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The Scot in British North America
Chapter IV, Part B The Company and Colonization


It is not necessary to recapitulate the combination of circumstances which formed the religious nature of the Scot. That they have succeeded in moulding a very strong and earnest type of spirituality, is beyond question; its foes have termed it rugged and stern, mainly because they failed to comprehend it, but that it is a main feature of the national character, no one affects to deny. The head or the heart may have too often rebelled in many a Scotsman, and there are always traces of the inherited bias. Mr. W. R. Greg, who evidently regards intellect as the antagonist of faith, says that "Mr. J. S. Mill would have been a great Christian if he had not been a great thinker," an involuntary complement to the strength of Scotland’s spiritual grasp upon the natures of all her sons. Even the unbelief of such men as David Hume, or George Combe is not like that of Bolingbroke, Voltaire, or Strauss. And in the moral world, though many a Scot has fallen away from the straight path, there is the crucial instance of Burns to prove that underlying woful errors there may slumber ever and anon to awaken reprovingly—a strong religious nature.

The Scottish character was strongly marked in those Sutherlandshire Highlanders who wintered at Fort Churchill in the cruel winter of 1811. In the hew and untamed wilderness to which they had removed, everything around them tended to deepen their feelings of dependence on the Father of all, and their religious trust in Him. Nature and man were against them there as they had been to them, and to their fathers during many centuries in their native land; and they craved for those religious ordinances which had been the strength and the solace of those, who had gone before. Unhappily, the first generation at Red River had passed away before the settlement saw their fervent desire fulfilled. Many circumstances combined to defer their just expectations. Lord Selkirk had stipulated, at any rate with the settlers of 1811, that a Presbyterian minister should accompany them. One was actually chosen in the person of the Rev. Donald Sage, for whom the settlers had a natural preference, since he was a son of the Rev. Alexander Sage, parish minister of Kildonan in Sutherlandshire. At his father’s request, a delay of twelve months was granted to enable the young missionary to perfect himself in the Gaelic language. Whether the difficulties of the Celtic tongue or the disturbed and uncertain state of the colony deterred him, it is not easy to learn; but, for some cause or other Mr. Sage never crossed the ocean, but settled down finally as parish minister of Rosolis, in Cromarty.

Lord Selkirk, nevertheless, in his anxiety to satisfy the spiritual wants of his people, at their request, authorized Mr. James Sutherland, who had been appointed an elder in Scotland, and was one of the settlers, to marry and baptize; and he was gratefully received by the Scots as a substitute, meanwhile, for the pastor they were not destined to see for thirty-five years thereafter. Mr. Sutherland was, without doubt, the first preacher of the Gospel in the Great North-West. [Mr. Ross is highly, but not unnaturally, indignant that the author of Hochelaga, and Bishop Mountain should seek to deprive the Presbyterian Church of this honour. He points out that eight years before the Rev. Mr. West, missionary of the Church of England, and Hudson Bay Company’s Chaplain, "crossed the Atlantic, baptism was administered, marriages solemnized, prayer meetings established, and the pure gospel proclaimed both by Presbyterians and Catholics." Red River Settlement, pp. 277-8. Probably the reply would be that neither of these denominations preached the "pure Gospel," and that Mr. Sutherland’s ministrations were irregular and uncanonical.] He appears to have been a man of great natural endowments, though he could not be called a learned man, and his services were welcomed, not merely by his own people, but also by the Company’s officers and servants of all creeds. "Of all men," says Mr. Ross, "clergymen or others, that ever entered this country, none stood higher in the estimation of the settlers, both for sterling piety and Christian conduct, than Mr. Sutherland."(p. 31.) Unfortunately, as if to crown their many other misfortunes, the settlers lost the services of this excellent man in 1818, when he was carried off forcibly to Canada by the agents of the North-West Company. Wearied out with the heart-sickness of hope deferred, [It is almost difficult for readers in more favoured times and localities to appreciate fully the yearning for religious ordinances, evident in the letters and documents of this period, and much later. Much more, indeed, than the war of the Companies, religion constituted the politics and the daily life of these poor Highland settlers. See Ross, Chap. v.] and no communication having been received from Lord Selkirk’s agent, the settlers, appealed to Mr. Alexander Macdonell, recently appointed Governor, for assistance, but in vain. He was a Catholic, and therefore, says a writer, "did not take much interest in Presbyterian politics; but told the Scotch, by way of consolation, that they might live as he himself did, without a church at all." The next step was an earnest petition to the Rev. John Macdonald, of Urquhart Ross-shire, a minister well known to them, asking him to ascertain Mr. Sage’s intentions, and, in the event of his deciding to remain in Scotland, urging his good offices. It would appear that this appeal was never received, as no answer ever reached the distressed colony.

