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The Hydah mission, Queen Charlotte's Islands. An account of the mission and people, with a descriptive… Harrison, Charles 1884

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Array QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S ISLANDS,
AN    ACCOUNT
MISSION    AND    PEOPLELONDON:
CHURCH MISSIONARY HOUSE, SALISBURY SQUARE, E.G.
Seelev. Jackson & HaLlidat, Essex Street, Strand, W.C. THE UNIVERSITY OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA
LIBRARY THE  Charlotte's Islands are the group in the
North Pacific, named after George the Third's
Queen, and on them dwell the finest and fiercest
of the coast tribes, the Hydahs. These are a
manly, tall, handsome people, and comparatively fair in
their complexion; but they are a cruel and vindictive race,
and were long the terror of the North Pacific coast. They
even attempted to attack English ships, and in 1854 they
plundered an American vessel, detaining the captain and
crew in captivity until they were ransomed by the Hudson's
Bay Company. No tribe, moreover, has been more fearfully
demoralised by the proximity of the white man's " civilisation." Drunkenness and the grossest vices have spread
disease and death amone; them. 4 The Hydah Mission,
In 1876, the Society's missionary, the Rev. W. H.
Collison, began a Mission among them at Massett, the-
principal trading post on the northern coast of the northern
island, Graham Island. Here Mr. and Mrs. Collison, with
their two little children, landed on November 1st, 1876,
Patiently and prayerfully, for the#next two years and a half,
did Mr. Collison labour among the Hydahs. Very quickly
he gained a remarkable influence over them, and though the
medicine men were, of course, bitterly hostile, the tokens-
of the working of the Holy Ghost were manifested sooner
than even an ardent faith might have anticipated.
Mr. Collison thus describes a remarkable peculiarity of
the Hydah villages (see the picture on page 6):—
In approaching a Hydah village from a distance one is reminded- of
a harbour with a number of ships at anchor, owing to the great number
of poles of all sizes erected in front of every house. These are carved
very well, with all kinds of figures, many of them unintelligible to>
visitors or strangers, but fraught with meaning to the people themselves.
In fact, they have a legend in connection with almost every figure. It
is in the erection of these that so much property is given away. They
value them very highly, as was instanced lately on the occasion of the
Governor-General's visit. He was most anxious to purchase one, but
they would not consent to it at any price.
The first Hydah to come out distinctly as a Christian
was a chief named Cowhoe, concerning whom an interesting
incident is related. One day he brought a book to Mr.
Collison, saying it had been given him years before by the
captain of an English man-of-war, and asking what it was.
It proved to be a Testament, with this inscription on the
fly-leaf: — "From Captain Prevost, H.M.S. 'Satellite,*
trusting that the bread thus cast upon tlie waters may be
found, after many days." More than twenty years had
passed away, and now that prayer was answered.
At Christmas (1878), when the Indians from other villages
came in canoes to Massett, the usual festive custom of
" dancing with painted faces, and naked slaves with their
bodies blackened," was dispensed with, and in lieu of it the
visitors were received by a choir of a hundred Hydahs,
children and adults, chanting the anthem, " How beautiful
upon the mountains."    "The unanimous opinion of all was Queen Charlotte's Islands. 5
that the new and Christian welcome was far superior to the
old heathen one."
Mr. Collison afterwards removed to Metlakahtla, and his
place at Massett was taken by Mr. G. Sneath, a young
missionary artizan, who twice went to East Africa to join
the Victoria Nyanza Mission, and twice was ordered home
by the consular surgeon at Zanzibar, and who essayed
missionary service in a colder climate. But he has since
•died, and in 1882 the present missionary, the Rev. C.
Harrison, and his wife, were appointed to the Mission,
where they have since laboured most zealously and successfully.
With this short history of the Mission, the following
account of his work, by Mr. Harrison, will be read with
greater interest:—
Massett, September 3rd, 1884.
It is with great thankfulness to our Heavenly Father
that I am enabled to send you my second annual letter of
oiir work at Massett and the outlying villages.
On September 2nd, 1883, I had the privilege of baptising George Cowhoe, with his wife and five children, and
I believe they were truly prepared and ready for the important and solemn occasion.
