By John Webster Grant
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Additional resources for A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario
9 So little time intervened before the outbreak of the revolution that they would have carried to Canada as loyalists much more vivid memories of Scotland than of New York. Those who followed them to Glengarry directly from the home glen were equally retentive of their clan attachments and their distinctive language and dress. In the garrison towns, after enlistment in the army was opened to them in 1793, there were also a considerable number of Irish soldiers of the Roman Catholic faith. As yet relatively inconspicuous, they were the forerunners of a larger migration.
Quakerism, which had originally taken shape on the left wing of the Puritan movement in seventeenth-century England, was based on the teaching of George Fox that the ultimate criterion of truth is not a book but an 'inner light' through which Christ reveals himself to the heart. 15 Later they moved to a more liberal theology and to a commitment to advanced social causes, while clinging to the antique customs that symbolized their separateness. With their distinctive forms of dress and address, their puzzlingly quiet worship, and their abnormally tender consciences on the making of war and the taking of oaths, they were a conspicuous presence during the early nineteenth century.
Indicative of this integrative function were the identification of Nanabozho as the founder of the midewiwin and an attention to Kitchi-manito that had not been customary in the operations of individual shamans. Although specifically Christian elements were few, the public nature of the society suggests a Christian influence; the Roman Catholic Church was, after all, the most obvious example available to the Ojibwas of an institutionalized religion with regularly instituted officers. The midewiwin has won little acceptance among Canadian Ojibwas, who in line with the relatively recent origin suggested here resist it as an innovation.
A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario by John Webster Grant
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