Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Metlahkatlah. Ten years' work among the Tsimsheean Indians 1869

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0222186.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0222186-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0222186-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0222186-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0222186-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0222186-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0222186-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Price Sixpence. ]  c      '
Introduction   .....
Origin of the Mission ....
Departure of the first Missionary from England
State of the Indians when Missionary work was
commenced amongst them   .
Romish Teaching, and its results
Mr. Duncan's first efforts, among the Indians  .
Preaching Commenced
Commencement of School amongst the Tsim-
sheeans        .....
The opposition of the Medicine Men    .
Progress of the work   ....
Visit of Mr. Duncan to the Naas River Indians
and to Victoria        ....
Return of Mr. Duncan with Rev. L. S. Tugwell
to Fort Simpson      ....
■ Proposal to  remove  the  Mission  from Fort
Simpson      .....
Removal to Metlahkatlah
Visit of the Bishop of British Columbia
96 IV '
xv.    Visit of Rev. R. J. Dundas      . . .102
xvi.    Progress of the New Settlement . .    109
xvii.    Evangelistic Visit to Fort Simpson      . .113
xviii.    Commencement of the Mission on the Naas
River . . . . .119
xix.    Second Visit of the Bishop of Columbia .    122
xx.    Close of the Review    . . . .131 INTRODUCTION.
It is proposed to give, in the following pages, a brief
history of the interesting Mission, which was commenced
about ten years ago by the Church Missionary Society,
on the shores of the North Pacific. One or two remarks
only need to be made, by way of introduction, with
reference to the locality of the Mission, and the nature
of the people amongst whom it has been established.
It is estimated that there are in British Columbia
(between the parallels of 49° and 54° 40' north latitude)
four distinct tribes of Indians, speaking different languages, and each numbering about 10,000 souls.
The first of these great branches of the Indian family
is met with at Victoria and on the Fraser River. The
second branch is located about a hundred miles north of
Victoria, and round Fort Rupert at the north end of
Vancouver's Island. The third division of Indians is
settled at Fort Simpson, Naas River, Skeena River, and
on the islands of the coast. These are the Tsimsheeans,
among whom the agents of the Church Missionary Society
are labouring. Besides these, there are, fourthly, the
Indians on Queen Charlotte's Island. The accompanying
map will explain these several localities.
For national government, the Indians are divided into
tribes. Thus the Tsimsheean* nation is divided into ten
tribes, viz. the Keeshpokahlot, the Keenakangeak, the
Keetsahclahs, the Keetwilgeeaut, the Keetandoh, the
Keelootsah, the Keenahtohik, the Keetseesh, the Kitlan,
and the Keetwillukshebah. The latter tribe is now
nearly extinct. Each of these names has a characteristic
meaning: for instance, Keeshpokahlot means " the people
among the elder-berries." The name Tsimsheean—with
the people called by that name—means simply " Indian."
Each tribe has from three to five chiefs, one of which
is acknowledged head. Among the head chiefs of the
various tribes one again takes pre-eminence.    At feasts and in council, the chiefs are seated according to their
rank. As an outward mark to distinguish the rank of
a chief, a pole is erected in front of his house. The
greater the chief the higher the pole. Some chiefs are
great enough to require a pole over 100 feet high. The
Indians are very jealous in regard to this distinction.
The head chief of a tribe of Nishkah, or Nass-River
Indians, foolishly attempted, on a certain occasion, to
put up a stick which was higher than his rank would
allow. The chief, whose head he would thus have
stepped over, though an old and helpless man, found
plenty to defend his right. A fight ensued, and the
over-grasping chief was shot through the arm, which led
him to shorten his stick.
The Indians are subdivided, for the regulation of
their social intercourse, under several crests, which are
common to all the tribes. The crests are the whale, the
porpoise, the eagle, the coon, the wolf, and the frog. In
connexion with these crests, several very important
points of Tndian character and law are seen. The relationship existing between persons of the same crest is
nearer than that between members of the same tribe,
which is seen in this, that members of the same tribe
may marry, but those of the same crest are not allowed
to do so under any circumstances; that is, a whale may
not marry a whale, but a whale may marry a frog, &c.
Again, if an Indian be poor, he has a claim on those of
' the tribe who are of the same crest with himself, and,
by joint contributions, his need is provided for. Sometimes a chief, from motives of pride, determines on a
great feast, at which property is to be distributed. For
some time before he is busy in collecting this property
from members of his crest. He bears his crest painted
upon his forehead, or on the paddles of his canoe, or
worked with buttons on his blanket; and so soon as the
family insignia are exhibited, the members of his crest
are bound to honour such by casting property before it
proportionate to their rank and means. The ceremony
of bestowing gifts is called a potlach; and " to impress
the multitude with a due sense of the opulence and
magnificence  of the donor, the gifts, beforehand, are publicly exhibited. Cotton cloths by hundreds of yards,
blankets to the value of hundreds of pounds, and the
rarest furs, are spread out for inspection, and then given
away in succession. In some instances blankets are torn
up in narrow strips, and the pieces scrambled for by the
For details respecting. the nature of the country, and
the character of the Indians, the reader is referred to
the work of Commander Mayne, R.N., entitled " British
Columbia and Vancouver's Island," where most valuable
testimony is borne to the labours of the Missionaries.
It has been thought desirable to trace, by means of the
Missionary's journals and letters, the gradual advance of
the work since the commencement; and.thus to exhibit
the difficulties which accompany the attempt to introduce
the Gospel amongst a strange and savage race, whose
language was previously unknown, and whom no Missionary had previously visited. The work has been
until lately almost entirely carried on by one Missionary, and owes its present state of prosperity to the
blessing of God vouchsafed to the faithful and self-
denying labours of Mr. Duncan, whose communications
with the Committee of the Church Missionary Society
furnish most of the details which are set forth in the
following pages. The review of ten years' labours will
serve to show the power of God's grace, in many very
striking instances, in turning fierce cannibals into humble
and sincere Christians, and in raising a large body of
people from the degradation of heathenism to the position
of happy and contented members of a civilized society.
May God be pleased speedily to add to their number a
hundredfold! .»: CHAPTER I.
The circumstances which originated the Mission are
such as to indicate most distinctly the guiding hand of
God's providence calling upon the Church Missionary
Society to undertake the work. In the spring of 1856
the Editorial Secretary of the Society attended as deputation the Anniversary Meeting of the Tunbridge-Wells
Church Missionary Association. There he met Captain
Prevost, R.N., who had just returned from Vancouver's
Island. His official duties there had rendered him conversant with the adjacent coasts, and the spiritual destitution of these regions had much impressed him, and
led him to desire most anxiously that a Mission should
be commenced amongst the Indians.
Availing himself, therefore, of the opportunity offered,
Captain Prevost at once entered into conversation with
the Editorial Secretary on the subject of the Vancouver's-
Island Indians, and earnestly inquired whether some
effort could not be made on their behalf. He was told
that the hands of the Society were at that time more
than full; that the occupation of new and important
posts, such as Constantinople, Mooltan, and the recently
annexed kingdom of Oude, had been just decided upon ;
and that there was but little hope, when so many millions in India- and elsewhere were calling for Missionary
labourers, that the Committee would be able to assent
to the proposal to establish a Mission among a comparatively few scattered tribes of Indians upon the shores
of North-west America. Captain Prevost was, however,
invited to draw up a paper upon the subject, with the
promise that it should be inserted in one of the publications of the Society. This he did, and a memorandum
appeared in the "Church Missionary Intelligencer"
for July 1856, giving some particulars of the country
within which the proposed Mission was designed to operate, (which extends from about 48° of north latitude to 55°, and from the Rocky Mountains on the east
to the Pacifio Ocean on the west;) mentioning some
facts with reference to the character of the inhabitants,
which made the field a most promising one for missionary
enterprise; and stating thatf* some naval officers, who,
in the discharge of their professional duties, have lately
visited these regions, have been most favourably impressed with the highly-intelligent character of the
natives; and, struck by their manly bearing, and a
physical appearance fully equal to that of the English,
whom they also resemble in the fairness of their complexion, and having their compassion exoited by their
total destitution of Christian and moral instruction,
they feel if to be their duty to endeavour to introduce
among them the knowledge of the gospel of Christ,
under the conviotion that it would prove the surest and
most fruitful source of sooial improvement and civilization, as well as of spiritual blessings infinitely more
valuable, und would be found the only effectual antidote
to the contaminating vices which a rapidly-increasing
trade, especially with California and Oregon, is bringing
in its train."
This brief notice produced its results. In the list of
contributions published in the " Churoh Missionary
Record" for Maroh 1857 appears the following item—
" Two friends, for Vancouver's Island, 500/." It was
Captain Prevost's notice of Vancouver's Island, and the
aboriginal tribes there and on the mainland, that drew
forth that contribution.
Just about this time Captain Prevost was appointed
to the Pacific station, in command of H.M.S. " Satellite ;" and, with the sanction of the first Lord of the
Admiralty, offered a free, passage, and every assistance
in his power, to any Missionary whom the Committee
might be willing to send with him. Thus encouraged,
the Committee determined to undertake the work; but
muoh difficulty was experienced in finding a suitable
man for the post. Time ran on, and at length only
ten days remained before the sailing of the " Satellite," 11
when the attention of the Committee was directed towards Mr. Duncan, who was at the time one of the
Society's students in the Highbury Training College. It
was judged that he was one to whom might be entrusted
the responsibilities connected with this new sphere of
action, and it was proposed to him that he should go
forth. Short as the time was, he was ready, and, trusting in Him who has said, " Lo, I am with you alway,"
ho went forth, as the first Protestant Missionary to the
Indians of the British territories on the Pacific.
On Dec. 19, 1856, Mr. Duncan took leave of the
Committee of the Church Missionary Society, and on
the 23rd he started from Plymouth. The voyage lasted
until June 13 th of the following year, when the
" Satellite " arrived at Esquimalt Harbour, Vancouver's
Island. Being unable at once to obtain a passage to
Fort Simpson, where he was appointed to commence
his Missionary work, Mr. Duncan was obliged to remain' at Victoria till October, and, during this interval,
was the guest of the Rev. E. Cridge, the present Dean
of Victoria, then the only Church of England clergyman in the island. A commencement was at once made
in the study of the Tsimsheean language, which was
that spoken by the tribe among whom the missionary
had been appointed to labour. During this period of
delay he was favoured with several interviews with the
Governor of the Colony (Mr. Douglas), who took a deep
interest in the proposed Mission, and continued during
his tenure of office to give his cordial support to it.
There were at first objections offered by some of the 12
officers of the Hudson's-Ba)' Company to Mr. Duncan's
proceeding to Fort Simpson. There appeared to be a
general wish on their part that he should commence his
labours at a station callod Nanaimo, upon Vancouver's
Island, about eighty miles from Victoria. The reasons
alleged for this were, that the Indians there had been
brought more into contact with the white men, and were
consequently more prepared for Missionary efforts to be
oarried on amongst them than those at Fort Simpsdn,
who were entirely removed from contaot with European
settlers, and who were considered so savage, that Mr.
Duncan was told that it would be quite unsafe for him
to venture butside the Fort, and that the Indians would
not be allowed to come to him within it. But far
from considering this an insuperable objection, Mr.
Dunoan and his advisers felt that there would be more
prospect of success to his Mission if it were begun
amongst a people who had been free from intercourse
with white men j and as the instructions of the Home
Committee, based upon the advice of Captain Prevost,
were distinot upon this point, the Missionary was allowed
to proceed, and the result has shown the wisdom of this
One matter of special interest Mr. Duncan mentions
whioh took place during his stay at Victoria, namely,
a visit paid by the Bishop of Oregon, who was deputed'
by the Bishop of London to hold a confirmation there.
Mr. Duncan was privileged to have muoh intercourse
with Bishop Scott, and was greatly cheered and encouraged by i t. A series of public services was held in the
week preceding the confirmation, and in his address at
one of the weekly services, tcthe Bishop," writes Mr.
Dunoan,~ rather startled the congregation by informing
them of my presence> and of the object for which I had
been sent from England. He then very earnestly sought
to engage their sympathy, arid procure their prayers on
behalf or the Mission, concluding by asking if they intended to let me go to the north alone; if there was no
young man who would volunteer to accompany me."
This appeal was not without effect: it was responded to
by one young ihan, a German, who promised to assist 13
him in any way he could, and even to go to Fort Simpson. Difficulties intervened in the way of his becoming
personally associated with the Mission; but he proved of
great service to the Missionary in the acquisition of the
Tsimsheean language—for he had himself resided at Fort
Simpson for two years, in the service of the Hudson's-
Bay Company, and had thus obtained some acquaintance with the language—and by his help Mr. Duncan
was enabled to profit the more by the services of a
young Tsimsheean Indian, whom he engaged to assist
him in his work.
Mr. Duncan left Victoria on September 25th, on his
journey to Fort Simpson. Before leaving, the Governor
sent for him, and read to him the instructions he had
written for Captain McNeile, the officer in charge of the
Fort, with reference to him and his work. " On hearing
them," writes Mr. Duncan, " I was truly gratified at the
liberal aid which was tendered to the project. They were
indeed everything I could wish, and much more than
I had expected," In them the Governor explained the
Mission project which was to be set on foot for the
benefit of the Red Indians of the coast; introduced Mr.
Duncan as the pioneer of the work; and told Captain
McNeile to admit him into the Fort, provide him
with the best accommodation at his command, allow
him to have his food at the Company's table, and assist him in every way he could to promote the success
of the undertaking. On their journey northward, the
steamer called at several stations, where Mr. Duncan
had opportunities of seeing the destitute and miserable
condition in which the poor Indians were living.
Especially was this the case at Fort Rupert, where he
describes the Indians .as "a fine, strong, intelligent-
looking people, mustering at times upwards of 1000 to
1500, including all ages. Their houses are good, strong
buildings, and large. Their clothing is rarely any thing
but a blanket thrown over one shoulder. They form a
striking contrast to the miserable and dejected Indians
of the South. Mr. Moffat, the officer in charge, gave
us some heartrending accounts of their deadly feuds,
cannibal feasts, slave-catching expeditions, and infanti- *v>.
cide. Remains of the carcases of several Queen Charlotte Islanders, whom they had recently caught and
murdered, we saw on the. beach, a little distance from
their camp. The murder of infants, chiefly females,
arose, Mr. Moffat thought, from nothing more than the
disinclination of the mother to bring them up. This is
indeed a blood-stained land, and there are plenty to
raise their voices against the murderers—plenty to wink
at the evil, but none, no, not one to rescue—none to
lead them to paths of peace and love. I mixed a good
deal with the Indians during my short stay. I saw
several large images in and about their houses, but I do
not think that any homage is paid to them. A few of
the leading men were made to understand my business.
They said it was very good, and hoped soon that I should
come back and stay with them. They looked rather
hurt that I was passing them by."
On the night of October 1st, Mr. Duncan reached
Fort Simpson. A great number of Indians came off in
their canoes to meet the vessel, and welcomed it by loud
hurrahs. The two officers of the Fort met the party on
the beach, and led them through an immense crowd of
Indians. Mr. Duncan thus records his first impressions
of his future station—
" From what I have already seen of this place, my
firm conviction is that it is just the place to commence
the Mission. A more inviting field, I feel satisfied, cannot be found on this coast. The testimony of the officer
here, which I have gathered incidentally, and without
referring to Missionary work, is exceedingly favourable.
The Indians are numerous, from one to two thousand
being always resident here. They are also on the increase, which is quite the contrary with nearly all other of
the Indian tribes. They are a very fine, robust and intelligent race. I have already seen specimens of their skill
in both the useful and fine arts, which would not shame
European skill to have produced. Their superior industry
is universally acknowledged by those who know them.
The difference of disposition which marks them from
the Southern Indians, and has caused them to be held
in such dread, is nothing more than this, that they pos- AfS/- /J-6
i^» A * fj
sess a greater force of will, and are perhaps more easily
excited to acts of cruelty. A great deal of this manifest
boldness may arise also from their conscious superiority,
both in numbers and ability; but I do not believe that
any honest white man has anything to fear from them,
so far as life is concerned: perhaps property is not so
secure. I have already been walking about in nearly
every part of their camp, and sat down in one of their
houses for nearly half an hour, and I must confess that
I felt myself as safe as I did among any other Indians
I have seen. I find the Indians here were all aware of
my coming. Their people from Victoria had arrived
before me, and communicated the intelligence. Of
course they are yet in the dark as to my main object;
but the chiefs have told Captain McNeile, that, after the
ship is gone away, which has come for the furs, &c;,
they will assemble to hear and consider over my business
amongst them. On that occasion I hope to be prepared
to converse with them in their own tongue. If I can do
without using the trading iargon, or wanting an inter-
prefer, it will be greatly to my advantage. I hear and see
signs of their wealthy condition. They being also of .such
an independent spirit, and avaricious for learning, I intend from the first to demand co-operation, and from
that advance, if possible, to the self-supporting system."
Arrived at Fort Simpson, Mr. Duncan at once commenced his Missionary work, so far as his present
imperfect acquaintance with the language would enable
him to do it. On Sunday, Oct. 11th, he held his first service, for the benefit of those who resided with him in the
Fort; and on the 13th he commenced school, with a few
half-breed boys, whom their parents were delighted to
consign to him as pupils. We are not surprised that, in
the commencement of his work, the motives of the Missionary were misunderstood, as will be seen from the
following extract from his journal—
Oct. 16th—"To-day a chief called, whose principal
anxiety was to ascertain whether I intended giving
dollars to the Indians to get them to send their children
to school. I think I shamed him a little, at least I
tried to do so, for entertaining such a selfish notion.
m 16
I make a practice of telling all that I shall expect
them to assist in erecting a schoolroom outside the Fort
as soon as I can talk their language a little better,
and, without exception, they assent to my request.
It was not long, however, before the Indians around
began to understand the nature of Mr. Duncan's work.
He writes on Oct. 20—"This morning I have had.
a little talk with a Tsimsheean chief. While we were
together a group of Indians and another chief came
round, seemingly desirous to know what I was saying.
Almost immediately my friend began to harangue them,
and continued for about ten minutes in great earnestness. He then told me he had been telling them about
me and my business, which of course I knew, for their
searching looks, significant nods and happy faces told
me more than that. On leaving them every countenance greeted me with a grateful smile, and every voice
reiterated good wishes."
Interesting as it was to Mr. Duncan to find the people
so willing to receive him, yet increasing intercourse with
them served to show how terrible was the state of degradation in which they were living. The following extract
from one of his early letters gives sad evidence of this—
" The other day we were called upon to witness a
terrible scene. An old chief, in cool blood, ordered a
slave to be dragged to the beach, murdered, and thrown
into the water. His orders were quickly obeyed. The
victim was a poor woman. Two or three reasons are
assigned for this foul act: one is, that it is to take
away the disgrace attached to his daughter, who has 17
been suffering some time from a ball wound in .the armi
Another report is, that he-does not expect his daughter to
recover, so he has killed this slave in order that she may
prepare for the coming of his daughter into the unseen
world. I think the former reason is the most probable.
I did not see the murder, but, immediately after, I
saw crowds of people running out of those houses near
to where the corpse was thrown, and forming themselves
into groups at a good distance away. This I learnt was
from fear of what was to follow. Presently two bands
of furious wretches appeared, each headed by a man in
a state of nudity. They gave vent to the most unearthly
sounds, and the two naked men made themselves look
as unearthly as possible, proceeding in a creeping kind
of stoop, and stepping like two proud horses, at the same
time shooting forward each arm alternately, which
they held out at full length for a little time in the
most defiant manner. Besides this, the continual jerking
of their heads back, causing their long black hair to
twist about, added much to their savage appearance.
For some time they pretended to be seeking the
body, and the instant they came where it lay they commenced screaming and rushing round it like so many
angry wolves. Finally they seized it, dragged it out of
the water, and laid it on the beach, where I was told the
naked men would commence tearing it to pieces with
their teeth. The two bands of men immediately surrounded them, and so hid their horrid work. In a few
minutes the crowd broke again into two, when each of
the naked cannibals appeared with half of the body in
his hands. Separating a few yards, they commenced,
amid horrid yells, their still more horrid feast. The
sight was too terrible to behold. The two bands of
savages just alluded to belong to that class which the
whites term tmedicine men.' The superstitions connected with this fearful system are deeply rooted here;
and it is the admitting and initiating of fresh pupils
into these arts that employ numbers, and excite and
interest all, during the winter months. This year I
think there must have been eight or ten parties of them,
but each party seldom has more than one pupil at once.
c 18
In relating their proceedings I can give but a faint conception of the system as a whole, but still a little will
show the dense darkness that rests on this place.
" I may mention that each party has some characteristics peculiar to itself; but, in a more general sense,,
their divisions are but three, viz. those who eat human
bodies, the dog eaters, and those who have no custom of
the kind. Early in the morning the pupils would be out
on the beach, or on the rocks, in a state of nudity. Each
had a place in front of his own tribe; nor did intense
cold interfere in the slightest degree. After the poor
creature had crept about, jerking his head and screaming
for some time, a party of men would rush out, and,
after surrounding him, would commence singing. The
dog-eating party occasionally carried a dead dog to their
pupil, who forthwith commenced to tear it in the most
doglike manner. The party of attendants kept up a low
growling noise, or a whoop, .which was seconded by a
screeching noise made from an instrument which they
believe to be the abode of a spirit. In a little time the
naked youth would start up again, and proceed a few
more yards in a crouching posture, with his arms
pushed out behind him, and tossing his flowing black
hair. All the while he is earnestly watched by the
group "about him, and when he pleases to sit down they
again surround him and commence singing. This kind
of thing goes on, with several different additions, for
some time. Before the prodigy finally retires, he takes
a run into every house belonging to his tribe, and is
followed by his train. When this is done, in some cases
he has a ramble on the tops of the same houses, during
which he is anxiously watched by his attendants, as if
they expected his flight. By and by he condescends to
come down, and they then follow him to his den, which
is marked by a rope made of red bark being hung over
the doorway, so as to prevent any person from ignorantly
violating its precincts. None are allowed to enter that
house but those connected with the art: all I know,
therefore, of their further proceedings is, that they keep
up a furious hammering, singing and screeching for
hours during the day. 19
" Of all these parties, none are so much dreaded as
the cannibals. One morning I was called to witness a
stir in the camp which had been caused by this set.
When I reached the gallery I saw hundreds of Tsim-
sheeans sitting in their canoes, which they had just pushed
away from the beach. I was. told that the cannibal
party were in search of a body to devour, and if they
failed to find a dead one, it was probable they would
seize the first living one that came in their way; so that
all the people living near to the cannibals' house had
taken to their canoes to escape being torn to pieces. It
is the custom among these Indians to burn their dead;
but I suppose for these occasions they take care to deposit a corpse somewhere, in order to satisfy these inhuman wretches.
" These, then, are some of the things and scenes
which occur in the day during the winter months, while
the nights are taken up with amusements—singing and
dancing. Occasionally the medicine parties invite people
to their several houses, and exhibit tricks before them of
various kinds. Some of the actors appear as bears,
while others wear masks, the parts of which are moved
by strings. The great feature in their proceedings is to
pretend to murder, and then to restore to life, and so
forth. The cannibal, on such occasions, is generally
supplied with two, three, or four human bodies, which
he tears to pieces before his audience. Several persons,
either from bravado or as a charm, present their arms
for him to bite. I have seen several whom he has thus
bitten, and I hear two have died from the effects."
Two extracts from the earliest leaves of Mr. Duncan's
journal will still further show what was the savage
condition in which he found the Indians living at the
time of his first going among them.
On October 7th he writes—1 Immediately after dinner
the second officer of the Fort, who had not been absent
more than a minute, came rushing back, to report that
an Indian had just been murdered close to the Fort
gates. On repairing to the gallery, I saw this shocking sight. Several Indians, with muskets in their hands,
about the dying man, and one or two
yk 20
ventured to go near and assist him.    He was shot in
the right breast, and apparently dying, but seemingly
conscious of what had happened.   In a few minutes two
■Indians, looking as fierce as tigers, carrying muskets,
came bounding to the spot, and, after ordering all away,
one of them immediately fired at the poor fellow as he
lay on the ground, and shot him in the arm.    They
then as quickly bounded away.    All stood exceedingly
alarmed at this dreadful .tragedy, but none dared to
interfere.    The particulars of this foul deed are as follows—The head chief was the murderer.    Being irritated by some other chiefs while partly intoxicated, he
vented his rage upon the first stranger that came in
his way, and, after shooting him, ordered two of his men
to finish the horrible deed.    His victim was a Queen-
Charlotte  Islander, a very fine young man, who had
been working for the Fort some few days.    The murderer, in order to extenuate his crime, gave out that
a Queen-Charlotte Islander, of the same tribe as the
murdered man, had shot a brother of his  about ten
years ago.    Such is his idea of right.    But the matter
does not finish here.     I learn that another from the
same island must be killed before the affair can be
settled.  The chief, under whose care the murdered man
has been living, must revenge his death, in order to
maintain his dignity.    The victim will have to be one
of the same people, under the protection of the present
murderer.     Thus does one foul deed beget a never-
ending strife amongst them."
o o
On December 7th we find a similar statement—
" Yesterday (Sunday) a chief and his wife were both
shot in their own house by one of their tribe, who had
just been giving away his property (blankets, &c.). It
is hoped that the wounds are not fatal. It seems that
the chief had insulted the man by refusing his present,
and that simply because another chief had had a similar
present made him. A conflict is likely to ensue, because
the chief and his wife are not of the same tribe, that is,
her people will seek to revenge her injury upon her
husband's tribe, because she had nothing to do with the
quarrel.    The boy I employ to get me wood, &c, asked 21
me last night if he might stay in the Fort, as he was
afraid to go outside. I have heard since that a party of
men were watching for him at the gates, so that, had he
gone out, he would either have been killed or enslaved,
all because he belongs to this unfortunate chief's tribe."
Though no Protestant Missionary ever before been
amongst these Indians, yet the Roman Catholics had
sent their agents amongst some of the tribes, but had
effected no real change in their condition. " The sole result of their residence among them was, that the Indians
who had been brought under their influence had imbibed
some notions of the Deity, almost as vague as their own
traditions, and a superstitious respect for the priests
themselves, which they showed by crossing themselves
devoutly whenever they met one. Occasionally, too,
might be seen in their lodges, pictures, purporting to
represent the roads to heaven and hell, in which there
was no single suggestion of the dangers of vice and
crime, but a great deal of the peril of Protestantism.
These coloured prints were certainly curious in their
.way, and worth a passing notice. They were large, and
gave a pictorial history of the human race, from the
time when Adam and Eve wandered in the garden
together, down to the Reformation. Here the one broad
road was split into two, whose course divulged more and
more painfully. By one way the Roman Catholic portion of the world were seen trooping to bliss; the other
ended in a steep, bottomless precipice, over which the
Protestants might be seen falling. Upon the more
sensible and advanced of the Indians teaching such as
this had little effect. I remember (says Commander
Mayne, R.N., from whose book on " British Columbia"
this extract has been made) the chief of the Shus-
wap tribe, at Kamloops,   pointing out to me such an
1 22
illustration hanging on his wall, and laughingly saying, in a tone that showed plainly that he attached little
credence to it, * There are you and your people,' putting
his fingers as he spoke on the figures, tumbling into
the pit."
Such was the kind of instruction that these poor Indians had received previous to 1857, and its influence
upon their minds may be illustrated by what took place
in that year at Victoria, where a Roman Catholic Bishop
and several priests had been resident for some time,
and had made some converts amongst the Songhies Ln-
l dians who live there. They had erected a cross of wood
in their village, and some of them had been baptized;
but when they were requested to come to the Bishop for
confirmation, they refused, unless a larger present of blankets was made to them than had been made at their baptism.
