Moves to Edmonton —Three Years' residence at this place- Journeyings and experiences connected with this new field.
IN the spring of 1871, father began a mission at Edmonton. For a long time Edmonton had stood on the list of stations in connection with the Methodist Church. This simply meant that it was, in a way, the headquarters of the evangelist missionaries, Rundle and Woolsey, who had been the guests, when at borne, of the Hudson Bay Company. As yet no mission had been attempted, but as Edmonton was the head of the district, and the mercantile depot for the whole country, and was on every hand beginning to attract settlement, it was thought by the District Meeting that this post should be taken up. and the chairman himself was the best man to do it. Accordingly father moved up to Edmonton and began work. This season the streams were very high, and in one of the many situate between Victoria and Edmonton, father came very near losing his life. Descriptive of this, we will insert right here a leaf or two from mother's journal:
We moved from Victoria ; my husband and self, and two of our neighbors, started on our journey to Edmonton. The roads were very bad, the banks of every stream we came to flooded. The two first were crossed without very great difficulty ; the third, called Sucker Creek, was raging, the waters rushing and foaming with swiftest speed. When I first saw it, I wondered how we were to cross it, and turning round to speak to Mr. McDougall, I saw he was preparing to cross by moving the luggage from the buckboard and placing it on the cart; and when ready he drove down the bank of the stream, and at the same time spoke to the boy who was driving the cart to follow. Scarcely had the horse struck the current when he was thrown on his side, and horse and buckboard, with Mr McDougall standing on the buckboard seat, were carried down the river. There were trees projecting from the bank into the stream on either side, and presently all were carried under one of these trees, and horse, buckboard and driver were tangled up together by the force of the current. This was repeated several times, and very soon all disappeared around the point out of my sight. All this happened, as it seemed to me, in a moment.
I tried to speak, but could not. I turned to the men, but I saw them running through the bushes down along the bank of the river, and my first thought was to follow, and I was going to do so, when the boy with the cart drew my attention.
He had been directed to follow, and had just got down the bank of the stream, and the horse had stopped with the water above the shafts, and I went to see if I could do any thing to help him.
I found that it was impossible, the steep bank shoving the horse and cart towards the current. We could not possibly back the cart out. I told the boy to sit still, and I spoke a few words to the noble animal, and he stood perfectly quiet, bracing against the current as if he knew both life and property were at stake. In the meanwhile I was continually looking to God, and praying that my dear husband's life might be saved from a watery grave, and while doing so, I realized all would be well. I had only to wait, but the time seemed very long before anyone came, and how my heart leaped for joy when I heard his voice, calling to me, and I ran to meet him.
His first words were, Let us praise the Lord for the preservation of my life. He had been near the gates of death. The wet and sticky reins had become wound around his arm, and thus sometimes under the buckboard, and sometimes coming to the surface, he had been dragged along with the horse and rig; and not until he had succeeded in biting away the reins from his arm was he able to swim for the shore. He said the horse had struck a bar at the foot of a steep bank on the other side of the river, and was standing there with just his head and neck out of the water. He said, if I can get across now with this other horse, I may yet save him.
He stopped not to change his wet garments, but took off his boots and plunged into the water, and unharnessed the horse which was in the cart, and mounting him, he struck out into the stream. This horse was a strong, spirited animal, and soon I saw Mr. McDougall and his steed climb the other bank, and, disappearing down through the woods, presently he came back with the other animal, and both horses and master looked as if they were ready and fresh for any other emergencies that might happen. In talking over this circumstance the same evening with old Harry House, one of the neighbors who accompanied us, he said: "Mr. McDougall and the animals were saved in answer to prayer. Madame," said he, "you must call to mind the prayer that was offered by Mr. McDougall this very morning before we started on our way. Near the close of his prayer he asked God to bless us in our journey, and asked Him that the lives of both men and animals entrusted to them might be precious in His sight, and it was so." Tears of joy were streaming down the good old man's cheeks as he thus spoke to me of the day's experience.
Friends rallied round him, and in a little more than a year he had comfortable mission premises, and better than this, a flourishing cause. In the meanwhile he visited the missions under his charge, White Fish Lake, Victoria, and Woodville. The amount of work in the building of a mission in a new country, one thousand miles from a saw mill in erecting mission-house and church, and establishing school can be estimated only by those who have gone through the experience.
