BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

McCullagh of Aiyansh Moeran, J. W. W. (Joseph William Wright) 1923

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Containing a variety of Illustrations {and some
extracts) from Literature, History, Biography,
Current Events and Personal Reminiscences.
With an Introduction by The Right Rev.
Cloth, 3s. 6d. net.
Bishop Ingham says :—
" Next to my Bible, I should like to have this book near
me when I am preparing a sermon. . . . The teacher
who labours to make his Master's message grip men's
minds and souls, will find in it much to help him."
" I trust the book will be widely welcomed, and help
in its useful measure in quickening that vital implement
in our work—the power of the pulpit."—The late Dr. Hanley
Moule, Bishop of Durham.
" It needs but to become fairly generally known, and
its future is assured."—Archdeacon R. 0. Joynt.
*' This book ought to be of value both in calling our
attention to the matter, and in supplying us with material
for its pursuit."—Dr. Tait, Principal of Ridley Hall,
Cambridge.  THE   REV.   J.   B.   MCCULLAGH. McCULLAGH OF
J.  W.   W.   MOERAN,   M.A.
Sometime Vicar of St. Simon's, Southsea
Author of "Teaching by Illustration," etc.
THIS book is not so much the history of a Mission as
it is the story of the man who was the life and soul
of the Mission. It is primarily a biography, written with
the purpose of portraying the character and gifts of James
Benjamin McCullagh, and of showing how he applied
his talents to the pioneering enterprise and subsequent
development of the work he had undertaken.
As the greater part of his life was spent in a far-distant
and out-of-the-way corner of the world, he was necessarily known only to a limited number of people. Those
who enjoyed the privilege of his friendship and were
acquainted with the marvellous work he accomplished will
ever remember him for the inspiration of his personality
and example and also for the attractive winsomeness of
his delightful humour and joyous temperament. The
aim of his biography is to make him known to a wider
circle, in the hope that others too may be inspired and
helped by the story of his faith, his courage, his unceasing labours and the full use he made of his splendid
The privilege of attempting to do this has been
entrusted to me by his widow.
It will be seen that the story is told, as far as possible,
in the missionary's own words. His letters and journals,
together with a few booklets and articles written by himself and published during his lifetime by the Church
Missionary Society, and also a collection of sketches
penned by his hand with the obvious intention of being
some day published, have supplied an abundance  of
material for preparing and linking together the incidents
and events which show the strength and beauty of his
many-sided character.
I desire to express my indebtedness to the Church
Missionary Society for giving me permission to draw so
freely from Mr. McCullagh's writings published by them.
Mr. C. B. Robinson and the late Mrs. Foquett preserved
for many years the missionary's journals and very many
of his private letters, all of which were generously placed
at my disposal. Without such help the book could not
have been written.
To Mrs. McCullagh I owe more than I can say for the
way in which she has enabled me to understand many
things about her husband which otherwise I should never
have known. By what she has told me in conversation,
and by allowing me to read some of the letters he wrote
to her, I learned much about his inner life.
I should like also to acknowledge my great obligation
to the Archdeacon of Kingston (the Ven. R. C. Joynt)
for the invaluable help he has given me by reading the
book in MS. and afterwards in correcting the proofs.
The work has been to me one of absorbing interest, as
well as a labour of love.
January, 1923,
I A Great Renunciation
II Westward Ho !   .
III The Land of the Setting Sun   *
IV Tkaganlakhatqu .....
V The Dawn of a New Day  .
VI Early Morning Clouds
VII The Language and Education of a People
VIII The Red Man as a Heathen
IX The Red Man as a Christian
X The Art of Healing   ....
XI Indian Fishing Camps and Salmon Rivers
XII A Forward Movement.
XIII The Realization of a Splendid Dream
XIV Gathering in the Heathen.
XV The Church Mdlitant ....
XVI Vengeance and Reconciliation   .
XVII Through Deep Waters
XVIII The Salvage of a Derelict Mission   .
XIX The Shore End of the Net
XX Sunlight and Shadows on the Naas  .
m 8
Fighting a Forest Fire      .        .        .        .164
Burned Out
Relapse and Revival .
The White Man .
With Voice and Pen   .
The Flood   .
Sunset         .        .        .
Character and Service
list of illustrations
Portrait        ...... Frontispiece
The Coast of British Columbia, showing Aiyansh and District
Translating the Bible   .
Nishga Chief wearing State Blanket
The Rev. J. B. McCuUagh in the Dress of an Indian Medicine-
Man      .....
Early Spring on the Naas
Indian Bridge across the Naas
Holy Trinity Church, Aiyansh
Building the New House at Aiyansh
New Mission House at Aiyansh
The Rev. J. B. McCullagh    .
Mrs. McCullagh, with Jean, Nancy and Pat , McCULLAGH   OF   AIYANSH
A Great Renunciation
AMONG the noble characters who have spent their
lives in the service of humanity are men whose
work is known because they held high positions in the
State or in the Church. They had the advantage of
family traditions or influential friends, a University degree,
the interest which wealth can always purchase ; or, if
these things were wanting, great opportunities came their
way ; the conditions or circumstances of their lot helped
to make them famous. Their deeds of philanthropy or
the achievements of their genius are written in large type
on the pages of national history or public events. Other
men, equally endowed by nature, equally faithful in the
use they made of their natural gifts, have fulfilled the task
allotted to them in some humble sphere of labour, and
have died in obscurity, the outside world knowing little
or nothing of their unselfishness, their fidelity, or the
splendid influence of their example, by which those who
knew them were inspired and uplifted.
It is also true to say that some men need the stimulus
of popular approval and encouragement. They could
make a fine display on the stage of publicity, all their
efforts being seen to advantage in the glare of the footlights ; but without such an incitement to action their
energies are not aroused. They fail to respond to the call
of humble duties ; they do not shine in places remote
from the observation of onlookers ; they settle down to
lives of ease and pleasure if they see no prospect of
becoming known to fame.
9 10
On the other hand, there are men gifted head and
shoulders above the common order of their fellows ; conscious of their power to win celebrity under circumstances
favourable to renown ; but they can never stretch out
beyond the reach of their limited opportunities, and of
these they make the noblest use, expending the very
best of all they are and have to the utmost ; willing to
endure the reproach of ignominy for Christ's sake,
Content to fill a little space,
If God be glorified ;
choosing rather to be unknown if thereby they can help
others to rise from the depths of moral shame and degradation to the heights of noble living and heavenly
To those who enjoyed the privilege of knowing him
the Rev. J. B. McCuliagh has left behind him the fragrant
memory of a character strong and tender, true and brave :
an intellect superior to most men ; and the example of one
who never courted popularity ; who only sought to make
his work known for the purpose of enlisting the sympathy
of those able to help him in his beneficent schemes for the
religious and moral advancement of the Indian settlement
at Aiyansh, which he loved more than any spot on the
During one of his furloughs, after thrilling a crowded
audience at Exeter Hall with one of his eloquent and racy
speeches, he said : " I would far rather go back to work
among my Indians at Aiyansh than do this sort of thing
in London."
James Benjamin McCuUagh was born in County Down,
Ireland, in 1854, his father being the agent on a landed
estate near Newry.
At quite an early age he gave evidence of the qualities
by which in after years his character was so strongly
On one occasion, at the country school where he was
being educated, he was acc'used of some offence which he A GREAT RENUNCIATION n
knew had been committed by another boy ; but he refused
to tell the name of the real culprit. The master, a harsh
and brutal man, said he would flog " Jimmy " unless he
confessed, or else named the wrong-doer. This he refused
to do ; so the master began to beat him. Not a sound
came from the lips of his innocent victim, who had made
up his mind that he would not cry : nor did he. Jimmy
went home, but said nothing of what had happened until
the evening came and his mother went to bath him as
usual. To her horror she found the child was covered
with bruises caused by the beating he had received. At
once she called her husband to come and look at the boy.
Mr. McCuUagh, naturally, was greatly incensed when he
found what had been done. The next morning he went to
the school to make his complaint ; and it is a satisfaction
to be able to record that shortly afterwards the master was
In writing of his boyhood, long years afterwards,
McCuUagh said :
" As a boy my out-of-school time was invariably spent
where some mechanical operation was going on ; now
in the viUage forge, prying into everything ; now in the
carpenter's shop (my favourite place) ; now in the saddler's, the shoemaker's, the garden; greenhouse, etc., etc.,
so that there is hardly an operation, apart from com-
pUcated mechanism, of which I do not carry a fair textbook in my head. They used to say to me, ' Oh, you'U
never be anything ; you keep changing about too much ;
you'U only be a jack-of-aU-trades ! : and behold ! that is
the very thing I, unconsciously, needed most to be."
It was from his mother that McCuUagh, as a chUd,
received his first reUgious impressions. Throughout his
life he always spoke of her with deep reverence and love,
gratefuUy acknowledging how much he owed to her wise
teaching and saintly influence.
At the age of ten years he was taken to a missionary
meeting. The story there told of the condition of the
heathen world—its cruelty and misery and ignorance of
God, and its need of a Saviour—made a deep impression 12 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
on the boy's mind. He felt that he must take his share
and do something 3 to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."
So the next day he started with a collecting box, knocking at the doors of all the people he knew and asking for
contributions to the object which had awakened his
spiritual sympathies and fired his generous impulses.
He continued doing this for some time, and occasionally
went such long distances into the country as to lose
his way. But these journeys were too limited in scope
to satisfy the boy's enthusiasm for the cause he had
espoused. Even at that early age he possessed a fertile
imagination and was resourceful in devising schemes for
carrying out the purpose on which his heart was set. So
he begged from his father three lambs whose mothers had
died ; burrowing a hole in a haystack to serve as a warm
home for the little creatures, he made a leathern bottle
with which to supply them with milk. His intention was
to nourish and feed them until they should grow into
sheep ; then he would sell them and with the purchase-
money buy a donkey on which to ride further afield in
his journeys to obtain funds for his beloved missionary
work. Alas, however, for the success of his scheme ! the
lambs died, and the boy had to learn thus early in life the
lesson so often enforced in later years, that even the
noblest and highest work can be checked for a time by
difficulty and discouragement.
Side by side with his interest in foreign missions
another strong desire grew in the lad's mind. From his
earliest years he had a longing for the Army ; he was a
born soldier. When he was old enough to decide on a
profession there was only one which had any attraction
for him. His father's death crippled the famfly finances
so much that his education was left very incomplete, and
the purchase of a Commission had to be abandoned.
Rather than be balked of his purpose, young McCuUagh
enlisted as a private soldier. Although in many departments of knowledge he was entirely self-educated, yet his
natural ability and faithfulness to duty took him easily A GREAT RENUNCIATION 13
from one step to another untU he was promoted to carry
the colours as a sergeant.
But his love for the Army and his devotion to military
duties were not allowed to absorb the finer instincts of
his nature. The religious aspirations of his childhood had
not been quenched but rather grew in depth and vigour
with his ripening manhood. By the grace of God and
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he developed into
an earnest Christian man, with the definite purpose of
consecrating his talents and energy to the service of his
Redeemer. This nobler ambition took shape in his mind
and grew alongside of his desire to excel in the military
profession. It led him to start a Bible-class among his
comrades, in which he infused into many a young soldier
a zeal for God and the love of Christ. His passion for
souls at that time was so great that he endeavoured to
train some of these young men for service in the Church.
Several of them are now working in the mission field.
Then came the climax of his military career. It was
in the year 1883, when McCuUagh was 29 years of age.
The regiment was at that time stationed at Malta. One
day his commanding officer sent for him and said :
" I have the pleasure of informing you that you are to
receive a Commission in the Army—an honour to which
you are entitled by your social gifts and education, and
which you have richly deserved by the faithfulness and
efficiency you have always shown in the discharge of your
military duties."
But God had another plan for His servant. On the
very day when the Commission was offered to him he
received a letter from the Committee of the Church
Missionary Society, asking him if he was wiUing to give
up the Army and go out to work among the Red Indians
of British Columbia.
We have no record of the struggle of conflicting emotions that must have been waged in the young soldier's
heart ; but we can easUy imagine how severe was the test ;
and we know the result. The alluring prospect of a life
beloved, holding out the promise of worldly advancement H
in a sphere for which he knew himself to be endowed with
exceptional gifts, was refused ; and in its place he accepted
the humble lot of a lay-missionary to a tribe of degraded
Indians, with the certain prospect of toU and privation,
and the probability of an obscure grave in a far-distant
and lonely part of the world.
It was a great renunciation, but it was one he never
regretted. Here it may be said that the old passion of
his early manhood was never quite killed. It was kept
under and lay dormant until something aroused it to
reassert its former hold on the mind and imagination.
In after years McCuUagh could never hear a miUtary band
or witness a parade of soldiers without the old ambition
surging up in his breast.
I remember well one day during the Great War, as we
walked together through the streets of Great Yarmouth
and a troop of cavalry came along. McCuUagh stood stiU
as they passed by, drawn up to his fuU height with a
gleam of fire kindling in his clear blue eyes. " See them,"
he exclaimed, with outstretched arm, " the brave bonny
lads. How splendid they look ! Oh !" he added with
emotion, " I never can see these boys going by but the
old longing comes over me, and I feel as though I would
give anything to leap into the saddle with them, or march
with them in the ranks and go out to take my share in
fighting this great conspiracy against the peace and civilization of the world."
About this time another important step in his life was
taken in his engagement to Mary Philippa Webster, a
daughter of the English Chaplain at Malta. They were
married a few months afterwards before leaving England
for their future home in British Columbia.
Some preparation for his work in the mission field being
necessary, McCuUagh was sent by the C.M.S. for a few
months to the Training CoUege at Cheltenham, where
he Hved in the house of Mr. T. Lyon, one of the CoUege
tutors. Writing in April of last year (1922), Mr. Lyon
says :
Mr.  McCuUagh  proved  himself  a most desirable  addition A GREAT RENUNCIATION
to my family circle. He was almost my own age, and soon
became my companion. My wife and I feel that we owe him
much. Our three children learned to love him, and they hold
his name to this day in affectionate remembrance. He conducted
the children's services at the Mission Hall in Trinity parish, and
in doing this he showed himself to be eminently fitted for the
spiritual side of the work that was to be his, and many survivors
of that period remember most gratefully the unsparing and
indefatigable way in which he also worked gratuitously for the
uplifting of some of the poorest people in Cheltenham. At the
Training College he threw himself with characteristic whole-
heartedness into the studies, the sports, and the social life of his
feUow-students. He gave himself no airs on the strength of
his seniority ; he was utterly devoid of affectation, and the
younger men with whom he was brought into constant touch
received him into their brotherhood as one of themselves. The
teaching stafï of the College soon realized that he was a man of
very exceptional ability and of the most intense purpose. For
nearly forty years it has been my lot to labour there, and during
that time I have encountered no student who turned his opportunities to better account than J. B. McCuUagh, and I am only
repeating in my own case the opinions of the other members
of the staff who were then my colleagues and of whom I am the
sole survivor. On the rare occasions of his return to England
he never failed to get into personal touch with us, to our intense
pleasure. Our memories of him are the happiest, and I regard
him as one of the finest embodiments of Christian manliness that
it has ever been my privilege to encounter. CHAPTER II
Westward Ho !
"   A ND so you are going abroad again," said a friend
XI to me, as we walked up and down the platform
of a London rah1 way station.
" Yes," I replied, " I am off to British Columbia."
M British Columbia !" he exclaimed. " I know the name,
but that is about aU. Do you know what sort of a
country it is, and what you are going to do there ? "
"As to where it is, and what the country is like, I
really do not know any more than one can find out from
the map," I replied ; " and as to what I am going to do
there, I am going out as a G.M.S. missionary to the
This explanation was met by an amused look of
astonishment, a long low whistle, and " WeU, I never ! "
" But there," said he, changing his tone, " you were always
that way inclined."
" And how long are you going to stay out there ? "
asked another friend. To which question I could only
answer, " Can't say ; years, I hope."
This was in June, 1883, as the young missionary and his
wife were commencing their long journey to the Far West.
Leaving Liverpool, a voyage of eight days brought them
across the Atlantic and up the great St. Lawrence River
to Montreal, where they booked their places on the train
for Vancouver, at that time the western terminus of the
Canadian Pacific Railway. The raiï journey lasted from
six to seven days, and even then it was made easy by
the many modern conveniences and comforts of the
American railway carriages.
16 ~"ï
McCuUagh was gifted with keen powers of observation,
an intense love of nature and the genius for describing
in picturesque and graphic language the wonderful sights
unfolded to his vision in the grandeur of mountains and
the beauty of forest and river. Thus he wrote of the
Rocky Mountains, as he saw them for the first time from
the " observation car " attached to the train while the
magnificent range was being surmounted : " Mighty
wooded slopes, proudly towering battlements, cold blue
fields of ice, and snow-capped peaks surround you and
impress you with wondering awe. Rushing torrents,
foaming and dashing in the sombre depths of yawning
canons, now to the right of you and again to the left,
thriU you with their thundering roar. From over the
giddy precipice above leaps forth the overflow of mountain lakes replete with irresistible energy and dazzling
self-abandonment ; and there, in columns of ascending
spray, behold the colours of the rainbow, bright and
Having crossed the Rocky Mountains, they found
themselves in British Columbia, and, skirting the Fraser
River, reached Vancouver, then the youngest city of the
Dominion of Canada. Here the overland journey terminated. By a saloon steamer they crossed the Straits
of Georgia to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia,
situated on the southern point of Vancouver Island.
Desiring to get north as soon as possible they took passage
on board the Otter, a smaU steamer combining a very
primitive passenger accommodation with a general cargo,
including coals, timber and oxen. The Otter took the
" inner passsage," that is, the course between the mainland and the island of Vancouver, a distance of some
300 rmles. The whole coast of British Columbia is embroidered with islands, on many of which in those days
no white man had ever yet set his foot. Eventually
they reached the Skeena River, where the salmon fisheries
were in fuU swing. At the wharf a motley crowd was
assembled—Chinese, Europeans, Indians and chUdren.
Leaving the Skeena on the seventh day of their voyage
they soon reached the well-known Indian town of Met-
t( We thought we were going to be stationed at this
place, but on landing discovered that our final destination
was to be at the head waters of the Naas River, farther
north among the Nishga Indians. Accordingly we began
to make preparations for this last trip. The first thing
necessary was to get together some bedding, provisions
and cooking utensils. All the bedding we could get just
then, however, was a few Indian trade blankets and a bark
mat ; while the provisions consisted of tinned meats and
other kindred things, ship's biscuit, coffee, tea, etc. As
for cooking utensils, we had to learn to do with very few.
Then we hired a canoe, engaged a crew of Indians, and,
having stowed our belongings as best we could, started
on our journey. The Indian canoe of British Columbia
is cut out of one solid piece of timber, generally a cedar
tree, and as these trees grow to very large dimensions, the
canoes can be made proportionately large and shaped
Early the next morning the missionary and his party
set out from Metlakahtla, and in the afternoon reached
Port Simpson, an important trading post of the Hudson
Bay Company, meeting with a warm welcome from the
officer in charge of the station.
I About four o'clock we again resumed our journey,
and camped for the night some ten miles farther on.
Drawing into a little bay, we pitched our tent upon the
shingly beach and, lopping off a number of small branches
from the adjacent cedars, spread these over the stones
inside our tent, laying our blankets on the top. The
branches made a very good spring mattress, but we were
awfully hard up for piUows. A bag of rice, however,
made a good pillow for my wife, while something rolled
up in my ulster coat to give it bulk, with the help of a
smaU bag of potatoes, made for me a bolster. Of course
we had supper—boiled potatoes, tinned corned beef, and
tea ; while the Indians discussed smoked salmon, seaweed, ship's biscuit and coffee.  How strange it aU seemed
to us, but how delightful ! But it was not quite so
delightful towards morning, when the tide came fully in
and its Uttle lapping waves washed under our spring
mattress. I always make a point of pitching my tent
weU up the beach since then ; there is nothing like experience.
" Breakfast in the rain ; but then the rain of British
Columbia is one of its most agreeable features. Of course
you are prepared for it, not with an umbrella, but with
a ' gum ' suit. Gum boots, which come up to the thighs,
and are held up by a strap round the waist, a long gum
coat, and a gum hat. With a suit like that on you can sit
in your canoe aU day and enjoy the rain.
" But how shall I teU you about canoeing on the Naas ?
It is a mighty river as far as it goes, with a grand estuary,
five miles across in some places, up or down which there
is always a strong wind blowing. It was blowing up on
this occasion, and the biUows were rolling onward with
foam-crested tops. Directly we got into the race there
was no more laughter and joking among our crew. It
was grand to see the captain's keen eye and set face, to
watch him wield the steering paddle, now turning the
canoe off a point to avoid the surging of too big a wave,
and then bringing her up again with a swing to bound
forward like a thing of life.
" The tide affects the river for more than fifteen miles
up, and for this distance the navigation is easy. There
are many shoals and sand-banks, however, to be avoided,
and one night we were left high and dry on one of these.
Having sailed right on to it, we stuck fast ; and, as the
tide was running out at the time we had to remain there
until it came in again and floated us off.
" Above the tide-water you must work along the bank
with poles, the men standing in the canoe and using these
ten or twelve feet poles with splendid dexterity. Sometimes it is more convenient to use a towing-rope, that is,
when skirting long reaches of sand or gravel on which
the men can walk easily.
"About seventy miïes up the river there is a great so McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
*' rapid ' or * rapids,' to navigate which requires consummate skill and knowledge of the various currents, etc.
Ascending the * rapids ' we had to work by stages, that is
by putting out two or three men with a rope, who take
up a position on the nearest and outermost rock and there
haul up the canoe to that point ; then by putting them out
again, and so on. There must, however, be a couple of
men in the canoe beside the captain to keep her off the
rocks with poles.
| On one occasion, when half-way up the ' rapids/ our
towing-rope broke and down we were being swept broadside on to a sharp jutting rock. A young Indian in the
canoe also broke his pole in endeavouring to stop her,
but just as we were about to be precipitated upon this
rock he vaulted out backwards and came down astride it,
making a buffer of himself, and holding the canoe like
a grappling-iron turned her bow up-stream and so saved
" ' Snags/ that is, fallen trees, whose roots have been
caught in the river bed and whose tops float just beneath
the surface, are very dangerous. If you strike on one
of these your canoe may be split from stem to stern.
Falling trees, when the water is high in summer, are also
dangerous. Once we were resting in the shade of a large
Cottonwood tree, our canoe tied to its roots, when, almost
before we could cut ourselves clear, the bank began to
crumble away, and the tree became very shaky. Presently down it came with a crash like thunder, sending
up a column of water which nearly swamped us."
Here we must break the thread of our story and make a
digression into the history of the country and its people
before resuming the personal narrative of the missionary's
fife and labours.   CHAPTER III
The Land of the Setting Sun
BRITISH COLUMBIA was so named by Queen Victoria in 1858. The colony, as a province, had
previously been known as New Caledonia, having been
discovered more than half a century before. Two sons
of Britain shared the honour of its discovery. In 1792-3
Alexander Mackenzie crossed the Rocky Mountains,
travelling from east to west. Simultaneously with his
arrival at the coast, Captain George Vancouver, R.N.,
having explored the island to be named after him, reached
the mainland, his ships terrifying the natives, who fled
from the beach on the approach of what they considered
to be a new species of sea-monster. British Columbia
was the land of the Red Man until the fur-trader and the
explorer came and took it from him.
It is a country possessing wonderful natural assets and
magnificent scenery. The timber resources of its vast
forests are almost unlimited ; and their value is greatly
increased by the water-power stored in its numerous
rivers near ocean navigation. Until recent years maritime
commerce between the British Isles and the Pacific
coast was at a serious disadvantage compared with
Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, The distance by
Cape Horn from Liverpool to Victoria, British Columbia,
was 14,558 miles, as against 2,456 mfles from Liverpool
to Halifax on the Atlantic. It was this difference in distance which caused the lop-sided development of the
American continent. The cutting of the Panama Canal,
however, reduced the distance from 14,558 mfles to 8,512.
There is no finer country in the world for growing fruit.
In 1921 British Columbia produced for export trade
3,027,000 boxes of apples. In 1910 she won the highest
fruit prize in the Empire, the Hogg Memorial gold medal.
At the Imperial Fruit Show of 1921 she carried off seventeen medals, or more than all the other provinces combined.1 For many months of the year it is a land of golden
sunshine. " Vancouver Island has been called the
Madeira of the Pacific ; British Columbia is the Riviera
of Canada."
The Red Indian of the North American continent
belongs to a race in which it is impossible for the white
man not to take a deep interest. He has sometimes
been honoured by an exaggerated sentiment and invested with a halo of romance far outshining his real
attributes. Fancy pictures have been drawn of him as a
very noble savage, emulating the white man in deeds of
heroism and chivalry. Pope's redskin was one who
" sees God in clouds or hears Him in the wind," while a
modern writer asks : 8 Breathes there aman with soul so
dead, that he has never wished to be a Red Indian ? "
Certainly most of us who were boys fifty years ago when
we devoured Fenimore Cooper's stories would have given
a great deal to see an Indian chief in his war-paint and
feathers, paddling his own canoe or smoking the pipe of
peace in his wigwam. However, those were the Indians
of fiction, the creature of the novelist's imagination,
ideal, not real characters.
None the less for that, the Red children of the forest and
the prairie still remain one of the most interesting and
romantic races in the world.
British Columbia has been inhabited by many tribes
of Indians for centuries past. On the banks of the
lakes and rivers inland their encampments were pitched.
Others dwelt near the sea or on some of the many islands
1 Most of these facts and figures are taken from a lecture on
*' British Columbia, the Awakening of the Pacific," delivered
by Mr. F. C. Wade, K.C., the Agent-General for British Columbia,
on December 7, 1921, before a crowded gathering of the Society
of Arts, THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN        23
which fringe the coast, gaining a precarious livelihood by
hunting and fishing, and latterly by trading with the white
men who were attracted to the country by the valuable
furs and the unlimited quantity of salmon procured for
them by the natives.    These Indians are not aU alike.
The Haidas of Queen Charlotte's Islands are a very fine
race, as white as the average European. The Nishgas of
the Naas River are tall, weU-proportioned, flat-nosed,
bronzed, some of the men wearing a beard or moustache.
The various tribes speak different languages ; but since
the country was opened up by the white man's invasion,
they have learned to converse freely by means of a kind of
lingua franca called " Chinook," a conglomeration of languages both European and aboriginal.
Without going into details, it is necessary to state for
the better understanding and appreciation of the work
accomplished by the Christian missionary, that these
tribes were all, more or less, addicted to cruel practices
and debasing customs, giving evidence of the depths of
moral degradation into which human nature, left to itself,
inevitably sinks. Dog-eaters and cannibals ranked very
high, and were invested with the insignia of a noble order
by their feUow-tribesmen.
One of the most demoralizing customs of aU was the
Potlatch. This consisted of a series of feasts or tribal
banquets, usuaUy held on the accession of some one to the
chieftainship, pandering to the vanity and pride of the
chief himself, impoverishing his family and destroying the
virtue of his women.
And yet these people were not lacking in some of the
finer instincts that distinguish the children of civilized
lands. Among them was often to be found a craving for
God. Where this is so, God does not leave a people to
themselves.   Wonderful are the ways of His Providence.
In the year 1856 Captain (afterwards Admiral) Prévost,
R.N., commanding H.M.S. Virago, returned to England
after a surveying expedition along the seaboard of
British Columbia. He had been much impressed with the
character and intelligence of the Red Indians.   A§ an 24 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
earnest Christian man, he was glad to observe that they
were not idolaters, but believed in two Great Spirits, one
good and one bad, and he greatly feared the result of their
contact with the undesirable elements of the white man's
On his arrival in England, Captain Prévost pleaded the
Red man's cause before the committee of the Church
Missionary Society with such teUing effect as to infuse
into their hearts something of his own burning zeal and
Christ-like compassion for the people that had aroused his
interest and sympathy. As the result, when Captain
Prévost returned to the North Pacific in 1857, *n command
of H.M.S. Satellite, he carried on board a young schoolmaster named WiUiam Duncan, who was honoured in
becoming the first Christian missionary to the Indians of
British Columbia.
For about five years Duncan remained at Fort Simpson,
the station to which he was appointed, learning the
language, establishing schools and preaching the Gospel.
During these years a scheme took shape in his mind,
growing with the intensity of a strong conviction and
maturing into action in 1862. Duncan realized that if the
Indian was to be saved—saved from the backward influence of his old tribal customs, and from the worse evil
of the white man's vices, he must be taken right out of his
old surroundings and away from the contamination of
irreligious and unscrupulous men. So in the early
summer of 1862 he invited all the Indians near Fort
Simpson who desired to lead a better life to follow him.
At first about fifty responded; these were soon joined
by nearly 300 more, and with this beginning the Christian settlement of Metlakahtla was founded.
The success of Duncan's scheme was great beyond
words. Some twenty years later McCuUagh records his
first impressions of the place thus :
" Here we were astonished and delighted to find the
Indians well housed and clothed, leading civilized and
Christian lives, under their missionaries, agents of the
CM.S.   The largest church in British Columbia, buflt by THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN
the Indians themselves, with the monetary assistance of
friends in England, graced the centre of the viUage. We
also found schools there and a fine mission-house in which
the Bishop and some of the missionaries lived."
This effort was foUowed by others more or less striking
in their results, to say nothing of the faithful and devoted
missionaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Church who
established stations on the Naas River and elsewhere.
In 1864 the Rev. R. A. Doolan joined Mr. Duncan at
Metlakahtla, and on the suggestion of the latter went on
to establish a permanent mission on the Naas River.
Having gathered together about fifty Indians, he planned
a settlement simflar to Metlakahtla, at a spot named
KincoHth or " the Rock of Scalps." The work there was
carried on by a medical missionary, the Rev. R. Tom-
linson, until 1878, when he left to open a mission higher
up the river near the heathen viUage of Gitlakdamiks.
Then occurred one of those dramatic incidents which
prove that " truth is stranger than fiction," illustrating
the marvels of divine grace, whereby the Spirit of the
Lord works on the conscience of untutored men and
moves them to become the instruments of His Providence. CHAPTER IV
AT this time Tkaganlakhatqu, of the Wolf tribe, was
second chief of the Nishgas, whose head-quarters
were at the village of Gitlakdamiks, near the head-waters
of the Naas River. He had gained for himself a great
reputation for courage, being a fierce and hot-tempered
man. This chief had a proud, ambitious and vindictive
disposition, quick to resent an injury, implacable in
avenging an insult. In a recent tribal feud he had gained
notoriety as a " brave," being fearless in the pursuance of
revenge, and having shot remorselessly those who had
dared to outrage his family pride. And yet he was warmhearted, generous and loyal to his friends.
Tkaganlakhatqu was held in great honour among his
tribe, being the chief member of the Ulala or cannibal
degree of the Alaid. He was also a " medicine man,"
famous for dreams. He owned the finest wilp (Indian
tribal house) in the village, and he had four wives.
