4 One College or Several? 1838-1847

Joseph Howe and radical politics. The 1838 Pictou Academy Bill. Failure to appoint Edmund Crawley. Thomas McCulloch comes and Dalhousie College opens, 1838. The rivals, Queen’s College and Dalhousie, 1840. The Reform party and “One College.” McCulloch’s death, 1843. Dalhousie becomes moribound.

Little of radical politics had been seen in Nova Scotia until 1827 when the Pictou Colonial Patriot first appeared, with Jotham Blanchard as its editor and Thomas McCulloch contributing editorials. Joseph Howe at first disagreed with both, but the more he read, the more he came to their point of view. Howe expressed himself differently, with more patience and tolerance, not being as pugnacious as Blanchard or McCulloch, and still basically a moderate. His Halifax Novascotian was growing steadily in circulation and influence simply because it surpassed the others in useful information. Howe was the first editor in Nova Scotia to take seriously the reporting of Assembly debates. What the Acadian Recorder and other Halifax papers did was to offer small, irregular summaries. Howe began reporting debates in 1828, doing it all himself, and increasing the range and comprehensiveness of the reports as their popularity grew. They were a remarkable education for everyone who read the Novascotian, or had it read to them. Not least was it an education for the editor himself. Nor did Howe confine himself to that. His press published T.C. Haliburton’s History of Nova Scotia in 1829, and The Clockmaker was serialized in the Novascotian in 1835. The latter was so popular that Howe put it out as a book in 1836. This is what D.C. Harvey referred to in a famous Dalhousie Review article in 1933, as “The Intellectual Awakening of Nova Scotia.”[1]

That, of course, comprehended politics as well. There had always been friction between the Assembly and the Council, inevitable in any two-chamber government. But it was only after the election of 1836 that it became more serious. When the Assembly met in 1837 there was for the first time a number of reform-minded members, dissatisfied with the way political institutions in Nova Scotia had been working. How big that group was depended on the issue and the men, but the division on Howe’s Twelve Resolutions of 1837, which severely criticized the working of the Council (in both its modes), was twenty-six to twenty. That forced Lord Glenelg to order the complete separation of the Council into its two functions, legislative and executive. The Assembly had won a major victory.

The Dalhousie College victory followed the next year. Most Reformers were behind that move too. Two men were the moving spirits: S.G.W. Archibald, the Speaker of the House, and his son, Charles Dickson Archibald. At sixty years, Archibald senior was suave, handsome, well-mannered, and spoke with great ease and authority. He was a Seceder Presbyterian, a man of convictions who deployed them without cant or aggression. He had long supported Pictou Academy, as he had opposed the exclusiveness of King’s, but he was well capable of judging Thomas McCulloch’s weaknesses as well as strengths. Archibald in later years grew too conservative for Howe and his Reform friends, but they always got along well and Howe liked him to the end.[2]

His son, Charles Dickson, was born in 1802, the eldest of fifteen children in what was a singularly happy marriage. Charles sat for Truro from 1826 to 1830 when his father was Speaker of the Assembly. The young man married an English heiress in 1832 and moved to England four years later. But he was back and forth to Nova Scotia a good deal, and he may have been as influential as his father in devising the ingenious idea of bringing McCulloch’s restless energies to the service of Dalhousie College.

McCulloch was now feeling his sixty-two years. Although he had lived most of his adult life in Pictou, the triumph of his Kirk enemies within Pictou Academy, an institution he had founded, nurtured, and bled for, was hard and bitter. Pictou, he told his Glasgow friend, James Mitchell, in November 1834, “has very little appearance of being much longer the place for me.” A year later, S.G.W. Archibald was trying to nudge him in the direction of Dalhousie College; still McCulloch clung to Pictou. Halifax was to him a hotbed of toryism; if he went there, he would be, he said, “a presbyterian among church [Anglican] bigots and a Seceder among Kirk [Presbyterian] bigots”; hardly very enviable. At this stage in his life he had no great ambitions left; in 1818 it would have been different, being principal or president of Dalhousie College, but of course that would not have happened under Lord Dalhousie.[3]

The Archibalds, father and son, knew that story. Though S.G.W. Archibald was educated in the United States, Charles was a product of Pictou Academy and admired McCulloch for his talent, pluck, and perseverance amid privations. McCulloch’s situation now was worse than in former years, though at no time within Charles Archibald’s recollection had “your worldly circumstances rendered you an object of envy.” What animated young Archibald and his father was not charity but respect: “Without flattery I can say that the course of Lectures on Chemistry which you were delivering when I left Halifax [for England] nearly six years ago [February 1830], would bear comparison with any I have ever attended.”[4]

The bill to effect the change in McCulloch’s circumstances was called “An Act to Alter and Amend the Act to regulate and support Pictou Academy.” The old act of 1832 gave £400 to Pictou Academy, with £250 of it specified as salary to McCulloch. The new act split the £400, leaving £200 to the academy, and the other £200 going to the Dalhousie Board of Governors to pay McCulloch as principal. The bill created a considerable stir in the Nova Scotia legislature. It went through first and second reading on 21 March 1838 without a word of opposition. It went through Committee of the Whole in the same way. Then the opposition struck. The Anglicans were led by J.B. Uniacke, and the Roman Catholics by Lawrence Doyle, both of whom noisily denounced the bill; it was being smuggled through the House, they said. Speaker Archibald remarked he had no objection to having the bill sent again to Committee of the Whole if certain members wanted their objections heard. Meantime, a seven-year-old libel against McCulloch was published and sent to members of both houses. The opposition included the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics, who had never forgiven McCulloch for his anti-Catholic diatribes of thirty years earlier, and most, if not all, of the Kirk men. Young Archibald went to work on the Baptists. They were assured privately that they would have their man, the Reverend Edmund A. Crawley, as the Dalhousie professor of classics. There was no express agreement or contract but, as Charles Archibald said, “there certainly was an implied contract and coalition entered into with that party [the Baptists].” Archibald’s letter to McCulloch reveals much about the pressures for and against the Dalhousie College idea:

We find the Church of England, the Kirk and the Roman Catholics leagued together to defeat this Measure and why? – purely because it contemplates a little honour and moderate provision for you – Against such an alliance your friends and party cannot stand and it is not only in reference to this matter, but to an immense variety of other subjects that I consider a good understanding between the leading Sects of Dissenters to be highly politic and indeed indispensable. Should you come to preside over Dalhousie College you must endeavour as far as possible to plan all denominations on an equal footing, but in the circumstances of the Country and in the nature of things, it must become essentially a Dissenting Institution – and it is not one of the least advantages which I foresee that its Establishment will unite the Presbyterians of your Church and the Baptists and the Methodists. I do not wonder that the Bishop has always opposed the opening of this College, for it requires no great prescience to enable one to predict that it will concentrate into one focus the scattered Bands which singly he has hitherto been able to put down.[5]

In the end the Pictou-Dalhousie bill passed the Assembly by twenty-six votes to seventeen, a surprisingly large majority. “This is a queer world,” wrote Thomas Dickson, the MLA for Pictou, “and I verily believe that some of both branches of the Legislature are some of the queerest people in it.”[6]