In the spring of 1873 he started for the southwestern country, and reached the Bow. The reader will remember that all the region southwest of Edmonton was for hundreds of miles the Blackfeet country. Here the Blackfeet, the Sarcee, the Pegan, and the Blood were allied against the Stoney and the Cree. This was the scene of many a tragedy. In this fair land and on the banks of the Elk. in the valley of the Bow, along the margins of High River and Old Man's River, and in the intervening countries, many a white man had come to a terrible end. To make matters worse, an illegitimate traffic was being smuggled in by a wild class of lawless men from the southern border. The southwestern portion of our country was at this time the rendezvous of the hard cases. From Fort Benton and other parts of Montana alcohol was being smuggled across the land, and whiskey, warranted to craze and kill, was being manufactured at different points. Very little was known about this region by the people who lived in the north country. Very few white men, though they resided in the Saskatchewan for years, knew anything of the Bow River country.
Hundreds of Indians along the North Saskatchewan, notwithstanding their migratory habits, have never been so far south, but the mountain Stoney, whom the missionary met on previous trips, and also at Woodville and the old mountain fort, said it was a goodly land, and importuned for a mission somewhere in that region along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. These Mountain Stonies were our people. They had been faithful to us, and they had won father's heart, and his sympathies were with them.
Though few in number, they hail held their own, in the whole width of British territory along the eastern base of the mountains. They had done this against the combined hosts of the plain tribes. Father admired their pluck; moreover, his foresight told him that by planting a mission somewhere at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in that southern region, with these Mountain Stonies, with their warlike prestige, as its body-guard, not only the interests of Christianity, but the peace of the country and the future, settlement of it. would be in a best measure secured without collision with the natives.
Subsequent events have more than verified his prophetic action. To explore for this he, in company with a single native, travelled through this region.
Reaching the Bow, they came out upon this valley a few miles east of the present Morley. It was about the end of May or first of June. I can imagine father, as he sat upon the hill, picturing to himself the changes that he felt were coming. Little did he then dream that in front of him and at his feet would, in less than fifteen years, lie the steels that belt the continent. Little did he think that up this valley would roll the tide of the world's westward travel; that down the slopes before him would pour the produce of China and Japan; and yet he knew it was coming.
Having seen the country for himself, he came back and endorsed the Mountain Stoney's opinion of his native land. He, in company with other missionaries, the same summer, travelled across the plains to Winnipeg, and met at this place Drs. Punshon and Wood, also John Macdonald and other friends, who had come up from the east to shake hands and encourage the missionaries. A delightful missionary conference was held; the hearts of the so often isolated missionaries were cheered by conference with these eloquent and wise brethren.
Father secured the endorsation of his scheme for the opening of the new mission at the foot of the mountains, which he had so much at heart, and then bidding the brethren good-bye, he, with others, again set their faces westward. It was his privilege to travel across the plains in company with Sandford Fleming, the chief engineer of our Government, and Dr. Grant, now Principal of Queen's College, Kingston, and Professor Macoun, the famous botanist; they, in turn, were fortunate in falling in with the old pioneer missionary. The following spring, early in the month of April, he and his son visited the Mountain Stonies, who were then camped in the valley of the Bow, at the foot of the Rockies, continued the exploration of the country, and came to the conclusion that no more central place for the new enterprise could be found than in the Bow Valley. While on this trip the missionaries remained several days with the Stonies, and travelled with them southward along the mountains, holding meetings morning and evening, in short, all the time, with these people.
At this time father assured these Indians that he would do all in his power for the planting of a mission in their country. Then retracing their way, the missionaries travelled homeward by a different route, keeping along the mountains, and then striking easterly towards Pigeon Lake, they came across another large camp of Indians, moving out from the woods to the north. Spending some time with these, they continued their journey and came to Woodville from the other side. Father then went on alone to Edmonton. The following letter to Dr. Wood is descriptive of this trip:
Edmonton, May, 28th, 1873.
According to previous arrangement, April 29th, I started for Bow River, and in the evening met my son at what is called the Forks of the Mountain Road.
May 1st.—At the foot of the Bear's Hill we fell in with a party of Victoria Crees, most of them our own people. With these we spent some time in religious exercises; and, after exchanging prairie news, we pushed on to Battle River, where we met another party belonging to the same place. The head man of the camp is one of the noblest specimens of a Christian native I have met with in this country. Our friend Noah invited us to his tent; we made our supper on a yellow crane. "With these we held two services and baptized two children, and were made acquainted with a fact demonstrating the power of Christianity on the native mind. An aged, blind woman visited our tent who, some months previous, had been cast away by her inhuman children. They had long felt the old woman a burden, and one morning while she was asleep they all slipped away from the camp, leaving her, as they expected, to perish. Our good brother and his party found the unfortunate mother, and were taking the best care of her in their power.