When Mr. Tomlinson visited Gitlakdamiks, this great
heathen chieftain secured the honour of being his host,
thereby incurring the envy of the other chiefs.
After several visits Mr. Tomlinson appeared one day
with a couple of canoes laden with lumber, his intention
being to build a school-house in the village. When the
people of the place became aware of his purpose, in a
moment they were up in arms against him and demanded
how he dared thus chaUenge the ancient customs, social
and religious, of their proud race.
On being summoned to meet the assembled chiefs, he
went to the council-house'and took his seat in the presence
of a hostile crowd. It leaked out that the presiding
chief had a double-bladed dagger concealed under his
blanket, and that he intended to use it. An Indian
friendly to the missionary slipped out quietly, and at the
critical moment Tkaganlakhatqu returned from fishing.
He was at once informed of the danger to his friend. He
went straight to the council-house, flung wide open the door
and strode in, "a noble figure, with his head thrown
back, his eyes aflame, his nostrils dilated, and his mane of
coal-black hair faUing down his neck." Throwing one
arm over the missionary, he turned to the presiding chief
and exclaimed : " You have a dagger concealed in your
blanket ; if you would flesh your blade, flesh it here," at
the same time baring his own breast, and adding: " If
you are man enough, strike me. You dare not ? Then
learn, and let all here know, that he who would strike the
white man must strike me first." Turning to the missionary he said : " Come with me." Not a word was spoken
as they both went out together, Tkaganlakhatqu pushing
Mr. Tomlinson out of the house, while keeping his own
body always on the side from which danger might come,
and challenging several who had raised their rifles to
The missionary spent the following night in the house of
a friendly Indian named Giekqu. There he sat thinking
over what he should do. There was the lumber he had
brought up from the coast for building a school-house.
He did not want to take it all the way back again. Then
an idea came into his head. He remembered that about
two miïes down the river was a large flat, thickly strewn
with fallen timber and overgrown with dense bush.
The place was called Aiyansh,1 or " The VaUey of Eternal
Bloom." To float the lumber down the river and use it
for buiïding on that piece of land would not be defeat ;
only a change of plan, and it might serve some useful
purpose in the future.
The next morning he began to carry out his plan ; the
l-Ai = eternal, and yansh = foliage, bloom, leaf.
title, " The Valley of Eternal Bloom,"
school-shack was soon erected aU alone on the river
bank, and Mr. Tomlinson returned with his canoes and
men to the coast. In the heathen village of Gitlakdamiks
the empty house was treated as a great joke, a standing
monument to the defeat of the Christian faith. " But
that house solved the problem and saved the situation
in a way that no man expected."
For some years it stood among the trees, unused except
by the birds and rats. Then one autumn there came
along from the northern gold mines a renegade white man,
an evil-disposed person, who had deserted his wife and
chfldren and formed an alliance with an Indian woman.
Taking up his abode in the village, he said he wanted a
piece of good land for farming. He soon heard about
the missionary's scheme and, desiring to curry favour
with the tribe, he announced his intention to claim (as he
was by law entitled to do) the piece of land on which the
school-shack stood. He would then become its legal
owner. " I will use it," he said, "as a storehouse for
potatoes and turnips ; and then if that psalm-singing
missionary ever comes here again with his Bible and
Prayer Book, he may whistle for his school-house."
With the exception of one man the people of the village
were greatly pleased and exultant. Tkaganlakhatqu,
when he heard the news, was strangely moved and very
much perplexed. He sat by his fireside aU night, with
his head between his hands and his elbows on his knees,
smoking the pipe of reflection. He remembered the
missionary as his friend ; and the instinct of loyalty
in his heart cried out against any betrayal of that friendship. But he was not a Christian ; he and his forefathers had done very well without the white man's
religion. " What did the boys of this generation want
with a school ? Why did not the missionary take his
lumber back to the coast ?" He had often reasoned like
this before ; but as he now thought of the boastful talk
and evfl intentions of the renegade white man the smouldering fires in his breast leaped up into the hot flame of
a generous indignation.   That night he made his decision. TKAGANLAKHATQU 29
" With the first glimmerings of dawn was heard the
sound of an axe-man hard at work. Hark ! did ever
anyone hear such chopping and crashing ? What can it
mean ? So thought many of the Indians as they rubbed
their eyes and sallied forth in the early morn to see what
was going on. Around Tkaganlakhatqu's house they
gathered in astonishment. And no wonder ; for there
he was on the roof hewing right and left, leveUing his
house to the ground. Nobody dared to question him as
to what he was doing ; and so they watched him until,
having completed his work of destruction, he chose the
best pieces of timber from the wreck and arranged them
in the form of a raft on the water. Then flinging his
bundle of blankets on the raft, together with some food,
his rifle, and an axe, he sprang on board, seized a pole
and pushed off from the shore with a yell and a whoop,
being whirled away by the current from the astonished
gaze of wives and kinsmen.
" Let us follow him. He reaches Aiyansh, pulls up
before the weather-beaten little shanty, draws his boards
ashore, arranges them close by in the form of a tent,
closes up one end and lights a fire before the other ; and
there he makes himself comfortable as only an Indian
can ; toasting a piece of smoked salmon, he eats it,
washing it down with a draught of water from the stream.
" As he stood in the dusk of the following evening on
the river's bank, he saw a canoe going past the place,
making for the village above. Hailing it, he caUed out :
' Hau ! TeU that white trash to come and make a
potato-house of this now—if he can ! !
M The white renegade never responded to the chal-
In about a week one of Tkaganlakhatqu's hunting
chums, feeling lonely without his companionship, joined
him. This man was foUowed after a few more days by
three other Indians, who took up their abode near the
little school-house, building huts for themselves and their
famines with such materials as they could scrape together.
Then Tkaganlakhatqu's first wife came to him in his 30
exile ; the other three never went near him. The heathen
party made many attempts to get him back to the
village; but he would not yield. He and his faithful
followers became as it were outcasts and were a laughingstock for the heathen. From being a man of great
importance, Tkaganlakhatqu was now counted as one
dead by his tribe, and his nephew took his chieftainship.
It would be difficult to account for his unflinching attitude,
in the face of opposition and temptation, merely as the
obstinacy of one who was too proud to yield. He and
those who joined him had made what was for them a
supreme sacrifice in coming out from their own people ;
they had done this in defence of what they believed to be
right and honourable. And in their untutored way they
were seeking for God, like men struggling to find a path
out of a thick dark forest into some clearing where they
could see the light of day.
I Picture to yourselves the situation ; a little band of
five believers, unable to give a reason for the faith that
was in them, standing firm against the aroused hostility
of nearly five hundred foes, erstwhile their friends and
brethren ! Without the support usually accorded to
converts by the presence of a missionary, they fought a
' retiring action/ and won the initiative by taking up a
new position.
H Thus the Christian settlement of Aiyansh, which in
time eclipsed the heathen village, had its beginnings."
The white missionary had gone back to his old station
to work among the Indians on the Skeena River ; he
never again revisited the upper waters of the Naas.
A native teacher was sent, however, to form the nucleus
of a Christian church. After a course of instruction
from him, Tkaganlakhatqu and his four Indian comrades
were baptized. The native teacher remained with them
for two years ; but they needed some one better qualified
to establish them in the faith and knowledge of God.
And He who knew their need was preparing his chosen
servant to come and guide their feet into the light of His
fuU salvation. TKAGANLAKHATQU 31
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.
In a far distant island of the Mediterranean Sea His
messenger had been waiting ; ready to say with the
prophet of old: " Here am I, send me " ; and one day
towards the end of that summer of 1883, a canoe was
observed coming up the river, propelled by Indians
from the coast. As her prow touched the bank at Aiyansh
Mr. McCuUagh and his wife stepped ashore and received
a glad welcome from the small community located
They had held the fort with courage and patience, and
their faith was to be rewarded with a richer harvest of
blessing than they had ever dreamed of. The advent
of God's messenger to that lonely spot was to be followed
in the years to come by a wonderful transformation,
whereby the Indian tribe on the Upper Naas River was to
be purged of heathen rites and the degrading customs
of many centuries and to learn the way of Redemption
and Righteousness through the power of Jesus, its
crucified and risen Saviour. CHAPTER V
The Dawn of a New Day
BEFORE they could feel themselves at home in their
new environment, the missionary and his wife had
plenty of hard work to get through. The bare necessaries
of life were not wanting ; but there were none of the
comforts to which the white man is accustomed. Their
lot was rough, demanding manual labour, endurance,
courage and the stimulating tonic of a cheerful outlook.
What McCuUagh once wrote in describing others might
equally well be applied to himself and the brave quiet
woman who had given up her home and loved ones to
share with him the noble enterprise on which he had
adventured :
There is no grander specimen of humanity in the world
than the Anglo-Saxon backwoods settler—with one exception,
namely his wife. If you want to know a really noble man, and
to see one of the greatest and most important works in which
man can engage, look in upon the backwoods settler and see
him at work—subduing the earth.
The first thing necessary was, of course, a dweUing ;
and so the building of a log-house was at once commenced. This occupied six weeks, they Uving meanwhile
in one of the Indian's huts. The house was barely
completed by November when the snow began to faU.
Even then it lacked doors and windows ; but patient
tofl, ingenuity and resourcefulness overcame all obstacles
and discouragements.
" Early in the winter my usefulness as a ' settler '
was sadly impaired by an accident (which I always think
of as an axe-i-dent)—a deep cut in the ankle with an
axe, which placed me on crutches for many a week to
come. But this did not prevent my faUing in love with
the beautiful snow-clad winter, the crisp frosty days,
bright moonlight nights and delightful zero weather.
Never before did I feel such joy in nature, a joy that
has never left me in aU the years following. And this
happy frame of mind led quickly to the acquirement day
by day of that experience of backwoods life which enables
a man to adapt himself easily to his environment. I
discovered, as need after need arose for such conveniences
as go to the making of a house, that I possessed the
mechanical gifts of Bezaleel in a moderate degree. The
house gradually assumed an air of comfort ; moss and
mud packed in weU between the logs kept out the snow
at any rate, if not the wind. Articles of furniture and a
variety of fittings mysteriously materialized ; the interior
was lined, two rooms partitioned off and papered ; and
sundry little attempts at ornamentation indulged in, so
that within a year the house seemed really comfortable
from the point of view of the simple life. The fare
was extremely simple, too ; from 1883 to 1887 we only
had a piece of fresh beef once. Canned meats I could
not relish, although one had to eat them in order to live.
Fresh salmon there was in abundance, but even that
loses its savouriness when dished up for every meal.
I must confess that I often used to dream greedily of
beef-steak and mutton-chops. The great thing in circumstances of this kind is to keep up your heart ; life
does not consist of meat and drink. Half the hardships
we meet with can be overcome with a smile ; therefore
one should never take them too seriously."
Certainly the missionary and his wife could not be
accused, at that or any other time, of luxurious living.
During the first few months their bed was dried grass,
their bedstead the floor, whfle boxes served for tables
and chairs.
" At night we were invariably entertained by the rats,
who froUcked about us in pairs. Although these creatures
had not yet come into contact with civilization, they
were not at all shy ; in fact, they resented my vocal
efforts to scare them by staring rudely at me from some
point of vantage. I had therefore to get a long stick
and keep it by me at night for the purpose of poking
them ; but nothing short of killing had any effect. Frequently I used my gun at them. They are called ' bush-
rats ' because they live in the • bush,' or ' bush-tailed rats !
because they have bushy tails like Persian cats."
There were other kinds of work to be done, difficulties
of a different order to be faced and overcome. The
language had first to be learned, and time was needed
for that.1 The Christian missionary and his wife were
there for a more arduous task than that of the ordinary
settler. Their real purpose was not to subdue the earth
and replenish it, but to uplift their feUow-men and women
out of their ignorance and the superstitious practices and
degrading customs of heathenism.
The little band of nominal Indian Christians who
formed the settlement of Aiyansh in its infancy had
advanced but a short distance on the road of their new
endeavour when Mr. and Mrs. McCuUagh came to live
amongst them. It must not be supposed that they
walked straight out of the pagan darkness of the past
night into the full daylight of Christianity.
" At first they hardly understood what they intended
to do ; but being directed no doubt by the Spirit, they
embraced Christianity and appealed for a missionary.
Thus our God overturns, overrules, and even makes the
wrath of man to praise Him. I need not dwell upon
the difficulties of commencing work under such circumstances. Suffice it to say that with continued Scripture
instruction and preaching the Gospel a marvellous change
was accomplished, and many were added to the little
flock. In no one was that change more manifest than in
Chief Abraham (the name adopted in his baptism by
Tkaganlakhatqu). When I first knew him he was
anything but tame and gave me no small amount of
trouble. He seemed to think that I had come to Aiyansh
1 See Chapter VII. THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY 35
to be taught by him instead of to teach him ; he had no
principles, no conscience and no scruples ; and yet he
and those who were with him thought that, having left
the heathen viUage and given up their heathen customs,
they had attained to the highest point of perfection.
Of course I had to bend his will to mine to begin with,
and in conquering him I practically captured all the
others. I had not been among them very long when he
organized a general meeting against me and my teaching,
and Sunday was the day chosen for putting it into practice. I called him and the other men into my room that
same afternoon and spoke to them, telling them that, as
they evidently did not want a teacher, I would not waste
another day's precious time among them ; and that I
would pack up and be off the foUowing day. I would not
hear one word in reply from any of them, but left the
room when I had finished speaking. They wanted a big
wau-wau (council) that evening, but I would not listen,
and so about 10 o'clock at night I received a message to
the effect that if I would reconsider my decision and be
content to remain with them they would obey me in aU
things in the future ; my word alone would be as the
Queen's law to them ; and should I feel inclined to order
Chief Abraham, or any of them, to walk into the river
they would do so at once ! " CHAPTER VI
Early Morning Clouds
GRADUALLY the infant Church at Aiyansh grew in
numbers From the heathen villages of Gitlakdamiks up the river, and Gwinnahat farther down the
stream, inquirers came to the settlement, and some stayed
to learn more fully the way of life. As the missionary
acquired a better knowledge of the language, he visited
the chiefs, endeavouring to conciliate them by friendly
overtures, but never leaving out of sight the one great
object for which he had come to live among them ; never
losing an opportunity of trying to win them for Christ.
This was much resented by the Indians in general,
and by the medicine-men in particular. Of these latter
McCuUagh wrote : " They had also perhaps a personal
objection to me. I think they found the way I looked
them in the eye rather disconcerting, and I am sure they
felt it very awkward to tell me lies. Moreover, I would
not stand any nonsense from chiefs or big men. Those
who tried to bluff me never had the heart to repeat the
experiment ; neither would I flatter them by useless
wau-waus (handshakings or feasts) ; therefore they declared I was alugt, nigi ami (fierce and no good)."
Their hostility at length became serious, imperiUing the
missionary's life. Only a man of exceptional qualities
could have survived the danger by which he was threatened
at one time. In McCuUagh were combined an unshaken
faith in God and an utter fearlessness of man. Without
these two moral characteristics an early grave would
have been the end of his high adventure for Aiyansh, as
the foUowing incident will show.
Late one night he was sitting at his table writing, when
his ear caught the sound of stealthy footsteps and a low
muttered conversation outside the log-house. He knew
this could only mean mischief, but he thought it wiser
to remain as he was, waiting and watching to see what
would happen. Presently the door was softly opened
and an Indian cautiously stepped in. Probably he had
counted on his intended victim being in bed and asleep.
But no ! there was the white man sitting at his table,
writing. For anyone lacking the gifts of self-control or
resourcefulness in the face of danger, certain death could
have been the only issue of the treacherous purpose of that
midnight intrusion. But McCuUagh was the man for an
emergency : already he understood the Red man's
nature. He knew that if he made any hurried movement
or betrayed the least sign of fear or nervous apprehension,
that would be the signal for the Indian, standing silently
inside the door, to spring on him and plunge into his heart
the knife that lay concealed under his blanket. So looking up quietly he said in steady masterful tones, " Stand
there until I have finished what I am doing." For some
minutes he continued writing, while he prayed for Divine
help and turned over in his mind the best course to take.
His knowledge of the Indians had taught him that there
is one thing more than all else of which he stands in awe
and before which he quails ; and that is courage. So he
quietly passed the blotting-paper over his writing, arose
slowly from his chair, and confronted the Indian. * I
know quite well," he said in measured tones, " why you
and your friends outside are here. You have come to
kiU me because I try to show you the trail that leads to
the Great Spirit. It is a fine thing, is it not ? for a party
of Indian ' braves ' to come in the darkness of night and
murder a white man in his sleep. It needs some courage
to do that. If you are brave enough to do it, why don't
you take out that knife you have concealed under your
blanket and strike me as I stand here ? See ! I open
my breast for your blade ! Strike, brave Indian,
The Indian looked at the tall upright figure before
him ; he looked at the bare breast and into the face of
the white man. And there he saw no tremor on eyelids
or mouth, but two clear blue eyes steadily reading his
thoughts and dominating his will. He felt as though he
had no power to raise a hand ; he dared not draw that
hidden knife. His courage melted away. He felt afraid.
Slowly he backed out through the door and closed it
after him. Then the missionary heard once more the
undertone of voices outside and the shuffling movement
of feet until they died away in the darkness of the night.
And by his table he knelt down and poured forth his soul
in thankfulness to the Lord who had heard his prayer
and stood by him and strengthened him in his hour of
When the first convert at Aiyansh died, a site was
chosen and consecrated for a burial-ground. The body
of the Indian who had " fallen asleep in Jesus " was
carried out there and committed to its last resting-place
with the comforting words of the Church of England
Service for the Burial of the Dead. Soon after this,
tidings were brought to the missionary that a company
(eight in number) of the Ulala or cannibal section of
a semi-secret society called the Alaid had come from
one of the heathen villages and were inquiring for the
whereabouts of the burying-place. There was no need
to explain the meaning of their visit. McCuUagh understood in a moment, and he determined to frustrate their
vile purpose. Seizing his rifle he hurried off by a short
cut through the brushwood to the place where the grave
was. Snow had faUen and covered the ground with its
white shroud. Drawing a wide circle in the snow round
the grave, as guardian of the dead, McCuUagh stood in
the centre. He had not long to wait before the Ulala
party appeared. Calling on them to halt and raising his
rifle in readiness to fire, he addressed them : | Stand
where you are and come no nearer while I speak. I
know what your object is in coming here. You want to
dig up and eat the body of my friend, Simass, buried EARLY MORNING CLOUDS 39
beneath the ground on which I stand.    I wiU die over
his dead body before I suffer you to outrage it by carrying
out your loathsome purpose. The first man among you
that crosses the circle I have marked I shoot ; and you
know that I shoot straight."
The Indians looked at the stalwart white man standing
before them with his rifle raised. In his face they read
blazing indignation and stern resolve. No one among
them dared put his foot across that fatal circle. A few
words of hurried consultation between themselves were
foUowed by retreat. As they disappeared from view, and
McCuUagh heard the sound of their snow-shoes growing
fainter on the frozen snow, he threw his rifle down and,
kneeling on the mound of earth that marked the grave, he
thanked God for directing and sustaining and delivering
His servant in the discharge of a duty which he knew
had to be done if he were ever to wean the Nishgas as a
tribe from the revolting customs of their heathen ancestors.
McCuUagh, I believe, never set down these two incidents
in writing. Probably his humility forbade his thus
recording things which might seem like glorifying himself.
But we who heard them from his lips, as we gathered round
the fire one autumn evening during his first furlough,
have never forgotten them. His vivid description of
each event made a lasting impression on the memory.
They are chronicled here in order to show what kind of
man he was. How splendid his courage ! How inflexible
his wiU in doing what he felt to be right ! How conscious
he was at all times of the presence of God ! How unshaken
was the faith by which he looked up into the face of his
Lord in every time of need and danger ! But the best
of men, including those whose faith and courage shine the
most brightly, are subject at times to periods of depression. It can hardly be otherwise, especially when refined, spiritual natures are compeUed to five in daUy
contact with debased human beings.
McCuUagh was no exception to this form of trial.
" My first experience," he wrote, " of Indian heathenism
lay very heavy on my heart.   I sometimes imagined 40
that I was a second Ezekiel, taken up by the Spirit and
set down in another valley of dry bones. Indeed, it
seemed to me easier that God should have made dry bones
live than that those up-river Indians should become
disciples of Christ. Dry they were too, but in addition
they seemed to be embedded hopelessly in a mass of
fossilized degradation. Even those who had come out of
heathenism to put themselves under instruction in the
way of leading a better life did not all at once give up
their old ways of living. Some of their habits were
indescribably filthy." The missionary's soul revolted
against such things ; to himself and his wife they were
sometimes almost beyond endurance.
One day a feeling of despair seized him ; but like the
prophet Elijah he made his complaint to the Lord.
Casting himself on the ground, he cried out, " O Lord, why
hast Thou brought me here ? These people sicken me
with their vile habits. How can I ever win them for
Thee unless I learn to love them ? And instead of
loving them I loathe them."
1 And then," he adds, " as I remained on my knees
in the forest, I seemed to see the Cross of Calvary and
the Figure of Jesus there. And I seemed to hear His
voice saying to me, ! I loved these people well enough to die
for them. Canst thou not love them well enough to live
for them ? ' And in the strength of that vision I arose
from my knees with a new feeling in my heart for the
Indians.    I had begun to love them "   lu
The Language and Education of a People
ONE of the most important tasks to be accomplished
by a missionary if he is to succeed in preaching
the Gospel to a heathen people, is to acquire a knowledge
of their language. This was easier for McCuUagh than
it would be for most men. He was naturaUy endowed
.with exceptional linguistic gifts. Before going out to
British Columbia he had mastered several European
languages. PhUology was always a favourite study with
him. One of his hobbies in later years was to trace
affinities between root-words in the Indian tongue and the
etymology of those old languages from which the modern
speech of civilized nations derives its origin.
" AU my conversation with the Indians was, of course,
at first carried on by means of an interpreter—a man
whom I had brought up with me from the coast, who
could speak a little English. But I did not make any
progress with the language until the foUowing spring,
when I set myself to acquire it with some purpose. Just
then my interpreter failed me ; he evidently did not want
me to know the language ; thinking, I suppose, that my
ignorance would be his bliss in the way of paid labour.
However, I employed two old Indians who did not know
a word of English to do some fencing work in the garden
with me. One I kept on my right, the other on the left as
we worked ; the one on the left having been informed by
many signs that on no account was he to speak, but rather
to do everything the other man told him to do. Thus
With an open ear on the right, and an open eye on the
left, I began to put things together, that is, to associate
certain actions with certain sounds, and then to pronounce
those sounds myself. Many a time have my Indian
companions roUed on the ground with laughter at my
attempts to pronounce some of their words, but I always
succeeded in the end. Whenever I got real hold of a word
I always wrote it down phonetically, with the meaning in
English opposite (my book and pencU were always with
me), and so at the end of six weeks I essayed the writing
out of a short sermon, much to the delight of the Indians
in general, especially those who had been helping me.
These assumed at once a most amusing air of importance :
they had done what the interpreter could not do, they
had taught the white man to speak Nishga. But pride
always goeth before a fall ; they had so credited themselves with everything else, that they had to be credited
also with my mistakes. I did not make many, it is true ;
but one mistake is enough to mar a whole sermon. Unfortunately, in this case, the word for I bread ' and that for
j woman ' are very much alike, and when in my discourse
I had occasion to speak of the crumbs which feU from the
table, instead of saying ' kuba gum anak ' (little scraps of
bread), I said ' kuba gum anag ' (little single women),
utterly spoiling the effect of my laboured first effort.
But I persevered and, entering into a compact with the
Indians small and great, we agreed that they should
always teU me if I made a mistake in pronunciation,
idiom or grammar. Of course they did not know anything of grammatical rules, but they could teU me if the
talk ' walked right.' Then I would make notes of all
the criticisms and comments made, correct my pronunciation, idiom or grammar, as the case might be, making
sure, if possible, not to fall into the same errors again."
In the end McCuUagh acquired a reputation among the
Indians of knowing more about their language than they
knew themselves, and of being able to speak it as correctly and fluently as any one of them.
For him to know the Nishga tongue, however, was not
enough. He could indeed converse with people and
preach sermons to them ; but he knew that if ever they LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 43
were to become settled in the Christian faith they must
be able to read the Bible. And for this purpose he set to
work and reduced their language to writing. " I gave
eight solid hours a day for one year," he writes, S to the
making of a Nishga-English Grammar on Ollendorff
system ; and it was grand in those far-away days when
I began to feel my wings !—when, instead of stumbling
along amid the intricacies of the Nishga Grammar, I began
to fly."
The letters of the EngUsh alphabet were insufficient to
give the phonetic equivalent of many of the Indian words ;
so he added to their number, incorporating several Greek
letters and thus making up the fuU number to thirty-two.
Then he taught the people to read. The young Indians, he
soon found, were keen to learn the vernacular, and when
he started to print the Grammar on his typewriter,
" they gathered round like flies round a sugar-barrel."
Let us here anticipate the results of McCuUagh's efforts
to educate the people. During the winter months, when
the boys were not needed by their fathers to help in the
fisheries, he coUected as many of them as he could get,
boarded them in a tent near the mission-house, and
regularly taught them to read and write. He did this,
hoping in time to train them for setting up the type of
the printing-press which eventually became so important
a feature of his work. Some of the boys proved sharp
and inteUigent ; others were not so bright. It was all
very strange to them to try and learn things of which
neither they nor their fathers before them had ever heard.
One boy named Gaigiat became quite discouraged.
" The book did not speak to his eyes as he expected it
would do." His idea of reading was, that if one were to
hold a book sufficiently long before the face, the writing
would by some^occult process convey the meaning to the
eyes ; but that there was any work to be done in learning
to speU was incomprehensible to him ; consequently it
was a very difficult matter to get him to learn the Nishga
alphabet and to plod through the spelling of syUables.
He could not see the use of learning letters and bits of 44 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
words which in themselves meant nothing, or, as he put
it, " did not teU him any news." j* He had no joy in his
lessons, and was always glad when they were over, and he
at liberty to scamper about the rocks at play."
One day the missionary called him in and lectured him
on his apathy and indifference in learning to read. He
seemed very much bored and appeared to think himself
unfairly treated in not being taught to read without any
trouble to himself.
" Taking a sheet of paper I wrote in large letters (he
had already got to the fourth speUing sheet) am mi dum
gint Gak ai habesqu ai yuksat kin (feed the rabbits with
grass this evening), and handing it to him, said, ' Spell
out those words, beginning a-m am, m-i mi, and so on.'
He got to the end. ■- Now,' said I, ' pronounce them
without spelling.' This he did with evident growing
amazement, until at last, looking up at me, with eyes
actuaUy starting out of his head, he broke into an hysterical kind of laugh, and throwing up his feet, roUed off
the box where he was seated, and out at the door like a
bale of goods. On going into his tent later, I found him
for the first time reaUy intent upon his lessons. ' Well/
said I, ' how are you getting on now ? have you done
what the paper told you to do ? ' His reply was, ' I
have been very foolish, chief.' \ Well, it is something
gained to know that,' I rejoined ; ' add the fear of God to
that, and you have the beginning of wisdom.' "
This was the turning over of a new leaf in Gaigiat's
education, and before long he had learned to read
inteUigently and to write neatly.
The question of the education of the Indians was a
difficult one. % When the people are in their viUages,"
writes McCuUagh, " school is open daily, and nearly aU
the chUdren attend, and are instructed in reading, writing,
geography and arithmetic. Unfortunately the breaks
occurring in the spring and summer, owing to the migratory habits of the people, tend to retard the progress
which might otherwise be made. StiU, notwithstanding
these drawbacks, we make considerable headway.   To LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 45
overcome this difficulty I have kept all the boys back as
far as I could, during the past ten years, by boarding
them in my own house and clothing them. By doing
this their parents have been satisfied to leave them with
me. These boys are the joy and crown of my labours.
They stand out conspicuously among all the Indian boys
of the country for alertness of inteUect, more than average
inteUigence, discipline, good conduct, mechanical ability
and general efficiency for the life that lies before them."
In 1891, eight years after he went out to Aiyansh, the
progress of the people's education was so far advanced
that McCuUagh was able to circulate among them an
occasional newspaper, entitled Hagaga, cyclostyled in
the vernacular, on one side only of a large sheet of paper,
containing items of interest general and personal, and
embeUished with drawings in the way of instruction and
The success of this system of educating the people in
their own language before teaching them anything more
than conversational English was very marked. A marvellous instance of this occurred about the year 1891,
when he first began to distribute speUing-sheets and
reading-lessons among the boys.
" One of our little boys," he writes, " meeting with some
hunters from a distant tribe, taught them the rudiments
of spelling in the vernacular, and gave them a few copies
of our little Hagaga, These young men were very much
taken with the idea of learning to read and write in their
own language, and persevered with the lessons the winter
through in their own viUage, using pieces of spUt wood
for slates and burnt sticks for pencils. About a year
after this, not knowing what had been going on meanwhile, I was much astonished to receive letters from men
of this tribe in rapid succession, stating their intention
of coming to live at the Mission, that they had already
* repented to God,' and wanted to be further instructed
and baptized. And so they came and had their desire
fulfilled." These young men remained for some time at
Aiyansh and eventually became consistent Christians. 46 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
But the crowning glory of the Nishga people's education
began in 1893 when a printing-press arrived from England. Nothing could illustrate more clearly McCuUagh's
gifts of patience, perseverance and manual skfll than the
way in which, without assistance from anyone, he taught
himself the art of printing. Thus he described the process
in one of his letters home :
" Very few amateurs, I imagine, have begun printing
under greater disadvantages than those which beset me
at the commencement of my mounting the hobby. The
first time I obtained more than a passing glimpse of a
printing-press was when I unpacked the cases containing
one sent out to me by the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge in 1893. The parts were there in perfect
order, I had no doubt, but the question was, how to put
them together ? I had attempted to solve many a
problem in my time, but this was pons asinorum at last.
However, by the help of a cut in Webster's Dictionary,
I eventuaUy got it into working order. The type I distributed easily enough, but there were many things of
the use of which I had no idea, e.g. composing stick,
setting rules, marble slab, a kind of stone pestle (of the
use of this I am stiU in ignorance) and a few other things.
I began composing therefore on the bed of the press,
within a frame laid thereon, setting up each word in my
fingers, and then transferring it to the frame, frequently
spilling it, and sometimes knocking down a whole
line ! Every now and then, as I straightened up my
aching back or turned around my stiffening neck, I
exclaimed, * Well, this beats all other kind of work in the
world ! '
" My task was a hard and tedious one. But joy ! at
last the frame was fiUed and the type tightened. Then
getting roller and ink ready, I pulled with nervous impatience my first proof.