All the Indians assembled here at the end of November,
and began their usual Christmas festivities. The Hydah
■soldiers were very busy drilling, and making themselves
look soldier-like for their performances during the two
weeks of Christmas and New Year, at which season the
festivities are at their height.
They asked me to teach them all I knew about soldiers'
drills, &c, and I accordingly did so, and they were greatly
pleased.
The recreation and enjoyment which young and old
derive from the above orders are very beneficial, and have
a tendency to abolish their old heathen customs entirely
from their minds. During December and January the
people are full of fun and happiness, which they derive in
&  great  measure  by imitating what they have  seen of I     "
"■ jluiim
^111 il
■■»■■■■
iiiiiiip11
I itiiii
I ii
if
& *\
Queen Charlotte's Islands. 7
English soldiers, sailors, and firemen at Victoria and
elsewhere. Of course, if white people were to witness
their performances, they, perhaps, would be templed to
ridicule the poor Indians; but we deem it advisable to
encourage them, as they seem innocent pastimes, and
great sources of amusement for every one in the village.
A very bad custom among the Indians is this : Suppose
I had quarrelled with one of my friends, to avoid fighting
I would announce my intention to distribute or tear to
shreds twenty blankets on a certain night, in the presence
of all my countrymen ; and if my adversary refused to do
the same, the people would esteem me a higher chief than
my adversary, and would consequently taunt and provoke
my enemy; so much so, that in time he would give forty
blankets away; and then the taunt would come to me,
and if I did not potlach, as they call it, fifty blankets, my
adversary would be counted as a powerful and mighty chief,
and would, at feasts and elsewhere in public, always have his
seat placed higher than mine. A little before Christmas a
distribution of blankets on the same principle took place by
one of two contending parties; but Mr. Mackenzie, J.P., and
I persuaded the other party to desist, and see what the
Indian authorities would do in such a case. Thus" the
distribution of blankets in return was avoided, and the
wretched man who gave away his blankets would, at the
present moment, like to. regain them, because he sees that
the man who has plenty of blankets, and very many goods,
&c, is one whom we term a chief; but he who gives away
all his goods, and is in a state of poverty, we call a poor
man. The action of the above man who distributed his
blankets simply to have revenge on his adversary, and to
make him distribute more, is a return to the old Indian
custom of settling disputes ; and such a case has never
occurred since Mr. Collison came amongst them, until the
case mentioned above.
On December 12th the people buried two chiefs,
according to their old heathen ideas.
These were indeed grievous sights to witness, and
sufficient to stir up the sympathy of all Christians for the 8
The Hydah Mission,
Massett portion of the Hydah nation; and I earnestly
pray to God our Father that such scenes may never again
be witnessed by old and young at Massett. The fault rests
with some of the old people here, who take no interest in
things relating to their welfare, and, .when one of the old
chiefs dies, they like to have their own custom of burying
him carried out.    This custom has a pernicious effect upon
A  HYDAH CHIEFTESS,  LIVING AT MASSETT. Queen Charlotte's Islands.
the minds of the rising generation, and, therefore, ought to
be stopped. When the second chief was buried, one of
his relations, the wife of the old devil-doctor, gave away all
her goods, so as to make herself appear "a greater chieftess
in the eyes of the people, and also to verify the opinion
that the deceased man was a mighty and most powerful
cnTef. I saw plainly that it was no good to interfere
with what they had intended to do, so T let them finish
what they had begun, although you must know they tried
every conceivable plan to keep the funerals secret; yet, when
they saw me at the cemetery, and amongst them, they
must have realised that all attempts were futile. I stood
by Paul Stilthta, and a few others who have declared themselves to be followers of Christ, and who refused to receive
the gifts when offered to them; also, when the doctor's
wife made the distribution of her property, we had
singing, prayers, and reading of God's Word in our house,
and all who took an interest in their soul's welfare discountenanced the potlach and came to our house, and
so we passed a very pleasant evening.
When all the performances relative to the deceased
chiefs were ended, I began to tell them my opinion of all
they had done, and sent down word that I wanted every
Indian at Massett to meet me at Chief Stilthta's house, as
I had something very important to say to them. Every
chief came, and likewise all their people, and the old
Indian house was well filled. When all were assembled, I
told them how grieved I was, three days ago, to witness
their. foolish actions, and that instead of trying to serve
God, they were trying to become better servants under
the devil, the chief of all wicked men; also that, if the
English people had seen them, they would at once
conclude that the Massett Hydahs had gone crazy, and
consequently would refuse to help people to do right and
walk in the good way, who would not help themselves.