It was just as queer in the Legislative Council. Its basic instinct was to postpone the whole bill; the Kirk men canvassed for that idea, but they were fought off. Pros and cons were heard at the bar of the Legislative Council. The Reverend D.A. Fraser, a staunch Kirk man, said the bill had been produced in secret and had he known of it sooner he could have got thousands of signatures against it. That led the Seceder minister Hugh Ross to remark that if the reverend gentleman brought forth a petition to remove George’s Island from Halifax to Pictou he could have got signatures for it! The treasurer of Dalhousie, Charles Wallace, bearded James Tobin, a member of the Legislature Council, over breakfast on 10 April to try to get him to oppose the bill – anything to keep that Seceder McCulloch out of Dalhousie, even if it meant not opening it. Notwithstanding all that, the bill emerged unchanged on 10 April and became law a week later.[7]

As this was being accomplished the Reverend Edmund Crawley was already writing McCulloch with suggestions for the proper curriculum in a college of three professors, in particular about classics, to which professorship he considered himself already appointed. Crawley had graduated from King’s in 1820, became a lawyer, and in 1827 helped to lead the split from St. Paul’s Anglican Church to found Granville Street Baptist Church. He then went to the United States to study for the Baptist ministry, graduating eventually from Brown University. He was able, knowledgeable, energetic, high-handed, and he carried with him no small estimate of his own capacity. His application for a professorship went to the Dalhousie board before the bill had even come up in the Assembly. Crawley was more importunate than greedy. He offered to serve as professor of classics with little or no salary, if that would help. But he wanted, indeed it seemed that he required, the appointment. He saw Charles Wallace a couple of days before the appointments were to be made and received from him flattering assurances and best wishes for his success.[8]

McCulloch was surprisingly patient with all of Crawley’s importunities. He knew how much the passage of the Pictou-Dalhousie Act had depended upon Crawley and his influence with the Baptists. Still, McCulloch said, Crawley was premature, and his allusions to the importance of Latin and Greek at the University of New Brunswick and at King’s magnified the role of classics too much. Nova Scotian opinion was not ready for it, nor was McCulloch. There is much good sense in McCulloch, and nowhere does it show better than in his long letter to Charles Archibald on this point:

[T]hat boys should in Halifax or elsewhere spend six or seven years upon Latin and Greek and then four more in College partially occupied with the same language is a waste of human life adapted neither to the circumstances nor the prosperity of Nova Scotia … If Dalhousie College acquires usefulness and eminence it will not be by an imitation of Oxford but as an institution of science and practical intelligence.

Any fourth professor, McCulloch said, should be a natural scientist, teaching geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany; whatever the province produced naturally should have an echo in the splendour of Dalhousie science. McCulloch added a postscript about the nomination of the professors. He did not care who was nominated, but “I mentioned to your father I view the nomination of the existing candidates as a business which should be carefully weighed.”[9]

The Dalhousie College Board of Governors met on 6 August 1838. It was not that difficult to arrange; it was now down to a rump of three – the lieutenant-governor, the treasurer of the province, and the Speaker of the House. Lord Dalhousie had died earlier in the year, at Dalhousie Castle, blind and decrepit; the bishop was away, and that spring the chief justice had retired from the board. Sir Colin Campbell and Charles Wallace were not happy with McCulloch, forced upon them by the Assembly; they fudged his appointment, saying he was “for the present appointed President.” McCulloch would teach moral philosophy, logic, and rhetoric, and would be paid £400 a year plus student fees, £200 coming from the Assembly and £200 from Dalhousie’s funds.[10] Public advertising was authorized for the two other professorships, which were to be in classical languages, and mathematics and natural philosophy. There were seven applicants, of whom the most important were Crawley (Baptist) and Alexander Romans (Kirk) for classics; James McIntosh (Kirk) and Thomas Twining (Church of England) for mathematics.

The Kirk was bitter about the McCulloch appointment. It published a remonstrance stating that appointing McCulloch would be “an act of injury, injustice and insult to every well educated man in the province.” It had also learned, with astonishment it said, that appointments to the college professorships might be contrary to the intentions of Lord Dalhousie, which were to have Dalhousie College in the style of Edinburgh University. That style was, the Kirk robustly asserted, that all professors be members of the Kirk of Scotland!

What the Kirk claimed had been true once; but it was a rule long fallen by the wayside, as recent appointments to Edinburgh indicated. And, of course, it had never been a consideration in Lord Dalhousie’s mind, as his search for a principal through an Anglican professor at Cambridge showed. But by August 1838 Lord Dalhousie was dead, and the genial but obtuse old Highland soldier who ruled at Government House in Halifax was persuaded by Charles Wallace and his Kirk friends that the iniquity of appointing a Seceder as president of Dalhousie was bad enough without compounding it by appointing a Baptist as professor. Thus when the time for decision came, at the board meeting of 15 September 1838, the lieutenant-governor and Wallace proposed, and carried, first, for the professorship of mathematics and natural philosophy, the Reverend James McIntosh, a Kirk man, of talent sufficient to justify the appointment; and second, for the professorship of classics the Reverend Alexander Romans, a Kirk man, against the greater claims and more substantial candidacy of Edmund Crawley. Speaker Archibald opposed this, speaking as bluntly as he could. But he had been unwell since April, and may not have been as effective as usual. In any case he was simply outvoted.[11]

The Baptists were furious and felt betrayed. At the head of their fury was Crawley himself. He hit the newspapers twelve days later with a series of articles on the history of his arrangements with Dalhousie College, ringing the changes about his and the Baptists’ betrayal.[12] Members of the Assembly, and the Archibalds, were taken aback by the blatant disregard of their promises of six months before. Certainly an articulate group of the Assembly were dismayed, and in the session of 1839 would give that strange Dalhousie board its comeuppance. The Baptists would have even sterner resolves.

Thomas McCulloch was not happy either with Dalhousie’s refusal to appoint Crawley. Crawley would no doubt have been a difficult, even intractable, colleague, but McCulloch wished to make friends for Dalhousie and not make enemies when it could well have been avoided. He left Pictou for Halifax in mid-October, his friends from various Pictou congregations accompanying him on his journey as far as Truro. He was rather pleased with himself, despite the row over the two professorships. He did not mind rows: he had lived, thrived, on them. His own appointment to Dalhousie had occasioned a fearsome one. God had at last given him, as he put it, “to possess the gate of my enemies.” His pride was gratified to see his foes so humbled.

Lord Dalhousie who for the sake of his college hated me built it for me [.] Our Bishop in the expectation of making it his own was I believe the principal means of preventing it from going into operation till I had need of it. The Kirk clergy his tools effected the destruction of the [Pictou] Academy … Government placed me at what I may fairly term the head of the education of the province. This I neither coveted nor sought…

Perhaps best of all, his Kirk enemies had not prospered. The most determined of them, the Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie, was dead, “a fearful monument to an ill spent life. In Pictou it is a common remark that no man who opposed the [Pictou] Academy ever prospered in his deed.” There was some little Schadenfreude in all of this; perhaps McCulloch’s essential greatness can be allowed that very human, and not very Christian, weakness. There was a residual toughness about him; he would not be suborned.

