Three Letters from Adam Kidd

From The Vindicator, January 20, 1829:


To John Chariton Fisher, L.L.D. Editor of the Quebec
Authority Gazette, &c.

     Once more, I find, Sir, you step forward in your usual angry manner, to discountenance every thing that bears the slightest tinge of liberality about it. But since much has already been said, with regard to the Kentish meeting, clearly establishing that the greatest majority of that meeting, was altogether in favour of the Liberals, I do not intend, altogether, to follow you thro’ the long windings and by-paths in which you have been pleased to take your wanderings.

     To me it appears rather a melancholy consideration, that you, sir, who are evidently anxious to procure for yourself the name of “wise,” should so often exhibit the strongest and most convincing symptoms of the reverse! But as pity is an ingredient, happily mixed up in the human composition, I shall now turn seriously to the subject, which at the moment so fully arrests my attention. The principles advocated by the Editor of the MERCURY, and with which you seem altogether offended, are only such principles as must spring from a heart, stamped with the finest impress of the Deity, and a mind well cultivated, and fully capable of appreciating the blessings of equal privileges to every individual who adores God, and stands erect in the dignity of manhood.

     The Editor of the Mercury comes forward with language dignified, noble and manly, and concludes with the following observation, which, of itself, is sufficient to place him on the list where the names of such mighty worthies as FOX, PITT, BURKE, AND GRATTAN, appear in the bright halo of grateful veneration. “We have ever considered it both unjust and impolitic to create civil disqualifications, on account of religious opinions.” This, this is the language of the Mercury — and such language as the enlightened of every nation and every creed must heartily appreciate. Here, then, Sir, I would advise you to come forward, and throw down your prejudices, and carefully and dispassionately read this sentence — to pause — to meditate with seriousness — and I doubt not, but you will become a convert to the Christian-like purity of its doctrines —Yes, you will come forward, like the immortal Sterne, and declare, that justice should not be made a matter of breviary, and that you would not wish to fashion any man’s creed, but your own. Alas, Doctor: — quanta laboras in charybdi. — Your cause is a miserable one — it can neither carry you, nor is it fit to be carried by you — part with it, and leave the rest of your proceedings to a better fate — permitte divis caetera. The want of an equal chance of publication with you, prevents me from entering fully into the remarks of your last Gazette; and besides, I have an utter dislike to all anonymous communications. The cause I would advocate, is the cause of universal and unrestricted Liberty — I would grasp every man as my brother by the hand, caring but little to what name, Country or Church, he may have belonged.

     We are all children of the same Almighty Parent, and if equally pious, have an equal claim to the spontaneous bounty of His heavenly divinity. I do not belong to that class of “latent enemies” of the Church of England, which you so pathetically allude to. No, Sir, I am also a Protestant, and firmly attached to the Doctrines in which I have been educated — but am unwilling to tyrannize over those who faithfully appeal to St. Peter, while I as devotedly appeal to St. Athanasius. Away, away with such unbecomingness — we are now advancing in the Nineteenth century, and only turn, with dislike and horror, to look back at the pernicious effects already gone by, and which were produced by the unfeeling Demon of persecution, whose impious reign, you at this moment so strenuously advocate.

     ‘He who allows oppression shares the crime,’ was the observation of one of the wisest men, whose names have ever adorned the page of literature. — But, Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus: does it not then become the duty of every well disposed individual, to endeavour to correct the errors of a corrupted heart, when its effects are likely to contaminate the principles of the unthinking and the unguarded? Man is naturally kind to his fellow creature, unless poisoned by prejudice, by bigotry and ignorance. The Indian who enjoys the bounties of his wild inheritance, contends not for superiority over the brothers of his tribe — every man stands on an equal footing, until he has signalized himself by some noble achievement, which entitles him to distinction; and then, as a matter of right, he becomes the elevated of his nation. Here, Sir, for your salutary improvement, I now advise you to peruse Colden, Schoolcraft, and Heckewelder, and then tell me if you do not feel ashamed of your imaginary superiority, and of your right to disqualify your fellow-subjects, on account of their religious profession: I say, to disqualify men, whose magnanimous and noble spirits have proved, in every emergency; that they are, and ever have been, the unshaken defenders of the British Throne, and still love to rally round their King, with hearts as firm as their Island rock, that braves the fury of the ocean.

     Fearing that I have trespassed too far on the limits of a paper, whose debtor I must now declare myself.

I remain, Sir,
   Your very humble servant,

Quebec, January 5, 1829.

