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George Munro Grant, Rev.

Grant, George Munro Rev.
Rev. George Munro Grant, D. D., C. M. G., was one of Pictou's worthiest sons. The name Grant is one of the most celebrated in the annals of Scottish achievement, as well as in Canada. It is not necessary to prove this by any such method as a member of the Grant Clan is said to have taken to prove the antiquity of his family. The ambitious Grant referred to have a Bible with small print, and in one of the earlier chapters in Genesis discovered an. indistinctness in one of the letters of which he took advantage and read it: "There were Grant's (giants) on the earth in those days." The clan which has given a President to the United States, one Principal to Edinburgh University, and another to Queen's University has no occasion to resort to such means to establish the worth of its blood.

George M. Grant was born at Stellarton, December 22, 1835. He was educated at Pictou Academy, West River Seminary, and Glasgow University. He soon became a striking figure at the University, and that, too, when James Bryce and a host of other great men were his fellow students.

On his return to Canada in 1860, he was ordained and placed in charge of the mission at River John. His energy led his parishioners to build a church for themselves, which they named St. George's Church, after him. In 1863, he was called to the pastorate of St. Matthew's Church, Halifax. Here he gave fourteen years of faithful and brilliant service. But such an active mind was not to be held within the limits of mere congregational work. Grant was too great for that, and ever took his part in the leading issues of the day; and in those days great issues were at stake; Free schools, Union of the Provinces, and Church Union among the Presbyterians were questions threshed out and settled during those fourteen years. Into these struggles Grant flung himself with all the strength of his energetic nature.

A three months' trip, from Halifax to Victoria, was taken with Sir Sanford Fleming in 1872. At that time Western Canada was little known. An account of his journey was published, under the title, "From Ocean to Ocean," which revealed the marvelous resources of the West and the great future in. store for Canada. Sir W. Robertson Nicoll, in the British Weekly, February, 1911, says, "Dr. Grant was the first author who understood the tremendous possibilities of Canada, and brought them home to a great public. He was an able and far sighted man, a Canadian through and through, and one of the greatest of Canada's sons. He is destined to hold a permanent place in her history."

In 1877, he was appointed principal of Queen's University, to the interests of which he devoted himself with untiring zeal for a quarter of a century. His admirable educational equipment, his strong, keen intellect, his far reaching vision, his commanding presence and voice, his great tenacity of purpose, would have gained for him eminence in any community or calling. In the diversity of his gifts, Grant was a Julius Caesar. Every public question claimed his attention; and he rendered signal service, not only to the Church, but to the public life of Canada. In 1889, he was Moderator of the General Assembly. He died in 1902.

It was naturally to be expected that Dr. Grant's alert mind would seek expression through literary channels. His successful advocacy of provincial federation doubtless prompted the optimistic views on Imperial unity which he expressed in his "Advantages of Imperial Federation." His equally broad views on the subject of comparative religion are mirrored in his work on "The Religions of the World in Relation to Christianity." Not to mention his share in that monumental work, "Picturesque Canada," his "From Ocean to Ocean," was epoch making in its influence. It, more than any other one thing, perhaps, opened the eyes of Canadians to the wealth of their national heritage; stirred in them the pulsations of a new and broader patriotism, and prepared the way for the recent development of Canada. His work is being worthily carried on by his son and biographer, W. L. Grant, Prof. of Colonial and Canadian History, in Queen's University, Canada.

Ross, James Rev.
Rev. James Ross, D. D., LL. D., was a well known educationist and scholar, and rendered distinguished service to the cause of education in Nova Scotia.

The life work of a successful Christian educationist is one which might well inspire the most ambitious, as being one of the noblest and most beneficent careers open to human choice. Dr. Ross was a Christian educationist in the highest sense. He had the joy of unlocking the gateways of knowledge to hundreds of young men whose influence is still felt throughout the land. He will be remembered as one of the "Fathers" of the Presbyterian Church. He was son of the late Rev. Duncan Ross, one of the two pioneer ministers of Pictou. He was born at West River, in 1811. He was ordained in 1835, succeeding his father as minister of the West River Church. Dr. Ross married a daughter of the late William Matheson, Esq., of West River; and it was through Dr. Ross' zeal in the interest of higher education that Mr. Matheson was led to donate the sum of $35,000 to that cause in connection with the Presbyterian Church.

In 1848 he was called to take charge of the West River Seminary. In 1864 he was appointed Principal of Dalhousie College. Whatever he undertook, he performed with conscientious fidelity, sparing neither time nor strength. For forty years he served the Church in its educational sphere, in West River, Truro, and Halifax; and thus left a deep impress upon the educational life of his time. His last illness was brief. On Monday evening, March eighth, while engaged in secret prayer before retiring to rest, he was stricken with paralysis, and died at noon the following Monday, March 15, 1886.

His was a splendid life, unselfish in all its aims and purposes. Dr. Ross was unsparing in his efforts to advance the interests of his fellow citizens and of humanity in general, exercising withal, a high degree of power and influence for the moral good and uplift of his native Province. In the language of Socrates, regarding a well spent life, it may truly be said of his: "For noble is the prize, and the hope is great."

Gordon, Daniel M. Rev.
Rev. Daniel M. Gordon, D. D., LL. D., was born in Pictou, 1845. He entered Glasgow University when only fourteen; graduated, Master of Arts at eighteen, and Bachelor of Divinity at twenty-one. Returning to Canada, he entered the Presbyterian ministry, and was settled at Truro, Winnipeg, St. Andrew's Church, Ottawa, and St. Andrew's Church, Halifax. From this last ministry he was appointed to the Chair of Systematic Theology in the Presbyterian College, Halifax. On the death of Principal Grant he was elevated to the Presidency of Queen's University where he has been eminently successful. He was Moderator of General Assembly in 1896. His son, the Rev. A. M. Gordon, B. D., is assistant to Rev. Dr. Herridge, Ottawa.

Pictonians at Home and Abroad, 1914

 

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