On the evening of the second we reached the north bank of Red Deer River. For four days we had been travelling through a country ready for the agriculturist; a rich black loam resting upon a clay bottom; abundance of the finest pasturage and the purest water. Once across the Red Deer River, and the traveller observes a change. Here the celebrated bunch grass begins, and the tough, level sod of the northern prairie disappears, and the soil is so loose that your horse sinks at every step, and wherever the badger had thrown up the earth, we observed a mixture of limestone, gravel and clay.
Springs and streams are abundant, and although the climate has not been practically tested by the agriculturist, there is not a doubt but that, for stock-raising purposes, it is one of the finest countries on the continent. In winter there is scarcely any snow, and in summer the horse-fly and mosquito, so numerous in Manitoba and the Saskatchewan, are seldom seen south of the Red Deer.
Sabbath, 4th.—We spent at Dog Pound Creek, where we enjoyed a magnificent view of the mountains. In the afternoon an old bull came down to the spring to drink, and not being disturbed, he fed beside our horses until the next morning.
Monday, 5th.—We travelled up the Little Red Deer, a beautiful river, the banks of which are well covered with aspen and pine. In the afternoon we killed a bull, and I caught a young calf, and we camped near to a large sulphur spring, where waggon loads of the mineral maybe collected. It is also in this neighborhood where the natives find alum. I have seen them with specimens of it weighing from six to ten pounds.
On the afternoon of the 6th we struck the Stoney trail, and were a little discouraged to notice that they had passed some eight or ten days before our arrival. In the evening we camped on the bank of the Bow River, close in with the mountains. The prospect was one of the grandest I had ever witnessed, and Morleyville will yet become the favorite resort of the tourist.
Wearied with a hard day's ride, we selected a spot for our night's encampment where we could have a full view of the mountain sunset. Our camping equipage is very simple; we have no tent; a pair of blankets, a kettle and axe, a little flour, tea and sugar, and a piece of oil-cloth to protect us in time of storm, constitute our baggage.
There being no game laws in force, and having studied the nature of wild animals as well as wild men, with the blessing of Providence we have no fear of starvation. Just as we had settled down for the night a stranger made his appearance among the hills, and cautiously approached our camp. In this solitary lawless land a certain amount of suspicion marks the first meeting of all travellers; but here was one of our own good Stonies; he had seen our camp smoke from afar, and made haste to inform us that his people had been waiting some nine days on the opposite side of the river, hoping the missionary would pay them a visit. We at once packed up and moved to the camp, where we were received with a volley of fire arms, and a hearty shake hands from young and old.
Here we found 12 tents, 73 men, 82 women, 58 boys, 71 girls, 199 horses, 24 colts, and 169 dogs. A stranger might smile at us in placing the dogs on the catalogue, but the mountaineer knows how to make use of this kind of stock. The dog has to pack from 25 to 100 pounds. I saw some of them carrying an eight skin tent, that is a tent made of eight moose or buffalo hides. We were at once conducted to the Bear-paw's tent, where we made a good supper on the flesh of a white swan; then we all united in singing a hymn in the Stoney language, and in thanksgiving to our common Benefactor. But there was no sleep for the weary ; the Stonies were so overjoyed at our arrival, that prayer and praise were continued until morning.
On the morning of the 7th we moved out on to the plain and had a general meeting, after which, in company with the two principal chiefs, we started on a prospecting tour. They had supplied us with a pair of first-class mountain ponies, and the object of our ride was to visit some fish lakes that lie in the bosom of these mountains, also to inspect the timber and hay grounds, etc.
Our mountaineers led us off at a good canter up bill and along precipices, then descending into valleys where the descent was almost perpendicular. At first I felt a degree of hesitancy in following these reckless fellows; but seeing that their horses can led them safely over ground where a
Canadian horse would have broken his neck, I whipped up, and for the remainder of the day kept alongside of our guides. In the afternoon we came to the great chasm in the mount through which the river rushes.
From a very high foot hill we gazed on this prospect with admiration and wonder. Within three miles stood the grand old mountain, the wild goat and sheep sporting on its highest summit. At the foot of the hill, and in perfect ignorance of our presence, a band of buffalo were feeding on the richest pasture. To the right of us, and on the north bank of the river, lay the location which we have selected for our new mission.