*     *     *

From The Vindicator, December 11, 1829:
     To the Editor of the Vindicator


     A new paper, bearing this name, has just commenced its career in York, under the direction of the Rev. Messrs. Ryerson and Metcalf, two American Methodist Preachers, and breaks off with all the cant and whining so peculiarly the characteristic of those pious champions of Methodism, mixed with a pompous profusion of Stultus et improbus Amor, foolish and inconsistent self-love. It was not my intention, however, to look after the Rev. Mr. Ryerson and Co., until accidentally seeing with what charitable feeling, they have pronounced the rapid conversion of the “neglected poor of Ireland!” &c. &c. Here, Sir, I am something at a loss to know what the twin Editors of the Christian Guardian wish to convey by these epithets. Do they mean to infer the neglect of Methodist Preachers among the Irish? If so, I consider it a fortunate circumstance for that country, which I am happy to claim as my parent. Or, is it that the poor of Ireland have been neglected by their own educated, enlightened, and respected pastors, until accidentally discovered by some wandering mountebank Methodist Preacher. If so, the accusation is a foul and impudent slander on the proverbial character of the pious, talented, and Christian charity of the Irish clergy, whose benevolent instructions may be traced, not only throughout their own Island, but to the most distant borders of the Continent. It may serve well for the hungry and uneducated thumpers of the Methodist pulpit to boast of their advancing cause, when among a few simple but well disposed followers, whom they actually eat “out of house and home,” and all for the love of the Gospel! to have those holy tidings conveyed to their credulous ears. But my country! where now are to be traced the pure and unsophisticated doctrines of your Coppingers, your Moylans, your Murrays, your Kirwins, your Henrys, your Magees, and your Doyles, &c. &c. — alas! all must now yield to the bombastic rant of the magnanimous Adjutant Ryerson. Thus is the British whale devoured by the unmannerly sprat carefully conveyed in a pitcher from mud-lake. If Ireland has been neglected, Upper Canada is to be pitied — not only in a religious but also in a political point of view. Do these Rev. Editors think to palm themselves on the public as teachers with whom we are not acquainted — No, no, it will not do — we know enough of “American Methodism” — we are not strangers to the evils which Upper Canada has already experienced from its political poison — I must now speak personally — I know the greater part of the American saddle-bag preachers, and among the rest MR. METCALF, whom I now fearlessly pronounce destitute of every necessary education, but that of Federalism, Adams, or Jacksonism. There are many families in the neighbourhood of Beilville, Napanee-mills, and other places I could easily enumerate, who have been rendered miserable by their religious bickerings about British and American Methodism. The father, the brave U. E. Loyalist, holding fast to the very name, while his children who have been educated by their Spores, their Pools, their Ryersons, and their Metcalfs, contend for the new-modelled American system of redemtion [sic]. Where are the effects of that holy religion which came, not to separate but to unite — “to collect together, like the baptismal dove, every set, colour, and clime beneath the spotless wing of its protection.” Is it to be found in the American Methodism of Upper Canada whose mushroom productions have undergone as many shifting variations as that well known Irish tune called Paddy Carey.

     But I am trespassing too far on the columns of the Vindicator, yet as the subject is one that affects every candid and honest heart, which hates deceit and despises hypocrisy, you will for the present pardon my troubling you with this hurried article.

I remain,
      With every feeling of respect,
  Your old Irish Friend,

Montreal, Dec. 10

*   *   *

From The Vindicator, February 2, 1830:

To the Editor of the Vindicator


SIR. — The Rev. Editors of this hopeful Guardian, in conjunction with their charitable friend Avoirdupoise, have now made a most glorious discovery, and one that will have a happier, and a more advantageous effect upon the Christian world, that could ever be produced by the long sought-for Perpetual Motion! Notwithstanding that Sir Francis Drake and Captain Cooke [sic], circumnavigated the world, it only remained for Adjutant Ryerson and Co. to find out that the News-papers of Canada, are “helmed by officers from the Court of Anti-Christ.” For this wonderful discovery, I shall leave the Editors in Canada to return thanks, in propria persona, and for the part that belongs to me, make my best bow, while dissenting from these incorporated libellers of a generous and an intelligent community. With that art and cunning, so proverbial the concomitants of these American Methodist preachers, they have very snugly smoothed their fore-lock, and slipped past the open and unmantled facts in my last correspondence. I am not an enemy to Methodism, nor to the honest hearts who believe in the doctrines of John Wesley, but I must declare myself hostile to those foul Jugglers, who have within this last twelve years polluted the shores of Canada, and endeavoured to destroy the manly spirit of loyalty, for which the first settlers of the country are so honourably distinguished.

