Visits Ontario—Pleads the cause of Missions—Takes a short trip to the Mother Land—Once more sets his face Westward - Is employed by Government to conciliate the excited Plain Tribes — His tragic end.
ONCE more father drives across the plains. This will be mother's first visit since she left, fourteen years before. Those years have effected a wondrous change in the northern part of the continent of America. A line of steamboats are on the Red River.
The Northern Pacific crosses this river near the spot where the missionary and his family fourteen years before had camped; at that time the whole country a howling wilderness. No man appreciated better than father did the possibilities of the great North-West, and these wonderful changes which had already taken place were sources of great joy to him.
Proceeding eastward, father reached Toronto in time to be present at the first General Conference of our Church in Canada. Here he met a hearty welcome, the whole Conference cheering as he entered its presence. Some people may imagine that the invitation to come home for a year, given by the committee of our Church to the missionary in the far off field; is suggestive of a period of rest and recuperation, but this is not so; every energy of mind and soul must be resurrected on the part of the returned missionary. The tension of every nerve must be tightened a little more, and the whole strain of wear and tear of such a life as the southerly acclimated frontiersman is now called to bear, proves often harder on him than the rough years already passed through.
The crowded houses, the badly-ventilated and overheated audience-rooms, the cold and chill, though stylishly arranged, sleeping places—all these things affect his body; while ever present to his mind is the difficulty of presenting his thoughts to a different people, and possibly expressing them in a language to which he is not accustomed. If there should come a Sabbath in the course of the year, which the Missionary Secretary has not included in his programme of work for the missionary, there are always a few score of brethren who have been watching this opportunity, and by dint of import unity, they let the missionary off with two services and a Sabbath-school address sandwiched in between. And herewith we would announce to all missionaries: If you want rest, don't go home; seek it elsewhere. Father, during the winter succeeding the first General Conference, pretty well did the Eastern Provinces. Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, were all visited in turn, and everywhere the cause of missions and the great North-West were his theme.
Towards spring he ran over to New York. Coming back, he sailed for the Old Country. Addressed meetings in London. Took a run into the Highlands, from whence his forefathers had come, and then once more turned his face westward.
He arrived in Ontario in time to be present at his own Conference. Secured additional help for the work on the Saskatchewan; and starting with mother and his new mission party, he continued the journey westward, and to him, homeward; though in reality just now he is without a home, for the missionary committee have concluded to undertake a new enterprise and establish a mission yet further south in the region of country which is known to-day as Southern Alberta.
Reaching Winnipeg by steam, the real work of the journey now begins. Carts and oxen must now be purchased. Transport provided for families Fortunately for the missionary and party, they meet at this point with Mr. David McDougall, than whom there is no better guide or frontier traveller on the continent. He couldn't be much less, being the son of his father. Just at this juncture news is brought over the plains of trouble among the Indians and half-breeds in the vicinity of Carlton, and westward beyond it. The facts were, the Government was proceeding with telegraph lines, and railway, and geological and other surveys. Material was being poured into the country, and all this, prior to treaties with the Indians. No explanations had been made, and no wonder that the natives were concerned about these things, which ought to be felt by any man of equitable mind as something altogether "too previous." Surveys were stopped, and serious trouble was anticipated. Father's opinion was sought; and he gave it as his view that the trouble had arisen because of a lack of understanding on the part of the Indians. That if proper explanations had been made prior to these surveys having been attempted, he believed there would have been no trouble. Immediately he was requested by Lieutenant-Governor Morris, of Manitoba and the North-West, to undertake this mission. Accordingly, receiving his commission, he started with mother, and proceeded directly to Carlton.
From Carlton he went to Prince Albert, and having met the natives in these vicinities, he then started out with his little party westward on to the big plains. Travelling from camp to camp, he explained these matters to the exciter! Indians, and assured them, as his instructions were, that the following year commissioners would be sent into the country to treat with them. He was received everywhere with confidence, and his words were believed: and the Indian mind all over the country was set at rest for the time being.