It cannot be said that Lord Selkirk, who was now no more, in any way responsible for the spiritual destitution of which the settlers complained. Not to speak of the perpetual struggle in which he was engaged, the web of violence and litigation in which his opponents involved him, or were involved along with him unwittingly on both sides, his Lordship’s good faith was conspicuous in the matter of religious worship. It was not his fault that the people were shepherdless; he had obtained them the services of Mr. Sutherland, and it was not he who abducted him. And he had marked out land, chosen by the settlers as the site of a church and school-house, giving those who had already obtained the lots an equivalent elsewhere.

In October, 1821, the Rev. John West A.M., an ordained minister of the Church of England arrived in the colony. It is hardly surprising that his advent was the signal for discontent rather than rejoicing. There may, perhaps, have been a score of English churchmen in the colony, but nearly all the Protestants were steadfast Presbyterians. Nor did the natural Scottish aversion to prelacy cause all the trouble. They hated Episcopalian ordination. There it stood before them surpliced as of old; they could not away with "the mass-book," and Mr. West refused to yield an inch in the matter of the liturgy; there was besides the trouble that he spoke in English, and they longed to worship and to hear their own native Gaelic from the pulpit. It was for this they had waited, yearned and hoped during eight long and troublous years, and here was the upshot of it all. As will be seen immediately, the settlers, Highlanders as they were, proved not to be the bigoted creatures Scots Presbyterians are sometimes represented, and it is unlikely that, if Mr. West had been a Highlander, and could have read the liturgy and preached to his flock in the old Celtic tongue, they might have submitted, with some grimace perhaps, but still submitted with Christian resignation to kneeling at communion, and the cross in the baptism. No compromise was attempted, and the complaints of the Scots who regarded Mr. West’s intrusion as a flagrant breach of the Selkirk stipulation were met, for the time, by the assurance that Mr. West would soon be replaced by a c1ergyman of their own Church. It must be remembered, by the way, that the building employed for public worship had been erected by the efforts of the settlers, and mainly with their money and labour. [The Rev. gentleman appears to have reciprocated the feelings of the colonists, for he remarks in his journal: "I cheerfully give my hand, and my heart to perfect the work. I expected a willing co-operation from the Scotch settlers; but was disappointed in my sanguine hopes of their cheerful and persevering assistance, though their prejudices against the English Liturgy, and the simple rites of our communion." Mr. West, apparently knew nothing of Scottish ecclesiastical history, or, if he did, it was to little purpose.] Mr. West, finding that he could not bend the stubborn will of the Scots, confined himself to missionary labours at the Company’s outposts and returned to England in 1823. [Hargrave: Red River, p. 104; Ross: p. 74.]

Notwithstanding their want of success, the Church Missionary Society sent out another clergyman, the Rev. David J. Jones, and in 1825, another, the Rev. William Cochran, who was destined to exercise much greater influence during his prolonged career of forty years. [Mr. Ross, who writes with too obvious a Presbyterian bias, referring to the period when Mr. Jones was alone, says, "the Rev. Mr. Jones was the only officiating clergyman among the (Protestant) Europeans, although he belonged to the English, and they to the Scotch Church. It was rather anomalous, in this section of the colony, an English clergyman without a congregation of his own creed, and a Scotch congregation without a minister." p. 81. One is tempted to ask, what was the old mother Kirk of Scotland about all the time.] The two Anglican clergymen laboured together for some years, Mr. Jones having established another station some miles further down the river. During a short visit to England this gentleman added fuel to the fire by some remarks which appeared in the "Missionary Register" of December 1827: "I lament to say that there is an unchristian-like selfishness and narrowness of mind in our Scottish population; while they are the most comfortable in their circumstances of any class in our little community." Whether these "comfortable circumstances," considered from an offertory point of view, deepened Mr. Jones’ lamentations over the "unchristian selfishness" of the Scots, is not clear; he certainly seems to have been quite unconscious that the charge of narrow-mindedness might be retorted by the recalcitants with at least equal reason.

