba is contrasted with the history of the development of higher education in the eastern Provinces of Canada. Analysis of the process of the preparation of the Bill discloses that Bishop Machray was the initiator, calling for immediate action; that Lieutenant Governor Morris played the role of broker in winning agreement on the part of the Church authorities; that the Attorney- General's role was that of broker's agent in drawing up legislation, within the terms of limitations prescribed by Archbishop Tache, to give effect to the plans outlined by Bishop Machray; and that the elected representatives of the people determined the final wording of the constitution, Analysis of Bishop Machray's correspondence, The University Act, and the records of the first year of operations discloses that the University was founded on the Medieval European model evolved successively in Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge, and leads to the conclusion that in 1877, in response to the urgent appeal of the Blshop of Rupert's Land, the Province of Manitoba, through the cooperation of the denominational leaders in higher education, created a university modelled on the traditional pattern of university studies, somewhat modified by the limited resources of a pioneer community.