Having travelled westward to Tail Creek on the Elk River, and thence northward to Edmonton, and from thence eastward to Victoria on the North Saskatchewan, thus covering the territory, and reaching the people most interested in this matter, he then started for the mountains and Morley, and the recently located mission in the valley of the Bow, at which place he arrived simultaneous with his party, which he had separated from on the Red River some months before, and which had been corning as directly as possible in those days to this its destination. How joyous the meeting of these missionary parties. Some have been laboring in the country, others are just returning from the east, some are new-comers; all are here for the same purpose, the taking-up of this land in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. These men and women are here to sow the seed of Christianity and civilization, to plant the standard of empire, to uproot and destroy the savageism of the native, to restrain the cupidity and selfishness of the new comer. Truly theirs is a mighty work, and only by the grace of God can they do it. Winter is already here. What are the plans for the future? Listen to the leading spirit as he speaks to his son, the resident missionary at Morley: "John, myself and teacher will have to stay with you this winter; it's too late now to begin 150 miles further south without a chip of preparation as yet having been made. We are both willing workers; we will jump right in and help you to put up your church and other buildings this winter, and then I want you to come over with us next spring to Old Man's River, and give us two or three months with your men and teams." "All right," I said.
In the meanwhile father's restless spirit moved him on, and within a few days we were on a trip of exploration south along the mountains, our object being to hunt up the site of the proposed mission, and also make ourselves acquainted with the best way of reaching this point. Between two and three weeks were occupied on this journey, during which time several large camps of Indians were reached, and the opportunities for preaching the Gospel were many. The new Fort McLeod was also visited, and father was kindly received by the mounted police, this place being at that time their headquarters. Returning from this journey, the fact that our large party required a fresh supply of provisions came up; and while some of us went out on to the plains for this, father proceeded with building operations and other work connected with the mission. Owing to very severe weather, and the distance the buffalo had gone into the plains, the hunting party failed this time, and were forced to go home in a state of starvation. Late in December he started on a missionary tour to the mouth of High River, where there were several trading establishments, and also quite a number of Indian camps. Early in the new year he returned to Morley, bringing word that the buffalo were now moving westward, and that this was now an opportune time for striking for meat, and as this was very much wanted by our party, arrangements were made to go out. Horses driven in, sleighs mended, and, at the last minute, the man we expected to go with us was not forthcoming. In vain we looked for another, and then father said, "I will go with you, for we must have meat." Our flour was getting low, and there were many mouths to fill. We started for the hunt, and procuring tire-wood by the way, pushed out on the plain.
On the third day we came to the buffalo. The condition of the prairie for running with unshod horses was very bad. The weather was extremely cold. However, we secured some animals; but Saturday morning found us with about half loads, and the weather getting colder all the while. We saw that the buffalo were slowly moving westward, we concluded to go back with our teams to the first point of willows, where we could get wood, and there spend the Sabbath, hoping that the weather would moderate, and the buffalo draw nearer. We spent a quiet Sabbath in our leather lodge. Our party numbered five. An Indian and his boy, about twelve years of age, had joined us to obtain meat for themselves. Our party proper was composed of father and his nephew, a lad he had brought from Ontario on his last trip, and the writer.
Monday morning, from a hill alongside of our camp, we could see buffalo. Father and I, taking four sleighs with us, and a little wood on one of them, and two loose horses for running, started out towards them. The Indian and his son, with one sleigh, accompanied us. We left my cousin to took after the camp and watch the horses. The weather had moderated some, but the prairie was still very bad for unshod horses.
Coming as near as we could without starting the buffalo, father took charge of the horses and sleighs, and I attempted to run, but so slippery was the prairie with its patches of snow and ice everywhere, that the sharper hoofed buffalo could get away from the unshod horse.