At any rate, the settlers addressed the Governor more than once, demanding the fulfilment of Lord Selkirk’s promise; but all proved vain. Unhappily, some indiscreet member of the Church Missionary Society still further exasperated the Scots, by writing to a friend, "Red River is an English colony; and there are two English missionaries there already; and if the petitioners were not a set of canting hypocrites, they might very well be satisfied with the pious clergymen they have got."

The Rev. Mr. Jones, however attached to his communion, was essentially an amiable and charitable man; at this time, therefore, he "became extremely kind and indulgent to the Scots, and among other things laid aside such parts of the Liturgy and formula of the Episcopalian Church as he knew were offensive to his Presbyterian hearers. He also held prayer-meetings among them after the manner of their own Church, without using the prayer-book at all, which raised him higher than ever in their estimation, especially as they understood that he could only do so at the hazard of forfeiting his gown. His own words were, "I know I am doing good; and so long as I can do good to souls, the technical forms of this or that Church shall not prevent me." [His fellow-labourer, the Rev. Mr. Cochran, was not inclined, at first, to follow Mr. Jones in his laudable efforts at conciliation. The latter’s apology, which is too long for insertion (see Ross, p. 131, 132), proves him to have been not merely a man of tact and judgment, but a clergyman of an earnest, devout, and truly missionary spirit.] The Rev. William (afterwards Archdeacon) Cochran was not so conciliating at this period. According to Mr. Ross, he said, with some warmth, "I will preach to them the truths of the Gospel, and they must listen to me; they have nothing to do with our forms, I will not allow them an inch of their will." The settlers, however, admired the rev. gentleman, in spite, perhaps unconsciously because of his stubbornness, coupled as it was with transparent candour and fervent zeal as a minister; and from that time until the close of his long work (1865) he remained a great favourite with the Scots. Nevertheless, another application was made to Governor Christie, and the answer was the cool suggestion to make an application to Lord Selkirk’s executors, who, as the Company well knew, had ceased to have anything to do with the Colony. [Mr. Christie, it is proper to note, was himself a Presbyterian, and an exceedingly kind and affable man.]