The Bishop was said to have been very angry with the
priests when this came to his knowledge, and he immediately caused a large heart to be painted on canvas,
through which he drew a blanket, in order to represent
to the Indians a symbol of their condition.
The following extract from Mr. Duncan's journal will
illustrate still further the effect of this erroneous teaching upon the minds of the poor, ignorant Indians—
/0{fZ- "Nov. 10—To-day an Indian, in apparent distress,
' requested the Fort gatekeeper to beg of me to accompany
him to his house, as two of his sons were very ill, and
he wished me to do the same to them as the Romish
priest on Vancouver's Isle had done for him a few years
ago. I told the gate keeper to let him come into the
Fort and I would speak to him. He came, and found
me commencing school. His heart seemed full of trouble. After telling me his tale of sorrow, he begged me
to go to his house after school, and, to induce me to
comply, he began praising his heart and his house, and
offered me a beaver's skin for my trouble. He then
related the circumstances of his being sick at Victoria,
.and the Romish priest bringing water, and teaching him
to touch it and cross himself, <sc.; and, recovering soon*
afterwards, and not having been sick since, he ascribes
ibis good providence to the efficacy of these Popish cere- 23
monies. To show me he had not forgot the lesson, he
would now and then turn his face to the wall, and, with
great gravity and exactness, bend his knee and cross
himself, instantly adding, by way of bravado, that he
paid the priest two dollars. Being aware that it is a
dangerous thing to administer medicines to the Indians,
yet I thought I would go at least and see the sick men,
to show my sympathy; for my visit would not only
please the old man, but serve to illustrate the difference
between a Christian and a Romish priest. I went, and
found the young men very ill, one in a deep consumption, and evidently near his end; the other was suffering much, but I could not, from his appearance, tell his
complaint, as he had passed through a dreadful ordeal
in the hands of the medicine men. The sights produced
a kind of horror in one's breast. I was afraid to do
more than look, for my touching the sick would have
filled them with superstitious fancies. When they found
I would perform no ceremonies, nor take any bribes, I
heard them remarking amongst themselves that I was
different from the priest at Victoria. They did not think
I understood what was said."
mr. duncan's first efforts amongst the
Though Mr. Duncan was unable at first to hold
much intercourse with the Indians, as he was living in
the Fort, and only slightly acquainted with their language, yet, as will be seen from the following extracts
from his journal, he was employing his time diligently in
the study of the Tsimsheean dialect, and was encouraged
to find that he was being anxiously expected by them as
soon as he would be able to converse with them.
/djyt' Nov. 17—To-day a chief called to see me who is
suffering from a bad cough, and seems wearing away
fast.    He very anxiously desired relief.    I  perceived 24
he wanted to tell me something rather serious by his
countenance and muttering. Like a man soon about
to take a long journey, he seemed gasping for directions
about the way. Oh, how I longed to tell him my message, but could not!   I made him understand that. I
O    * 	
should soon be ready to teach all the Tsimsheeans about
God; that I had God's book with me, which I should
teach from; and that my object was to make them good
and happy. After a little pause, he remarked (what
amounted to) % You are going to teach the Tsimsheeans
not to shoot each other,' which to him seemed, I suppose,
as great a boon as I could confer. I also made him understand something about the Sabbath. His constant
response was Ahml ahm! ('good! good!')"
" Nov. 24—I have had the same chief as mentioned
above. As it was during school-time when he came, I
got the little boys to sing him a hymn or two. This
pleased him very much. He said that by and by he
would understand what we sang. He then asked me if
I should expect pay from the Tsimsheeans for teaching
their children. A volley of good expressions was his
response to my answer. I then tried again to make him
understand my main object in coming here, and added
some account also of what we do in the Fort on Sunday.
He requested to see Shimauvet LaJckah Shahounsk
('God's book'), which I showed him. His anxious gaze
and sighs told me how he longed to know its contents.
Again and again I mentioned the name of our Saviour,
but could do little else."
" Nov. 27—A fine old chief called to see me to-day.
His name is Neeashwaiks. He sat very quietly during
all our afternoon school operations. He heard the little
boys sing and read, and seemed much delighted. More
than that, he saw us go down on our knees, and pray in
our Saviour's own words. In great seriousness he pro-
nouncedhis ahm! ahm! ('goodjgood!'). After a little time
he said something, from which I gathered that he was
reflecting that, as he was so old, "these good things had
come too late to benefit him. How sad that this man
should have been an important person for the whites
from the commencement of their trade among these In- 25
dians, and yet have never heard a single Gospel truth
from them."
" Dec. 31—My instructor in Tsimsheean tells me that
the Indians flock to him outside to hear how I am getting
on, and what I say. I hope soon to go out amongst them
myself; but really the acquiring of their language, with
such small aid as I have, is exceedingly difficult."
"Dec. 19—This afternoon I assembled my little boys
for a breaking up for a few days. They were clean and
nicely dressed, with hearts ever so joyful. The father
of each boy and another visitor or two, were present.
We sang the children's hymns, ' There is a happy
land,' ' Here we suffer,' | Jesus was born,' ' Almighty God Thy piercing eye,' and a little round. I
then gave each of them a little present, and, after a
little drilling, they marched away. Their fathers seemed
highly gratified. Thus I feel as though something had
been done these two months. May God prosper this
small beginning and make it the earnest of a great and
future harvest!"
At the commencement of the following year (1858)
Mr. Duncan determined to pay some visits to the Indians
in their own houses; for though he was not in a position
to do them much good, he thought he might thus be able
to win a little of their esteem and confidence, and at the
same time get an idea of their numbers. For this it
was necessary that he should see as many of them as
possible in their houses; and the time of his visit was
favourable for this, for the depth of snow on the ground
and the severe cold, had kept them all very close. He
took c Clah,' his Indian servant, with him, to act as interpreter ; and on January 14th he writes—" To-day
we have finished our calls. I have been inside 140
houses, all large and strong buildings. The largest
would measure, I imagine, about sixty by forty feet.
One house I was not permitted to enter, as they had not
finished their sorceries for the season. However, they
sent me out an account of their family. In all, I counted
2156 souls, namely, 637 men, 756 women, and 763
children ; and, making an addition for those away pro-
P 26
curing fuel, and those at the Fort, I estimate the sum
total of residents to be 2325, which is rather under than
over the true number. The total number rendered by
themselves, which of course includes all that belong to
them, whether married into other tribes or living south,
is 2567. These are divided into nine tribes, but all
speak the same language, and have one general name—
Tsimsheean. So far as I am at present able to make
out, I calculate that there are seventeen other tribes, all
living within fifty miles of this place, which either speak
Tsimsheean, or something very near to it.
" It would be impossible for me to give a full description of this my first general visit, for the scenes
were too exciting and too crowded to admit of it. I
confess that cluster after cluster of these half-naked
and painted savages round their fires was, to my unaccustomed eyes, very alarming. But the reception I met with
was truly wonderful and encouraging. On entering ahouse
I was saluted by one, two, or three of the principal persons, with I Clah-how-yah,' which is the complimentary
term used in the trading jargon. This would be repeated several times. Then a general movement and a
squatting ensued, followed by a breathless silence,
during which every eye was fixed upon me. After a
time several would begin nodding and smiling, at the
same time reiterating in a low tone, 'Ahm, ahm ah ket,
Ahm Shimauyet/ (' Good, good person, good chief.')
My interpreter would then ask them to let us know how
many they had in their family, which was instantly followed by a deafening clamour. Sometimes the vociferation was so general that it was really bewildering to
hear it. Everybody was talking and trying to outdo
the rest, and nobody was listening. This storm would
be abruptly succeeded by a general hush, when I was
again pleasantly but rigidly scrutinized. Of course the
attempt of everybody to count was a failure, and so the
business at last was taken up by one of the leading persons, who generally succeeded to the satisfaction of all.
While this was going on, I managed to count and class
the inmates of the house, and look at the sick. In some
houses they wordd not be content until I took the chief 27
place near the fire, and they always placed a mat upon
a box for me to sit upon. My inquiries after the
sick were always followed by anxious looks and
doap sighs. A kind of solemn awe would spread itself
at once.
" I cannot describe the condition of this people better
than by saying that it is just what might be expected
in savage heathen life. How dreadful! to see one's
fellow-creatures like this, when the blessed Gospel has
been 1800 years in the world. Only a little time ago
my Indian asked me what we meant by saying ' the
year 1868.' How appalling to my mind, when I tried
to make him understand the origin of this date! I
never felt the fact to be any thing like so awful before.
To me it seems that this must form one of the greatest
stumbling-blocks to all the present generation of intelligent heathen. What can Christians in past ages have
been thinking about? and what is the present generation
doing ?
" There is one cheering feature connected with this
people which my visit has prominently showed me, and
that is, that they are longing for instruction. The presence of the whites, and their own visits to the south,
have shaken their superstitions and awakened inquiry,
but that is all. There is a general belief amongst
them that the whites do possess some grand secret about
eternal things, and they are gasping to know it. This
is the propitious moment, and Popery, I am afraid, will
not be long before it comes to find a ready prey. Oh
that the people of God would awake to their duty, responsibility and privilege!"
4& '•
During the following months Mr. Duncan's time was
fully occupied in the study of the Tsimsheean language,
and at the beginning of May, he was so far advanced
as to  commence   preparing a written  address to the 28
Indians. At the same time he "continued to receive
visits from distant tribes of Indians, anxious to obtain
help and instruction from him. The following extracts
from his journal give evidence of the interest felt by
them in his work—
"May 10—I have had two chiefs this afternoon.
One came before I had finished school, and he heard us
sing and pray. After school I had a long talk (or a
long attempt) with them, and found myself a little more
ready with the tongue. They both heartily and often
responded their ' Ahm, ahm,' (good), to what I said.
They asked me if I should charge for teaching them
(meaning school work). They assured me that all their
people would willingly listen when I could teach them.
One said he would give me his three boys, but he
himself was too old to learn."
" May 17—In translating to-day we- came to the
great fact of the Gospel—Christ died for us—and I was
astonished to find what labour it took to get my Indian
to comprehend this simple truth. I had to use a great
many illustrations before I succeeded. As every step
brought him additional light, so it made him more
earnest and inquiring.    Now and then he would give a
long sigh, and
at me with   such
showed me that he was not only taking in truth that
J ©
was new to him, but what he also saw to be precious.
When he fully understood the main fact, his countenance, which is usually lowering, lit up wonderfully,
and this was followed by a softness of manner, quite a
contrast to his usual haughty demeanour. For some time
he continued exclaiming and sighing.    I am longing to
• o © © o     ©
get among the Indians, for they are in an awful state
every way."
" May 23—Last week I had a great chief to see me
from Queen Charlotte's Island. He seemed exceedingly
anxious that I should go and teach his people, after I
had staid a little longer among the Tsimsheeans. He
pressed me to give a decided ' yes ;' but I could only
afford him a hope. I gathered from him that there are
twelve tribes on the island, and all speak the same
tongue.    One thing comforts me with respect to these 29T:
increaseth strength.
very wild people—that is, that a great proportion of
those who come here to trade understand a little Tsimsheean, and thus I hope, by-and-by, the work going on
here will waft an influence for good amongst them."
© ©
At length Mr. Duncan was able to make his first
attempt to convey to the Indians, in their own tongue,
the message of salvation through a crucified Saviour.
He thus expresses his feelings upon this most interesting
" June 13 : LoroVs-day—Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and let all creation join in chorus to bless His holy name.
True to His word, ' He giveth power to the faint, and
to them that have no might He
Bless for ever His holy name !
" Last week I finished translating my first address for
the Indians. Although it was not entirely to my satisfaction, I felt it would be wrong to withhold the message any longer. Accordingly I sent word last night
(not being ready before) to the chiefs, desiring to use
their houses to-day to address their people in. This
morning I set off about a quarter to eleven, accompanied by
the young Indian, whom I have had occasionally to
assist me in the   language.     In a few minutes  we
o       ©
arrived at the first chief's house, which I found all prepared, but the people had not assembled. Very quickly,
however, two or three men set off to stir the people up,
and in about half an hour we mustered about one hundred
souls. This was the first assembly of Indians I had
met. My heart quailed greatly before the work,—a
people for the first time come to hear the Gospel tidings;'
and I the poor instrument to address them in a tongue
so new and difficult to me. Oh these moments ! I
began to think, that, after all, I should be obliged to get
the Indian to speak to them, while I read to him from
the paper in my hand. Blessed be God, this lame resolution was not carried. My Indian was so unnerved at
my proposal, that I quickly saw I must do the best I
could by myself, or worse would come of it. I then told
them to ishut the door. The Lord strengthened me. I
knelt down to crave God's blessing, and afterwards I 30
gave them the address. They were all remarkably attentive. At the conclusion I desired them to. kneel
down. They immediately complied, and I offered up
prayer for them in English. They preserved great stillness. All being done, I bade them good bye. They all
responded with seeming thankfulness. On leaving, I
asked my Indian if they understood me, and one of the
chief women very seriously replied,' Nee, nee,' ('yes');
and he assured me, that from their looks he knew that
they understood and felt it to be good. We then went
to the next chief's house, where we found all ready, a
canoe sail spread for me to stand on, and a mat placed
on a box for me to sit upon. About 150 souls assembled, and as there were a few of the Fort people present,
I first gave them a short address in English, and then
© © g
the one in Tsimsheean. All knelt at prayer, and were
very attentive, as at the other place. This is the head
chiefs house. He is a very wicked man, but he was'
present, and admonished the people to behave themselves during my stay. After this I went in succession
to the other seven tribes, and addressed them in the
chiefs' houses. In each case I found the chief very kind
and attentive in preparing his house and assembling his
people. The smallest company I addressed was about
fifty souls, and the largest about 200. Their obedience
to my request about kneeling was universal, but in the
house, where there were over 200, some confusion took
place, as they were sitting so close. However, when
they heard me begin to pray, they were instantly silent.
Thus the Lord helped me through. About 800 or 900
souls in all have heard me speak, and a great number of
them, I feel certain, have understood the message. May
the Lord make it the beginning of great good for this
pitiable and long-lost people, and to Him be ascribed all,
all the glory ! Amen. I returned to the Fort about
five P.M.
" I could not observe the people very much as I was
speaking, for I had to mind my paper, so I cannot give
any particulars respecting their reception of the word.
One chief I heard responding his ' Nee, nee,' after every
clause:  and another thing I observed was, the chief, 31
who lately killed a slave to gratify his pride, did not
attend. His house was got ready about the neatest of
any, but he had gone some little distance away, being,
I suppose, ashamed to be present. I am happy to think
that strangers from several surrounding tribes happened
to be here to-day, and as they generally quarter themselves in the chiefs' houses, a good many of them must
have heard me speak. Some of them are from Queen
Charlotte's Island; some of them, from a place called
Naas, on the mainland, about a hundred miles away from
here; and some from Stikkeen, a place about 200 miles
north of this place. Although the Stikkeen Indians and
the Queen Charlotte Islanders speak a totally different
tongue from the Tsimsheeans and from one another, yet
they all understand a great deal of Tsimsheean from?
coming here to trade."
It was encouraging to Mr. Duncan to find that this,
his first, effort was not without result. On June 15th,.
he writes—
" This morning the young Indian who accompanied
me last Sunday to the chiefs' houses, came in. He told
me that the people were alarmed at what I had said on
Sunday, and many of them cried when they saw me
speaking to God. Some few understood part of what I
said, although I prayed in English, and what they
understood had startled them. Next time I go he say»
they will be more prepared to receive me. I have not
been very anxious to inquire what the people thought of
the message, for if I had I should have gathered up, no^
doubt, a great deal that was not true. May the Lord work,
and then effects which are unmistakeable will soon follow t 32
As Mr. Duncan was now beginning to feel his way
among the Indians, and the head chief had offered him
the use of his house for a schoolroom, he lost no time in
availing himself of the opportunity. On June 26th
his journal records a visit to the Indians, to inform
them that he should begin school on the following
Monday. As on former occasions, he was received
everywhere with looks and gestures of satisfaction, and
all expressed their desire for instruction. As the space
was limited, he. thought it best to invite the chiefs
to send their children first. "My purpose," he
writes, "is to give them a taste for the work, and get
a few children put into the way a little before I begin with
a large number. One of the chiefs asked if I should
object to the children coming to school with only a
blanket to cover them. I was afraid of making a difficulty here, so I told him I should insist upon nothing but
their coming clean. This .was cheerfully assented to as
On June 28th the school commenced, with twenty-six
children in the morning, and fourteen or fifteen adults
in the afternpOn. The head chief and his wife took
great interest, and assisted in every way they could.
Their house was made clean, and a seat was placed
upon a mat for Mr. Duncan. The children also
came neat and clean; one boy only had nothing but a
blanket to cover him, and in his case it was not poverty,
but superstition, that prevented him from having a shirt
on like the rest. This poor lad had been^initiated into
the mysteries of medicine in the previous winter, and so
was forbidden, by law, to wear any thing over him except a blanket or a skin for one year. If he had put on
a shirt death would have been expected to ensue.    " I 33
was much pleased," writes Mr. Duncan, "with the children ; their attention and aptness were remarkable. The
adults did not please me so much, They seemed to have
more timidity than the children."
But no sooner had Mr. Duncan commenced his work
than he found what were some of the difficulties he must
expect to experience, owing to the terrible state of degradation in which the Indians were living, and the cruelties
that were practised among them. Thus he writes on
July 1st—" While at school to-day in the chiefs house,
a fight took place among the Indians outside. There
was a great deal of firing and shouting, but I kept on
with teaching. My children seemed somewhat alarmed.
The disturbance was caused by selfishness. A party of
Queen Charlotte Islanders had arrived with large quan-
ties of food to trade, and being, I suppose, very profitable lodgers, jealousy arose among the Tsimsheean tribes'
about entertaining them. This led to a contention, which
ended in the strangers being robbed, one or two wounded,
and some taken prisoners."
Again, on July 5th, " Last Saturday, the 3rd, another serious disturbance took place. A second party
of Queen Charlotte Islanders were coming with food to
trade. They were fired into, and one woman shot: the remainder, carrying the wounded woman, fled into the bush.
The canoes, three in number, were robbed of everything,
and then broken up. One Tsimsheean tribe took the
part of the strangers, returned the fire, and shot a Tsimsheean woman dead. This brought others into the quarrel, and the firing was kept up till late on Saturday
night, and commenced again yesterday (Sunday) morning. Five tribes are at war. Their houses are kept
shut, and the inmates remain in holes sunk for such
occasions. No fires are lit, and deathlike stillness prevails, except for the firing of a gun or two now and
then. A short truce seemed to be agreed upon this
afternoon. To-night they are expecting the arrival of
the Tsimsheean whose wife has been shot. Two canoes
have been despatched to bring him from his hunting.
He is a very desperate character, and sad work is looked
for on his return.
i ««
Mr. Duncan, however, did not yield to despair, but wisely
occupied himself in endeavouring to set before the poor
Indians what he knew to be the only remedy for all their
evils.   On the 10th of July he was able to write—
" My assistant in the Indian tongue has just gone
away, and, thanks be to God, another address is prepared
for these poor heathen. I went out this afternoon to
announce my intention of teaching the people to-morrow,
and everywhere I met with great kindness. I visited six
chiefs, and sat some time with each. All are extremely
well disposed to me and my work. I had some talk
about this late fight amongst them. All were ready to
assent to my disapproval of such proceedings, and one
chief remarked they would do better when I taught
them. Another topic was the school business. One
chief said I. should have all the people to teach when my
own house was built, but they did not like to come to
the head chiefs house, which I now occupy. In two
houses I had some talk about drunkenness, and the bad
effects of rum drinking. One chief, with his boy, I
found learning the letters of the alphabet from a piece
of board on which the letters were chalked out. The boy
is one of my most promising scholars. The chief and
his wife, whose house I occupy, learn with the children,
and have constituted themselves monitors of order."
" July 11 : Sunday—I am thankful that God has
enabled me to proclaim the Gospel once again among
these poor creatures. I went, as on the first occasion, to
' each of the nine tribes separately, and began and concluded
with prayer. At my concluding prayer all knelt, or the
exceptions were rare. I observed one man refuse. He
is the chief of the cannibal gang, and seems hardly to
relish any of my proceedings. He sits sullen but says
nothing. I fancy he is afraid of losing his craft. I
certainly hope he will very soon, for the superstition he
heads is the most debasing and heathenish of any here,
and the terrible scenes he occasionally enacts are revolting in the extreme." i
After a few weeks the school was suspended, in consequence of the absence of the chief in whose house it
was held.    It had been used sufficiently long, however, to 35
show that it was appreciated by both parents and children,
and to make the rest of the Indians desire the extension
of the privilege to the whole body; and it was an especial
source of comfort to the Missionary, amongst so much
to depress and harass, to find that the people seemed to
have settled in their minds that he had come to do them
good, and that they were ready to place confidence
in him. Thus encouraged, he determined at once to
commence to build a school-house. The wood had
arrived in a raft, and on July 30 a body of Indians were
engaged to assist in the building; but scarcely had they
commenced to carry the wood up the hill for the school-
house, when one of the men, who had started only a
minute before from the raft along with two or three
more, returned to say that one of the Indians had
dropped dead on the hill. In a minute or two the news
ran through the camp, and several Indians began to
flock to the spot, and great alarm spread on all sides.
Mr. Duncan at first feared that owing to the poor
Indian's sudden call, and the superstition of the Indians
with regard to such events, some unpleasantness might
now arise, and the confidence which he had secured
among the Indians would be greatly shaken, the work
amongst them retarded, and matter of rejoicing supplied
to all the enemies of the Lord. But, through God's
mercy, his fears were not realized. He deemed it prudent
to suspend the work for a time, but, after repeated invitations from the Indians, he resumed it on Sept. 17th,
when he thus records the interest taken by the Indians
in the renewal of the undertaking—
" The time was not at all favourable, nearly all the
young Indians being away at their hunting, &c.; but as
I want to have the school done by the time the Indians
return for their five months' uninterrupted stay here, I
determined to do what we could. Yesterday I spoke to
a few on the subject, and all seemed heartily glad. One
old chief said to me ' Cease being angry now,' thinking,
I suppose, my delay was occasioned by anger. He
assured me he would send his men to help. It was quite
encouraging to see how earnestly they expressed their
desire for me to proceed with the work, and I may safely 36
This morning I went to
man was
say the feeling was universal.
the raft at six A.M., but only one old man was there
In a little time came other two or three, then a few
more, then two chiefs.    By about half-past six we mustered seven or eight workers on the raft, though several
more came out and sat at their doors, Indian like, as
though they wished only to look on.    This seems greatly
in contrast with their expressions to me yesterday, but
such is the Indian.    I knew it was no use to push, so I
patiently waited.    About half-past six one of the Indians
on the raft sprung to his feet, gave the word of starting,
which is a peculiar kind of whoop, and he, with the
few so inadequate  to the work, determined to begin.
At this I proceeded up the beach to the place for building upon, but what was my surprise when, on returning,
I met upwards of forty Indians carrying wood.    They
all seemed to have moved in an instant, and sprung
to  the  work with  one  heart.     The enthusiasm they
manifested was truly gladdening and almost alarming.
Amongst the number were several old men, who were
doing more with their  spirited looks and words than
with their muscles.    The whole camp seemed now excited.    Roars of encouraging words and pleasant looks
greeted me on every side.    Every one seemed in earnest,
and the heavy blocks and beams began to move up the
hill with amazing rapidity.    When the Fort bell rang
for breakfast they proposed to keep on.    One old man
said he would not eat till the work was done.    However, I did not think it good to sanction this enthusiasm thus far, but sent them off to their houses.    By
three o'clock P.M. all was  over, for which I was very
glad, for the constant whooping, groaning, and bawling
of the Indians, together with the difficulties of the work,
from the great weight of the pieces and the bad road,
kept me in constant fear."
On September 20th the actual work of building commenced, but the employment of Indians proved a great
undertaking: they were so full of superstition, and so
dreaded the slightest reverse in the shape of an accident, that they kept Mr. Duncan in continual fear for
their safety.    He was, however, exceedingly delighted 37
with the thankful spirit and the very deep interest the
Indians universally manifested towards him and his
his work. There were constantly a number of lookers-
on, assisting with their advice, and now and then with
their hands, while their presence tended to cheer the
rest on. Mr. Duncan had thought of purchasing bark
of the Indians for the roof and boards for the floor, but
he found that they had settled amongst themselves to
give him boards for both, for they were not satisfied to
have bark on the roof, as it was so commonly used
amongst themselves. The interest thus taken by the
Indians in the school-building was very gratifying to
the Missionary. "I may safely say," he writes, "that
what they have given me would have cost me 51. to
buy. I had to go to every house to receive their
respective donations, which were presented with a great
deal of ceremony and good feeling. Many took boards
off their own roofs to give me, and some even the pieces
which formed part of their bed."
Mr. Duncan had now resided one year at Fort
Simpson, and it was evident by this time that his work
was beginning to tell upon the Indians. The following
entry in his journal affords pleasing evidence of this—
" Oct. 12—Last night was the first time I had ven-
tured out in the camp during dark. It was to see a
poor dying woman, sister to the late head chief. I had
seen her three or four times before, but could do her
no good: still, as her friends had come to the Fort
desiring aid, I accompanied them back. On arriving at
the house, I found the sick woman laid before a large
wood fire, around which some twenty Indians were
squatted. -After administering a little medicine, I
began speaking to them a few words which the solemn
scene suggested. I pointed out to them our condition and only remedy in Jesus our adorable Saviour,
adding, too, upon what conditions we are saved by Him.
They all understood what I said, and two of the women
that sat close at the head of the sick person very earnestly reiterated to her my words, and questioned her,
if she understood them. It was, I think, the most solemn
scene I have witnessed since I have been here.    Before I h
I went away one man said that she and her people did
not know about God, but they wanted to know, and learn
to be good."
We have spoken of the effects of the school work
amongst the Indians:  one of the most encouraging
© ' © ^    ©
features in connexion with it was the blow which
was given to their great superstition—the medicine
work—which here, as among other branches of the
Red Indians, had attained such a hold over the minds
of the people. No sooner had Mr. Duncan set up his
school, and commenced work in it, than the opposition
of the medicine men commenced. They saw that if the
Missionary work progressed " their craft was in danger
of being set at nought," and so they determined to use
© © J d
their utmost endeavours to thwart and hinder it. On
November 16th, Mr. Duncan writes—" My heart was
gladdened to-day by the chiefs of one tribe coming to
my house to say that they had made up their minds to
abandon their sorceries, or medicine work. Since then
I have heard of another tribe that has made the same
resolution; and on a visit to an old chief yesterday
afternoon, I gathered from him that his tribe were meditating the same thing.    Thus I feel thankful to God
© O
that one heathenish custom, and that one decidedly
the most gross and deeply rooted, is tottering, and ready
to fall, since three tribes out of the nine here have
already declared against it. Whenever I speak against
this medicine making, as it is called, I am sure to be
reminded of its long existence as a custom of great
importance among them."