     Under these considerations, I was not surprised to see, in a late American paper, how impudently the Editor came out, declaring that Upper Canada was all republican, and ready to join the United States Standard — Thus insulting the good faith and proved loyalty of a manly and independent people.

     The Methodists of Upper Canada, were united, comfortable, and happy, before the Yankee-System of Redemption was introduced among them, by these political preachers, whose object was to speculate and fatten on the industry of their innocent followers.

     Happily now, the eyes of the inhabitants have been opened by the frequent occurrence of imposition.

     Those uneducated preachers, too lazy to work, dig canals, or clear off bush land, preferred lounging on their industrious neighbours, and like the drone bees, devouring the honey as fast as it could be collected, until they have actually reduced several respectable families almost to a state of poverty. If these Yankee preachers had no motive, but the saving of souls, why did they cause the school-house doors and places of worship, through Upper Canada, to be shut against the British Methodist preachers, who strictly follow the pure doctrines and fixed principles of their founder? Was it because the word British seemed unhallowed to their ears, and could not be pronounced by the whining adorers of every pious cheat?

     As further proof of what I have fearlessly advanced, I will now tell these Rev. Champions of the Eagle, that in 1824(?), one of their Yankee preachers was obliged to “pick up his saddle bags, and clear out” from the Midland District, in consequence of having used spurious and seditious language, and bitter imprecations against the British Government, a deposition of which was forwarded to Sir Peregrine Maitland.

     These are truths which can be easily substantiated, while at the same period to which I allude, several respectable British Methodists faithfully attached to their King and Country, were labouring under want, and finally obliged to withdraw from the field of their industry, by the superior cunning and duplicity of their insinuating soul-saving neighbours.

     Mr. B—y, a very intelligent preacher, — which the exception, that he had the word British attached to him — was also driven, his amiable wife and interesting little family, from Upper Canada, by these artful schemers, and is now living in the woods, some distance from Quebec, procuring by the sweat of his brow, an humble pittance for his affectionate wife and little children.

     May we not hope, Sir, that some thing will soon be done, to put a stop to the poisonous system introduced by our speculating American ranters, and that the Legislature will enact a law, enforcing the oath of allegiance on all foreigners who come as preachers into this country; by this means, Canada will once more enjoy peace and happiness, and be enabled to furnish the Methodist Society with honest and respectable preachers, educated and brought up amongst themselves.

     I am not an enemy to the principles of Methodism. I wish well to their cause, but cannot think to pass on in silence, the injuries heaped on them by our mutual enemies, who are better skilled in winding an ox-goad, and crying “wo gee, wo,” than teaching the valuable doctrines of Christianity.

     These are melancholy considerations, nemo virtutem non adorabat, as Tully justly observes; so(?) there are a few who are acquainted with the hypocrisy of these ranting preachers, but will sadly acknowledge the palpable injuries the inhabitants of this country have so deeply sustained.

     Before concluding this letter, permit me to trouble you with the following extract from this Christian Guardian, signed “A Methodist Preacher."

     “Man of God! (says a two dollar bill) my owner, who is the Lord’s Steward, has sent me to you, that you may exchange me for my value in Tracts, to disseminate; and thus to aid you a little in your great work, that both he and yourself may have joy, and a good account to give of me (the two dollar bill) at the last day."


Now, let any candid individual peruse this pious conversation of a two dollar bill — for two dollar bills, of the Geneva bank, are all pretty high talkers, though at low oar (?) — and tell me what he thinks of its late owner, a Steward of the Lord! Is not an American mouse bigger than any African Elephant! — What a discovery in the art of selling leather by the gallon!! — For my part, I would not be surprised to see these bills rising yet into warm debate, and arguing their own merits, as well as that of brother Jonathan, whom it pronounces a Steward of the Lord!

“Thus Faith, fanatic Faith, once wedded fast
To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.”

The cause of Religion, and the prosperity of Methodism, has met in Upper Canada, a destructive blow, from the duplicity of the Rev. Adjutant Ryerson and his coadjutors, the effects of which many years of good management and virtuous endeavours, will scarcely be able to eradicate.

Wishing the loyal and upright Methodists of the Canadas, every success, and a speedy relief from the spurious influence of the pseudo Christian Guardian.

I remain, dear Sir, your old friend,

Montreal, Fe’y. 1, 1830

*     *    *