He had no great enthusiam for Halifax. But it was the metropolitan centre of the province, things went on there that had to be taken cognizance of, and a college there was going to be important. He had even less respect for Halifax after reading in the Pictou papers about a two-day Halifax riot in August in the streets and houses a couple of blocks up the hill from Dalhousie College. A discharged sailor claimed he had been robbed by prostitutes in one of the houses on the Hill, so his friends, and soldiers, sacked houses on upper Duke Street. It was no secret that they were going to finish their work the following night, and this time locals joined in. Most of these were what the Halifax Times described as “the lowest characters,” but more respectable onlookers were delighted to see the terrible nuisance of those houses being got rid of, even by a mob out of control. It took old Sir Colin Campbell himself, who in brisk, military fashion, ordered the streets cleared. The riot confirmed ancient prejudices at King’s, that Halifax was a wicked place, where young men, in acquiring the best of knowledge, could imbibe the worst of it.

Pastel drawing of Thomas McCulloch
Dr. Thomas McCulloch in the 1840s, a pastel drawing by Sir Daniel MacNee, now in the Atlantic School of Theology. “He carried the whole college on the strength of his power and reputation.”

The College Opens
Dalhousie College opened on 1 November with a dozen students and more expected. McCulloch thought some of the rooms as big as a palace. And three professors in arts was at that time regarded as a more than adequate complement for a provincial college. There was little equipment and no library, but McCulloch was confident that Dalhousie must eventually be “the leading seminary of the province.”[13]

He was still a prodigious teacher, his mind clear and vigorous. He was a stickler for grammar but he especially abhorred wordiness. Any word not absolutely necessary to convey meaning weakened the sentence. George Patterson recalled “how mercilessly his big pencil went through our superfluous adjectives!” The students thought he carried it too far, that his own style was bare and devoid of ornament, rather the way he was. But he trained minds to exact thinking, and to correct, if rugged, writing. His philosophy was developed from the Scottish common-sense school and especially from Thomas Reid, the critic of Hume. Physically, however, McCulloch was showing his years; his movements lacked vigour, and his eyes often had a worn and weary look. But his indomitable will remained. Sick or well, he was at class, sometimes to totter home to Argyle Street to bed. He carried the whole college on the strength of his power and reputation. It was not easy, for his two subordinate professors, Romans and McIntosh, were not strong academically and were worse in the classroom. McIntosh too easily found time to indulge in Halifax social life and the drinking that went with it.

The students who came from the country, especially the half-dozen or so who had followed McCulloch from Pictou, were hard-working and diligent. Some from Halifax were too, but there was a proportion of Halifax youths more bent on amusement. Since the lowest age was fourteen, that meant a good deal of high spirits and low cunning had to be suppressed, diverted, transformed, perhaps something of all of those. Romans and McIntosh could not manage this group; McCulloch could. Students were rather in awe of McCulloch, and he repaid their attention and progress with abundant interest. Even the unruly calmed down, except once, recalled by a student, when someone rebelled against him in class. McCulloch “bowed his head, if I mistake not, let fall a tear, at all events said in tones in which the expression of pain overcame anger, ‘This is the first time I have been so insulted … in a class-room in my life.’ ” Everyone felt the weight of that reproof, perhaps even the miscreant.[14]

The official Dalhousie timetable for the autumn of 1838 was as follows:

  1. Latin, 8-9 AM, Prof. Romans
  2. Greek, 10-11 AM, Prof. Romans
  3. Greek & Latin, 12 noon to 1 PM Prof. Romans
  4. Algebra, 10-11 AM Prof. McIntosh
  5. Logic, 11-12 AM, Dr. McCulloch
  6. Rhetoric, 1-2 PM, Dr. McCulloch
  7. Mathematics, 8-9 AM, Prof. McIntosh
  8. Moral Philosophy, 10-11, AM Dr. McCulloch
  9. Natural Philosophy 12 noon to 1 PM, Prof. McIntosh

The Dalhousie terms were set on the Scottish style, having one term from October to April inclusive. King’s followed the Oxford system, spreading their work more evenly over the year. The Scottish system suited the country boys, who worked on farms from May to September, but city parents found it intolerable to have their sons idle all that time. Some families sent their sons to Dalhousie in the winter and in the summer to new and popular lectures at St. Mary’s school.

The enraged Baptist constituency lost no time. In the autumn of 1838 Crawley followed up his Dalhousie College articles in the Novascotian with three on Horton Academy and hopes for its college expansion. In November the Baptist Education Society met in Wolfville to discuss what they would do. The Baptists now agreed to found a college and a petition went to the legislature to grant a charter. Crawley’s personal animus gave voice and leadership to a movement in the Baptist community that was already burgeoning.[15]

The Assembly opened in mid-January of 1839, recent events at Dalhousie and at Wolfville in the forefront of their deliberations. It immediately appointed a three-man committee of Joseph Howe, William Young, and Lawrence Doyle to ask the lieutenant-governor for documents, proceedings, accounts of Dalhousie College. How had the incredible events of 15 September 1838 actually come about? Doyle spoke for the astonishment most MLAS felt at references by the lieutenant-governor and others to Lord Dalhousie’s alleged legacy of Presbyterian exclusiveness. It had always been understood, said Doyle, that Dalhousie College was to be altogether unrestricted, open to anyone. If that were not so, then the sooner the House insisted on getting its £5,000 back the better.

Joseph Howe was more specific. Had he known what would happen in September (he was overseas in Britain from May to October), had he believed that anyone “would be mad enough to endeavour to make Dalhousie College a Sectarian Institution,” he would have opposed the Pictou-Dalhousie Act of 1838, even though it had wakened Dalhousie from “its death-like sleep.” Certainly Dalhousie College must not continue in its present form.

Rather than see it established for the exclusive benefit of any church he would prefer that a party of artificiers should be brought down from the barracks, and should be directed to mine it, and blow the structure into the air … The effect of these narrow views was, to keep classes of Christians – which should respect each other, and live in charity – in a state bordering on enmity, harrassed [sic] by conflicting and angry feelings.

William Young said much the same, moderately as was his wont, judging the September appointments “most unwise and impolitic.” There must not be, he said, four or five colleges in the province – if so, their degrees would become a laughing stock.[16]

Speaker Archibald reported on Dalhousie’s funds. The accounting had been complicated by Michael Wallace’s death in 1831, and by Lord Dalhousie’s, and by the fact that the agents in London, empowered to receive dividends, had failed. Still, about two-thirds of the income on capital could be reclaimed by affidavit, some £786 sterling. That was done in the nick of time. And the money would meet the costs of current repairs.[17]

On 9 February 1839, the Bill for the Incorporation of Queen’s College (the first name chosen for Acadia) was given first reading, and on 15 February Howe presented the bill to amend the Dalhousie College Act. The two bills now proceeded roughly in tandem. On the second reading of the Queen’s College Bill Crawley appeared at the bar of the House. He said much that clarified the events of September last. Two or three days after the Dalhousie appointments had been made, Sir Colin Campbell asked to see Crawley. In that interview, Crawley asked the governor if it were not true that his (Crawley’s) failure to get the professorship of classics was due to Crawley’s religion, not his competence? In other words, if he’d been a Presbyterian, would he have got the job? “His Excellency hesitated, but after a while said, Certainly – that such was the fact.”