3 Without waiting to give a look at the sheet, I took it
in for my wife to see, waving it triumphantly at arm's
length, thinking, if I did not shout, S Eureka.' But, oh !
the consternation, the mortification, the humfliation ! LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 47
it was printed backwards and could only be read in the
Having served his apprenticeship to the art of printing,
alone and unaided, he began to teach his Indian boys.
At first they were slow in learning ; but the more intelligent among them succeeded in the end. In 1900 McCul-
lagh completed his revised translation of St. John's
Gospel into the Nishga language. In due course the
other three Gospels were translated and printed. A
school Primer, a Nishga Grammar, a Nishga-English
Grammar, a Dictionary, an Old Testament history in
Nishga and an English Prayer Book with Hymns, all
passed through the printing-press before many years were
over. The Primer was published in 1897 by the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge for use in the day-
school at Aiyansh ; it includes a translation of Psalms i.
and xxiii., St. Matthew v. 1-12 and 1 St. John ii. 1-11.
The same Society also published an undated volume
entitled : " A Nishga version of portions of the Book of
Common Prayer," containing various Canticles and some
extracts from the Scriptures. Although these two volumes
are preserved in the Library of the British and Foreign
Bible Society, the Bible Society itself never published
anything in the Nishga tongue. In his annual letter for
1895 McCuUagh stated that the Bible Society had consented to print the Nishga New Testament for him ;
and indeed this great and generous Society has always
taken a keen interest in his work and would gladly have
done for him what they are doing for other Missions all
the world over. That they never actuaUy published
anything for McCuUagh during the early years of his work
is probably because he wished to educate his Indians in
the qualities of self-dependence and self-culture by making
them responsible for printing and binding the books he
translated into their language. He believed in the
practical utility of Industrial Missions, and he put this
principle into practice whenever it was possible. During
his last furlough (1914-1916) the Bible Society promised
to give him the Epistle to the Romans in the Nishga
language. After his return to Aiyansh he set to work at
once and had just finished the translation of this Epistle
when the great flood came and destroyed it, together
with many other valuable manuscripts.
As the people grew in their capacity and desire for
receiving knowledge, he used to give, during the winter
evenings, lectures on various subjects ; as, for example,
" astronomy, agriculture, carpentry and building, the
care of domestic animals and poultry, electricity applied,
physiology, the generation of disease, the importance
of sanitary arrangements in and about the houses of a
village, the use and care of tools, the principles of steam
and water power, law and justice, and many other things
too numerous to mention." Also in 1907 he wrote as
follows in The Story of a Great Transformation:
" From the pictorial papers and periodicals which I receive
monthly I generally cut any illustrations of interest and, together
with typewritten explanations in the vernacular, paste them
on a large sheet of printing-paper, so that the Indians are always
able to gain a little variety of knowledge in this way. Thus
they know all about airships, flying machines, X-rays, wireless
telegraphy, damming the Nile, bridging the Zambesi, new ships,
people of other lands, their habits and customs, and so «en, ad lib."
In 1909 the Hagaga was revised under a new name and
form, entitled " Hagaga, the Aiyansh Parish Magazine and
Indian's Own Paper." It was printed in English, the
printers being four of the old Mission boys. The Magazine consisted of eight pages of three columns each. It
was brimful of useful information about educational and
sanitary problems, the Government of the country, and
many other matters ; one page (sometimes two) being
reserved for the children.
The Editorial notes of the first number (June 1909)
begin thus :
" There are a few young men and women, boys and
girls, in our villages now who can read easy English, so
that we feel they ought to have a little paper of their
own to talk to them about those things that make for their
" The Hagaga is therefore brought to the front again,
and we hope it wiU do something to help to open the
doors of truth and righteousness of life, so that the hearts
and minds of the rising generation may enter into a purer
air and foUow a higher life.
" When a man makes a garden he has no need to plant
weeds ; they grow of themselves without any help, and
have to be puUed up or cut down. But the things he
uses for food—wheat, oats, beans, peas, potatoes and other
vegetables, as well as fruit, have to be planted and watered
and taken care of. Whenever a man sows good seed in
his garden a crop of weeds is sure to come up at the same
time, as though they wanted to choke out the good seed.
So that he has to work for the good and against the bad.
" Now this is what we hope the Hagaga will do : it will
try to cut down and puU up the weeds of cunning, craft,
guile and Hes which are always on the grow, seeking to
hinder the ripening of the good seed of truth and love,
peace and joy. And we are sure that every true-hearted
man and woman wiU be glad to see that which is good
increase and grow, and all old evU things pass away.
I We hope aU the young folk, and all the old people too,
wiU help to make this Httle paper go weU. Every one
ought to push it on by placing an order for it. The price
is sixty cents a year—very cheap."
To raise a tribe of degraded savages in the course of a
few years, to teach them in their own tongue, and afterwards to educate them so as to make them capable of
receiving such moral instruction as this, printed by their
own hands in the English language, is of itself a fine
achievement for one man. It wiU be reckoned all the
more so if we bear in mind that it was only one department of the many-sided work McCuUagh was enabled to
a 1 complish. CHAPTER VIII
The Red Man as a Heathen
THAT McCuUagh possessed literary talents of no mean
order is evident from the accounts he wrote at
intervals describing the development of his work. Some
of these have been published in booklet form by the
Church Missionary Society ; others have appeared as
articles in the Church Missionary Review. In addition
to these he sent home to his supporters in England,
periodicaUy or as some special necessity arose, journals
recounting the progress of the Christian Mission to the
Indians. Often he burned the midnight oil in writing
letters to his personal friends in the old country, many
of which, happfly, have been preserved, especially those
relating to the earlier years at Aiyansh. Unfortunately
most of those written in later years have not been kept.
He was undoubtedly conscious that he possessed the gift
of a flowing pen as the natural outcome of an active brain
and a fertile imagination ; and at one time he seriously
intended writing for publication a book in which he could
plead the cause of the Indians and show how the Gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ is the one hope of their salvation
morally, socially and spiritually. In April 1899 ne wrote
to his friend Mr. C. B. Robinson : " On my return from
the Conference at Metlakahtla I start (D.V.) to print the
New Testament and to write the book I mentioned in my
last letter. I have a mind to pitch my tent in a pine
grove on a hiU near by and ride there in the early mornings
(on a cayuse I have who rejoices in the name of Joe) for
four hours' slick writing." But in April 1900 he wrote
again to the same friend ; " The book is not at aU satis-
factory. I write and rewrite, and stUl I am in the unsatisfying scribble stage. I digress so often and perhaps
go in too much for moralizing. At every hand's turn I
find some popular misconception, or what appears to
me as such, peeping round the corner, and I can't resist
the temptation to ' go for it.' However I'll ' get there '
by and by if I live, and every year that passes now will
add fresh interest to the pages of my book."
But he never did " get there," partly, as he himself says
in another letter, owing to the financial risk of such a
venture. The materials, however, of this work, which
never saw the light of publication, survive in the form
of " Sketches," some of which were actually printed in
smaU type by their author. Three of these are here
recorded by which it may be seen how intimate was
McCuUagh's knowledge of old Indian habits and how
keen were his powers of observation. No one was better
qualified than he for recording manners and customs now
fast dying out. Incidentally they show how difficult
was the task before him in breaking down the long-
established practices in which the Red man was steeped
and from which he must break away in the process of his
conversion to the Christian faith.
'{My first introduction to the great Chief Sgaden was
in the late summer of 1883, just after my first arrival at
Aiyansh. It was a sunny afternoon, and, standing on
the river bank with my interpreter beside me, we watched
a small fishing canoe, poled by one man sitting in the stern,
come gradually up to where we were. The Indian in the
canoe was an oldish man with broad, flattened features on
which a proud, haughty expression was stamped for aU
time. His headgear consisted of an old piece of red
cotton wound around his head and knotted in front ;
an old open-breasted, smoke-mellowed calico shirt and a
pair of worn-out ' china ' pants completed his costume.
" ' Who is he, Frederick ? ' I whispered. 52 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
" ' He one veUy gleat chief ! ' responded Frederick, with
an impressive smack of his lips.
" Then he proceeded to inform the occupant of the canoe
that the white man had been inquiring who he was. This
started Sgaden on his own account. He smote upon his
breast, pointed to his heart, put out his tongue and flicked
it with his finger, and then pointed to the surrounding
" ' He say one gleat man, big chief, more dan all chiefs ;
no oder man chief enough to speak him ; him veUy stlong
heart, all same one tongue speak for all country lound
bout hea'. You come make eat long him tomollow ? '
said Frederick, with an air of great importance.
" Accordingly I took two friendly Indians with me on
the morrow and repaired to his house, which was in a village about two miles away. This village, as is the custom,
stands on a river bank, and was composed of about forty
large houses or compounds with low-pitched roofs.
Erected before the house of each chief (for there are many
chiefs in a village) was an immense wooden pole—a whole
tree—carved with the figures of queer animals and human
faces, and surmounted by the carved image of some bird
or animal showing the crest and tribal division of the
1 Presently we reached my host's house, and found him
standing at the door ready to receive me. Without any
greeting he led me in and, spreading a bearskin on the
floor, motioned me to be seated. I sat down, as did also
my two companions, while the old man, who had laid out
all his possessions as for an exhibition, went round examining his goods criticaUy as though he had seen them
for the first time in his life.
" Opposite to us, on the other side of the hearth, sat
Mrs. Chief, washing a pair of her husband's moccasins
in a wash-hand basin. Having wrung these out, she
emptied the contents of the basin into a hole in the
hearth, and then, taking a smoke-dried salmon, held it
before the fire to toast, This being done, she broke it
up into smaU pieces, which she deposited in the basin and THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 53
set it before us. My companions began eating and
motioned me to do the same. ( Dear me,' thought I,
' I am in for it this time ! ' Picking up a piece in my
fingers, I looked at it, wondering if I could bolt it, and
calculating, with my left hand on the pit of my stomach,
the possible results. But there was no way out of it, I
must not give offence, so I played with that piece of
salmon, touching my teeth with it now and again and
smacking my lips. I never do things rashly if I can help
it, but on this occasion I tried, by closing my eyes and
deafening my ears, to shut out for a moment all consciousness, and then a hurried bit of chewing, a big gulp down,
and all was over. My friends had cleared the basin by
this time, so the old lady took it and began to prepare a
second course. This consisted of seaweed, salmon roe
and fish oil, and was mixed all up together in the basin.
Laying this in front of us, she served out a horn spoon
to each, and then began to lick her fingers one after the
other, for she had been mixing the dish, you know !
I That was the only time in my life that I can remember
wishing for a cold in my head—a good stuffy one ! It
would have been too rude of me to hold my nose with
one hand, while with the other I plied the spoon. But
what was to be done ? Eat I must, and that quickly.
So, taking up a spoonful, I took it in very small doses,
whihng away the time until the dish had been emptied
by my friends. Our hostess then took the basin and wiped
it out with her finger, which she carefuUy licked, as also
the spoon ! Preparations were then made for another
course—berries dried upon leaves were taken out of a
box and put into the basin with water, and squeezed up
into squash by our chief ess. How she did enjoy drawing
her tongue across those hands every now and then Î
Dear old lady, she gave my spoon an extra Uck by way of
courtesy, before laying it down for my use again ! These
mashed berries would not have been half bad if she had
not poured a lot of that awful fish oil into the basin with
them. WhUe we were discussing this dish our host was
standing in the doorway looking out for somebody, who 54 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
turned out to be a young man in a blanket. Him he
ordered to fetch a bucket of water—a bark bucket—and
to mash up a lot of red and yellow berries in it. This
he did, kneeling in front of us, and then proceeded to whip
the whole into a foaming mass with his hand. Long
wooden spoons were served out for this course, and the
enjoyment to be derived from this particular mass consisted in drawing into the mouth the contents of the
spoon, and then expeUing them into the same again,
repeating the process three or four times, and finaUy
swallowing the delicacy.
" After lunch the chief took me round and showed me
aU his treasures, to which he was evidently anxious that
I should add something.
" In due course I returned the chief's invitation, had
quite a spread for him, and watched him eat my good
things with pleasure. But I was not prepared for the end
of it, viz., stuffing his pockets with aU that was left on
the table. How could he be so rude as to leave aught of
that which had been set before him ? Such is Indian
" After I had settled down in Sgaden's country I found
him very much opposed to the Gospel. Whenever I went
into his house to preach, he invariably started chopping
wood to make a noise. Once he sent a message to me to
caution me not to say too much against heathen ways. I
was but a leaf in his country, and he had only to blow
with his mouth to send me flying back again to the
sea !
" In 1898 Sgaden made a profession of repentance and
faith in Christ, was baptized by Archdeacon CoUison and
lived for some time at Kincolith. But he again returned to his heathen surroundings after a few years, and
died virtuaUy a heathen in 1904.
" He would listen to no Indian preaching, neither would
he sit stiU while family prayers were being conducted in
any house where he was. His pride was sufficient to
clothe a whole tribe with arrogance, and as he lived, so
" There is among the Nishgas a Society caUed the
Alaid, a semi-secret Society, consisting of four degrees of
mysteries, to be initiated into which is the ambition of
every Indian who can afford it. Originally this Society
was composed only of chiefs and leading men, but now
that articles of property can be acquired by any industrious Indian from European trading-posts and stores,
it is open to every one who can give the required feasts
and presents to the tribe. Anyone not belonging to this
Society is classed as Um-giat—unmade, rude or raw-made ;
from ' urn* the makings of; and l giat,' man—so that
Umgiat is, literally, the makings of a man. On the other
hand, those who have taken their degrees are styled
1 shim-gigiat,' from ' shim,' real, fact, made ; and ' gigiat*
the plural of ' giat '—literaUy made men, real men, i.e.
chiefs. The ' Umgigiat ' have no special position at all
in the tribe, whUe the * Shimgigiat ' are classed according
to the number of degrees they have taken. The first
degree is Milthat (plural Gamilthat, sons of being) ; the
second Lulthim (dog-eaters) ; the third Ulala (cannibals) ;
whfle the fourth is Hunanalthit (destroyers). The fourth
degree is only open to members of the third, the third to
those belonging to the second, the second to those in the
first, while the first is open to anyone who can afford to
give a big feast and who makes a distribution of property.
" You must now aUow me to introduce you to a young
Indian just out of his teens. He is a hunter and a fisherman, splendidly built, pleasing to look at, as brown as a
berry, keen-eyed as a hawk, and rejoicing in the name of
Dozqum Gaik (Black Feather). He has been working
hard for the last four years and laying up the fruits of
his labour. He is now worth about a hundred blankets,
four or five dozen cups and saucers, five bags of rice,
twenty boxes of ship's biscuit, a smaU barrel of molasses
and a quantity of tobacco. Just notice his gait as he
walks, observe the elasticity of his step and the way he
holds up his head !   Why should he not hold up his head ? 56 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
Is he not lord of a hundred blankets, each measuring
six feet by four ; and the coveted prefix ' Shim,' is it not
within measurable distance of his name ?
" The happy hum of summer is hushed throughout
forest and glade ; the ground is strewn with the recent
glory of autumn ; the snow-line is nightly creeping lower
and lower down the mountain sides, the harsh sound of
the rapids is heard from afar on the still frosty air ;
another week and it wiU be winter. Dozqum Gaik is busy
in his uncle's house preparing for the long-anticipated
feast. A goodly pfle of fragrant cedar logs stands near
the door ready for the hearth, half a dozen eagles, with
the assistance of Black Feather's rifle, have fiUed yonder
bark bag with their fine white down, while the kindness
of the neighbours has multiphed the number of pots
beside the door. AU is ready for the feast. Pots of rice
are boiling, Black Feather's female relatives are to the
fore in force, the blankets are piled up near the entrance
ready for distribution, and in the corner the lord of the
feast is putting on a coat of paint, to which he adds a
kiït or jingling apron, and a pair of leggings, finally enfolding his body in a coloured blanket. The guests
begin to pour in, each bringing his or her dish and spoon,
wlnle a man at the door points out the place of everyone,
uttering the word ' Git ' (there it is).
" The principal chief's place is at the end opposite the
door, while on his right and left sit the other chiefs,
according to rank, with their heirs (i.e. their nephews)
squatting in front of them. The guests sit aU round the
house in four ranks, the ! Umgigiat ' near the door. The
food is served out first to the chiefs and last of all to the
* Umgigiat.' The feeding over, Black Feather's uncle
addresses the chiefs, standing out in the light of the fire,
his blanket gathered across his breast by his left arm,
whUe his right is extended towards the nobles—" Now,
ye chiefs ..." He introduces his nephew, whose good
things he flatteringly deprecates, while recaUing to mind
former famous feasts given by those whom he is addressing.
B&çk Feather then çoniçs forward and, taking   two THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 57
blankets off the piïe, gives them to the Min (First Chief),
to each of the other chiefs and their heirs he gives one,
to the leading men he gives half a blanket each, wlnle
the ■ Umgigiat ' come in for one-sixteenth each. Thrice
happy day for Dozqum Gaik—the snnles of his guests and
their reiterated title of ' Nat ' almost turn his head, he
is giddy with elation, and already looks forward to creating
a greater sensation a few years hence when he takes the
' Lulthim.'
" Bang ! Bang ! Something has struck the roof of the
house, and Black Feather falls to the floor as though he had
been shot. In a moment a dozen stalwart men have cast
aside their blankets and stand around him in their paint
and kUts. Tearing his blanket from him, they roll his
apparently lifeless body into an elk-skin, which four of
them hold at the corners, and sway it to and fro to a slow
drumming and singing on the part of the others. The
dramming grows more rapid, the sing-song more jerky,
and they toss him up and catch him again as they whirl
round the fire in the centre of the floor. Now a few of
them have got the bark bag of eagle-down, the contents
of which they throw up by the handful, assisting its flight
with their breath.
" See ! they are enveloped in a cloud of whirling,
eddying feather-flakes as, circling round and round in the
firelight, they toss Black Feather higher and higher towards the large opening (chimney) in the roof. Closer
and closer they mingle together in the cloudy maze, then
a final toss and out of their hands goes the elk-skin, to
come down limply on the floor. Black Feather is gone !
Tossed up to heaven ! -1
" There they stand looking up at the starry sky as seen
through the opening in the roof, whfle smothered exclamations of awe and wonder escape from the lips of the
' Umgigiat/ and the chiefs sit on in quiet dignity. The
party then breaks up, and each person goes home in
silence.   Four days have elapsed since Black Feather
1 The vanishing operation is, of course, a cleverly performed
was tossed up to heaven, and the guests are again
assembled in his uncle's house, where they are seated as
before, enjoying a second edition of the feast. Around
the fire stand the painted and kilted members of the
* Milthat ' looking up at the opening in the roof and calling
upon ' Miltham Kila ' (God of Miltha) to restore to them
the missing youth. One of their number takes a large
wooden spoon filled with fish oil, which he presents aloft,
crying out, ' Alu kwilth Ye, dum gibin t'kon ' (Walker
abroad, you wiU eat of this), after which he deposits the
huge spoon with its contents on the fire. Suddenly the
flames leap forth, ascending in a fluttering stream through
the aperture above, iUuminating the interior and exterior
of the festal haU.
H Thud ! Bump ! Something has fallen upon the roof,
and out rush the dancers, uttering the peculiar yeU of the
f Milthat.' Presently they return with Black Feather
in their midst, whom they lead around before the guests.
Then putting him again into the elk-skin, they sway and
toss him as before, and again cause him to vanish in a
cloud of eagle-down.
| The next morning Black Feather is seen sitting on a
rock on the opposite bank of the river quite naked, while
all the inhabitants of the village stand before his uncle's
house looking at him. Through this crowd a party of
naked ' Gamilthat ' urge their way with a dancing step,
cross the river and bring him over. Through the village
they lead him four times, a hungry-looking creature (for
he has not eaten anything since the first night of the
feast), and then conduct him to his uncle's house, where
for four days the members of the ' Milthat ' continue to
drum and rattle over him. During those days a wreath
of teased alder-bark is hung outside the house, and
nobody is allowed to pass by the front ; they must go by the
back. A third edition of the feast brings the ceremony
to a close, and then Black Feather goes into retirement
for the remainder of the winter. If you go into his
uncle's house you will observe a corner screened off by a
bark mat, behind which someone is evidently at work. NISHGA   CHIEF  WEARING   STATE   BLANKET.
These blankets are of great value and are now unobtainable.  THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN
It is Black Feather in seclusion, whiling away the dreary
hours in making and repairing his hunting and fishing
" There wiU be, perhaps, a session of the c Lulthim ' in
February, at the feast of which he wiU be liberated. But
you wiU not find him then the beaming youth of the
summer before ; there will be a hard look of the world on
his face, his smile will strike you as a little cruel, his look
cunning and crafty, while the whole demeanour of the
man shows that he has been morally ruined. He has
imbibed quite a store of selfish, worldly and debasing
principles from the instructions of the old 1 stagers ' who
initiated him into the mysteries of the first degree. Don't
let any of my readers suppose that these ceremonies are
got up for the amusement of the Indians. What the
Universities and other noble institutions are in the estimation of the youth of England, such are these customs
in the estimation of Indian youths.
" The - Lulthim/ or second degree, is much the same as
the ' Milthat,' except in one particular. At a certain
stage of the dance one of the old members catches a dog,
kiUs it on the spot and throws its body to the man who
is being initiated. This person takes the dog and tears
out its yet warm and palpitating heart with his teeth,
gorges on it like a ravening wolf and smears his face with
the blood.
" The ' Ulala,' or third degree, consists of eating human
flesh instead of dog's. In olden times a slave, generally
a woman past work, was handed over by the chief of the
Ulala to be torn to pieces by the dancers. Now they
content themselves by biting pieces out of each other's
arms, cheeks, shoulders, etc. The winter before I returned to England (1890) they made a lay figure, covered it
with stiff dough, and ate that as a substitute for flesh.
M The ' Hunanalthit,' or fourth degree, consists in a
man's accumulating as much property as he can, then
giving a feast and a dance, at which he works himself up
to a pitch of frenzy when, with a club in his hand, he
runs amuck through the village, destroying some article 6o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
of property in each house, afterwards making a restitution
from that which he has laid up. A greater honour than
this no Indian can  attain to !
" Such then is the nature of a little bit of Red Indian
heathenism ; such is the nature of the darkness the
Church of Christ is called upon to dispel."
" The ' Shegit ' is the avenger of blood whose duty is
to kiU the person, or any relative of the person, who may
have slain a member of the family to which he belongs.
Any member of the family can take upon himself the
- office of Shegit if he chooses. A son, however, would
only avenge his father's death in a case where a father had
no nephew, but a father could and would take up the
case of his son.
" On one occasion I had a narrow escape from the
Shegit :—There was a medicine-man who threatened to
take the life of a youth by witchcraft in the event of the
boy's assuming the title of a certain vacant chieftainship
to which he, the medicine-man, asserted a prior claim.
Notwithstanding, the boy's family helped him to take
the dignity, and after that he sickened and died. His
mother then took a gun, loaded it, handed it to the youth's
father, and pointing towards the door uttered the word
Shegit ! Out strode the man, gun in hand, going in the
direction of the medicine-man's viUage. The next day
the body of the ' doctor ' was found stiff and stark on
the snow ; the Shegit had taken the required vengeance.
" About a week after this event the relatives of the
murdered medicine-man came to me to report the circumstances of the crime, and saying that they would not
perpetuate the feud if the Queen's law could be set in
motion. I wrote informing the Indian Agent of the
murder, and in a short time fourteen specials were despatched to arrest poor Shegit. In attempting to carry
out their instructions they shot him and nearly brought
a hornet's nest about, not only their own ears, but the
ears of every white man in the district.   The Indians, THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 61
however, held a council at which they fixed the blame
of Shegit's death on me, because I had given information to the authorities. Whereupon Shegit's father
and other members of the tribe set out for Aiyansh.
Arriving there, they found that we had gone down
to the coast for the annual Conference, and that we
would be back again in three weeks' time. Those
three weeks they waited patiently for my return.
Meanwhile, we were at Metlakahtla waiting for the
steamer by which we expected to return to the Naas
where our canoe was. One day, however, near the
end of the time, I made one of a boat's crew to go to
a place caUed Inverness for some necessary things,
and was utterly astonished on coming back to find that
the steamer had caUed and left for the Naas in my absence.
This appeared to be a great inconvenience, as she would
not touch there again for a month to come. We thought
ourselves very unfortunate until we reached Aiyansh and
found that the 5 Shegiting ' Party had left for the interior
the evening before. They had waited the three weeks
and given me two days' margin to make up for possible
delays ; but when I failed to turn up at that time, they
concluded that I had got wind of them, and would, therefore, not come up at all, so they left !
" Some may think my escape was owing to chance, good
fortune, or the like ; but I attribute it to God's good
"lam now on very good terms with this family, and
the old father always comes to see me when passing
through my district." CHAPTER IX
The Red Man as a Christian
WHEN we speak of ' believers ' it is necessary for
people to understand exactly what is meant.
Let us imagine a large mountain. Those who dwell on
the mountain know aU the peaks, passes, vaUeys and
slopes and have names for them. This mountain is
Christianity, and the people are, we wiU say, English
believers. Imagine now a people who never saw a
mountain ; up out of the bowels of the dark earth they
came into the day ; standing afar off, they wonderingly
gaze at the blue hazy immensity rising up to the sky.
They see it clothed in the glory of a heavenly light ;
they see it in its entirety, but they know nothing of its
wealth of detail, its lovely crags, charming glens and
sparkling rills ; they only hope to reach that mountain
and five there some day. These are Indian believers
just emerged from heathenism."
By this metaphor McCuUagh described the mental
attitude, the moral outlook and the unformed character
of the Indian while yet in the infant stage of his new life
in Christ.
Among the early converts of the Nishga tribe one man
stood out prominently above the others ; he was also
pre-eminently typical of the rest of his tribe who renounced heathenism for the Christian faith. This was
Tkaganlakhatqu, who had been baptized by the name of
Abraham, and was henceforth generaUy known as Chief
Abraham Wright. Before his conversion he was recognized as a great chief and aUowed to be the bravest and
fiercest Indian in the country.   There were in his char-
acter many noble traits and also many weak points.
" I often found him," wrote McCuUagh, " a great hindrance to the spread of the Gospel among the heathen.
He wanted everything to be done by force and with an
imperial hand ; he could not understand why anyone
should be at liberty to reject God's Holy Gospel. He
would put aU such revilers in irons and keep them there
untU they repented ! Nevertheless, there ran through
his disposition a large vein of tenderness and magnanimity.
He would die for the cause of truth in the whole much
more readily than he would comply with some of its minor
requirements. But that was because he could grasp the
idea of the Kingdom of God as a whole better than he
could comprehend the why and the wherefore of subordinate details in their relation to the whole. Under
given circumstances Abraham would certainly have
belonged to the ' noble army of Martyrs ' ; indeed, it
was not his fault that he was not one ! He was a very
graphic preacher and very fervent in prayer ; as for
singing, he put his whole heart and soul into it, and indeed
all his throat and lungs too."
His progress in grace was very remarkable. The
natural man remained always ; but as the spiritual man
grew, the evil instincts and base qualities of heredity
became less and less marked, while the noble qualities
of courage and generosity became refined and sanctified
by grace, proving the truth of that old inspired utterance,
I The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day." x
Two incidents in his life illustrate this. They are thus
described by McCuUagh in the annual letter he wrote in
1905 for private circulation among the friends of his work
at home ;
" Shortly after I first came to Aiyansh I saw Abraham
training a dog to draw a sled upon the ice in front of the
Mission-house. The poor animal was of course anything
but clever at this work, and tried Abraham's temper and
patience so sorely that he belaboured the unfortunate
1 Proverbs iv. 18. 64 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
brute most unmercifully with a stick, and continued td
do so even after the dog lay quivering and senseless upon
the ice. The sight of this so aroused my indignation
that I strode down the bank fully determined upon giving
Abraham exactly what he had given the dog ; but by
great grace I was enabled to confine my castigation to
words only. These, however, were so effectual that
Abraham expressed immediate regret for what he had
done, and promised never to iU-treat a dog again.
" As a sequel, and by way of contrast, let me add the
foUowing incident : A few years ago the council condemned some distempered dogs to be destroyed, and
Abraham and Jonathan were deputed to carry this order
into effect. Away they went accordingly, Jonathan
carrying the rifle and Abraham leading the dogs. jj Now
then,' said Jonathan, ' just hold this one out a bit whUe I
put the muzzle to his ear.'
" I Wait a moment, my son/ replied Abraham, \ not so
fast; let us pray first.' And, kneeling down on the
shingle, he began, \ O God, the Creator of all things that
live, these poor dogs are Thine, the work of Thy hands.
We do not willingly or wantonly destroy the life that
Thou hast given them. But as a matter of necessity we
are compelled to put them away on account of the children/
lest they should contract an evil disease from them. Have
mercy upon us, therefore, for we do not seek to dishonour
Thee in this matter.' \ Now,' he added, turning to
Jonathan, f you can shoot.' "
The same law of conduct governed his actions in
other ways. As his character developed so did his instincts become refined and his impulses controUed. It
wiU be remembered that, of his four wives, there was only
one who cared enough for him to join him when he first
renounced his old heathen life. Her name was Esther.
She was getting old at this time and soon became rather
blind and less capable of the drudgery which was the usual
lot of an Indian's wife. Her husband therefore began to
think of putting her away for a younger woman. McCul-
lagh was told of this privately ; so, one day, while speaking THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN
to Abraham, he said, " I hear you are going to cast off
your wife." Abraham made no answer. Then his
spiritual friend and mentor went on to say, " If you were
getting bhnd and your wife thought she would leave you
on that account, how would you like it ? Would you not
think she was a bad woman ? " After a pause Abraham
said, " You are quite right I wiU not cast her off."
" Some time after this," McCuUagh wrote, " I wanted
each man to have his marriage solemnized in church,
and every one agreed to do so. But on the day when
the ceremony was being performed Abraham declined at
the last moment to marry Esther, although the poor old
woman had prepared for it and was looking as tidy as
possible. This showed me that he stiU cherished the idea
of putting her away, so I said to him, ' You have stiU that
intention in your heart ; why don't you put it into practice ? We will have a special wife-putting-away ceremony
next week ! '
I Time passed away ; Abraham did not cast off Esther,
and I had quite forgotten that the marriage had not been
solemnized in church ; a certain number were being
prepared for Confirmation with a view to the Holy Communion being administered. The day for the first Communion was drawing nigh, and I was astonished to find
that Abraham did not think he would communicate.
Questioning him ehcited nothing, and I was puzzled to
know what was keeping him back. However, a week
before the time he came to me and, after much hesitation,
asked, ' Chief, can you marry me to-morrow ? ' Ah ! here
was the reason of his hanging back. ' What do you want
to be married in such a hurry for now ? ' I inquired. ' I
want to be present at Communion/ he repUed, with an
audible tremor in his voice, ' and I would like Esther to
be with me.'   And so it was done as he desired."
