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The Life of James Robertson
FIVE GREAT YEARS—II


IMMEDIATELY after the rising of Assembly the Superintendent paid a short visit to his family, but even these few days were filled up with interviews, correspondence, and meetings, and in a very few weeks he was once more on the Western trails.

Settlement had been rapidly extending during the summer in the country lying north and west, towards Prince Albert and Battleford. And, indeed, far beyond that outpost, on the way towards Edmonton, settlers had planted their homes upon the wide and trackless prairie. Hence they must be followed and cared for. From a point fifteen miles north of Fort Qu’Appelle on his way to Prince Albert, in company with the Rev. Mr. McWilliams, who is to be installed as minister of that field, the Superintendent writes to his wife under date, September 25th, 1883, giving the following description of the country through which he is passing:

"The country south of the Qu’Appelle Valley, i. e., between Qu’Appelle Station and Fort Qu’Appelle, is rolling, with a few bushes and pond holes. Owing to the dry weather these are dry. There were but few settlers’ houses to be seen, and only two or three patches of grain broke the monotony of the unreclaimed waste. I understand that a company owns much of the land, and if so, it is evident that these companies are proving a curse and not a blessing—hindering rather than helping settlement." He is somewhat before his time. Not yet have the people of Canada come to the determination that the lands of the Dominion shall be held or sold for the good of the Dominion and its people, and not for that of any company or corporation so ever. "Fort Qu’ Appelle is as attractive as ever. It lies in the valley at the east end of a lake, with the Qu’Appelle River flowing past. To the east, within a mile, another lake gleams in the sun. To the north the brown hills, deeply furrowed, look down upon it, with a few whitewashed, thatch-covered buildings used by the mounted police as barracks nestling at their foot. On the south rise the banks, as on the north, to a height of about three hundred feet, but their face is softened with clumps of poplar that now are yellow and rich. Through the valley, which is about a mile wide, are scattered houses that were and are used as private residences, stores, stopping-places, and stables. The Hudson’s Bay Fort is like the majority of their buildings, and with a stockade which is no longer kept in repair. The town itself has grown a good deal since I saw it last year. There are several good buildings, and more are in course of erection. One large hotel is being built." This was one of the new fields erected the year before, and the Superintendent is pleased to note the good work done. "Mr. Brown, our missionary in the district, held services here last summer, occupying some five other posts besides this. The place of meeting is a hall built by Mr. Arch. McDonald. This hall is used for public gatherings of all kinds, whether social, political, or religious. The company owning it charge $2 per Sabbath for the use of it. No doubt this will give fair interest on the capital! . . . . . . On inquiring, we found that a good deal of land is settled upon, and Mr. McDonald of Fort Qu’Appelle informed us that within twenty miles of the Fort scarcely a good section of Government land was unallotted. The settlers are principally Canadian, although there is a sprinkling of French half-breeds, and English and Scotch. Mr. Brown was the only missionary of any Church that held services here, and his work was very much appreciated." But there can be no delay. They must make Prince Albert as soon as possible, for Mr. Sieveright, the minister in charge, is anxious to leave the field, so on they go. "To-morrow we drive forty-five miles and stop, they say, at Touchwood Hills. We have a bed here to-night, and will have a house for shelter every night but one, when we must be content with a small tent. Provisions we carry with us, including a boiled ham. Canned meats and biscuit constitute the staple of our fare. I will try and send you a note tomorrow. Waggons and carts go down all the time and I may be able to get a letter sent. Telegraph line goes all the way to Humboldt."

The following day he writes from Touchwood Hills, giving a vivid picture of his experience on the trails:

"Another day’s journey is over, and we have just disposed of our supper and are at leisure for a short time. The Hudson’s Bay post is within half a mile of us, and I propose to go down and hold a service there this evening." Let the others stretch their weary limbs in rest. This man has a message in his heart for these men of the far-away plains of Canada, and he is, indeed, straitened till it be delivered. "The day was dry, but somewhat cold. In the morning there was a frost that would indicate that the thermometer had fallen as low as twenty-five or twenty-six degrees. It was quite misty at the start, but a breeze began to blow about eight o’clock and the mist cleared away. We drove twenty-two or twenty-three miles and had dinner. This distance we travelled in about four hours, leaving O’Brien’s at six and making our stopping-place at ten. There was a house, but McLean forgot the key and we could not get in. We kindled a fire outside and boiled the kettle and had dinner—bread, canned tongue, butter, and tea. We all relished our meal after our morning drive. The fire we had to watch carefully to prevent spreading, and as soon as the kettle was boiled we drowned out the fire. Tea was black and strong, and our tin, being without a lid, we got a good infusion of ashes and smoke. . . . . . . Late in the afternoon we passed at the Touchwood Hills quite a number of teepees and several half-breed houses. The latter had patches of grain, and much of it was still in the field. The weather is dry, however, and no doubt all will be safely stacked. The land at Touchwood is hilly, but the soil is good, and no doubt in a short time will be settled. We arrived here at five o’clock, making the twenty-two or twenty-three miles this afternoon in five hours. To-morrow we are at Salt Plains."

