Clergy Reserves, those lands set apart in Upper and Lower Canada under the British Constitutional Act of 1791 “for the support and maintenance of a Protestant clergy.” “Protestant clergy” was interpreted to mean the clergy of the Church of England. This interpretation was fiercely upheld by John Strachan and others but dissatisfied other Protestant denominations and became an issue in the Rebellion of 1837. The method of allotting reserves kept discontinuous plots out of cultivation and prevented settlement and the expansion of roads. An act of 1840 by the assembly of Upper Canada provided for the sale and distribution of the reserves, but this was disallowed by the British government. In 1854 the government finally passed a law secularizing the reserves, but the Anglican and Presbyterian churches retained the endowments that had been granted them.
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