In the rear of the plain there are large hills covered with valuable timber, and from these elevations scores of little streams run down into the valley. Further on, beyond the first range of mountains, there is a large lake, which the old Indian tells us is bottomless, and the water so clear that salmon trout can be seen at a depth of thirty five feet. In fact I was surprised at the clearness of these mountain lakes and streams. Late in the evening we returned to the camp tired and hungry.
At the evening service it was decided that on the morrow we should pitch southward, our people having an engagement to meet the Kootanies about the end of May. I had now ample opportunity for observing the conduct of this singular people. Twenty-five years ago they embraced Christianity, and though most of the old people have passed away, and they have only been occasionally visited by your missionaries, and for several years have been exposed to the destroying influence of whiskey-traders, yet, with few exceptions, they have been faithful to their religious principles. Many of them can read the Bible. In every tent there is family prayer; they are passionately fond of singing. The week we spent with them was emphatically a camp meeting. We retired to rest, listening to the voice of song, and awoke in the morning to hear the Stonies engaged in the same exercises. Sabbath, the 11th, was a day of incessant labor. We baptized thirty-one children, and married one couple, and at midnight lay down to rest, grateful to God for blessing the day. Monday, the 12th, at mid-day we left for the Saskatchewan, and crossed the High Water River; and on the 13th, with a great deal of difficulty, we succeeded in fording the Bow River. Expecting to meet some Stonies, we made a straight course through the country to Woodville, and on the evening of the 16th reached Battle Lake, where we found eighty of our people.
On Sabbath morning we preached to this camp, baptizing four children, and then rode over to Woodville, where we found two hundred waiting for us. In the evening we administered the Lord's Supper to about sixty communicants. On Tuesday, at noon, I reached Fort Edmonton, grateful to God for all His mercies. In the last twenty-two days we have passed through some dangers and difficulties, rapid and dangerous rivers have been rafted, localities have been visited where only a short time before human blood had been shed, where the American whiskey-trader and Blackfeet had met in deadly conflict. But through all our exposure the Lord has preserved us.
Six hundred and thirty -five Stonies have been visited, and upwards of one hundred Crees; and, best of all, the presence of God has been strikingly manifested in our services. To His name we ascribe the praise.
G. M. McDougall
The same season the Secretary of the Missionary Society, the Rev. Lachlan Taylor, visited these missions. Father met him at Fort Pitt and travelled with him to White Fish Lake; from there to Victoria and on to Edmonton; out to Woodville, back again to Edmonton; from Edmonton, out on to the big plains to the large Cree camps; from the Cree camps to the mountains, being captured, and after two days released, by the Blackfeet en route; from the mountains in Bow River, south-eastward to Fort Benton, on the Missouri, taking in the famous Whoop-up country by the way. Then bidding the Secretary good-bye, and having delivered him within the possibilities of stage and telegraph lines, father returned for the most part by a new route across the country to Edmonton. Most of this travel being accomplished by him in the saddle. The greater part of the trip was subject to constant danger, father taking his turn on guard, and in everything sharing the burdens of this long journey.
During the winter of 1873 and 1874 he visited the missions on the Saskatchewan, and worked away at his own charge, which was growing in interest. Anyone looking up the reports of our Missionary Society will see what was done by this newly-begun mission during the years of 1871, 1872, and 1873, for the general cause, which is a good index of all other matters. In the meanwhile the missions at the foot of the mountains were begun late in the year of 1873.
In the summer of 1874 father visited the new mission, and was very much encouraged with the results already achieved. Made some journeys into the mountains during his stay, and then returning to Edmonton, began to make preparations to go to his native land, for which he had received a hearty invitation for himself and mother from the Missionary Committee of our Church.
The two following letters will describe the experiences of this time.
Edmonton, July 10th, 1874.
Last Friday we received the first mail for six months. I heartily thank you and our worthy President. The only damper to the joy of Mrs. McDougall is—for she is very anxious to see her friends once more—that we cannot leave until a supply arrives. I have spent too many hard days in the Saskatchewan to leave this mission until our men come. The last six months have been the hardest I have seen in the mission field. Popery is rampant, and we have hard work to hold our own. After visiting Victoria, on April 1st, I went to Athabasca, where we have over thirty Stonies and other adherents, then to Low River, and last week to Lake St. Ann's. In making these journeys I have forded, rafted, or swam thirty rivers. It is twenty-five years since the mountain streams have been so high.