The next day he makes some twenty-five miles, and camps at night in an old shack, none too comfortable.

"To-night we are to lodge in a place 7x12, partitioned off from the stable. A lot of hay covers the floor, a rusty stove is standing in the corner, which, with a rickety table, constitute the furniture. We found a lantern which will answer for a light. The side is quite airy, the boards having shrunk a good deal. But I have a good tuque, or nightcap, and I hope to keep warm enough. I have two buffalo robes, two pairs of blankets, and other appliances that will likely keep me comfortable. Three teams besides our own drove in here just now and are going to remain all night. I think the room will afford sufficient accommodation to enable us to lie down. To-morrow we expect to make Humbolt at six."

A letter written the following day gives an account of his night's experience:

"Last night our quarters were humble enough. Seven of us lay side by side in the shanty, and the open spaces let in a good deal of cold. Some of our company were great snorers, the horses were pawing and coughing, and Mr. McWilliams, I fear, slept but little. The frost was decidedly sharp when we got up. Breakfasted before daylight and got a good start before sunrise. The road this morning for nearly twenty miles lay along the Salt Plain, when we struck higher land and timber. The day is clear and bright, and travelling comfortable. But dinner is ready—things are primitive and plain—and I must go to work and do justice to my share. The plates of the rest of our company, and cups, were left behind, and Mr. McWilliams and myself eat off the same plate and drink out of the same cup !"

At this point he meets Sieveright and pumps him dry in regard to his mission field. In due time, the Superintendent reaches Prince Albert, spends a couple of days there getting Mr. McWilliams settled in his charge, perfecting the organization of the congregation, and making acquaintance with the Presbyterians in the village and the surrounding country; then once more he takes the trail to Battleford. The genial days of September are gone, the nights are sharp with frost, and occasionally the ground is covered with snow, but he makes light of all discomfort and writes from Battle. ford, under date Oct. 12, 1883, in the following buoyant strain:

"My DEAR WIFE :— "I have just called at the post-office and find that a mail goes out in a few minutes, and hence write you a note. We left Prince Albert on Tuesday and got to Carlton that night. Next morning the ground was covered with snow, but we got off betimes and reached the Elbow (forty miles) after dark. Camped beside a willow bush—no trees. Cleared the snow off and spread my oilcloth and made a bed in the corner of our tent. We got some dry willow and got a fire made and had a good warm supper. Went to bed and slept soundly. Got off the next morning in good time, and were going through country overrun with fire. Found it hard to get wood and water. Camped beside a low swail. It was empty of water, but we got grass for the horses. I gathered some snow to make tea (snow nearly all gone), and got a few willow bushes to make fire. Had a good dinner and started off again, to pass over a rough hilly country with a few creeks running into the Saskatchewan. (You can follow our course by the line of railway adopted in McKenzie’s time along the North Saskatchewan.) Camped at night after going about thirty-five miles, and got two old telegraph poles to make fire of. Yesterday, we passed over a rough country, but it was well watered and had plenty of timber. We got here last night, and I paid the man off ($45 he charged) and got lodgings with Mr. McKay, of the Hudson’s Bay Company. I have been trying to hunt up the Presbyterians here and have been partially successful. I think we must send a man in here to look after them."

He has been only a few hours in the place after two months’ journey, but he takes no time for rest and recuperation, but at once sets out to "hunt up Presbyterians," for Presbyterians he must have at all costs, and that is why he gets them. He plans to extend his trip to Edmonton, nearly 300 miles away. Ever since his appointment he has had it in mind to visit that far outpost, but for two years, to his great regret and to the great disappointment of the missionary in charge, he has been forced to defer his trip. Now that Edmonton is only 300 miles away, the weather fine, the roads excellent, and he himself in fine fettle, he resolves to essay the journey, and to the great joy of the missionary at that point, after a week’s hard drive he safely arrives, completing a trip of some 1,200 miles.