On November 17th the school building was finished,
and on the 19 th work began. The following extracts
from the Missionary's journal give an account of its progress and difficulties. 39
" Nov. 19—Through the mercy of God, I have begun
school to-day. It has been a strange day to me, but
the Lord helped me through. In the morning I plainly
saw that a superstitious fear was spreading powerfully
among the Indians: crowds wanted, to come to school,
but who were to be the first to venture ? Here I reaped
the fruit of my few weeks' labour in the chief's house'
during last summer. The little flock I had there eagerly
enough rushed to the school when they saw me coming,
and one even gladly mounted the platform, and struck
the steel for me, to call his more timid companions to
the place. I had arranged to have the children in the
morning, and the adults in the afternoon; but I now see
reason to change that plan, and have all together, at
least for a while. My first start was with only fifteen
children; but, before we had finished, we mustered
about seventy. In the afternoon came about fifty adults,
and fifty children. I am very thankful that I am able to
say there is amongst the Indians a great stir of opinion
against their heathenish winter customs, and four of the
tribes out of nine have, indeed, cut them off. Those tribes
which still adhere to them are carrying them on exceedingly feebly; so much so, that I am assured by all whom
I speak to about the matter, that what I now see is really
nothing compared with what the system is when properly carried out. They tell me that they feel afraid to
cast the custom away all in one year, but would rather
that part should do so this year, and the rest next;
so, according to this, I sincerely hope that this is the
last winter any of these savage practices will be seen."
" Nov. 25—This morning about 140 children, and, in
the afternoon, about 120. Adults seldom vary from
about fifty each time. I am glad t& see already an
improvement in their appearance, so far as cleanliness
is concerned. I inspect them daily. Some few have
ventured to come with their faces painted, but we have
less of it daily. A good many, too, have cast away their
nose-rings, yet some come who have very large ones in use
still. I visited three sick persons to-day, and was able to
speak to two about our Saviour. One of them had been
very anxious to see me, and when I went he said he had 40
refused to call in the medicine men to operate upon him,
and begged very earnestly for me to give him a little of
my medicine. This is the first instance that has come
under my notice, in which the power of their medicine
men or women has been slighted; for, as a whole, these
people place implicit confidence in these lying wonderworkers."
" Nov. 29—»After school-teaching was over this morning, a chief remained behind. He had a serious difficulty. His people, who had decided before to give up
their medicine-working, were beginning to repent of their
decision. According to the chiefs statement, they professed themselves unable to leave off what had been such
and universal custom among them for ages.
He heard my remarks, and then set off, seemingly satisfied that I was right, and, I hope, in a mind determined
to hold on its present improved course. I had some
talk with another chief to-day on the same subject of
medicine-work. He and his people seem stedfast in
their purpose to cut the abominable system off: still he
says he feels very much ashamed when he comes into
contact with their chiefs who are carrying it on. I laboured to set before him the way of salvation, and he
gave me serious attention,-and looked eager to learn."
" Dec. 1—I was told to-day, by the manager of the
Fort, that the head chief of the Indians is going to ask
me to give up my school for about a month, his complaint being, that the children, running past his house
to and from school, tend to unsettle him and his party in
working their mysteries. After school, a chief, who is
a regular scholar, came to inquire whether I had promised to close the school during the medicine season,
as a report to that effect was afloat. I see now, that
although I have been as careful as possible not to give
unnecessary offence, yet a storm is in the horizon. I
must prepare for fierce opposition, and that from the
chief I had least expected."
" Dec. 6—Yesterday I passed a group of the medicine
folks on the beach, when I was returning from visiting
some sick people in the evening. A large party were
standing looking at a naked youth tearing a dead dog to 41
pieces with his teeth. The party kept up a horrid kind
of bellowing.    When the dog eater saw me he turned
© ©
away. It is against all law for any to pass by or move
about near to the place when these medicine folks are
" Dec. 14—I bless the Lord for His gracious care of
me this day. As I went through part of the camp on
my way to the school this morning, I met a strong medicine party full in the face. They seemed ashamed and
confounded, but I quietly walked on. Their naked prodigy was carrying a dead dog, which he occasionally
laid down and feasted upon. While a little boy was
striking the steel for me at school, some of the party
made their appearance near the school, I imagine, for all
at once the boy began to be irregular and feeble in his
strokes, and when I looked up at him I saw he was looking very much afraid. On inquiring the cause, he told
me the medicine folks were near. I told him to strike
away, and I stood at the door of the school. Some few
stragglers of the medicine party were hovering about,
but they did not dare to interfere with us. When all
were assembled, and the striking ceased, my adult pupils
commenced a great talk. I had seen, as they came in,
there was something serious on their minds.    After a
little time, a chief came and told me that the Indians
were talking bad outside, by which I understood that the
medicine folks had been using more threats to stop us.
However, I quickly stopped the consultation, and got
them on at work.    On leaving school I came into con-
tact with the same medicine party which I met on going
to school. I almost hesitated about proceeding, but the
Lord did not let me halt. The medicine men were ashamed
to meet me, and so took a short turn. They then became
very much scattered, some hung behind, the charm
seemed broken, and all seemed lost. On nearing the
Fort I met one of the most important men in the medicine business, a chief, and father of one of the little boys
that are being initiated. I spoke to him. He stopped,
and I then told him how angry God is to see such wickedness as he and his party were carrying on; and also
how grieved I was to see it.    He spoke very kindly, and 42
told me, that if they did not make their medicine men as
they had always been used to do, then there would be
none to stop or frustrate the designs of those bad men
who made people sick, and therefore deaths would be
more numerous from the effects of the evil workings of
such bad men. I told him, if they put away their wicked
ways, then God would take care of them. He did not
say much more, except assuring me it was the intention
of all soon to do as I wished them, but at present the medicine parties must go on. I learnt shortly afterwards, from
the chief officer of the Fort, that this very man and another had just visited the Fort to tell him they would now
be content if I would stay school for a fortnight, and after
that they would all come to Be taught; but if I did not
comply, they intended stopping me by force, for they
had determined to shoot at my pupils as they came to
the school. I had a long talk to two of the officers about
the matter, giving them plainly to understand that I did
not intend in the least degree to heed the threats of the
Indians, but go on with my work I would, in spite of all:
I told them that Satan had reigned long enough here:
a © © ©
it was high time his rule was disturbed (as it is). I went,
of course, to school as usual this afternoon. About ninety
pupils were present. After we had done, a chief who
was present began to address them, encouraging them
to continue. After he had done I began to speak on the
matter to them. I was afraid I should not be able to
convey my feelings to them in their own tongue, yet,
thanks be to God, I was enabled to do so. The effect I
desired was produced: they all re-assured me of their
continuing, come what would."
" Dec. 20—This day has been a great day here. I have
heartily to thank that all-seeing Father who has covered
me and supported me to-day. The devil and wicked
men leagued to overthrow me this day, but the Lord
would not have it so. I am still alive. This morning the medicine party who are carrying on their
work near to the school, broke out with renewed
fury, because, as they assert, the child of the head
chief had just .returned from above. The little boy that
lights my fire came in great excitement to tell me that 43
the head chief was not willing for me to have school
to-day, and was anxious to know if I intended going.
He seemed greatly amazed at my answer. On going to
school, I observed a crowd of these wretched men in a
house that I was approaching. When they turned to
come out, they saw me coming, and immediately drew
back until I had passed. As soon as I got into the
school, the wife of the head chief Came to beg me to give
up school for a little time. She was certainly very
modest in her manner and request, but altogether unsuccessful. I spoke to her a little, and then she said
(what I knew to be false) that it was not her nor her
husband that desired to go on with the medicine-work,
for they often cried to see the state of things, but it was
the tribe that urged them to do what they were doing.
When she saw she could prevail nothing, not even so
much as to prevent striking the steel, which they have
a peculiar hatred for, she left me. I then went up the
ladder and struck the steel myself, as I did not like to
send a boy up. Very soon about eighty pupils were in
the school, and we went on as usual.
" This afternoon a boy ran to strike the steel, and not
many seconds elapsed before I saw the head chief approaching, and a whole gang of medicine men after him,
dressed up in their usual charms. The chief looked
very angry, and bade the boy cease. I waited at the
door until he came. up. His first effort was to rid the
school of the few pupils that had just come in. He
shouted at the top of his voice, and bade them be off. I
immediately accosted him, and demanded to know what
he intended or expected to do. His gang stood about
the door, and I think seven came in. I saw their point:
it was to intimidate me by their strength and frightful
appearance; and I perceived the chief, too, was somewhat under the influence of rum. But the Lord enabled
me to stand calm, and, without the slightest fear, to address them with far more fluency, in their tongue, than
I could have imagined possible—to tell them of their
sin faithfully —- to vindicate my conduct'—to exhort
them to leave their bad ways, and also tell to them
they must not think to make me afraid.   I told them
I f
that God was my master, and I must obey Him
rather than them, and that the devil has taught their
fathers what they were practising, and it was bad;
but what I was teaching now was God's way, and it was
good.    Our meeting lasted for more than an hour.    I
© ©
saw a great many people at a distance looking anxiously
at our proceedings, the school door being open. The
chief expressed himself very passionately, now and then
breaking out into furious language, and showing off his
© ©        ©    y ©
savage nature by his gestures. Sometimes I pacified
him by what I said, for a little time; but he soon broke
out again with more violence. Towards the close of the
scene, two of the confederates, vile-looking fellows, went
and whispered something to him, upon which he got up
from a seat he had just sat down upon, stamped his feet on
the floor, raised his voice as high as he could, and exhibited  all the rage, and defiance and boldness that he
i ©
could. This was all done, I knew, to intimidate me, but,
blessed be God, he did not succeed.    Finding his efforts
* ©
unavailing, he went off, but not before he had been almost
deserted by his gang. As he went away, he kept addressing those who had been witnesses; but none seemed
to heed him or give any encouragement. After this
I shut the door, and found sixteen scholars presently
around me, and we commenced work. We had not
long before the chief returned to the school.
He gave a loud knock on the door with a stick. I
went to open it, and my pupils began to squat about
for shelter. When he came in I saw he was in rather
a different mood, and he began to say that he was not
a bad .man to the white people, but that he had always
borne a good character with them : this he could prove
by papers containing his character, given him by the
officers of the Fort. After this he despatched his wife
in great haste to fetch the papers. When they came, I
read them, and then he soon left us again. It was now
time* to leave school, so we concluded by singing—' Jesus
is my Saviour, for Jesus died for me; I love Jesus because He first loved me.' All appeared solemn, and
when they went away they wished me good night.
" The leading topics of the chiefs angry clamour I 45
may class as follows—He requested four days suspension of the school; he promised, that if I complied, he
and his people would then come to school; but threatened if my pupils continued to come on the following
days, he would shoot at them ; lastly, he pleaded, that
if the school went on during the time he specified, then
some medicine-men, whom he expected on a visit shortly
from a distant tribe, would shame, and perhaps kill him.
Some of his sayings during his fits of rage were, that
he understood how to kill people, occasionally drawing
his hand across his throat to show me what he meant;
that when he died he knew he should go down; he could
not change; he could not be good; or, if I made him
good, why then he supposed he should go to a different
place from his forefathers: this he did not desire to do.
On one occasion, while he was talking, he looked at
two men, one of them a regular pupil of mine, and the
other a medicine man, and said,' I am a murderer, and
so are you, and you,' (pointing to each of these men);
s| and what good is it for us to come to school.' Here I
broke in, and, blessed be God, it gave me an opportunity
of telling the three murderers that pardon was now offered
to them if they would repent, and amend, and go to Jesus
our Saviour. After school I took the opportunity of
speaking again to the one who comes to the school, setting the mercy and love of God before him, and the terms
upon which God will now pardon and save us. He seemed
very solemn, and I hope the truth will sink into his heart."
This conduct on the part of the head chief was the
more discouraging, inasmuch as he had, in the first
instance, as we have seen, given up his own house for
the school. So persistent, however, was his hostility at
this time, and so great were the difficulties in the way of
attending school, that another chief having offered the
use of his house for a school, where the children and
others would not be afraid to come, Mr. Duncan readily
availed himself of his kindness, and thus remarks in his
journal on the steady progress of the work—
"Dec. 21—I have had school to-day in the chiefs house
About 100 scholars attended. A medicine party from a
distant tribe has arrived to-day, and caused great stir 46
among the parties here. In one house to-night, where I
dropped in, I found about fifteen quietly sitting over the
fire, two or three of whom were interesting the rest by
going over the reading lesson of the day, which they had
written on a slate I had lent them."
" Dec. 23—I am told that the head chief is still doing,
or rather saying, all he can to hinder my work. Yesterday, at a feast of the medicine parties, he gave a speech
full of bitter feelings towards us. I hear, too, he is
taunting the chief who has lent me his house. How all
this will end I cannot tell, but I leave it with God."
"Dec. 24—At the close of school work this morning I
gave my audience an address on the coming Christian
festival, which has hitherto only been distinguishable to
the Indians as a time of riot and. drunkenness among the
whites. While in school there was a frightful outburst
of the medicine parties, setting the whole of the camp
round about into a kind of terror. A party were, with
their naked prodigy, on the beach when I went out of
the school, but on seeing me they immediately ran into a
house until I got past. I hear that the chief of the
medicine-party strangers, who have arrived lately here,
has proposed to try the strength of my medicine, which
means, he will try how strong I can talk, or whether I
can resist his strong talk and his imaginary evil influence."
"Dec. 25: Christmas-day—Yesterday I told my scholars
to bring their friends and relatives to school to-day, as I
wanted to tell them something new. I found a strong
muster when I arrived at the chiefs house, and a long
train of all ages followed me in. We numbered over
200 souls. I felt the occasion to be a very important one,
and longed to turn it to some good account. We did not
read as usual, but I tried to make them understand why
we distinguished this day from others. After this I
questioned the children a little, and then we sang two
hymns, which we also translated. While the hymns
were being sung, I felt I must try to do something more,
although the language seemed to defy me. I never
experienced such an inward burning to speak before,
and therefore I determined to try extemporaneous ad- 47
dress in Tshimseean. The Lord helped me: a great
stillness prevailed, and, I think, a great deal was understood of what I said. I told them of our condition,
the pity and love of God, the death of the Son of God on
our account, and the benefits arising to us therefrom. I
then exhorted them to leave their sins and pray to Jesus;
■ warning them of the consequences if they refused, and
told them of the good which would follow to them on
obedience. On hearing me enumerate the sins of which
they are guilty I saw some turn and look at each other
with those significant looks which betokened their assent
. to what I said. I tried to impress upon them the certain
ruin which awaited them did they proceed in their present vices. Very remarkably, an illustration corroborating what I said was before their eyes. A poor woman
was taken sick, not four yards from where I stood, and
right before the eyes of my audience.    She was groaning
© J J © ©
under a frightful affliction, the effect of her vices."
" Dec. 28—School as usual in the chiefs house : over
150 pupils on each occasion. One man came to-day to
return thanks to me for giving him a little medicine,
which, he says, has been the means of his recovery from
sickness.    It is rather an interesting case to me, because
this person is the first, so far as I know, who, being dangerously ill, has refused to call in the aid of the medicine
folks, from a conviction they could do him no good, but
only told him lies. Having recovered without them, he
is making a great talk about it."
© ©
" Dec. 29—After school to-night I went to take a little
medicine to a sick man, and found in his house a group
of Indians of the tribe which have lately sent a party of
medicine-men here to show themselves off. I therefore
felt an increased desire to set the Gospel forth on this
visit, that these poor creatures might go back and tell
their people something of the glad tidings they had
heard. Their village is about 80 to 100 miles away
from here, I think. For some time I could not begin:
however, I would not go away, but stood musing and
praying, my heart burning, but full of misgiving. At
last an opportunity was afforded me, and I began, and,
by God's blessing, I was enabled to set the Gospel clearly
w\ 48
and fully before them, that is, as to the essential and
first great truths of it. While I was speaking, one or
two would make remarks as to the truth and reasonableness of what I said. Several times one man exclaimed—Ahm melsh ! ahm melsh ! ' Good news I good
news!' And another, when I had done, said, Shimhow,
which means ' It is true,' and it is adequate, in their
way of speaking, to 'Amen,' ' I believe.' They all
seemed thankful for my visit, and I hope the Lord will
bless it. I tried to enforce the duty of love and obedience to God, by alluding to the attachment and obedience they expected from their children. To this they
agreed, and fully believed the Indians would not be long
before they would be altogether changed."
At the commencement of the new year (1859) Mri.
Duncan returned to his own school-house, which, as
we have seen, he had been compelled to abandon for a
time, in consequence of the opposition of some of the'
Indians. The medicine parties, as a whole, had ceased
all open opposition, but continued to do what secret
mischief they could. The head chief especially, of whom
better things had been at first expected, proved, as we
have seen, one of the great adversaries of the Mission work, stamping all Mr. Duncan's teaching as lies,
and endeavouring to set others against him; but at the
© © '
opening of the year, we nevertheless find him writing—
" We have had school now for about seven weeks. The
enemy has done what he could to overthrow us, but, by
God's mercy, we continue and prosper. Good effects are
already apparent in the camp. Only last week the chief
officer was noticing to me, with much wonder, the
several changes that have taken place.    He observed 49
•what very little medicinal working had been going on,
»/ © © © *
and no murder committed. He emphatically stated,
' This is the quietest winter Fort Simpson has ever
known.' In the face of this there has been more rum in
the camp than has ever been known before at one time ;
and at the commencement of the winter, because such
large quantities of rum had arrived, the officer predicted
dreadful things, none of which, however, thank God,
have taken place."
At the same time the preaching was carried on,"the
proceedings being—singing, saying simple hymns, and
repeating, in the native tongue, answers to a series of
questions in religious truth, followed by a short address
in their own tongue, and concluded with singing and a
O 7 ©       ©
short prayer. Much interest was taken by the Indians
in these simple services.
Thus on Sunday, Feb. 20, we find Mr. Duncan
recording—" During my address this morning I observed
© © *i O
one man (a spirited, bad man he is) to be very uneasy,
and, after a little time, he shouted out' something
which I did not understand, but, from his looks and tone
of voice, I knew it was something bad he had uttered.
I went on as if nothing had happened. He looked enraged at me, and then hid his face in his blanket.
Occasionally he would give me another severe look, and
then put down his head again. When we stood up to
pray he moved to the door. I went on, and he kept
still. On finishing, he walked up to a woman and whispered something in her ear, and then very quickly disappeared. As I was walking from school one of the
little boys told me that this man had been talking bad ;
and afterwards I inquired of a man that was present
what it was all about, and he told me that the man
thought that I was speaking about him, and telling the
people his bad ways, and he was ashamed."
Again on Sunday, Feb. 27 — " About 150 souls
present at school this morning.. I gave an address in
simple English, which many, I feel persuaded, can now
understand. I frequently observed those who understood
interpreting to their neighbours who were not so able to
comprehend.    This  afternoon I visited eleven houses,
E 50
and received many a grateful look and word. On leaving
one house I heard a voice crying.out after me, Allah-
mauik, Allahmautk, ' Saviour, Saviour.' Frequently I
have to check their praises, and tell them to thank God,
and not me, for what I do for them."
On February 28th, the steamer arrived at the Fort,
bringing, amongst other visitors, the Rev. R. Dowson. a
©      ©-' © /-*
Missionary of the Gospel Propagation Society to the
Indians of Vancouver's Island. Mr. Duncan thus
alludes to the visit paid by them to his school—
"March 3—To-day I had five gentlemen from the
steamer at school to witness our proceedings. One was
the Rev. R. Dowson; another the master of H.M.S.
' Satellite ;' and the other three, the Hudson-Bay Company's officers. More than 300 were at school. It was a
great and notable day in this camp, and will long be remembered. The gentlemen seemed and expressed themselves
greatly amazed and gratified at what they had witnessed.
The remarks afterward made by Mr. Dowson- were,
' Well, it is truly wonderful;' 'Seeing is believing;'
' What I have seen has given me great encouragement.'
He had been told by the people of Victoria of the impossibility to benefit the Indians. He now sees it can
be done, and feels very glad he has made this visit. Mr.
Dowson considers the first great difficulties of this Mission are gone. What is wanted now is only to follow
up what is begun."
" March 8—I had a long and serious talk to-day with
some of the chiefs and leading men here against the
ruinous and hateful practices of their people—rum-drinking and prostitution. Very frequently I heard their Shim-
how pronounced, which means they believed what I said,
and I hope, indeed, my words will not be lost upon
them. The Indians are preparing now to leave for their
spring fishing and grease making, which constitutes by
far the most laborious and profitable undertaking in the
year to them, that is, as a people. The fish (a small
species, about six inches long) are taken in very large
quantities in a river about forty miles from here. They
arrive about the 20th of March every year, and never-
vary over a week in their time of coming.     For about 51
two months Indians from every quarter assemble there
to take the fish' and make grease from them. The chief
officer says he has seen over 5000 Indians there at one
time. I had determined not to commence school again
until this important season has set in, and then to go
on with the few that are left here. I want to prove no
hindrance to their procuring food as has been their
custom. Several have asked me whether they are to
take their children to fish, or whether they are to leave
them here to attend school. I invariably recommend
them to go, for if distress for food were to arise by-and-
by, there would be many among them ready enough to
put me and the school down as the cause. Besides, I
need a little time for study and preparation, especially to
compose a series of reading-lessons, and print them in
large letters on cartridge paper."
" March 17—Most of the Indians have now left for
the fishery. I hear that my talking to them about their
evil and ruinous conduct, especially that of the women,
has caused a great stir amongst them. There has been
a meeting at the head chiefs house, where my argu-
© J «/ ©
ments were talked over and approved. The head chief
sent a man to tell me that he wished I would speak
strong against their bad ways (leaving his alone, I suppose), and he would second what I said with strong
speeches. He also icishes to come to school. Who would
have thought it, after showing such opposition as he has ?"
" April 6—The head chief was at school to-day. His
looks show that he well remembers his past base conduct, but I try to disregard the past, and show him equal
kindness with the rest."
" May 24—Last time the ship came from Victoria,
my dear friend, the Rev. E. Cridge, kindly sent me
twelve illustrated Scripture lessons. To-night my adult
class (about twenty) were reading the lesson of the flood,
and the picture showed Noah and- his family sacrificing,
when they returned thanks to God for their deliverance.
In that religious-act the Indians at once recognised an
old custom of their own, and seemed quite astonished.
I cannot describe the encouraging feeling this circumstance supplied.    I had at once a capital stepping-stone 52
from their own system to lead to the great Sacrifice and
Lamb of God. It was quite a new light to them. They
saw an evident reason for the custom of sacrificing, and
some reason for my setting forth a Saviour who had
died for us."
About this time the project of establishing a separate
Missionary settlement for the Christian natives first
came forward. It is alluded to, as will be seen in the
following journal extracts :—
" June 21—I had some talk with a chief, who entreated
me to beg 'for another Missionary, and to remove the
well-disposed Indians and their children away to some
good land about thirty miles from here, that they might
thus escape the present scenes of wickedness."
" June. 30—The old chief mentioned above came again
to-day (knowing that I was writing letters to send
away), and again urged his former requests for another
Missionary, and for a separation to be made in the
camp. He added, that the Indians are willing to give
me their children to teach and bring up as I wish, but
the grown people think it is good for them to die as they
are. I endeavoured to dissuade him from the latter
and distressing part of this resolution, and told him
that God would judge us according as our privileges
had been. On asking him why he did not come to my.
house to be instructed out of God's word on the Sunday,
he told me that his daughter, who is one of my most
regular scholars, never failed to tell him what she
" July 28—I had four chiefs at school to-day. One
of them, an old man, named Neeslakkahnoosh, is the
man who has so frequently expressed a desire of separating the children and well-disposed Indians from the
general mass of the camp. It being the first time he
had paid us a visit to the school (though I often have
him at my house in the Fort), he brought me a prelum a
sent, which he tendered me when I had
seat.    It was a carved spoon of his own workmanship,
and which must have taken him a long time to have
made, on account of his age and dimness of sight."
The subject at length became, in Mr. Duncan's mind, 53
of so great importance to the progress of his work, that
he addressed the following letter to the Parent Com-
< ©
mittee upon it:—
"July 1, 1859—I wish to bring before you a question
which is occupying my thoughts a great deal at present.
It is this—What is to become of the children and the
young people under instruction, when temporal necessity compels them to leave school ? If they are permitted to slip away from me into the gulf of vice and
misery which everywhere surrounds them, then the
fate of these tribes is sealed, and the labour and money
that has already been spent for their welfare might as
well have been thrown away. The more thinking part
of the Indian people themselves see this, and are
asking, nay craving, a remedy. The head chief of one
tribe (a very well-disposed old man) is constantly
urging this question upon me, and begs that steps may
be taken which shall give the Indians that are inclined,
and especially the children now being taught, a chance
and a help to become what good people desire them to
be. In the present state of affairs no real or permanent
good, in my humble opinion, can be effected.
" Victoria, although it is 500 miles away, will always
prove the place of attraction to these tribes, and, to
many, even much farther away. There they become
demoralized, and filled with disease; and from thence
they return, laden with rum, to spread scenes of horror
too awful to describe. It is easy to see that if this state
of things receives no check, then ruin, utter ruin to
them all is not far distant. Numbers, even now, are
beyond the reach of hope, being impregnated with
disease, and enslaved to their vicious courses. But hope
looks up, and says there is a generation of them left as
yet uncontaminated by these self-destroying vices, and
to the rescue of these, at least, we would beckon the
efforts of the Christian.
" And now permit me humbly to suggest how I think
Christian effort ought to be directed. At once I say a
colony ought to be established on some spot where industry would be taught and rewarded, and where intoxicating drinks should be excluded.    Such a spot exists *■!
(the Indians are frequently talking about it to me)
about thirty miles from here; and a goodly band of well-
disposed Indians, I feel sure, are ready to engage hand
and heart in the work; and several adults, who look
upon their own case as hopeless, are exceedingly
anxious about their children. They desire to hand them
over to me (or, to use their own words, to give them to
me) to teach and bring up in my way, which, they see,
is good. Now if such a place as I have spoken of were
established, then we might reasonably expect the Gospel
tree to take root, and, when once rooted, it would
spread forth its branches of peace on every side, until
all the land basked under its shadow. If no such place
is established, then I fear I must live and see the dear
children I have taught destroyed before my eyes."
We shall have occasion again to return to the important subject contained in this letter ;* but, previously
to this, we add a few more extracts from Mr. Duncan's
journal of this date, which show the progress of his
work, and the difficulties with which he had to contend.
" Aug. 18—Having a good deal of writing to do in
the books which I write for my pupils for home lessons,
I announced we would have no school in the afternoon of
to-day. After dinner a loud and an unusual knock was
given at the door. I opened it. It was a chief, bringing
me the broken lock of the school, and the sad intelligence that Cushwaht (a notoriously bad man), being
drunk, had with an axe broken my door open, entered
the school, and smashed all the windows. The chief
then entered into a passionate explanation of the cause
of this foul deed, and assured me that Cushwaht stood
alone in the mischief: not another Indian would have
dared or thought of such a thing. Very soon several
other Indians came, some to bring me the utensils of
the school, and others to tender their sympathy. Thus
it has pleased the Lord to permit us to have another
check; but I trust and pray He will make it administer good.     This  is the explanation.     The  Indian
that did the mischief has a bad
and had sent to
Vide page 78. 00
the Fort to beg a little salve for it, but it was refused on
account of his bad conduct, he having, only a few days
ago, struck a woman who lives in the Fort with a sword,
and wounded her severely, and for no cause. Being
denied the salve, and under the influence of rum, he
went, Indian like, to revenge himself on what came
readiest of the white man's property, and that happened
to be the school. Here is the good providence of God
in ordering i that I and my scholars were not to be in
the buildingi when the wicked I savage was to vent his
o ©
rage upon it. Had we been assembled, I tremble to
think what might have been the consequences. The
chief who came to my house to bring me the lock, &c,
entreated me not to go outside the Fort, as the enraged
villain might fire upon me; but I felt assured that the
Lord would protect me while in the path of duty. On
seeing me on the beach, several Indians came to speak
with me, to tender their sympathy and express their
anger with the. man. I remember an old man saying
'*' the whole camp was crying, and many guns were
ready and waiting for the villain if he dared to appear."