Then Treasurer Charles Wallace was called to the bar, and his testimony went directly against that of Crawley:

Mr. Howe – Do I understand Mr. Wallace to say that Mr. Crawley was not rejected because he was a Baptist. Mr. Wallace – Certainly not. Mr. Howe – Do I understand Mr. Wallace aright, that although he had promised Mr. Crawley, the peculiar circumstances under which he was placed with Mr. Romans was a reason sufficiently strong to abrogate those promises. Mr. Wallace – Yes. Mr. Howe remarked that the house would now perceive, why he had been anxious to have this examination. The statements of the gentleman [sic] heard at the bar were directly contradictory.

The following day Crawley was again heard in connection with Queen’s College. Nova Scotians, he said, had waited for fifteen years for Dalhousie College, and what had appeared had simply not justified expectations. Some members of the House hoped that the Queen’s College Bill would not be pressed, that new legislation to clear out the old Dalhousie board and establish a new one would allay inflamed feelings and satisfy the Baptists. J.B. Uniacke (Anglican) made that appeal. Why should there be, he said, several inferior establishments in the province instead of one good one? As for Howe, he was sympathetic to Crawley and his talents, but

he would not say, therefore, that another College should be endowed. If it was determined to have a College at Horton, much as he wished to see a College in Halifax, and believed it to be the best site for one, he would say, Down with it, let us get our money from it, and if one sect must have such an establishment, let it be respectable, and let not two inefficient institutions go into operation. In these matters Nova Scotia acted with a degree of profusion that no other country attempted.[18]

The Queen’s College Bill came out of the Committee of the Whole with a recommendation that it be given the three-months’ hoist. A motion to overturn this recommendation, and thus keep the bill, was defeated. This first attempt to incorporate Queen’s College failed.

The Dalhousie College Amendment Bill passed the Assembly that same day but it did not fare so well in the Legislative Council, coming back with amendments that the House could not accept. In a conference between the two houses the Assembly insisted on its point

that the object this House had in view in passing that Bill was to place Dalhousie College under the management of a body of Gendemen, selected from the various Religious Denominations in this Province, carefully excluding Clergymen, in order that those jealousies which had marred the usefulness, and arrayed the feelings of portions of the Population, against the interests of other Institutions might, in this case, be avoided, and all classes combined in support of a College offering equal privileges to all; that these amendments made by the Council, which are now the subject of Conference, strike at the vital principle of the Bill, a principle upon the value of which, there exists in the Assembly no difference of opinion.[19]

A further snag occurred on a money question in the bill, and the Assembly put forward a new bill with the contentious money clause avoided. It was given third reading in the House but was thrown out on a technicality by the Legislative Council. Thus neither the Queen’s College nor the Dalhousie bill succeeded in 1839. Both were to do so in 1840.

The Dalhousie Act of 1840 did what had been intended in 1839; it broke the old Dalhousie trust, as Howe and others had wanted. Abolished was the old board established by Lord Dalhousie and the Act of 1821. The governor general of British North America as member, a holdover from Lord Dalhousie’s days, was deleted as impracticable; the chief justice was dropped; indeed, all ex-officio officers were dropped except the lieutenant-governor and the president of Dalhousie College. Twelve new members across a religious and political spectrum were named. Future vacancies were to be filled by a curious system of selection: the Legislative Council would choose three, from which the Assembly would select two, and from which the Council would nominate one. Two further sections of the 1840 act must be quoted:

v. That the said College shall be deemed and taken to be an University, with all and every the usual privileges of such Institutions, and that the Students in the said College shall have the liberty and faculty of taking the Degrees of Bachelor, Master and Doctor…

vi. That no Religious Tests or Subscriptions shall be required of the Professors, Scholars, Graduates, Students or Officers of the said College, but that all the privileges and advantages therefo shall be open and free to all and every person and persons whomsoever, without regard to religious persuasion.[20]

The act went through the Assembly without recorded division, but was subject to British approval.

In 1840, too, the Queen’s College Bill was accepted by the Assembly, twenty-seven to fifteen. Howe spoke against the college but voted for it, one of several who did. Howe regretted the fact that Queen’s was created at all, deplored “making five great roads, where only one should be”; but since Crawley had been rejected by the old Dalhousie board on religious grounds (he plainly concurred with Crawley’s estimate of the reasons), he felt he had no option. But for that circumstance, nothing would have induced Howe to vote for the incorporation of Queen’s College.[21]

It met with similar reactions in the Legislative Council. As it passed third reading, a protest was entered by Mather Almon and L.M. Wilkins; if the Queen’s College Bill were to become law, they said, “it is reasonably to be anticipated that similar Institutions, connected with other Religious Denominations in this Province, will be required … and thereby to prevent the ample endowment, from the same source [i.e., public revenue] of some one central and efficient College, perfectly open and unrestricted, and operating equally for the benefit of all classes of the People.” With that appeal to posterity, the Legislative Council passed the Queen’s College Bill.[22]

Queen’s College did not keep its name. Lord John Russell, the colonial secretary, reported that the Queen did not wish her name associated with the college (probably because it was Baptist), and in 1841 it was given the name Acadia College, a happy choice. Russell also objected to the way that future vacancies on the Dalhousie board were to be filled, in particular having nominations and choices given to the popular body. In 1841 that was changed too, giving the power to the lieutenant-governor-in-council.

The creation of Acadia College so quickly, so resolutely, was remarkable; it showed what could be done within a strong religious constituency, driven by determination, anger, and self-sacrifice. It showed, indeed, what Dalhousie did not have: substantial and committed public support from a closely knit section of the province, in this case the Annapolis Valley, whose farms had been started only seventy years before by New England dissenters, mainly from Connecticut and Rhode Island. On the other hand, there was a clear sense among a minority in both the Assembly and the Legislative Council that this development was unfortunate, that it was the result of a concatentation of circumstances that might well have been avoided had there been better management, or even a little plain common sense, in the two critical members of that Dalhousie rump board. Rarely in history are there clear points of departure; rarely can one say this, or that, came from such and such an event. But this one is unmistakable: the Dalhousie board’s refusal to appoint Edmund Crawley as professor of classics in September 1838. It had distinct and momentous consequences for university education in Nova Scotia. Within five months of that refusal, the Queen’s College Bill was before the Assembly, failing in 1839 by only two votes, and passing the following year. Even in 1839 it was already late; the only person who could have averted that progress was Crawley, and he would have none of it.