All the chiefs replied, and said they were very sorry they
had been so foolish, but declared they would never do so
again. They were proud, they said, that I was not afraid
to say what I thought, and that my words were very strong ■«vf" -
io The- Hydah Mission.
and like fire against all those who had been so wicked.
For several weeks after my meeting with them, they did
nothing but discuss my strong language, or "gushoua
kladska." All the old people here call us their papa and
mamma; so you see we have our hands full of children,
some of whom are three times older than ourselves. May
God give us grace to lead them and teach them concerning
Christ and His Word, that they may gain the city of
eternal bliss when they depart from this sinful world!
This brings me to my first Christmas and New Year's
Day amongst the Hydahs, which I will now describe.
Mrs. Harrison, during her singing-class time, taught the
young people the following well-known Christmas hymns:
" Hark ! the herald angels," " O come, all ye faithful,"
" Christians, awake ! " " While shepherds watched their
flocks by night," and the anthem, " How beautiful upon
the mountains ! " On Christmas Eve, at twelve, thirty of
the singers came and gave us the full benefit of our tuition.
We pretended we had gone to bed, and so kept the front
part of the house in darkness. When, however, they had
finished, we opened the door and invited them in, and
gave them coffee, turnovers, and cake, which greatly surprised them. When the feast was over, I asked them to
sing the hymn again, which they were delighted to do.
On Christmas Day I held service in the church, which
we had tastefully decorated on the Monday preceding
Christmas. Trees of evergreens were placed near the
windows, and their branches were arranged so as to form
arches above the windows. Then Mrs. Harrison cut out
of calico the words, " Glory to God in the highest," and
fixed the letters on turkey-red cotton. We placed this
long text above the communion-table, so that it could be
plainly seen by all who entered the church. Christmas-
cards we also had, and large texts of Scripture arranged
between the windows (surrounded by evergreens), which
were suitable for the occasion. The soldiers, sailors, and
firemen attended, dressed in their best uniforms, and also
looking very clean. When the men had taken their seats
the women, dressed as neatly as possible, came and tooi  12 The Hydah Mission,
theirs also. I preached from the text, " Glory to God in
the highest." I am sure friends in England would have
been very pleased had they seen us all on Christmas and
New Year's days. To Mrs. Harrison and myself they were
days which we shall ever remember, and they seemed so
calm and holy after the turmoil and trouble which we had
lately passed through, and we were greatly encouraged in
our work thereby.
On New Year's Eve. I held a midnight service, which
was well attended, and truly it was a very solemn time. I
preached from the text, " Lord, teach us to number our
days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." We
then sung, | A few more years shall roll," which we had
taught them for the occasion. At five minutes before
twelve I asked all to stand up and pray to God to forgive
their sins, and also to ask Him for grace to lead a new
life, and for power to grow in holiness. Every one, old
and young, stood up, and to all outward appearance
engaged in silent prayer. When the clock had struck
twelve, I wished them all a " Happy New Year," and gave
them a short prayer to repeat every day during the coming
year: the words are, " Oh, God, wash my soul white, and
make me good; forgive all my sins, and help me daily to
walk in Thy good way; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen." We then rang the bell, fired the cannon, and
retired. New Year's afternoon [1884] we gave all the
children a treat in tlie schoolroom. Ninety sat down to
tea, tarts, and cakes, and enjoyed themselves.
You will be surprised to know that the Hydahs have
turned me into an Eagle, and Mrs. Harrison into a Bear.