I entreated them not to shed his blood; that it was very
wrong indeed what he had done, but I was inclined to
pity and forgive him. One house I had to go to was
the next but one to that occupied by Cushwaht. On
approaching it, many thought probably I was going to
see him. They looked very much alarmed, expecting,
no doubt, that firing would ensue. But on seeing me
enter the house where the sick person was, many
followed me, among whom was the wife of the mischievous rascal. I never alluded to my own troubles or
wrongs, but applied myself to the case of the poor
invalid, whose state was indeed alarming."
" Sept. 15—Some sad work has occurred in the camp
this afternoon. A young man, an Indian, under the
influence of drink, irritated one of the chiefs, who was
also partly drunk. The chief immediately seized a pistol,
and shot the brother of the man who had offended him.
Then commenced a series of encounters, and two more
were killed. The firing is going on, and quite close to
the school-house." 56
" Sept. 19—Another very serious disturbance to-day.
As I went to the school-house, to see about repairing it,
I observed that some of the Indians of one tribe were
having a rum feast. On nearing the house of the man
who broke the school windows (Cushwaht), I saw that
his house was the point of attraction, and, from what I
heard, concluded that a good many were already drunk
within. I had nothing but civility shown me, both in
going and returning, although I passed some that were
drunk. I had onlyjust got back to the Fort, when a
quarrel took place in Cushwaht's house, and Cushwaht
himself, as usual, the cause of it. It was not long before
firing ensued. Two women have been killed, one of
them Cushwaht's sister, and Cushwaht has been shot in
the hand. These murders and riots are all tending
very powerfully to awaken the minds of those who have
been under instruction, and to wean them more and more
from this place of darkness. I find many flock around
me now to speak of their trouble, and they listen with
much more attention and seriousness to the Gospel
message. I have been for some time desiring to speak
to the cannibal chief. To-day the opportunity was
afforded me, and I had some talk with him. This man
heads the most degrading superstition this people have
got; but he is a young man, and has a noble look. It
will be a hard struggle if he ever sets himself to escape
from the meshes of that horrid custom which he has
taken upon himself to perpetuate; but I hope and pray
God may give him light and strength for the conflict,
and bring nim clothed and in his right mind to the feet
of Jesus."
" Oct. 10—A very solemn event has taken place this
evening. I was informed, on coming out of the school
this afternoon, that a young man, who has been a long
time suffering in consumption (brought on by a severe
cold), and whom I have visited several times, was dying;
so, after a little reflection, some misgiving, and prayer, I
started off to see him. I found him as his wife had said,
dying. Over twenty people were about him: some were
crying, and two, I am sorry to say, were partly intoxicated.    I  looked on for some time in silent sorrow. 01
When I wished to speak, silence immediately ensued.
I rebuked the noise and tumult, and directed the dying
man to fix his heart on the Saviour Jesus, to forget the
things about him, and spend his little remaining time
in praying in his heart to God to save him. His reply
was, " O yes, Sir; O yes, Sir;" and for some moments
he would close his eyes, and seem absorbed in prayer.
On one occasion he spoke of his heart being happy or
resigned. I could not make out the exact expression,
as there was some talking at the time, and the remark
was in Tsimsheean. He begged me, with much earnestness, to continue to teach his little girl. He wanted
her to be good. This little girl is about seven years
old: her name is Cathl. She has been very regular at
school since I commenced, and has made nice progress.
Much to my comfort, a young woman sat by his side,
who has been one of my most regular pupils. She
is in the first class, and can read portions of the Bible.
Her intelligence is remarkable, and I have observed her
to be always listening to religious instruction. Thus,
here was one sitting close to the dying man who could
© •/        ©
tell him, much more accurately than I, the few directions I desired to utter. What remarkable providence
it seemed to me !    With tears in her eyes, she begged
*J        J ©O
him to give his heart to God and to pray to Him. I
longed to pray with him, and watched anxiously a
long time for the opportunity. The opportunity came,
and the strength came with it. I knelt down by his
side. All was hushed, and I prayed from a full heart
to the Lord our God to have mercy upon the poor soul
about to come into His presence, for the sake of His.
dear Son Jesus. I feel sure that the Lord heard my
prayer, and I can indulge a hope for this poor man's
There was much in the case of this young man which
encouraged Mr. Duncan in the hope that he was a true
believer in Christ. He understood the main and leading
truths of the Gospel, and he frequently prayed much to
God. During his sickness he never permitted the medicine folks to operate upon him; and this of itself showed
wonderful change in him.    He died the
following 58
night, having reassured the people around him of his
safety, and had a very solemn parting from his little
On October 22 Mr. Duncan was able to report to
the Committee that he had made his first attempt at
printing in the native, language. A small Church Service had been prepared by him for the use of the
Indians. It contained three hymns (a morning and an
evening hymn and a hymn to the Saviour), comprising,
in all, fourteen verses, which, together with a prayer, he
had composed himself; then a short Catechism, partly
compiled and partly written ; and, lastly, fifty-five
texts of Scripture arranged in three classes; some
of them striking texts, which mark the difference
between the good and the bad, the second class referring particularly to doctrines, and the remainder to
practice. ;
At the commencement of the year 1860 Mr. Duncan's
heart was cheered by receiving the following letter,
written at the request of the Governor, to convey the
assurance of the interest taken by His Excellency in the
work he was carrying on. It was dated " The Parsonage, Victoria, Jan. 11, 1860," and written by the Rev.
E. Cridge (now Dean of Victoria), a clergyman several
times alluded to in these pages, who had from the first
taken the heartiest interest in Mr. Duncan's Missionary
" I am requested by His Excellency the Governor to
express to you the great gratification he has received
from conversing with several of the Indians who have
been under your instruction at Fort Simpson, and who
are now at Victoria; and his pleasure at witnessing the 59
great improvement in manners, bearing and religion,
which you have succeeded in effecting in their condition.
His Excellency trusts you will continue to showthe same
energy, perseverance and zeal which he is sure you
must already have applied to the work, and that your
labour will be rewarded by a still larger measure of success. His Excellency also wishes me to say that he
would feel obliged by your reporting to him from time
to time on the progress of your Mission. Amy suggestions you may make with regard to measures which
may occur to you as likely to prove beneficial to the
Indians under your care, such as settling them in any
particular locality, or setting apart a reserve of land for
their use, will receive His Excellency's best attention;
who will also, if necessary, represent any such measures, with his favourable recommendation, to Her Majesty's Government. Praying that the Divine blessing
may rest abundantly on your Mission, believe me, &c,
" E. Ckidge."
In January 1860 Dr. Hills, the first Bishop of British
Columbia, arrived at Victoria, and on hearing of his
arrival Mr. Duncan wrote to his lordship, taking the
opportunity of laying before him the condition of the
Indians at Fort Simpson, and the prospects of the Mission. The Bishop wrote in reply, on March 9th, expressing his warm interest in the Missionary's work—
" I thank God for the measure of success He has thus
far given you. In the recovery of the heathen to His truth
and holiness we must not expect quick results. History
leads us rather to count the years by hundreds than
tens for any great impression upon savage nations. Our
work is especially one of faith. ' One soweth and another reapeth.' Quite sure are we of this, that none of
our labour honestly done can be in vain. The Divine
word going forth shall not return void of blessing and
power to those unto whom it has been directed, but shall
accomplish the pleasure of our God, and prosper in the
thing whereto He sends it. It is certainly a cause of
anxiety and sorrow that these little ones should be so led
away and corrupted to worse things than they know by 60
the example of evil white men. We could weep over
them with feelings of shame that the Christian name
should be so dishonoured. We have doubtless more
against us in consequence. Still there is a Power above
all this, and we must trust, and work and wait in
patience. I had hoped ere this the Society would have
strengthened your hands by a fellow-labourer. The
Secretary informed me they were looking out for the
right man. I am sorry to hear your health has not
been good. Would not a change be beneficial We
shall gladly welcome you here, and I should really like
to have aid in organizing a plan for the education of the
children, and other matters. Your experience with them
would be valuable. It would be desirable, too, if you
could pay a visit to the Tsimsheeans here, and see if we
could not co-operate with the Fort Simpson work by
some supervision here. Earnestly trusting God may
bless your work, and make you an instrument of bringing many to Christ, believe me, &c,
" G. Columbia."
At the same time that the Bishop's letter arrived
desiring Mr. Duncan's presence at Victoria for the
commencement of some work amongst the Indians there,
two others from the Rev. E. Cridge and Captain Prevost
were received, strongly urging him to visit Victoria, both
■* O   t/ ©        © J
on account of his state of health, which was at that
time far from strong, and also for the purpose mentioned
by the Bishop, of commencing some work there to cooperate with his own work at Fort Simpson. He had
long deplored before God and to his own friends the
ruin which was setting in upon the Indian tribes since
the rush of white men to Victoria on the discovery of
gold in the Frazer River; and as every account he had
heard of Victoria showed that the condition of the
Indians there was •becoming worse and worse, he felt
that unless something was done his own work could not
be expected to prosper, because, while he was alone
trying to do them good, many evil-disposed persons were
tempting, corrupting and brutalizing them at Victoria.
With these feelings Mr. Duncan determined to avail
© 61
himself of an opportunity which offered of a free passage in one of the Company's steamers, and so he arrived
at Victoria on May 28.
Previously, however, to this, he paid two visits to other
tribes of Indians along the coasts, which are too interesting and too important to be passed over, as they proved
to be the prelude to subsequent Misssionary movements.
The first, was to the Nishkah Indians upon the Naas
River, of which he thus speaks in his journal—
"April 17, 1860—Started this morning in a canoe,
lent to me by Mr. Moffatt, to see the Indians up Naas
River, which, river runs into the Observatory Inlet.
My crew consisted of two Tsimsheean men and four
boys, the latter my first-class pupils. Our course lay
in a northern direction for about fifty miles up the
inlet, and then nearly due east on entering the river.
" April 19—After breakfast we set off up this beautiful
river, about ten miles of which we could see straight
before us, its width to that distance being about two
: miles, with a chain of towering mountains running parallel to it on either side. We reached the Indians
about ten a.m. These were not the Indians belonging
to the river, but strangers from different quarters who
had come to fish. Some had come over 150 miles to the
fishing, but the most of them were Tsimsheeans, whose
home is about sixty miles away. I cannot think there
were less than 2000 souls in all. They have spread
themselves out on both banks in several villages, living
in rude temporary houses. They have been here a
month, and will be about one month more before they
finish. The fishes taken are about six inches long.
They come annually between the 15th and 22nd of
March, and are greatly valued for the grease which
they supply. Their quantity is inconceivably, great.
Besides about 5000 Indians there are tens of thousands
of sea gulls preying upon the fish for about two months.
"About four p.m. we arrived in sight of the three lower
villages of the Nishkah Indians, and these, with two
upper villages, constitute the proper inhabitants of the
river. On approaching the principal village we were
met by a man who had been sent to invite us to the 62
chiefs house.    Numbers of Indians stood on the bank.
When we stopped, several rushed into the water: some
seized my luggage, and one took me on his back.    In a
few minutes we were safely housed.    Smiling faces and
kind words greeted me on every side.    My friend Kah-
doonahah, the chief who had invited me to his house,
was dancing for joy at my arrival.    He had put his
house in order, made up a large fire in the centre, placed
two big iron kettles on it, ana had invited a number of
his friends to come and feast with me.    About thirty of
us, all males, sat round the fire.    Boiled fresh salmon
was first served out.    All the guests were furnished
with large horn or wooden spoons: I preferred to use
my own.    My plate was first filled with choice bits, and
afterwards large wooden dishesful were carried round,
and one placed before every two persons.    This done,
boiled rice, mixed with molasses, was served us.    Fresh
spoons and dishes were used.    While the dishes were
being filled, each person had a large spoonful handed him
to be going on with.    After the feast I had considerable
conversation, and concluded by requesting that all the
chiefs and chief men of the three tribes should meet me
on the morrow, when I would endeavour to give them
the good news from God's book.    The greatest readiness
prevailed to second my wishes.    Kahdoonahah suggested
that there might be some difficulty to get all the chiefs
to assemble, unless something was provided for them to
eat.    He therefore promised to send out and invite them
all to his house, and give them a feast for the occasion.
" It was now  evening, and the guests went home.
Kahdoonahah then brought in an old man to sing to
me.    The old man very solemnly sat down before me,
fixed his eyes upon the ground, and began beating time
by striking his foot with his hand.    He was assisted by
Kahdoonahah, who not only sang, but kept up a thumping noise with a large stick.    A few boys also clapped
their   hands in proper time.     After   they had  sung
two or three songs I told them we wordd now change.
© ©
I drew my few boys around me. One of them immediately warned the chief and his company that we
were going to sing songs to God, which were the same 63
as prayers, and therefore they must be very reverenl.
We sang several little hymns, some of which I translated. The party soon increased, and sat very attentively."
"April 20—After breakfast, two men entered the
house, and stood just within the door. Looking at me,
one of them shouted out, " Woah shimauket, woah shim-
auket, woah shimauket, woah." After repeating this
twice, they went away. This was an invitation from a
chief who wanted me and my crew to breakfast with
him. I took two of my party, and set off. When I was
entering the chiefs house, he stood up, and, beckoning
me to a seat, cried out loudly, " Yeah shimauket, yeah
shimauket, yeah shimauket, yeah." As soon as I was
seated, he stopped, and sat down. These words, rendered
into English, are, " Welcome chief, welcome chief, welcome chief, welcome." We feasted on boiled salmon
and rice, and sugar and molasses, after which the chief
presented me with five marten skins and a large salmon.
When I returned to Kahdoonahah's house,
he had got
three large iron kettles on the fire for the feast; and I
was informed that an old chief had given me a
black bear's skin. The drum began to beat, and a
general bustle prevailed around me. I sat down to collect my thoughts, and to lift up my heart to God to
prepare me for the important meeting about to take place,
at which the blessed Gospel was to be proclaimed to
these poor tribes- of Indians for the first time.
" About twelve o'clock they began to assemble. Each
took a place corresponding to his rank. We soon mustered about sixty chiefs and headmen. Between one
and two p.m. we began to feast, which consisted, as
usual, of salmon and rice, and molasses.' Just when we
had done eating, a canoe of Tsimsheeans arrived: it was
the cannibal chief and his party. I cannot say whether
their visit was designed for the purpose of hearing what
I said to these Indians, or not; but I think it was. They
came dressed, and satin a row amongst us. We now
mustered, with waiters and lookers-on, about 100 souls.
In the morning 1 had heard Kahdoonahah say that
they intended to perform before me their 'AhUed;'' but 64
I requested him to have no playing, as I wanted to
speak very solemnly to them.     He promised me they
would do nothing bad; but now that the feasting was
over, much to my sorrow, he put on his dancing mask
and robes.    The leading singers stepped out, and soon
all were engaged in a spirited chant.     They kept excellent time by clapping their hands and beating a drum.
(I found out afterwards that they had been singing my
praises, and asking me to pity them and do them good.)
The   chief Kahdoonahah  danced with   all his   might
during the singing.    He wore a cap, which had a mask
in front, set with mother-of-pearl, and' trimmed  with
porcupine's quills.    The quills enabled him to hold a
quantity of white bird's down on the top of his head,
which he ejected while dancing, by jerking his head forward : thus he soon appeared as if in a shower of snow.
In the middle of the dance a man approached me with a
handful of down, and blew it over my head, thus symbolically uniting me in friendship with all the chiefs present, and the tribes they, severally represented.    After
the  dance  and singing were over, I  felt exceedingly
anxious   about   addressing   them;   but  circumstances
seemed so unfavourable, on account of the excitement,
that my heart began to sink.     What made the matter
worse, too, was, a chief, who had lately been shot in the
arm for overstepping his rank, began talking very passionately.     This aroused me.     I saw at once that I
must speak, or probably the meeting might conclude in
confusion.     I stood up, and   requested them to cease
talking, as I wished them to rest their hearts, and listen
to the great message I had come to deliver. Instantly the
chief ceased  talking, and   every   countenance became
fixed attentively towards me.    I began, and the Lord
helped me much.     I was enabled to speak with more
freedom and animation than I had ever done before in
the Indian tongue.     Much to my encouragement, the
Indians unanimously responded at the finish of every
clause.     The most   solemn occasion of this kind was
when I introduced the name of the Saviour.    At once
every tongue uttered Jesus, and, for some time, kept repeating that blessed name, whichl hope they willnotforget. 65
" After I had finished my address, I asked them to
declare to me their thoughts upon what they had heard,
and also if they desired to be further instructed in God's
word. Immediately a universal cry arose of,' Good is
your speech: good, good, good news! We greatly desire to learn the book: we wish our children to learn.'
After being assured that there was not one dissenting
© ©
voice, I concluded the meeting; and in a very few
minutes I was in my canoe, and floating down the river.
" I ought to mention, that I had other presents of
fur made me during the afternoon by two chiefs. One
gave me the skins of three martens and two lynxes; and
the other, three beavers, a black bear, and a fisher. Of
course I am expected to return these chiefs some presents of equal value, the transaction itself being only to
induce a reciprocation of good feeling, and the articles
exchanged are as pledges of the same. The Tsimsheean
cannibal invited me to sleep in his house, at his temporary fishing-village, on my way down. I arrived back
at Fort Simpson on the seventh day."
The other visit spoken of above was made to the
Keethrahtlah Indians, which proved to be specially
important, as it was in consequence of this visit that
Metlahkatlah was subsequently selected as the first
Missionary settlement.    Of this Mr. Duncan writes—
" May 2 — About noon we arrived at a beautiful
channel, three or four miles long, in which are situated
the sites of the villages the Tsimsheeans occupied before
Fort Simpson was established. These villages have
been deserted about twenty-five years, and the few
remains still standing consist of massive uprights and
horizontal beams of the chief houses, which are now
so rotten that I could easily push my walking-stick
through many of them. I could see that the houses
have been large, and, in some cases, ornamented by an
ugly wooden figure set up on each of the front corners.
I saw, too, that several of the houses have been sunk
ten or twelve feet, to afford protection during war.
I landed and viewed the scenery from several points,
and oh how lovely did it appear!     A narrow placid
F 66
channel, studded with little promontories and pretty
islands; a rich verdure; a waving forest, backed by'
lofty but densely-wooded mountains; a solemn stillness,
broken only by the cries of flocks of happy birds
flying over, or the more musical notes of some little
warbler near at hand. But how strangely did all this
contrast with the sad reflections which the history of
savage heathenism suggests!    The thought that every
© ©© © J
foot of ground I trod upon had been stained with horrid
crime, that every little creek was associated with some
dark tragedy, and those peaceful waters had oft been
stained with human blood, made my feelings soon change
from delight to gloom. What would, indeed, those
rocks unfold, if all the horrid yells and cries of anguish
they have echoed were but written ? or who can even
faintly paint the scenes of savage riot committed on
these beaches, when blood-thirsty marauders have returned with human heads for booty? Why I was so
particular to see this place is, because many of the Tsimsheeans have expressed a strong desire for me to build
my school here, and they will return with me and begin
a better history. May God grant it! We proceeded
about five miles from the old villages, got into the broad
channel again, and encamped for the night."
" May 3—About four p.m. wre found a few of the
Indians I wanted to see. They were encamped on a
little island about three miles from their proper village,
living in temporary bark-houses, and watching for an
opportunity to shift off to channels where they procure
large quantities of halibut fish. On seeing us approach,
numbers of men and boys came running on the beach
to meet us. One man carried me on his back on shore,
and all seemed happy at my arrival. The principal
chief (called Seebassah), and the greater number of the
people, left a few days ago for a fishing station about
eighty miles away. The number of souls left is about
100. Their proper village, which I can see from here,
is quite deserted, and will be for a few months. The
chief at the head of this party invited me into his house,
and also all his principal men, to feast with me. He
complained of having bad health, and no wonder, for I
i ■ 67
found out that he is a cannibal by profession, one of the
horrid gang who, in the winter months, awe and astonish the tribe by hunting for, exhuming, and eating
corpses! While the food was cooking they brought
me water to wash with, and then handed it to my crew.
The old men were talking to me as fast as they could,
and the women  and   children were   crowding round
the house outside, and peeping at me through every
hole. I was particularly desired to understand that I
found them in a very disorderly state, and that, had I
seen them altogether in their large village, I should have
© © ©     ?
been astonished at their greatness and number. Yet I
do not think they muster over 500 souls in all.
" One very old man, with great characteristic animation, related to me the tradition of the first appearance
of the whites near this place. It was as follows—' A
large canoe of Indians were busy catching halibut in
one of these channels. A thick mist enveloped them.
Suddenly they heard a noise as if a large animal was
striking through the water. Immediately they concluded that a monster from the deep was in pursuit of
them. With all speed they hauled up their fishing lines,
seized the paddles, and strained every nerve to reach
the shore. Still the plunging noise came nearer. Every
minute they expected to be engulfed within, the jaws of
some huge creature. However, they reached the land,
jumped on shore, and turned round in breathless anxiety
to watch the approach of the monster. Soon a boat,
filled with strange-looking men, emerged from the mist.
The pulling of the oars had caused the strange noise.
Though somewhat relieved of fear, the Indians stood
spell-bound with amazement. The strangers landed,
and beckoned the Indians to come to them and bring
them some fish. One of them had over his shoulder
what was supposed only to be a stick : presently he
pointed it to a bird that was flying past; a violent poo
went forth; down came the bird to the ground. The
Indians died. As they revived again, they questioned
each other as to their state, whether any were dead,
and what each had felt. The whites then made signs
for a fire to be lighted.    The Indians proceeded at once, 68
according to their usual tedious fashion of rubbing two
sticks together. The strangers laughed, and one of
them, snatching up a handful of dry grass, struck a
spark into a little powder placed under it. Instantly
flushed another poo and a blaze. The Indians died.
After this the new comers wanted some fish boiling.
The Indians therefore put the fish and water into one of
their square wooden buckets, and set some stories in the
fire, intending, when they were hot, to cast them into
the vessel, and thus boil the food. The whites were not
satisfied with this way. One of them fetched • a tin-
kettle out of the boat, put the fish and the water into it,
and then, strange to say, set it on the fire. The Indiarik
looked on with astonishment. However, the kettle did
not consume ; the water did not run into the fire. Then,
again, the Indians died. When the fish was eaten the
s^firalri'^ers put a kettle of rice on the fire. The Indians
looked at each other and whispered, Akshalm, akikahrtj
or,' Maggots, maggots.' The rice being cooked, some
.molasses were produced and mix'ed with it. The Indians
stared and said, Coutzee uni tsakah ahket, or, ' The
grease of dead people.' The whites then tendered the
rice and molasses to the Indians, but they only shrank
away in disgust. Seeing this, to prove their integrity^
they sat down and enjoyed it themselves. The sight
stunned the Indians, and again they all died. Softie
other similar wonders were worked, and the profound
stupor which the Indians felt each time to come over
them, they termed death. The Indians' turn had now
come to make the white strangers die. They dressed
their heads and paiftted their faces. A nok-nok, or
wonder-working spirit, possessed them. They came
slowly and solemnly, seated themselves before the whites,
then suddenly lifted up their heads and stared. Their
reddened eyes had the desired effect. The whites
died. Ithen gave a lengthy address, in which I fully set
before them the blessed name and Gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the character and way of God, and warned
them of coming judgment. During my discourse I frequently asked them if they understood, and they unani- 69
mously assured me they did; and, after I had finished,
many of them spoke of the ready heart they and their
people had to learn about God, and to learn to read and
write. I bless God that another poor tribe of Indians
have heard His word. May He bless the seed sown,
and give the increase !"
As before stated, Mr. Duncan left for Victoria on May
22nd, and has visit resulted in the inauguration of an
important work there, to which we must briefly allude.
On his way he stopped at Fort Rupert, and his journal
thus records his visit—
" May 25—Arrived at Fort Rupert. Here, too, there
are three tribes of Indians, numbering, it is supposed,
about 1000 souls. Their language is nearly like that
spoken at Millbank, but entirely different to Tsimsheean.
The two priests had also been here, and taught the Indians to sing a hymn to the Virgin Mary in the trading
jargon. They had also baptized some children, and
promised soon to revisit the place and station a priest
here. The Indians gathered round me opposite the Fort,
and I instructed them as well as I was able, by means
of the trading jargon. I told them of Jesus, the true
and only Saviour, which the priests had neglected to do.
The Indians had heard of and seen some of the results
of my teaching at Fort Simpson, and they now begged
me to come and stay with them. One chief offered me
the use of his house if I would come; and all were
anxious to teach me some of their language, of which I
©        ©   *
got about 200 words.    I promised to do my best to get
them a teacher as soon as possible."
Upon his arrival at Victoria, Mr. Duncan found about
3000 Indians congregated there from various quarters,
living in the most deplorable state. Every female
amongst them was being dragged to prostitution, and
both males and females given up to drunkenness and
riot. The bishop had just started upon a three months'
visitation tour, and Mr. Duncan, feeling the importance
of an immediate interview with his lordship, at once
determined to follow him to New Westminster, about
seventeen miles distant.    Arriving there on the 30th, he 70
had the great joy of meeting Captain Prevost, whom he
had not seen since his first departure for Fort Simpson,
in 1857, and who was just on the point of leaving for
England. " We knelt in prayer together," writes Mr.
Duncan, " and blessed God for the mereies we had each
received since we parted, and implored His aid and grace
for future duties." From the bishop he received a
hearty greeting, and at once they commenced to talk
over the prospects of Missionary work amongst the
Indians in Victoria. There was no doubt about the
necessity of some steps being taken, for the sake of both
the Indians in Victoria and at Fort Simpson, and the
bishop was quite prepared to carry on a work, if it was
only begun, but the question was, " who was to begin
it ?" It needed some one acquainted with their language, and as Mr. Duncan was the only person who knew
it, he promised the bishop to do what he could for a little
time, if some of his Fort Simpson scholars could be
brought to Victoria and fed while he carried on their
education. Returning, therefore, to Victoria, he at once
commenced to visit and instruct the Indians, but so deplorable was their social condition that he felt that little
could be done until the Government and law put forth
their united power to aid. The Governor was then
away from home. Several members of the
Assembly confessed their inability to deal
Indian question, which was becoming more
serious, and they requested Mr. Duncan's advice and
aid. He at once commenced two Sunday services in
Tsimsheean—one in the morning, held as a kind of
Sunday school, when about forty attended; and the other
in the afternoon, when he assembled the Indians on a
rock close to their camp, where about 200 or 250 attended. Upon the return of the Governor to Victoria
he invited Mr. Duncan to a conference upon Indian
affairs. He had already prepared a plan to lay before
His Excellency, embodying his own views with reference to the future management of the Indians. At
first the wish of the Governor was only to have
Mr. Duncan's assistance in getting the Indians away
from   Victoria,  inasmuch as  they were  quite unma-
House of
with the
more 71
nageable; but wheft he had listened to the details of
the plan which the Missionary had to lay before him he
at once assented to it, and expressed his readiness to
carry out the proposed scheme. Without delay they
rode out together to the Indian camp, and there the Governor made, through Mr. Duncan, who acted as intejj
preter, a speech to two crowds of Indians, and invited
the chiefs to meet him at Government house on the following day, when, upon their arrival, he placed before them
(Mx. Duncan again acting as interpreter) the details of
the plan which he was about to introduce among them.
The message was received by them with good will, and
the Missionary at once commenced to assist the Governor to carry out the plan. He remained amongst
them from morning to night, and in a letter written at
the time He says, " The Indians so appreciate my exertions for their temporal welfare that many have come to
receive religious instruction who would otherwise have
stayed away. They are continually coming to me with
their troubles, and seem very grateful for my assistance.
