||Lennox and Addington Historical Society
|Date of photo
||Detail. Methodist Episcopal General Conference, held at Napanee, August, 1874.
James Richardson was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1791. He was recruited to the Methodist church in the winter of 1822-23, and ordained to the ministry in 1827. Although proud of his British heritage, he was naturally attracted to the American interpretation of Methodism, believing that Canadians should settle their own affairs. However, his ambitions for the church were less political as his primary objective was always the salvation of souls. Richardson was Editor of the influential Christian Guardian from 1832-1833. In 1835, his concern over the actions of the Wesleyan Methodist Church caused him to try a period in the United States. On his return, he joined the (new) Episcopal Methodist Church, partly due to the influence of his friend, the great Methodist preacher Philander Smith. Thereafter, Richardson held a succession of important offices, including participation on the committe which created what would become Victoria College. He was also active in the Upper Canadian Bible Society and vigorously supported the Temperance Reformation Society. He was elected Bishop in 1858.
In 1872, Bishop Richardson attended the American Episcopalean Methodist Conference at Brooklynn, N.Y. , where he was a keynote speaker. Friendships formed there convinced him that there were few differences between American and Canadian Methodist theology.
Richardson was neither a great preacher nor a scholar. Nevertheless, he was loved and respected as a man of plain speech, totally devoid of vanity and a defender of individual liberties. Although concerned about morality, he was also an advocate for freedom of conscience and reluctant to attack the beliefs of others. He is also remembered as a founder of the York Pioneer Society, which struggled to preserve and teach the history of Upper Canada.
The Napanee Conference was almost Bishop Richardson's last act. After ordaining Rev. Carman as Bishop he accepted the younger man's assistance with administrative duties. Richardson died in Toronto seven months later, in March of 1875.
(Dictionary of Canadian Biography; New York Times May 23, 1872.)
||Richardson, James, Bishop (1791-1875)