Changing horses three times, getting one tremendous fall, which shook me up pretty well all over, I eventually succeeded in killing six buffalo. The Indian had not been successful. We gave him one and began the work of skinning and cutting up the other five. It was now late in the afternoon. We had butchered and put on to the sleighs three of the buffalo. We were at the fourth. While I was working at this one, father said, "I think I will melt some snow, John, and boil the kettle, and we will have a cup of coffee." Taking the little bundle of wood we had brought with us from the sleigh, father soon had a fire built, and the kettle boiling. It was now becoming dark. The coffee made, father said, "Come along, my son, this will do you good after the shaking up you have had today." We had a few small cakes with us. Eating these, and sipping coffee and talking about our work, thus the night came on. I remember there was an odd cake; father said, "John, you eat that, you have been working harder than I have to-day." The coffee drank, we went at the buffalo again. Just as we were finishing the fourth animal, we heard the Indian call, and answering him, he came to us with his sled loaded with the animal which had been given him. Altogether then we moved on to the fifth animal, and now, with the Indian's help, we soon had this one skinned and cut up and loaded on to the sleigh. This being done, I put my running pad on one of the loose horses, and gathering up the lariat attached to the halter, handed it to father, expecting him to ride. I then said to the Indian, "Go ahead, now, and I will drive my sleighs after you." He said, "I don't know the way; I am a Wood Indian, I am not so much accustomed to the plains as you are." I said,"I will tell you the way; you lead off with your horse and I will drive our four sleighs behind you. and if I see you going wrong, I will shout to you." The Indian did as I told him, and I strung out our sleighs behind him. We were about eight miles from camp, and I should judge it was about eight o'clock at night. There was some wind blowing and some snow drifting along the ground, but overhead the stars were clear, and the night was fine.
As I walked behind the last sleigh, father would ride beside me, or, dismounting, sometimes walk. We conversed about the future, we talked about the orphanage that he hoped to build and be instrumental in establishing at the new mission he was to move on to in the spring.
We came to the valley of the Nose Creek. Here there was a long incline to the creek. The Indian started of on a rim before his horse, and I cracked my whip, and sent my horses after him. Father had been walking when we came to the top of this hill, and as the rest of us ran down the slope, we left him some distance behind. We crossed the creek, and were nicely strung out on the flat on the other side of it, and as fast as we could were making our way to the gently-rising hill near the summit of which our camp was situate. I should judge we were about two miles from camp, when father having mounted his horse, came up at a gallop. Instead of stopping behind, he rode up alongside. I said, "Father, are you going on?" "Yes," said he. "I think I will go and get supper ready. That bright star there is right over our camp, is it not?" said he to me. I looked, and answered, "Yes." It was impossible for me to think that he could go astray. The landmarks were extremely good; the night was not stormy. Away he rode into the darkness. Little did I think that I had spoken to my father for the last time in this world.
We went on to our camp until we were within two hundred yards of it, being situate down in a little valley. When I came in sight of the spot I saw no light; my heart misgave me. I rushed the horses up to the tent, and shouted, "Father; father. Moses; Moses." (This was the name of my cousin we had left in the camp that morning.) But no answer came. I jumped into the lodge. There was no fire. I felt around, and found the boy buried under the buffalo robes, he evidently having become frightened as night came on. I shook him up. Said I, "Moses, did father come?" He said, "No ;I have not seen him." I jumped out and grasped my rrifle, which I had fastened on one of the sleighs, and fired several shots in rapid succession. I told the Indian to shoot off his old flint-lock, and he did so repeatedly, putting in large charges of powder. Then I said to myself, how foolish to get so excited. If father has missed the camp, he will be in before I can get these horses unharnessed; or he has ridden past to hunt up our horses we left here to-day; and with this thought I went to work and unharnessed the horses, and disposed of them for the night. But no father came. We did the best we could.
The next morning, with the first peep of day-light, I found the horses, and was glad to see that the one he had ridden was not with them, for I had thought, that father might have been thrown, and hurt badly, and if so, the horse would come to his partners. He was not there, and again I said to myself, it is now daylight, and by the time I get these horses back to camp father will be there; but he didn't come. The Indian and myself scoured the country the whole day.
We did it systematically. The Indian was a first-class moose-hunter. I was no novice in such work. Evening came without a clue; then I said, father missed the camp last night, and passing on up to the ridge west of us, Morley would appear so near to him this morning, that he concluded to go right on to the mission. Some one will come out to meet us to-morrow. This was my theory; the Indian thought so too. Since Sunday the weather had been moderating.
Monday night, when father left us, it was comparatively fine. Tuesday was a beautiful winter's day. Tuesday at midnight the weather was still fine. Shortly after this the wind changed, and a most terrific northwest storm set in. It was impossible to move on the plains. Sheltered as we were in the valley, we had hard work to keep the fire going. We said, No one will start from Morley to-day. The storm continued all day, and a greater part of the following night.
