SCOTT, JONATHAN, Methodist clergyman, b. 5 May 1803 at Nottingham, Eng.; d. 5 May 1880 at Brampton, Ont.
Jonathan Scott was converted at Chesterfield, England, in 1816 and joined the Wesleyan Church. He became a candidate for the ministry in 1834 and was immediately sent to the Canada Conference as a missionary by the British Wesleyan Conference. Received on trial by the Canada Conference in that year, he was sent to the Grape Island Indian mission (in the Bay of Quinte) where he remained until 1836. He was then ordained and stationed at the Lake Simcoe and Coldwater Indian mission. From 1834 to 1840 he was a frequent contributor to the Christian Guardian on Wesleyan missions to the Indians, criticizing the government’s Indian policy under Sir Francis Bond Head, and defending the integrity of Indian converts.
Scott was stationed on the Goderich mission by the conference of 1839, but the appointment was immediately changed so that he might be acting editor of the Christian Guardian during the absence of its editor, the Reverend Egerton Ryerson*.
In 1840 the union of the Canada Conference with the British Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church was dissolved and Scott remained with the former. His appointment as editor was renewed each year by the conference but in 1844 it declined to reappoint him; according to John Carroll* the conference felt that Scott had worn the nib off his pen a little by long use. During Scott’s editorship, the Guardian became a strictly religious paper avoiding political pronouncements and confining itself largely to a defence of evangelical Protestantism, more especially Methodist doctrine and polity. Much space was devoted to attacks on high church Anglicanism and on Roman Catholicism. The contrast between the paper under his editorship and that of Ryerson is quite marked.
In 1844 Scott returned to circuit work, in which he excelled. The conference of 1845 elected him secretary, in order, according to Carroll, to assuage wounded feelings over his dismissal from the editorship of the Guardian. He refused the appointment, however, and continued in the itinerant ministry until 1854, serving on the circuits of Stamford, Cobourg, Port Hope, Perth, and Cooksville.
He dropped from the itinerant ministry in 1854, because of his wife’s ill health, and became an assistant to Dr Enoch Wood*, the superintendent of missions, at the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society office in Toronto. He was superannuated in 1868 and moved to Brampton, where he died.
UCA, Minutes of the Canada Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada, 1834–74; Minutes of the Conference of the Methodist Church of Canada, 1874–80. Christian Guardian (Toronto), 1834–80. Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada, Missionary Society, Annual Reports (Toronto), 1834–41. Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries, IV, V.