By John Webster Grant
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Extra resources for A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century Ontario
The inevitable result was not only competition but conflict, which was considerably exacerbated by the coincidence of the formative period of Ontarian religion with a general transition in Western societies from aristocratic (or oligarchic) to bourgeois social patterns. The triumph of secular democracy, which eventually made possible the emergence of a practical religious consensus, also brought into play new forces that immediately threatened it. In the long run, as we know now, these resulted in a substantial weakening of the hold of traditional religious beliefs and values.
4 Fully 90 per cent of these loyalists were farmers, for the most part on a small scale, while those of any social standing could be counted on one's fingers. Ethnically they were a mixed group: Germans, Highland Scots, Dutch of the old Yorker stock, and some whose Old Testament names suggested a New England background. Considering themselves independent nations, and therefore not necessarily wishing to be called loyalists, were more than two thousand Indians who went into exile with their British allies.
At first the Hurons were prepared to recognize the Jesuits as possessing some shamanic qualities, though they showed not the slightest desire to adopt their religion. In succeeding years, as a series of devastating epidemics swept the country, the qualities that had secured for the Jesuits some grudging respect as shamans aroused suspicions that they might instead be sorcerers. Death would have been their reward if French trade goods had not by this time become practically indispensable to the Hurons.