I have reason to be very thankful to God for His directing
me here, and guiding and prospering my way. Had I
not come, most probably the Indians would have been
driven away from Victoria, and that might have led to a
quarrel, then a war, then we should have had a repetition
of the misery and trouble the Americans have experienced in their western territories." One of the propositions of the plan was, that a school should be built among
the Indians, and this was soon done. On the 10th of
July a public Missionary meeting was held, which
was well attended, the chair being taken by Captain
Prevost, and 65/. was collected,'which was subsequently
made up by the Governor to 1001., the cost of the school
house. This, with a master's house, was at once commenced, and was nearly completed before the bishop's
return. Much interest was taken in the meeting, and
an account of it was given in the " Victoria Gazette" of
July 13, 1860, which makes the following further allusion to Mr. Duncan's work—
" A feast was given on the quarter-deck of the ' Satellite' (July 19) to the chiefs  of the Tsimsheean  and 72'
Nishkah tribes, twenty-eight in number, by Captain
Prevost. The principal dishes were rice and molasses,
strong tea, and biscuit. The object was to make a return to the chiefs for an entertainment given by them to
Mr. Duncan on the Naas River. They were shown over
the ship, and were astonished by the weight of the sixty-
eight-pounders, size of the guns, and quantity of powder
in a cartridge. They were particularly struck with a
portrait of the Queen, when told she was the great chief
of the English nation. They expressed themselves as
highly honoured at being invited on board a man-of-war,
of which hitherto they have had so much dread, and gave
Captain Prevost some handsome beaver, ermine, and
otter skins. We commend the gallant captain for his
judicious endeavours to establish a good understanding
with the Indians, and regret he is so soon to leave this
On the 8th August, 1860, the day on which the bishop
returned from his three months' visitation tour, Mr.
Duncan was rejoiced to welcome a long hoped-for coadjutor in his Missionary work, the Rev. L. S. Tugwell with
his wife. After conference with the bishop, it was thought
desirable that, as an opportunity offered for the new
comers to proceed at once to Fort Simpson, they should
be accompaned by Mr. Duncan, and introduced to their
new sphere of labour; and that then, having settled
them, he should return to Victoria, and carry on the work
which he had commenced, and to which he felt himself
pledged for the winter. Previous to their departure,
on August 10th, the Governor visited the new Indian
school; and upon his return, hearing from Mr. Duncan 73
that he was about to leave for Fort Simpson, assured
him of his great satisfaction at what had been done there,
and informed him that he had forwarded to the Home
Government a plan embodying the suggestions that he
had made, for the organization and improving of the
Indians on their own lands. His Excellency also thanked
him very much for the important services he had rendered to him in organizing the Indians at Victoria.
On Sunday, the 12th August, the bishop attended the
Indian service in the newly-erected school, and having
addressed the congregation, offered up prayer in English.
The bishop was much gratified, particularly at hearing
the Tsimsheeans sing a chant in their own language.
© ©        ©
On the following day Mr. Duncan left for Fort Simpson,
accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Tugwell, and arrived on
the 21st. The steamer, on its return from Victoria,
touched at Fort Rupert, as it had done in its journey
thither, and the following interesting account of Mr.
Duncan's interview with Captain Richards has been
given in his journal—
" Aug. 19—This evening we arrived at Fort Rupert,
and found H.M.S.' Plumper' in the harbour. I went on
board, and was warmly greeted by Captain Richards,
who astonished me by saying that he had just been writing about me to the Admiral. I read his despatch. It
stated that he had some trouble with the Indians of that
place, and at a large gathering they had asked him why
Mr. Duncan was not sent to teach them, and then insisted upon the injustice of my being sent over their
heads to the Tsimsheean Indians. During my conversation with Captain Richards, he said the business he
had just had with the Indians convinced him that it was
not our ships of war that were wanted up this coast, but
Missionaries. The Indian's ignorance of our power, and
strong confidence in his own, in addition to his natural
savage temper, render him unfit to be dealt with at present by stern and unyielding men-of-war, unless his destruction be contemplated, which of course is not. ' Then,'
asked the captain,' why do not more men come out, since
your Mission has been so successful; or, if Missionary
Societies cannot afford them, why do not the Govern- ment send out fifty, and place them up the coast at once?
Surely it would not be difficult to find fifty good men in
England willing to engage in such a work?    And their
© © 5 ©    © # ■
expenses would almost be nothing compared with the cost
which the country must sustain to subdue the Indians by
arms.' Such are the earnest sentiinents of one of Her
Majesty's naval captains while among the Indians."
It had been Mr. Duncan's intention to return at once
with the steamer, to carry on his work at Victoria; but
finding much, on his arrival at Fort Simpson, requiring
his supervision, he determined to remain until Mr. and
Mrs. Tugwell should be thoroughly settled to the work,
and then return to Victoria by canoe, by which course a
good opportunity would be offered of visiting several
tribes of Indians, whom he could not see if he went
down by the regular steamer. It will be interesting to
introduce here Mr. Tugwell's letter to the Committee,
conveying his first impression of the state of things at
Fort Simpson—
" How I wish," he writes, " the friends of Missions in
England could see Mr. Duncan's congregation on the
LI.. O O
Sunday. They would indeed ' thank God, and take
courage.' I have never seen an English congregation more
orderly and attentive. With but few exceptions, both
the children and adults come clean and neatly dressed.
The children sing several hymns very sweetly—a morning and evening hymn, composed by Mr. Duncan, a
hymn to our Saviour, and another, beginning, l Jesus is
my Saviour.' ' Here we suffer grief and pain,' &c, and
some others in English, also one in Tsimsheean. The
Indians all up the coast are crying out for teachers,
Come over, and help us.' Now seems to be the propitious moment: soon hundreds, yea, thousands, of the
poor Indians will have perished."
Upon Captain Prevost's return to England he paid a
visit to the Committee of the Church Missionary Society,
and bore testimony to the ability, assiduity, and success
with which, alone and unaided, Mr. Duncan had initiated and conducted, for four years, the difficult work
with which he had been entrusted. Captain Prevost was
accompanied by Lieutenant Stubbs,of H.M.S. "Alert," ID
who had himself spent four days at Fort Simpson in
August 1860, and who expressed the gratification he had
experienced in witnessing the results of Mr. Duncan's
work in the school; and as an evidence of the progress
made by some of the children in the school, Captain*
Prevost brought with him a journal kept by one of
Mr. Duncan's pupils, named Shooquanahts, a boy about
fourteen or fifteen. It was written during Mr. Duncan's
absence, in a copy-book which he had supplied to him,
that he might record his thoughts in his own way, with a
view to his improvement in composition, but of course
•without any idea of its ever being publicly exhibited.    •
" Tuesday April 4th, 1860—If will die my father, then
will very poor my heart 4 my brother all die: only one
Shooquanahts, save, and two my uncle save. I will try
to make all things. I want to be good, .and I want to
much work hard. When we have done work, then will
please, Sir, Mr. Duncan, will you give me a little anything when you come back."
" April 10—I could not sleep last night. I must work
hard last night. I could not be lazy last night. No
good lazy—very bad. We must learn to make all things.
When we understand reading and writing, then it will
© ©7
very easy. J Perhaps two grass, then we understand. If
we no understand to read and to write, then he will very
angry Mr. Duncan. If we understand about good people,
then we will very happy."
" April 17 : School, Fort Simpson—Shooquanahts not
two hearts—not always one my heart. Some boys always two hearts. Only one Shooquanahts—not two
heart, no. If I steal anything then God will see. Bad
people no care about Son of God: when will come
troubled hearts, foolish people. Then he will very much
cry. What good cry ? Nothing. No care about our
Saviour; always forget. By and by will understand
about-the Son of God."
"May 17—I do not understand some prayers—only few
prayers I understand; not all, I understand, no. I wish
to understand all prayers. When I understand all
prayers, then I always prayer our Saviour Jesus Christ.
I want to learn to prayer to Jesus Christ our Saviour: 76
by and by I understand all about our Saviour Christ:
when I understand all what about our) Saviour, then I
will happy when I die. If I do not learn about our
Saviour Jesus, then I will very troubled my heart
when I die. It is good for us when we learn about our
Saviour Jesus. When I understand about our Saviour
Jesus, then I will very happy when I die."
Writing to the Home Committee on his return to
Fort Simpson, in Aug. 1860, Mr. Duncan gives the following very interesting account of the progress of his
work :—" Hitherto I have been able to report (as a result of the Mission) little more than a few changes for
good of a general kind among the Indians here; but now
I am happy to inform you that some few are beginning
to confess the name of Jesus, and give me good hope for
their future and eternal welfare. I am occasionally?
cheered bv seeing  and hearing of fruit which I had
J © O
not expected, and I have reason to believe that many)
truths from God's word have penetrated the mass, and
that many Indians are now in the constant habit of
offering up simple prayers to Jesus. I will only relate
one pleasing circumstance which evidences this:—
One night, when I was encamping out, after a weary
day, the supper and the little instruction being over,
my crew of Indians, excepting one old man, quickly
spread their mats near the fire, and lay down to
sleep in pairs, each sharing his fellow's blanket. The
one old man sat near the fire smoking:his pipe. I
crept into my little tent, but, after some time, came
out again to see that all was right. The old man
was just making his bed (a thin bark mat on the
ground, a little box of grease, and a few dry salmon
for his pillow — a shirt on, and a blanket round
him—another bark mat over all, his head, too, formed
his bed in the open air, during a cold dark night in
April). When everything was adjusted, he put Ms
pipe down, and offered up, in his own tongue, this simple,
little prayer, ' Be merciful to me, Jesus.' Then he
_drew up his feet, and was soon lost to view.
" The next important branch of my work has been
Visiting the Indians in their houses.    In this duty God I t
has both tried and encouraged me much. I have also
had constant' and numerous calls from the Indians for
medicine, which is a sure mark of their growing confidence. Many times, when leaving school, I have found
strings of people on the way to see me for advice and
medicine for the sick. After dismissing these, my plan
has been to take my pockets full of medicine, and proceed to the camp. It would be difficult indeed to give
you anything like a correct idea of this very interesting
part of my duty. I can only say, that many times, when
I have gone out weary in body and dejected in mind, I
have been so refreshed with what God has permitted me
to do and to witness, that I have returned with a heart
leaping for joy.
" Preparing religious instruction has been another necessary part of my duty, and one which has cost me
many anxious thoughts, and led me much to the throne
of grace. My plan has been to take the prominent portions of Old Testament History, and the most striking
passages of the New Testament, in every case pointing
to " the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the
world." My great difficulty hitherto has been the language. Many times have I gone to an assembly of
Indians, with my heart, as it were, on fire, and stood before them with a stammering tongue, and dropped my
words with fear and uncertainty; but now, thank
God, my tongue is loosed: I can stand now and speak
the Tsimsheean tongue with plainness, fervency and
"Language.—Though I have not been able to devote
much time specially to this duty, yet I have felt myself
progressing daily. The little time I have afforded to it
has served me to hunt out some very important words
to add to my vocabulary, also to translate hymns for
school work; but most of the little time I could spare I
have spent in studying the grammatical construction of
the Tsimsheean. I am now prepared to say that it is
copious and expressive; and that, with few exceptions,
the sounds are soft and flowing. There are five languages spoken along this coastj and I have learnt a little
of each, but find the Tsimsheean much the easiest to
pronounce." 78
As has been stated, Mr. Duncan's intention had been,
after settling Mr. and Mrs. Tugwell, to return and
spend the winter at Victoria, to prosecute the work he
had commenced amongst the Indians there; but just as
he was about to leave Fort Simpson letters from
Victoria arrived, announcing that two volunteers
had come forward for the Indian work, and that he
was consequently released from his promise to spend the
winter there, and was again free to pursue his usual
course of duties among the Tsimsheeans.
Being thus set at liberty to prosecute his labours at
Fort Simpson, Mr. Duncan's first efforts were directed
to building suitable Mission premises outside the Fort;
for in an interview with the chiefs of the Hudson's-Bay
Company at Victoria, just before leaving with Mr. and
Mrs. Tugwell, he had been plainly told that the three
could not expect from the Company the favours that
had been granted to him so long as he was the single
© o ©
Missionary; and Mr. Duncan at once, while expressing
his gratitude for the kindness that had been shown him
in the past, undertook to commence building a house as
soon as possible, and hoped that by the following spring
they would be able to leave the Fort. "Thus," he
writes, " has the time come when Mission buildings
must begin to figure among the poor Indians on this
dreary coast, and thankful I am to say that I believe
matters to be fully ripe for such a step. Of course we
must expect many annoyances in this putting ourselves
entirely into the hands of the Indians, but I do not
anticipate any danger to either our persons or property."
When once the determination to build was taken,
the question arose whbre the buildings should be erected;
and the project which Mr. Duncan had before entertained, and fully set forth in his letter to the Committee 79
of July 1, 1859*, was again brought forward. The
Indians, were many of them, very desirous to return to
their own villages, situate in a lovely channel about
seventeen miles from Fort Simpson, and would readily
follow the Missionaries, if they would only lead the way,
with the view of making a settlement. On his visit to the
Keethrahtlah Indians in the previous spring Mr. Duncan
had seen one of these, called Metlahkatlah, and was
strongly of opinion that it would be desirable to commence
the proposed Missionary station there instead of at Fort
Simpson. They would there be free from the influences
of the Fort, which were decidedly adverse to the well-
being of the Mission; they would have more opportunity of effecting a social improvement among the Indians,
which seemed well nigh impossible at Fort Simpson;
they would have plenty of beach room, which was most
essential to the comfort and welfare of the coast Indians,
who have so many canoes to take care of, and the whole
of the beach at Fort Simpson was already more than
conveniently occupied; and, moreover, they would have
plenty of land suitable for gardens, which they did not
now possess at their present station, and a channel
always smooth, and abounding with salmon and shellfish, while its beauty formed a striking contrast to the
dreary country around. As everything seemed in
favour of removing to Metlahkatlah, and as the project
met with the entire approval of the Governor, it was at
length resolved upon. The winter was occupied in
preparing wood for the building, in the expectation that
the work would be completed in the spring, and in the
prospect of this change, and the desirableness of undertaking fresh work among some of the other tribes, Mr.
Duncan urgently appealed for a third Missionary to
be sent forthwith to join them. " Again I would
earnestly crave for another helper. I can assure you
that it is now or never, if the Indian races are to be
benefited by Christian Missions."
But instead of an increase of the Missionary band, it
was, in the providence of God, destined to  suffer a
* See ante, page 53. 80
reduction, and thus the plan of removing to Metlah->
katlah, which Mr. Duncan had so ardently desired to
carry out, was necessarily delayed for a time. Unfortunately Mr. Tugwell's health was found unsuited to the
climate of Fort Simpson, and he wasicompelled, before:
he had completed a year's residence, to abandon the
idea of remaining at his post. This, as we may)(imagine]
was a sore trial to Mr. Duncan; but there was one great
cause for satisfaction which had attended Mr. Tugwell's
short residence, as will be seen from the following letter,
written October 9, 1861, on the eve of his departure—
" I am sure that you will be delighted to hear, that
since I last wrote, twenty-three Indians have been
baptized—nineteen adults and four children. The adults
are, fourteen males and five females. More came
forward, but, on examination, it was decided they should
wait yet awhile. Others seemed ripe for baptism,
and wished to come forward, but were deterred by ungodly relatives. Mrv Tugwell was quite satisfied witth
those he baptized, and we truly hope they are children
of God. The first baptism took place here onithe 26th July
last-—a day to be remembered by us. Since these have
come fairly out there has been more of a persecuting
spirit1 abroad from the Lord's enemies. This we may
expect to increase. The converts are severely tried and
tempted at present, but we pray they may be preserved
faithful. While some have decided, and many (increasingly many) are anxious, others—the wicked—
wax worse and worse. Drunkenness seems to gather
strength as the facilities for it increase."
During the winter Mr. Duncan continued his solitary
work at Fort Simpson, looking forward to carrying out
his long cherished plan in the summer of the following
year.   He thus writes respecting it on April 28, 1862—
f I have many things, at present, both inward and outward, to cast me down; yet I am happy to tell you the
Lord's work goes on here, and is beginning to assume a
more decided cast. The enemy is making much to do,
and protesting i strongly against us. The heads of the
heathen have been taking counsel, issuing threats, trying
to shame or intimidate those on the Lord's side;  but* 81
blessed be Godl we still advance. Only Sunday before
last, one of our bitterest enemies, during the winter,
attended both morning and afternoon service, with his
wife and child. Shortly after Mr. Tugwell left for
home I put up a large, light building, for our use in the
winter. On opening the new building, I sent to invite
the Indians to attend divine service, and about 400
came. This was the largest assembly I had ever ad-
dressed at one time. Owing to the unusual severity
of the winter, the efforts of the heathen, and the great
quantities of intoxicating drink which found its way
into the camp, only about 150 persevered in their attendance at school and church; but I rejoice to say that many
of them begin to show a change of character. We had
only used the big schoolhouse about a month, when,
after a heavy fall of snow, followed by a strong wind,
half of the roof fell in. Thanks be to God, our gracious
preserver, this did not happen when we were in the
school. After this, I had all our meetings in the Mission house. About 100 to 120 attended school, but only
numbered from seventy to eighty in daily attendance.
What I regard as the most interesting part of my
duty, during the past winter and now, is the two weekday-evening meetings, which I hold for the Christians
and candidates, or inquirers. I pressed none especially
to attend; but occasionally, in my Sunday addresses, I
alluded to our meeting, and invited those to attend who
desired to practise what they heard. We began with
about twenty (very few over the number of baptized),
but kept on increasing; and at our last meeting, before
the spring fishery called them away, we numbered over
forty. These meetings have encouraged and comforted
me much, as they have given me opportunities of pressing home the word of God in a way I could not do
on any other occasion.
" If it shall please God to continue to me health
and strength, I hope to carry out the plan this summer which I have long had in contemplation, viz.
moving the principal Mission premises to a spot
about twenty miles from here.    This step Was to have
G 82
X If
been taken last summer, but Mr. Tugwell's health failed,
and he had to leave the station. I can scarcely say
how many Indians will move with me: perhaps only few
at first, as some who would have gone a year ago will
now prefer staying behind to be near the miners, who
are expected to winter here. Though this move will be
attended with much difficulty, and will make the Mission to be apparently doing less good, at least for a time,
yet I feel assured, after much prayer and consideration, that it is the best step to be taken, and, in
God's strength and name, I hope to take it. The
need of this step is becoming more and more urgent,
as miners are already rushing past us in search of
gold; and many will, no doubt, make Fort Simpson
their winter-quarters. Hence a great change will come
over the whole camp, and a serious train of evils spring
up. How necessary, therefore, it seems to me, that an
asylum should be at once built for the Christians and
others who desire to serve God, and especially as a place
of retreat for the young. But this is by no means the
only reason for our moving, nor is it, perhaps, the most
important. The following are some reasons for leaving
" 1. While we shall only be three and a half hours' sail
in a canoe from the present Tsimsheean camp—and
therefore shall always be able to exercise some influence
over it, and visit it often—we shall be that distance
nearer six other- tribes of Indians, speaking the Tsimsheean tongue.
" 2. Again, Fort Simpson is physically unfit for us, as
it offers almost insurmountable difficulties to the social
improvement of the Indians; but the place to which we
hope to move affords us plenty of coast-room, so that
houses can be built at respectable distances, and also some
nice patches of good land for garden purposes.
" 3. Again, the Christian Indians, and those who value
instruction, wish to escape both from the sights and
thraldom of heathenism. They, at present, suffer no
small amount of persecution from having to live in the
same houses with heathen and drunkards. 83
" 4. Again, this step will put school operations on a
more satisfactory footing. I shall always feel safe and
happy in committing secular knowledge to those who
seem in a fair way of making good use of it; but sowing
it broadcast among heathen who, having heard, reject the
Gospel, I believe will result in much evil.
" All we want is God's favour and blessing, and then
we may hope to build up, in His good time, a model
Christian village, reflecting light and radiating heat to
all the spiritually dark and dead masses of humanity
around us. I am much encouraged to think that we
have the prayers of many of God's dear people often
ascending on our behalf.    Those most in danger from
© ©
the coming flood of profligate miners are the big girls;
and therefore I have made a special point this winter of
warning them individually; but still some have gone
astray. Others, I am happy to say, give me great hopes
that they will maintain a consistent walk; but as their
case needs special watchfulness, I deem it my duty to
take them under my special care. I see no better plan
than taking a number into my house, feeding, clothing,
and instructing them, until they find husbands from
among the young men of our own party. I calculate
the cost of one child per year, at the present rate of
things, to be about 71, or 8/., viz. 51. or 61. for food,
and 21. for clothing. I shall also do my utmost, out of
my own income, and try to get help from other quarters.
Another important subject I have to keep in view, in
order to promote the welfare of those Indians who go
with me, is industry. I have thought over several
branches of labour in which they can be profitably employed, but we want funds. I held several meetings in
the winter (calling those who intend flitting with me), to
impress upon the Indians some regulations of a social
. nature, which I expected them to adopt in our new village. It may be interesting just to mention the least I
expect from those who will join us, and to obey these
injunctions, will be, to slay customs most dear to the
heathen Indians—
" 1. To give up their' Ahlied,' or Indian devilry; 2. to
cease calling in conjurors when sick; 3. to cease gam- 84
bling; 4. to cease giving away their property for display ;
5. to cease painting their faces; 6. to cease drinking
intoxicating drink; 7. to rest on the Sabbath ; 8. to
attend religious instruction; 9. to send their children to
school; 10. to be cleanly; 11. to be industrious; 12. to
be peaceful; 13. to be liberal and honest in trade; 14. to
build neat houses ; 15. to pay the village tax.
" I need not again appeal to you for assistance, for I
feel sure you will supply Mr. Tugwell's place as soon as
you are able. I may say that I have my eye upon some
converted natives, who, I hope, will be fit to be employed
in Mission work soon."
The following letter of Mr. Duncan to the Committee of the Church Missionary Society conveys the
intelligence that the removal from Fort Simpson had
actually taken place.    It is dated—■
"Metlahkatlah, British Columbia, 6th March, 1863.
" Rev. and Dear Sirs,—I am exceedingly thankful
to God at being once more permitted to write to you.
Since my last letter, dated April, 1861, events have
happened around me of a very solemn character. In
that letter I gave you an account of my plan for shortly
removing the Mission premises from Fort Simpson, and
the commencing of a new Indian village about fifteen or
twenty miles south of that place. On the 12th May,
1862, I began taking down the large temporary school.
Three days later the materials of that building were
rafted and on their way to the new site. Many difficulties rose up in my way, and became more appalling
as I advanced; yet, proceed I must, for I felt it to be the
next proper step in managing the Mission. Now I look
back I can see that it was God's time for us to go—His 85
hour for displaying His mercy and judgment before His
people. Two days after the raft had started away a canoe
arrived from Victoria, and reported that small-pox had
broken out among the Indians at Victoria, and many
Tsimsheeans were dead. The following day other canoes
arrived, and confirmed the sad tidings. I also received
two letters, giving me mournful particulars of the
virulence of the plague, and the steps that had been taken
with the Indians. Sadder still, we soon learnt that many
who had embarked in their canoes at Victoria had died
on their way home, and that the disease still prevailed
among those who had reached here. It was evidently
my duty immediately to see and warn the Indians. I
had previously determined to do this in a farewell visit
to each tribe before my departure from Fort Simpson,
but I now felt doubly pressed to call upon all quickly to
surrender themselves to God. I therefore spent the next
few days in'assembling and addressing each tribe (nine
in all) separately. Thus all in the camp again heard
a warning voice; many, alas! for the last time, as it
proved. Sad to relate, hundreds of those who heard me
were soon and suddenly swept into eternity.
" Having finished this solemn duty, I hastened to pack
up and proceed on my new undertaking. On the 27th
May, in the afternoon, we started off. All that were
ready to go with me occupied six canoes, and we numbered about fifty souls—men, women, and children.
Many Indians were seated on the beach, watching our
departure with solemn and anxious faces; and some promised to follow us in a few days. The party with me
seemed filled with solemn joy as we pushed off, feeling
that their long-looked-for flit had actually commenced. I
felt we were beginning an eventful page in the history of
this poor people, and earnestly sighed to God for His
help and blessing. The next day, the 28th May, we
arrived at our new home about two p.m. The Indians
I had sent on before with the raft I found hard at work,
clearing ground and sawing plank. They had carried
all the raft up from the beach, excepting a few heavy
beams; erected two temporary houses ; and had planted
about four bushels of potatoes for me.   Every night we 86
I  1
assembled, a happy family, for singing and prayer. I
gave an address on each occasion from some portion of
scriptural truth suggested to me by the events of the day.
" On the 6th June a fleet of about thirty canoes arrived from Fort Simpson. They formed nearly the
whole of one tribe, called Keetlahn, with two of their
chiefs. We now numbered between 300 and 400 souls,
and our evening meetings became truly delightful.    Not
© © #/ O
many days, however, elapsed before a heavy cloud came
over us. The small-pox had broken out at Fort Simpson, and I clearly foresaw the trouble that awaited us.
Still it was some time before the Indians felt their danger
or took alarm; not indeed till the disease had taken
fearful hold of their camp, and shown its deadly power.
Then many began to flee, but it was too late; the scourge
accompanied them. Those who had the fear of God
before their eyes fled to me, while the heathen sought
refuge in their charms and lying vanities. They dressed
up their houses with feathers and rind of bark, stained
red; they sang their heathen songs, and kept the rattles
of the conjurors almost perpetually going. But all these
deceits proved of no avail: several of the charmers fell a
prey to the disease, and death and desolation spread far
and wide. One of the tribes, which adopted heathenism
to the full, went for a long time unscathed, and this filled
their conjurors with pride and boasting words, and caused
much perplexity in the minds of those who had partly
shaken off heathen superstitions; but, in the end, this
tribe suffered even more than any other, and thus their
refuge was proved to be a refuge of lies. Eventually
many of the heathen came crying to me in great fear;
but for the safety of those with me, I was obliged to be
very cautious in receiving any fresh comers, and some I
could not receive at all. For the temporal and spiritual
welfare of my own people, who now clung to me like
timid children, I was kept in constant labour and pressing anxiety. The heaviness which I felt I cannot
describe. Death stared us in the face on every hand.
But God remembered us in the day of our calamity.
He never forsook me, but rather manifested His own
strength in the helplessness of His servant.    How ten- 87
derly we were dealt with will appear in the copy of a
letter which I have written to the Governor of these
colonies, and which I now forward to you. His Excellency had promised to aid me with 501. in settling the
Indians under my charge, and I had written to request
the sum to be spent in window-sashes and nails. These
were sent me, and the following is my letter of acknowledgment to the Governor.
" ' Metlahkatlah, 6th March, 1863.
"'Sir,—The Tsimsheean Indians, who have lately
removed from Fort Simpson under my superintendence
and settled here, are very anxious to tender your Excellency their warmest thanks for the liberal and timely aid
which you have rendered them in building their new village. The 150 window sashes and 600lbs. of nails, which
came of your bounty of 50/., arrived quite safely in September last by the Hudson-Bay Company's steamer "La-
bouchere," and have been duly distributed and appropriated as follows :—To thirty-five houses (averaging about
34 feet by 18) four window-sashes and 13lbs. of nails
each; and to two smaller houses two window-sashes and
6lbs of nails each. Five window sashes and about 130lbs.
of nails remain. The latter I have promised to distribute
when the Indians partition their houses, which they hope
to do during the summer. Ground for several more
houses has already been spoken for, and I have a hope
that many of the Indians left at Fort Simpson will soon
be induced to join us.