It can easUy be understood that even a brave Indian
like Abraham stood considerably in awe of the white Chief,
who spoke to him so plainly and who would make no
compromise with his faults and failings.
" I happened to be in my dispensary one morning,"
wrote McCuUagh, | when Abraham and a new convert
came into the waiting-room. Not expecting me to be
there so early, their conversation was loud and free.
Abraham was giving his companion hints as to how he
should behave, especiaUy with regard to the missionary.
1 Smile/ he said, ' always smUe when you speak to him,
and say " Ahm " when he teUs you to do anything. It is
better to meet a grizzly bear than come near him when he
is angry ! You can always tell ; if you see two little red
spots in his cheeks, then get out of his way as fast as you
can ! Mind you never go to sleep in church, because he
wiU stop preaching and call on you to wake up, and you
wiU be ashamed. He is very warm-hearted when preaching—he kicked the front out of the pulpit a few Sundays
ago ! ' Here I thought it was time to cough ! ' O wad
some power the giftie gie us, to see oorsels as ithers see
us ! ' "
It wiU be remembered that Abraham had first left his
native village in order to defend a school-house at Aiyansh.
This was afterwards put into a good state of repair by
McCuUagh, and one winter was used by him as a hospital.
There were five patients in it, and Abraham and Esther
were in charge of them, when suddenly, one evening, the
whole place was in flames. It was just possible to get the
patients out safely, but their belongings were aU burnt,
and so were Abraham's possessions. The heathen up the
river, seeing the flames, came down to ascertain what was
on fire. Their presence seemed to excite Abraham, and he
began talking loudly to himself.
" There is among the Indians a custom which consists
in shaking eagle's down on a person's head in order to
pacify him, and if the putting on of this down be accompanied by an invitation to a feast, the person dare not
refuse the invitation.
" Before Abraham was aware, then, two heathen chiefs
were shaking the downy eagle's feathers over his head,
loudly inviting him to a feast that very night and, having
done this, the whole heathen party returned to their
viUage to make preparations for this dance and feast, THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 67
which they intended to be the means of drawing back
Abraham Wright into heathenism. Soon after their
departure Abraham came to me and asked my advice.
■ Take no notice of their invitation/ I said. ! Yes/ he
replied, ' I would if I thought I should soon die, but I am
ashamed to break the custom of the feathers ! ' A WeU/
I said, S if you must go, go in the strength of the Spirit,
and take two Christian friends with you.'
" So about ten o'clock they started off for the heathen
viUage, but before reaching it they had to traverse a long
vaUey at the end of which stood the heathen houses.
While going through this valley they could see the flames
shooting out through the opening in the roof of the
principal chief's house, where the feast was going to be ;
they could hear the loud hau-hauing of the men, the shriU
voices of the women, the tom-toming of the boys and the
excited barking of the dogs. This foretaste of the
temptation into which they were about to enter took the
heart out of them. ' Let us pray ! ' cried Abraham ; and
down the three Christians feU upon their knees in the
snow, praying God to deliver them out of the snare. How
long they remained praying they could not say, but I
should judge more than fifteen minutes. Rising to their
feet, calmed and strengthened, they resumed their journey
but were astonished now not to see any light in the village
before them, nor to hear any sound ; a dead silence seemed
to have fallen on the place.
" Wonderingly they went on, passed through the viUage
and returned without seeing anyone ; in every house there
was darkness, the dogs had all been caUed in and the
fires extinguished for the night. They came and told me
all this on their return, but it seemed inexplicable to me.
What could it mean ? Next morning, however, we heard
the reason of it aU. It appears that when the preparations
for the dance and feast were at their height, the wife of
the principal chief stood forth and addressed her husband,
advising and cautioning him to have nothing to do with
any attempt to draw back Abraham into heathenism.
1 Hitherto/ she said, ' you have held your chieftainship 68 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
without any molestation from the white man ; you have
never suffered the indignity of being brought before a
judging-man (magistrate). Why then will you run the
risk of getting into trouble now you are old ? Leave
Abraham alone, you do not live by him.' This speech
caused the chief to cover his mouth with his hand, in
which attitude he pondered awhile ; and then, turning to
the young men, he said, ' Quench the fires ! Away, go
every one to his own house ; let there be no more words
" This was taking place while, not a mUe away, the three
Christians were on their knees in the snow, praying. I
never knew anything have such an effect for good upon
Abraham as this little experience of God's love and care.
He seemed to think that God had remembered his passionate defence of that same house years before and had
defended him when its burning brought him into a snare."
Abraham was very keen on learning to read his own
language, and he made good progress. He developed the
gift of preaching, knowing many parts of the Bible well
and effectively, pointing his sermons with illustrations
drawn from the common incidents of Indian life.
McCuUagh commissioned him to lead a band of open-
air preachers to a heathen tribe at their fishing-camp. He
became a pillar of strength to the Christians at Aiyansh,
and during the absence of the missionary on furlough
in England he was able to take charge of the mission
with conspicuous success. He tried hard to become
civUized in his manners and in the way he conducted
the affairs of his household, showing what a real power
the Gospel of Christ has to uplift a man socially as well as
morally and spiritually. His devotion to McCuUagh
evoked a glad response from that warm-hearted man, who
felt able to write of him years afterwards in these words.
f From being a poor benighted heathen, having no hope
and without God in the world, he is now a dear brother
in Christ, whom I respect and love, and who, without any
exaggeration, I can truly say, deeply loves me."
Abraham's name will appear again, incidentally, in one THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 9
or two later chapters ; but this seems the most fitting
place in which to insert a brief record of his decease : *
"Abraham's death was triumphant; with his last
breath he sang, " Lakhaim Zabi-Vl'l amit ge ' (My heavenly
home is bright and fair), and then, waving his hand to
his friends, he passed in through the gates."
1 He died in October 1901, his wife following him a month
The Art of Healing
THE Medical Mission AuxUiary of the Church Missionary Society was inaugurated in the year 1891,
and has proved itself of inestimable value as an adjunct
to the spiritual work of the Church in heathen countries.
But when McCuUagh first went out to British Columbia
the medical side of missionary work was almost an unknown quantity. And yet nothing was more important
for most missionaries than to have some acquaintance with
medicine and surgery.
" From the first," he wrote, " I found that my efficiency as a missionary to the Indians must depend largely
on a practical knowledge of medicine and of the treatment
of disease. Now, to begin with, I knew absolutely nothing
in this Une beyond a bowing acquaintance with physiology
and anatomy. However, that was not a bad foundation
on which to begin the study of drugs and the symptoms of
disease. I therefore provided myself immediately with a
supply of medicines, a medical dictionary and a couple
of good medical works and, with these to guide me, my
study and practice went along determinedly, hand in
hand. The Indians took it for granted that, being a white
man, I knew everything there was to be known under the
sun ; and this expectation I had to five up to as best I
could. A clinical thermometer is a wonderful little instrument, not only for the information it imparts, but also for
the professional air it gives to one's diagnostic preliminaries, and for the confidence with which it inspires the
wondering Indian patient. The same may be also said
oi the stethoscope.   With the aid of these, coupled with
downright study of my books, I found myself effecting
cures. I gave myself up to this work without stint or
grudging. It fiUed me with joy to be able to remove pain
or suffering in any degree.
" As a backwoods missionary one forfeits all that the
world can give in the way of social pleasure, convenience
and comfort ; but it is ample and sufficient compensation
to have the joy and satisfaction of helping those who
really cannot help themselves in times of trouble, sickness
and distress, to say nothing of leading them out of the
darkness of heathenism into the light of Christianity/'
Before long, annual grants of medicines were supplied
to McCuUagh by the Dominion Government. There was
a certain amount of risk to be run by the novice in
practising medicine and surgery among a people who
understood nothing of the real nature of disease or the
"necessity of obeying the directions of their medical
For instance, the Indian would carry home from the
dispensary a bottle of medicine with instructions to take a
large spoonful in the morning and another in the evening.
In his house he would sit down and look at the bottle.
It puzzled him to know why he should take only a small
quantity at a time, until he thinks he has solved the
problem—" If one spoonful can do me good, half the
bottle may cure me at once." And forthwith he has two
or three swigs, to be foUowed by the rest of the bottle
before he goes to bed, and in half an hour he comes back
to the missionary to complain that he must have given
him the wrong stuff, for " it made him feel so sick ! "
McCuUagh's sense of humour shows itself in the foUow-
ing incident : Shagaitkshiwan was one of those who were
early drawn to the Aiyansh settlement for instruction.
At first he was very unsatisfactory, being a wfld sort of
man, and for many years the missionary had to keep him
back from baptism.
" He used to gamble the clothes oft his back at the
heathen viUage where he was wont to go and stay for days
together, coming back to the mission again like the 72 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
prodigal son. I could not get him to learn anything ; all
instruction seemed so irksome to him. At first I compelled him to attend with the others, but he set me at
defiance by putting his fingers in his ears, and sitting
there with his elbows on his knees. For several evenings
he did this, and then he went on a hunting expedition.
It was winter, and having to make his way up the side of a
hiU, he kept the forefinger of his right hand in the muzzle
of his rifle to keep the snow from getting into it. A
twig, however, caught the hammer, and bang went the
gun, blowing Shagaitkshiwan's finger off. He came home
in a very sorry plight and sent for me to dress his wound,
thus providing me with my first surgical operation. He
caused quite a deep feeling of sympathy by his woebegone
appearance and asked me if the wound would be very
serious, to which I replied, ' Yes, very ; you wfll never be
able to put that finger into your ear again.' "
After this, Shagaitkshiwan took a turn for good, giving
up his gambling habits and manifesting a real desire to
learn the truth. In a couple of years he had quite abandoned his wild ways and was baptized by the name of
Moses, after which he was always called Moses Wan.
Henceforth he led a humble Christian life and showed
considerable ambition to be a civihzed member of society.
Sometimes a patient would forget to take his medicine
during the day, but when the evening came he remembered the omission and thought he would make up for it
by taking three doses at once. The humorous side of the
red man's ignorance sometimes displayed itself, as the
following story shows :
" Once an old chief paid me a visit, saying he had heard
that the white man had medicine which could make people
young again ; he would like me to give him some !
' WeU,' said I, ' I have nothing that wiU make a man
young again, but I may be able to give you something to
strengthen you/ Yes, that would do very weU, that was
what he meant, f Now/ I said, ' you must go and stay
in A's house until to-morrow morning, when I wiU attend
you.'   Meantime I thought some beef-tea would do the THE ART OF HEALING 73
old man good, so having made a mugful from Liebig's
extract, I took it to him with some biscuits. In the
Indian language there is only one word for ' beef ' and
' cow,' so that when I handed the mug to the old man and
told him what it was, the idea which came into his head
was not to be wondered at. How was the poor old
feUow to draw the line between cow tea and cow's tea ?
" He did not say anything just then, but the foUowing
morning I heard he had sent for his friends, and that they
were aU holding a coundl concerning the great indignity
I had put upon their chief.
" Going into the midst of them I inquired what was the
matter. At first no one would speak, but presently the
old chief intimated that he was a very great person
indeed. Telling off on his fingers the various points which
went to show the essence of this greatness, and winding up
by expressing his astonishment that I had treated him
like an animal, he declared that he would receive no
further help at my hands. i But, my good friend,' said
I, ' this is not animal's medicine ; it is rather good stuff
made from the flesh of a cow.' As there never was a cow
within eighty-five miles of the place, and as cow's flesh
never reached my backwoods table, he failed to understand
how it could have been made as I described and became
more confirmed in his own opinion than ever.
" The whole party then left, returning together on the
ice, but before long the old man slipped and feU, sustaining a serious injury to the back of his head. This
accident was put down to my account ; no doubt I was
weU up in witchcraft, and this I had brought about by
way of revenge. For a long time the old man was in a
dangerous condition ; his tribe had a councU-meeting,
and named two of his nephews as avengers in case of his
death. EventuaUy, however, he recovered, and so the
avengers were not wanted."
The missionary's efforts to aUeviate pain and disease
were bitterly resented by the native doctors or " medicinemen.' ' Like Demetrius, the Ephesian sUversmith, and his
fellow workmen, they foresaw that their craft was in
danger, and the hope of their gains would soon be gone.
The medicine-man was a person of great power and
influence among the Indians.
" When anyone is taken Ul he is sent for at once, the
messenger usually taking with him at least half the fee
intended to be paid. If satisfied with this the medicineman proceeds to get ready for work by smearing his body
all over with red earth, painting his face, putting on his
kUt, leggings, bearskin cloak and adorning his head with
either a crown of bears' claws or a mask. He then takes
his rattle and fetish, and off he goes to make his caU.
Should he, on entering the house where his patient is
lying, be taken with a short catching of the breath or an
inclination to sigh, he regards it as a favourable omen
and promises a speedy cure. But should such symptoms
be absent, he considers the case to be very serious, if not
fatal, and wfll not just then issue any favourable buUetin.
In any case he wiU begin rattling away, jumping round the
patient to the tom-toming of a number of boys, who
usually accompany him. His idea is to drive out the
spirit of sickness which he supposes to have entered into
the patient, but if he fail to accomplish this, he consults
with other medicine-men as to the nature of the disease
and the probable hiding-place of the spirit of health or
soul of the sick person. The accuracy with which they
pretend to describe the patient's internal condition to
his friends is most amusing, and many and curious are
the terms used by them to denote complications of the
" To ascertain the hiding-place of the spirit of health it
is necessary that one of their number should be sent into
spirit-land ; and this is done by pouring on the head of the
one selected a continuous stream of ice-cold water until
he is rendered unconscious. In this state of insensibUity
he is accredited with supernatural powers of vision and,
on regaining consciousness, tells where he has seen the
spirit. GeneraUy the hiding-place is the tomb of some
great medicine-man of the generations that have gone ;
and thither they all repair to offer a sacrifice of fish-ofl to THE ART OF HEALING 75
his spirit and to extract the truant soul of their patient
from among his bones. After laying bare the tomb, one
of their number crawls in among the bones with his eyes
shut (it is only with closed eyes they can see these souls)
and hands outstretched at the j Ready.' The others are
standing round rattling, hee-heeing and haw-hawing to
their lungs' extent. Out pops the hiding spirit (at least
so I suppose), to be grabbed by the outstretched hands of
the watcher, who cries out, ' I've got him ' (Lthani godt),
whereupon they all wend their way home again to put
on or restore the lost spirit to its owner. This is done by
the one who has caught the spirit passing his hands over
the patient's head and uttering certain words. Sometimes
the spirit is discovered to have gone into the stomach of
one of the doctors themselves—inadvertently swaUowed
by him at dinner ! But the other doctors very quickly
make this greedy one disgorge ; their method, however, I
wiU forbear to describe.
I One part of the medicine-man's duty I must not omit
to mention, viz., the mastication of his patient's food in bad
cases. But this is merely a matter of self-precaution lest
he should be accused of poisoning in the event of the
person dying.
" AU this would appear very amusing to an enlightened
Englishman, were it not for the painful earnestness with
which the Indians enter into it. It is not to be supposed
that there is no anxiety in an Indian household over a
member lying sick, or that an Indian, because he is yet a
savage, has no feehng. Many white men treat the Indian
as though he had none, whereas he is highly sensitive in
every way. Their affection for their chUdren is very
marked, though some would deny them the credit of this.
But I knew an Indian so grieved over the death of his
only chfld sitting, on the night of its death, out on the
river-bank, with upturned face and outstretched hands,
waihng and moaning, ' My child ! My child ! ' until the
intense frost sUenced his voice and the pain at his heart for
" When the medicine-men found I was really effecting 76 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
cures, and that the sick were being brought to me rather
than to them, they gave out a law that first a sick person
should be rattled over, and then he could be brought to me
or I to him. Or, if it were not possible to rattle over them
before they were attended to by me, they must be rattled
over afterwards. How manifestly clever! They would
thus be able to take the credit of every recovery, and
saddle me with every f aUure. Then too I made a law, that
I would not on any account receive for treatment any
person who had been rattled over by a medicine-man.
This retaliatory decree caused a great commotion in
heathen circles, and they tried their Indian cunning
on me in every way possible, but without effect.
% We had an epidemic of measles once, and sixty-one
children were down at one time in Gitlakdamiks alone.
These were aU being treated by me, and would undoubtedly
have recovered, but the medicine-men secretly prevaUed
upon the parents to have my work supplemented by
the rattle, and so they exposed these poor chfldren for
hours in zero weather, and spurted (as is their custom)
ice-cold water over their naked bodies. When the
children all died they boldly declared it was the white
man's medicine which had caused their death. But the
fact that all the children who were entirely in my own
hands at the Mission recovered showed the people that this
was false.
" In dentistry, too, I have had a little experience. How
weU I remember my first attempt ! My patient was
suffering acutely, but alas ! I had no forceps with which
to extract the offending molar. StiU one must never give
in to difficulties. At any rate one ought to try to overcome
them before giving in, and even then I would say, ' Don't
give in.' While my patient waited I made a pair of forceps
from an iron rod, and within two hours the patient and
I were offering each other our mutual congratulations.
It was a good forceps, too, and did duty in twenty-eight
other cases before being superseded by a more scientific
Besides medicine and dentistry, McCuUagh felt obliged / ^^^^^^S'-^^E   -       .*.'-**' V:-     "    "**:T>*
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ci-',''*       '""*#»    »»lj             i*       -iw...-            \«
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to deal with difficult cases both in surgery and mental
disorders, requiring natural skiU of hand, a cool head and
a clear judgment, which the two foUowing incidents,
told in his own graphic way, wfll illustrate :
" There was an Indian who formed one of an early
spring hunting party from a distant viUage. During their
wanderings among the mountains he got separated from
his companions and, in crossing a frozen shallow stream,
slipped through the ice and got wet feet. The day had
been fine, but towards evening it began to freeze very
hard, so the hunter set about lighting a fire in order to
dry his wraps and moccasins, but when he put his hand
in his pouch to get his matches he found them all damped
with snow which had somehow got into it. Then he tried
to ignite a little heap of dried twigs and moss by discharging his rifle into it, but shot away all his powder
with no avail. His companions, however, heard him
shooting, and were able thus to trace him, though they
were too late to save his feet from being frozen. They
then brought him to Aiyansh to me ; but what could I do ?
It was necessary to amputate the fore part of each foot ;
no skiU was needed to see that. But how was I to do it
without proper instruments, of which I had none ? However, I did it eventually with my pocket knife, a pair of
scissors and a small tenon saw ; and the man made a good
recovery, learning, during his convalescence, the Gospel
of Christ. He never returned to heathenism, but continued joyfully to learn the way of salvation, and was
subsequently baptized, taking the name of William
Frost. As a Christian he was a great satisfaction to me
and most useful ; wherever there was a sick person there
was WiUiam daily, teaching, exhorting and comforting.
This he did for five years, growing himself meanwhile
into a spirituaUy-minded man of prayer, and finally dying
the death of the righteous in Christ. He left a widow,
a devoted, humble-minded Christian woman, named
" We met for worship one lovely Sunday in June in our
little shack-church at Aiyansh. On his new-fledged wings
the missionary sought to rise to the occasion ; his teaching was fuU of illustrations drawn from Indian life ; his
appeal and application were convincing, and he was
cheered to behold the expression of rapt attention on the
faces of his hearers, when lo ! in the doorway stood the
grinning, gibbering figure of a perfectly naked wfld man of
the woods. An idiotic laugh brought every head round
as on a swivel.
" The missionary cried, ' Catch him ! '
" The women exclaimed, j Duanai ! *
"The men jumped.
"But the figure had gone splash into the river, with
just the remnant of his ' ha-ha-ha ■ floating in the air
behind him.
" This was my first introduction to T'Gak—just a nodding acquaintance, destined to grow into a closer friendship later. He was, I learned, from Gitlakdamiks, and
had been rather \ dotty ' all his life, but had quite gone off
his head lately ; and now he lived as a wild man of the
" Next Sunday he appeared again. Several men succeeded in getting hold of him, yet they could not keep
him ; he slipped through their fingers and into the river
as before. But when he turned up the third time we got
him—hooked him like a sheep—and deposited him in one
of the shacks. Sitting there before him and looking into
his monkey-like eyes, I wondered what I was going to do
with him. No matter what I said I failed to kindle a
gleam of intelligence in his eyes. At last I tried the line
of fear. Pulling out my pocket-knife I pretended to make
a jab at him ; he winced, and a flash of apprehension
ghmmered for an instant in his eye. Putting back my
knife I followed the clue. ' You have too much blood, too
much blood/ I insisted, looking fixedly at him. c I take
some blood/ I went on, repeating the words many times. THE ART OF HEALING
It seemed as if the word blood had really penetrated to
his brain ; and so I made up my mind to try an experiment, rushing in, I suppose, where angels would have feared
to tread. I had been delving into GaU and other writers
on the brain, and had been much interested, and it
occurred to me that if I could reach the brain I might get
a result. So, having taken two or three inteUigent
Indians into my confidence and instructed them in the
parts they were to play, we took the patient (I had almost
said the victim) and laid him out upon a table and bound
him down. His arms were then held out at right angles
by two assistants, each of whom had a tin bucket at his
feet and a bottle of warm water coloured with red ink in
his pocket. In my own hand appeared a little blade of
gleaming steel. Again I insisted, ' Too much blood, too
much blood—I take some blood/ looking into his eyes
and pressing the forefinger of my right hand on the middle
of his brow. Then we blindfolded him, and I noticed a
tremor of the lips.
"There was a dead sUence. With a chip I sharply
scratched each arm, my assistants dropping warm water
on the places, and this trickling down the forearm fell
drop-drop-drop into the buckets. The dropping continued
and could be distinctly heard above the deep breathing of
my assistants and the ticking of my watch, as I kept my
fingers on the pulse.
" At a motion of my head a man cried out : \ Awnai
gusgaul Ue ! ' (' Oh dear, what a quantity of blood ! ')
Then sUence again. Another motion of my head and two
others made the same exclamation. The pulse was now
distinctly feeble, then it began missing a beat or two ;
so I thought it was time to stop, and gave the word Î Clear
" There was a bustling sound of washing and wiping
and moving buckets ; pieces of adhesive plaster were put
on each ' wound ' and the bandage removed from the
eyes. Our subject lay as limp as a rag, but in his eye there
was a natural look, as he gasped out : | Ukdak nei ! '
(' I'm hungry ! '). 8o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
I We took him to Abraham's shack, put him to bed,
and gave him some food, and by and by he fell asleep.
Every day I visited him and talked with him, and presently walked about with him, clothed and in his right
1 T'Gak stayed on at Aiyansh, became a candidate for
baptism, and was eventually baptized. Soon after this
we had a revival of religion among the Indians and, as is
usual in such cases, there was a good deal of emotional
excitement in the air. PersonaUy I don't favour this kind
of thing ; it does not help to ' build up,' and the results
as a rule are not lasting. But we must take hold of
things as they transpire and try to make the best of
everything. Joseph, as he was now caUed, got very
excited, and one night I heard him out on the street,
yeUing and shouting and praying. I thought, * He wiU
soon be crazy again if he goes on like that.' So I got up
and dressed and went out to him as he stood addressing
the stars. Slipping my arm through his I led him into the
mission house. In a low, quiet voice I talked to him, and
he responded on a high falsetto note ; it took him some
time to divest his voice of the timbre of the stars. We
sat together aU night and in the early morning I got him to
bed.   But it was a near thing.
" In after years a company of the Church Army was
formed at Aiyansh, which Joseph joined. He took turns
at carrying the banner and beating the drum when the
Army marched forth to war. Once, when the Army
marched 150 miles in zero weather over the snow to
preach to the heathen on the Skeena River and got lost
in a bUzzard on their return, it was Joseph who enabled
them to weather the storm. He climbed a tree to the
very top and took observations, he located springs and
spied out camping-places where there was plenty of dry
fuel. And when one of the party got frozen feet it was
Joseph who rubbed snow on them and rushed the man
forward on his own sled at express speed. When the
Army returned Joseph was a hero I   And he had aU the THE ART OF HEALING 81
true marks of a hero, for he never thought he had done
more than his ' little bit ! '
" But, alas and alack ! sore trouble came on Joseph.
He married an attractive Indian maiden. To please her
and to buy many things that she coveted he went off to
the goldfields to work, taking her with him. For an
Indian with a young comely wife this was a disastrous
venture. Jealousies arose and quarrels ensued. Then
she left him, saying that, because he was once mad, no
bond or tie held good in his case.
" After this I lost sight of my young friend for some
years, and then it came to my knowledge that another man
(a heathen) was ' leading about ' his wife, and that they
sometimes passed through my district.
" It was with great joy and pleasure that I saw Joseph
sitting, one Sunday, in his old place in church. His eyes
were fastened on me during the sermon, and there was a
look of conflicting emotion on his face. After service he
came to see me in the vestry. He was trembling, and
it plainly cost him an effort to control himself.
11 wiU speak to you, master,' he cried. ' You know
about me, that I have been made an outcast, and that
every day I eat my tears with my food, and my heart is
sore within me. The man who has done this thing is
making himself happy on my unhappiness, and the fire
is warm in his wflp (house). Behold ! I go mourning
and sad, and there is no fire alight in my wilp. Thinking
of these things, my heart arose within me and said : " I
wiU avenge myself on that man, I wiU trample his life into
the earth with my feet—I shall be satisfied." I knew they
were coming up this way, and I came here yesterday with
the fuU intention of sitting across that man's trail and
killing him.'
" Here he broke down and, putting his face in his hands,
he wept. \ Oh, Mini Jesus,' he groaned, ' gaimgaudin
laui, gaimgaudin laui ! ' (' Oh, Lord Jesus, have mercy on
me, have mercy on me ! ') 'I was in great darkness,' he
went on, Î but now the light of heaven has once more
shined across my path, and I cannot go that way any
farther. I have heard again the words of life, the darkness
has been cleft in twain, and I have seen the glory of God
this morning. I now let go of my intention. My hands
shaU not shed that man's blood. I could not go away
again without teUing you, my father. My heart is calm
now, my heart is happy, and I wiU try to foUow the Lord
Jesus Christ aU the days of my life.'
" I gave him my blessing ; I assured him of God's
readiness to forgive, of God's gracious mercy and protection to those who, amid all the trials and tribulations
of life, put their trust in Him, that always and ever
around and under us are the everlasting arms, and that
He wiU never leave us nor forsake His own. I have not
seen Joseph since, but I am told he is doing well, and
that the fire of the love of God is alive in his wilp to
comfort him.
I No comment is made upon the restoration of my friend
to a normal condition of mind. Science ' knows its own
know,' and the verdict is that the shock I administered
neutralized the effects of a previous shock—probably one
received in infancy—and restored the balance of nature.
What is of interest to me is that a brand has been snatched
from the burning, and one more soul added to the * great
multitude that no man can number who have washed
their robes and made them white in the blood of the
I It was very largely my amateur medical work which,
under God, was the means of gathering together many
Indians under the influence of the Gospel. Very few of
the people who were brought from the heathen to me for
treatment ever returned to their old ways after recovery.
They remained at the Mission and settled down there ;
and in this way the Mission grew into a smaU town in
the course of years, until to-day the Indian medicineman and his rattle are seen and heard no more." 1
Indian Fishing Camps and Salmon Rivers
THE estuary of the Naas is famous for its spring and
summer fishing. About the middle of March the
oolachan come in shoals to the mouth of the river. This
fish, otherwise called the straik, is about the size of a
sardine, and is chiefly caught for the sake of its oil. Many
tribes of Indians come from inland early in March, so as
to be on the ground before the fish reach the waters of the
Naas. They cut holes in the ice through which they let
down nets, drawing them up when filled. The fish are
then taken ashore by dogs and sleds, to be boiled in
trenches made for the purpose. The grease floats on the
top and is ladled off by the women and packed in boxes,
either for the Indians' own use or for sale in some market.
WhUe this process is being carried on it would be difficult
to find a more odorous spot on earth than Fishery Bay,
where the principal camp is, about fifteen mfles up the
river, near the extreme limit of tide-water.
This great annual assemblage of the tribes affords a
unique opening to the Christian missionary for preaching the Gospel to large numbers of Indians. It was an
opportunity which McCuUagh never missed except when
away on furlough. To spend three weeks at Fishery Bay
during the oolachan season was reckoned by him a most
important feature of his work.
An account of one of these visits from his own pen is
worth inserting :
M On Thursday April 17 (1890), leaving Aiyansh at
9 a.m., we (that is, my wife, little daughterx and myself)
1 Melita, so named after the Greek synonym of Malta, where
her father and mother first met.
walked a short way upon the ice to the open water, where
our canoe was in readiness. Our camp equipment, provisions and medicines having been previously put on
board, we quickly made ourselves comfortable with wraps
and furs, for a cold north wind was blowing, and, though
the day was fine, it was freezing hard. The Indians
shoved off with a hearty ' wai wauh ! ' and away sped our
shapely bark like a swan down the stream. The country
was still covered with snow, and large drifts of ice were
here and there piled up in the shallows and on the bars,
glistening in the sun. Now and then we shot past
picturesque nooks in the steep cliffs, where the sprays
from a tiny cascade were frozen in sparkling beads and
flashing pendants to the tangled roots and jutting rocks,
through the light and shade of which gleamed the energetic little cataract dashing and splashing away with a
merry ring.
" On either side of the river the mountains rose like
towering battlements, white and radiant, so that one's
eyes became abashed with looking and one's heart overwhelmed with a sense of the impossible ; for, though man
can ride the billows of the mighty deep and ascend
beyond the clouds, yet who could scale those lofty turrets
or tread those plains of everlasting snow ?
" Occasionally our sailors would awake the solitudes by
striking their paddles against the gunwale of the canoe
to disencumber them of the ice, a proceeding against
which both squirrels and crested jays invariably protested by irately chattering at us from the adjacent
i About one o'clock, having lit our oil stove and made
tea, we pulled into a sheltered spot and had some refreshment. On starting again we put up a sail, by the help
of which we went spinning onwards. Before long, however, we reached some rapids overlooked by a mountain
gully, whence the wind swept down upon us unexpectedly,
driving us in the direction of a shallow where, diagonally
in our front, lay a giant cottonwood tree, root and
trunk.   The water wai now running faster than our   INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 85
canoe, a fact of which we were not aware until our captain
sought to steer clear of the obstruction and found he could
not. With a yeU the sail was attacked and literally
torn down, and then such paddling ! A moment more
and the bow of the canoe shot clear of the rooted stump,
but struck athwart the stern, our captain being nearly
ousted from his place by an outstretched, vindictive-
looking root. A brief sUence foUowed this exciting
joust, when the captain, who might just then have
passed for a pale-face, declared very fervently that the
sail should go up no more. But nothing is so soon forgotten as danger ; and before we had made another six
miles the sail was mended and gallantly unfurled again in
hope of better fortune. Soon we reached the base of a
large mountain where the river turns at right angles, and
where swirled and crunched a vast accumulation of
broken ice.