You doubtless know that every Hydah designates himself
under a certain crest, and that the chief's crest is generally
an Eagle or a Bear. Thus publicly at one of their great
feasts they agreed that I should be an Eagle, and therefore
the chief of the Eagle race, and that Mrs. Harrison should
be a Bear and the chief of the Bear tribe. When an
Eagle man gives a feast he does not invite members of his
own crest, but those of the Bear, Frog, Raven, &c.; also
the other crests act in a similar manner when they give a
I Queen Charlottes Islands. 13
feast. But suppose I were an Eagle, my wife would be a
Bear, or Frog, &c, and when my people make a feast I am
not permitted to go, but my wife, the Bear, attends, and
after the feasting is over she brings a quantity of biscuits
back for me; and I do the same for her when any of the
Bear people make a feast. The biscuits given away after
the feasts are distributed according to the rank of the
people present; a great chief getting perhaps fifty and an
ordinary man perhaps ten. Also at the graves of the two
deceased chiefs, they being an Eagle and a Bear respectively, the blankets and prints were distributed to members
of the opposite crests. Since my meeting with them, they
have never allowed a feast to take place if I were not
present. We generally sing the well-known graces before
and after meals: "Be present at our table, Lord," " We
thank Thee, Lord," &c. When the feasting is over I
give them a short address.
I have held the following meetings during the year:—.
Sunday morning, church from half-past ten to twelve.
Sunday afternoon, church from three to half-past four.
Sunday evening, church from half-past six to eight. Every
alternate Sunday evening, after the church service, we have
a short prayer-meeting, when we sing one hymn; then I read a
Psalm, give a short address, and ask two persons to engage
in prayer; then we sing another hymn, and I ask two more
to pray; then comes another hymn, and two more engage in
prayer, and I close with the Benediction.
Monday evenings during November and December, 1883,
and January, 1884, were set apart for private interviews
with those whom I selected for baptism out of the many who
desired it. I told them what baptism really is, and what is
required of all who are baptized. The result of my baptismal class is, that on March 30th and April 27th I baptized fifteen persons, young and old, including two chiefs.
Tuesday nights I have held an " Old Tilikums Church,"
i.e., a service for only the very old people; and many of the
oldest natives put in an appearance, with rings in their ears,
rings in their noses, small pieces of silver stuck in their
chins, bracelets on their wrists, and beads on their ankles. 14
The Hydah Mission,
May God bring those hard-hearted and long-continued
sinners to His footstool in deep penitence ! Also, I have
instructed Paul Stilthta, and Paul's wife, concerning confirmation, and hope they will be the first of the Hydah nation
to receive that rite.
Wednesday nights, during the months of November,
December, and January, I held what I called " testimony
meetings." We sang a hymn, then I delivered a short
address; afterwards I called upon one to pray. After
prayers I called upon those who said they believed in God
to stand up and tell their brethren what God had done for
their souls, and the reason of their avowing themselves on
the Lord's side. Very many stood up and declared they
would try with God's help to live good lives, and also to
attend church regularly. There are thirty-two who I think
are in real earnest after their soul's eternal welfare, and
accordingly I have formed them into a catechumens' class.
I have given each member a ticket, stating him to be a
member of St. John's catechumens' class. We gave the
name of St. John to our church at Christmas, 1883, and the
people are very pleased.
From October to the end of May I have preached every
Thursday night in the church, and have had large and
attentive audiences. The one great drawback amongst the
Hydahs is this. They say: " We are not very wicked, and
our lives are better than So-and-so's "; and thus it is very
difficult to make them fully understand the necessity of a
change of heart and a baptism of the Holy Spirit, before
they can really call themselves the children of God.
On Friday evenings, from October to May, Mrs. Harrison
has had her singing-class. Besides teaching the young
people the Christmas hymns referred to, she has taught them
"When our hearts are bowed with woe," for Good Friday;
and "Jesus Christ is risen to-day," for Easter Sunday; also
the Te Deum in Hydah, and many of Moody and Sankey's
hymns.
Saturday I have to myself, and prepare my Sunday
addresses. We have had daily school in the mornings
from 10 to 12, and in the afternoons from 2 to 4. Progress
all round very satisfactory. Queen Charlotte's Islands. 15
The Indians have been almost daily for medicine, and
thus we have been kept very busy during the winter season.
I must not forget to mention that Mrs. Harrison takes the
school in the afternoons, and I in the mornings. Mrs.
Harrison has a good class of mothers, whom she instructs
in the Bible, &c, and all who possibly can attend her
meetings.
