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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
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
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
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