His visit to Edmonton proved a great stimulus to the missionary and the little congregation. Two days he spent organizing the finances of the congregation, visiting the different stations in connection with the field, and then bidding farewell to this brave missionary, A. B. Baird, and his gallant little company, he takes his homeward journey, leaving both missionary and people greatly encouraged and much fitter for their winter’s work.

The experiences of the Superintendent on this north trip give tone and colour to his report to the Assembly of 1884. Remarkable as was the growth of the previous year, the expansion of this year was even more extraordinary. The report for 1882 showed forty new fields, that for 1883 showed fifty-one new fields, but this year the Superintendent is able to report the opening up of seventy new fields. Between Winnipeg and Edmonton these fields lie scattered, with great empty spaces between, but organization has been effected, often the merest skeletons of congregations, it is true, at these seventy points. And with the growth of settlement the intervening spaces will be filled up and the skeletons he rounded out into full-grown, vigorous congregations.

Through the eyes of the Superintendent, the Assembly begins to get visions of these vast prairie reaches, and of their possibilities for good to Canada and to the Kingdom of God therein, and is, therefore, the more easily persuaded to plan largely for Western work. It is no wonder that the Assembly, reversing the report of its Home Mission Committee and in response to the prayer of the Presbytery of Manitoba, agrees that that Presbytery should be divided into three, to be called Winnipeg, Rock Lake and Brandon, and that these Presbyteries should be erected into the first Western Synod under the name of the Synod of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. It is interesting to read in the minutes of that Assembly the terms in which are described the boundaries of the Presbytery at Brandon, that lying farthest to the West "Presbytery of Brandon. —The Presbytery of Brandon shall embrace the portions of the Province of Manitoba not included in the preceding Presbyteries, and the Northwest Territories, and shall include the following congregations and mission statioiis, and such others as may hereafter be erected within its bounds."

The list of fields in this most Western Presbytery is also illuminating and is quite worthy of record:


It is further ordered that the name of the Superintendent shall be placed on the roll of the Presbytery of Brandon, and that his relations to that Presbytery are to be the same as formerly to the Presbytery of Manitoba.

Before the Assembly rises, it signalizes its approval of the Superintendent of Missions and its appreciation of the work he is doing by accepting the recommendation of the Home Mission Committee to increase his salary to the sum of $2,000, this being the figure to which that of the Professors of Manitoba College had recently been raised.

The history of the next three years is one full of inspiration and romantic interest. From year to year the settlement of the country proceeds with greater or less rapidity, and with the growth of settlement there marches the expansion of mission work. Farther and ever farther the Superintendent pushes back the limits of his great mission field. Week after week, month after mouth, both summer and winter, when he is not engaged in the arduous and difficult task of extracting revenue from willing and unwilling members of the Church in the East, he presses his tireless journeys over the prairies by railroad which now traverses the field from east to west, but mostly by trail, returning from each journey with some names to add to the rapidly growing roster of his mission fields, and with his black note-book as well as his heart and head crammed with additional facts wherewith to quicken the enthusiasm of his Church and to deepen her sense of responsibility for the new Empire so rapidly building in the western half of the Dominion.

In the General Assembly of 1885, on overture from six Ontario Presbyteries and from the Preshytery of Brandon in the West, the first suggestion of a Summer Session in one of the colleges is made. This overture the Superintendent strongly supports. The proposal is remitted to the favourable consideration of the Presbyterian College of Halifax, which college, however, in the following year declines to consider the proposal to change the time of its theological session from the winter to the summer months. And so the Superintendent must struggle on, doing what he can to man his fields, gathering such recruits as offer from the Old Land and from the United States.

An overture from the Presbytery of Brandon transmitted with the approval of the Synod, results in the erection of the new Presbytery of Regina. The decision of Assembly is given in the following terms:

"That the prayer of the petition of Brandon Presbytery, as transmitted through the Synod of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, be granted, and a new Presbytery erected; that its extreme eastern boundary be the western provincial boundary line of the Province of Manitoba, and that it consist of the following congregations and Mission stations: Alameda, Battleford, Broad-view, Calgary, Carlisle, Carrot River, Cathcart, Cut Arm Creek, Dumfries, Edmonton, Fort McLeod, Fort Qu’ Appelle, Fort Saskatchewan, Green Valley, Grenfell, Indian Head, Jumping Creek, Long Lake, Medicine Hat, Moosomin, Moosejaw, Pine Creek, Prince Albert, Qu’Appelle Station, Regina, Southworth, Moose Mountain, Touch-wood Hills, Whitewood, Wolseley, Yorkton, Broadview Reserve, Crowstand, Mistawasis Reserve; that the name of the Presbytery be Regina, that the Rev. P. S. Living-stone be the first Moderator, and that it hold its first meeting at Regina, in the church there, on the 15th day of July, 1885, at eleven o’clock."