Crawley’s determination and outrage carried with it suspicion that perhaps he was glad the way things had turned out. He would have been bound to accept the office of professor of classics at Dalhousie College had it been offered, and he made a fine display of indignation when he did not get it; but was he sincere? Herbert Huntingdon, the MLA for Yarmouth, alleged in 1849 he was not. Huntingdon’s furious accusation created a sensation in the Assembly, and was denied by Tory leader J.W. Johnston as a gross lie, but Huntingdon reiterated that Crawley and the Baptists were secretly delighted when he was excluded from Dalhousie in 1838.[23] In 1841 St. Mary’s College – Roman Catholic – was granted a charter by the legislature. All four of Nova Scotia’s little colleges were thus under way – King’s, Dalhousie, Acadia, and St. Mary’s. Despite appearances, however, the Assembly did not accept this as a fait accompli; in 1842, 1843, and after, there were major efforts to revert to, and establish, “One Good College.”

In 1842 the issue arose over how the newly created colleges of Acadia and St. Mary’s were to be funded. King’s had long had a permanent annual grant of £444. One awful weekend in March of 1842 the funding question oscillated precariously back and forth, impelled by bad temper and shifts on both sides. Eventually the House gave £444 to Acadia and St. Mary’s, £400 to Dalhousie. The grants would be for three years, except Dalhousie’s, which was for two. All were to begin on 1 January 1843.[24]

The question of funding was a difficult and anguished one, and the Baptists did not make it easier for themselves, by pushing hard for what they wanted. They had a case: they had dug into their own pockets to help create Acadia, and it was now doing well enough to need, and to ask for, a capital grant for more space. In their view, Dalhousie College had done nothing for itself; there it sat on the Grand Parade, but what had built it was Castine money and a legislative loan. King’s was not much better, though at least it made exertions on its own behalf. But the Assembly was not at all certain it was right to have created Acadia. Many who had opposed it in the first place now rolled their eyes, and said, “Ah! did I not tell you that they [the Baptists] would harrass [sic] you every year for money? You wouldn’t believe it – now are you satisfied?”[25] Howe, who had supported the Acadia charter, was not pleased either. That mattered; since October 1840 Howe had been on the Executive Council and Speaker of the House since February 1841. The Baptists thought Howe’s principle of not favouring any denomination, of making all colleges equal, loaded the dice against Acadia. It was, as Murray Beck pointed out, a question of different conclusions drawn from different premises. The Baptists were anything but even-handed; they turned on Howe and others in April and May 1842 in their powerful weekly, the Christian Messenger. They threatened Howe and Young, both new members of the Executive Council, with dire consequences if they had the temerity to oppose a capital grant to Acadia College. By the end of 1842 Howe was beginning to wonder if Acadia was not in league with his Tory rivals. That meant increased strain in the relations between Howe and J.W. Johnston, the Baptist Tory who was attorney general.

Since October 1840 Nova Scotia had had a coalition Executive Council put together by the magic wand of the governor general, Charles Poulett Thomson, who came down from Quebec to work it out with Lord Falkland, the new lieutenant-governor. The Executive Council was made into a combination of Tories and Reformers, with a Tory preponderance. Working under that arrangement was not going to be easy, with the college question at the boiling point and the attorney general an active Baptist.

The college question thus came before the Assembly in 1843 compounded and exacerbated by utterances in the newspapers, and by some intemperateness on both sides. The Novascotian put it in the context of the whole educational system of Nova Scotia: of a population of two hundred and fifty thousand, probably thirty thousand children were growing up without the basic rudiments of education, and here was the legislature squandering £1,800 a year on four colleges. And the worst of it was that everyone knew the Methodists and Presbyterians were waiting, thinking in due course that they, too, would get their slice of the cake. Richard Nugent, the Catholic editor of the Novascotian, became more annoyed the more he thought about it:

We must confess ourselves astonished at the credulity or infatuation of our Countrymen, and lament the mistaken policy of our public men which gave rise to the present deplorable state of the Educational affairs of the Province… What is to be done? Shall we go on, ad infinitum creating College after College…? Or, shall we pause here, and enquire, seriously, – where the evil will end?[26]

That certainly stirred up a row. The Assembly opened a debate two days later to consider the whole question of colleges. Tory J.J. Marshall argued that it was impossible to support a general college and suppress the others. The best policy was to wait until such a college were asked for. For the present, two-thirds of Nova Scotia would be against it. Howe replied that in 1842 all the colleges were put on the same level, and all were satisfied but Acadia. The Baptists had made the table groan with petitions for more money, and now the Methodists and Presbyterians were getting restless. What did Nova Scotia need with so many colleges? Switzerland had one college for every four hundred thousand people. From Committee of the Whole came the following: “Resolved, that the policy, heretofore pursued, of chartering and endowing Collegiate Institutions, of a Sectarian or Denominational Character is unsound, and ought to be abandoned.” Attempts were made to stop that decisive declaration. Fairbanks of Queen’s County, a Tory, agreed with Marshall; he proposed that however desirable it might be to have one college free of sectarian control, yet “experience has shown the impracticability of uniting the various denominations of Christians in such a manner, and that a different Policy having been forced upon the House, and hitherto recognized and adopted … it would be unwise and unjust to prostrate those Institutions.” That was defeated, and the main motion carried. A committee of Howe, William Annand, Huntingdon, and others was charged with drafting a bill that would establish the One College principle once and for all. The Baptists sought vainly to be heard. A motion “founding one General College upon the ruin of all others … unless sanctioned by the cordial feelings and wishes of the population, cannot be effected” received the three-months’ hoist. That was after midnight on 27 March 1843, and the debate finally adjourned at 1:30am.[27]

It was a wrenching debate, with little charity and no quarter given. The Baptists were disposed to rail at anyone who got in their way, who might choose to advocate establishing common schools as against, as the Novascotian bluntly put it, “a set of worthless denominational Colleges with half-read Professors.” The legislature was becoming a battleground of friends and supporters of each. The more the Baptists rose in their wrath, the more Howe became aroused. Some Baptists, he said, were worse than Roman Catholics when it came to persecution. Indeed, if we had to have a pope, he went on, he would rather have one in Rome than in Wolfville; and one who would look the part, in gorgeous and solemn robes, not a Baptist one in black coat and tights.[28]

The debate ended because the committee could not agree on where that single college would be, so that, finally, nothing was done. The Legislative Council had accepted none of it; the grants passed in 1842 were still intact; they would expire in another two and a half years, in Dalhousie’s case in one and a half. The question would now go to a broader forum.

“One College” in the Election of 1843
The discussion about One College went on that summer and fall of 1843 in the newspapers and ultimately on the hustings. On Wednesday, 25 September 1843 a large meeting was held in Mason’s Hall, Halifax to discuss establishing one “liberal and respectable Provincial College.” G.R. Young had visited McGill during the summer, and concluded that it was important to consider having a medical school in Halifax. It was not an impossible dream, he said. Let each sect train its own clergy, by all means, but let general education, classics, mathematics, law, medicine, be taught at one good central college. The Nova Scotian denominational colleges were already costing £5,000 to £6,000 a year; it was a system that went “against the spirit of the age.”