Thursday morning, bright and early, we started for home. Getting my party fairly on the way, I left them to come on, and hurried home, reaching there late Thursday night, but father was not there. Then he must have gone to Calgary. We hurried down to Calgary. There were no tidings of him. We secured help and began the search, Saturday afternoon we found the horse. Saturday night we heard from some half-breeds that they had seen a man leading a horse, the whole description corresponding to him and his horse. The time they had seen him was on Tuesday afternoon. Some continued the search, and others went for more help, and on Sunday we had all the available force we could get out on the search, but the weather became intensely cold, and Sunday night we had to fall back on Calgary for food and wood.
We then saw the necessity of better equipment, and we went home and gathered in al! our available horses and sleighs, and starting out with all the men we could get, we camped on the spot, and continued the search.
The following Sunday I was riding up a cooley, had dismounted and tied my horse, so that I might more effectually search the clump of brush I found there. Presently I heard some one shouting; running out, and getting on to my horse and moving up the hill, I found it was the man next to me in the line of search.
Said he to me: "They are making signs to me over yonder."
Ah, thought I, father is alive. I had not yet given him up. When I reached the now rapidly congregating party, my poor broken down brother said, "Oh, John, father is dead; they have found his frozen body." A half-breed, one who was not with us on the search, but was out hunting, had killed a buffalo, and going back to his camp, had taken his horse and sleigh and was making a bee line as much as possible to where his buffalo lay, and in so doing drove right on to father's lifeless body. He put him on the sleigh, and took him back to his camp, and sent us word. Soon we stood beside his lifeless form. A kind native woman had spread her shawl over it. I lifted the shawl, and as I saw the position in which he had frozen, I said, "Just like him; he was thoughtful of others, even at the last moment." As I looked at him, and beheld his features, I said, "Whatever may have happened to father, towards the last he was conscious, and feeling that death was upon him, ho had picked a spot as level as he could, and laid himself out straight upon it, and crossing his hands, had thus prepared to die." His face was perfectly natural. There seemed to me to be the expression upon it of conscious satisfaction. Reverently we lifted him and laid him on the sleigh, and solemnly we started on that Sunday afternoon on our homeward journey.
The next day the party reached the mission. Fortunately we had as our mission teacher at this time a medical man, Doctor Verey. I asked him to examine the body, but to disturb it as little as possible. However, no clue as to what caused his death was discovered. My own theory is, that some disease affecting either his heart or brain, so acted upon him that for the time being he was unconscious of his surroundings; otherwise I cannot explain his being lost. We left him clothed as he had lived and walked last, in Western costume, thoroughly prepared for storm, as he knew well by long experience how to be. Thus he had taken his last walk, and strength failing, had laid him down and died.
It was a sorrowful company that bore his remains to the grave. With trembling utterance we laid him in it, in sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. His work is finished, but not forgotten, nor yet will it be. A faithful son, a true husband, a fond and righteous parent, a real patriot, a faithful missionary, such was father.
We here insert his last letters, written to the Hon. James Ferrier, Montreal.
Morleyville, Bow Rivee,
Rocky Mountains, December 17tk, 1875.
Hon. James Ferrier, Montreal:
Deae Sir—If our young friends of Great St. James will just glance at the map, and follow their missionary in his wanderings since we parted on that delightful Sabbath evening, I am persuaded they will need no apology for my not having written sooner. The journey to Winnipeg is an old story. There we parted with our mutual friend, the venerable Dr. Wood, and, accompanied by brother Manning and the school-teachers, struck out for the great North-West. After travelling with the party for some days, I left them as we approached Fort Ellice; and having a commission to visit the Crees and Stonies, I made all possible haste to reach Fort Carleton.
Here you will observe we had to cross the South Saskatchewan, a river which was formerly a terror to the travellers. More than once I had to make a canoe out of buffalo rawhide, and ferry goods and carts across the rapid stream; now there is a ferry-boat. After visiting the Indians of Carleton, and explaining to them the great Queen's letter, I proceeded down the river sixty miles to the Prince Albert Presbyterian Mission, where I also met the Indians of that part of the country, and was treated with great kindness by Mr. McKellar, the missionary. Here I had the pleasure of taking a leading part in the opening services of a new church, and was forcibly struck with the fact that our country is greatly indebted to the missionary for its material development. When I passed through this country eleven years ago all was wild and desolate; now there are three churches in the settlement, and where the prairie grass waved but a few years ago, there are now vast fields of the finest wheat; the settlers expect to have 30,000 bushels. Most of these people are mixed bloods, but there are quite a number of Indians who regard Prince Albert as their home.