The first week in February I left Mrs. Harrison in charge
of the Mission, and went forty miles south to visit the
Hydahs, who had gone to make their canoes. I visited six
camps, and preached morning and evening at each place,
and administered medicine to the sick. They were all
pleased to see me, and all attended the hut in which I
held my services. It was very cold at the time, and the
only houses the Indians had were made of the bark of
cedar—bark walls, bark roof, and sack doors, under which
you had almost to crawl before you could get inside, where
a very large fire was blazing. Some of them live in this
style of house for three or four months every winter
season, when they are making their canoes. It was very
interesting to see them sound the big cedar trees, cut them
down, hollow them out, and make them into canoe shape.
When this is done, they bring them to their proper homes
at Massett, work at them for another month, chipping,
and making them exact to shape; then to finish, they put
the canoe on a large fire, with water inside, and by this
process they stretch them to their utmost, and then they
gum up all the cracks, and the canoe is ready for sale.
I doubt not, but if the Hydahs knew the route to England,
it would not be very long before you would see some of
them there, as they are the. best Indians on the coast to
manage canoes. They think very little of going to Victoria,
or New Westminster, which? is a distance of 600 miles.
In the early part of the year I had a severe attack of
inflammation of the lungs, pleurisy, and bronchitis, as the
result of a severe cold I got when visiting the Jndians at their
canoe-camps. I am thankful to say that I fed strong again.
Last February I was ill, and so #e determined to close the
Sunday-school, and have only the three preachiftg services
m 16 The Hydah Mission,
on Sunday. This being the case, every Tuesday afternoon
during March and April we have held service for the
children in the schoolroom. The Hydahs are very
desirous of singing, and so the young people have a
singing-class every Wednesday afternoon.
On Ash Wednesday I held service in the church at
ten a.m., and a great number attended. As they had never
known anything about Ash Wednesday before that morning, I tried to make them understand the reason why we
attend church on such a day, and also what transpired
during the next forty days in the life of our Saviour on
earth.
On Good Friday I held service, and preached from the
text, " There they crucified Him" (Luke xxiii. 33). I
had a fairly good attendance, considering that many of the
Hydahs were away at North Island, hunting for seal. We
sang the beautiful and solemn hymn, " When our heads are
bowed with woe." When Easter morn arrived, there was
another surprise awaiting them, as they had not the least idea
of Easter Sunday, and why the English people think so much
of it. I preached from the text, "He is risen," and made them
understand what Easter really means, and how, 1850 years
ago, angels said to the sorrowful Maries, " He is risen,
even as He said." Three times that day we sang, " Jesus
Christ is risen to-day, Alleluia!" Also on Easter Sunday we
chanted the Te Deum in their own language at the usual
place in the morning service, much to the satisfaction of
all present. Since New Year's week Mrs. Harrison has
had the younger people in training, and the singing was
fairly good, at all events, to my poor musical ear. When
at Islington College, Mr. May, our dear old music professor, told me I had not the least idea of singing; however,
whether I have improved or not, if I do not sing in church
the men will not; and if Mrs. Harrison stops singing, the
women do likewise; and therefore we are both kept going.
Weha, the head chief of Massett, referred to in my last
letter, died on the 6th October, 1883. He caught a severe
cold at Cape Horn, and his friends did not hurry back to
Massett when they saw he was sick, as they hoped he would
IK Queen Charlotte's Islands. 17
soon recover. However, instead of getting better, he grew
worse, and then they brought him here; ten days after he
was seized with rheumatic fever. I was alone at that time
of the year, as Mr. Mackenzie (the only other white man
here) was at Victoria. I did my utmost for the poor chief,
but from the very first I never once thought that he would
recover, as he was quite helpless and very weak when I
first saw him. I do not believe there is any sympathy in
many of the Hydahs. On Friday night, October 6th, at
nine o'clock, word came that Weha was dying, and the
people wanted me to go and see him. I accordingly
hurried down, and as soon as I got there I asked three
women to go up and sit with Mrs. Harrison, as she was
alone in the house, very weak after her confinement seven
days previously. All refused, and so I did not trouble
further, but did my duty to the sick man, and left Mrs.
Harrison in God's care. I took great care of Weha during
his sickness, and yet not one of the women would assist
me by sitting for one hour with my wife. I prayed by the
bedside of the dying chief, and then asked him if he were
sure he was going to heaven, and at once his countenance
brightened up, and seemed to answer in the affirmative,
although his tongue had for ever ceased in this world. 1
made him as comfortable as I could, and repeated many
precious texts in his ear, such as " Come unto Me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"
" God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life!" " He that believeth shall be
saved!" and then returned at ten o'clock to our house.