The newly erected Synod of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in 1885, at its second meeting, honours the Superintendent and itself by choosing him to be its first elected Moderator. It is the year of the second rebellion. The following letter to his wife is interesting as furnishing contemporary opinion upon that unhappy affair:

"Mr. Pitblado, I think I told you in my last, I went with the Halifax Battalion. Mr. Gordon went off to the front with the Ninetieth. I presume he is with the troops before now on the South Saskatchewan. There has been no further conflict there since the affair of Fish Creek. Middleton has been inactive, why, I do not know. Some say that he had neither the men nor the ammunition he required. If not, he was much to blame. He had plenty of time, and why he does not push on I do not know. Every day he delays is giving the Indians time to organize and rise, because they think Middleton has been checked if not defeated. To us the whole affair seems a puzzle. There has been mismanagement from the outset. I wonder when it will end. To-day tidings came from Battleford that Colonel Otter had an engagement with the Indians on Poundinaker’s Reserve. Eight of our troops were reported killed and double that number wounded. Had there been any despatch in sending troops up there first, an outbreak at Battleford might have been averted. It is becoming clear that the men who are managing this whole affair are not equal to the task. Herchmer and Otter will put Poundmaker and his band down, but I fear more blood will be spilt yet, and blood spilt now may mean more hereafter. The quelling of the rebellion will not restore the confidence nor secure the feeling of safety that existed before. You speak of this growing to larger proportions than I thought. Consul Taylor told me last week that his opinions were exactly mine—and he should be a good judge—and that if the Government had taken hold of the matter promptly, the end would have been reached long ago. Mr. Gordon and a host of the best men here are holding the same views. A fire may be a small affair and easily put out, but let it alone with a lot of inflammable matter around, and it may take a good deal to cope with it. So it was here. The dilatoriness of the Government encouraged Indian and halfbreed to rebel or continue in his rebellion."

By this rebellion the attention of the whole country is centred upon the Indian and half-breed population of the West; there is a quickened sense of responsibility to these people, and, in consequence, the Synod is aggressively Foreign Mission in its spirit and legislation. But in spite of this, and perhaps, indeed, because of this, the Superintendent on leaving the Moderator’s chair to present his report, rouses the Synod to a point of enthusiasm rarely surpassed in all its subsequent history.

Right there on the Western field and speaking to Western men from whose eyes experience had torn the glamour which distance and unfamiliarity often lend to stern realism, he told them of their own work, showed it to them in its true perspective, related each little patch of the field to the great whole, threw upon it the golden colours of the glowing future till as they looked and listened, they were ready to toil and suffer without murmur or hope of reprieve for the sheer glory of the work itself, and for His glory whom they had pledged themselves to serve. It was a triumph, indeed. No man present at that Synod meeting of 1885 will ever forget that speech and its effect upon the toil-worn, sun-baked group of missionaries who had travelled from ten to well-nigh ten hundred miles to be present.

In the autumn of that year the Superintendent prosecutes two extended tours, one through Southwestern Manitoba and far south and west beyond the boundaries of the Province, the other through the ranching country of Southern Alberta. During the first tour he writes to his wife the following characteristic letter, under date, Virden, August 13, 1885:

"MY DEAR WIFE : —"Yesterday I returned from the Moose Mountain country where I had gone to open two churches. One of them was not finished and was not opened, the other was finished and opened. I drove on Saturday sixty-five miles, and on Sabbath morning to the finished church, twenty miles. I rarely saw a finer stretch of country than lies south of the Moose Miountain. We have a healthy cause there, although it is not strong. Coming back, I stopped at Green Valley and attended to work there. Found that some of the people had suffered much through hail. Some sixteen families of crofters lost a good deal.

I did what I could to encourage and cheer them. We are thinking of building two churches among these people. The missionary in Green Valley is a green Glasgow man. I wish Jamesy was out here to teach him how to harness and drive a horse, and how to ride one. He got an Indian pony and he (the pony) completely mastered him (the missionary) so that he (the missionary) had to sell him (the pony). I am almost afraid the second one will do the same. He has rather contracted ideas, too, about work, and so I have had to give him a few hints. He thought a minister’s duty was to preach the Gospel and not to be bothered with horses. I had to tell him that if he could not reach the people to whom he preached without a horse, then he must learn to drive and ride—in fact, that if these were his ideas he had no business in the Northwest—that I would far rather have a man know less Latin and more Horse, and that without some knowledge of horses a man was useless. The man looked amazed, but took all well and is going to work.

