Date Published: 1845
Binding: No binding
A RARE AND IMPORTANT EARLY DOCUMENT FOR THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN CANADA
Draft of Church Constitution Feb. 4th, 1845. Draft of A System of Management for the congregations under the inspection of the Missionary Synod of the United Secession Church in Canada. VII parts covered in this letter.
Flat size: 16-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches folded to 8-1/4 x 10-1/2 inches (folded more as it was mailed as a stampless letter (6 x 3-1/2 inches). Two postal marks; CAVAN U.C. (Upper Canada) with handwritten inside of Jany 1845 and London Jan12 1845 U.C. (Upper Canada).
William Proudfoot was a Presbyterian minister, editor, and educator.
In the year 1820 the Associate or Burgher and the General Associate or Anti-burgher Synods of the
Secession Church of Scotland were united, and assumed the name of the United Associate Synod of the Secession Church. After this union it was felt by the Secession Church that increased efforts should be made for propagating the Gospel. Accordingly, in 1829, a committee was appointed to prepare a scheme for permanent missionary operations to be submitted to the presbyteries. The committee deemed it expedient to confine its attention in the first place to home missions; but the subject of foreign missions was afterwards brought before the synod, and a resolution adopted to enter on some foreign field. There were diversities of opinion as to the field to be selected, but in the synod which met in 1832, it was decided to commence missionary operations in Canada and the adjoining Provinces of British America. A few weeks after this meeting three brethren in every respect well qualified for the work, offered their services as missionaries to Canada.
One of the brethren being William Proudfoot who was educated in the University of Edinburgh, and studied theology under Dr. Lawson, of Selkirk. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1812, and on the 11th August, 1813, was ordained to the charge of Pitrodie, in Perthshire, where he remained for seventeen years, and where, in addition to his pastoral duties, he conducted with success a classical and mathematical academy. Mr. Proudfoot accepted the charge of a congregation in London, which he retained till his death. He died on the 10th January, 1851, in the sixty-third year of his age and the thirtyeighth of his ministry. During his residence in Canada he was not only a zealous missionary and faithful pastor but discharged with success other multifarious duties which were laid upon him. He was clerk of presbytery, clerk of synod and official correspondent with the Church in Scotland, and took a leading part in the union negotiations between the United Secession and Presbyterian Synods of Canada. When a theological college was established in 1844 in connection with the United Secession Synod, he was appointed professor, and taught classics and philosophy as well as theology, while at the same time he retained the pastoral charge of the congregation in London. In addition to all these labours he took an active and influential part in the public affairs of the Province, and particularly in the movements respecting King's College and the Clergy Reserves. His death was the result of organic disease of the heart, from which for ten weeks he endured great suffering, which he bore with Christian patience and resignation. His removal was felt by the Church to be a sore bereavement. He was a man of dignified appearance and independent character, an accomplished scholar, a profound theologian and an eloquent and impressive preacher, wise in counsel and energetic in action. One of his sons is Vice-Chancellor in the High Court of Justice of the Province of Ontario ; another - the Rev. Dr. Proudfoot - succeeded him as pastor of the congregation in London, and is lecturer on homiletics and pastoral theology in Knox College, Toronto.
The state of Upper Canada as a field of missionary labour at the time when Mr. Proudfoot came to it is thus described by him in a letter written soon afterwards, in which he also describes his reception by the brethren of the United Synod of Upper Canada, and the field of their labours, and also the plan which he and Mr. Christie proposed to adopt. " In order (he says) to have a just idea of Canada as a field of missionary labour under the superintendence of the United Associate Synod [of Scotland] it is necessary to divide the country into the townships within the limits of the United Synod of Upper Canada, and those that are beyond them. The synod has congregations at wide intervals from Cornwall, fifty miles be low Prescott, to London, in the western territory, and from York [Toronto] to Lake Simcoe.
Quoted from HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. p.496