Meanwhile, so deeply rooted was the love of the Scots for their Church, that continued disappointment seriously affected their industrial energies—about 114 left, in one year, for the United States. Mr. Cochran, who was a pious and earnest man, followed Mr. Jones’s example and all went on well, until two fresh labourers appeared in the field to undo the work and set the clergy and their Presbyterian flocks by the ears. Fresh from head-quarters, and knowing nothing about the Colony, they immediately upbraided Mr. Cochran with faithlessness to the Church, and he, giving way in a moment of weakness, kindled the old discontents once more. Matters were in a more or less unsatisfactory state, until the arrival of Mr. Finlayson, as Governor, at Red River. The new ruler was a man of great intelligence and active business habits, shrewd, honest, and impartial. The Presbyterians at once resolved to lay their case before him and ask his counsel and assistance. Having listened to their complaints, he expressed his conviction that they had been badly treated; at the same time, as the matter rested with the Directors of the Hudson Bay Company, he advised them to draft a petition which he undertook to forward to Sir George Simpson, the Governor-in-chief of Rupert’s Land. This petition was signed by forty-three heads of families, at the head of the list being the name of Alexander Ross, the author of the work so frequently cited. It contained a temperate statement of their grievance, with a reference to Lord Selkirk’s stipulation. [This petition, together with all the correspondence and affidavits, will be found in Ross’ work, pp. 342-351. One clause of the first seems worth inserting, because it expresses, in mild terms, the deep-seated anxiety of the settlers upon the subject. "That the attention of your petitioners has long been turned with painful solicitude to their spiritual wants in this settlement, that widely as they are scattered among other sections of the Christian family, and among many who cannot be considered as belonging to it at all, they are in danger of forgetting that they have brought with them into this land, where they have sought a home, nothing so valuable as the faith of Christ, and the primitive simplicity of their own form of worship; and that their children are in danger of losing sight of those Christmas bonds of union and fellowship which characterize the sincere followers of Christ."] This document which was transmitted in June, 1844, was violently assailed by the opponents of Presbytery, but those who had signed it waited patiently till June 1845, when an answer came from London. The Secretary of the Company was instructed to state that the Company knew nothing of any such stipulation, and that, had any such engagement of the Scots been, in fact, entered into by Lord~Selkirk, it was singular that he had taken no steps to carry it out. It was declared to be without precedent that the Company should maintain a Presbyterian minister at Red River, and the only concession that could be made was a free passage for any clergyman the settlers might choose to engage and undertake to pay. In reply, the petitioners entered into the facts of the case from the outset and forwarded two explicit affidavits. The first having reference to the agreement with Lord Selkirk, the attempt to engage the services of Mr. Sage, the temporary ministrations of Mr. Sutherland, and the repeated applications to every successive Governor, was signed by Angus and Alexander Mathieson, two of the settlers of 1815. The second proved the assignment of two new lots to Alexander McBeath and his son, John, one of the deponents, by Mr. Alexander Macdonnell, the Governor, at the instance of Lord Selkirk, these lots being set apart for a Presbyterian Church and a school. The only reply vouchsafed to these representations from the Hudson Bay House was the information the Company "can neither recognize the claim therein advanced, nor do anything more towards the object you have in view, than they have already expressed their willingness, to do." This curt note was dated 6th June, 1846, fully two years after the original petition had been drafted and nearly a twelve-month later than the communication to which it replied.

The settlers expecting this result from the tone of the Company’s first answer turned for assistance to another quarter. Stirring events had occurred in the old land within a year or two. The Disruption of 1843 had infused new life into the decaying spirituality of Scotland, and the marvellous zeal and energy which piled together the Sustentation Fund seemed to betoken the dawn of a new era in the history of Presbyterianism. The Red River Settlers were perhaps scarcely so strongly impressed with non-intrusion controversy as their brethren over the sea; indeed they felt too forlorn and desolate to care much about patronage. They at once, however, appealed with hope to the Free Church in a letter, accompanied by all the correspondence with the Company and other documents, addressed to the Rev. Dr. Brown, of Aberdeen, Moderator of the General Assembly. Owing to delays and miscarriages of letters, no reply was received until the Summer of 1849, when the Rev. Dr. Bonar, Convener of the Colonial Committees wrote expressing his regret that all efforts to secure a suitable minister had hitherto failed. A dispute followed regarding the Church and school lots, which had long been occupied by the English Missionaries, the result was a sort of informal offer of arbitration by Governor Colville, one of the terms of which was that the dissidents should be paid off, and suffered to have their own Church and burial ground.

At length, by the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Burns, Rev. Mr. Rintoul and others, the long-promised Missionary arrived on the 19th of September, 1851, in the person of the Rev. John Black, late minister of Kildonan, in the Province of Manitoba. The joy with which the first clergyman of their Church—the pastor for whom they had been looking and longing in vain during thirty-three years—was welcomed it is easy to imagine. So soon as he set foot in the settlement three hundred Presbyterians left the English Church in one day, and were at last restored to the Communion of their fathers. The final decision of the Committee on the Church property question was so far in favour of the settlers, that neither Church nor churchyard were to be consecrated, but left open to all. In 1853, however, the Presbyterians erected a handsome stone edifice at Frog Plains or Kildonan, and were at home at last.

