Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Bond, William Bennett

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BOND, WILLIAM BENNETT (1815–1906), primate of all Canada, born at Truro on 15 Sept. 1815, was son of John Bond, grocer, of that town, by his wife Nanny Bennett. He received his early education at Truro and in London. Subsequently emigrating to Newfoundland, he became a lay reader there, and after studying at Bishop's College, Lennoxville, was ordained deacon at Quebec in 1840 and priest in 1841. For two years he acted as a travelling missionary in the region between the southern shores of the St. Lawrence and the American frontier, his headquarters being at Russeltown Flats and Napierville. Under instructions from George Mountain [q. v.], bishop of Quebec, he organised missions in the district, and founded schools in connection with the Newfoundland school society. In 1842 he settled as a missionary at Lachine and in 1848 was appointed curate of St. George's, Montreal.

Bond's connection with this church remained unbroken for thirty years. He succeeded to the rectory in 1860, and during his incumbency the church buildings in Dominion Square were erected together with the school house and rectory. In the inauguration of Christ Church cathedral chapter and the diocesan synod he played a prominent part. In 1863 he was nominated rural dean and in 1866 canon of Christ Church. During the campaigns of 1866 and 1870 against the Fenian raiders Bond served as chaplain to the 1st Prince of Wales's rifles. He became archdeacon of Hochelaga in 1870, and dean of Montreal in 1872. In 1878 the synod, recognising his organising capacity, elected him bishop of Montreal in succession to Ashton Oxenden [q. v.]. Bond waived his claim to the title of metropolitan of Canada, which had previously been associated with the bishopric. The higher rank passed with his assent to the senior bishop, John Medley [q. v.] of Fredericton. In 1901 Bond's bishopric was raised to the dignity of an archbishopric, and he then assumed the title of metropolitan of Canada. In 1904, on the death of Robert Machray [q. v. Suppl. II], archbishop of Rupertsland, he succeeded to his dignity of primate of all Canada.

Bond lived to see a rapid expansion of the Anglican church in Canada, and during his long episcopate seven new bishoprics were created. In his dealings with his clergy he showed broad sympathies and sound business qualities. Without learning or eloquence, he rose to eminence through sheer force of character. A pronounced low churchman, he actively co-operated with nonconformists, but his conscientious devotion to evangelical principles did not prevent his living on cordial terms with the Roman catholic population. Good relations with other denominations were fostered by his strenuous advocacy of temperance. In Montreal he strongly supported the cause of municipal reform and helped to found the Citizens' League. He served as secretary of the Colonial and Continental Church Society Schools in Ontario (1848-1872) and was active in promoting the welfare of the Montreal Diocesan College. He was also president of Bishop's College, Lennoxville, which conferred upon him the honorary degree of M.A. in 1854 and subsequently that of D.D. and D.C.L. He was made LL.D. of McGill University in 1870. He retained his vigour till the end, and died at Bishop's Court, Montreal, on 9 Oct. 1906. He was buried there in the Mount Royal cemetery. In 1841 he married Eliza Langley (d. 1879) of St. John's, Newfoundland. He left one son, Col. Frank Bond, and a daughter; two sons and one daughter predeceased him. In his memory the Archbishop Bond chair of New Testament literature was endowed at Montreal Diocesan College, where there is a portrait in oils by R. Harris, C.M.G. (1890). Another painting by E. Dyonnet (1892) is in Verdun protestant hospital.

[The Times, and Montreal Gazette, 10 Oct. 1906; Montreal Daily Witness, 9 Oct. 1906; Guardian, 17 Oct. 1906; Dent, Canadian Portrait Gallery, iii. 454; F. S. Lowndes, Bishops of the Day, 1897; R. Machray, Life of Robert Machray, 1909.]

G. S. W.