Having completed the work in that section of the country, in company with a gentleman of your city, Mr. Ellis, the geologist, I started westward, following up the South Saskatchewan. Now, in your favored land of railroads and steamboats, it may appear but a very small matter to travel from Carleton to the Rocky Mountains, and the day will soon come when it will be but a small matter here; but to me it was a very serious one. The buckboard was our mode of conveyance, the tent our lodging-place. There is not a twig or a bush for hundreds of miles, owing to the Indians having followed the buffalo so far out into the big plain, and we were therefore obliged to spend weeks in a woodless country. Now just look at the effluence of the Elk or Red Deer River. Here I met with a deeply interesting people, the Plain Stoney; they had seventy leather wigwams.
These children of the prairie were greatly pleased when I told them what the Gospel had done for their brothers of the mountains. Now run your linger along the map in a westerly direction, and your eye will catch a place called Buffalo Lake; some call it Bull's Lake.
Here, by appointment, I met our missionary party, and also my son from Morleyville, and a large number of Christian Indians from Whitefish Lake and Victoria. My next journey was north, to old Fort Edmonton, thence east to Victoria. At every point I met with a most cordial reception from our Indian friends, who were all delighted to hear that the "Great Ogeemah" was going to treat with them for their lands.
From Victoria we proceeded straight to Morleyville, by Edmonton. Now, just look for old Bow Fort, or Bow River; six miles east of that stands your mission. Having spent three or four days amongst the Stonies, accompanied by my son, I started for Fort McLeod. You will observe that, running nearly parallel with the mountains, there is a vast range of hills called the Porcupine. To find a road through, the great valley was one of the. objects of our journey. We were guided by the Stoney 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 as where his father was killed by the Blackfeet; 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 those very people who, but a few years ago, sought the life of every traveller coming from the American side. Just examine the latest Canadian map, and see if you can find Playground River. Here is the place where we hope to establish our new mission.
This beautiful valley and river is named after the wonderful Nahnebosliou, the Indian deity. The red man believes that while this great personage was on an inspecting tour, he was so delighted with the prospect presented at this place, that he rested, and amused himself by playing with some stones; some of them were pointed out to us, and I should think they are quite as large as the mountain in the rear of your beautiful city. From the playground of the deity we could see the mountains of Montana, the great valley of the Belly River, and the boundless prairie away towards the rising sun, and thousands of buffalo grazing on the plains; in the rear of us, our guide pointed to the place where the Stoney hunts the wild goat, and the big horned sheep, the black tail, the white tail, and the graceful antelope. No wonder the poor Indian sighs when he tells you the story of the past; a great change is now rapidly passing over this paradise of the hunter; yonder stands Fort McLeod, at the mouth of the Playground River, the grand old Union Jack waving over that very spot where, only two years ago, I witnessed the sad effects of a drunken fight between the whiskey trader and the Blackfeet. Here we visited a large camp of Blackfeet, and informed them that we hoped soon to open a mission for their benefit. The head chief, who is quite an intelligent man, spoke of the future with anxious forebodings, and I think his statements were correct; let me illustrate his position by comparison. Just suppose that all supplies were cut off from Montreal; all factories closed because there was nothing to manufacture; the markets forsaken, because there was nothing to sell; in addition to this neither building material nor fuel to be obtained; how sad would be the condition of the tens of thousands of your great city.
Now, the situation of these prairie tribes is exactly analogous to this state. For ages they have lived upon the buffalo; with its pelt they have made their wigwams, wrapped in the robe of the buffalo they feared not the cold, from the flesh of this ox they made their pemmican and dried meat, while they possessed his sinews they needed no stronger thread, from its ribs they manufactured sleighs.
I have seen hundreds of Blackfeet boys and girls sliding down these hills on this kind of toboggan. The manure of the buffalo is all the fuel they had - in a word, they were totally dependent on the buffalo.
Now, these unfortunate tribes behold with amazement the disappearance of these animals, upon which they have existed for ages. Unfortunate people! nothing but their abandonment of paganism and conversion to Christianity can save them. Well, let us now go back to Morleyville.. We shall go straight across the bare prairie. There is no fuel, but we shall carry a few small sticks for our first encampment, and hope on the second evening to reach the timber. Our journey was far from pleasant; at times the storm swept past us, and at night we had but very little fire to warm us.