The Rev. John Black, or Dr. Black, as he is entitled to be called, deserves a more extended notice inasmuch as he was not only the first Presbyterian Minister at Red River, but has approved himself by twenty years’ faithful service, the model of all that a Christian Missionary in a new and unsettled Country should aspire to be. By the kindness of the Rev. Dr. Reid, who has furnished the facts, the following account of Dr. Black’s life and services are laid before the reader. [The writer desires to make a general acknowledgement here to this indefatigable Agent of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, for much assistance in preparing the portion of this work devoted to religious programs in the Dominion.] He was born in 1818, in the parish of Eskdale Muir, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, whence his family removed to Kirkpatrick. When John Black was about twenty-three years of age, the family emigrated to the United States. With them he resided for some years, in the State of Delaware, employing himself, as most young Scots do in the "auld land," both in teaching and study. Amongst his pupils, who rose to eminence, were the Hon. W. Murray, Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and Dr. David Murray, Superintendent, of Education in Japan. Even before leaving Scotland, Mr. Black had conceived a desire of entering the ministry, and a residence in the United States had not only deepened that aspiration, but given it definite form. He loved his native land and its Church, and with that truly Scottish form of patriotism he had inherited, his religion and his love of country seemed to have been inextricably mingled together. The train of thought in such a mind—not difficult to follow—led Mr. Black to look towards Canada, where his connection with Scotland, and some members of the Presbyterian family of churches would be more intimate than was possible in the United States. It was after the disruption had done its work in Canada (1844) that, in correspondence with the Rev. Mr. Stark, of Dundas, first Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada—the Free Church branch of Canadian Presbyterianism—he learned of a provision in the making, to train young men for the ministry in Knox College, then on the eve of organization. At the opening of the first session of Knox College, in the Autumn of 1844, Mr. Black presented himself as a student, and, after having prosecuted the course of study prescribed in the curriculum of the College, and passed the required examinations, was licensed, in due form, as a preacher of the gospel. For a considerable period, the Rev. Mr. Black was engaged in the work of French evangelization; and it was in the midst of these labours that he was summoned to step higher, and become the first Presbyterian minister of the Red River Settlement. This sudden call to a sphere of labour almost boundless in extent, and rich in opportunities for missionary usefulness, must have impressed Mr. Black with a full sense of its value, as well as its difficulties. The first Presbyterian minister in the great North- West had a wide door opened to him, but to enter in meant the sacrifice of much which an ambitious man holds dear. The fame and the emoluments of the city clergyman; nearly all the comforts and pleasant companionship of society life in settled communities must be left behind; and, taking his cross upon his back, he must encounter all possibilities in missionary life, to do the work of his Master—no human mentor by his side; alone, yet not alone. It can hardly be ambition which tempts a man to undergo danger and difficulty in the missionary field; it is certainly not hope of earthly reward, nor even love of adventure which stimulates the explorer, which prompts the pioneer missionary to undertake the work. Whatever Mr. Black’s feelings may have been, or whencesoever his inspiration and strength were drawn, he set about his mission with the determination of an ambassador who was not without credentials. The Scots settlers grouped about him enthusiastically; but beyond their little oasis, lay a vast Sahara of spiritual desert. Mr. Black’s first step was to make sure of his own ground. From the first, he resolved to keep aloof from politics, and adhered to that resolution throughout. During the prolonged struggle with the Hudson Bay Company, he held aloof, firmly persuaded that the mission of the clergyman ran upon a higher plane, and in a purer atmosphere, than that of the agitator, or the conservative, however sincere. Even at the unhappy period when the Anglican clergymen whom the Company had championed opposed it, to the moral destruction of one of them, Mr. Black, whose church the reigning authorities had persistently opposed, stood aloof from the agitation of the malcontents.

The Rev. Dr. Black, throughout a distinguished career, endeavoured to promote solely the religious and educational progress of the people. When they found themselves excluded from the schools, it was he who founded and set in operation the germ of Manitoba’s educational system. In early years, he had, "in addition to his usual clerical duties at both stations, to teach a French and Latin class ever since Bishop Anderson prohibited Presbyterian pupils from attending his schools." [Ross, p. 360. Of course, our author is alone responsible for a view of Bishop Anderson’s course, of which the writer of these words would be sorry to judge ex parte.] At this time Mr. Black’s stipend, we are informed, amounted to only £150 per annum, 50 of which were subscribed by the Hudson Bay Company. The rev. gentleman, however, did not stop there. The Kildonan station on Frog Plains, had been supplemented by another, fourteen miles further down, now apparently termed "Little Britain." It was to his untiring energy that the first systematic attempt to christianize the Indians, owed its origin. To the Rev. Mr. Cochran, afterwards Archdeacon, much praise is due for fruitful efforts in that direction. Perhaps as the pastor of the Hudson Bay Company, he felt that they had hitherto made no effort to fulfil one of the primary conditions of their charter; most certainly as a Christian pastor, he did what he could, not as a hireling of the monopoly, but as the faithful servant of a Diviner Master. Dr. Black died in 1882. [It should be mentioned that the Rev. Dr. Black’s degree of Doctor was bestowed upon him, as was fitting, by the University of Queen’s College, Kingston, in 1876.]