Howe, too, pointed out the advantages of size, substance, and the power that went with them. King’s, he said, although it had been in existence for half a century, was nothing. A degree from King’s had no weight at all; outside of Nova Scotia it was worth no more than the parchment it was written on. It was time, he said, to call a halt to building up these feudal, sectarian, power centres. Why, they “were like feudal castles in the olden time, each the rallying point of a party whose only object was to strengthen their own position … and levy contributions on the public.” Howe particularly deplored the spectacle of “these peripatetic, writing, wrangling, grasping Professors” riding over the countryside, stirring up trouble. No old Baptist, not even Henry Alline, said Howe, stirred up so much strife as arrogant professors of philosophy and religion had done in the past six years. Edmund Crawley, lean, tall, dressed in black, had been seen in so many places around the province that he was called “Galloping Tongs.”[29] There were a number of resolutions put before the Mason’s Hall meeting, but the most important one, which went forward with others to the Assembly, was as follows:

Resolved, therefore, that this meeting earnestly suggest a concentration of the energy and means of the true friends of Education, both in the Capital and the Country to oppose a system which is intended to lead to the erection and support of five or six weak and inefficient Institutions under the name of Colleges, and to encourage the Legislature to endow one Central College, which from the number of its professors, the branches of varied learning taught, its Library and Museum, will enable the Youth of Nova Scotia to receive a liberal education at home, instead of being sent, as under the present and contemplated Sectarian system, to be educated abroad.[30]

Public meetings in a similar vein went on into October. One of the biggest was Onslow, on Monday, 9 October. The Novascotian counted 113 wagons, gigs, and saddle horses tied up outside the Presbyterian meeting house to hear speakers on the One College question. There was another at Stewiacke that same day, and at Londonderry a fortnight later. The debates raged on and went straight into the general election, called at the end of October.[31]

The election call was mainly Lord Falkand’s doing, for he now despaired of being able to carry any government measures through the Assembly, That election was also where the One College movement flagged and failed. Where the issue surfaced, as it did in a number of central constituencies, the arguments used by the Christian Messenger came home to roost – that is, if Howe and the Reformers won, Acadia College would get nothing from the Assembly but the odd crumb, and the new Roman Catholic college of St. Mary’s would fare no better. King’s would get the same treatment. It was in some ways a battle of the periphery against the capital, and the capital lost; where the college question intruded, the Reformers and the One College principle lost ground. In the election that November the Reformers lost their majority in the Assembly to the Tories, who now had a majority of one. Eight of the new Tory seats were in the Baptist belt, from Annapolis through Kings into Colchester. After the appointment to the Council of J.W. Johnston’s brother-in-law, Mather Almon, in December, Howe resigned from the Council, and the coalition regime was at an end.[32]

The Last Years of McCulloch’s Dalhousie
Dalhousie College carried on valiantly, even hopefully. In December 1842 it struck a code of rules to govern the college. The terms were changed to accommodate local tastes and exigencies. The BA was now laid down as three years of two terms each, the terms beginning in the fourth Tuesday of January to 1 July, and from 1 September to 15 December. The admission age was set at a minimum of fourteen years. Students were to wear caps and gowns, after the King’s College fashion. Dalhousie College was to be conducted on the principle that “entire liberality in point of Religion” was compatible with cultivating “sentiments of piety and virtue.” The professorships were to be open to “any religious denomination”; there were to be no religious tests; and “all the awards and honours of the Institution will be open to all classes without distinction.” Internal governance of the college was vested in the professors collectively.[33]

These rules were drawn up by a committee of the new seventeen-member Board of Governors that had been appointed in May 1842 pursuant to the new 1841 act. It was rather large and clumsy, but certainly more representative than the rump of three hitherto existing. The new board reduced salaries. The president’s would be £300 as of 1 January 1844. Romans, whose appointment in 1838 had created so much of the trouble in the first place, had not worked out well. He was retired as of 31 December 1842, with six months’ pay. McIntosh would take over classics as well as the mathematics he already taught with an increase in salary to £200. A professor of modern languages (mainly French, Italian, and Spanish) would be added at £150.[34]

Engraving of Grand Parade, 1840.
Meeting of the Halifax Tandem Club, on the Grand Parade in front of Dalhousie College, about 1840. A coloured version of this engraving was presented to Dalhousie in 1950.

The new board also wanted to establish clear title to the Grand Parade. The new Halifax City Council had passed a resolution stating that the railing on the upper, Argyle Street side of the Parade was a hazard and should be fixed. Dalhousie had thought it was the city’s responsibility, but the city demurred, so Dalhousie undertook to get the work done. The military still had occasional parades there, which got in the way of lectures from time to time, but the board thought it would not interfere with this ancient use, at least for the present. The attorney general was asked about the title to the Parade; J.W. Johnston’s report is not extant, but it must have given the governors pause, for they agreed to ask for a new grant of the “college lands.”[35]

In early August 1843 Lorenzo Lacoste, the new professor of modern languages, arrived from New York. He was the most promising candidate, the board evidently finding his New York references satisfactory. He was a quiet man, well liked in his Halifax boarding house, unobtrusive, of regular habits, his books and clothes in good order. On 22 August he came home in mid-afternoon, walked in the garden with the owner for half an hour, then went out after dinner. He did not return. He was found at first light by a North-West Arm farmer, who discovered Lacoste floating in the water, his throat cut, evidently self-inflicted. One or two witnesses at the inquest testified that they had seen him acting strangely. The coroner’s jury concluded that he had committed suicide while “insane and distracted.” The cause was probably some private agony that Lacoste found too hard to bear. It might have been Dalhousie College itself, although Lord Falkland said that Lacoste was pleased with his situation. Lord Falkland also asked his London friend, rather laconically, that since Lacoste had committed suicide, could another professor of modern languages be recommended?[36]

At that time McCulloch was in western Nova Scotia gathering minerals and other specimens for his natural history collection. He had sold his first one in the 1820s and was building a second. His summer collecting time was shortened now, Dalhousie opening on the first Monday in September. McCulloch avoided the polemics of his old days in Pictou; he went about his business without apparent rancour, even amid the bitter debates of 1842 and 1843 about One College. He said nothing against the Baptists; he had preached more than once at Granville Street Baptist Church. He told a friend he was getting like an old mare he remembered in Truro: she hated to move so much that the only way to persuade her to do so was to stick a pin in her shoulder; when the pain of the pin was worse than the pain of progression, then would the mare move.[37] He had gone to Scotland in the summer of 1842 to see old correspondents and friends for the first time since 1825-6. As often happens with returning emigres, he discovered soon enough that the river is never the same twice, that the world he had known had changed beyond his comfortable accommodation with it. Scotland was no longer home. He was glad to come back to Halifax, bringing with him his young niece to marry his son William.

