Box 03-243 SPEECH BY REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN
Apr 24 1924
FRENCH CANADIANS & DR. DRUMMOND1
Will you allow me at the very outset to express my cordial appreciation of the fine spirit of tolerance which has led you, a Roman Catholic Study Club, to invite me who am not only a Protestant but a Protestant minister to address you.
Not that I find anything strange in that, nor do I feel at all strange among you. For one thing I have had too many warm personal friends of your faith and even of your clergy to sense any alien atmosphere among you. Indeed when I am wearing the uniform of my order, I am quite accustomed and quite flattered to be mistaken for one of your own clergy by your own people. Your little boys take off their hats to me and occasionally I am even addressed as "Father," which makes me feel quite puffed up.
Even when I was a sinful [rep?] I used to be accused of trying to disguise myself as one of the ancient faith. (Knox Coll. vs. Father Ryan.)
In all seriousness, however, will you allow me to say that the longer I live the more I feel that it is the matters of belief on which we agree that are the essentials, and that our differences are in non-essentials. We all believe that we are children of the same Heavenly Father, we all trust for our salvation in the atoning death of the same Saviour, and we all rely on the same Holy Spirit to mould our lives into the likeness of our One Lord.
During the past few years my principal work has been among the patients at the Mountain San.
I have come to know quite intimately members of your communion there. And my knowledge of the fine Christian faith & courage with which they were facing death and their responsiveness to such spiritual consolation as I could afford them has made me feel that we were indeed one in Xt [Christ] Jesus.
When I was asked to address the Hamilton Association last month on the subject of the French-Canadians, I hesitated because I have a deep conviction of the inability of any individual to portray a people as a whole when his points of personal contact must be very limited. However, it is always hard for me to resist an opportunity to express my admiration and affection for our French-Canadian fellow citizens. And so I yielded. And now I am yielding again. Still I shall endeavour to avoid unwarranted generalities by limiting myself as much as possible to first hand impressions and personal experiences.
(Box 03-257a & b)
[The following may be the continuation of this address, however, it also is incomplete].
During my stay in Montreal I was much impressed with the religious life of the people. I used to enjoy attending the great churches of your faith and hearing their wonderful choirs roll out those old Latin hymns. In this way I was led to give some attention to R. C. [Roman Catholic] doctrine. And here, too, I found that I had misconceptions to be removed.
Infallibility not impeccability.
Not adoration of Virgin, but veneration.
I am still a Protestant; but I feel that you are not as far astray as I thought you were.
What chiefly impressed me was the attitude of reverence among the people and the atmosphere of worship in the churches. Two scenes stand out in my memory.
Notre Dame, Frere Flora.
[following par. crossed out:
I found, too, a spirit of tolerance well expressed by Sherif Thiboudeau. 'After all it is only an accident of birth.' There are Fr. Can. Protestants but called Swiss. Buckingham [?].]
By way of introduction, however, I think we should remind ourselves of some of the reasons why our French-Canadian fellow citizens are entitled to a specially high place in our regard.
(1) While our right to be here is based on military conquest, theirs is based on discovery and settlement. And what a magnificent chapter in our history is that of French exploration. ["Cartier" has been crossed out] La Salle, Verendday ... & hundreds of nameless courier de bois voyageurs.
(2) They alone have developed a distinctive nationality with folk-lore and folk-songs.
(3) If aristocracy is a matter of ancient lineage, they are true aristocrats, going back to conquest 200 or 300 years-Taschereau vs. C. Mc., 3,000,000 descended from 60,000.
(4) Outstanding achievements in Art. Albani, Hebert, Louis Frechette.
[Balance of speech is missing, See Box 03-246 for mention of Drummond and Habitant poems.]
1 The portion of this address dealing with Drummond is missing; however, see (Box 03-246).