Education entirely Free

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER V (3) start of chapter

Education in Lower Canada is entirely free. Each denomination enjoys the most complete liberty, there being no compulsion or restriction of any kind whatever. And the magnificent Laval University, so called after a French Bishop, enjoys and exercises every right and privilege possessed by the great universities of England. This University, which is eminently Catholic, obtained a charter conferring upon it all the powers that were requisite for its fullest educational development.

The rights of the Protestant minority are protected in the amplest manner, as well by law as from the natural tendency and feeling of the majority; for there are no people more liberal and tolerant, or more averse to any kind of aggression on the faith or opinions of others, than the French Canadians; and the Irish Catholics too well remember the bitterness caused by religious strife in the old country to desire its introduction, in any shape or form, or under any guise or pretence, into their adopted home. There are abundant means of education within every man's reach; and it is his own fault if his children do not receive its full advantage. But the Irishman, whatever may be his own deficiencies as to early training, rarely neglects that of his children; and in Canada, as in the States, the fault attributed to him is not that he neglects to educate them at all, but that he is tempted to educate them rather too highly, or too ambitiously, than otherwise.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

Paperback: 700+ pages The Irish in America

ebook: The Irish in America