" ' Let us go right into it after this large piece,' shouted
Philip the captain, referring to an immense block of ice
which crushed into the floe just in front of us. Accordingly, in we went, sail and all, the ice immediately closing
up behind us. But with the aid of long poles we soon
worked a passage through. From this point we had a
fair stretch of about fifteen miles to the fishing camp,
which we reached at five o'clock in the evening, well
pleased with our trip, and thankful to our Heavenly
Father for His loving and never-failing care.
" There is at the camp a small unfurnished C.M.S,
Mission-house, into which we straightway bundled our
things. I then hastened off to see our old chief Abraham,
who was lying in his fish-house, dangerously iU. I found
him suffering from congestion of the lungs, complicated by
another complaint peculiar to the Indians (milthatqu),
really a bad bilious fever.
" My entrance was greeted by an outburst of wailing
from the women, Abraham ejaculating, ■ God is merciful
in letting me see your face again. I had almost despaired
but my heart is strong now ; I shall not die but live/
unknowingly quoting Scripture 86 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
" What a miserable plight the poor man was in ! No
English farmer would keep his pigs in such a hovel ; the
would-be walls all open to the wind and weather ; a
large opening in the low, leaky roof through which the
smoke wriggled and struggled ; the floor, a very bog, out
of which the foul, black water oozed ; and there lay my
dear old friend, on his couch of fir branches, wrapped in a
few blankets. The sight quite unmanned me. I could
only ' hunker ' down by his side in the silent sympathy
of a breaking heart, while his horny hands held mine
tremblingly and gratefully, the women standing round,
wailing ' haiwa, haiwa ! ' But something practical had
to be done, and that quickly ; so, having spoken a few
words as I was able, I left to see about some medicine
for him, though I hardly thought he could recover. But
God's mercy is everlasting towards them that fear Him.
" The next morning at 5.30 I was again by Abraham's
side. He had been delirious during the night, but his
temperature had gone down a little. After a hasty breakfast I made a tour of the camp, visiting fifty or more
houses, in each of which two or three persons were lying
ill. What a spectacle of misery, helplessness and utter
wretchedness they presented ! The grease had to be
made, no matter who lived or died. Consequently the
weak and sick were, in most cases, left to take care of
themselves, while the strong and healthy devoted aU their
attention and energy to the work out-of-doors. There
they lay on the cold damp ground, shivering by the
smouldering embers of the fire, which had cooked the
morning meal of the strong, in many cases too sick to care
which way the current of life tended. My visit seemed
to rouse their flagging spirits.
" Sometimes a poor smoke-dried old woman, too weak
to work and too withered-up to be sick, would extend her
upturned hands towards me, shaking them entreatingly,
as she cried, ' Anhka, anhka, Ithgolthqui, Nut ' (' Slave-
master, slave-master ! my child, sir ! '). Frequently the
1 child ' indicated would turn out to be some old man or
woman whose childhood' was a thing of the remote past. INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 87
The next day (Saturday), in the afternoon, up came a
pretty little steamer and hove-to in the bay in shapely
style. It was our Bishop's steamer, the Evangeline, with
himself as captain. Mr. Collison had also come up from
KincoUth, so that we bade fair to have a good day on the
"The C.M.S. Church at the camp partakes rather
largely as yet of the shanty order of bufldings ; it
is spacious enough and the roof is good, but it stUl needs
to be floored, lined and seated. On the Sunday the
church was weU filled at three services ; the Bishop, at
the morning service, preached a splendid sermon in the
native tongue, proceeding afterwards to the Holy Communion. In the afternoon I preached, and in the evening
Mr. CoUison. Between afternoon and evening we had a
meal together in the Uttle Mission-house. There was a
smaU table but no seats, so we had to set up junks of
firewood on end to serve as chairs. In traveUing about in
this country one has to dispense with everything not
absolutely necessary ; so you may imagine that our little
two-feet-by-three table was not very luxuriously garnished
—a tin of corned beef, a few soda biscuits and a cup of
I Many notable conversions have taken place among the
heathen at this camp, and the most interesting mission
services I have ever attended have been conducted
" Three weeks at the camp brought me to the end of
my own strength. Every one was beautifuUy convalescent, my old friend Abraham included ; so I thought
that whUe I could walk I would get away. But it was no
easy matter to pack up ; the Indians kept on crowding
in tiU the last moment. My head was throbbing with
pain, and I longed for a breath of fresh air—a less odorous
atmosphere, which ere long we were enjoying on our
return voyage to Aiyansh."
During the months of June, July and August these
same Indians were employed to catch the salmon which at
that season abound at the river's mouth.   The depots to 88 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
which the fish are brought are called " Canneries." The
salmon are landed at the wharf by Chinamen, some of
whom begin to dress the fish at once, cutting off their
heads, tails and fins with a knife and cleaning out the
insides. The fish are then cut up and washed by Indian
women and girls, soaked for a few minutes in a brine
tank, pressed into cans (an Americanism for tins, hence
the name f Canneries "), which, after the process of
boUing, are hermetically sealed and packed in wooden
boxes for transport by steamer to their ultimate destination, wherever that may be.
McCuUagh, with his wife and daughter, usually spent
the summer at the " Cove," an inlet waUed up on three
sides by high mountains, so steep and closely overhanging
that the sun is only visible there during the summer
months. On the shores of this inlet were several large
buildings or warehouses, with offices attached, one big
wooden house for accommodating the Chinese and a number of cabins in which the Indians dwelt. On one side of
the bay, right on the rocks, among the fir-trees on the
sloping base of the mountain, stood a little shanty, like a
raUway signal-box, beneath the great ch'ff that over-
sh adowed it. This was the missionary's summer residence.
Its position was dangerous, owing to loose boulders on the
slopes above, which might at any time be dislodged,
undermined by mountain streams. But it was the only
spot available for the purpose.   The greater part of the
place was owned by two men, an infidel named B and
his friend Ned D , whose views on religion were not
much better. These two men refused to let McCuUagh
have a piece of land on which to build his shanty when
he first went to the Cove in 1888, so he had to build where
no one else would have dared to take the risk, at the foot
of a mountain precipice.
" What is my work at the Canneries ? WeU, I have
plenty of work to do in putting up medicines daUy, attending to the sick, and preparing lessons for my Indian
readers, many of whom take their lessons with them to
their fishing-camps.    But they all come in from the INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 89
camps on Saturday evenings for the Sunday services. I
have from four to five services on Sundays ; some are
mixed, that is to say, some prayers are in the Indian
tongue, others in English, hymns the same, and the
Scripture lessons also—one in English and another in
Indian—while there are two sermons, one for my European
friends and another for the Indians. Sunday with me is a
very happy day. I go from one Cannery to the other,
holding services at each, and having a chat here and there
with the whites, or, as they are called out there, ' the
Boys.' Dear fellows, right glad I am to be there, for their
sakes, to give them a word in season and a helping hand
when necessary."
In one of his Journals for circulation among friends in
England McCuUagh thus described the summer services
at the Canneries in 1893 :
" The summer was spent as usual at the Cove. There
being no place of worship there, I have generally held
services in the net-loft ; but as only the Christians turned
out on Sunday mornings, the heathen preferring to lie
abed until the afternoon, I decided this year to take
advantage of certain new arrangements made by the
Company for the better housing of their employees, and to
hold an open-air service between two parallel rows of
cabins, and on this we stood in a row (it was only one
plank wide), and conducted a service of about an hour's
duration. The cabins were like so many pews, the
occupants at church nolens volens ! We found the single
plank a very inconvenient standing place. The ground
beneath was an accumulation of boggy matter through
which the water oozed. As there was plenty of room
between the cabins, we decided on having a collection
towards erecting a spacious platform. So on Sunday
morning, July 2, I went down to the cabins about 9.30,
to beat up my contingent of open-air workers for the
morning service. At 10.30 we were aU on the plank, singing. The China house being near at hand, the Chinese
were out in a body to see—poor fellows, they could not
hear.   After the service two of our members engaged in 90
prayer. Moses Wan, quondam wild man and gambler,
prayed thus : ' I asked you, 0 Chief of heaven, to give me
good success with my fishing and you filled my boat. The
reason I besought you was that I might be able to help in
erecting the standing place of which we spoke to you last
Sunday. I now thank you very much for what you have
done, and I lay down one dollar for this work.' One by
one our people laid down their offerings on the plank,
and then moved away, the last man literally taking up
the collection, eleven doUars, or about £2 5s. The Chinamen, who are always interested in the clink of money,
wondered what part of the service this was !
" During the week we obtained a supply of material
and built a very good platform alongside the planked
way, and there we held open-air service every Sunday
during the summer, mostly in the rain. Thus the heathen,
without even the trouble of getting up, had the Gospel
preached to them. About the end of June a quarrel took
place between an Indian and a white fisherman, which
almost brought disaster on the whole community by
setting race against race. So strongly, indeed, did feeling
run on the subject that the whites ceased to attend Divine
service where Indians were present, but God graciously
restrained the spirits of both parties so that no open
rupture took place."
In his Journal for 1910-n, McCuUagh sorrowfuUy
relates one of the greatest obstacles to his work :
" During the latter part of September and the earlier
half of October the Indians who had been away at the
salmon canneries and other places on the coast, were
returning to their villages. And this is where the missionary is called upon to witness the saddest sight in the
whole round of his work ; i.e. the annual return of his flock
utterly demoralized, shorn and torn morally and spirituaUy
beyond recognition. It seems to make no difference
whether the missionary goes with those who go or remains
at the mission with those who remain at home ; the result
is the same for those who go to the coast. His presence
at a cannery does nothing to stop the accursed traffic in   INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 91
liquor carried on alike by Chinese, Japanese and a certain
low class of whites ; it only makes the Indian more cunning
in getting it and the Chinaman more wUy in seUing it.
Whereas, if the missionary set his face against these annual
migrations and encouraged the Indians to stay at home
and cultivate their gardens on a larger scale, so as to be
able to seU the produce thereof, even if that were only
potatoes, to residents on the coast, they would be much
better off both spirituaUy and temporally. But, alas !
the bird in the bush has always proved more attractive to
the Indian than the one in his hand. I suppose it is his
hunting instinct."
And yet on the preservation of the salmon depends a
vast industry in British Columbia. For, not only does it
give employment to many hundreds of Indians living
inland, but the welfare of a large number of whites and of
nearly all the coast-tribe Indians is bound up in this one
interest. A good salmon river is therefore a valuable
asset for any country. As the continued run of the fish
in such a river depends on good spawning grounds, it is
very important that the upper reaches of the river and the
lakes by which it is fed should be open and easy of
access to the fish. The supply of salmon on the Naas was
never what it should have been, owing to some obstructions
at the head-waters of the river ; only a small percentage
of the fish ever being able to surmount these and reach
Lake Meziadan, which formed their spawning ground.
In the summer of 1905 the Fisheries Department of the
Dominion Government asked McCuUagh if he would undertake an expedition for the purpose of surveying and
reporting and eventuaUy engineering the work of removing
the obstructions. He gladly consented to do this, making
the expedition his annual holiday and giving six weeks to
the task. He took with him four Indians to carry supplies
and equipment. " Desiring," he wrote, " to test by
experience a phase of Indian fife, the inward side of which
has hitherto been a sealed book to me, I carried my own
pack; field-kit, camera, plates, etc., and sketching outfit
—about seventy pounds in all.   How enriched I have 92 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
been by this experience I can hardly say. It was well
worth the pains. What I really desired was to feel in my
own body the hardships and temptations peculiar to the
Indian, that I might be able to understand him better and
sympathize with him more fully."
Every night, after getting into camp, he wrote up an
account of the day's doings. After his return he revised
the notes of this diary and published it as a serial narrative
in consecutive numbers of Aiyansh Notes and in the
North British Columbia News, 1908-1910.
He was able at the time to write home : "I returned
from my surveying expedition near the end of October,
having been out since the middle of September, during
which time we climbed four hundred miles—I say climbed,
because that word more closely describes the manner of our
going than any other. As far as the weather was concerned our party did not have a dry garment to its
back for six weeks, nor a dry blanket to sleep in at night !
But, as for catching cold, one never does that out in the
wilds of B.C. It is when one returns to the comforts and
conveniences of indoor life that one takes cold !
" With regard to the object of the expedition ; it has
been entirely successful. I have been able to send in an
exhaustive report to the Government, accompanied by
surveys and photos taken on the spot, maps of salmon-
spawning streams and lakes, plans and diagrams of
operations necessary for removing the obstructions at
Meziadan lake and Salmon river, together with estimates
for prosecuting the work down to the smaUest detail.
It seemed like old Army times again.
" It has been a very pleasant holiday for me, full of
interest and delightfully near to nature." CHAPTER XII
A Forward Movement
FOR the first six or seven years he spent at Aiyansh
McCuUagh worked as a lay-missionary. In 1890 he
received his ordination to the office of deacon and priest
at the hands of the Bishop of Caledonia. Those early
years at the Mission had been spent largely in sowing the
seed of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of a people who
needed instruction in the A B C of civilization as weU as in
the elementary principles of the Christian Faith. And yet,
even then, the seed sown had produced the firstfruits of a
rich and abundant harvest. Such a high-born spirit as
McCuUagh possessed could, however, never rest satisfied
without the kind of progress which had perfection (so far as
was possible) for its ultimate attainment. The truly
great mind can under no conditions be content with things
as they are. Ambition is such a noble quality when rightly
directed, that the man who lives for the glory of God and
works for the welfare of his fellow-men can never acquiesce
in mediocrity where the soul of any human being is concerned. Nothing is more apparent, nothing was more
fundamental or more passionately felt by this crusader to
the land of the red man, than the noble purpose he
cherished of raising to the highest possible standard the
Indian tribe which had been reared in barbarism, superstition and degradation. No half-measures of social or
religious enfranchisement for them could satisfy his eager
desire for their well-being. The strength and reality of his
faith in the power and love of Christ to save impeUed him
to beheve that the Lord was able to uplift the Nishga
Indians to the same spiritual plane that the white man had
reached. He believed that he was commissioned by his
Divine Master to accomplish such a purpose. If we
bear this in mind we can more easily understand the
projects he formed and the very great success with which
his efforts were crowned. But the road was often rough,
and obstacles had to be removed with patient toU and
perseverance. Thus he wrote of the plans which took
definite shape in his mind during the transition period
which reached its climax about the date of his ordination :
" During the first six years of the Mission, the converts,
gathered in from the surrounding heathen tribes, built
each for himself a little S shack ' upon the river bank.
And these shacks were so close together as to resemble
peas in a pod, a very bad arrangement from a sanitary
point of view. Moreover, they were so smaU and so overcrowded that it was impossible to attempt anything like
the inculcation of new habits among the people. They
were practically worse off than the heathen, for the houses
of the latter were very large, airy, open and spacious, and,
though many families lived together in them, they had
ample room and were not insanitary.
8 The more therefore the Mission grew, the more
dissatisfied I became. It seemed a fortuitous, happy-go-
lucky way of attempting to do a really great work. Had
the Mission been established in a heathen village, the condition of the village, the houses and their surroundings,
would not have reproached me nor appeared inconsistent
with the moral obligations of the Mission. But at Aiyansh,
it seemed to me, the Mission which drew converts there
was responsible for the way they lived and settled down,
and if responsible for them individually (which cannot be
denied) how much more so collectively ? Therefore the
project of a viUage or town in connection with the
Church must be regarded as consistent with the work of the
Mission. How very inefficient the Mission appeared when
viewed from this standpoint !
" I looked around on the splendid and perfectly flat
piece of land on the edge of which the Indian shacks were
perched, like a row of insensate seaguUs peering into the A FORWARD MOVEMENT 95
water, and the sight inspired me with the idea of laying out
a small site. Immediately therefore I set about the
prosecution of this idea ; but when the Indians understood
what my object was they thought I had taken leave of
my senses. Not whiïe the world was a world could they
think of putting up a house anywhere except on the river
bank ! They could not see what canoes were passing !
They would never hear any malasqu (gossip) ! Every one
was dead against me, and the heathen made songs on the
idiotic white man's project. But I made my survey and
drew up a map showing the streets and lots laid out, and
this I hung up in my medicine room where every one could
see it. I also made coloured sketches of what the new
town would look like, painting in fancy fences, shrubs,
planked side-walks, street lamps and a variety of pretty
houses. I would have no other topic of conversation
with anyone. I dreamed dreams for the Indians and fed
them with my idea until they, too, began to dream the
same dream. I began the design of a church, and the
Indians used to gather round and take an intelligent
interest in the sketches I made, but they always shook their
heads at the tower and spire. How beautiful a church with
a tower and spire would look at the end of the main
street, with the forest timber showing up behind and the
hiUs and mountains rising up immediately beyond ! And
I would like to make it large enough too, to accommodate
400, for surely the heathen would be gathered in one day.
' I wiU concentrate all my energies upon achieving that
object,' I thought."
McCuUagh began thinking seriously of this about nine
years before his vision was fuUy realized. The small
wooden structure which did duty as a church during the
early years of the Mission was a poor mean little building,
and he longed for something more worthy of the Lord and
more suitable for pubhc worship. He wrote home to a
few friends in England, making his desire known to them.
In response to this appeal about £200 was sent out, but, he
tells us, that when he sat down to estimate the expense of
building, he could only see his way to a very miniature 98 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
church for this amount. The cost of freighting material
along the coast and then up the seventy-five miles of river
to Aiyansh would have equalled the value of the material
itself ; thus half the funds in hand would disappear before
any work on the spot could be commenced. Also this
payment for outside labour would not benefit the Indians
who formed the Christian community. This part of his
scheme must not be overlooked. He wanted to teach
them, and by his teaching to develop in them an ambition
to learn and practise the arts of civihzation. This would
add to their material welfare, as being a distinct improvement on their hand-to-mouth way of getting a livelihood
by hunting and fishing ; it would also qualify them
for competing on more equal terms with the white men.
" Somehow," he wrote, " I grudged the expenditure of
so much money for freighting " ; and then he went on to
reason, " if this is aU I can accomplish with £200, how on
earth are the Indians to build themselves decent houses ?
Here is the country teeming with timber, and yet we have
to go 100 miles or more to buy lumber (' lumber ' is
building material in Canada), and then pay as much again
to bring it here. That will never do. Neither do I see
any reason why log cabins should be the best structures
of which we are to be capable in this district. Why not
have a saw-miU of our own ? Thus the idea of a sawmill came to me, and I thought it over day and night for a
long time. From every point of view one thing was
certain : whatever money was put into it could be recovered in lumber on the spot, without the expense of
freighting lumber for school, mission-house and church.
Why, the realization of the miU would be the realization
of everything else ! Yes, we must certainly have a saw-
mUl, if it be within the limits of possibility, and if I can
have the Indians taught to run it.
" I therefore added what I could afford to the £200 I had
in hand for the church and bought the necessary machinery
that same year, a mill to be driven by water-power. To
bring this up the river safely was a great undertaking, but
God was with us and we accomplished it without mishap. A FORWARD MOVEMENT 97
Next spring, after considerable labour, we were compeUed
to abandon our attempt to dam a stream in the vicinity
of the Mission, by which we had hoped to get a sufficient
head of water for driving the wheel." And so the
machinery was stored away until better conditions could
be provided for its use. In 1891 McCuUagh came home to
England. It was his first furlough since he had gone out
to British Columbia in 1883. The story he told of his
work, at the Missionary Exhibition in Manchester and on
platforms in other towns, excited something of a sensation
among the people who were interested in the evangeHzation
of the heathen. Friends raUied round him, so that he was
able to return to his work in 1892 with another £200 to add
to his nest-egg. He used this money to purchase a boiler
and engine and went back fuU of energy and hope. His
arrival is worth describing, if only to show how strong were
the ties that bound him to the place and how greatly he
was beloved by the Church he had nurtured from its
infancy :
? As we approached Aiyansh we noticed bits of bunting
fluttering in front of the various fishing camps. \ What
is the meaning of the flags, etc., in front of the fishing
tents? ' I inquired of Phihp. 'They are for you,' he
replied; ' they know you will arrive to-day.' Soon we
came in sight of Aiyansh, bright with sunshine and
fluttering banners, and were received with great rejoicing
and warmth of feeling. And here we are again in our
log-house, where for years we toUed and worked and
endured the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It
is like beginning again with a tenfold increase of the first
love and singleness of aim. There seems to be no burden
to bear now, no yoke to gall and fret one's spirit, and yet
the circumstances and conditions are the same—the
burden becomes light in bearing and the yoke easy in
wearing. Abraham is looking quite young, and is almost
too happy to live ; he has much to teU me, both good and
bad news. I am glad we are back in time to behold once
more the autumnal glories of forest, mountain and stream.
The group of mountains facing our door I love passionately.
G 98
My spirit worships God on those mountains which speak
so eloquently of His strength. Melita's joy at being here
again is boundless. ! England is a lovely place, but this is
Aiyansh.' "
On Saturday, October 8, a party of eighteen stalwart
young Indians were sent down to Naas Harbour to bring
up the boiler and engine for the saw-mill, which had been
shipped on a large scow (that is, a square barge with a flat
bottom). To work this up the river was no easy task ;
some of the Indians said it would take a whole month.
The heathen, who had no sympathy for the scheme,
sarcastically predicted failure. " I confess," wrote McCul-
lagh in his Journal, " I am in rather a nervous state
about it ; but I have made it the subject of constant
prayer, and my trust is in God whose glory I seek."
On Saturday, October 15, he writes again : " Standing
out on the river bank this evening I heard the sound of
distant shouting. As the voices grew more distinct, we
perceived them to be those of our Indians with the scow,
containing the boiler and the engine. The whole village
turned out to welcome them and give them a hearty
cheer, t Wonderful, wonderful,' exclaimed Abraham,
I God is a hearer and answerer of prayer.' Many were the
questions put to the sturdy voyagers, j How did you
get through such and such a place ? ' and the answer
always came \ Gum wilt ltha am Shimoigiat Lakhage gau
welum ge ! ' (' By the grace of God only we got through.')
They had Divine service twice a day aU this time and had
to dry their clothes by the camp-fire every night. Henceforth let no one say there is nothing in the Indian of any
worth. I. Now,' cried Abraham, Î let the heathen hold
their peace ; it is evident to the whole world that God is
with us.' "
Everything being now on the spot and ready for use,
McCuUagh engaged a skilled white man to come and erect
the mill and then teach the Indians to run it. When they
had learned to do this efficiently he handed the mill over to
them on condition that they would produce, as it might be
required, an equivalent'value for the miU in lumber to be A FORWARD MOVEMENT 99
used for the building of the school, mission-house and
church. Paul Sgaden, formerly chief Muddywater of
Gitlakdamiks, was appointed miU engineer. Then the
real work began. In the neighbouring forest any amount
of choice timber was waiting for the woodman's axe;
but to obtain the most suitable trees for their purpose the
Indians would go five or ten miles, sometimes even farther,
into the mountains. In one place, fifteen miles away,
the selected trees having been cut up into lengths, the
logs were piloted down a neighbouring stream into a lake ;
thence over two cataracts into the river, where they were
lashed together in the form of rafts and floated down to
Aiyansh ; were landed there and taken to the saw-mill.
McCullagh's Journals about this period are full of interesting details of this, which may be called the material
part of his work. It would be easy to enlarge here—indeed,
it is hard to condense—but a ruthless compression of
facts is necessary unless this chapter is to be extended
beyond its due proportion in relation to a life which was
always brimful of energy, sustained efforts and accomplished facts.
McCuUagh very wisely felt his way, learning as he went
on from one venture to another, acquiring a rudimentary
knowledge as a craftsman of the art of building before he
attempted his great feat in the science of architecture ;
like the Alpine climber who masters the lower slopes and
lesser peaks before he attacks the high and difficult
mountain summits.
" My first attempt at frame-building was the erection
of a school-house, sufficiently large to be used for the time
being as a church. I began by making a model of the
framework according to scale, every beam, rafter and
scantling being shewn in its place. Then we had the
material cut to order at the mill, and forthwith the
buUding was begun. On this we tried our prentice hand,
gaining experience for more skilled effort later on. The
school was completed before the autumn and was used for
Divine service as well as for school purposes for four
years while the bmlding of our Church was in progress." ioo McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
Twice during the time the school was being built, the
old mission-house caught fire ; the two incidents occurring
within a few weeks of each other and practically destroying
the building ; many valuable letters and papers were
burnt, and the contents of the dispensary rendered useless.
This double misfortune afforded some compensation to its
owner in the sequel. He was able to make the new
building more commodious and much more comfortable,
adding several rooms and a proper kitchen.
11 also changed the frontage of the Mission premises,
so that the house now stood with its back to the river,
enclosed with an eight-foot hoarding all round. This
seemed to sever its connection with the Indian shacks, and
the people felt as if they were being left behind. Then
Abraham made a dash for a corner lot on the new town
site, and in his impetuous way pushed forward the
building of a very comfortable house with three rooms and
a kitchen. Then one after another the Indians picked out
building lots on the new plan, and the place in a short time
assumed the appearance of an anthill ; everybody hurrying hither and thither with boards, planks and scantling
on their shoulders. Streets were cleared and levelled, and
the old shacks pulled down and re-erected on the new
lots, to provide temporary accommodation for the inhabitants while their new houses were being built. Such is the
manner in which Indians move ; they are Uke an arch,
and stand as solidly as an arch against all attempts to
move them ; but, directly the keystone goes, in the shape
of a leading man or two, they all follow like a flock of
" Abraham could not endure having the back of my
house alongside his frontage, so he made the first break,
so as to secure a good position in the new front street.
Then he was so pleased with himself and satisfied with the
change he had made that he became immediately the
apostle of the new movement."
By the time the school and mission-house were finished,
this novice in the art of buUding had become sufficiently A FORWARD MOVEMENT
expert in the higher branches of architecture to attempt
his more ambitious scheme, the erection of a Church
worthy of the name and capable of seating a large congregation. Although he knew, of course, that he alone
possessed the brain-power for directing such an enterprise, even to every detail of the work, he did that
which men of less mental stature are often too vain and
self-satisfied to do ; he was great enough and wise enough
to take the Indians into his confidence and to consult
with them about everything, and thus enlisted their enthusiastic co-operation. Therefore he invited them to hold
a series of " wau waus," or councUs, to discuss the whole
scheme. " The Indians, of course, did a large amount of
talking, which consisted of a most wonderful display of
idiocy and contrariness. I let every man talk himself
empty, listening patiently and saying nothing." When
they had all disagreed hopelessly among themselves over
the site of the Church, the missionary laid his plan before
them ; and finally what he proposed was unanimously
accepted, and so " the wau wau terminated very satisfactorily."
Another councU was held to discuss ways and means :
" For this occasion I had a number of smaU canvas
bags made, one for each Indian (men and women alike),
with the name of each person written thereon, and these
were distributed with the request that, during the building
of the Church, everybody would practise some sort of
self-denial so as to save as much money as possible, and
the money so saved, put into each bag, would be offered
to God for this work on the day the Church was opened.
" Our Indians are poor from a wage-earning point of
view. They only handle cash once or twice a year, viz.,
after their spring hunt and after the close of the salmon
season, when they are paid for their fish at the Canneries.
And as a rule when they receive money they spend it at
the cannery store (shop) in providing for their various
needs and necessities. When I distributed the bags, there
ensued an animated discussion, as to how a saving was to
be effected in each individual case." 102 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
Moses Wan (the Shagaitkshiwan of the missing finger)
said, " Did our fathers have sugar in their tea ? No, and
they got on very weU without it. I am going to do without sugar ; and I shall put into this bag all the money I
would otherwise spend on sugar. I shall not taste sugar
again till the Church is built." Then a woman stood up
and cried out, | Of what use are these ornaments in my
ears ? I wiU put them in my bag now." And into her
bag went her gold earrings ; another woman did the same
with her bracelets.
" Simoigit " (master), said Chief Muddy water, " there are
twenty dollars coming to me for working on the mission-
house ; I want to put that into my bag to begin with.
Let my body go without certain things I had thought
Another chief stood up, and in a quiet dignified way
said, I It is not yet evident to me in what way I can best
economize, but I promise you aU here now to have fifty
dollars in my bag when it is offered."
" Yes," exclaimed another chief, " I like that idea ; I
bind myself also to fifty doUars ; it is a good thing to have
a definite aim. I shaU hunt and fish more diligently.
Brothers, it has come into my heart while you have been
speaking that I can take it out of my sleep and out of my
sitting about."
Before the buUding" operations were commenced a
special prayer-meeting was convened to ask for God's
blessing on the undertaking, and soon the work was in
fuU swing. " Day after day the hum of machinery and
the rasping echo of the saw, as it bit its way through log
after log, indicated continual progress, piles of building
material—beams, rafters, scantling, joists, boards, planks,
etc.—began to accumulate on the river bank."
As the site fixed on for the Church was some distance
from the river, it was necessary to lay down a trolley line
between it and the river bank. McCuUagh had frequently
asked the men to make a road in preparation for this ; but
they shirked the job, time after time. At last the women
came to him and said : " Master, don't ask those lazy A FORWARD MOVEMENT 103
husbands of ours to make the road again ; if they don't do
it before Monday next, we wiU arise and make it." And
so indeed they did ; and the road was soon ready for the
troUey ; a raflway of the requisite gauge was laid on
sleepers and firmly spiked. Chief Abraham took charge
of this troUey, to which he harnessed a team of dogs ; and
day by day as the logs came down the river and passed
through the saw-miU, he hauled the lumber to the site of
the Church.
WhUe the Church was being buUt, Bishop Ridley came
that way, when touring through his diocese. In one of
his letters home he thus described his visit : " Arriving at
Aiyansh on the Naas River, after inspecting the Indians'
steam saw-mill on the opposite shore two miles below, I
climbed up the steep bank expecting to find Aiyansh as I
last saw it, but it was nowhere to be found. I stood in
speechless amazement. AU things had become new.
Instead of the narrow trail in front of a single row of huts,
I saw fine broad roads with really beautiful cottages
dotted about, set in the lovely autumnal foliage, each with
a large garden separating house from house so widely
that a fire in one could not damage its neighbours.
" The Uttle old mission-house, buUt by Mr. McCuUagh
himself, was quite lost amid the weU-planned adjuncts.
Within and without it is now a perfect model. I wish I
had such a dwelling, and I see now why we must not covet
our neighbour's house.
" The house stands close to the river bank. Looking
from it northward, the lofty mountains hedge in the intervening rich plain called Aiyansh, meaning ' evergreen ' ;
before me stretched the long new road ending at the
Church under construction. It has a deep, broad ditch
on either side, from which the soU cast up makes a roadway that must be always dry. The trees, hewn into
square siUs, Ue on the ground, ready for making the sidewalk.    It is the best piece of road-making in the diocese.1
" On the east side of the Church stands one of the
prettiest school-houses I have seen. The interior arrange-
1 This was the road made by the women. 104
ments and exterior decorations of all these new buUdings,
private and public, expressed the ideas of a single mind.
