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Birthplace of Ice Hockey
Windsor,  Nova  Scotia, Canada – c. 1800
by Garth Vaughan © 2001
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King’s College

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Charles Inglis
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Winter 1803

King’s Record

 

William Cochran – Teaches Robert Fitzgerald Uniake
by Brian Cuthbertson

Once the Uniacke family moved to Mount Uniacke in 1814, their father sent both boys in 1814 to King’s Collegiate School to prepare them for entrance into King’s College. Not for the first, and certainly not for the last time, King’s was going through a difficult period with only around seventeen students in the college. There was much feuding between the president Charles Porter and the only other professor, William Cochran, who held the vice-presidency. The college building was in a deplorable condition. Of their two professors, both were ordained clergy. Students disliked Porter because he was a strict disciplinarian, while being much taken with Cochran. Lord Dalhousie, Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor, described Cochran as "a man of singularly mild & amiable manner, with a talent for instructing & captivating the disposition of his pupils by easy & relaxed discipline."6 We know from the letters of the Bliss brothers, King’s College students at the same time as the Uniacke brothers, that a good number of the students could be aptly described as regency bucks. When James Boyle fell ill at the college, only his married sisters were dispatched from Mount Uniacke and Halifax to nurse him. As his eldest sister Mary reputedly remarked: "it would not answer to let any of her unmarried sisters to come to the College."7

Cochran seems to have planted in Robert Fitzgerald some religious feelings. Although he decided to study law in his father’s office, Robert Fitzgerald came under the influence of the Reverend Isaac Temple, private chaplain to Lord Dalhousie and tutor to the Dalhousie children. Robert Fitzgerald joined a member of group around Temple and his associate Hibbert Binney, who met for bible study and for devotional services. They were intensely evangelical with Binney visiting the young ladies of Halifax to enquire "if they have felt no symptoms of conversion, no inspirations or sudden calls to reform; if they believed dancing sinful, and if they ever think of dying during the dance."8 According to William Blowers Bliss, who napped through Binney’s sermons, his doctrine was that all who dance and played cards would be damned. Others in the group were James Cochran, John William Twining, Edmund Crawley, John Pryor, James William Johnston and J.W. Nutting. James Cochran, a son of William, vice president of King’s, had gone into business in Halifax, but would shortly enter King’s College and later be ordained. John William Twining, another King’s graduate, was curate to John Inglis at St. Paul’s. Crawley, Nutting and Pryor were all King’s graduates and practicing at the bar in Halifax. James William Johnston had not gone to King’s, but was a rising young lawyer. Within the Church of England, the Evangelicals rejected the formalism of the 18th century church, which they believed had produced forms of worship and religious profession without real devotion or deep conviction. Evangelicals traced their spiritual ancestry to the Great Reformation, but within their own time they were followers of John Wesley and George Whitefield. Just as Wesley and Whitefield had not gone over to the Methodists, the Evangelicals also rejected Methodism and remained in the Church of England. Evangelicals were noted for their firm belief in God, in the saving power of the Gospel of Christ and for their intense earnestness. They took their theology from doctrines of the Reformers – the Trinity, the guilt of man and sanctification of the Holy Spirit. They accepted the Thirty-nine Articles as the perfect summary of their faith. They sought moral improvement of society and used the Sunday school movement as one way to effect change. William Wilberforce, a staunch Evangelical, who prayed three hours a day, led the anti-slavery movement.


Excerpt From:
Robert Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Uniake at St. George’s Church:
Eveangelical Fervour and good Works, 1825 – 1870
by Brian Cuthbertson
Read Before the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 24 November 2000
Canada Digital Collections – Government of Canada
http://collections.ic.gc.ca/churchandcommunity/Documents/FervourandGoodWorks.pdf
Endnotes

1. Richard John Uniacke to "My Dear Andrew," 10 January 1828, MG 1, vol. 1769, no. 44c, NSARM.

2. Richard John Uniacke to Norman Uniacke, 1 November 1798, MG 1, vol. 926, no. 99, NSARM. See also Brian Cuthbertson "Fatherly Advice in Post-Loyalist Nova Scotia: Richard John Uniacke to his son Norman," Acadiensis, IX, (Spring 1980), 78-91.

3. Ibid.

4. Richard John Uniacke to Lord Dalhousie, 9 February 1818, Dalhousie Papers, A 527, NAC.

5. Richard John Uniacke to "My Dear Children," 12 November 1823, MG 1, vol. 1769, no. 44a. NSARM.

6. As quoted in The Dalhousie Journals, edited by Marjory Whitelaw (Oberon Press, 1978), p. 63.

7. W.B. Bliss to Henry Bliss, 1 October 1817, Bliss Family Papers, MG 1, vol. 1604, file 33, letter 22, NSARM.

8. W.B. Bliss to Henry Bliss, MG 1, vol. 1604, file 34, no. 28, NSARM

 

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