Dalhousie College opened on Monday, 4 September. McCulloch was taken ill the Friday before. He went to his classes on opening day but came home exhausted. Dr. Grigor of the Dalhousie board was called the next day, and thought McCulloch had symptoms of typhus. He slowly got weaker, and died on the Saturday evening of 9 September, as the five o’clock gun from the Citadel sounded. His son, holding him, felt his “father’s last breath pass gently over my hand.”[38]

McMulloch’s dying was more peaceful than most of his living. His energy, confidence, ability, combined to make him formidable; as the Acadian Recorder put it, he was “gifted with masterly wit and reasoning powers of the highest order; few writers were able to cope with him.” That gets precisely at his eristic style; his was not a tender soul, and his integrity made compromise difficult. Mercy was a Christian virtue he recognized rather than practised. The real power of his mind is felt in his Stepsure Letters, that ironic, often sardonic comment on men, women, and manners in Nova Scotia. It is also seen in his students. The best epitaph came from one, many years afterward: “I didn’t know his greatness until I heard the professors at the University of Edinburgh.”[39]

Dalhousie College recognized the necessity of appointing a successor as soon as one could be found. They would need at least £300 annual income to do so. They agreed to appeal to the city, each member of the board taking on one of the six wards, to induce the inhabitants to “contribute liberally towards its [Dalhousie College’s] support.” It was not successful; the 1840s were a difficult and narrow time financially, and everyone seemed pinched by it. By the end of 1843 Dalhousie College seemed to be unravelling at the edges. It was lacking that strong coherence that McCulloch’s presence, his mind, his range, his reputation, had given the college. Then Professor McIntosh applied for and got leave to return to Scotland, ostensibly on business, in reality to look for another post. He was also asked to look for a new president in Scotland. Ultimately McIntosh pushed his demands for leave too far, and was allowed to resign. He had been replaced with McCulloch’s son Thomas, much less decisive than his father, and by no means presidential material.[40] At the time of McCulloch’s death the college was living close to the bone, its financial stability precarious. Ere long something had to happen: the grants given by the Assembly in 1842 would terminate for Dalhousie on 1 January 1845. The One College principle had been decided in March 1843 by seven votes, but it had never received legislative approval and it had been a lively issue all that year and into the November general election. The House left it alone in 1844; it was divisive enough without opening it up gratuitously.

By 1845, however, the House could not avoid dealing with the question. The Reformers who had provided the basic support for One College, who had carried it in 1843, now found themselves at a disadvantage. They had lost control of the Assembly. College grants were renewed in 1845, at about two-thirds their former level, but with no grant at all to Dalhousie. Joseph Howe tried to stop all the grants by an amendment condemning sectarian colleges, but it was defeated decisively. Votes of money to Acadia, St. Mary’s, Pictou Academy, and to Sackville Academy in New Brunswick (the future Methodist college of Mount Allison), were passed mostly by solid majorities. Attempts by Huntingdon to rescind them the next day failed narrowly; the rescinding of the permanent grant to King’s failed by one vote.[41]

The Dalhousie Board of Governors now had little choice. Their 1845 assets were £9,342.11s.1d. sterling, in 3 per cent Consols in London, yielding an annual income of £280 sterling. They had, since 5 April 1845, the British Post Office paying £100 sterling annual rent for the lower corner at Duke and Barrington. The Mechanics Institute occupying the west wing had had it rent free since 1833, as did the Infant School. Thus Dalhousie’s gross annual income was now £380 sterling, (£450 Halifax currency). Salaries took up £650. This was not the arithmetic of success. With the legislative grant ended on 31 December 1844, with McCulloch dead, there was little hope of carrying on. It had not in fact been doing well. It had no library. Its scientific apparatus was valued at £100. It had perhaps sixteen students. The other colleges looked better than Dalhousie: Acadia had twenty-seven students, St. Mary’s forty to eighty, depending on how they were counted; King’s had twenty-two. All had libraries, St. Mary’s reporting fifteen hundred books, Acadia, five hundred. So the Dalhousie board’s resolution of 3 June 1845 was sensible, timely, and devastating: “That in consequence of the discontinuance of the Provincial Grant it is expedient to shut up the college for the present and not to fill up the vacancies in the professorships. And that it is advisable to let the Funds of the Institution to accumulate.”[42]

Thus did the 1838 opening of Dalhousie College come, ingloriously, to an end. G.R. Young, William Young, Huntingdon, and Howe had tried to buttress Dalhousie. All had failed. What lay behind that failure was Dalhousie’s liberal and unsectarian character. It had no constituency. As Gaius Lewis, Liberal MLA for Cumberland put it, “it seemed [that it was] not owned by any.” What he meant by that was painfully obvious: the others – King’s, Acadia, St. Mary’s, and now Mount Allison in New Brunswick – were “owned,” by Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, and Methodists, respectively. As for the Presbyterians, they had never “owned” Dalhousie, had never professed to, though the first appointments of 1838 had given that impression. By 1847 Dalhousie College was a community centre and a government office building, its college state neatly summed up in a report to the Assembly that year:

