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Education in Upper Canada,
FROM THE PASSING OF THE
CONSTITUTIONAL ACT OF 1791
CLOSE OF THE REVEREND DOCTOR RYERSON'S ADMINISTRATION
OF THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT IN 1876
VOL. XXI., 1868-1869.
FORMING AX APPENDIX TO THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION.
J. GEORGE HODGINS, I.S.O., M.A., LL.D.
OF OSGOODE HALL, BARRISTER-AT-LAW, Ex-DEPUTY MINISTER
PREFATORY NOTE TO THE TWENTY-FIRST VOLUME.
The various events recorded in this Volume are of special interest, both educationally and personally. The years in which they occurred were the first of the transition period which marked the political severance of Upper and Lower Canada, and our becoming the self-governing and independent Province of Ontario, under the Confederation Act of 1867.
The personal events recorded were largely influenced by the new state of things, and were the significant precursors of events which led to the final retirement of the Reverend Doctor Ryerson from office in 1876.
The first of these personal events was Doctor Ryerson's proposal in 1868 to retire in favour of a Cabinet Minister of Public Instruction. The second of these personal events was the unexpected, and somewhat peremptory, proceedings of the new Provincial Treasurer in directing, without notice to, or consultation with, Doctor Ryerson, that the payment of all School Moneys, heretofore made by him, (and for which he was under heavy Bonds with Sureties,) should in future be made by the Provincial Treasurer.
Feeling that this Act had not the usual official sanction of the Lieutenant-Governor in all of such cases, Doctor Ryerson appealed against it to the Governor-in-Council, as being contrary to the express provisions of the School Act in the matter. The Attorney General, (J. Sandfield Macdonald) had, however, (without Doctor Ryerson's knowledge,) assumed the act of the Treasurer as that of the Government, and required Doctor Ryerson to withdraw his appeal, on pain of dismissal. As Doctor Ryerson was absent, holding County School Conventions, I saw Mr. Macdonald and Mr. M. C. Cameron, (Provincial Secretary,) several times on the subject, but without effect. I, therefore, sought, by strong personal appeals to Doctor Ryerson, to induce him to withdraw his Letter, and was, at length, finally successful. Thus the matter ended.
The educational event which, however, awakened the greatest public interest, and led to a good deal of discussion in the Newspapers and by the Representatives of the outlying Colleges, was the unexpected and final withdrawal by the newly organised Provincial Government of the usual yearly Parliamentary Grant to these Colleges, which had hitherto been made by the Government of United Canada.
Appeals were made to that Government to make compensation for the failure of the Provincial Government to carry out the practically implied guarantee of the unrepealed University Act of 1853 that these Grants were to be relied upon as a certain source of income in the future. So strong was the feeling on the part of the aggrieved Colleges in this matter that their Representatives held Public Meetings and published pamphlet Appeals on the subject; and finally the whole question led to a protracted debate in the House of Assembly,—the final result of which was that action of the Pro
[ iii. ]
vincial Government, in refusing to make the Grants in the future, was endorsed by a large majority of the Members of the House.
The question of improving the condition of the Grammar and Public Schools of Ontario, which had occupied the attention of the House of Assembly in 1868 and 1869 was again under consideration in 1870, 71, and, after an animated discussion on the general question, led by the Honourable Edward Blake, (who afterwards published his Speech on the subject,) the comprehensive School Bill prepared by Doctor Ryerson was passed, and became the law of the land in 1871. This Act not only largely improved the status and condition of the Grammar and Public Schools, and their general machinery, but also provided for the establishment of a superior class of High Schools and also of Collegiate Institutes, or practically local Colleges, in various parts of the Province.
This Volume also contains two very extensive Reports by Doctor Ryerson,—the one on "The State of Education in Europe and the United States of America," and the other an account of the various Institutions in the same Countries for the care and education and training of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind. Very soon after the publication of this Report the Provincial Government established a Institution for the Blind at Brantford, and another at Belleville for the Deaf and Dumb. Another Chapter in the Volume contains an extended Report by Commissioners appointed by the Minister of Public Works on the Technical and other Scientific Schools in the United States. This Report led to the establishment of a Technical College by the Provincial Government, which afterwards became the School of Practical Science in connection with the University of Toronto. TORONTO, 20th December, 1907. J. GEORGE HODGINS,
Historiographer of the Education Department of Ontario.
II. Report of the Proceedings of the Conventions. By the Chief
Superintendent of Education
CHAPTER VII. A CRISIS IN THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AFFECTING DOCTOR RYERSON
I. Letter from the Chief Superintendent to the Provincial Secretary
on the Provincial Treasurer's Proceedings in Regard to Him ... 145
II. Letter from the Provincial Treasurer to the Chief Superintendent,
directing all Accounts to be sent to him in future for payment 148
III. Letter of Appeal to the Provincial Secretary, against the Treas-
IV. Financial Correspondence with Departments of the Government,
and Replies. (Three Letters)