"Had the misfortune to break my buggy spring and mended it on Sunday morning on the road with a halter strap.

"Moosomin was reached yesterday and I found a sale of cavalry horses going on. It was interesting to see a large number of scouts in the late campaign buying their old horses and taking them home. But I am going away across the river to a meeting. I got here this morning and have a meeting to-night. Elders are to be ordained and inducted."

From Fort McLeod he writes on his second tour a letter, the facts contained in which he afterwards made public. The publication of these facts awakened a feeling of horror and shame throughout the whole country and determined the Church to establish at McLeod at all costs a permanent mission. For this mission an elder in the city of Ottawa, burning with indignant grief and shame over the horrible revelations, offered $600 for two years.

The following year the Assembly adds a further name to the list of its Presbyteries, in the erection of the Presbytery of Columbia, which is made to include all congregations and mission stations in British Columbia, and which is connected with the Synod of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, though it does not as yet come under the Superintendent’s jurisdiction.

The report presented by the Superintendent in 1886 showed that in spite of the rebellion of the year before and of the continued financial depression, there had been steady progress made during the year. The number of stations had gone up from 318 to 351, a gain of thirty-three; the number of communicants from 4,457 to 4,769, a gain of 312. In regard to this matter of communicants, the Superintendent sounds this warning note:

"It will be noticed that there are not as many communicants as families. Of the young men coming to us, not fifteen per cent. ever made a profession of faith. There is a source of danger here should there be neglect."

There is, however, a very cheering fact to record in regard to the supply of fields. The Church is evidently beginning to take heed, for the report says:

"During the past summer not a settlement of any size in the country was left unprovided with ordinances. Efforts were also put forth to furnish supply during the winter, and with a good deal of success. There was not a point along the lines of railway which was left unsupplied, and districts removed from the railway had at least partial supply. When no other missionaries were available, catechists were secured for six months, and students of Manitoba College were employed during the Christmas holidays."

The Superintendent seizes the opportunity furnished by the taking of the Dominion Census to indulge his penchant for statistics, and presents to the Assembly certain valuable and inspiring information, with his reflections thereupon. Among other facts he notices that out of a total population for the Territories of 48,362, there are 23,344 whites, and of this number 7,712 are Presbyterians. He thus estimates that the Presbyterians form over thirty per cent, of the population of these Territories, as they form over forty per cent. of the population in Manitoba. This fact he uses to lay heavier the weight of responsibility for the people of the West, upon the conscience of the Presbyterian Church.

Towards the end of that year, the Superintendent makes a swift dash into British Columbia, stirring up the people wherever he can pause, to organization and self-support. From Donald, the most ambitious and most ungodly town in British Columbia at that time, he writes:

"I spent the day at Donald trying to do two things— to get a church building under way, and to get support for a minister. I got $600 promised for the minister and got arrangements made to have the church built, $700 being subscribed in cash and 14,000 feet of lumber."

The General Assembly for 1887 met in the city of Winnipeg, a significant testimony to the importance which the Western metropolis had assumed in the opinion of the Church. It is a Home Mission Assembly, and the minds of the fathers and brethren are largely occupied with the expansion of their Western heritage. In the minutes of that Assembly is found the following very significant paragraph

"On motion of Mr. James Robertson, seconded by Mr. James Herdman, the following resolution was adopted,— That the prayer of the Presbytery of Regina be granted, that the General Assembly hereby erects a new Presbytery to be bounded as follows:" And then the resolution proceeds to describe the boundaries of the new Presbytery by lines truly majestic in their sweep: "The eastern limit of said Presbytery shall be the one hundred and ninth degree of longitude; the southern limit the forty-ninth parallel of latitude; the western limit, a line passing north and south through the western crossing of the Columbia River by the Canadian Pacific Railway ; the northern limit, the Arctic Sea."

