Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Messein, Charles Francis Bailly de

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

MESSEIN, Charles Francis Bailly de, R. C. bishop, b. in Canada in 1741; d. in Quebec in 1794. He received his early education in Canada, but finished his theological studies in France. Here he met Lord Dorchester, afterward governor-general of Canada, who was so much struck with his ability that he invited him to England to become tutor to his children. On his arrival in Canada he was sent as missionary to the Micmac Indians, and was also appointed grand vicar of New Brunswick, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward island. He was afterward named curé of Pointe-aux-Trembles, near Quebec. In 1789 he was consecrated coadjutor bishop of Quebec, notwithstanding the opposition of the clergy and people, with whom he was unpopular on account of his attachment to the English interest. After his consecration he insisted on sharing the episcopal authority with Bishop Hubert, titular bishop of Quebec. The latter refused to allow him to take any part in the administration of the diocese. De Messein then returned to Pointe-aux-Trembles, and in 1790 published a letter in the “Gazette de Quebec,” in which he gave strong expression to his dissatisfaction. This letter was followed by another, in which he attacked bitterly the administration of Bishop Hubert, and demanded the abolition of most of the holidays observed by Canadian Catholics. When an effort was made by the government to establish an undenominational university in Quebec, and endow it out of the property of the Jesuits, the movement was warmly supported by De Messein, but resisted by the rest of the clergy, and their hostility to him was increased by the letters that he wrote in 1791 in its favor. He had formed a small party among the priests, and succeeded in forcing Bishop Hubert to issue a pastoral the same year abolishing several festivals, some of which were ordered to be restored the following year by the pope. His health was broken by these controversies, and the failure that attended most of his plans.