Jacob Mountain

Jacob Mountain, first Anglican bishop of Québec (b at Thwaite Hall, Norfolk, Eng 1 Dec 1749; d at Québec City 16 June 1825). After graduation from Cambridge and 7 years of parish work, Mountain was appointed bishop of the new diocese of Québec in 1793.

Jacob Mountain, first Anglican bishop of Québec (b at Thwaite Hall, Norfolk, Eng 1 Dec 1749; d at Québec City 16 June 1825). After graduation from Cambridge and 7 years of parish work, Mountain was appointed bishop of the new diocese of Québec in 1793. His episcopate coincided with the Napoleonic struggle and, largely because of the British government's preoccupation with it, Mountain was unable either to persuade those in authority to organize an effective church establishment in Québec or to subject the Roman Catholic Church to a form of government control, policies that he understood had been formulated and pursued after the cession of 1763.

Yet Mountain accomplished much. In his episcopate 60 churches were built, including a stone cathedral in Québec City. He vigorously defended his church's claim to the CLERGY RESERVES. Between 1815 and 1825, a period of heavy immigration, he opened 35 missions. His clergy increased from 9 to 60, and he was able to augment their scanty stipends. He encouraged a new school system in Lower Canada and obtained a charter for McGill. Under pioneer conditions he made 8 laborious tours of the Canadas, going as far as Sandwich [Windsor].

A splendid preacher, Mountain was respected by colleagues in the Executive and Legislative councils of Lower Canada, with whom he was not always in agreement. He was not without his critics. The Roman Catholic hierarchy was apprehensive of his efforts to elevate the status of his church. Several governors and British colonial secretaries found his repeated demands difficult and even some of his clergy considered him more fitted for an English rather than a colonial see. But, aided by clergy and laity and with assistance from government and especially from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, he laid strong church foundations on which his successors, including his son George, later bishop of Montréal and third bishop of Québec, were able to build.


Further Reading

  • T.R. Millman, Jacob Mountain, First Lord Bishop of Québec (1947).