It is a model viUage, planned by an artist's eye and
pleasing in every feature. It expresses the thought of a
Christian, the civilization that springs from the resurrection, apart from which in our day sohd progress is
impossible. Let those who deny it disprove it."
In May, 1896, McCuUagh wrote home :
" We are getting on very well with the Church this
year, though of course amid many difficulties. At present
we are making cedar logs on a mountain about five mUes
away, and we have to bring them down by a smaU stream,
five mUes to the river. The stream is icy cold, coming as
it does straight down from the glacier, and our men are in
it up to their waists from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. I go to the
scene of action every morning and return in the evening.
Money could not pay for work like this (walking in the
water all day), and it is not done for money but for love." CHAPTER XIII
The Realization of a Splendid Dream
OH, the joy of building this sanctuary in the wfld
forest ! It filled us one and all with unspeakable
happiness. Every morning we began our labours with
prayer and praise, at noon we assembled for the same purpose, and again in the evening. How a wiUing mind and a
heart glad in God can make material things fly ! We felt
not our labours, there were no fatigues, no accidents, and
no disappointments; aU went smoothly as a running
stream. For days at a time we were up to our armpits
in the cold water of some mountain stream, removing
obstructions and taking out logs, yet nobody caught cold
and there were no complaints. On the contrary, the voice
of joy and gladness resounded through the primeval forest,
until it seemed as if the very trees clapped their hands for
joy, and the mountains broke forth into singing ; and the
joy that came to me then is with me stiU :
The joy He gives is joy that fives,
Whate'er betide.
" The foundation complete and the timbers for the frame
ready, we held a Service for the setting up of the corner
posts. These were hoisted up and lowered into their
sockets to the singing of hymns and with prayer, and then
as they were braced and plumbed, each chief having
driven home his spike, they were declared "Well and truly
set up. I can see them now, particularly Chief Abraham
in a long white coat, choking with emotion as he offered
prayer. Each chief in turn offered prayer after driving
home his spike.    We managed to complete the frame and
roof in the chancel before the winter (1895-6), and during
the winter we made more logs.
" In May we resumed operations, the most difficult part
of our task being the dressing and setting up of the large
cedar cross-beams forming the interior of the roof. While
these were being prepared below, Abraham kept moving
about very dejectedly, saying, ? It can't be done ; they
won't fit when set up ; we must cut and fit them in their
places as we set them up.' At last they were all ready,
and when the old chief saw them slip smoothly into their
places he sat down on the scaffolding and, clapping his
hands like a child, cried, ' Now let me die ; I have seen all
there is to be seen in this world ! ' Besides directing the
operations generally, I reserved the work on the chancel
for myself alone, carving the two large cross-beams over
the screen and otherwise attempting to beautify the
" When it came to building the spire, the older Indians
begged me to desist. Somebody would surely be killed,
and the house of God would incur reproach in consequence.
But the thing seemed quite feasible, and with proper precaution and care there ought not to be any accident. So
we determined to build it, and within six weeks the spire
was completed—the only round spire in British Columbia
—the height from the ground being 106 feet. But the
only man I could depend on for outside work on the spire
was Joseph T'Gak, whom years before I had cured of
lunacy. This man would go anywhere and do anything
on the spire just like a cat, and so they called him the
1 pussy-man ! ' "
By the end of the summer the building was completed.
The Church was dedicated to " The Holy Trinity," being
so named in memory of McCuUagh's connection in his
early life with Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham.
The interior of the Church was finished with yellow
balsam and red cedar ; the floor was of spruce pine.
The chancel window consisted of three lights of coloured
glass—the Good Shepherd in the centre, with emblematic
designs of Holy Baptism'on one side and of the Holy HOLY TRINITY  CHURCH,   AIYANSH.  REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM   107
Communion on the other. On each side of the nave
were seven lights—fourteen in all—of Cathedral glass
with a violet border ; there was besides a fine west window
high up with three lights in one, and also a window in each
October 29, 1896, was the day fixed for the opening
The Bishop of Caledonia had arranged to come and
dedicate the Church, but unfortunately the steamer from
Victoria to Metlakahtla was late in arriving. The service
was delayed tiU 3 p.m., when it became evident that he
could not be there. His instructions were that, should
he be prevented from being in time, the service should
commence without him.
Christian Indians, with their missionaries, had assembled
from aU parts of the country, even as far away as the
Skeena River, and a procession was formed at the Mission-
house. Preceded by the massed bands of Kincolith and
Lak-Kalzap, the procession marched to the Church, the
choir and clergy being followed by the school-children,
the Church Army and Red Cross contingents and the
Aiyansh council of chiefs. The churchwardens were
distinguished by orange-coloured sashes and wands of
office. All the arrangements were evidently most care-
fuUy thought out beforehand so as to make the ceremony
an imposing one and worthy of so great an occasion.
To the band accompaniment the choir sang " If the Cross
we meekly bear," as the procession moved on. At the
Church door the Rev. S. Osterhont read a portion of
Scripture, offered prayer, addressed a few words to the
assembled people, opened the door wide and declared the
Church open for Divine Service in the name of the Triune
Jehovah. A special form of service had been prepared
for the occasion, copies of which were supplied to all those
who were present. All this was done in the vernacular.
Mr. McCuUagh himself took the prayers ; the lessons were
read by the late Archdeacon CoUison of Kincolith, and a
sermon, distinguished by earnestness and eloquence, was
preached by the Rev. A. E.   Price, C.M.S. Missionary io8 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
from Gitwingak on the Skeena River, who had come 150
mUes over the mountains to be there. Not the least
interesting among those who took their official part in this
unique service was the organist. " Twelve years before a
shock-headed tatterdemalion boy, just arrived with his
parents from the heathen, might be seen at Aiyansh running after birds and rabbits with his bow and arrows.
His attendance at school was erratic ; he was flighty and
uncertain in all his ways ; until, getting hold of a Jew's
harp from someone, he seemed to wake up to the fact that
there was something worth learning. Presently we found
him reproducing our hymn tunes upon a mouth-organ.
From that as he grew older and earned a little money at the
Canneries he proceeded to a kind of hurdy-gurdy which
ground out tunes from slips of perforated paper. Mrs.
McCuUagh then took him in hand for music lessons, teaching him to play on the piano. Then, with a little help
from us, he bought an American organ, on which he continued his lessons and practice." At the opening ceremony he was able to take his place at the organ. He and
the choir who were under his leadership acquitted themselves with credit on the whole.
" The last verse of the last Psalm ended in ' Hallelujah/
and the whole congregation came out with it like a mighty
wave breaking on the shore. Then after a moment's
impressive silence they, organ and all, burst forth with
the Gloria. Many of the people praised God with the
tears running down their tawny cheeks."
McCuUagh thus describes his own feelings on that
memorable occasion :
" It was nearly evening when the long-looked-for
moment arrived. And at last when I stood up in the
Church which not so long before existed only as a dream
in my imagination, and looked around me at the beautiful
sanctuary, and then at the happy eager faces of those
whom years before I had known as hopeless, degraded
heathens, I felt an uncontroUable desire to prostrate
myself on the floor before God and weep. I could not find
my voice to give out the hymn, and I stood before the REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM
congregation for some minutes absolutely dumb. But
that pause with its solemn hush was the most thriUing
part of the service—we stood there waiting as it were for
God Himself to come to us."
"The previous estimate for the labourers' wages (i.e.
beyond the value of the material supplied by the saw-miU
company) during the summer months had been about
600 doUars. Before the end of August, however, the
wages account amounted to over 700 dollars, and I had
to draw upon my faith ; before the end of September the
wages account was up to 999 dollars ; by the 26th of
October I was almost afraid to reckon, and found the wages
thermometer up to 1,350 dollars. My faith began to
tremble at the knees ; were we about to encounter shame
and confusion of face on the day of opening instead of joy
and gladness of heart ? Then the tempter whispered :
' Your faith is absurd ; it is unreasonable ; how do you
think God can bring 1,350 dollars out of your handful
of poor people ? ' But, turning from the tempter, I cried
in anguish of soul : ! O my God, Thou hast brought water
out of a stony rock ! ' and so I trusted, although the
tempter said as a parting shot, j Sheer presumption ! ' "
WeU ! the moment came for the offertory to be taken.
McCuUagh thus describes the event : " You can imagine
somewhat of my mind and feelings as I handed young
Mr. CoUison the alms-dish at the Communion rails. It
was the largest alms-dish I ever saw, being 2 feet in
diameter and of solid brass. This large tray (for such it
was) Mr. CoUison bore down the aisle, while the churchwardens with alms-dishes of the usual size took up the
offerings on either side, transferring the contents of their
dishes to the larger one. Before they had got half way
down the aisle Mr. CoUison began to feel the weight
of his burden, and had to hold himself well up to sustain
it. Each person's offering was in a small canvas bag
with the name and amount written on the outside. I,
too, found when I came to receive the alms-dish from him
at the raUs that I must set my back stiffly to take it from
him ; indeed I had to call Mr. Price to help me to lift it f
up and place it on the Holy Table. When the offertory
was counted it was found to be 1,344 dollars 45 cents.
Another ten dollars was afterwards added, making up the
whole amount to 1,354 doUars 45 cents. With the exception
of 81 doUars in loose cash on the plate given by outsiders,
this noble sum was all contributed by the Indians of
" It may be thought, as indeed it has been said, that
people who can help themselves like that do not need
help from other sources. But that would be a judgment
quite at variance with the facts of the case. I have no
hesitation in saying that every 25-cent piece in the above
collection represented a definite act of self-denial. It
is always the effort to help one's self that appeals to me
as being worthy of help. It was not out of their fullness
that these Indians did so well, but rather out of their
poverty. And nothing but the fact that God gave them
a willing mind can account for it. It is a purely spiritual
result, for I suppose that after all is said and done in the
sphere of one's religious profession, the test of true reality
lies in a wiUingness to offer liberally of one's substance to
The dispersal of the general congregation was followed
by a Celebration of the Holy Communion.
I It was a soul-stirring sight to see the people coming up
in streams, and devoutly kneeling to receive the tokens
of our blessed Lord's Cross and Passion, who a few years
ago were a people ' without hope and without Christ
in a world of darkness, sin and death.' "
Including two invalids who were carried to the Church
and, being communicants, remained and received the
Sacrament, there were eighty-eight communicants on that
Here let us try to realize, if we can, the greatness of the
work accomplished by McCuUagh. It was thirteen years
and one month only since he had first stepped from his
canoe on to the bank of the river at Aiyansh, where some
half-dozen famiUes of Indians, in poverty and discomfort, REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM   in
were feeling their way out of darkness into light by the
help of a native teacher, one of themselves.
What a transformation had taken place during those
years ! The Settlement had grown and prospered under
the missionary's fostering care. The people were in aU
respects different from what they had been then. Out of
the mire and clay of degradation and ignorance they had
been uplifted and their feet firmly planted on the rock of a
new life. Spiritually, morally, socially and materially
they had advanced steadily until that day when they met
to worship God in the Church their own hands had built,
using Service-books of prayer and praise in their own
language which some of their number had helped to print
for this occasion.
Nor should we fail to try and estimate rightly the
greatness of this achievement on the material side as well
as the spiritual. McCuUagh was the architect of that
beautiful Church ; the initial design and every subsequent
detail had been planned by his brain and carried out under
his direction. He had never been articled in the office of
an architect or surveyor ; he had never served an apprenticeship to the building trade ; all that he knew, so far as
we have any means of ascertaining, had been learned by
himself from books and the drawings contained in them.
There was no expert near at hand to whom he could go for
counsel when difficulties arose ; he had not even the
advantage of skilled labour at his command. He was
entirely self-taught, and he had to teach the Indians how
to carry out his plans. But he was as humble-minded as
he was truly great ; his modesty forbade any parade of
what he had accomplished. We who knew him well never
heard a boastful sentence or a word of self-praise from his
lips. So far from taking any credit to himself for what he
had done he gave all the glory of his work to God, Who
had enabled him to carry out the purpose of his life. The
only reward he ever seemed to covet was the approval of his
Divine Master and Saviour, whose Name and redeeming
grace it was his greatest ambition and his highest joy to
proclaim to the Nishga Indians on the Naas River. CHAPTER XIV
Gathering in the Heathen
IN the foregoing chapters we have seen how the Settlement of Aiyansh grew from a few cabins or wooden
shacks into a viUage, weU laid out with comfortable
houses, a school and a beautiful Church with accommodation for four hundred worshippers. The governing
principle of the Settlement was that any Indians who
wished to forsake heathenism for Christianity should come
out of their old life, join the Gitaiyansh,1 and with them be
instructed by the missionary in the faith of Jesus and the
practice of the Christian life. But here the question may
naturally be asked : " How about the heathen who did
not come out in this way from the customs and religion
of their ancestors ? Many of them must have held back
from pride, or unbelief, or indifference, or the want of moral
courage strong enough for taking such a bold step. Under
these circumstances were they left to themselves ? Was
any effort made to win them over ? What was their
attitude towards this new religion which had invaded their
land and claimed the right to dethrone the established
usages of their forefathers ? What was the line taken by
the missionary towards them ? And how did the Christian converts act towards their former co-religionists ? "
It is the purpose of this and the following chapter to give
an answer to such questions. The attitude of the Indians
living in the heathen villages such as Gitlakdamiks was
for the most part one of either open or veiled hostility.
An instance of this occurred on the arrival of the boiler
and engine which were brought up the river to work the
1 i.e. Men of Aiyansh.
saW-miU.   In his diary for October 18, 1892, McCuUagh
wrote :
" The heathen are up in opposition to the miU. They
say it wUl frighten away the salmon (a mere pretence),
and deprive them of their food. They threaten to throw
the boiïer into the water. I replied, ' You are welcome to
throw aU the machinery into the river if you have enough
money to pay for the damages afterwards.' If an Indian
threatens to do anything, it does not do to oppose him,
rather encourage him to do it, even if it be to take your
life, and you immediately take all the wind out of his
sails; but you must not show the slightest ruffling of
temper ; be perfectly calm and you wUl utterly cow
On the foUowing Saturday he wrote again :
" We have not heard anything more about the destruction of the miU from the heathen. They are ashamed
of themselves, I hear, especially as some of them defend
us. This morning I had a visit from Skaden their chief.
It appears that his house was broken into the other day
during his absence and some money stolen. He suspects
a certain man of the crime and wishes me to investigate
the case. ' My friend/ said I, ' you must settle your own
difficulties among yourselves; but, as you are in trouble, I
would certainly visit you and soothe your mind with the
comforting words of God, if it were not for the law you
have made forbidding the preaching of the Gospel among
your tribe ; I always respect the laws of any people
among whom I live.'
1 Yes, I am very much troubled about this robbery ; it
dishonours me so. Now if it were a common man who was
robbed I would not mind ; but for the people of other
tribes to hear that Skaden has been robbed is more
than I can bear;  I have not slept for the last three
r ' Certainly, I
sure you
have not ;   it
is a
serious thing to
by a trouble
I rejoined.
' ' My nephew
3 that in troubles of this kind there
is nothing so pacifying to the mind as reUgion, and
that is the reason I have come to you, Shimoigiat.'
" ' Your nephew is quite right in his advice,' I replied,
' and the grace of God in the heart makes great trouble
very small indeed, but it is not right to my mind that you
should be comforted by religion outside the walls of your
own house, especially as you are the chief of a large tribe.'
I 5 You are right, chief,' he answered, with tears in his
eyes ; ' but perhaps you would not come into my house
after all that we have said against the word of God.'
" j If you will ask me to come, I will stand within your
house to-morrow at noon,' I replied.
" ' If you would, if you would, so be it.' "
The next day (Sunday), McCuUagh gave notice at morning service that he had received an invitation to preach
the Gospel in Skaden's house at Gitlakdamiks at 12
o'clock, and that he would be glad if some of the men would
accompany him when the service was over. The astonishment of the Christians was great on hearing this
announcement. Equally great was the surprise of the
people in Gitlakdamiks when they saw the missionary and
his band of foUowers pass through their viUage ; and
greater still when they saw them enter the chief's house
and presently heard the sound of hymns being sung there.
A number of shock-headed individuals, enveloped in ash-
coloured blankets and with a month's dirt on their faces,
came gliding in and, squatting down by the fire, listened
to the preaching of the Gospel.
" Skaden sat listening freely for the first time in his
life ; for, although he had often before been present at
preaching he always made it a point to be doing something, carving a rattle, a spoon, or plying his axe with a
great noise, or something else to keep his attention withdrawn from the living word.
" ' Do you wish me to come again next Sunday,
Skaden ? ' I inquired on leaving.
" \ If you would it would be well,' he replied.
"And so the law has gone overboard in a way no one
" ' How is this? ' inquired Abraham, on our return ;
' not one of us would have thought it possible.'
" f There are a great many of God's people in England
praying for the Gitlakdamiks/ I replied, ) which accounts
for it ; we must write them a letter and ask them to keep
on praying more earnestly for the repentance of the
heathen here.'
I ' God brings in His grace in a mysterious way,'
remarked Abraham."
The following Sunday a similar expedition was made.
" To-day we again visited Chief Skaden and preached in
his house. The chief was very gracious; his habitual
scowl was gone from his face and he pressed my hand
warmly in greeting. We hear there is great searching of
heart among his tribe, because I have said I will not enter
any house without an invitation, nor preach to any family
without being requested to do so. My native Christians
used their persuasive powers on me to induce me to enter
a few other houses and preach to the people.
I No/ I replied ; ' for years I have done so, and they
looked askance at my message ; for the future, if they want
to hear the Word of God they must ask for it ; the Gospel
has gone up in preciousness.'
" If I am right in my estimation of Indian character,
this declaration will work in our favour."
The subsequent history of Gitlakdamiks proved that
he was right in this conclusion. He was also right to
enlist the co-operation of the Christian Indians. This
indeed was a part of their education in the laws of the
kingdom of God, felt by themselves to be an integral part
of their new religion. CHAPTER XV
The Church Militant
BEFORE endeavouring to show how the Christian
Indians at Aiyansh acted towards their old tribesmen, and how the principle of missionary enterprise
affected their conscience, let us pause and think of a
common objection that is made against the conversion of
the heathen.
The argument with which we are familiar has been put
in some such words as these : | God has allowed the
various nations of mankind to adopt the form of religion
that best satisfies their racial needs. What right have we
to upset their faith and to impose on them an alien creed ?
They are quite happy in the faith of their fathers ; let
them remain so."
Did the Christian converts of Aiyansh think after that
manner ?
They had seen both sides of the problem. They knew
by early experience what it was to be brought up in
heathenism ; they also knew by their conversion what
Christianity meant. Had they been on the side of the
objector to missions among the heathen, they would, no
doubt, have said :
P Let us leave the heathen alone ; for generations they
have enjoyed their religious festival of the Potlatch, at
which they impoverish themselves by getting gloriously
drunk and by tearing up their blankets into such small
pieces that they are no use to anyone. When illness
falls on them they are accustomed to call in the medicineman with his rattle to frighten away the evil spirit which
is supposed to produce the disease.    Or, if their children
are sick, the medicine man wiU take them to the river and
pour cold water on them to cool the fever that burns in
them. It certainly is true that when this was done during
an epidemic of measles all the children died ; but then
they have always been used to that kind of treatment as
part of their rehgion. We ought not to disturb them
when they cherish a faith in these things equal to the
faith of the Christian in God as his Father and Saviour."
This was not the way in which the men of Aiyansh
reasoned. They knew by the bitterness of a past experience the misery and the hopelessness of heathenism.
Since their conversion they had learned by a new and
sweet experience the joy of pardon for sin and of peace
with God. They had found in the Lord Christ as their
Saviour the secret of victory over temptation ; their
whole lives were now Uluminated with the bright and
certain hope of a life hereafter through the power of a
risen Saviour. They knew weU that in these things
heathenism, as compared with Christianity, was as darkness
compared with light. And they were not content with
merely knowing this ; they became possessed with a
burning desire to carry to their heathen brethren the glad
tidings of the new power which had entered and transformed their own fives.
Between Aiyansh and the viUage of Gitlakdamiks
the distance was only about two and a half miles ; but
it lay for the most part through woods of fir trees and
tangled scrub. It was a wretched trail, good enough for
its purpose in olden days, but not so now.
" Let the Gitaiyansh rise up and make a proper road
connecting the two viUages. '' This proposition was haUed
with enthusiasm. Preparations began at once ; saws
were sharpened, axes ground, picks and shovels furnished
with new handles, ropes tested, spliced and strengthened
for hauling logs. Arrangements were also made by the
women for providing food for the workers.
" On the foUowing Monday whfle it was yet dark the
bugle notes rang out clear and long, calling all the men
of the village to breakfast and worship.   With the first n8 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
streak of dawn they were at the road, from which they
were recaUed for dinner at noon. At n a.m. I went
out to visit them, and truly it was an inspiriting sight that
met my view. The trees and withered vegetation were
all covered with rime sparkhng in the morning sunUght.
An avenue of about ioo yards long had already been
opened through the thickly growing firs, and axes were
swinging with a happy ring on the frosty air. Some of
the boys were singing, some were exchanging their ideas
with each other at a distance, their voices mingled with
laughter. I was greeted with the words, ' We are unusually happy, chief ' ; to which I gave them the idiomatic word of encouragement, I Do well what you do,
boys.' "
The road was soon completed—a straight road and a
level one on which ten men could walk abreast. The value
of the labour voluntarily expended on this work was
calculated at 480 doUars, that is nearly £100. McCuUagh
was naturally proud of his Indians for the splendid way in
which they tackled a difficulty of this kind. " I do not
wish," he wrote, " to praise the men ; but I do want my
friends in England to understand that the grit and impetus
necessary for this advance in civiUzation are not of the
natural man ; the heathen Indians are devoid of it ; it is
the energy which emanates from the ' new creature in
Christ Jesus ; ' for that which is spiritual is not confined
to thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is a poor spirituality with a bad circulation that does not go down to the
finger-tips and find its way among the muscular fibres."
Eveiything about the Mission began to assume an air of
civilization after this road was made, as though God smUed
His approval. It was named the Gospel Road, and played
an important part in the development of the movement
that foUowed for; the evangelization of the heathen. At
the end of the road farthest from Aiyansh, and about
three-quarters of a mUe from GitlaJkdamiks, the Christian
Indians erected a cross, which in the course of time
became a rendezvous for,the open-air preachers before
proceeding to their work in the heathen viUage.   The THE CHURCH MILITANT
Christians would never pass by the Kazag (cross) without pausing to pray for the conversion of the heathen.
The methods they adopted to accomplish this purpose,
if somewhat erratic on the human side, displayed unmistakably the wonderful way in which the Lord blesses
even the humblest men and women when their hearts
are right with Him and their one desire is to glorify His
" One afternoon twelve large cases arrived by canoe.
In one of these were the band instruments for the boys,
and this they attacked like a pack of wolves. Very
soon they were each possessed of an instrument, and
then followed such a blaring and beUowing as was never
before heard in this region.
"Mrs. McCuUagh exclaimed, ' Oh, Mac, why did you
bring them those instruments ? They have turned the
place into a bedlam.'
41 They were each and aU blowing and puffing like dragons,
with distended cheeks and starting eyebaUs. Y'Giak had
the big drum strapped round his neck and strutted about,
pounding with all his might. Oh, it was a sight to see I
and I lost my appetite with laughter."
But to the performers themselves it was aU real.
They soon learned to play a few hymn tunes, which
they sang through the streets of the village. Then,
having made their debut among their own people, one
day they marched along the Gospel road and startled
the people of Gitlakdamiks, just as in the early days of the
Salvation Army the inhabitants of certain districts in
our English towns were scandalized by the instrumental
and vocal efforts of General Booth's followers to awaken
souls dead in sin or respectabUity to the realities of things
eternal. The heathen resented this raid on their Indian
sense of dignity and propriety. The loud blare of the
brazen instruments vibrated discordantly in their ears ;
but the sound of the big drum as it was vigorously
thumped by Y'Giak awakened still deeper feelings of
indignation in their breasts. McCuUagh had warned the
Aiyansh evangelists against being too aggressive in their 120 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
methods ; but their zeal outran his discretion. One of
their inroads ended in something very Uke a free fight,
with a special onslaught on the offending drum which, in
a marvellous manner, survived the attack. A compromise
was attempted by the Christians : " We will give up the
drum," they said, " if you wiU give up your sins." This
offer was scornfully declined.
A truce followed, however, during which feeling still ran
high, and Chief Skaden sulked and would not even listen
to the missionary when he came to preach. Then a
deputation was sent to Aiyansh to protest against open-
air preaching at all at Gitlakdamiks. Chief Abraham
met them in council with torrents of burning, indignant
remonstrance ; he was very angry and said a few hard
In the end an agreement was reached ; the Christians
consenting to give up the drum, on condition that they
were aUowed to preach, and " then the heathen began to
listen to the preaching of the Gospel as they had never
listened before."
Some weeks after the opposition had died down an
incident occurred which formed a delightful sequel to the
previous misunderstanding.
" As Christmas drew near I announced that I would
celebrate the Holy Communion on the Sunday next
before Christmas Day. In doing this I cautioned against
attending any who entertained bitter feeling or ill-will
against anyone or who were ' out ' with their neighbours,
whether Christian or heathen.
" When I made this announcement I had no one in
particular before my mind ; I had quite forgotten Abraham's tiff with the heathen deputation, but merely sought
to direct attention to what might be lying hid beneath the
surface. It was with something of surprise, therefore, that
I heard from Abraham and another man named Philip
that they were ' weak-hearted ' because forbidden to
attend Communion.
P ! Forbidden to attend Communion ! What do you
I ! What you said in Church, that no one was to attend
who was ashamed to look his fellow-man in the face in
" ' WeU, what about that ?—what has that to do with
you? '
" ' Oh, a great deal. We are very much ashamed of
the Gitlakdamiks chiefs and they of us, because we spoke
angry words to their deputation.'
" ■ Of course, I had quite forgotten ; you are quite
right ; you must put the matter straight ; you and
Abraham are the trespassers ; the words of the heathen
to you were respectful, but you received them disdainfuUy.
Now you ought to apologize publicly.'
"After a good deal of discussion it was decided that the
heathen chiefs and principal men should be invited down
to dinner by Abraham and Philip, and that after dinner
these two should publicly apologize, and withdraw
the offensive expressions used by them to the deputation."
On the appointed day, at the invitation of Chief Abraham
and Phflip, a public dinner was given at the house of the
former. The principal men of Aiyansh were there,
seven chiefs and seven leading men of the Gitlakdamiks
tribe being invited to meet them.
" After dinner a messenger came for me, asking me to be
present at the speech-making, and to close the address
with a few words and prayer. When I entered I found
a seat prepared for me beside Abraham, which I took,
and then, everything being ready, Abraham stood up to
' ' Friends,chiefs, wise men, brethren, aU; my heart is
unusually gladdened to-day by the warmth of your
presence in my house. The fact of your coming on my
invitation without demur has touched me deeply,
because I am conscious of having cherished bitter feelings
and having used harsh words against you, not only
recently, but on every slight occasion during the years
that are past. But it is only lately that it has become
evident to me that such things are offensive to God.
" * Moreover, it is not seemly that I should be ashamed 122 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
to accompany the Master's servant when he goes to
preach the Gospel to you, or that you should be ashamed
to come here to see him because of me.
" ' It is the way of men to err, because they frequently
misapprehend, seeing only the outside of things or
looking at them from behind. Now I repent before you
all, friends, chiefs, wise men and brethren, for the manner
in which I misjudged you, and for the pungent language
in which I condemned you. Let it aU be thawed, wiped
out, forgotten. Let nothing trouble your minds about
the open-air preaching ; you did nothing, said nothing to
the boys. Even if you did do anything to them it has
been weU done, which has increased our love to you in
" Such was Abraham's speech, delivered with no small
dignity and feeling. I felt proud of my tawny old pupU.
Though passionate and impetuous by nature, yet he did
his duty this time humbly, yet nobly, by grace. I
wondered what PhUip would say, but he did not make a
speech, preferring to repeat Abraham's words : ' Shall I
add anything to or take anything from what you have
just heard ? No ! Let my words be those of my
" Several of the heathen chiefs spoke, and spoke well,
after which the missionary said a few words to them,
prayed, and pronounced the Benediction.
I After the blessing Skaden rose up grandly at the
head of the table and, holding his blanket folded across his
breast, stretched forth his right hand. ' Chief Abraham,'
he said, ' I take in mine the hand you have held forth.
It is the first time you have held it out to us except when
clenched. I take it to hold in warm friendship and in
" This brought the gathering to a close. There was a
strange gleam of satisfaction in old Abraham's eye as he
said to me on parting, ' Never was the grace of God so
sweet before.' "
During the following winter news reached Aiyansh from
the interior, teUing of much sickness and many deaths at THE CHURCH MILITANT 123
Gitwin'lgol and also on the Skeena River. This moved
the hearts of the Christians at Aiyansh and awakened in
them a great desire to make an evangelistic tour among
their brethren of the more distant tribes. On their
expressing this wish to McCuUagh, he readUy consented.
A brief narrative of the expedition is recorded in his diary :
" January 9 (1894). This morning a party of fifteen men
and five women started off on this eight days' journey
across country. Two youths carried the magic lantern
and slides, etc., between them, and a supply of oil for
working it. I had already taught them how to use it.
The party had to carry all their provisions and bedding
on their backs. They looked Hke business when they
marched off through the snow-laden pines, their white flag
with its red Maltese cross in the centre waving in front of
them ! May God bless their effort to the souls of those
who are sitting in darkness."
On February 8, he wrote again : " Between 7 and
8 o'clock this evening we assembled for a Bible-reading
and prayer-meeting. It was a most solemn meeting,
the subject being the proximate return of our Lord. I
was just concluding my address by describing the blessedness of being found watching and waiting and working
by Him when He comes, not to be taken by surprise when
the angelic voices shall break upon our ear ! I had got
thus far when, upon the frosty air, was borne crisp and
clear the marching hymn of our brethren returning from
their inland tour. How it rose and fell, sweUed forth in
volume and died away again in the distance ! After a
few minutes' sUence I continued : ' Our brethren have
found us watching; may the Lord find us so, too.' This
circumstance affected the little meeting very much ;
they were heart-broken in a moment ! Poor things, no
doubt their minds were suddenly overwhelmed with a
sense of their many infirmities and negligences as
they thought of the Master taking them to account.
As the band of singers drew up in the viUage street
we were one with them, standing in a circle, praising
God.   How inspiritingly the red ensign fluttered in the 124 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
breeze whfle the little band of crusaders, with their heavy
packs on their backs, staves and snow-shoes in their
hands, threw back their heads and made the welkin
ring with their triumph-song of praise ! They had
brought back four captives ! But how thin they looked
and weatherworn ! No wonder, indeed, for they were
on short rations on their long return journey."