" ' In obedience to your Excellency's kind wish, I will
proceed to lay before you a few particulars respecting our
new Indian Mission settlement.
"' Your Excellency is aware of the dreadful plague of
the small-pox with which it pleased Almighty God to
visit the Indians of this coast last year, and by which
many thousands of them were swept away. It was on
the 15th May last year—or two days before the sad intelligence of the outbreak of that fatal disease reached us
—that we made our first move to our new settlement;
and very providentially indeed it was for us that all
those who had intended joining me arrived before the 88
plague began to spread at Fort Simpson. Though not
fewer than 500, or one-fifth of the Tsimsheeans at Fort
Simpson, have fallen, I have gratefully to acknowledge
God's sparing mercy to us as a village. We had
only five fatal cases amongst those who originally left
Fort Simpson with me, and three of these deaths were
caused by attending to sick relatives who came to us
after taking the disease. Yet so fearful was the amount
of deaths and desolation on every side of us till about the
end of September, that the Indians had but little spirit
left for building, or even for the gathering of necessary
food for the winter. Thus it was that they found inclement weather upon them long before they were properly
housed. Li addition to the great amount of labour and
trouble attendant upon moving and building new houses,
we have had to encounter great opposition from many of
the Indians at Fort Simpson, who, in spite of the great
warnings they have had, continue still to be steeped in
drunkenness and heathenism. Nor has the conflict been
one wholly outward, if indeed mainly so. For to many
who have joined me, the surrendering their national and
heathen customs performed over the sick—ceasing to
give away, tear up, or receive blankets, &c, for display
—dropping precipitately their demoniacal rites, which
have hitherto and for ages filled up their time and engrossed all their care during the months of winter—
laying aside gambling—and ceasing to paint their faces
—had been like cutting off the right hand and plucking
out the right eye. Yet I am thankful to tell you that
these sacrifices have been made; and had your Excellency heard the speeches made by the chiefs and some of
the principal men at our Christmas evening meeting,
alluding to these and other matters, you would, I am
sure, have rejoiced.
" ' On New-Year's Day the male adult settlers came
cheerfully forward to pay the village tax, which I had
previously proposed to levy yearly, viz. one blanket, or
two and a half dollars of such as have attained manhood,
and one shirt or one dollar of such as are approaching
manhood. Out of 130 amenable we had only ten defaulters, and these were excused on account of poverty. 89
Our revenue for this year, thus gathered, amounts to
1 green, 1 blue, and 94 white blankets, 1 pair of white
trowsers, 1 dressed elk skin, 17 shirts, and 7 dollars. The
half of this property I propose to divide among the three
chiefs who are with us in recognition of stated services
which they will be required to render to the settlement,
and the other half to spend in public works.
" ' As to our government: all disputes and difficulties
are settled by myself and ten constables; but I occasionally call in the chiefs, and intend to do so more and
more, and when they become sufficiently instructed,
trustworthy and influential, I shall leave civil matters in
their hands. I find the Indians very obedient, and comparatively easy to manage, since I allow no intoxicating
drinks to come into our village. I may here remark, that
though we are continually hearing of the drunken festivals
n -I.. -i
of the surrounding tribes, I am happy to tell you that
Metlahkatlah has not yet witnessed a case of drunkenness
since we have settled here—a period of ten months^,
Still, not all with me are true men. Some few, on their
visits to Fort Simpson, have fallen; and two, whose
cases were clearly proved and admitted of no extenuation, I have banished from our midst. On Sabbath-days
labour is laid aside, a solemn quiet presides, and the
best clothing is in use. Scarcely a soul remains away
from Divine service, excepting the sick and their nurses.
Evening family devotions are common to almost every
house, and, better than all, I have a hope that many
have experienced a real change of heart. To God be
all the praise and glory!
" ' We have succeeded in erecting a strong and useful;
building, capable of containing at least 600 people,
which we use as church and school. We held our first
meeting in this building on the night it was finished, the
20th December last, our meetings till this being in the
open air, or in my log cottage. Under these circumstances, we met three times every Sunday, and once
every week-day evening, for religious instruction and
worship. Through the multiplicity of my duties, I was
not able to begin school in our new building till the
19th January.    I have about 100 children, who attend 90
and afternoon, and about 100 adults, (often
more) in the evening. I occupy the principal part of
the time in the adult school, in giving simple lectures on geography, astronomv, natural history, and
morals.    These lectures the Indians greatly prize.
"' On the 6th February we commenced our first
works, viz. making a road round the village. This will
take us some time to complete, as the ground is very
uneven, and much of it wooded. I propose, after the
road is conveniently finished, to set about building, out
of our public fund, two good-sized houses for the accommodation of strange Indians when they come to trade
with us, and thus prevent the interference to domestic
comfort and improvement arising to the villagers from
these visits under the old system. I have other public
works in view, such as fixing proper rests for canoes
when unemployed, laying slides for moving canoes on
the beach and into the water at low tides; also sinking
wells and procuring pumps for public use, &c. &c. I
feel, also, that it is of vast importance to seek out profitable employment for those with me, and thus keep
them away from those labour markets which exhibit
temptations too strong and vices too fascinating for the
Indian, in his present morally infantile condition, to
withstand. Hence, I have already measured out and
registered over 100 plots of ground for gardens, situated
in various parts of the channel in which we are settled.
These the Indians are anxious to cultivate. I have also
desired them to prepare salt and smoked fish, fish grease,
and dried berries, which, with furs, will form our first
articles of exportation. Other branches of labour will
arise in due course. But in order to set about thus
much, we need seed (especially the potato), salt, direct
means of communication with Victoria, and an agent
? ©
there. I intend using every endeavour in order to supply
these wants this summer.
"' I am anxious that even the trading vessel should be
in our own hands; first, because the Indians would, on
that account, feel a deeper interest in her, and exert
themselves the more to keep her well and profitably
employed; secondly, the profits of the vessel" would 91
redound to the village; and, thirdly, it is necessary to
avoid having intercourse with that barbarous class of
men who are employed in running the small vessels up
the coast. Of such are the " Kingfisher," the " Eagle,"
the " Petrel," and the " Langley," which, by trading
intoxicating drink, are all doing a work not easily described, and not readily believed by those who do not
witness it. Their visits to the Indian camps are invariably marked by murder, and the very maddest riot.
Family ties are broken. A young man, under the
influence of fire-water, will shoot his wife or his mother,
his sister or his brother; and if he is spared through the
revel, he awakens to bitter remorse, and becomes desperate. The peace of tribes is broken, war begins, blood
is shed, and wounds made which will take generations
of time to heal, and for which many innocent lives may
have to compensate. To show that it is not an imaginary
evil I am pourtraying, I may state that since I began
writing this letter, news has reached me that the
"Petrel" and the "Langley" have had to flee from
Naas River, as seven Indians have just fallen (three
dead) in a drunken riot, the drink having been obtained
from these vessels. To purchase the vessel we need, I
suppose from 1001. to 1501. will be required. I therefore propose that 100 Indians shall subscribe 11. or
11. 10s., or the equivalent in furs. The Indians are
willing to do their utmost, and I expect to have to
render them little help, beyond seeking out the vessel;
and' I do not intend to give them any pecuniary aid, except
to procure such things as, through ignorance or inexperience, they despise, but such as are, nevertheless, essential to their well-being and prosperity.
" ' Trusting, by God's blessing upon us, we shall go
on improving, and continue to merit your Excellency's
favour and good-will,
" ' I have the honour to remain, with warmest gratitude,
"' Your Excellency's humble and obedient Servant,
"' W. Duncan.
" ' To His Excellency James Douglas, Esq., C.B.,
Governor of Vancouver's Island and British Columbia.' 92
"In September H.M. ships "Hecate" and "Devastation " came to Fort Simpson, to capture four Indians
implicated in the murder of two miners and the chief officer
of the Fort despatched a canoe in the middle of the night
for me, stating that serious work was expected to ensue
there, and that Captain Pike, of the 'Devastation,' desired
to see me as soon as possible. Feeling that it would not be
wise for me to remain alone among the Indians at Metlahkatlah while a, conflict was going on between whites and
Indians at Fort Simpson, I resolved to obey the summons,
and accordingly started at once. During the next ten
days, most of my time was spent in assisting the captains
of the men of war in their business with the Indians.
Three out of the four murderers were taken; and
several Indians from the same tribe, including an old
and infirm chief, were seized as hostages to ensure the
capture of the remaining murderer. Both the ships
then came to Metlahkatlah, and spent a few days with
us. Captain Richards, of the ' Hecate,' kindly invited
the Indians to see the ship, and about 200 or more
accompanied me on board. Before we left, the officers
and crew expressed themselves as greatly surprised and
delighted with what they had seen and heard. As a
proof of their goodwill, I may add, that Captain Richards
gave a feast of plum-pudding to the children, over 15/.
was collected on board, and handed to me for the Mission, and a large bag of old clothing was gathered up
7 © © © © k
by the men, and given to me for distribution. As I disapprove of the principle of absolute giving away such
things to able-bodied people, I got the Indians to work for
the old clothes, and a piece of good road to the village was
the result. Captain Richards and his officers also kindly
surveyed the harbour for us, and seemed very much to
approve of the site and plan of our settlement. Captain
Pike also took great interest in our Mission.    He sent a
party of men on shore, and put up a flag-staff, and assisted
me a little in the building of the church and school-house. -
" Now to come to a few more particulars of a much
more interesting nature. The week-day meetings for
candidates for baptism, which I commenced in the winter
of 1861 and 1862, and of which  I wrote  you some 93
account in my last letter, have gone on increasing in
interest. I have now over sixty in attendance. Having
no information to guide me as to when you would be
able to send a minister to take Mr. Tugwell's place, and
as many of the candidates were anxious for baptism,
and had continued to walk consistently a long time, I
wrote in August last to the bishop, begging him to seiad
up a clergyman to baptize them. In September 1 heard
from the Rev. E. Cridge, who told me that the bishop
had not returned from Caribou, but that I might be sure
of aid as soon as it was in the power of the bishop to
grant it. Being thus left alone, I was obliged to act a
little out of order, so I will give you the entry in my
journal of the circumstance.
'"Saturday, 11th October, 1862.—Just as I was
rising this morning I received intelligence that poor
Quthray, the young cannibal chief, was dying. I have
frequently visited him during his illness, and was with
him for a long time a few nights ago.    As he has long
© n © © ©
and earnestly desired baptism, and expressed in such
clear terms his repentance for his sins, and his faith in
the Saviour of sinners, I told him that I would myself
baptize him before he died, unless a minister from
Victoria arrived in time to do it. He always appeared
most thankful for my visits, and, with the greatest force
he could command, thanked me for my promise. Accordingly this morning, I proceeded to the solemn work of
admitting a brand plucked from the burning into the
visible Church of Christ by baptism. Though I was not
sent here to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, yet I had
no fear but that I was doing what was pleasing to God
in administering that sacred rite to the poor dying man,
as an officially-appointed person was not within several
hundred miles of him. I found the sufferer apparently
on the very verge of eternity, but quite sensible, supported by his wife on one side and another woman on
the other, in a sitting posture on his lowly couch spread
upon the ground. I addressed him at once, reminding
him of the promise I had made to him, and why. I also
spoke some words of advice to him, to which he paid
most earnest attention, though his cough would scarcely 94
permit him to have a moment's rest. A person near
expressed a fear that he did not understand what I said,
being so weak and near death; but he quickly, and with
great emphasis, exclaimed, "I hear; I understand."
While I was praying his expression of countenance was
most lovely. With his face turned upward he seemed
to be deeply engaged in prayer. I baptized him, and
aiSd gave him the name of Philip Atkinson. I earnestly
besought the Lord to ratify in heaven what He had
permitted me to do in His name, and to receive the soul
of the poor dying penitent before Him. He had the
same resignation and peace which he has evinced throughout his sickness, weeping for his sins, depending all upon
the Saviour, confident of pardon, and rejoicing in hope.
" ' This is the man of whom I have had to write more
than once to the Society. Oh the dreadful and revolting things which I have witnessed him do! He was
one of the two principal actors in the first horrid scene
I saw at. Fort Simpson about four and a half years ago,
an account of which I sent home, namely, that of a poor
slave woman being murdered in cool blood, thrown on
the beach, and then torn to pieces and eaten by two
naked savages, who were supported by a crew of singers
and the noise of drums. This man was one of those
naked cannibals. Glorious change! See him clothed
and in his right mind, weeping—weeping sore for his
sins—expressing to all around his firm belief in the Saviour, and dying in peace. Bless the Lord for all His
" I cannot forbear to mention also the circumstances of
the death of Stephen Ryan, one of the first baptized at
Fort Simpson by Rev. L. S. Tugwell. He died in a
most distressing condition, so far as the body is concerned. Away from every one whom he loved, in a
little bark hut on a rocky beach just beyond the reach
of the tide, which no one of his relatives or friends
dared to approach except the one who nursed him; in
this damp, lonely, distressing state, suffering from the
malignant disease of small-pox, how cheering to receive
such words as the following from him: ' I am quite
happy.    I find my Saviour very near to me.    I am not 95
afraid to die : heaven is open to receive me. Give my
thanks to Mr. Duncan: he told me of Jesus. I have hold
of the ladder that reaches to heaven. All Mr. Duncan
taught me I now feel to be true.' Then, saying that he
wished to be carried to his relatives, his words were,
' Do not weep for me. You are poor, being left; I am
not poor: I am going to heaven. My Saviour is very
near to me : do all of you follow me to heaven. Let not
one of you be wanting. Tell my mother more clearly
the way of life: I am afraid she does not yet understand
the way. Tell her not to weep for me, but to get ready
to die.    Be all of one heart and five in peace.'
" And now, to draw my long letter to a conclusion. By
God's mercy we have thus been carried through another
and an eventful year. The Lord has sustained His
work, and given marked evidence of His presence and
blessing. Above one-fourth of the Tsimsheeans from
Fort Simpson, a few from Tongass, Nishkah, Keeth-
rahtla, and Keetsahlass Indians (which tribes occupy a
circle of about seventy miles round Fort Simpson), have
been gathered out from the heathen, and have gone
through much labour, trial, and persecution, to come on
the Lord's side. About 400 to 600 souls attend Divine
Service on Sundays, and are being governed by Christian and civilized laws. About seventy adults and twenty
children are already baptized, or are only waiting for a
minister to come and baptize them. About 100 children
are attending the day school, and 100 adults the evening
school. About forty of the young men have formed
themselves into two classes, and meet for prayer and exhorting each other. The instruments of the medicine
men, which have spell-bound their nation for ages, have
found their way into my house, and are most willingly
and cheerfully given up. The dark and cruel mantle of
heathenism has been rent so that it cannot be healed.
Numbers are escaping from under its deadly embrace.
Customs which form the very foundation of Indian government, and hie nearest the Indian's heart, have been
given up, because they have an evil tendency. Feasts
are now characterized by order and good will, and begin
and end with the offering of thanks, to the Giver of all 9Q
good. Thus the surrounding tribes have now a model
village before them, acting as a powerful witness for the
truth of the Gospel, shaming and correcting, yet still
captivating them; for in it they see those good things
which they and their forefathers have sought and laboured
for in vain, viz. peace, security, order, honesty and progress. To God be all the praise and glory! Amen and
The new Mission Station was visited by the Bishop of
Columbia in April 1863, and Mr. Duncan was privileged
to present fifty-seven adults and children to his Lordship
for baptism. Already the bishop had on several occasions borne the warmest testimony to the reality and
success of Mr. Duncan's work, and on his return to
England in the following year he spoke of it at several
public meetings, and the following report has been published of one of his speeches:—
"The work at Fort Simpson was begun some five years
ago, under the zealous and devoted catechist, Mr. William
Duncan, sent out by our Church Missionary Society.
For two years and a half he was learning the language;
after that his work began to tell. Then opposition took
place, and his life was sought on one occasion by a ferocious savage,  called Legaic.    At length the work in-
©   3 © O
creased; the feeling became deeper among some Indians,
and it was considered time that those who believed should
be called on to come out of heathenism, and give up all
for Christ's sake and the Gospel's. People who knew
the Indian character said they did not think the Indians
would make such a sacrifice; but they did not know the
power that was at Work. The day was fixed, and the
Indians came out of their lodges, and sat round in a
semicircle, watching the proceedings. They knew something was going to happen, but they did not know what. 97
When an Indian watches, he sits upon the ground,
brings his knees up to his chin, wraps his mantle round
him, puts his head down, and, mute and motionless,
looks at a distance like a stone. Thus they were seated,
and the question was, ' Will any one stand out in the
midst of the scoffing heathen, and declare themselves
Christians?' First there came two or three trembling,
and said they were willing to go anywhere, and to give
up all for the blessed Saviour's sake. Others were then
encouraged; and that day fifty stood forth, and gathered
together such things as they needed, put them into their
canoes, and away they went. On that day every tie
was broken; children were separated from their parents,
husbands from wives, brothers from sisters; houses, land,
and all things were left; such was the power at work in
their minds.
"The Christian Indians moved to a place seventeen
miles below Fort Simpson, and I visited them last April.
J then found that the little band of fifty had increased
to 600, who had come from different tribes and formed a
village, consisting of well-built cottages, men having put
their houses side by side who for years before could
never look at each other without an attempt to take each
other's fife. When the gun of the ship I was in sounded
her approach, we saw a canoe coming from the shore.
She was manned by ten Indians; and as she came nearer
us we perceived that in the midst, as is the custom in
canoes, sat a white man, our earnest catechist, Mr.
Duncan. As the boat came nearer, an Indian was observed sitting side by side with him, not engaged in
paddling the canoe. Who was that? He was a murderer. Six months before, the ' Devastation' ship of
war, in which I was, had been in those waters, seeking
the three Indian murderers of two white men. The Indians gave up two, but they would not give up the third.
Their law is life for life; one life taken, one life to compensate. Two having been murdered, they gave up two,
but they would not give up the third. The ship of war
planted her guns against the village, threatening it with
annihilation; but still they would not give up the third
murderer.    As soon as the ship of war was gone, the
H 98
I. iii
murderer came and gave himself up to Mr. Duncan,
saying, (j Whatever you tell me to do I will do. If you
say I am to go on board the gun-ship when she comes
again I will go.' For six months he had been there at
large, and when our gun sounded he might have escaped,
but he said, ' What am I to do ?' and the answer was
' You must come with me a prisoner.' He was accordingly handed over to us a prisoner. Thus we see that
what the ship of war with its guns and threats could not
do for civilization, for protection of life, for justice, the
simple character and influence of one Missionary could
accomplish for all those important objects.
"It was my office to examine a number of those Indians
for baptism. I was several days engaged in the work.
One day I was engaged from eight in the morning till
one o'clock the next morning. It was the last day I
had, and they pressed on continually to be examined.
Night and darkness came. The Indians usually go to
bed with the sun, but now they turned night into day,
in order that they might be ' fixed in God's ways,' they
said. ' Any more Indians ?' I kept saying, as eight
o'clock, nine o'clock, ten o'clock, twelve o'clock, and
one o'clock came, and there were always more Indians
wishing to be ' fixed' on God's side. I shall never
forget the scene. The little oil lamp was not enough to
dispel the gloom or darkness of the room, but its light
was sufficient to cast a reflection on the countenance of
each Indian as he or she sat before me. The Indian
countenance is usually inexpressive of emotion, but now
when they spoke of prayer and trust in God, there was
the uplifted eye, and evident fervour; and when they
spoke of their sins there was a downcast look, the flush
came and went on their cheeks, and the big tear frequently coursed from their manly eyes. Their whole
hearts seemed to speak out in their countenances. 1
put down in a book the answers they made me at the
time, and some of them are given below.
" I went up to their fishing-ground on the Naas river,
where some 5000 Indians have assembled for their fishing.
That fishing is the 'small-fish' fishing. The salmon
fishing is another chief season, at which they get food to 99
lay up for the winter. These small fish form a valuable
article of food. They come up for six weeks only. The
Naas river where I visited it, at the north of British
Columbia, is about a mile and a half wide, and the fish
had come up in great quantities: the river seemed alive
with them, and 5000 Indians from all parts—from the
islands of the sea, from the Russian territory, from the
coast, and from the interior—had flocked to the fishing,
decked out in all their finery. Their costumes are strange
and fantastic. Their faces were painted red and black;
they wore feathers on their heads, and imitations of wild
beasts on their dresses. Under great excitement they
had come on that grand occasion of the year. Over the
'fish was an immense cloud of innumerable gulls: so
many and so thick were they as they hovered about
looking for the fish, that as they moved to and fro, up
and down, the sight resembled a heavy fall of snow.
Over the gulls were eagles soaring about in their noble
flight, looking for their prey. After the small fish, also,
had come up larger fish from the ocean. There was
the halibut, the cod, the porpoise, and the fin-backed
whale. Such a scene of life—man-life, fish-life, bird-life
—I had never Conceived before.    You may imagine the
J ©
excitement. All that various animated life was to those
people a life of spirits. Their custom was to meet the
fish when they came, and speak to them,
court to them, and would address them thus
you fish; you are all chiefs, you are;
chiefs.' But what did the Christian Indians do on this
occasion ? They separated themselves from that ancient
custom of their fathers.; they went apart; they had a
thanksgiving service to Almighty God; they sang
Christian hymns, and they prayed that God would make
them worthy of His gifts. I had a Christian service
among them. I had heard the Christian hymns they
sang, and I looked upon them as new creatures, for their
faces were already so different from all the heathen
around them. When the Sunday came, the first Sunday
of their first fishing season as Christians, although the
fish had come up in greater abundance than ever, and
the season was so short, the Christians said,' We cannot
all 100
go and fish.' The heathen were full of excitement,
gathering in the spoil; but the Christians said, ' No;
we are God's people; God will provide for us, and we
will spend His day as He tells us to do.' And they kept
holy each Lord's-day in the midst of the fishing season."
A few of the answers and incidents, noted down at
the time by the Bishop of Columbia, are here given. It
will be seen that the answers have reference chiefly to the
depth and source of penitence, and the knowledge and
personal application of the leading truths of the Gospel.
Lbgaic (Principal Chief), aged 40, answered—"We must put
away all our evil ways. I want to take hold of God. I believe
in God the Father, who made all things, and in Jesus Christ.
I constantly cry for my sins when I remember them. I believe
the good will sit near to God after death. Am anxious to
walk in God's ways all my life. If I turn back it will be more
bitter for me than before. I pray God to wipe out my sins;
strengthen me to do right; pity me ; my prayers are from my
heart. I think sometimes God does not hear me, because I do
hot give up all my sins. My sins are too heavy. I think we
have not strength of ourselves."
Under instruction about nine months. On two occa-,
sions before attended for a short time, but fell away.
Mr. Duncan says this man has made greater sacrifices
than any other in the village. Is the principal chief,
and has left his tribe and all greatness. Has been a
most savage and desperate man; committed all crimes.
Had the offer of forty blankets to return to his tribe.
He now bears the ridicule of his former friends. Yet
his temper, formerly ferocious, bears it patiently, and
he returns kindness, so that some have melted and are
ready to come with him.
Lappigh Kumxee, aged 30, answered—"I have given up the
lucrative position of sorcerer. Been offered bribes to practise
my art secretly, I have left all my mistaken ways. My eyes
have been bored (enlightened). I cry every night when I remember my sins. The great Father Almighty sees everything.
If I go up to the mountains He sees me. Jesus died for our
sins upon the-cross to carry our sirs away."
Dates his change from  seeing a convert reading a
book, and he felt ashamed that he knew nothing, and he 101
determined to learn, and soon he found his own system
false. One case, when his spirit said there would be
recovery, death came; and another, when he foretold
death, life remained.
Eeeash lakah noosh (called "The Lame Chief." He is blind
also of an eye. Fine old man,) aged 70—When asked if he
wished to become a Christian, said, "For that object I came here
with my people. I have put away all lying ways, which I had
long followed. • I have trusted in God. We want the Spirit
of God. Jesus came to save us. He compensated for our sins.
Our Father made us, and loved us because we are His work.
He wishes to see us with Him, because He loves us. When
asked about the judgment, said, "The blood of Jesus will free
those who believe from condemnation."
Under regular instruction for a year; and before that
for some time by his daughter. Is most consistent, trying to do simply what is right. The other day was benighted on Saturday, on his way to spend the Sunday
at Metlahkatlah, seven miles off. Would not come on,
nor let his people gather herring-spawn, close under
their feet: he rested the Lord's-day, according to the
Thkak-sha-eawn (Sorcerer), aged 50, answered—" I wish to
give' up all wicked ways. Have been a medicine-man and know
the lies of heathenism. I beheve in the great Father who made
us, in Jesus who died on the Cross that God would pity us. I
want the Spirit of God to touch my heart. We must all stand
before God. God will measure our ways. No one to be his
master but God. I will not keep my eyes on the ground any
more, but will look up to heaven all my life."
He has had to bear much scorn, and to go through
much struggle.
Loosi (Widow of the cannibal Chief who died penitent), aged
25, answered—"I know how blind I have been. Was first
turned to God by the news of the Saviour. Was struck that He
came down amongst us. God is a Spirit full of love. Christ
came to carry away our sins. We must pray for the Spirit to
help us. I confess my sins to God and cry for pity. I pray
for my friends. After death the judgment. We must stand
before God.    Jesus will answer for those who trust in Him."
Upheld her husband in his wickedness. .Was turned
by his turning at his death.
Nisbah-kigh (Chieftainess of the Nishkahs, now the wife of
M 102
Captain McNeil, the chief officer of Fort Simpson), aged 45, said
— "I must leave all evil ways. I feel myself a sinner in God's
sight. I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus
Christ, who died for our sins. God sends down His Spirit to
make us good. Jesus is in heaven and is writing our names in
God's book. We must stand before God and be judged by Him.
I feel God's word is truth. Have been for some time accustomed regularly to pray."
Two years ago she was found giving Christian instruction to a sick and dying person. Her husband tells
me she passed much time in devotion. When she first
heard the Word of God, her sorrow was great, and her
penitence more than she could bear. Some five years
she has been earnestly seeking God.
V ©
Later in the year the Mission station was visited by
the Rev. B,. J. Dundas, a clergyman connected with the
/ ©•/
Columbian Mission, who has given an interesting account
of his visit, from which the following is extracted—
I Oct. 23, 1863—As soon as the " Grappler" (Lieut.
Verney, commander) was moored, Mr. Verney and I
accompanied Mr. Duncan on shore. The whole resident
population was waiting to receive us by the flagstaff;
and close to the school-chapel were the twenty constables,
in uniform, as fine a set of young men as one could wish
to see—the very pick of the Christians. Their uniform
was a dark blue surtout, with brass buttons, and gold
twist epaulettes, a scarlet stripe on each leg, a white
belt, and band round the cap. As we passed through
the, crowd we were greeted on all sides with,' Good
morning to you, Sir.'    ' Glad to see you, Sir.'
" We went to Mr. Duncan's house. It is solidly
built of large square timbers. We next went into his
school-chapel, an immense circular building, some sixty 103
feet in diameter, capable of holding some 700. Like
English children, the young Indians, I dare say, prefer
play to work. We stood at the door and watched them
on the shingle below playing prisoner's base. At the
sound of a gong they all hurried up to the school—of
all ages and sizes, from' fourteen downwards. They
ranged themselves in order, boys on one side, girls on
the other, and, led by Mr. Duncan, sang most beautifully—' See the conquering hero comes,' and ' See our
oars with feathered spray,' which made me think I
was back in England. They sang, too, several catches
in three parts. Some had beautiful voices, and certainly
their performance was quite equal to thoroughly good
national schools at home.    Afterwards we went through
the village, entering several houses. Almost everywhere
the same neatness and order were perceptible, the exceptions being generally new comers, still heathen; for
any Indian is received as a resident who conforms to the
laws laid down by Mr. Duncan, and renounces all heathen
| Oct. 25 : Sunday — It was a pretty sight to see
the whole population, old and young, at the sound of the
bell, thronging to worship God. No need to lock doors,
for there is no one to enter the empty houses. Every
soul is assembled in the one place, and for one purpose.