In 1862, much of the Rev. Dr. Black’s labour and anxiety was removed by the advent upon the field of the Rev. James Nisbet, the second Presbyterian minister at Red River, and the first missionary especially set apart for labour amongst the Indians. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, he came with his father and family to Canada in early life. "Like Dr. Black," the Rev. Dr. Reid informs us, "he was one of the first fruits of Knox College." After his ordination, he was appointed minister of the church at Oakville, where he laboured diligently in the sacred calling for twelve years, from 1850 to 1862, and in addition to his ordinary pastoral duties was constantly engaged in the Home Missionary work of his Church. In 1862, he was invited to assist Dr. Black in the work at Red River, and cheerfully undertook the duty. During the two years of his co-operation with Dr. Black, he was in preparation for his special work, and, in 1864, he was formally designated as a Presbyterian missionary to the valley of the Saskatchewan, and at once entered upon the arduous duty assigned him. He was accompanied by Mr. George Flett, and Mr. John McKay, both natives of the North-West, and well versed in the Cree language. The mission received the name of Prince Albert, and there for ten years, Mr. Nisbet pursued his work, with zeal and devotedness, although in the midst of grave difficulties and much discouragement. He died at Kildonan, worn out prematurely by his evangelical labours on the 30th of September, 1874, only a few weeks before the death of his wife, who together with him had been spent in the arduous work given them to do, leaving four orphan children. The testimony Mr. Nisbet left behind him might be coveted by many an ardent seeker after posthumous fame, "he was a singularly unselfish and devoted missionary, and all felt that his heart was in his work."

[On the chapter 36 page, you refer to Reverend James Nisbet.  Rev. Nisbet was also accompanied by his wife (Mary MacBeth), her sister (Christy MacBeth), the wife of John McKay, and also a brother of Mary MacBeth, of whom the name escapes me.  The MacBeth name has seen several spelling in the course of three generations - McBeath, McBeth, and MacBeth. The correction I am most concerned about is the death dates of Rev. Nisbet and Mary MacBeth Nisbet.  Mary died September 19, 1874 in  her father's house, Robert MacBeth I, with Rev. Nisbet at her side, shortly after her return from Prince Albert.  Rev. James Nisbet died just 11 days after her on September 30, 1874, also in Robert MacBeth's house. They left behind four small children, Mary Jane (9), Isabella Catherine (6), Thomas (4), and Robert (2). I have visited their graves many times in the Old Kildonan Cemetery (http://www.kildonanpresbyteriancemetery.com/index.html) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at Doug Braden]

Of the other Presbyterian ministers engaged in the North-West, only brief notice can be taken. The Rev. Alex. Matheson, a Scot, by parentage, is a native of Red River. He also was educated at Knox College, and for some time laboured at Lunenburg on the St. Lawrence. Returning to his native Manitoba, he became; and is now, the Minister of "Little Britain," at the Lower Fort Garry. The Rev. G. Bryce, M.A., is also a Scots Canadian; he graduated in the University of Toronto, and pursued his theological studies at Knox College. In 1871, he was placed at the head of the College of Manitoba. The Rev. Thomas Hart, M. A., professor in the same institution is from Perth, Ontario, and also of Scottish extraction. His degree was obtained from Queen’s University. One of the latest additions to the clerical strength of the Presbyterian Church in Manitoba, is the Rev. James Robertson, of Knox Church, Winnipeg. He studied at University College, Toronto, and took a theological course at Princeton, N. J.