I have now to take Woodville, and then, should help come the long trail to Red River. For the first time I am nearly used up. John, subject to my consent, was appointed agent by the Government to visit the Blackfeet and Stonies, and explain to them the policy of the Government in sending troops, etc. All expenses to be paid, and $1,500 to be distributed in tea, tobacco, powder, ball and flour.
Believing the appointment to be providential, Mrs. Hardisty sent off a man to bring John in. He will have to report to the officer in charge of the troops. I shall request him to send you a copy. I have sent on to Red River a meteoric stone weighing 400 pounds, the great memento of the plains, and requested Brother Young to forward it to your address. I intended it for Victoria College, but shall be guided by your advice. Please have an eye if it turns up.
Edmonton, July 20th, 1874.
Since the winter packet arrived we have been all in the dark as to matters civil and ecclesiastical, but fondly hoped that, during the summer, there will be a change, for the better. Since the month of April I have made some laborious journeys; first to Victoria, then to Athabasca, and subsequently to Bow River. I felt it was a duty not only to our people, but also to the isolated mission family, to make a run to Morleyville.
Wednesday, June 5th.
Accompanied by Mrs. McDougall and one of my daughters, we left for the Mountain, and as the streams have been unusually high, we built a handy little punt, and mounted it on a cart. On a number of occasions we found the benefit of the arrangement, for the mountain streams were all foaming. The journey from Edmonton to Morleyville was made in seven days, including the Sabbath, am! only those who live 200 miles from their nearest neighbor can realize the pleasure with which we were received, not only by the mission family, but also by a camp of Mountain Stonies, who very fortunately arrived the same day. In the evening I went with my son to visit an old patriarch, Kis-chee-po-wat, a man who was once guide to Mr. Bundle, and who was with the pioneer missionary when he ascended the mountain now known to travellers as "Mount Bundle." This venerable native was evidently, to use his own language, very near the great camping-ground; but rich in the consolations of the Gospel, and one of its blessed fruits was very apparent in his case, for while the aged among the heathen are often left to miserably perish, the family of this old man treated him with the greatest kindness.
Sabbath was a day of special blessings, and in the love-feast many were witnesses of the power of saving grace. I was much gratified with the efforts that have been made to establish this mission. Finding it impossible to build a church sufficiently large to accommodate the numerous congregations, the missionary has run up a rough building, covered it with bark, floored it with pine brush, lighted it with parchment windows; and here Blackfeet, Crees, Stonies, and the traveller from other lands, meet to worship the Lord of all. In the meantime, timber has been prepared for respectable buildings; sashes, nails, etc., brought from Fort Benton, and we hope by next summer a fair start will be made on this important mission.
Having a few days at command, I made up my mind to prospect the adjacent country. Our first excursion was up the Bow River Pass. The distance from Morleyviile to the foot of the mountains cannot be less than fifteen miles, the most deceptive prospect I ever gazed upon, for the general impression is, when you first look across this beautiful valley, that a ten-minutes walk would take you to the base of these snow-capped peaks, and yet we were two hours and a half in reaching the entrance of the pass, at a smart canter. As we approached the great canyon, I was forcibly impressed with the thought that there stood before us a fit emblem of both time and eternity. Of time, for the scene was ever changing. As the sun mounted higher in the heavens, and the snow began to melt on the summits of the mountains, small streams rushed over vast precipices and spent themselves in spray before they reached the foot of the mountains. To the north of us, a heavy thunderstorm enveloped the peaks, and we noticed, when it had passed over, that at a certain elevation there had been a heavy fall of snow.
In a few days' sojourn in these mountains the prospect is ever changing. Then there are the huge rocks, in some places presenting a perpendicular wall 6,000 feet high, grand representatives of the everlasting, and yet these shall pass away. While sojourning among these mountains, I was profoundly impressed with my own ignorance. Here was a grand field for the geologist, and all I knew about the science only increased curiosity. Here is a perfect paradise for the botanist, for among the multiplicity of flowers and plants, I think I have seen some new specimens, but find it difficult to classify. And here I have seen the wild goat upon the mountains, and my party have killed the big horn sheep, the mountain marmot, and the large black partridge; even the rabbit and the squirrel are unlike any thing I have seen in other parts of the Dominion. Here is a grand field for the naturalist.
But, anxious to show the resources of our mission, we resolved to visit Lake Taylor. Marvellous stories had been told us by the Stonies of this strange sheet of water; and, after a careful inspection, we were certain the half was not told us. The lake is about eight miles long by one mile and a half wide, and probably very deep, located between two huge mountains, and evidently full of the finest trout, for standing on the shore my party caught eight very tine specimens.