November 6th.—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 one hundred 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. I must tell you now how I expect to pass the remainder of the winter. Since our arrival we have built a place of worship, and fitted up a room for each of the families. Fortunately, my school master is a good carpenter, and I am an old hand at building, so we have resolved to assist my son in completing the mission church. The only appropriation made for this important mission was $500 ; the improvements now in progress will cost considerably over $3,000.
We cannot ask the Society for another appropriation under existing circumstances: so, if the Lord gives us health, we intend to do the work ourselves. Perhaps my young friends may enquire, Why do you not hire somebody to do the work? The answer is simply this: In a country where the mounted police are paying mixed bloods $90 per month as guides and interpreters, and where a stock raiser pays his herder $150 per month, it is not easy for missionaries to procure laborers. Some future day, when this great country is filled with Christian men and women, we shall be able to build churches just as you do in Montreal. At present, if your missionaries would succeed, they must not be afraid of a little manual labor. I expect next week to visit the mounted police on Bow River; if spared to return, I have a number of Indian facts which I hope to send you.
Your affectionate friend and missionary,
Morleyville, Bow River,
Rocky Mountains, January 6tk, 1876. Hon. James Feerier, Montreal:
Dear Sir, —In the midst of much confusion and toil, I send you another paper for your model Sabbath-school. I wrote you a short time ago; as to the matter or manner, I shall be thankful to receive any suggestions from you or the intelligent teachers of your school. There is something that strikes on all hearts in the spectacle of a great man's funeral. The hearse, the solemn march of the procession, are both very impressive; and yet the subject of all this show may have been heedless of the great Salvation, and, if so, is now suffering the doom of a lost spirit. No feelings of this kind trouble the heart of the believer as be fob lows the young disciple of Jesus to the resting place of the body; of these it can be truly said, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."
Reflections like these often cross the mind of the Indian missionary as he looks for the last time upon all that is mortal of one of his Sabbath-school scholars. In the past twenty-live years I have assisted at the burial of hundreds of these little red children. The squirrel now gambols in the boughs of the trees that overhang their graves, and the partridge whistles in the long grass that floats over the solitary place; but the incidents connected with their short pilgrimage cannot be forgotten. Little Ka-be-o-sense was about three years old when his parents, and his grandfather, Ke-che-da-da, were converted on the south shore of Lake Superior, about sixty miles west of Sault Ste. Marie; and, at the first camp-meeting ever held in that country, on Sabbath afternoon, while the Rev. Peter Jones was conducting the communion service, the mighty power of God was so manifest that many were constrained to cry aloud. To use an Indian idiom, this was the hour when the relatives of Ka-be-o-sense first sighted the promised land. His mother, a very delicate young woman, but one susceptible of strong impression, there consecrated herself to Christ, and from that moment religion was to her, not only a new life, but a passion. Henceforth she talked to her little boy about the Saviour, just as she would about some very dear friend; she taught him to sing; she brought him regularly to class-meeting and Sabbath school; and what is most gratifying to a pious mother, she observed that with the first awakening of the mind, the blessed Spirit was influencing and moulding the heart.