The best general view of the work of the Church of England in the North-West will be found in Hargrave’s Red River, chap ix. The position in which Episcopalian ministers were placed was anomalous. The Rev. Archdeacon Cochran is justly regarded as the founder of that branch of the Church of England which now boasts of no less than five bishoprics in the North-West. It was he who, in 1836, made the first attempt at Indian evangelization, amongst the semi-civilized aborigines by founding the Indian Settlement, or Parish of St. Peter. Mr. Cochran was apostolic to the letter, for he "laboured with his hands"at the little edifice designed for instruction and worship. He was pastor, teacher, architect, builder, and mechanic combined; what is pleasing to learn is he did not toil in vain, since what there is of civilization and settled life amongst the Indians of the Province of Manitoba, may be justly traced to his early labours. It was no wonder that be was beloved by the natives and warmly esteemed by the Presbyterians, against whom, in the days of ignorance, he had sternly set his face. He was too near akin to them in the national characteristics of fervour, persistence and devotion to the highest interests of his fellow-men, to be permanently estranged from their hearts by differences in form or discipline. In their former foe they learned long before the termination of his forty years’ ministry to recognise one of their closest friends. Of the other Anglican clergymen who took an active part in the work of early days, may be mentioned the Rev. John McCallum and the Rev. James (afterwards Archdeacon) Hunter.

The present Bishop of Rupert’s Land—a diocese constituted in 1849—was, and is, the Most Reverend Robert Machray, D.D., the son of a Scottish advocate. He was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1832. Educated in the first place at King’s College in his native city, he graduated with honours in mathematics at Cambridge. He was elected Foundation Fellow of his college (Sidney) in 1855, and, in the year following, ordained as Deacon and Priest successively by the Bishop of Ely. Having been honoured by other University appointments, he was for a short time Vicar of a parish near the University town. In 1865 he was consecrated Bishop of Rupert’s Land at Lambeth, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Ely and Aberdeen, as well as his predecessor the Rt. Reverend David Anderson. [Some of these biographical facts, as well as others which follow, are taken from The Clerical Guide and Churchman’s Directory, edited by Mr. C.V. Forster Bliss, and published at Ottawa.] The diocese, as originally established, included the entire area now embraced in the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. Bishop Machray entered upon the arduous duties of his extensive charge in the true missionary spirit. He fearlessly encountered the perils and privations of the wilderness in the visitation of the distant and widely scattered mission stations of his diocese, and for several years pursued a career of almost continued hardship and endurance, travelling thousands of miles by canoe and dog-sleigh, to the remotest confines of the then little-known region under his spiritual charge, in order to familiarize himself with its needs. When owing to the influx of settlers, it became necessary largely to extend the work of the Church, his practical knowledge of the country and its religious requirements enabled him to present the case earnestly and successfully to the Church in Canada and in England. In order to meet the continually increasing necessities arising from the progress of settlement, the diocese was subdivided by the constitution of other bishoprics, the See of Rupert’s Land since 1874, comprising the Province of Manitoba, with a portion of the district of Cumberland, and the districts of Swan River, Norway House, and Lac La Pluie. On the sub-division of the diocese, Bishop Machray was appointed Metropolitan. His zeal and energy in the pioneer work of religious and educational organization are recognised, not on1y by his fellow-churchmen, but by all interested in the moral and intellectual advancement of the North-West. Bishop Machray’s sterling qualities of head and heart, have won the respect of all classes. His pulpit style is direct and practical rather than ornate, and is oft times characterized by the eloquence which glows with the warmth of earnest conviction, though it may not glitter with the tinsel of rhetorical embellishment. He holds the position of Chancellor and Warden of St. John’s College, Manitoba, and Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Theological College.

Another of the pioneer prelates of the North-West, claims Scotland as his native land. The Right Reverend John McLean, D.D., D.C.L., was born at Portsay, Banffshire, in 1828. He graduated at Aberdeen University in 1851. He came to Canada shortly afterwards, and in 1858 was ordained by the Bishop of Huron. His first charge was the curacy of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. He removed to the North-West in 1866, where he was appointed rector of St. John’s Cathedral, and Divinity Professor of St. John’s College, Winnipeg. A few years later he became archdeacon of Assiniboia. In 1871, he received the degree of D.C.L., from the Universities of Trinity College, Toronto, and Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, and that of D.D., from Kenyon College, Ohio. When the Diocese of Saskatchewan was constituted in 1874, the ripe scholarship and marked executive abilities of Dr. McLean, were recognised by his nomination to the new See. He was consecrated at Lambeth the same year by the Archbishop of. Canterbury - and has since laboured with assiduity and success to meet as far as possible the rapidly increasing spiritual needs of the extensive and fertile region under his charge, to which so large a proportion of the influx of settlement has been directed.