As they entered, the men took the right and the women
the left hand of the great circular hall. I was surprised
to learn from Mr. Duncan afterwards that he had never
bidden them to do this; they seemed to have adopted
the arrangement instinctively. Service began with a
hymn in Tsimsheean. He led with his concertina. The
air was very plaintive and beautiful—sung by some 200
voices, men, women and children: it thrilled through
me. Then followed prayers in Tsimsheean, at the close
of which all joined in the Lord's Prayer in English. Then
followed a chant, one of the Psalms he had translated
and taught them, to a fine old Gregorian. His address,
or sermon, of nearly an hour, was upon the story of
Martha and Mary. His manner and gesticulation was
animated and striking, very much after their own style.
Their attention never seemed to flag throughout.    He 104
asked me to address them, which I did, shortly, upon
their present light as compared with their past darkness,
and the difficulties they must expect in their new cause
of Christian discipleship. Mr. Duncan interpreted for
me. Before separating they sang again in Tsimsheean
a sort of sacred air, which seemed familiar to me, and
was exquisitely beautiful. I found afterwards it was the
anthem,' I will arise and go to my Father," somewhat
altered and made more Indian in its character. It suited
their voices admirably. I closed with a short prayer in
English, and pronounced the Benediction. The service
was most striking. It was hard to realize that, three
years ago, these all had. been sunk in the deepest heathenism, with all its horrible practices. What hours,
what whole nights of wrestling in prayer, have been spent
by this single-minded faithful servant of God, and how
has he been answered! There is nothing too hard for
the Lord. Service over, Messrs. Duncan and Verney
joined me in partaking of the Holy Communion. After
the Bishop's next visit there will be, I hope, Indians ready
to communicate wherever opportunity is offered.
" Cannibalism is now extinct among the Tsimsheean
Indians, and the whole medicine-system of imposture is
likely to die out before very long. As Mr. Duncan's
work was deemed to counteract the medicine-work and
frighten away their spirit, his life was often in jeopardy
from the medicine-band. Still he held on, battling
against it in God's strength, and he has conquered. The
principal cannibal of the tribe died last year, a contrite
yet believing Christian. It was no death-bed repentance : he had been gathered out of his heathen darkness
while in strong vigorous health. But so great was the
effect of his dying words upon the tribe, that since his
death no one at Fort Simpson amongst the heathen has
dared to fill his place.
" I paid a visit to the wife of the chief, Paul Legaic,
of whom I spoke in a former letter, when I mentioned
our meeting the Mission schooner. He it was who nearly
took Mr. Duncan's life at the head of the medicine-band
attacking the school. They were both baptized by the
bishop  last April.    Legaic was the wealthiest chief of 105
the Tsimsheeans at Fort Simpson. He has lost everything—has had to give up everything by his conversion
to Christianity. It was with many of them literally a
' forsaking of all things to follow Christ.' His house is
the nicest and best situated in the village. A very little
labour and expense in way of internal fittings would
make it quite comfortable. He and his wife have one
child only, a young girl of fourteen. She was a modest-
looking, pleasing child—very intelligent;—one of the
first class in school. She did not look like one who had
ever been ' possessed with a devil;' and yet this is the
child whom, three years ago, her teacher saw naked in
the midst of a howling band, tearing and devouring the
O * © ©
bleeding dog. How changed! She who ' had the un-
clean spirit' sits now at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in
her right mind.
" On Tuesday, October 27th, I went on shore in the
afternoon, to take up my quarters with Mr. Duncan.
About four o'clock the bell was rung, and the whole village assembled at the schoolhouse, when Mr. Duncan
told them that on the following Sunday those who desired it, and also on examination approved themselves,
would be admitted to holy baptism. Candidates were
to assemble that evening at seven, to give in their names.
In his address to them he was very pointed and stringent
—fencing in, as he afterwards told me, the door of admission—so anxious was he that only the really converted should offer themselves. He told them the strict,
uncompromising requirements in those who thus sought
to join themselves to Christ and His service. Better
that they should postpone so solemn and awful a step
than come to it unprepared. At the hour appointed the
candidates were assembled. Fifty-five gave in their
names. Several were absent who would have come forward had they been at home; but, as my coming was never
anticipated, at least 150 to 200 were away for their last
hunting and fishing excursions before the winter, and
would not be back for some weeks.
" On Saturday, October 31, I was hard at work with
candidates the whole day, from nine A.M. till eleven p.m.
Out of the fifty-five who offered I accepted thirty-eight 106
— twenty-one males and seventeen females. I was
strongly impressed with the real earnestness and devotion of those who came forward, and with their acquaintance with the simple saving truths of the Gospel message.
Some cases were indeed most touching.
" On Sunday, November 1—All Saints' Day—I was
privileged to perform the most interesting service I have
ever taken part in since I left England. Fifty-two souls
have been baptized, most of whom were walking, a few
years ago, in the darkness that might be felt of degraded
heathenism. After service on board, Lieut. Verney accompanied me on shore. The Baptismal Service was arranged to take place at two, for adults, of whom there
were thirty-nine. A second service was fixed for the
infants of some of the Christians, thirteen in number, at
five o'clock. A large number of the sailors from the
gunboat were present, and seemed greatly interested in
the solemn rite. A small table was arranged on a low
platform at one side of the great circular Mission-house.
On it were placed four silver dishes, containing water,
which Lieutenant Verney lent for the occasion: they
were the best substitute we could obtain for a font. I
wore my surplice, stole and hood. The service of course
had to be gone through twice. After each prayer and exhortation, in the adult form, had been offered or spoken
by me in English, Mr. Duncan repeated it in Tsimsheean.
The candidates were arranged in rows—the men behind,
the women in front. On either side of them, all round
the hall, were the rest of the congregation, Indians and
sailors (of whom, sailors, twenty were present). At the
proper point in the service, one by one the candidates
stepped forward in front of the assembled congregation.
Mr. Duncan called up each by his heathen name. In
answer to my request,' name this person,' he gave the
new Christian name, and by it I baptized him 'in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost' As I held the hand of each, while receiving him
or her into the Church of Christ, and signing him with
the sign of the cross, I could often feel that they trembled with deep emotion, and on returning one by one
to their places, each knelt down in silent prayer.    The 107
baptism being ended, I offered up the two concluding prayers, all joining in the Lord's Prayer in English.
I then addressed the newly-baptized, pointing out what
God had done for them, and what they had vowed to do
for God. I pressed upon them watchfulness, and prayer
for aid, that the grace now covenanted to them by Christ's
own seal and mark might be given them daily in increasing measure. Mr. Duncan took down notes of my address, and repeated it to them in their own tongue. All
seemed wrapt in deep attention. There was a moment
of perfect silence following upon the exhortation, and then
I pronounced the benediction. The service lasted just
two hours.
" At five o'clock I held a second service for the baptism of thirteen young children. They were all either
infants in arms or just able to walk, the children of
Christian parents. The parents of each little one stood
as its sponsors with one other of their friends, also a
Christian. 'Thank you, Sir,' each mother said, as I
gave her back her little ones into her arms. Some of
them, about three years old, were able to stand by
themselves. English children of that age generally fight
and scream; but these little things stood as quiet as
statues, looking wonderingly up at the figure in white
that poured water upon their heads. We named each
girl after its mother, and each boy after its father. In a
short address, I explained to the parents and sponsors
what they had undertaken to do, and why the children
were baptized as they had themselves been. This ended
our services for the day. It will be long before my
recollection of it dies away. With those previously
baptized, there are now 120 Christian adults, besides a
large number of children. Who can estimate the excellence of his reward who has been God's instrument in
bringing these souls out of captivity, and giving them
their blessed franchise of Christian liberty and the privilege of Christian sonship ?
" On Monday afternoon the school assembled; about
150 juveniles were brought together by the sound of the
gong, and were informed by Mr. Duncan that in an
hour they were to return with their spoons, dishes, and
mugs,  the occasion being  a feast, which Lieutenant Bi
Verney and I were going to bestow. They came
accordingly, in great glee. The banquet consisted of
rice boiled, and sugar, treacle, and biscuit, that had
been specially prepared on board the " Grappler." The
order was considerably greater than I have seen prevail
at similar festive assemblies in England. Before they
dispersed the young folk sang to us. They have several
English songs and rounds and catches among their list.
Their singing of ' God save the Queen' is excellent.
" My feasting for the day was not yet ended. In the
evening I was invited to a wedding feast, given by two
whom I had that day married. Chairs were set in the
centre of the room for myself and Mr. Duncan. Rice,
berries, salmon, sugar, with thin flour-cakes and tea,
were set before the guests, who were ranged all round
the large room of the host's house—not, however,
squatting on the ground, as their usual posture is, but
on seats temporarily made of plank. I contented myself
with bread and tea. Supper ended, Mr. Duncan brought
out his concertina, and played them sundry tunes, after
which followed a regular talky-talky. They asked riddles,
told fables, and discussed morals, with a degree of
intelligence that very far surpasses that of many a rustic
assemblage at home.
% On Friday, November 6th, we took leave of the
Christian village. Mr. Duncan came off in his canoe
to say good-bye. The Indians, ran the British ensign
up as we passed the flag-staff, which Lieutenant Verney
acknowledged by hoisting all his colours—red, white
and blue—at main, fore, and mizen. And so I bid
good-bye to this most interesting place. It takes its
position now as one of the civilized towns or villages of
British Columbia. But it is more than that: it is the
enduring witness of the faith and patience and love of
one unaided Christian teacher, whose reward (the only
one he has ever coveted) is the souls he has been the
honoured instrument of bringing from darkness to light.
" I have seen Missions in various parts of the world
before now," said Lieutenant Verney to me, " but
nowhere one that.has so impressed me with the reality
of what has been accomplished." 109
The satisfactory advance of the new settlement is
evidenced by the following letter from Mr. Duncan,
dated Metlahkatlah, January 23d, 1864—
"You will see 11. Os. lOd. down as paid to a Missionary labourer, Thomas Gilbert, who assisted in teaching and exhorting the settlers and visitors to the settle-
ment during my absence last summer. He is a very
simple-minded and- intelligent young man, and very
sincere. Though I pay him nothing more for Missionary
work, as he is my house servant, yet he scarcely ever
lets a day pass without trying to spread the Gospel,
seeking out a few strangers and pleading with them.
'•' You will already be aware of my having purchased
a schooner for 300/., and commenced supplying our new
settlement with goods at my own risk. All the aid I had
was 1001. grant from the Government, and 80Z. raised
among the Metlahkatlah Indians towards the schooner.
You will remember how often I have deplored the misery
and ruin which had set in with dreadful force upon the
Tsimsheeans while I was at Fort Simpson, arising from
the visits of nefarious traders, and also from the Indians
themselves visiting Victoria. The current of evil thus
set a-going tends mightily to check, if not to prevent,
any permanent good being done amongst them, and
threatened at no very distant period to sweep them away.
U Thus, in commencing this new Christian colony, my
mind was pressed with constant anxiety as to how I was
to keep off nefarious traders,—how I was to keep the
settlers from Victoria,—find work for them at home, and
establish laudable trade on proper business principles
amongst them. All the steps I have taken of late of a
secular nature have been simply to answer these requirements, and I am thankful to tell you that they have
answered them successfully thus far, and to God be all 110
the praise and glory! I saw it to be necessary that I
should for a time be everything to this settlement, and
the Indians naturally and confidingly look to me to be
everything to them; thus I have placed myself at the
head of their trade, I am appointed their magistrate,
they pay their taxes to me, I carry on their public works,
as well as attend to the duties which properly belong to
my sphere. I look forward, however, to soon being able
to escape from the trade department, as I am endeavouring to form trading companies among themselves; and
as these increase in capital and knowledge of business, I
shall gradually withdraw, and when I can consider it
safe to leave them to themselves I will return altogether.
"As to our progress in spiritual things, I feel I cannot
at this time do justice to the subject; but I am looking
forward to the spring fishing season, when most of the
Indians will leave me for a short time, and then I hope
to give you an account of everything connected with
this part of the work, the most interesting to you, and
which, when you receive it, will, I am sure, cause you
to raise your hearts and voices to God in grateful praises
for His mercy and goodness to this poor long-lost people.
" I must, however, just mention, that since the bishop
was here and baptized fifty-seven adults and some children last spring, we have had a visit from the Rev. R.
Dundas, who baptized thirty-seven adults and thirteen
children. A great number are now preparing for baptism, and I hope that very soon the whole settlement
will be Christian. All the baptized have been, and are,
greatly tried. Many we can rejoice over exceedingly,
and are a great comfort to us, exhibiting as they do the
true signs of a real and living conversion to God; but
some few have fallen, and have been excommunicated;
but with one exception all such have bitterly repented,
and are struggling to regain their footing.
oo        © o ©
" Our Sunday Services continue to be well attended,
from 300 to 400 at every service; and the evening meeting amongst themselves, of which I have apprised you
before, continues to increase in numbers and interest.
Upwards of 100 often attend. They have singing and
prayer, and one or two of the young men exhort, making Ill
the two addresses I have given during the day the basis
of their remarks. Nor is it only in our own settlement,
that good is being done. Wherever these Indians go
they carry their religion with them, always assembling
themselves together for worship on the Sunday, and
getting as many of the heathen to join them as possible.
An Indian of Fort Simpson, who has received a good
deal of instruction from me (though he is not a resident
at our new village), came here a few days ago, bringing
seven young men with him from one of the highest villages up the Naas River, over 100 miles from here. He
brought them that they might witness for themselves the
things of which they had heard him speak. He has been
residing at this village as fur trader, but he has also dili-
gently employed his talents for God, setting forth the
Gospel where it had never been preached before, and has
met with great encouragement and apparent success.
I had the. whole party at my house last Wednesday
evening, when I endeavoured very solemnly to impress
upon their minds and hearts the first principles of the
Gospel of Christ. Though intending to return home on
the following day, they decided to remain over the Sunday, that they might receive further instruction to carry
back with them to their waiting and thirsty tribe.
" They were anxious to carry in their hands a portion
of God's word, so I wrote out for each, on a piece of paper,
—' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all .acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' I also gave the Indian trader and teacher some
further instructions, and pointed him out portions of
Scripture suited to him and his flock. Before he arrived
here he wrote me a very encouraging letter (for I have
taught him to read and write), a copy of which I should
like to have forwarded you, but I must forbear.
" I am happy to tell you also that our new village goes
on increasing in size. Five new houses are being erected,
and several Indians have applied for plots of ground to
build upon during the next summer. Some of the fresh
arrivals are from two other tribes, not the Tsimsheeans,
but speaking the same tongue; their homes being about
100 miles from here, and about 50 miles from each
other. 112
The following extract from the " Daily British Colonist," a Victoria newspaper, February 29,1864, gives a
pleasing account of the state of the new settlement.
" Progress and condition of the Metlahkatlah Settlement.
"The schooner 'Carolena,' Captain Patterson, arrived
on Saturday from the Church Missionary settlement at
Metlahkatlah, bringing as freight a full cargo, consisting of fish-oil, furs, Indian food, cypress-plants, &c,
prepared by Indians at the settlement.
" After the arrival at Metlahkatlah of the ' Carolena,'
on her last trip from Victoria, a meeting of all those interested in the vessel was held, and after providing for the
expense of new sails and anchors, a dividend was declared
by Mr. Duncan of five per cent, upon each share. This
somewhat puzzled the Indians, who imagined when the
money was given to them that they were parting with
their interest in the vessel. As soon as the .matter was
satisfactorily explained to them, they at once gave her
the appropriate name of ' Ahah!' or slave, signifying that
she did all the work and they reaped the profit.
" Mr. Duncan is endeavouring by degrees to vest
the entire ownership of the vessel and profits of the
trade in his people. Hitherto the profits derived from
his own share have been devoted to the Mission.
" On New-year's Day, after a devotional meeting, there
was a business-meeting, attended by the whole settlement,
when Mr. Duncan announced the expenditure of the last
year's taxes, and read the village rules and regulations.
An outline was also furnished of the proposed expenditure for the current year, which met with general approval. Immediately after the meeting the tax of 2.50
dollars (or a blanket) for adults, and 1.50 dollars (or one
shirt) for boys, was paid. Some feeble old men, who
could hardly walk, came tottering along, with their blankets, anxious to become good citizens, but were exempted
from the levy.
" Mr. Duncan has been working hard to ascertain
what his people's inclination and abilities are, so as to
class their occupation, and has in a great measure succeeded. He has now a number at work, making shingles,
building a new Mission house, road-making, hunters, 113
•sawyers, &c. He has also taught them to make clogs
for themselves, which are much prized. Those who break
the laws are tried for the offence, and if found guilty, are
sentenced to labour on public works. The settlement
is assuming quite an imposing aspect. There are at
present eight substantial houses in the course of construction, and many are inquiring for sites. The eonstables,
eighteen in number (who are volunteers, and desire no
pay), do their duty admirably, without fear, favour, or
prejudice, and are held in awe by transgressors.
" It was truly encouraging to witness the many earnest
entreaties made by the people of the village that their
friends in Victoria might be urged to flee from the snares
and vices which lead them astray here, and to return to
their homes. Several letters were written by themselves
in English, and couched in fervent language, beseeching
relatives to return there, and thus save both body and
soul, which they say must be inevitably and irretrievably
lost by their residing there. No sooner was it announced
that the vessel was about to proceed to Victoria, and
was prepared to receive orders to execute, than the people
flocked to it with commissions for every conceivable
variety of goods, including even wall-paper and household furniture, to adorn their own residences."
We must not omit to notice a visit to Fort Simpson,
which Mr. Duncan paid early in the following year,
with a view to try whether he might, with God's help,
be the means of reclaiming some of the heathen who had
been left behind when he and his party removed to Metlahkatlah.    His journal thus refers to his visit—
" Feb. 6,1864—I have just returned from a visit to
Fort Simpson. I went to proclaim the Gospel once
more to the poor unfeeling heathen there.    I started on 114
IP li
Thursday, preached twice on Friday, and returned today. There is evidently a shaking of the dry bones there;
but this I could see plainly, that the Indians are by no
means ripe as a whole to remove to us yet. Some talk
of coming soon, and spoke well. I laid the Gospel again
distinctly before them, and they seemed much affected.
The most pleasing circumstance of all, and which I was
not prepared to expect, was, that Paul Legaic and Clah
(the one in times past a formidable enemy and opposer,
and the other one among the first to hear and greet the
Gospel) sat by me, one on either side. After I had
finished my address on each occasion they got up and
spoke, and spoke well.
" Legaic completely ashamed and confounded an old
man, who, in replying to my address, had said that
I had come too late to do him and other old people
good; that had I come when the first white traders
came, the Tsimsheeans had long since been good. But
they had been allowed to grow up in sin; they had.
seen nothing among the first whites who came amongst
them to unsettle them in their old habits, but these had
rather added to them fresh sins, and now their sins were
deep laid they (he and the other old people) could not
change. Legaic interrupted him and said, ' I am a
chief, a Tsimsheean chief. You know I have been bad,
very bad, as bad as any one here. I have grown up and
grown old in sin, but God has changed my heart, and
He can change yours. Think not to excuse yourselves
in your sins by saying you are too old and too bad to
mend. Nothing is impossible with God. Come to God;
try His way ; He can save you.' He then exhorted all
to taste God's way, to give their hearts to Him, to leave
all their sins ; and then endeavoured to show them what
they had to expect if they did so—not temporal good,
not healths long life, or ease, or wealth, but God's
favour here and happiness with God after death.
Clah also spoke at great length. He said, from his
youth he hated heathenism, and could never be prevailed upon, not even by threats, to join them in its
follies. But he did not know of any better way; but
by the time he became a man God sent His word to the 115
Tsimsheeans. He soon saw that he and his people were
in the dark, and that God's word was a light, a great
light shining in the darkness. He kept his eye fixed
upon it, and started off towards it; he persevered till he
grasped it; and now he found it to be good and sweet, a
great light to his heart. What a glorious change was
this since my first going round the camp to preach the
Gospel in' fear and trembling. Now I had two important men gathered out and on my side, speaking more
distinctly than I could these glorious and saving truths,
and trying to enforce them. After they had finished I
got up and pointed to these two as witnesses of the truth
I had declared the years I had been here. The Indian
audience seemed very much affected."
As an evidence of Mr. Duncan's influence amongst the
Indians, we quote the following incident from a letter of
July 25, 1864—
" I am happy to be able to report that the constables,
as a body, are very true and faithful. Last winter they
were severely tested. One of their own body, and a
very influential one too, having gone wrong, was brought
before us, and that by his very bosom friend; and we
had to sit over his case till after midnight to reclaim
him. I punished him by fining him five blankets, and
should have kept him in custody unless he had confessed
his error and begged pardon. If you had heard the
kind and powerfully melting language which, one after
another, his brother constables poured upon him to convince and subdue him, you would have rejoiced, I am
sure. It was really wonderful. They triumphed, and
with tears the prodigal returned. But part of the
sentence was, that he was to leave the settlement for a
short time, as I could not allow him to be seen in our
midst. The day after, a deputation of constables waited
upon me to beg for. this part of the sentence to be cancelled. They came direct from a meeting at which he
had been called, and after hearing his sorrowful words
and good resolutions, they promised to use their influence to obtain permission to remain at the settlement,
but not to go from his own house for some time, or until
I gave him leave.     Having pleaded so well and so earn- 116
estly for him, I consented to their proposal. About
three weeks after this he came to me, in company with
his accuser—his bosom friend—saying that he wished
to see my face, and speak before all the Christians that
night. So after the adult school was over, I ordered all
to leave the room who were not Christians. This was
done, and the penitent then came in, and made a very
affecting speech indeed. It was very wonderful to see
and hear him, a naturally proud and a very influential
man, from his eloquence and general character. He
bitterly deplored his sin, praised God for His mercy,
thanked me and all his friends for the trouble we had
taken with him, expressed his sorrow and shame that he
had given us pain, and disgraced the name of Christian,
and resolved, in God's strength, to lead a new life, and
be more watchful. He then warned all present against
sin, begged them to watch and pray, confessed he had
found the hiding of God's face more bitter than death ;
© *
and again and again besought them to avoid all manner
of sin, and the first approach of it. The Christians then
shook hands with him, and some I have no doubt were
in tears.    Thus the wanderer was restored."
Though the Committee had felt for some time the
great need of sending another Missionary to strengthen
the hands of Mr. Duncan, they were unable to do so
until the spring of 1864, when the Rev. R. R A.
Doolan, B.A. of Caius College, Cambridge, offered
himself for the work, and was accepted by the Society.
He arrived at Metlahkatlah on July 2nd, and has given
the following account of his reception—
"On landing, I was met by most of the Christian
people of the village, anxious to shake hands, and show
their pleasure at my coming amongst them. Mr. Duncan tells me that this was quite spontaneous on their
part, as he had never hinted at such a proceeding. A few
of the Indians talk very good English, and many understand it, though they do not speak it. The contrast between the Indians stationed here, and those of other
tribes, is very striking. It is especially noticeahle when
they meet together for trade.     A few days ago, two 117
large canoes of Queen Charlotte islanders came across
to trade blankets for fish-grease: on the one side the
Christian Indian, dressed in suitable decent clothes ; on
the other, his heathen brother, with nothing but a
blanket to cover his nakedness. The Indians told us,
that in former years, when the Queen Charlotte islanders
came to trade, each party brought forward their property, the Tsimsheean his grease, the others their blankets,
and that all the guns were loaded ready for a fight,
and very seldom did they part without bloodshed.
What a change Christianity has wrought! It has been
thought advisable that I should go to Naas river, sixty
miles north-east of this, where the people have long expressed a desire for teachers. This place is a centre
of heathenism, and I trust the Society will approve of the
step we are about to take. This tribe, allied to the
Tsimsheeans, is a most important one, and their desire
for teachers, from whatever motive it may arise, is exceedingly gratifying. A door seems opened for preaching to them the Gospel. The priests have already paid
them a visit, and, should the field not be occupied, they
will, no doubt, next spring return. I felt some little
hesitation at first in leaving Mr. Duncan, but he proposes to engage an Indian, Samuel Marsden, as teacher
of the school, which will lighten his work."
One of the surest signs of the healthy state of any
church is the Missionary spirit manifested by it, and it
is pleasing to know, that even in this early stage of the
work these signs were not wanting. We find Mr.
Duncan recording, in a letter from which we have already
quoted, " Several young men with me are likely to become very useful in the Mission work around when the
doors open for them." And the following letter, written
by a young woman of the settlement to her sister, who
was leading a wicked life at Victoria, manifests the
genuine Christian spirit of the writer. She had already
succeeded in reclaiming one of her sisters, and now she
wrote to another—
" My dear Sister—I send this little news to you.
I very much wish to see you, my sister.     I tell you-
sometimes I very much cry because I remember your 118
111 $
way not right. I want you to hear what I speak to
you. Come now, my sister, I hope you will return and
live in your own place. Do not you persevere to follow
bad ways. You must try to forsake your way; repent
from your heart. You hear our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Cast all your bad ways on Jesus. He know to save
us when we die. I very happy because I see my brother and sister come again. I thank God because He
hear always cry about you.
" I am, your crying Sister,
| Eliza Palet."
Somewhat later we find Mr. Duncan reporting—
" A little time ago several of the Christian Indians
from here made a special visit to Fort Simpson, for the
purpose of arousing their slumbering brethren there, and
the report that reached us of the result was very satisfactory. The heathen there put away their own absorbing and heathenish work, and attended the meetings the
© ' ©
Christians held, and listened with great reverence and
But it is needless to state that the Missionaries, amid
much to cheer, had much also to disappoint and discourage
them; for it is so always. Wherever the work of God
is going forward, there will the great enemy be the more
active in striving to counterplot and undo the work.
One of the greatest obstacles to the progress of the
Missionary work was the sale of liquor amongst the
Indians, and terrible were the atrocities perpetrated
during their fits of drunkenness. One of the Missionaries was set upon by a drunken Indian, who twice
attempted to fire at him. Providentially his gun missed
fire, and before he could make a third attempt the gun
was seized, and fired off into the air. But notwithstanding all the difficulties the work progressed. We
find Mr. Duncan writing, on July 12, 1865—
" I am happy to tell you, that, on the whole, things
are going on well with us.     Though I have much to
© © D
mourn over, yet God shows me much to encourage and
comfort me. The conflict we are engaged in is a very
fierce one: three of the baptized have gone back;    Ye 119
how rejoicing to feel that, on the other hand, over forty
are pressing to enter our ranks, and out of these, thirty
or over are considered fit to be admitted.
And again, on October 25th, after recording the interest taken by His Excellency Governor Seymour in
the work at Metlahkatlah, who, before leaving for Eng»
land, had written an encouraging letter, concluding with
these words—" If you can tell me anything in which
I can show my interest in your Mission, and in the coast
natives generally, I shall be glad to adopt it;" he adds—
" We are experiencing very turbulent times; but I
am happy to tell you, nevertheless, the Lord's work is
going on here. The fear of God rests upon this place.