How fortunate when parents and teachers understand and sympathize, with a sin sick child who longs to love the Saviour! This forest boy was taught the simplest truths of religion, and shortly we had scriptural authority for believing that our little friend was happy in the emotions of joy and peace. When nearly six years old, little Ka-be-o-sense caught a very bad cold, which, in a few short weeks, terminated in consumption. I was in the Sabbath school when a messenger from the cabin of Ke-che-da da arrived, requesting that I should immediately visit the little sufferer. On arriving at his humble abode, I at once perceived that the struggle of life had nearly ended; the dear child received me with a smile, and pointing with his finger to a corner of the room, said, "Jesus has sent for me; the heavenly people are waiting for me." His mother informed me that for more than an hour he had been directing their attention to that part of the room, and telling them that the angels of the Great Mun-ee-doo had come for him. He then requested us to sing, and while the songs of the earth calmed and comforted the sorrowing friends, the redeemed and saved spirit of little Ka be-o-sense passed away to the realms of rest. With deep emotion we thought of the marvellous change which had taken place m a few moments. Present to the natural eye, was the humble home of an Indian child, the weeping friends and the lifeless body, but the eye of faith beheld the ascending spirit, the rejoicing angels, and above all, the welcome received from the adorable One, who said, "Suffer little children to come unto me." Before parting with Ke-che-da-da's family, I will briefly relate a circumstance showing the ardent desire of a native Christian to read the word of God. I had noticed that the father of Ka-be-o-sense always brought his Bible to church, and followed the reading of the lessons with marked interest, and the circumstance excited my curiosity. I knew he was what we termed an inland Indian, and that no school teacher had ever penetrated the wilderness where he was horn. Approaching him after service, I said, "You can read?" and his answer was, "Yes." "Who taught you the letters?" "I do not know them," was his reply. "Then tell me how you can read." Without any embarrassment he replied, "This is the way. I observe that when you pronounced any of our words that they were broken up into small parts". (I would here state that at this time we used Peter Jones' translation, in which, though he employs English orthography, all the words are divided into syllables. That Muneedoo is written Mun-ee-doo.) When the white man says Indian, you write it "Wh-ne-she-nah-ba." When I went to my tent, I would take a hymn book, and ask my wife to repeat one of the hymns she had learnt by heart, and I soon became acquainted with the form of all the syllables." Now, the simple fact flashed upon my mind, that this poor Indian, by intense and unremitting study, had mastered every syllable in his language. May not something of this kind have first suggested to the ingenous and indefatigable James Evans, the first idea of the syllabic character. When the light of Christianity first reached this young pagan, he was about eighteen years old, and the fire then kindled in his young heart was no transient hame. Very few in two short years have labored harder or accomplished more for the good of their people.
Often, since my lot has been cast amongst these wild, sensual tribes of the west, I have thought of zealous Ah nee-me-ke, and felt constrained to plead with the God of missions that He would raise up and thrust out from amongst the Blackfeet young men like Ah nee-me-ke, filled with the Holy Ghost. My young friend was not what men called gifted; unlike many of his countrymen, he was a poor orator, and his gift of song was very limited; yet, wherever this young man went, a blessed influence followed, and, until his health entirely broke down, he was incessantly at work for the Master.
I have heard him plead with the Sabbath-school children, entreating them to give their hearts to Christ, until all were in tears. I have seen him kneel beside a hardened old conjurer who had bewitched his people with sorceries for many years, until he trembled, and began to pray. The secret of all this young man's power was his entire consecration to God. I can now recall my feelings when assisted by this devout young man, for though we greatly rejoiced in his success, we saw that he was rappidly slipping away from us. It was in the spring of the year when he was first confined to his humble bed. I daily spent an hour with him, and invariably came away blessed in my own soul by the conversation and experience of this dying Indian boy. The last time I called upon him his father was sitting by his couch, the rest of the family being out in the sugar bush.
Taking him by the hand, I enquired how he felt, and his reply was, "You have just come in time, for I am dying." Just at that time a Church of England minister entered the. room. I informed my friend we were about to have prayer, and requested him to lead, which he readily did. Kneeling beside my native brother, I took his hand in mine, and, while the man of God was commending the departing soul to the Saviour which redeemed it, the young disciple fell asleep in Jesus. When we arose from our knees I informed Wah-bun noo-sa. of what had taken place.
In this old man there was still a leaven of paganism, yet he fully believed in Christianity. He said that three things had caused him greatly to rejoice: 1st. That two ministers had been present when his son died. 2nd. That his dear boy was so happy in the prospect of death; and lastly, that the Great Mun-ee-doo had called his son away at exactly twelve o'clock ; and what specially filled his heart with gratitude was, that the sky was perfectly clear, allowing the departed a glorious ascent to the home of the Great Spirit. We did not, at that time, try to instruct this poor man by informing him that his son had entered that land where there is day without night. I shall be glad, at some future time, to inform you about some of our living Sabbath-school scholars, some who have been rescued from the deepest poverty and ignorance, and are now creditably tilling positions of responsibility.
With kindest regards, I remain your missionary,
Trusting that this simple detail of the life of my father may stimulate some hearts to a broader patriotism, and brighter Christian life, is the earnest prayer of the writer.