In what magnificent terms these men conceived their work! Here are the names of the fields constituting this, the greatest Presbytery the world has ever seen: Indian Head, Lethbridge, Fort McLeod, High River, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Red Deer, Cochrane, Banff, Anthracite, Donald, and Revelstoke. And here are the names of the men to whose care this stupendous Presbytery is entrusted: Messrs. James Herald, Charles McKiIlop, Richard Campbell Tibb, Angus Robertson, James C. Herdman, Andrew Browning Baird, Alexander H. Cameron. By the appointment of Assembly the first meeting of this great Presbytery is to be held on the third Tuesday of July, 1887, and of this Presbytery the first Moderator is to be Angus Robertson, well known and greatly loved by all who toiled with him as a Western missionary during his all too brief life.

By this Assembly, also, the eastern boundaries of the Presbytery of Winnipeg are extended to White River, a point 248 miles east of Port Arthur, the former boundary.

To this Assembly the Superintendent presents a brief report of the work accomplished during the five years that have just passed. It is characteristic of the report that there is absolutely no hint or suggestion of the toils and tribulations, of the perils and privations, that he has endured, to whom, under God, the great results achieved have been largely due. It is a record of truly magnificent progress, and of startling achievement. When he came to his work as Superintendent, he found 116 Mission stations scattered throughout Manitoba and the neighbouring parts of the Territories. His first report gave the names of 129 fields lying, for the most part, within a radius of about 200 miles of Winnipeg, isolated from each other, unknown to the Church, uncared for in any adequate manner, financially hopeless, and provided only with supply of the most spasmodic kind. Beyond these 129 fields lay new settlements without missionary or Church services, and over the whole West were hundreds and thousands of undiscovered Presbyterians.

In five years what a change! Instead of 129 stations there are reported 389, a growth of 260, fifty-two for every year, one for every week of that period, and almost every station the result of a personal visit of the Superintendent, and in almost every case of his personal organization. His first report showed a commuicant roll of 1,355 for all the West; the report for 1887 showed 5,623. When he came to his field the Presbytery of Manitoba had knowledge of only 971 families. In a single year he discovered 1,000 more and placed these formerly unknown and isolated families into Church homes, and during the five years he discovered and set in Church relation over 3,000 Presbyterian families. When he took into his hands the reins of superintendency, he found in all the West some fifteen churches. Before five years were over there were nearly 100, and these the result largely of the help given by the Church and Manse Building Fund, whose creator he practically was.

In Eastern Canada the results achieved were no less extraordinary. In 1882, the Western Missions were practically unknown to the Church in the East. The Home Mission cause held an insignificant place in the mind of the Church, the appeal for funds brought very inadequate response. But before five years had passed, by his reports, his speeches, his sermons and addresses, the Superintendent had made the West visible, and brought it near. More than that, becoming visible and real to the Church in Eastern Canada, the West and its marvelous mission work acted as a magnet for the unifying of the different parts and varied elements of the Church in the East. Home Missions began to bulk large and the Church awakened to a new self-consciousness by reason of this great mission enterprise she was carrying on in Western Canada. In short, by the work of these five years the straggling, scattered missions in Western Canada, the disintegrated and isolated fragments of a Church, unknown to each other and to the Church as a whole, were organized into one body whose members fitly framed and compactly joined together by that which every joint sup plied, began to grow with a common life into a Church pulsing with vigour, conscious of power, and alert for the mighty enterprise laid to her hand by her Lord.

The Assembly of 1887, meeting for the first time in the capital of Western Canada, received many courtesies from various public and civic bodies, but none was more appreciated than the invitation of the Canadian Pacific Railway to visit the Pacific Coast; and few greater pleasures ever came to the Superintendent during his life than that he experienced in conducting the Commissioners across the reaches of his mission field. It was from first to last an experience of wonder and delight to the whole party, and of pride and joy to the Superintendent who organized and conducted it. One incident in the journey across the plains is worth recording. It is given in the words of an eye-witness:

"I shall never forget one scene. While on the way westward, we arrived at some point where the train was to stop for some minutes, for water, I think. There was nothing but a station in sight. Being towards dusk, he proposed that the whole party should gather on the prairie during the stop, for worship. It was heartily responded to, and the words of a familiar Psalm floated on the breeze from a hundred voices, followed by. a brief prayer. It was like a consecration of the boundless open space to the service of Christ, and of ourselves, as representing the Church, to its evangelization, when it should be occupied, as he believed it soon would."

His faith in the West never faltered, and every succeeding year only served to justify it. His work through the years that followed was in detail largely a repetition of that of the five years just passed. Failure never checked him, success never sated him, but day by day and week by week until the very last, he followed the gleaming steel or the black line of the trail across the prairies and through the mountains, eager, insatiable, undaunted.


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