When I got back I found our infant daughter very sick,
and fifteen minutes after she died with convulsions. This
was very trying for Mrs. Harrison and myself, but we were
led to look to the great Source of all strength and consolation, and were enabled from our hearts to say, " The Lord
gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name
of the Lord." Five days afterwards we committed the
body of our infant daughter to the grave, and there it rests
until the day wh?n all, from the least to the greatest, shall HYDAH   WOMEN,   QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S   ISLANL
U Queen Charlotte's Islands. ig
rise and stand before Christ, the Judge ; and without doubt
a welcome to dwell with Him in glory awaits her. She is-
the first white person ever buried at Massett. Five hours
after our baby's death, on October 6th, 1883, Weha died,
and thus a young infant and an aged man in the same
night bade, farewell to this mortal life ; and a welcome to
glory after the judgment doubtless awaits both.
This chief was the first Hydah to receive baptism, and
was the man who set the good example of ignoring
potlaches by saying that he now believed in Christ, and
was striving to work for Him and to make His salvation-
known to his fellow-countrymen.
On January 8th, 1883, I married a chief and chieftess
in the presence of very many Hydahs, and there was great
interest evinced in the service, and the happy couple gave
a grand feast to-every one at Massett. Mrs. Harrison and
I were seated at least twelve feet higher than the others-
who were present, and received three good cheers when
we entered.
There is ample scope for the antiquarian in the rich
carvings on the columns, or gehangs, which abound in
this and the adjoining villages, and the quaint old
legends in connection therewith; also the legendary lore
of the old people, as they describe the things supposed to
have been done in the olden times, fill one with wonder,,
and at the same time with a feeling of pity for their condition. On the north coast of Graham's Island, about
thirty miles from Massett, stands Ton (food or grease), a
strange-looking hill rising sheer up on the north and west,,
and almost so on the east, to the height of 250 feet, and
is conspicuous from every direction, and is a landmark
for vessels crossing to Massett. The Indians declare that
formerly this mountain stood beside another, seventy
miles south of the present position, and because the chieF
of the waters, where it was located previously, refused to
give it dog-fish, it got disgusted with its position, and one
-brilliant moonlight night it was seen to take its march
down to where it now stands, and there it has plenty of
dog-fish for its consumption, for the Hydahs make a quan-
1 20 The Hydah Mission,
itity of dog-fish oil there every summer. When I visited
the Indians at Jewskatle, last February, the Indians in the
-canoe pointed the place out to me where Tou formerly
stood, and related the above story, which every Hydah
.at Massett is acquainted with.
The story concerning the man in the moon is also
known amongst the Hydahs. The version of it is this :
A long time ago there was a very naughty boy, who was
sent out one night to gather sticks. He complained to
his parents and said it was dark, and therefore he could
not go. His father said, "No, the moon shines to-night,
and soon it will be almost as light as day." The boy
was thus compelled to go; but he thought he would insult
the moon and have his revenge on it; so he made
grimaces at it, and also placed his fingers to the end of
his nose. And the moon was vexed with him, and sent a
powerful chief down after this boy, and the man took him
and his wood up to the moon, and there he is to be seen
with his sticks on his back every moonlight night. The
;moral drawn from the above story is, that all boys and
.girls should at once obey their parents, and never complain when they are told to do anything; also, that it is
very wicked for boys and girls to ridicule the sun, moon,
and stars, for they are sent to give us light, and are placed
ithere by the same great Chief who made us all.
[In the course of an account of a voyage to other parts
■of the islands, Mr. Harrison writes :—]
We attempted to run across to Edenshaw's Village,
.and from thence to Sisk, which faces the open ocean.    At
this point eight canoes were encamped; as the wind being
strong, and the sea rough, prevented their going out to
shoot sea-otters.    I thought if we could get to this place
I should have a suitable opportunity to preach about
•Christ's love  to about forty strong and stalwart men.