The Stonies tell us they sometimes take them forty pounds in weight. In fact, every stream we met with was full of salmon and brook trout. This beautiful lake is not more than twenty miles, in a straight line, from the mission. While camped on the shore our Stoney guide pointed out a path that led straight over the mountain to Morleyville, but when requested the next day to take us by this route, he replied, if it were the end of August, in place of June, he would willingly do so, but at present the snow is too deep for horses.
Such are the contrasts in this strange land. Close by our feet the strawberry is ripening, the gooseberry nearly ready for use, and yet not half a mile distant the snow is still several feet deep. While conversing with my son, who has just returned from Benton, I gathered a good deal of very useful information in reference to the state of things on our frontier. The past winter has been one of unusual activity on the part of the fur traders, and a large amount of valuable furs have been carried out of our country. I observed in the Notices, that where I had stated in a letter referring to their transactions one year ago, "that more than 50,000 robes had been carried out of British territory by these whiskey-traders,'' one cipher had been dropped by some of my cautious friends, making it "5,000." The secular papers that had copied the paragraph also made it "5,000."
Now I reiterate my statement, on the best authority, that more than 50,000 robes have been traded from our Indians annually for a number of years, and that nearly all the return that these wretched people have received at Benton, for what was worth $250,000, had been alcohol. And the terrible effect on the tribes is very apparent. Ten years ago the Blackfeet were rich in horses, and no observer could visit their camp without being struck with their line physical appearance as a body of natives; now they are an impoverished, miserable-looking race. Last winter the usual amount of shooting took place and the worst feature of this sad work is, the innocent suffer, and not the guilty. But as the Indian kills the first white man he meets for the death of his friend, no traveller is safe on these plains until a stop is put to the infamous conduct of traders.
While I was at Bow River our people found the body of a white man, who evidently had been killed by the Blackfeet; and since our return to Edmonton a report has reached us that a young man who was in the Hudson Bay Company's employ last winter had been killed on this side of Elk River. And all this catalogue of crime and death can now be traced to the unprincipled whiskey-trader. I have frequently received letters asking for information as to this country, and in which reference is made to the Missionary Notices. In answer to such parties, we would just say, as far as our observation goes, that one of the best stock-raising countries in the Dominion will be found south of Elk River. The horned cattle at our mission arrived at Morleyville late last fall. Most of the oxen had been worked through the summer, and those belonging to the missionary performed a large amount of labor in the winter-; and yet these cattle, although having to feed themselves, were tit for a trip to Benton early in the spring. To those, who may wish to settle on the eastern slop« of the mountains, it may be useful to know that both provisions and stock can be bought much cheaper in Montana than in any part of the Dominion. I saw two enterprising Canadians who, this spring, bought fifty head of four-year old oxen for twenty-four dollars each. They are bringing them over to the Saskatchewan, and I have been informed by my son that half-breed Texan cattle can be bought for even less than that; and there is no doubt in my mind but that the day is not distant when, on our Dominion soil, we will be able to compete with our American neighbors in the stock department. As to cereals, I cannot speak confidently, for they have never been tried this side of Sun River. One advantage we will have over Montana—we shall not have to irrigate, for up to the forty-ninth parallel there is, most seasons, an abundance of rain. As to the Indian question, which seems to deter many from making their horns in this great country, I would just remark, that, should the Government give us protection, the best informed in the country are of the opinion there will be very little trouble with the Indians.
If they are judiciously treated by the Government, we apprehend no difficulty in settling the Indian question. Two things we would earnestly impress on the attention of those in authority in the country: First, that no notice be taken by the civil powers of the crimes that have taken place in the past. If every murderer were to be arrested, there would be no end of trouble, and the Government would most probably become involved in civil war. The next difficulty will be to know who are Dominion Indians, and who that cross our lines are not. And this, I apprehend, will be a difficult matter to decide.
The Blackfeet proper have all along been regarded by the Americans as their Indians; but from all we know of them, they can never be induced to settle on the American side. The Piegans and Bloods receive annuities at the American agency, and yet they spend a large part of their time on our side, and frequently trade at the Hudson Bay Company's forts. Now this is a question that will have to be settled before we can treat with these tribes, and until it is done we cannot expect to have peace on our borders.
Some of these remarks may appear foreign to the work of a missionary; but our position is peculiar; we are often importuned for information, and if anything we say can tend to the spiritual and temporal elevation of an unfortunate race, we shall feel amply rewarded.