I am sure, if you were to see this village on the Lord's-
day, or at week-evening prayers, you would not believe
you were in a land of savages, and that, less than twenty
miles away, ghastly heathenism still holds its undisputed
sway; yet such is the case."
commencement of the mission in the naas
Mr. Duncan had long felt that the first out-station
which must be commenced by him was upon the Naas
River, among the Nishkah Indians. He had already
paid two visits to them in April and September 1860.
The record of the first of these has appeared in these
pages; but for that of the second, not less interesting
than the first, we must refer to the " Church Missionary
Intelligencer" for 1865 (pp. 113—116), as its length will
not admit of its insertion here. Anxious as Mr. Duncan was to help these people, it was impossible for him
to do it while he was alone; so that, notwithstanding
their urgent entreaties for a Missionary, they were left
■without one until the beginning of 1864, when they again
.claimed his attention; and having paid another visit to 120
;1» '.
them in the spring of that year, their wants were again
pressed upon him ; and as, in the providence of God,
Mr. Doolan arrived just at that time, it was agreed between them that he should at once proceed to the Naas
River, and commence Missionary work there. He was
accompanied by Robert Dundas, a young Tsimsheean
Christian, who, it was hoped, would prove of service in
assisting him with the language, and helping in the school.
During his short stay at Metlahkatlah he saw something
of the working of the Mission, baptized one adult and
four infants, and married one of the girls adopted by
Mrs. Tugwell while there, a truly Christian girl, to the
young man, S. Marsden, who promised to be a great
help in the school. Mr. Doolan thus describes the welcome they received from the Indians at Naas—
" On the 20th of July we left Metlahkatlah, and, on
our arrival at Naas, took up our residence in the house
of one of the chiefs. The Indians seemed very much
pleased that we had come, and helped us, as far as they
could, in setting up our tent in the house, and in bringing us food in the shape of salmon. Our first step was
to look out for a suitable site for a house, hoping before
winter we might have a small house erected; and as the
Indians are divided into three villages, separated from
one another by narrow channels of the. river, it was a
difficult matter to pitch on a spot which should be equally
advantageous to all. The Indians seeing us busy in pre-
paring the ground for the house, then believed we intended remaining during the winter. They could scarcely
credit it, as the cold is so intense. Our difficulty with
regard to a schoolhouse is for the present removed, by
renting for a year, from one of the chiefs, an old de-
serted Indian house, built in the most populous of the
three villages. To put this in order before the winter
Was our next step. The chiefs, and some of the other
men, came forward very readily, and lent us bark and
plank for roofing and flooring the schoolhouse, telling
us they did not intend treating us as the Tsimsheeans
had treated Mr. Duncan. As the time of the year when
We arrived was midsummer, most of the Indians were
away making food, but from ■the very first a small band 121
of young men stuck to us, and these, with others, We
employed in cutting wood for the house. To show the
anxiety manifested by some among them to learn " the
book," as they call the Bible, I will give you one instance.
Two young men came down from their own village, a
distance of thirty miles, and remained with us over two
weeks, till forced to return by want of food. Their sole
motive for coming was to learn. Another lad, the son
of a chief, has from the first remained with us. He has
been sorely tempted more than once to leave. Four times
in one afternoon men came to him, as he was working
for us, trying to induce him to accompany them to a
whisky feast. He refused to go, telling them if he did
we should be ashamed of him. I trust he will soon learn
to resist temptation from higher motives than these.
His father and mother are very angry with him, and
have cast him off. He tells us he constantly prays to
God. At Mr. Duncan's suggestion, he will remain with
him during the winter. I trust the Spirit is leading
him to inquire after the Saviour, and that in the
spring, should it be the will of God, he may be ready
for baptism, the first-fruits from Naas. We trust,
also, that another Naas lad may be induced to spend
the winter there, under instruction. The manners and
customs of the Naas Indians are so similar to the Tsimsheeans, that to describe them would be giving but
a repetition of what Mr. Duncan has already "written.
We have some difficulties to contend with, which he did
not find among the Tsimsheeans: one will arise from the
different circumstances through which a man becomes a
chief amongst them. With the Tsimsheeans, the chieftainship is hereditary; but at Naas, if a man accumulates, either by industry (and they are, without exception,
the most industrious of the Northern-Coast Indians) or
by marriage a certain amount of property, he becomes a
sort of chief amongst them. Polygamy is very prevalent among them: one chief has no less than five wives.
In becoming a Christian, he loses his precedence among
his fellow-men, and one of the most difficult questions
that will arise is this—How to maintain axhief s social
position on his embracing Christianity ? 122
1 fi:
" July 31: Sunday—We went to every house in the
three villages, inviting the people to attend service.
Began service about ten a.m., and had fifty-eight at our
first meeting. Charles Ryan, a Christian man from
Metlahkatlah, who happened to be then at Naas, gave a
nice address.
" We heard a medicine-woman rattling over a sick
woman near the house. She is a very wicked woman.
She pretends she has been dead for eight days, that she
can tell what the crows say, what the children when they
cry say, and many other fooleries. A fine instance of
bravery I heard of Charles Ryan, When at the fisheries, an old medicine-man and his wife came rattling
over a poor sick woman. He saw she was too weak to
bear it, and ordered them off, telling them they were
great deceivers. As they were great medicine people,
the Indians advised him to leave off, but he told them
he would give them ten dollars if they killed him by the
morning. The Indians looked at him in the morning,
half afraid that he would be dead, but when the medicine-man saw he was quite well he made off."
The limits of our space will not allow of our giving
any further details of the work at this advanced post on
the Naas River. It will be sufficient to say that God
has been pleased so to bless the labours of His servants,
that a promising settlement has now been formed there
similar to Metlahkatlah, to which the Missionaries have
given the name of Kincauleth.
In the summer of 1866 a second visit was paid to the
Mission by the Bishop of Columbia, who thus reports
with reference to it in a letter from Vancouver's Island,
on June 27—
" I have recently returned from an interesting visit to 123
the Tsimsheeans at Metlahkatlah, where, I am thankful to
say, the work of God continues to prosper. Assisted by
the Rev. A. Doolan and Mr. Duncan, 1 carefully examined about one hundred catechumens, many of whom
had been several years under preparation, and on Whit-
Sunday baptized of them thirty men and thirty-five
women, in all sixty-five adults. I truly believe most of
these were sincere and intelligent believers in Christ—
as worthy converts from heathenism as hawe ever been
known in the history of the church. The mistake sometimes made in saying that the only hope of Missionary
labour is in the young, and that little may be expected
from adult heathen, receives encouraging contradiction
here from the number of elderly persons who give every
proof of the sincerity of conversion. At the same time
the young are growing up with all the more hope from
the Christian example of their parents and friends.
" The Female Institution has borne good fruit in planting out one set of young women in domestic life. The
present inmates are nearly of an age to follow, and others
are waiting to supply their room. The arrival of the
Rev. F. and Mrs. Gribbell* will be of great advantage to
this part of the work, and will relieve Mr. Duncan of a
most difficult duty, but one which he has admirably discharged. Mr. Duncan's influence is great upon surrounding and even distant tribes, who frequently ask for
teachers to come and reside amongst them; and it is of
much importance that the present opportunity should not
be lost, for terrible are the evil agencies for effecting the
deeper contamination and rapid destruction of the native
race of this country.
"Besides this Mission to the Tsimsheeans, two other
centres urgently call for the Gospel—Fort Rupert and
Queen-Charlotte islands—from which may be reached
about 5000 Indians, speaking the Quoquolt, and the
same number speaking Hydah tongues. Two Missionaries should go to each.   For the Tsimsheeans there needs
* Rev. F. Gribbell had been sent out by the Church Missionary
Society to assist Mr. Duncan ] but through the failure of
Mrs.' Gribbell's health,, he, like Mr. Tugwell, was obliged to
abandon the work. 124:
an addition of three labourers—one to assist Mr. Doolan
on the Naas River, a second to reside at Fort Simpson,
and a third to go to the Skeena River, south, of Metlahkatlah. Metlahkatlah is destined to become the centre
of the northern Missions on this coast, and probably of
just trade, from which Christian civilization may spread
around. It would be desirable to have an institution for
boys as well as girls, from which might be drafted the
future teachers of the tribes, leading eventually to education for the ministry. It is of consequence to make
this Mission strong with the earnest life of faithful Missionaries from the mother land."
The following interesting account of the celebration of
the Queen's birth-day at Metlahkatlah is extracted from
the "Victoria Daily Chronicle" of June 1, 1866—
" It had been usual every year to keep the Queen!s
birth-day at Metlahkatlah. The presence of a ship of war.
induced Mr. Duncan to resolve to observe the festive
occasion a few days earlier than customary. By the
kindness of Captain Porcher, of H.M.S. ' Sparrowhawk,'
he was enabled to do this. At an early hour on the 21st
of May a party from the ship decorated the bastion and
the principal buildings with a festoon of flags of various
nations. The day was perfect, the sun shone bright, and
all the beautiful scenery of islands, placid sea and distant
mountains, contributed to the delight. Precisely at twelve
o'clock a royal salute of twenty-one guns boomed forth
from the ship, to the great satisfaction and some astonishment of the clean, orderly and well-dressed groups of Indians, who had now gathered to the village square to participate in the proceedings of ii)e day. There were healthy children playing at ball and taking turns at the merry-
go-round ; young men were striving at gymnastic bars;
the eighteen policemen of the village were in regimentals,
ready for review; and the elders walked about the happy
scene, comparing the old time and new, and thanking
God for increase of prosperity and of blessing.
" During the earlier part of the day a distribution of
gifts took place : biscuits were given to 140 children, who
sang in English' God save the Queen, and other pieces.
Better behaved children, more orderly and obedient, 125
there could not be found in any land. Next came 120
elderly men and women, to whom a few- leaves of tobaco
were an acceptable token of sympathy; the sick, too,
were remembered ; and last, not least, the councilmen
and constables. Gifts, however, are not the order of the
day in Metlahkatlah. All who come there are taught to
depend upon their own industry. Not a few have suffered
the loss of all things by leaving home, friends and property elsewhere, to come here. The most exciting thing
of the day was the race between five canoes, manned
by forty-one young men and men in their prime. The
course was about two miles, round an island in full view of
the village. Three canoes, two of women,had their contest.
Foot races, boys running in sacks, blindman's buff, and
such like amusements, completed the programme of that
part of the festivities. The crew of the-' Sparrowhawk '
had their holiday on shore, and appeared equally to enjoy the occasion. A remarkable contrast was afforded
by the arrival of a fleet of Bella Bella canoes, whose sa-
vage owners, with black and red painted faces, dirty
uncombed heads, and tattered blankets, showed off to
advantage the well-dressed and respectable Metlahkat-
lans. After a time the heathen visitors became convinced of their disadvantage, and prudently retired from
" In the evening, before the exhibition of a magic
©■' ©4
lantern, a public meeting was held, at which were present Captain Porcher and several of his officers, the
Bishop of Columbia, the Rev. A. Doolan, and Mr.
Duncan. Addresses were delivered, to which the Indian
chief men replied. The following are the brief words of
three of these—
" Kemskah—' Chiefs, I will say a little. How were
we to hear when we were young what we now hear ?
And being old, and long fixed in* sin, how are we to
obey? We are like the canoe going against the tide
which is too strong for it. We struggle, but in spite of
our efforts we are carried out to sea. Again, we are
like a youth watching a skilled workman. He strives
to imitate his work, but fails: so we. We try to
follow God's way, but how far we fall short!    Still we 126
are encouraged to persevere. We feel we are nearing
the shore. We are coming nearer to the hand of God—
nearer peaoe. We must look neither to the right nor
left, but look straight on and persevere.'
" Thrak-shah-kaun (once a sorcerer)—' Chiefs, I will
speak. As my brothers before me have entreated, so do
ye. Why have you left your country to come to us?
One thing has brought you here. One thing was the
cause—to teach us the way of God, and help us to walk
in it. Our forefathers were wicked and dark: they
taught us ahlied (sorcery). My eyes have swollen:
three nights I have not slept. I have crept to the corner
of my house to cry, reflecting on God's pity to us in
sending you at this time. You are not acting from your
own hearts. God has sent you. 1 am happy to see so
many of my brothers and sisters born to God. God has
spoken to us: let us hear.'
•' J'Voodeemeesh—c I will speak to my brethren. What
has God done to us ? What does He see in us that He
should be working for us ? We are like the fallen tree,
buried in the undergrowth. What do these chiefs gain
by coming to us ? Did we call them ? Do we know
from whenoe they are? Or did we see the way they
have come ? Yet they arrived to us; they have torn
away the undergrowth; they have found us, and, they
have lifted our hands and eyes to God, and showed us
the way to heaven.'
" The magic lantern came after that. The Bella
Bella chief was present, and declared the white man
could conjure better than the Indian. All departed at a
somewhat late hour, highly delighted with the Queen's
birthday for 1866."
" The bishop visited in a canoe the island gardens of
the Mission. They number about 150. He found
many of the owners, men, women and children, planting potatoes in the deep, rich mould, the accumulation of centuries. They use lines for the trenches,
and deposit sea-weed, an excellent manure, upon the
potatoe, which is cut into pieces, and placed about six
inches apart. Abundant crops of excellent food are thus
obtained, and not only are their own wants supplied, but 127
they sell to other Indians. The seed now used was raised
from a ton presented by the bishop in 1863, when the
gardens were commenced. Looking at these garden
islands from the Mission, we were impressed with the
marked industry and order of the settlement.
" How different thirty years ago was the spot! . Then
heathenism, in all its terror, held dark dominion.
Beneath the soil of Mr. Duncan's garden many skulls
and human bones were exhumed; but this was not the
burial-place of the Tsimsheeans. These were the bones
of slaves murdered on feast-days to display power and
wealth. It was a saying, that every chief's house was
planted on the dead bodies of slaves. The slave body
was cast out unburied, to be the food of dogs. Now all
is changed: no sound of heathen revel or dark magic is
© ©
ever heard at Metlahkatlah. The cross of the Prince
of Peace surmounts the chief building, which is the
house of God, and the church bell daily draws glad
hundreds of Indians to lift up the heart in spirit and in
truth to their great Father. ' The desert blossoms as
the rose, and the wilderness has become a fruitful
field.'" '
A few extracts from Mr. Duncan's letter to the Committee of this date will give a general idea of the state
of the Mission colony at this time. On July 10, 1866,
after referring to the pleasure which the bishop's visit
had given to the little community, he writes—
" You will be happy to hear that our village trade
prospers. I had hoped to have transferred this department to other hands, but have been disappointed. Had
I done so I think I should now have had upwards of
1000/. surplus, which I had intended laying out in the
village, and in building a new church, and thus raising
a substantial monument of the industry of the village
durin.T the past four years of its existence. This result
is the more encouraging alongside the fact, that most of
©      © * i
the other traders with the Indians are complaining of
losses. Some have failed altogether, and now several
of the liquor vendors have fled insolvent.
" 1. As regards the trade department, I have instructed
a white man, the only one in the village besides myself, who 128
is married to a Metlahkatlah Indian, to keep the store,
and he, with four Indians, manages the schooner. Now,
instead of the savage altercation so common to Indian
trading, the Metlahkatlah store demands and obtains
quietness and courtesy. We have continued to supply
the Indians with all goods answering the convenience of
civilized life, and tending to elevate their tastes and
7 ©
improve their appearance.
" 2. Matters of law.—All private, domestic and civil
troubles find their way to the Mission house, and now
the Indians from surrounding tribes bring in their every
trial of a serious nature. Thus my duties in this department are very trying, demanding much patience, energy
and explanation. But it is satisfactory to see peace and
quietness prevail in the village, and to be able to extend
the same blessings to some little extent to the surrounding
© o
" 3. Taxes and village work.—The Indians, on the
whole, this year have been very prompt in paying their
tax, namely, a blanket for each male adult. And hence
the village work is progressing. The chief, Legaic, the
twelve councillors, and the eighteen constables, are all
doing as well as I can expect. I am particularly pleased
with their loyalty and strict obedience, even in matters
very trying to their own private feelings.
" 4. Building department.—Our Mission premises are
now nearly complete, and are very ample. With God's
good hand upon us, we hope soon to set about building
a real church on an elevated portion of the village, and
we will try to do it without any expense to the Society.
Mr. Doolan and myself think that 1001. a year will be quite
sufficient in future for the general expenses of the Mission.
" 5. School department.—There are about 130 children
on the books, but many of them are necessarily away a
great part of their time each year, gathering food. My
regular scholars are the boarders, and some few from
the villages. For the adults I carry on an evening
school in the winter. The great want I feel for the
adults is a book in their own tongue. This I am preparing, and hope ere long to have it ready for printing.
We will try to print it with our own press. 129
" I may now mention a pleasing discovery that I
made this spring. In one of the trading parties of
Indians from the Skeena river there were two men
from the far interior, both married into the Tsim-
sheean-speaking tribes on the river, and able to speak
Tsimsheean fluently. . I went to address the party in the
house where they were lodging during their stay here.
A day or two afterwards I bethought myself of a letter
I had received from Rev. W. Kirkby, one of our Missionaries on the Mackenzie river. He had inquired
about the Tsimsheean language, and so I at once went to
© ©    J
these two strangers to compare their own tongue with
the language of Mr. Kirkby's Indians, and, to my great
joy, I found them agree. I cannot tell you how delighted
I was at this discovery: thus I can now communicate
through the Tsimsheean tongue with the various Indians
© ©
speaking the language known to Mr. Kirkby.
Mr. Kirkby's
The two strangers'
Native Tougue.
" 6. Religious services department.—I have now three
services on the Sunday, and village prayers every week-
dav night, all of which are well attended. Thus the
Lord is blessing us. I rejoice to report that three
families have lately left Fort Simpson to join us, and I
have notice of another   coming, and  others who  are
thinking of it. The three which have come are of the
right class—four penitent sinners, feeling their way after
God.    To God be all the praise and glory!    Amen."
We have already inserted several testimonies to the
progress of the Mission work from various quarters, including that of the bishop of the diocese, the Governor
of the colony, officers in Her Majesty's service who
have visited Metlahkatlah, and others.    These might be
* Karrwnuck is "hot."    Cheeoost is "daylight"—thus Kammuckcumcheeoost is "the heater of the day."
K 130
largely multiplied, as will be found by reference to the
Society's periodicals. But the following extract from
the " Nanaimo Tribune " deserves to be specially noticed, inasmuch as it comes from the pen of a Roman-
Catholic gentleman, who has visited the Mission station
in 1866, and is therefore doubly valuable as an independent testimony—
" Being requested by several of my friends to give a
sketch of my three months' trip north as far as the
Russian possession, I comply cheeringly, my principal
motive for so doing being the vindication of the character of some noble, self-sacrificing men in the Missionary cause from the scandalous aspersions cast upon
them by a portion of the press of the colony. Knowing
by experience the many efforts that have been made by
the people of this island to aid the Missionary in his
exertions to preserve, if possible, a few of the many
Indian tribes' north, and knowing also how little help
they have received from the Executive in this particular,
I could not but feel surprised and gratified at the vast
improvement in the condition of the Indians, both morally
and. socially, that I witnessed at the different Missions
since my last visit. At Metlahkatlah^ the charge of Mr.
Duncan, this improvement was particularly marked.
The confidence reposed in Mr. Duncan by his dusky
flock has never for a moment been shaken, in fact, is
daily on the increase, as the many additions to the population from outside sources will attest The town is
triangular in shape; the Mission buildings being located on
a bold promontory forming the apex. The view from the
southern entrance of the harbour, looking townward, is
extremely pretty. The church, of octagonal form, having
a handsome portico and belfry, and surmounted with the
emblem of Christianity and peace, occupies a prominent
position in the foreground: adjacent to this are the parsonage, store, and sawpits, the latter supplying lumber
of good quality, the product of native labour, at the rate
of fifteen dollars per 1000. The houses, numbering
about fifty, are nearly all of a uniform size—16 by 24
feet—good frame, weatherboarded and shingled, glazed
windows, and having neat little gardens in front; the 131
whole forming two handsome esplanades, one fronting
the outer and the other the inner harbour.    The interior
of the houses did not belie the promise held out by the
exterior.    Everything was neat and scrupulously clean.
The inmates were as well supplied with the requisites to
make fife comfortable as any of our labouring class here.
Cooking stoves and clocks were common to every dwelling, and, in a few instances, pictures adorned the walls
of the more luxuriously inclined.    The sight at church
on Sabbath morning was pleasant to behold.    The congregation numbered about 300, the females preponderating, the major portion of the males being at that time
out fishing.    They were all well clad—the women   in
their cloth mantles and merino dresses, and their heads
gaily decked with the graceful badanna;   the men in
substantial tweeds and broadcloth suits, and having the
impress of good health and contentment on their intelligent features.    Their conduct during divine service was
strictly exemplary, and would have done credit to many
a more pretentious edifice than  that at Metlahkatlah.
As a whole, Mr. Duncan's people are industrious and
sober: they are courteous and hospitable to strangers,
and, if properly protected by their Government against
the poison-venders of this island, will in time become a
numerous and wealthy people."
We have now come to the end of the period which we
undertook to review. It was in September 1857 that
Mr. Duncan had left Victoria for Fort Simpson; and
now, on September 20,1867, we find him giving the following report to the Home Committee—
" I have still the pleasing and encouraging announcement to make, that the good hand of our God is upon
us.    His blessed work in this land is still growing both 132
in strength and extent. The days of our trembling
weakness are past: the sapling has become a tree, an
offshoot of which is already bearing fruit. To God be
all the praise and glory I    Amen.
a In the last week of January a deputation of the
Indians waited upon me, praying that I would procure
a saw-mill for the village, as our present pit-saws did
not produce sufficient material to meet our necessities
for building. I needed, of course, little urging in the
direction they pointed; and so, having several other
pressing reasons for my paying a visit to Victoria, and
a favourable opportunity being afforded for my quickly
performing the trip, I suddenly resolved to go. Mr..
Doolan willingly undertook the charge of everything
©   •/ © J ©
during my absence. I spent about three weeks in Victoria, and finished all my business. On the 10th of
March I arrived back at Metlahkatlah, bringing with
me 700 copies of our first tract printed in the Tsimsheean
tongue. Many of the Indians can already read it, and
are greatly delighted with it. The cost of printing it.
was only twelve dollars, which expense Mr. Doolan
kindly bore. You will, I am sure, be glad to learn
that our village is attracting new settlers from surrounding tribes of Indians, and rapidly improving in
I On the 12th of June last His Excellency Governor
Seymour paid us his long-promised visit, and expressed
himself very much gratified with all he saw.    Though
v © ©
he had heard much of Metlahkatlah, yet the reality, he
said, far exceeded his expectations.
" On the 20th of May we welcomed our new Missionary brother, Mr. Tomlinson. At once we sat down to
consider the advisability of recommencing the Naas
Mission,* as Mr. Doolan's recent visit to Naas had convinced him that little good can be expected to result
from occasional visits. It was decided that Mr. Doolan
and Mr. Tomlinson. should proceed without delay, and
endeavour to establish the little band, already gathered
* This had been temporarily suspended, owing to difficulties
that had arisen. 133
out of the heathen at Naas, into a Christian settlement.
On the 4th of June, Messrs. Doolan and Tomlinson
started away for their arduous work, I trust to be
greatly blessed in their labours. Their letters and
journals will give you the account of their proceedings
and success.
" On the 9th of last month I welcomed here my very dear
friend—a warm and tried friend of the Mission—the
Dean of Victoria (Rev. E. Cridge), on his first visit
to us. The Dean has long anxiously desired and prayed
for the opportunity to pay us a visit, and now, at the
end of ten years from my first arrival in the country,
his prayers have been heard, and he is with us, to the
great joy of his heart. He purposes, I believe, writing
to you himself upon all that he has seen and done here,
so that I will say no more than that I have had the great
pleasure in assisting him in examining over a hundred
catechumens; the result being, that he accepted, and,
on the 8th instant, baptized, ninety-six adult Indians
and eighteen children.
" The same steamer that brought us the Dean, brought us-
a letter calling upon Mr. Doolan to return home. Yon
will learn from the minutes of the Committee meeting
held here, and now sent you, the circumstances of the
case. It is a great loss to the Naas Mission his going
away, but the loss has been most providentially alleviated by the step which he and Mr. Tomlinson took
this summer in moving the catechumens to their new
home. He thus leaves the result of his labours collected, and in a condition to be easily taken up by his
successor. I regret very much Mr. Doolan's going
away, but to everything we say,' The Lord's will be
done.' He has lived to do God's work here, and takes
with him the grateful affections of many hearts."
Upon Dean Cridge's return to Victoria, after a visit
of seven weeks to Metlahkatlah, he sent to the Committee
of the Church Missionary Society a full and most interesting statement of the condition of the Mission after
ten years of labour. This review has already appeared
in the pages of the " Church Missionary Intelligencer,"
and has been published separately by the Society. If
A few words in conclusion as to the results which,
after a period of ten years, Christianity has been able
to attain amongst the Tsimsheeans. The first attempts
of the Missionary were made at Fort Simpson, and
there, in spite of many hindrances, we saw how Christianity, when faithfully introduced amongst a wild and
degraded race, will make its way amidst the gravest obstructions, and so lay hold on men's consciences as to
lead them, in spite of their prejudices, to yield themselves
to its influence, and profess it before their countrymen,
although exposed, because of this, to much persecution.
Mr. Duncan, after a few years, removed to his present
post, Metlahkatlah, about seventeen miles from Fort Simpson, and there, as Mr. Macfie testifies, in his work on
Vancouver's Island, " during the first four years a work
has been accomplished whose success has rarely, if ever,
been equalled in the history of Missions to the heathen."
Results have been achieved of such a nature as to
assure us that Christianity, when believed, has power so
to change men, that they become a marked contrast to
their former selves; nay, not only so, but that it brings
hope to imperilled races^ and, by raising the tone of individual character, prepares the way for a great national
renovation. Thus the Gospel of Christ has proved a
refuge to the shipwrecked and perishing Indians of
British Columbia, by gathering a portion of them within
its protecting influence. A new community has been
formed, purged from the degrading practices of preceding generations, and endued with such a moral tone, that
the vices which emanate from Victoria, instead of being
imbibed with a miserable facility, are strenuously resisted
and repelled. And there is evidence that the work has
begun to spread so as to affect beneficially a large portion
of the nation. To God be all the praise I It is not to
glorify the man, or the Society which sent him out,
that we dwell upon this remarkable testimony.
Moreover, Metlahkatlah is not without its Christian
discipline; but it is an easy yoke compared with the
burden of heathenism, which is harsh and grinding,
and is necessary to perpetuate a condition of moral
health in the midst of such abounding unhealthiness. 135
The houses of the native Christians are no longer after
the Indian fashion, but adapted to the proprieties of a
Christian life. As offences will arise, an efficient body of
police is organized, and evil-doers are repressed. Industrious habits are diligently encouraged, and the people
cultivate the soil, extract oil, hunt furs, gather berries. A
schooner, also, has been provided, which traffics with
Victoria, exporting the produce of the little colony, and
bringing back in return such supplies as are needed.
These are some of the material results.
But that which is the very strength of the Mission
at Metlahkatlah, is its citadel and central keep — the
church, where the converts gather on the Lord's-day
to worship God through Jesus Christ, and listen to His
holy word. Christian ordinances are the backbone of
the new community. In the faithful use of them they
imbibe those high principles which give robustness to
the moral character. The strength of the whole Mission lies in the pure Christianity which is communicated from one earnest heart to another, and thence
breathed forth in prayer to God—prayer which returns,
in divine blessing to the soul.
May the Lord be pleased to multiply many such instances throughout the wide Missionary field!
W. M. Watts, 80, Gray's Inn Koad.     


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items