However, it seems that we are to meet with misfortunes
•whenever we go to sea, and this time pur attempt to gain
Edenshaw's Village was frustrated, for when we had got
halfway across several puffs of wind came, and one struck
.the jib and mainsail, and ran the vessel a short distance Queen Charlotte's Islands. 21
port side under water as far as the hatchway. How the
schooner again righted itself is a wonder to us all. All
the goods and articles on deck went overboard, including
the ship's lead; and the plates and dishes, &c, in our
small cabin went rolling about in all directions. Mrs..
Harrison was standing on the cabin steps, and of course
nearest the water. The foresail struck me on the head,
and sent my cap flying into the water, and the long oar,
by some -unaccountable means, got fixed to the foresail
rigging, and, turning round with the sail, struck me a
heavy blow on the back, and sent me reeling full length
on the top of the cabin. By degrees the vessel righted,
and we put back to Tattens, not much the worse for our
little sea experience. Had the foresail been up we should
most certainly have capsized, and found a watery grave.
Paul Kinaskilas and James Stilthta are two baptized
chiefs, and wherever they go they always hold service
among their friends, and when they are at home I ask them
to preach every alternate Thursday evening. When I first
came here I made it a point to always have something for
the baptized to do, and now it is a recognised fact, that
wherever Paul and James are, there they must preach, and
accordingly their friends come to hear them. This coming
winter I hope to get some more of the baptized started to*
preach to their friends at the distant camps, when they are
away hunting fur-seal and sea-otter, and therefore I must
call them native voluntary helpers.
In conclusion, if we look at the deserted villages, which
are numerous on the islands, we are reminded that time was
when the Hydahs could be reckoned almost at the rate of a
thousand to the present hundred. Look at the ruined houses-
at Keyung-Yen, Virago Sound, Edenshaw's Village, North
Island, and Cloak Bay—study the works now crumbling to
ruin, left behind by their ancient inhabitants—look at the
tall columns, or gehangs, of ancient data—yea, look at them
pointing heavenwards, with their mystical hieroglyphics
from bottom to top, and then inquire, Where are the
descendants of these people ? and the answer will come,
They are gone."    Yes, dear friends, you can see the
a 22 The Hydah Mission,
remains of many large villages, but where are the people ?
Where are the people whom Marchand a century ago
describes as very powerful and fierce ? Where are they or
their descendants ? Stand in the midst of an old deserted
village, and call for the inhabitants thereof, and Echo,
through the ruins, in wailing tones, replies, "They are gone."
Look at the obituary gehangs on every side, and inquire of
them, and the answer is still the same, | They are not."
Where are they ? Turn your eyes, and gaze on the boxes
placed on two large posts amongst the green bushes, and
which are now decaying and fast disappearing, and you
will find the mummified remains of all that is now left
of the ancient Hydahs, fierce and skilful. The question
comes, Why have they so decreased? The answer is
twofold : years ago the small-pox epidemic raged wildly
and unchecked amongst them, and many rushed into the
open ocean to cool their fever-stricken brows, and so they
quickly died. Yes, whole families died, and yet there was
no one to care for them, or to direct them to the Great
Physician, Jesus Christ. Whole families were thus swept
away with one fell stroke, and even now, when the old
inhabitants relate how their friends were carried out of
their sight by that dreadful disease, a shudder is perceivable, as caused by the fearful remembrance of that unhappy time. "*Another cause why they are so quickly
decreasing is the inducement held out to them at Victoria,
New Westminster, and elsewhere, of high wages and good
work. These two things are the great attractions for the
Indians, and consequently they leave their native homes,
either to die in a few short years by the miserable life they
lead, and by the evils which surround them by the spirit
traffic; or they return to their homes sick, and under the
curse of the foul habits contracted when away from home.
Thanks to the Indian Department, this evil is decreasing,
for they have, to some extent, put a check to the practices
referred to.
This being the case, Snd there is no use denying it,
we see that it rests upon us, who have put on the Lord
Jesus Christ, to be up and doing, and to exert ourselves to Queen Charlotte's Islands.
23
the uttermost for the salvation of the declining Hydah
nation. I need hardly ask you to remember us and the
Hydahs in your prayers at the throne of grace, and I hope
the time may soon come when we shall be able to reckon
the Hydahs as a Christian nation.
wSmW
J db so   spptnn
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