This was the way in which the Christian Indians of
Aiyansh acted towards the heathen tribes by whom they
were surrounded. Had they been acquainted with the
objection (previously stated in this chapter) against the
evangelization of the world, we may feel sure they would
have met and overthrown it by the same practical and
spiritual methods they adopted in winning their brethren
to the faith and knowledge of their Lord, and they would
probably have included the people who object to Christian
missions among those whom they looked upon as " renegade white men." CHAPTER XVI
Vengeance and Reconciliation
CIVILIZATION, in its highest and truest sense,
invariably follows the spread of Christianity.
This is nowhere more apparent than in lands that were
once heathen. It seems to foUow, by a kind of moral
law, as the diffusion of light foUows the sunrise and
chases darkness off the face of the earth. No one,
possessing even a superficial knowledge of Christian
missions, can help becoming aware of this. But the
ignorance of most people about the nature and scope of
the missionary's work is as deplorable as it is culpable.
Even among ordinary Christians how few there are who
seem to appreciate the debt of honour which the world
owes to that splendid band of noble men and women
who, whUe preaching Christ among the heathen, are at
the same time uplifting them to the higher plane of
civilizing habits and customs ! Little indeed do they
who hold up the missionary to ridicule know how worthy
he is of the highest honour and respect that can be paid
him ; and this merely on social and moral grounds, to say
nothing of spiritual reasons. The greatest—indeed,
almost the only—pioneers of a lofty and beneficent civilization in heathen lands have been the missionaries of the
Cross. The material welfare of those whom they have
sought to instruct in spiritual truths has always faUen
to their lot as a necessary part of the work they have
undertaken. The name of David Livingstone naturally
comes first into one's mind as a superb instance of those
who have exemplified this moral fact. It is true that he
ranks as a great explorer and discoverer.   It is equaUy
true that the passion of his life was to stop the slave
traffic ; and this passion was inspired and fed by the love
of Christ which he, as a missionary, preached wherever
he went.
This same principle, to a greater or less degree, distinguishes aU those who are sent forth into the dark
places of the earth by the Church Missionary Society.
Although it is a fundamental tenet of this Society only to
commission " spiritual men for spiritual work," it is also
recognized that, hand in hand with this spiritual calling,
the missionary may and should exercise his natural
gifts for uplifting, in every way possible, the people among
whom he is sent to labour.
McCuUagh felt this very strongly, and frequently expressed his convictions about it in the letters he sent home.
The spiritual regeneration of the Indians was always the
goal he kept in view ; but the road thither had in places
to be paved with the hard stones of common-sense in
things material. For instance, in a private letter in
1887, he wrote :
1 If the missionary fall into the mistake of regarding
those who leave their heathen villages and come to the
Mission for instruction as a pastor might regard his flock
in England, and from that point of view do his work, his
mission wiU be a failure."
He found himself continually up against customs and
usages which had in the course of many generations
become an integral part of the very life of the people.
During the latter half of his ministry at Aiyansh, as a
legally-commissioned magistrate, he was able to enforce
the law against wrong-doers and evU customs ; but
during his first fifteen or twenty years among the Indians
he took the law into his own hands many a time in dealing
with unruly characters. In exercising his own masterful
wiU he acted as a bold chieftain would, often risking his
life, never afraid of adopting unconventional methods if
need be, for the purpose of weaning the Indians from the
mistakes and follies of their heathen ways and leading
them to a better life.   An instance of this occurred in VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION     127
connection with a blood-feud between two Indians, which
affords a fine Ulustration of this side of his character.
One cold winter night, the thermometer being 150
below zero, the village of Gitlakdamiks was heathenishly
en fete, a potlatch being in fuU swing. From far and
near hundreds of Indians had come, robed in their tribal
regalia of paint and feathers. In the principal chief's
house a pUed-up fire of logs crackled and blazed on the
central hearth, around which were seated the chiefs of
Gitwingak, GitwinksUqu and other neighbouring vUlages.
Clouds of swansdown—the emblem of peace—were scattered over the assembled guests, pledging all to an understood vow of unity and good-wiU. After this ceremony
the guests betook themselves to the various houses where
hospitality had been provided. In one house a number of
young men were trying their luck at a game of lahl,
the gamblers squatting round a bark mat spread on the
floor, upon which the wooden counters were shuffled
and dealt out. A crowd of spectators, wrapped in their
blankets, encircled the players. Among them was a Nishga
chief named Hadagim-simoigit (which means " Bad
Chief "). He had come there with the base purpose of
avenging a blood-feud of long standing upon a young man
who had come to the potlatch from a distant tribe. The
swansdown was supposed to unite all upon whom it feU in
a pact of peace : but what had the avenger of blood to do
with peace ? Was he bound in honour by a wafted feather
any more than in years to come a white man would feel
himself bound by a scrap of paper ?
Edging nearer to the players he found himself standing
close behind a young man who appeared to be deeply
absorbed in his game. Suddenly there was a flash of
gleaming steel, a swift descending stroke, an awful
groan. With a whoop of triumph the slayer rushed out
into the darkness of the night and bounded to safety,
whooping as he went.
There was great excitement in the gambling saloon.
Women who heard the death-cry came running from all
quarters. The dead man was carried out, and the night was 128
made hideous with lamentation and woe. The name of
the slayer was soon known to aU ; but, when the victim
was examined, it was found that he had made a mistake ;
he had kiUed the wrong man, one against whom he had no
When Hadagim-simoigit learned what he had done, he
pleaded the absence of maUce aforethought and begged
the family of his victim to allow him to perform Gouigiani.
His request was granted by Shabaim-Neuk, a brother of
the young man he had slain.
To perform ■* gouigiani " Hadagim-simoigit had first to
collect all the goods and chattels he possibly could ; and
in due time he was able to invite Shabaim-Neuk to
receive compensation for the loss of his brother. All the
honourable men of the slayer's family went most humbly
to the avenger and sat down in his wilp. A long time they
sat in silence, and then one after the other presented their
case, while the man to whom they addressed themselves
sat scowling. Gruffly he asked for water to drink, and all
jumped up to serve him. He remarked that the fire
wanted renewing ; they aU set about doing it. They
were his slaves ; they performed his toilet for him,
anointing him with red ochre and arraying him in his
regalia. Then they supported him as he wended his way
to the slayer's house. Shabaim-Neuk was placed in a seat
of honour and Hadagim-simoigit made his humble
"prayer."' A leading man of Shabaim-Neuk's retinue
replied to the prayer, and then the " gouigiani " began.
Shabaim-Neuk was assisted to his feet and a rattle placed
in each hand. He looked bored, disgusted and sulky.
Could Hadagim-simoigit make him smile ? WeU, he would
From a large cedar chest a bale of blankets was brought
forth and counted, each blanket being laid at Shabaim-
Neuk's feet—fifty blankets, all told ! He scorned to look
at them. A dozen marten-skins were dangled before him
and dropped upon the blankets. He merely glanced at
them. Two large bear-traps were lugged out of the corner
and thrown beside the blankets.   There was a perceptible VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION     129
flicker of the eyelids. Two guns were added, but they
were old-fashioned and won no recognition. A trunk,
with a new suit of white man's clothes in it, was opened ;
the clothes were shaken out, and the avenger visibly
appraised the suit out of the corner of his eye, giving the
rattles in his hands a little shuffle. The sound of the
rattle made Hadagim-simoigit smile, and he produced out
of many wrappings a very fine double-barrelled shot-gun,
quite new.
The avenger was quite interested now ; his body
swayed just a little and the rattles were faintly heard.
More items were added, more blankets, more traps, a saw
and an axe, with a corresponding increase in the motion
of the rattles. A bag of money—fifty silver dollars—
produced a shifting of Shabaim-Neuk's feet. Soon they
would have him dancing !
Presently there was a commotion at the door, which was
burst open, and a number of young men handed in a
beautiful cedar canoe which took up the full length of the
house. In this more goods were placed—two tanned elk
skins, a large copper shield, a coil of rope, two cedar boxes
of fish grease, a fishing net and a large pot. The avenger
was moving his body freely now and the rattles were
swishing. But he had not smUed yet. Now, how on
earth could Hadagim-simoigit surprise him into smiling ?
Repeating-rifles were known by report among the
Indians, but up to this time nobody had seen one. So,
When Hadagim-simoigit drew a " Springfield " from its
leather case, opened the breech-block and exhibited the
mechanism, every hunter present crowded to admire the
weapon and the avenger actually smUed ! Not only did he
smile but he danced artisticaUy, while the tom-toms
increased their tone and everybody clapped and applauded
—the avenger was appeased, he had smiled !
Several years passed. The stain upon the honour of
Shabaim-Neuk's famUy was supposed to have been
wiped out by the " gouigiani." Then it began to be whispered that vengeance was secretly cherished and that the
truce might be broken any day.    Rumours were spread
about that Hadagim-simoigit was dabbling in the black
art. He had long since taken his degree as a medicine-man.
Witchcraft was beheved in among the Indians as a
fruitful source of iUness, accidents and death. Whenever
any of these things happened to any member of Shabaim-
Neuk's famUy, credence was readily given to the suggestion that they were brought about by the evil eye of
Hadagim-simoigit. A family councU was held, whereby
the " gouigiani " was repealed and Shabaim-Neuk was
appointed avenger. He announced that on the twenty-
third day after that date he would publicly execute the
slayer of his brother.   .
McCuUagh knew him weU as a friendly Indian and one
who was weU disposed towards Christianity. He had
often gone to the Mission-house and had in turn frequently
welcomed the missionary to his own wilp. Sometimes the
two men had gone out together for the day on some-
exploring expedition.
When McCuUagh heard of the decision to exact vengeance, he went to Shabaim-Neuk and endeavoured to
dissuade him, pointing out the wickedness and foUy of the
deed he contemplated. AU his efforts, however, faUed to
change the young chief's purpose. He then tried his hand
on Hadagim-simoigit, striving to persuade each in turn to
migrate to the coast or to some distant place inland so as
to be away from the lure of the blood-feud. But each of
them refused to do what he thought would be like showing
the white feather.
I At last the twenty-second day came to a close, and I
made up my mind, as a last resort, to kidnap Hadagim-
simoigit that night. His wilp stood close to the river-
bank in the centre of the viUage, and a canoe could easily
draw up there in the dark without being observed. So,
having previously located the exact position of his sleeping-
place in the house, six of my trusty Indians stealthfly
crept up the river in a canoe at two o'clock in the morning,
and drew in beneath the bank where a smaU path led up
to the wilp. It was aU done without a sound. The door
was cautiously opened, the sleeper's head wrapped up in a VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION     131
blanket, his hands and feet bound with cords, and himself
bodUy borne out and deposited in the canoe, which
sUently moved off and drifted down the river to Aiyansh.
Here we provided temporary hospitaUty for him in a
potato pit, and let him kick his heels there at his leisure.
MeanwhUe, with the dawn, Shabaim-Neuk sanctified
himself in the traditional waters of Lishimis (Naas River),
anointed his body with sheep's fat and red ochre,
carefuUy donned his regalia and sallied forth for the great
event. Standing in front of Hadagim-simoigit's door, he
called his name loudly, challenging him to come forth and
look him in the face. But no painted figure, correspondingly attired, came forth to meet him. From house to
house he went, repeating his challenge again and again.
But all to no purpose—Hadagim-simoigit had vanished I
Even his wife knew nothing of his whereabouts. Had he
run away ?    Oh, no ; such a thing was moraUy impossible.
" All day long Shabaim-Neuk's nerves were subjected to
much tension, expecting his enemy to step out suddenly
from some quarter and get the drop on him first ; so that
when the shades of evening feU a natural reaction set in,
on which I had secretly counted. When his friends were
gathered into his wUp that evening for what was to have
been the avenger's feast, he made a speech to the effect
that, inasmuch as he had dUigently sought his foe everywhere, with matured intent to kiU him, he had practically
kept his word and there was consequently no shame now
in acceding to the missionary's request to let bygones be
bygones. In washing off his mishous (rouge) now he would
divest himself also of aU desire for revenge. What the
missionary said was quite correct—the true light was now
shining and the old deeds of darkness should be put away.
Let there be peace.
And all those there assembled cried with one voice :
" Ahm, ahm ;  let there be peace."
But there was no peace for Hadagim-simoigit in the
potato pit. When he was liberated and learned of all that
had been done, he was furious. He raved and swore that
he could only wipe out the shame and humiliation to which 132 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
he had been subjected with the blood of Shabaim-Neuk.
But after McCuUagh and Chief Abraham had reasoned with
him he cooled down and at length returned to his village
and accepted the terms of the new peace."
For some time after this occurrence Shabaim-Neuk
oscillated between good resolutions and temptations to
wrong-doing of one sort or another. His moral lapses
were succeeded by periods of remorse and bitter self-
accusation. The latter half of the seventh chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans exactly described this poor Indian's
spiritual state. The climax was reached one day when he
returned home and found that his eldest boy had been
drowned in the river owing to some neglect on the part
of the lad's grandmother. When he saw the dead body
of his child, in a fit of passion he struck his poor old mother
across the face. This blow wounded her pride and love so
cruelly that the old lady went into the forest and hanged
herself on the branch of a tree ; and then the heart of
Shabaim-Neuk weUnigh broke. In an agony of contrition, with the tears of sincere repentance streaming down
his face, he went to his friend McCuUagh, and sat down in
his room, crying out, " What a sinner I am ! Can God
forgive me ? Will Jesus Christ receive such a miserable
wretch ? "
" You are not any more sinful now than you were
before," replied McCuUagh ; " only then you did not know
it. But now temptation and trial have revealed it to you.
You can see plainly that you need to be saved. You are
the very man Jesus Christ came to save. He Himself
said : ' I came not to call the good ones but the bad ones to
repentance.' "
" Net, net," he groaned, " la aluda laui gon" (" Yes,
yes, it is aU plain to me now").
# * * * *
" So Shabaim-Neuk repented and accepted the Lord
Jesus Christ as his Saviour and lived a happy Christian
life for many years at a mission on the coast, out of sight
of the scene of his dark heathen life, his trials and temptations.   He trusted in God that Pie would dehver him from VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION      133
sin in this Ufe and receive him into the place prepared
for him hereafter ; and when it came to crossing ' the
great divide ' he was not disappointed of his hope."
And what about Hadagim-simoigit ? He never did
much to merit any other name than the one he had always
deserved—("the Bad Chief"). When McCuUagh was
preaching in his viUage (Gitlakdamiks) he used to hide in a
ceUar excavated beneath the floor of his house. Then the
missionary took to going there on Sundays and preaching
to his wife and children with an extra loud word now and
then intended for the ears of the husband and father
skulking under the floor beneath their feet ; so he could
not altogether evade hearing the Gospel. One Sunday
he did not go below as usual but sat among his famUy
above ground on a heap of furs and dirty blankets, with his
eyes closed.
" After holding a short service, we were about to leave,
when he asked us to stop a moment and hear what he had
to say :—' Chief McCuUagh, no man ignores the fact ;
it is so, indeed it is rather so, that if there be peace to-day
up and down this viUage it is owing to your presence among
us. We are a hard lot (sic) ; we are like an undressed
skin, the perfection of hardness. But, by dint of scraping
and rubbing, our women soften the hardest skins and make
moccasins of them, soft and easy to wear. And so it is
with us and you ; you have been rubbing and scraping
us with the Malashqu (Gospel) for many years, and I think
we are beginning to feel it ; I think we are getting softer.
Therefore, do weU what you do, chief ; keep on scraping
us and you wiU make moccasins of us yet for the Chief on
High.    My say is finished.'
" We were not a Uttle astonished at this unlooked-for
testimony of Hadagim-simoigit to the power of the
Through Deep Waters
THOSE who knew McCuUagh intimately, staying in the
same house with him or entertaining him as their
guest, will always think of him as a man of sunny disposi-,
tion, remarkable for his buoyancy of spirits, bubbling over
with fun and humour, irradiating the happy quality of an
unfailing cheerfulness at all times and under all circumstances. This was not cultivated ; it was transparently
natural. Such a constitutional temperament must have
been of much value to him in the kind of work he had to
do, and in the face of the hardships and difficulties by which
he was so often confronted. He possessed courage of that
high order which made him not only fearless in the presence
of danger but eager to tackle hard problems, never afraid
to undertake difficulties, often glorying in them because of
a superlative optimism allied to his strong faith in the
presence, the guidance and the love of God as his Father,
Saviour and Friend.
But there was another side to the shield, a side which
was seldom exposed to view. At times he was subject to
fits of depression. It was not hard work that he minded.
" Sixteen hours per diem are not sufficient for me to do aU
I want to do ; but I love it so that I feel like a child playing all day. My only drawback is in not being able to
write as many letters as I would like to send to all my
Yet again he says : " People ask me, ' Do you ever feel
weary in it aU ?  does it ever seem a burden ? '
" Sometimes there does not seem to be a smile left in me,
and the work seems to press so heavily.  But then I remem-
ber that it is part of the work and cross of Christ—His,
rather than mine. At best I am only lending Him a hand,
helping Him with His cross (O blessed privilege !), helping
to roll away the stone from the sepulchre wherein the
Nishgas lie dead in trespasses and sins, that He may call
them forth into the Ught of everlasting life."
When writing a description of the Red man's character
and of those innate qualities in him which made his
salvation a problem requiring understanding, patience
and sympathy on the missionary's part, he adds :
" I may say here, in passing, that it is not an easy thing
to stand by this problem. It would be so much more to
our interest to seek another sphere. But how any man,
chosen to be a servant of the Lord, can place in the balance
his own interests and preferences, likes and dislikes, and
weigh them against the difficulties and trials involved in
the service allotted to him, is quite beyond my comprehension. Of course there is the Lord's own manifest guidance ;
but it does not always lead one in the line of least resistance. ' If any man draw back, My soul shall have no
pleasure in him.' There is such a thing as backdrawing as
well as backsliding, and it is so easy to draw back. I
would say then, 'Brethren, pray for us,' that we may be
enabled to stand by this work faithfuUy during the Lord's
And once more he closes a long letter, to his friend Mr.
C. B. Robinson, in these words :
" Ah ! dear brother, I envy you sometimes. Life is a
haven of peace for you ; for me it seems to be war with
the powers of darkness all the time. No sooner am I
through with one fight than another is on, and so it goes.
WeU, the Lord reigns, at any rate, and that's enough for
me. 'The Lord is King, be the people never so impatient.' "
In these extracts from his letters home we can see how
he bore the lesser evUs of life, the minor trials of his faith,
incidental in their way, forming as they did the necessary
complement of the success and progress of his work and
spiritual welfare. But they were of no account in comparison with the great sorrow that broke him down 136 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
completely in December, 1900, when his wife died. She
was one of those quiet retiring natures that shone with
a very subdued light beside the brilliant gifts and intense
fervour of the man for whose sake she had given up the
comforts of an English home with her own people. The
monotony of her life may be gauged from the fact mentioned in one of her husband's journals that at one time
" for four years she did not see the face of a white sister of
any degree or class."
Their daughter Melita (now Mrs. Priestley) writes thus of
the old days when she was a child :
1 I remember my mother teaching the girls to read and
write, and trying to keep me interested in a doll or a book
in the schoolroom too, so that she could teach them and
keep an eye on me at the same time. Also I weU remember
her, when the bales of warm clothing came from England
for the Indians, making up and addressing bundles of warm
gifts for the poor, the sick and the widows, and then getting two Indian lads and sending them from house to house
with the presents. The Indians dearly loved my mother,
and have never forgotten her. When anyone was sick and
father was away she would see to them, sometimes being
called up in the night to go to them ; also she made soup
and jellies for them when they were ill. My mother taught
me everything ; being an only child she could not bear to
part with me. At the age of thirteen I played the organ
at the Church Service for the first time, thanks to my
mother's patient teaching, singing all the hymns and
chants in the Indian language."
In 1893 a White Cross Association was established for
women only. It grew to a membership of more than
twenty. This was Mrs. McCullagh's work. She organized
these Christian women into a union for nursing the sick.
When the new Church was being built she gathered together
a number of Indian women to form a working-party ; the
moccasins, beadwork and knitted socks thus made during
the course of three years were sold, realizing about 360
dollars, which were given to the Church fund.
The illness which resulted in her death was caused by THROUGH DEEP WATERS 137
eating a bad tin of salmon. Melita had a narrow escape,
being at the outset more seriously Ul than her mother ;
but her system was more amenable to the remedies
employed ; and the missionary himself nearly died from
the same cause. Mrs. McCuUagh was not in good health at
the time, and her powers of resistance were small. The Ul-
ness assumed a typhoidal character with dysentery and
dehrium, ending in her death on December 18, 1900.
There was at the time no doctor on the Naas, and a messenger was dispatched to the Methodist Medical Missionary at
Fort Simpson. He did his best to reach Aiyansh in time ;
but he got no nearer than Kincolith when the sad tidings
met him that all was over.
McCuUagh had not been quite alone, however. A few
days before his wife's death a son of Archdeacon Sargent,
who was on his way to Hazelton, caUed at Aiyansh and,
seeing how great the need was, stayed until the end. His
presence and quiet sympathy were a source of strength and
comfort when McCuUagh was passing through the fiery
furnace of intense anxiety and sorrow.
Later on McCuUagh wrote : " I did everything I could
for her with the means at my disposal, and was able in
some measure, I think, to mitigate her sufferings. During
the last twelve days I got only about eight hours' sleep, as
she needed constant attention. She seemed to know when
I knelt by her side, with her hands taken in mine, while I
entreated God to spare her ; for on one occasion she passed
her hands lovingly over my head. I realized fully the
dangers incident to the disease, and used disinfectants
freely, taking every precaution. Melita and an Indian
woman had their fuU share of work, but I did aU the nursing myself. About an hour and a half before the end she
feU into a sweet sleep, breathing freely and enjoying
apparent freedom from pain, and in this sleep she passed
peacefuUy away.    She did not die, but rather fell on sleep.
" The Indians were inconsolable and made great lamentations. They asked to be aUowed to bury her themselves,
and I consented. And so they made the coffin very beauti-
fuUy and lined it with zinc ; they also made an outer sheU 138 McCULLAGH  OF AIYANSH
—waterproof and hermetically closed—as though they
would fain keep off all corruptive agencies from the dear
body. It was a revelation to me to see with what dehcacy
and tenderness they did everything, and how those proud
chiefs, be-painted and feathered only a few years ago,
meekly knelt around the newly-made grave and wrought
upon it in white shells from the sea-shore the emblem of the
Cross, and how the tears coursed down their cheeks, and
they thought it no shame.
" I never thought that the quiet, unobtrusive life and
work of the dear patient worker had made such a deep
impression on the callous Indian, and there by the side of
her grave I silently gave God thanks for her and her good
example. Thus closed the chapter of a quiet, meek and
lowly Ufe, diffidently consecrated to Christ and His service.
She ever felt her little all was very little indeed, but she was
faithful in that little ; she was not little in her faithfulness
and devotion ;   she was great.
" The same evening after the funeral, I was down myself
with that awful typhoid. The Archdeacon was fortunately at hand, and he proposed that I should be taken
down to Kincolith, but I would not hear of it for several
days. Then, as I felt everything slipping away from me,
I let them do what they wished, only stipulating that
when aU was over I should be brought back again and
buried beside my wife. The disease, however, ran a low
course, with only a short period of delirium and one relapse.
Mrs. Colhson was a trained nurse and looked after me weU.
Humanly speaking, I believe I owe my recovery to being
in an upstairs room overlooking the sea."
McCuUagh was a long time in regaining his strength and
suffered greatly from the after effects of the disease ; sometimes feeling as though he could willingly have lain down
and died.
" Try how I wiU I cannot readjust the focus of my life ;
I cannot bear to think of resuming my work. I feel like a
derailed locomotive ; how I am to get on the lines again
I cannot teU."
He found his daughter, Melita a great comfort to him ; THROUGH DEEP WATERS     139
but his unselfish nature made her also the cause of much
anxiety. He felt he ought not to take her back to an
isolated place like Aiyansh, and yet he dreaded going back
alone to the empty house. So an arrangement was made
that he should go for three months to Esquimalt Harbour
near Victoria, at the southern end of Vancouver Island—
to act as locum tenens for the Rector of Esquimalt, who was
also Chaplain to the Forces there. This would be a beneficial change, giving him a new kind of work. It was also
arranged that his daughter should go to school for a time,
spending her hoUdays between Aiyansh and the home of
Archdeacon and Mrs. CoUison at Kincolith.
After a time McCuUagh felt able to go back to Aiyansh
and take up his work again. The burden at first pressed
sorely upon him, and indeed continued to do so for many
months ; but in September, 1902, he was able to write :
" Within the last two months I have become almost if
not altogether my old self : nay, more than that, I believe
I am now in better health than I have been for fifteen
years. About twenty-five years ago I had a very severe
attack of enteric, which not only left considerable intestinal
debility, but also some physical obstruction, and this had
been evidently increasing for the past fifteen years, until it
had almost worn me out with languor and general decay.
Now it seems that the last attack of typhoid has carried
away the legacy of the former attack, leaving me as I was
as a young man. . . . After the Conference held last May
at Alert Bay I went to consult a doctor in Victoria ; he
put the final touch on my recovery. Since my return to
Aiyansh I have put on twenty pounds in weight. Isn't
that a good account of the great goodness of God ? It is
so much more than I expected or thought possible. I
believe God has spared me to go on with this work, that
He approves of the lines on which I have been trying to
carry it on, and that He wiU so prosper and bless it that a
remnant of this people shall be estabhshed to glorify His
name. It seems to me the strangest, sweetest thing in the
world to be in good health. When I look back, on the last
nine years especially, I cannot conceive how I managed to 140
keep pegging away so weU, and I alone know how I had to
dig the spurs in to make the old nag f get up.' I need no
spurring now, but rather holding in. May God strengthen,
sanctify and enable me to do all with a single eye to His
The Salvage of a Derelict Mission
FORTY-SIX miles below Aiyansh on the Naas River is
situated one of the most ancient Nishga viUages,
known to the Indians as Lak-Kaizap. About the year
1874 the Methodist Church of Canada estabhshed a Mission
here. The work was commenced by the Rev. A. E. Green,
by whose untiring industry and abihty the Mission flourished tiU 1888, when he left for another sphere of labour.
The place was then named Greenville after him. He was
foUowed by a succession of missionaries, some of them
being excellent and devoted men who did a splendid work ;
others attempting great things, yet failing through lack of
understanding the nature and character of the Indians.
The result was that the adherents of the Mission became
seriously disaffected towards the Methodist Church, the
process of disintegration steadUy increasing.
In 1902 a young minister, utterly inexperienced in Indian
work, was placed in charge. He only remained one winter ;
the next two years were blank, and the relations between
the Indians and the Church of which they were members
became very strained. The Lak-Kalzap converts were
made to bear the odium of aU this, acquiring such a bad
name that it was said that no missionary could do anything at that place.
In October, 1904, McCuUagh wrote to a friend in
England : " I take a special interest in this Mission, because
the majority of the Christians here are, in reality, my own
converts, that is to say, they are converts from the Gitlakdamiks tribe among whom my work Ues ; but, on embracing
Christianity, instead of settling at Aiyansh, they sought to
get as far away as possible from their old heathen habitat,
and so came down to settle at Lak-Kalzap."
On several occasions deputations from the tribe waited
upon Archdeacon CoUison at Kincolith (a few miles farther
down the river), begging that their people might be received
into the Church of England. McCuUagh was petitioned in
like manner ; but in both cases they were always sent
away with the same reply—" Impossible." Neither of
these two men ever had a thought of annexing the Mission ;
such an idea was repugnant to them both, and they always
sided with the Methodists against the people whom they
looked upon as recalcitrant and unmanageable. The
sequel proved to be a strange and wonderful instance of
the ways and workings of divine Providence, quite unlike
anything else in the annals of missionary enterprise.
Unfortunately, the recital does not reflect credit on the
Methodist Church of Canada ; but it must be regretfully
recorded if justice is to be done to the memory of McCul-
lagh, who, without any intention or desire on his part, was
the human instrument whereby the turbulent spirits of
Lak-Kalzap became happy and loyal members of the
Church of England. The story is best told in his own
words as related in the annual letter he wrote in January,
1905, for private circulation among his friends and coworkers at home.
" On the 10th of October last I was on my way up to
Aiyansh with a freighting of supplies for the winter and,
reaching Lak-Kalzap about 10 p.m., I put in there for the
night. Even at that late hour many people came asking
for medicine, and upon inquiry I found that nearly all the
children were down with severe autumnal fever and colds,
complicated by bleeding from the nose and ears and considerable constitutional disturbances. The following day
I delayed my departure at the request of the people that
each little sufferer might receive an adequate share of
attention. Further, I was also compelled to remain tiU
the next day in order to ' weigh off ' a lot of drunken
brawlers who had made the previous night hideous. Then
again later, the people suggested that I should send on my THE SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION  143
canoes and stand by the chUdren until they were better,
when they would find a canoe and men to take me up at
their expense. I did not consent to this at once, as there
were many reasons for my getting back as soon as possible,
and many things remained to be done before the snow fell ;
but when I thought of the poor helpless chUdren, and
remembered that seven of them at least seriously required
experienced attention for two weeks to come, I gave in and
sent on my canoes. Then I called several of the principal
men together and said to them, ' Now, I have agreed to
stay for at least two weeks for the sake of the children, and
I want you to promise me two things, that you will not
trouble me with your Mission difficulties or your land
grievances.'   They promised.
" ' Now that's all right,' thought I, foohshly imagining,
like the ostrich, that I had put away the whole body of
the difficulty by sticking its beak in the sand !
" But I soon found out that the old proverb is still true—
' in fleeing from a difficulty we pursue it.' I already understood, of course, that the people here were very much disaffected, but supposed that the feeling did not go beyond
resentment against their Church. Great was my consternation, therefore, as I went in and out amongst them, to
find that the profession of Christianity had been almost
entirely thrown off ! There was no longer an observance
of the Sabbath ; there were no religious services and no
means of grace. Every face wore an expression of
heathen vacuity and sullen indifference. But this indifference was not merely passive, it was fast becoming an
active principle of evil, for the whole community, with
the exception of the sick, attended aU the heathen dances,
halaids, wine feasts and blanket tearings ! Four times did
this happen during my stay !
" My first thought was one of astonishment that, the leading Methodist Mission on the coast being so near as Port
Simpson, this Lak-Kalzap station had not been periodicaUy
visited from that place. And here the people were almost
right back into heathenism, and it seemed nobody's business to know, and nobody's business to care. 144 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
" I What,' thought I, ' if this community of nearly two
hundred disaffected and disheartened Christians, neglected
by the Methodists and rejected by our Church of England,
lapse into heathenism, shaU not we, equally with the
Methodists, be held responsible ? And how would the lapse
of this Mission affect our own Missions on the Naas—Kincolith and Aiyansh ? Would it not give a new lease of lif e
to heathenism and so set back our work for two generations
to come ? ' StiU, though I thought like this, the idea of
taking over the Mission never once seriously entered my
head. On the contrary, I made an effort to puU the Methodist organization together. There was not time enough to
communicate with the Methodist leaders ; something must
be done, and that immediately. I tried to haul the local
preachers out of their holes ; I tried to put the Epworth
Leaguers on their feet ; I tried to get the stewards to look
after the Church ; but nobody could be found j in good
standing,' and everyone was sullen and ' ugly ' and anti-
Methodist !
