When I read that on this day in 1881 Charles Tupper died, my heart leaped just a bit, because as every educated Canadian knows, Charles Tupper was one of Canada’s “Fathers of Confederation,” serving as that country’s sixth Prime Minister. But when I saw that Prime Minister Tupper left office fifteen years after the death of our Charles Tupper, I was just a little disappointed.
Our Tupper was born in rural Ontario in 1794; the tenth of twelve children. He had the opportunity of only twelve weeks of formal education. He spoke in the backwater way that people with no understanding of English often did at the time. His parents were raised as Presbyterians, but when he was five, they became Baptists. It took fifteen more years before Charles was saved. After he was “buried with Christ in baptism,” he began witnessing, holding prayer meetings and preaching Christ. In 1817 he was ordained, and for the next fifty-three years he served the Lord in various ways including writing, teaching in seminary and pastoring. One of his pastorates was in Amherst, N.S.
At the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination it was stated that he had traveled 146,000 miles, primarily on horseback, preached 6,750 sermons, married 238 couples, conducted 542 funerals and baptized 522 as they professed their faith in Christ. Despite his limited early education, he had become proficient in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, Syriac and a few other languages, probably including English. In his spare time he edited The Baptist Magazine and served as secretary of Canada’s Foreign Mission Society.
Being curious by nature I returned to Prime Minister Charles Tupper. I discovered that he was born in Amherst, N.S., and his father’s name was Charles Tupper, the subject of this little vignette.