Professors. – None
Students attending Lectures. – None


  1. J. Murray Beck, Politics of Nova Scotia, Vol. 1, 1710-1896 (Tantallon 1985), p. 103: J. Murray Beck, Joseph Howe: Conservative Reformer 1804-1848 (Kingston and Montreal 1982), pp. 102-3; D.C. Harvey, “The Intellectual Awakening of Nova Scotia,” Dalhousie Review 13, no. 1 (April 1933), pp. 1-22.
  2. See J. Murray Beck, “S.G.W. Archibald,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vii: 21-5.
  3. Letter from McCulloch to Mitchell, 6 Nov. 1834, from Pictou, and 23 Nov. 1835, Thomas McCulloch Papers, MGI, vol. 553, Nova Scotia Archives; Letter from McCulloch to John Mitchell (the father of James) June 1838, from Pictou, Thomas McCulloch Papers, MGI, vol. 553, Nova Scotia Archives.
  4. Letter from C.D. Archibald to McCulloch, 18 Nov. 1837, from Halifax, Thomas McCulloch Papers, MGI, vol. 553, Nova Scotia Archives.
  5. Letter from C.D. Archibald to McCulloch, 21 Mar. 1838, private, from Halifax, Thomas McCulloch Papers, MGI, vol. 554, Nova Scotia Archives.
  6. Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1838, 16 Mar., p. 350; Letter from Dickson to McCulloch, 5 Apr. 1838, from Halifax, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 553, no. 141, Nova Scotia Archives. Dickson was the brother-in-law of S.G.W. Archibald. See Allan C. Dunlop, “Thomas Dickson,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, viii: 222.
  7. Letters from Charles Archibald to McCulloch, 28 Mar., 10 Apr. 1838, from Halifax, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 553, no. 140, Nova Scotia Archives; Novascotian, 12 Apr. 1838, reporting on the Legislative Council for 27 Mar.
  8. Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 554, Nova Scotia Archives, E.A. Crawley, “An Outline suggesting some principles and regulations for putting Dalhousie College into active operation,” n.d. [c. 20 Apr. 1838]. The date is made clear from McCulloch’s letter to Charles Archibald of 24 Apr. 1838. See also Barry Moody, “Edmund Ahern Crawley,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography xi: 214-15; Charles Archibald to McCulloch, 21 Mar. 1838, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 554, Nova Scotia Archives. Crawley’s discussion with Charles Wallace is referred to in Crawley’s interview before the Assembly, 13 Feb. 1839, in the debates for that day, reported in Novascotian, 21 Mar. 1839.
  9. Letter from McCulloch to Charles Archibald, 24 Apr. 1838, from Pictou, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 554, Nova Scotia Archives.
  10. On McCulloch’s appointment there is a singular touch of animus in the board minutes. Deleted at the request of the lieutenant-governor was the statement that “the Revd. Thomas MacCulloch ... is hereby appointed President.” Substituted was “the Revd. Dr. T. MacCulloch who for the present is appointed President.” See Board of Governors Minutes, 9 Mar., 6 Aug., 15 Sept. 1838, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives; Letter from Charles Archibald to McCulloch, 10 Apr. 1838, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 553, no. 140, Nova Scotia Archives.
  11. Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 550, Nova Scotia Archives; Memorial of Synod of Nova Scotia, 11 Aug. 1838. The Pictou Observer and Eastern Advertiser, 11 Sept. 1838, a Kirk supporter, had a strong anti-McCulloch editorial; Board of Governors Minutes, 15 Sept. 1838, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.
  12. Novascotian, 27 Sept. 1838, “Dalhousie College - No. 1.” There followed three others, one a week, up to 18 Oct. 1838.
  13. Letter from McCulloch to John Mitchell, 26 May 1839, from Halifax, Thomas McCulloch Papers, vol. 553, Nova Scotia Archives.
  14. The source of this and the preceding paragraph is G.G. Patterson, The History of Dalhousie College and University (Halifax 1887), pp. 32-6. The writer he quotes from was “an old Dalhousian”; and Patterson’s father, the Reverend George Patterson fits perfectly, being both at Pictou Academy and Dalhousie College in exactly those years. After the History came out, some further reflections occurred to George Patterson, Sr., and these were duly published in the Dalhousie Gazette, 2 Dec. 1887, pp. 32-3, as a letter from the son. See also Allan Dunlop, “George Patterson,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, XII: 828-9.
  15. See W.B. Hamilton, “Education, Politics and Reform in Nova Scotia 1800-1848” (PH.D. thesis, University of Western Ontario 1970), pp. 265-6.
  16. Novascotian, 31 Jan. 1839, reporting Assembly debates for 18 Jan. 1839.
  17. Novascotian, 21 Mar. 1839, reporting debates for 13 Feb.; also Board of Governors Minutes, 15 Sept. 1838, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives. Details are set out in Appendix 30, Nova Scotia, Assembly, Journals 1839, pp. 55ff.
  18. Novascotian, 21 Mar. 1839, reporting debates for 13, 14, and 20 Feb. 1839.
  19. Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1839, 8 Mar., pp. 561-2.
  20. Nova Scotia Statutes, 3 Vic. cap. 7.
  21. Novascotian, 19 Mar. 1840, reporting Assembly debates for 14 Feb. See also J. Murray Beck, Joseph Howe: Conservative Reformer 1804-1848, p. 204.
  22. Nova Scotia Legislative Council, Journals 1840, 15 Feb., pp. 43-4.
  23. Novascotian, 16 Apr. 1849, reporting Assembly debates for 26 Feb. The account in the Halifax British Colonist suggests that Huntingdon was in a furious rage: “He doubled his fist, and shook it, at his arm’s length, in the direction where the Gentlemen he alluded to [Crawley] stood among the spectators below the bar.” British Colonist, 3 Mar. 1849 reporting debates of 26 Feb. Huntingdon had also a falling out with Howe that same session. See A.A. MacKenzie, “Herbert Huntingdon,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, viii: 415-18.
  24. This story can be traced in Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1842, 5-8 Mar., pp. 300-12; Howe comments on it later in the Novascotian, 24 Nov. 1842. See J. Murray Beck, Howe: Conservative Reformer 1804-1848, pp. 249-50.
  25. This is from G.W. McLelan’s speech in Mason Hall, Halifax, 25 Sept. 1843, reported in the Novascotian, 16 Oct. 1843.
  26. Novascotian, 20 Feb. 1843.
  27. Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1843, 22 Feb. to 27 Mar., pp. 421-513. The debate of 20 Mar. is reported extensively (though even at that much condensed) in the Novascotian, 17 Apr. 1843.
  28. Novascotian, 20 Mar. 1843, editorial; ibid., 17 Apr. 1843, reporting debates for 20 Mar.
  29. Novascotian, 9 Oct. 1843.
  30. Novascotian, 2 Oct. 1843.
  31. Novascotian, 16 Oct. 1843, reporting the Onslow meeting; Novascotian, 6 Nov. 1843, reporting Stewiacke meeting.
  32. Christian Messenger (Halifax), 21 July, 6 Oct. 1843; J. Murray Beck, Howe: Conservative Reformer 1804-1848, pp. 259, 265. See also Beck’s Politics, vol. 1: 123.
  33. Board of Governors Minutes, 31 Dec. 1842, pp. 40-7, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.
  34. Board of Governors Minutes, 12 Nov. 1842, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives; the new board is listed in full in Patterson, The History of Dalhousie College and University, p. 38. It met for the first time on 5 July 1842.
  35. Board of Governors Minutes, 8 Mar., 28 Apr. 1843, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.
  36. Coroner’s report is dated 23 Aug. 1843, RG 41, vol. 19 (1843) no. 8, Nova Scotia Archives. This material has been brought to my attention by Professor John Barnstead, Department of Russian, Dalhousie University, to whom I am most grateful; Board of Governors Correspondence, Lord Falkland to P. Rolandi, London, 29 Sept. 1843, UA-1, Box 27, Folder 7, Dalhousie University Archives. Peter Rolandi was a foreign book specialist in London.
  37. Letter from Thomas McCulloch to Rev. John Campbell, at St. Mary’s, 4 July 1841, vol. 553, Thomas McCulloch Papers, Nova Scotia Archives. McCulloch was using the metaphor to apply to letter writing; I have extended the metaphor, I hope not unwisely.
  38. William McCulloch, The Life of Thomas McCulloch, D.D. Pictou [ed. by T.W. and J.W. McCulloch] (Truro, NS 1920), pp. 192-3.
  39. The student was George Patterson, in A History of the County of Pictou, Nova Scotia (Montreal 1877), pp. 330-1. The Stepsure Letters were first published in the Acadian Recorder in 1821-2, reprinted in 1862, and in more recent years by J.A. Irving and D.G. Lochhead ([Toronto] 1960).
  40. Board of Governors Minutes, 22 Sept., 30 Dec. 1843, 27 Mar. 1844, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.
  41. Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1845, 31 Mar., 1 Apr., pp. 321-6.
  42. Nova Scotia Assembly, Journals 1845, Appendix 12, pp. 43-6; Board of Governors Minutes, 13 June 1845, UA-1, Box 14, Folder 2, Dalhousie University Archives.


The Lives of Dalhousie University: Volume One, 1818-1925 Copyright © by Governors of Dalhousie College and University. All Rights Reserved.

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