When the record of North-Western evangelization is complete, and Christianity has gone hand in hand with civilization, in reclaiming the land from desolation and pagan barbarism, no name in the list of those who laboured and suffered for this glorious consummation will be held in greater honour or more affectionate remembrance, than that of the Rev. George McDougall, Methodist missionary to the Indians, who crowned a life of heroic struggle and self-sacrifice by a martyr’s death, at his perilous post of duty. But, little information can be obtained as to his early antecedents. Born of a hardy sea-faring ancestry belonging to the north of Scotland, he combined a hereditary courage and love of adventure, which enabled him cheerfully to brave the dangers and hardships of life on the prairies, with a singular gentleness and refinement, and an overflowing kindliness of disposition which drew all hearts towards him. Early in life he became convinced that duty called him to a career of missionary effort among the Indians of the North-West. He began his labours about the year 1850, travelling westward through the wildest and most desolate regions of what was then an almost unknown land, establishing mission stations, familiarizing himself with the language of the Indians, and carrying the light of the Gospel into the haunts of heathen darkness. In the winter of 1875-6, he was stationed at Morleyville, Bow River, in the Rocky Mountain region, where he proposed to establish an orphanage for the support and education of destitute Indian children. Letters which he wrote a few weeks before his death to the Hon. James Ferrier, superintendent of the St. James’-street Sabbath-school, Montreal, which had largely aided his schemes by contributions, give a vivid and interesting picture of his work and its glorious results. Speaking of his journey westward from Victoria to Fort McLeod, he says: "We were guided by the Stony interpreter, James Dixon, a very remarkable man, who for years has been the patriarch of his people. James, in a five days’ journey could point out every spot of interest; now showing us the place where more than twenty-five years ago, the venerable Rundle visited them and baptized many of their people—a little further on, and the location was pointed out to us, where his father was killed by the Black-feet, then again from a hill our friend pointed out the spot where a company of German emigrants, while crossing from Montana to the Saskatchewan were murdered—not one left to tell the painful story. This occurred seven years ago. How wonderful the change! We can now preach the Gospel to these very people, who, but a few years ago sought the life of every traveller coming from the American side." The destitution of many of the Indians; owing to the disappearance of the buffalo, on which they were almost entirely dependent, excited his deepest commiseration and redoubled his determination to make some provision for the physical necessities of the young and helpless, while imparting together with a Christian education, such an industrial training as would fit them to become self-supporting under the new order of things. "November 6th," he writes, "we reached the encampment of our friend Dixon. There were 380 Stonies present. Next morning we held a service, and though the frozen grass was the best accommodation we could offer our hearers, yet no sooner was the announcement made, than men, women and children gathered round us, and sang with great energy, ‘Salvation, Oh, the joyful sound.’ Here I counted over 100 boys and girls who ought to be attending school, and who I hope will be as soon as we can get a place erected sufficiently large to accommodate them." To effect his plans he laboured steadily with his own hands at the work of building. "At present," he sensibly says, "if your missionaries would succeed, they must not he afraid of a little manual labour."

Unfortunately this valiant and stout-hearted soldier of the Cross was never destined to put his benevolent project into operation. On the 24th of January, 1876, while hunting buffalo about thirty miles from Morleyville, to procure a supply of meat for the mission, he started to return to camp in advance of his party. It was a wild, stormy night, and a fierce wind swept the prairie laden with drifting snow. Mr. McDougall missed his way, and as a protracted search by his friends proved fruitless, the painful conclusion that he had perished from cold and exhaustion forced itself upon them. Twelve days afterwards his body was found by a half-breed, stretched in death on the snow-covered prairie, the folded hands and placid expression of the features, showing that the intrepid soul of the missionary had met death in the spirit of calm and trustful resignation—

"Like one who draws the drapery of his couch
Around him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."


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