"The leading chiefs were aU down, some through liquor
and others through heathen 'nostalgia.' I found that
every man's defection was cut and dried ; that aU eyes were
turned to the other—the heathen—side of the river ; that
Ulala regalia and naknogs and things of that kind were
being laid up in store ; that everything, in fact, was ready
awaiting the arrival of the psychological moment for the
devil to start the whole place off into an outburst of
' As far as I have been able to ascertain since, all this was
a premeditated thing, deliberately conceived as an offset to
the Methodist neglect of the Mission and our refusal to
have anything to do with it. Just as the Chinaman tries
to get even with his enemy by committing suicide upon the
steps of his enemy's house, so these people intended to
commit spiritual suicide at our doors to put us to shame.
MeanwhUe the psychological moment was drawing nearer,
and nobody knew it but God Himself."
During the previous summer months a chief named
Arthur Calder and another young Indian called Moses THE  SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION  145
McKay had been working at Vancouver. Whilst there,
they had endeavoured to obtain from the leaders of the
Methodist Church the promise of another missionary ; but
their efforts had faUed. They came away from these interviews in a disheartened spirit, and returned to Lak-Kalzap
on the 16th of October. " Their hearts," they said, " had
been made angry," and the report they gave of the Ul-
success of their efforts seemed to increase the feeling of
bitterness which McCuUagh had found already to be so
I And this was the moment for which God had brought
me down from Aiyansh, unexpectedly ; this was the
moment for which the bad weather kept me at Kincolith
so much longer than I intended to stay ; this was the
reason why we were so delayed on the 10th of October,
that we could not pass by Lak-Kalzap without calling in.
And here I was, placed by God's own hand between this
people and the abyss of heathen despair. The flash of
enlightenment took away my breath. I saw it aU as in a
vision, and bowed my head and worshipped.
" The foUowing day a general meeting was held at which
every adult member of the Lak-Kalzap Band (a community
of Indians on one reserve is called a Band) voted for withdrawal from the Methodist Church, and the Council forwarded a copy of the resolution to the superintendent of
their Mission. They also notified the public through the
Colonist newspaper and issued a notice to the effect that,
thirty days after date, they intended making formal
application to be received into the Church of England.
" Here then was a thing—the last thing in the world I
would have undertaken to do of my own mind—absolutely
laid upon me by the inexorable law of necessity. I had
no choice ; we, the Indians and myself, were face to face
in a very tight place. I had no \ backing/ no guarantee
that my action would be sustained or this added burden
provided for ; never was I weaker or more destitute of all
that makes a man strong in this world ; but I had seen the
guiding Hand and putting my trust in God, I replied to
the deputation of chiefs who waited upon me that, as God
had laid the burden upon me, I would shoulder it in His
name and do my best for Lak-Kalzap.
" I sent for Archdeacon CoUison, and he at once came up
to me from Kincolith. We talked the whole matter over,
and in the end it was arranged that the Lak-Kalzap people
should be received into the Church of England on the First
Sunday in Advent, a month later. I then went on to
Aiyansh, having had the joy of seeing aU the children
restored to health.
" On the 25th of November we returned to Lak-Kalzap,
with the intention of wintering there. As we approached
the viUage in our canoe at about 7 p.m., our crew boys
began to sing a hymn, and immediately in the distance
ahead we saw the light of many lanterns flashing to and
fro ; a bugle sounded clear and shrill ; an alarm beU went
ding-ding, ding-ding. Lights sprang out of the darkness
in all directions ; strings of Chinese and Japanese lanterns
—aU home-made—ran up every flag-pole. We got nearer
and nearer to the landing-place : up goes a rocket, and a
shower of varicoloured light falls, and flaring torches of
coloured fires make the crowd lining the landing-stage look
rather Stygian, and I stepped on to the wharf amid an
explosion of Chinese crackers. In a moment every head
was bared and, notwithstanding the spluttering of the
dying fireworks, we raised our voices in prayer and praise.
" Three days after my arrival I received aU the people
individuaUy into the Church of England, and again three
days later, St. Andrew's Day—the very day our new
Bishop was being consecrated—the people began to turn
their town-hall into a temporary Church, which has been
named St. Andrew's Church. About this time a delegate
came along from the Methodist Missionary Society to see
what was the matter. I was laid up with a bad cold when
this gentleman arrived, and his first question on coming in
to see me was :
" WeU, Mr. McCuUagh, what evil have you been inflicting on these poor people that they are so changed ?"
" (Nobody in the town had a welcome for him, which was
the change he alluded to.)    To this I replied : THE SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION  147
" ' I am hardly the person, Mr. to supply you with
information as to the evil which has been inflicted on these
poor people ; that is a question you should put to your
own Missionary Board.'
" We opened our temporary Church, and set on foot our
new parish organizations, two readers, two churchwardens,
two caretakers and a sexton ; Church Army with captain
and lieutenants ; a guild of elders ; a choir and choirmaster and an organist, Melita holding this appointment (!)
pro tern.
" Everything is now prospering with us at this place,
spiritually and morally ; instead of lapsing Christians we
have conversions from the heathen ; but the village is in a
poor condition from a sanitary and material point of view.
A new town site has, however, been laid out—lines cut,
streets laid out, and lots defined. The old huddled line
of buUdings along the water front which constitute the
present village, the impossible street with its impossible
rotten planks and foundation must all be swept away ;
drains must be cut, new roads planked, new houses built,
fences made, a Church, school-house and mission-house
erected, and many other things done, the prospect of
which fills my heart with joy and dismay at the same time;
joy, to push forward another work like Aiyansh, and dismay, to think that I may not be able to do it. This, of
course, is want of faith, for surely God wiU provide for a
work which He Himself has so manifestly blessed."
On his return to Aiyansh, McCuUagh was immediately
sent for to go to Gitlakdamiks, to quell a disturbance
which had taken place among the people there, caused
by an outbreak of drunkenness in which the villages of
Angida and Gitex were also involved. This lamentable
condition of affairs had been brought about by a band of
thirty heathen Indians who had been doing their best, with
the aid of privately-distiUed liquor, to exterminate one
another. The whole country was in a ferment, large
numbers of the Indians being crazed by the drink. As a
magistrateMcCuUagh at once took stern measures. Search-
warrants were issued and served ; all the distUlery appar- 148 . McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
atus, together with quantities of liquor, were seized by
twenty-eight constables specially enrolled for the purpose ;
the principal culprits were brought before the bench and I
sentenced by McCuUagh to various degrees of punishment, and aU were heavily fined.
Then a reaction set in as quickly and remarkably as the
outbreak had occurred. " Nearly everyone concerned was
so alarmed and shocked by the outrageous sin and folly
into which they had been betrayed that they became
repentant, and individually and collectively abandoned
heathenism and joined the Mission at Aiyansh. Men who
a few months before were the hardest of hard cases are
to-day to be found praying and prophesying in the Name
of Christ." In the last chapter of this Journal (for 1905)
McCuUagh was able to write to his friends in England :
| I am afraid I have been rather delayed in completing
my letter, but the delay has been caused by events so
glorious and victorious that I am glad and thankful to be
able, by God's blessing, to conclude my letter with news
undreamed-of when I began it : there is not a heathen left on
the Naas at this date !
" The events of the past two months would fill a volume
with the most interesting missionary matter if one had
time to draw it out as a living picture. As you may
imagine, our joy is as the joy of those who joy in harvest.
We have sown the good seed with many a tear and heartache, but now we have gathered in the sheaves with joy.
" Pray for all those who have been gathered in, and do
not forget us in the material part of the work. We shall
need your help now more than ever." CHAPTER XIX
The Shore End of the Net
THERE is an old-fashioned method of catching fish
which is still practised by fishermen on the East
coast of England. It is by means of the seine net. Some
three or four men push off from the beach in their crab-
boat, taking with them one end of the net; the other end
is held by their partners on the shore. When the oarsmen
have pulled the boat out to the full extent allowed by the
length of the net, they begin to row parallel with the
shore, the other men walking along the beach with them.
Between them they drag the net for some little distance ;
then the boat is rowed inshore again ; the net is drawn
on to the beach and emptied of the fish which have been
This illustrates a primary factor in the principle of
missions to the heathen. Out into the distant parts of
the world, across the intervening waters, go the " fishers
of men," eager to win souls for their Master in lands of
pagan darkness. They carry with them one end of the
Gospel net ; the other is held by their partners—those who
remain at home and help them in their work by prayer and
gifts. It is all done by co-operation. The missionary
must be sent out over the sea; but he cannot maintain himself or carry on his work without the material help of the
friends who undertake to support him in the homeland.
They hold the shore end of the net ; he and they work
together, and both alike will rejoice in the great day when
they lay their spoils at the Master's feet.
McCuUagh could never have done the work of his life
alone ; he could not have gone out to British Columbia or
149 150
laboured with such conspicuous success for thirty-eight I
years among the Nishga Indians without the assistance of
friends who gave generously of their substance and encouraged him by their prayers and sympathy. No one realized
this better or appreciated it more than the missionary himself. When writing about it, he said : " It is this help which
makes such work possible. Strictly speaking, there is no
credit due to me, but rather to those who enable the work
to be attempted and in some measure accomplished."
By whom was McCuUagh sent out, and by whom was he
supported when he adventured his life in the high enterprise of evangelizing the Indians at Aiyansh ? Primarily
by the Church Missionary Society. They held the shore
end of the net.
It is no exaggeration to say that this Society has done
and is doing one of the grandest works ever attempted for
the regeneration of the human race. But its spiritual
activities, like those of all missionary agencies, are limited
and crippled through lack of sufficient monetary support.
McCullagh's stipend was for many years guaranteed by
the C.M.S., but beyond this the Committee could do very
little. All over the world there were other missionaries
also struggling on their slender pay to establish native
Churches. The building of the new Church at Aiyansh, for
instance, could never have been attempted without the
extra help afforded by outside friends. McCuUagh had no
private income ; but God did not let His servant's prayers
go unanswered nor his passion for souls waste itself in vain
desire. During his first furlough in 1890 a large amount of
interest was awakened by the wonderful story he told in
public, enhanced as it was by his magnetic personality and
his fervent appeals to the conscience and sympathies of
those who listened to him.
The late Bishop of St. Albans (Dr. Jacob) was a warm
friend of McCuUagh, whom he looked upon as the ideal
missionary, continuing for nearly thirty years to give his
enthusiastic support to the work at Aiyansh.
Another true and loyal friend was the late Mrs. Foquett,
the wife of a retired doctor living at Ilfracombe.   The .THE SHORE END OF THE NET
Aiyansh Mission became her absorbing interest during the
latter years of her life. She did not ask people directly for
money, but she used to transcribe McCullagh's long letters
home, sending them round the circle of her friends and,
except for the prayers that foUowed them, leaving these to
make their own appeal to the hearts of the readers. As she
was a martyr to rheumatism in the hands, this self-imposed
task must sometimes have been the cause of much pain.
For many years, during the early and middle stages of his
work, McCuUagh received substantial help for the Indians
in the shape of blankets and warm clothing through
the " Missionary Leaves Association ; " its secretary, Mr.
Malaher, being a warm friend of the missionary. Afterwards the same kind of help was rendered with equal
sympathy and appreciation of the work by Mr. T. H.
Baxter, secretary of the Exhibitions and General Wants
Department of the Church Missionary Society.
During McCullagh's second furlough the " Nishga
Union " was formed by his friends in England, with the
object of supporting his work financially as weU
as by their prayers. The Bishop of St. Albans
became President of the Union, Mrs. Foquett acted
as secretary, and Mr. C. B. Robinson added his invaluable services in becoming the hon. treasurer. As a trained
accountant he was able to relieve the missionary of a
large amount of financial anxiety, thus consecrating his
special gift to the service of his divine Lord and Master.
In the last chapter we saw how, during the autumn
of 1904, the Methodist mission at Lak-Kalzap came under
McCuUagh's control. The need of his presence in this
place became so urgent that he decided upon deferring his
much-needed furlough and wintering there, leaving Charles
Morven, an Indian who had been carefully trained and
educated by himself from boyhood in the mission-house, in
charge of Aiyansh during his absence.
In June, 1905, the Canadian Methodist Church withdrew
Lak-Kalzap from their official list of mission stations, and
it was formally united to the Church of England. The
Bishop of Caledonia compensated the Methodist Missionary 152 McCULLAGH  OF AIYANSH
Society for their buUdings, paying 1,500 doUars for themi
although they were all in a state of decay. This was the
utmost he could do with the limited funds at his disposal.
The Church Missionary Society was already spending as
much as could possibly be spared for their own stations in
British Columbia, and they could not undertake any further
liabilities. McCuUagh knew this when he accepted the
responsibility. From the very first day that the burden
was laid at his feet and he took it up in obedience, as he
believed, to the wiU of God, he clearly foresaw that the
money needed must be raised by his own personal efforts.
He therefore made up his mind to come to England, which
he did early in October, 1906.
He had in readiness a staff of native catechists, trained
by himself and licensed by the Bishop as lay evangelists.
One of these, Charles Morven, he left in charge of the
Mission at Aiyansh, two others at Lak-Kalzap and one each
at Gitlakdamiks and Gwinoha. $ These," he wrote, " wiU
hold the forts during my absence, under the eye of the
It was then that the Nishga Union was formed with a
special view to financing Lak-Kalzap. This meant that
the contributions of old friends hitherto given to Aiyansh
must in future be transferred to that station.
S I don't think," writes Mr. Robinson, " that this very
real self-denial on the part of Mr. McCuUagh has ever been
pointed out ; his scheme for Lak-Kalzap means his own
serious loss."
For many years the Nishga Union may be said to have
joined hands with the Church Missionary Society in holding and working the shore end of the net for McCuUagh's
work on the Naas River.
In September, 1907; was issued the first number of
Aiyansh Notes, a small quarterly magazine, pubUshed with
the object of maintaining interest in the Mission. In
September, 1909, this journal put on a new guise, assuming the title of North British Columbia News. This
change was owing to a wish expressed by Bishop (now
Archbishop) Du Vernet to make known the needs of the THE SHORE END OF THE NET        153
diocese of Caledonia. McCuUagh willingly acceded to the
Bishop's desire ; the new journal becoming the official
channel of information for the work of the whole diocese.
At the same time he concurred in a scheme which included
the amalgamation of the Nishga Union Fund with the
Bishop's Mission Fund. " Here again," writes Mr. Robinson, " McCuUagh must have seen that this would divert
money from his plans, but he loyally acquiesced."
In these things we may see what a true servant of God
he was, putting himself and his own work into the background if he thought that by so doing he could help in
advancing the wider interests of the Church as a whole.
The North British Columbia News stUl continues to run its
course as a quarterly journal, brightly written and Ulus-
trated by photographs of exceptional interest.
By McCuUagh's personal influence workers were obtained
for Lak-Kalzap. Mr. E. P. Laycock, a young architect,
arranged to go out there with his wife and take charge of
the Mission. They were to be joined by Miss Copeland,
who undertook to teach the chUdren, and later on by Miss
Clayton, a lady nurse, when her hospital course was completed, if sufficient funds could be obtained. A doctor had
just settled on the Naas, and a small hospital had been
opened in the valley ; but there was, as yet, no nurse.
An urgent letter from the Bishop, pressing the needs of
the Gitlakdamiks tribe, came at a time when McCuUagh
was making these people the object of special prayer. On
the very day after receiving this letter he was to address a
meeting of undergraduates at Cambridge.
" I was very much distressed in spirit," he wrote, " and
prayed earnestly that God would raise me up a young man
at Cambridge, some one with means of his own, who would
come out and work for a few years in this village (Gitlakdamiks)."
At an informal reception (held before the big meeting)
in one of the men's rooms at Trinity College, he met Mr.
Ingram, the son of an officer in the Indian Army, who
intended becoming a mechanical engineer and electrician.
The result of their interview was that Mr. Ingram accepted 154 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
McCullagh's invitation to go out at his own charges and
work as a lay missionary at Gitlakdamiks.
With the prospect of such fellow-workers aiding him to
carry out his plans, the missionary was able to face the
future with a new courage and confidence. But there was
something else of which he stood consciously in need, without which he never felt himself able to accomplish much,
and that was intercessory prayer.
" I would like," he wrote, " to thank all those who came
to my help in regard to the intercession list I sent home
with my New Year's greeting. I do not need to ask who
or how many have made request for me before the throne
of heavenly grace, for I am receiving the answer in myself
day by day, even more than I can contain."
Before leaving England an event occurred of deep importance, to his own personal life especially, and also for the
Indians at Aiyansh. This was his marriage with Eleanor,
the youngest daughter of the Rev. A. P. and Mrs. Wharton.
For many years he had been the family's great missionary
hero, visiting them as friends during his furlough. His
second marriage proved full of happiness for them both.
Henceforward his work and his trials were shared by one
who understood and sympathized with his noble ambition
for the souls of men. CHAPTER XX
Sunlight and Shadows on the Naas
ON August 3, 1907, a meeting was held at the Church
House, Westminster, presided over by the Bishop
of St. Albans, to say good-bye to the Rev. J. B. and
Mrs. McCuUagh, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Laycock and Miss
Copeland. On August 8, they left Liverpool on the
" Corsican," many friends coming to see them off with a
word of good cheer and some useful gifts for their trans-
Atlantic voyage. Mr. J. T. Ingram was to follow them
by a later boat. Owing to several delays and digressions
en route the party did not reach their final destination
until September 28.
McCuUagh was conscious at once of some subtle, indefinable change in the Indians. By degrees he found out
that during his absence a secret movement had been on
foot—nothing less than a confederation of all the Indians
of the Province to throw off the domination of the white
man. This disaffection had been engineered by an Indian
chief named Joe Capilano, who in 1905 had paid a visit to
England and had been received in audience by King
Edward. Taking advantage of this favour, on his return
he stated everywhere, and it was believed, that the King
was on the side of the Indians and against the Canadian
Government. An anti-English league was to be formed
in order to boycott and expel from the country all the
whites except the missionaries. The Indians were to rise
and go on the war-path, in conjunction with the Japanese,
whom they regarded as their kinsmen. By this sinister
influence the tribes on the Naas were rendered unsettled
and spiritually unsympathetic.    McCuUagh was only back
in time to prevent a serious outbreak. His knowledge
of the Indians' character and the confidence they had in
him enabled him to reason with them and to convince
them of the folly into which they had so nearly been
In order to understand one very important side of
McCullagh's influence in the valley of the Naas, it is
necessary to explain somewhat fully the relationship
or antagonism existing between the whites and the
Indians in Western Canada.
Among the earliest white settlers and traders, British
Columbia was recognized as a fine country for Indians,
abounding as it did in wUd animals which were valuable
for their furs and abounding also in salmon with which the
rivers teemed. But that was all, except for a few dreamers
who saw visions of great possibilities in the future. With
the extension of civilization and the development of industrial enterprise the visions rapidly became realities. And
then began a race for land, so that soon not a square mile of
arable land was left unstaked in the Aiyansh and neighbouring valleys or in any other place exhibiting a possibility of raising a potato.
| The Indian, however," wrote McCuUagh, " seemed to
be regarded as a negligible quantity in this race, for his
hunting and fishing grounds are now all mapped off as the
property of others, without so much as ; by your leave ' to
him. Consequently he feels distressed in his mind, sore,
hurt, aggrieved. He thinks that his ancient rights should
have been respected, and that his long record of loyalty to
the * Great Queen ' better rewarded. Of his own native wit
he understands that some sort of settlement should have
been made with him by the Government for the alienation
of his lands. He misses something to which he cannot
quite give a name.    I think it is Justice.
"The Indian loves his country with a deep, passionate,
understanding love, even as I myself have grown to love
its wild haunts. The rippling streams, the verdant slopes,
the pine-studded parks, the glorious blue-berry patches
and strawberry dells, the dense bush, the beaver meadows SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 157
and muskegs, the heavUy-timbered forest with its mossy
carpet and winding ways, the silent lake, the river with its
everlasting supply of fish, the hunting and the trapping,
and the labours and the joys of home—all this he sees
coolly appropriated by strangers, whose only conception
of him is that he is ' a jolly nuisance.' It must be hard
on him when he takes his famUy off as of yore to the
spring hunt, and they once more gather round the old
camp-tree to make their temporary home, to find the old
tree blazed and a notice inscribed thereon—
(Signed) WHITE MAN.
He reads this and the warm blood runs cold to his heart.
Then his cheeks begin to feel hot and burning ; there is a
choking sensation in his throat ; his teeth are set and his
eyes blaze. Look at him, as he stands alone by his rights
against the magnitude and weight of the whole British
Empire ! He does not cringe, he does not lose his head
—he burns, and cries, i Oh, I feel as if my heart would
" It must not be inferred that nothing has been done
by the British Columbia Government for the Indians.
Most of their vUlages have been surrounded by reserves
of varying dimensions ; but these reserves have been
made without a settlement. A few thousand acres do not
appeal to the Indian ; he needs a wide range ; like the
buffalo, he requires a national park."
To create an atmosphere of good understanding between
the white man and the Indian ; to plead the cause of the
latter before the tribunal appointed by the Government,
on the one hand, and, on the other, to show the Indian
that his true wisdom lay in adapting himself to the new
conditions imposed by the onward march of civilization
—this formed a large part of the missionary's work during
the latter years of his life. As an instance of the frank,
fearless way in which he talked straight to the Indians
on the subject, we wUl take an extract from a speech he 158 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
once made to them. They had asked him to act as their
chairman when they met for the purpose of electing a
new Council. The chiefs and others who were present
vigorously advocated a repeal of the I Indian Act,"
substituting for it an imaginary statute which they called
the f King's Law," by which they hoped to obtain a
larger measure of tribal authority. Thus McCuUagh
closed his final speech from the chair :
"lam glad to be assured by you that you are a wise
people and that you want to walk according to wisdom,
although my mind has lately been divided on this point.
It seems to me you have got your wisdom tied up into a
pretty bad knot ; it would take a clever woman to
unravel your tangled skein. I have listened to your talk
all night, and said nothing ; now, however, I am going
to say one word, and give you one little bit of advice.
My word is this : The Indian Department ought to be,
and is, as far as I know, the Indian's best friend. My
advice is this : keep your seats in the old canoe until you
can get a new and better canoe. You want to jump out
of the old canoe and get into another which is still growing
in the woods, not made yet. You say the old canoe leaks.
Well, I have never yet seen a canoe that didn't leak.
Have you ? There is nothing the matter with the old
canoe except this: You won't paddle. The trouble is
with you yourselves and not with the canoe. The Indian
Act is all right if you will only make use of it. At any
rate, I would not jump out of it, if I were you, until the
King gives you another Act as good, perhaps better.
Take your paddles and dig away. All the time that
you are sitting still the canoe is drifting back. And
then you say, ' It is a bad canoe, that is why it drifts
" And now I have quite finished. I will just say this :
I am ready to swear in a council and constables properly
elected according to the provisions of the King's Indian
Law-Act to-night or to-morrow or any day this week."
At Lak-Kalzap Mr. and Mrs. Laycock, with Miss Cope-
land, had a very trying experience.   They found the SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 159
mission-buUdings in such a dUapidated condition that even
the Indians said that the house would only be habitable
for one more winter. It was not, however, subjected to a
fuU test of this gloomy prognosis, for on January 15
(1908) the place caught fire, and before the flames could
be extinguished the unfortunate trio were burnt out of
house and home.
The Nishga Union generously sent out help, enabling
them, in conjunction with other sources of supply, to
rebuild. Soon afterwards the Bishop took over the entire
responsibility of the place, and its subsequent history forms
no part of the present story.
Mrs. McCuUagh was deeply impressed by the appearance of her new home, by the weU-designed village with its
streets of grassy sward in the centre and the sidewalks
made of wooden pavements raised slightly off the ground,
by the detached houses in which the Indians lived ; and,
above all, by the Church.    She wrote home :
" It is beautifully situated, and its slender spire, the
prettiest I have ever seen, stands out against the glorious
background of snow-capped mountains some three miles
away. The Church is painted white outside, but the spire
is coloured in various soft shades, in an interlacing
diamond pattern, and the effect of this against the white
mountains is unique. . . . My first Service was a surprise
to me. ' How is it possible,' I thought, \ that these neatly-
dressed, nice-looking people with their grave demeanour
and evident comprehension of the solemnity of the occasion
can have been, only a quarter of a century ago, not only
heathens, but savages in paint and feathers ? ' It seems
incredible. . . .
" There is a Celebration of the Holy Communion twice a
month. On the first Sunday in the month it is held in the
Church at the time of Morning Prayer, and again semimonthly in the Mission-chapel at 8 a.m. The chapel,
which is part of the mission-house, is easily made
ready and warm for an early service in zero weather,
but it takes some hours to heat the Church. At my
first Communion in the Church I was surprised to see 60 i6o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
communicants go up, all so reverent, quiet and orderly ;
while at the intermediate service in the Chapel, just as
the day was beginning to break, and the thermometer
io° below zero, there were 35 ! I really thought that
was wonderful."
We can realize something of the pride with which her
husband took her, one bright and sunny day, to the
vantage point of a hill from which to view the valley he
loved so passionately. " How do you like it ? " he asked,
rather proudly; "is it not beautiful?" After a few
moments of intense gazing and wondrous admiration, she
exclaimed : " It is more than beautiful, it is heavenly."
We may also understand something of his happiness
and of the renewed spirit of courage and hope in which
he was able to resume his work, by the way he wrote
home of his wife's introduction to her new life :
" The Indians took to her at once, and she to them. I
never saw anyone so gifted with instinctive insight into
their character, or so capable of understanding the why
and the wherefore of their racial limitations and imperfections, as well as of appreciating their good points, of
which they have not a few. She and my daughter
Melita have each found in the other a delightful companion and fellow-worker. Thanks to Mrs. CoUison, with
whom she has been staying for the last few years, my
daughter is a perfectly capable cook and housekeeper, so
that between them both they run our backwoods
menage in such a way as to make one forget it is backwoods
life at all."
When reviewing long afterwards the early years she
spent at Aiyansh, Mrs. McCuUagh wrote, " the strife was,
in a measure, o'er, the battle finished, by the time I
joined my husband in his work." She meant, of course,
that the citadel of heathenism had been stormed and
taken ; and life at the mission-house could be conducted
on orderly lines. How the missionary spent an ordinary
day may be gathered from his own description :
11 begin work daily with the Indians at 9 a.m. They
come  and  sit  in the entrance-room or mission-room, SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 161
which opens into my Ubrary. First, I attend to those
needing medical care—for an hour or more the scene is a
reproduction of a home dispensary.
" Then comes the turn of those who have other matters
—our parish leaders of various organizations, making
reports, asking advice, etc., our Municipal Council with
some suggestion for discussion ; a few private individuals
with family matters to which I must listen patiently
and give my advice as pastor of the flock.
" Then there may be one or more parties from the
heathen villages with disputes to be settled—disputes
concerning hunting and fishing rights, cases of assault,
etc., which may have to be settled magisterially.
S And so each day begins and goes on. Usually visits
have to be made to sick people in their houses, and the
school has to be looked after ; then, during the afternoon
or evening, I am engaged in translating the Scriptures.
There are, however, lots of interruptions, for Indians are
always coming in witL their Bibles, to have each one a
certain text translated, explained and type-written.
Hitherto the work has gone on tUl 10 p.m. or later, but
since my illness I close at 6 or 7 at latest, although I
would fain go on, like the brook, for ever."
And yet in some ways the strife was never over, the
battle never finished. Although the tribes on the Naas
had abandoned heathenism for Christianity, it must not
be assumed that they were henceforth free from the
assaults of many of the temptations to which they
had yielded without compunction before they knew the
joy and power of the Gospel of a risen Saviour. There
was one evil which never could be entirely exorcised
•—the curse of strong drink. For this deadly form of
mischief the white men were at first mainly responsible.
The Chinese traders joined them in exploiting the Indian
at the cost of his moral welfare ; making merchandise
of his soul and body.
p I have before me," wrote McCuUagh, in an article
he contributed to the Church Missionary Review (July,
1912), " the attested statement of an Indian setting forth
the fact that, in three consecutive seasons, he bought from
the Chinese cook and drank six hundred dollars' worth of
whisky at the cannery where he was employed. I understand now why the Chinese cook at that cannery was able
to boast that he had cleared out of the Indians in one
season a profit of two thousand dollars."
In some of the villages up the river (Gitlakdamiks, for
instance) prior to the conversion of their people to Christianity, the demon of strong drink made havoc of the
morale of their inhabitants. To a large extent this was
caused originally by a well-meaning but very thoughtless
and foolish act, which took place about the year 1900.
g Who sowed the seed ? " asked McCuUagh, in a letter
to one of his friends. And he goes on to answer his own
question : " English women, making wine from raspberries and currants, criminally thoughtless of the monkeylike aptitude of the Indian for observing and imitating.
Now all the berries in the country are turned into fermented liquor by the Indians."
As a magistrate he kept his foot well on the neck of the
evil, but as an ordinary J.P. he really had no power to
act alone in liquor cases, although he never hesitated to
issue a search-warrant when reliable information was
laid as to the manufacture of spirits or wine.
" At last, however, it was decided by one of the judges
sitting at Vancouver that a Justice of the Peace had no
power to issue search-warrants or make seizures on an
Indian reserve. Thenceforth the by-laws of our progressive little Council at Aiyansh became so many dead
letters, and the Council itself retrogressive. There was
hardly a house that did not have its well-constructed
frost-proof wine-cellar, where brews of all kinds, from pain-
kUler and canned tomatoes to swede turnip and strong
tea, were set to ferment. Councillors, constables and
erstwhile respectable citizens seemed to find wine-feasting
in each other's houses a gloriously pleasant form of social
intercourse. From keeping it quietly indoors they waxed
bolder, and shamelessly appeared on the streets the worse
for liquor.   What a commentary upon our boasted twen- SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 163
tieth-century civilization to hear one Indian say to another,
when the sidewalk has proved too narrow to accommodate
them, Î Indian aU same white man now, you bet ! ' "
After much patience, tact and determination, he succeeded in getting a Municipal Council elected by whose
means the mischief was considerably checked. This
CouncU was granted legal powers to deal with the evil,
but its jurisdiction was limited ; it could exercise no
control over the heathen part of the reserve. "So we
are forced," wrote McCuUagh in one of his annual letters,
" to look on helplessly while these deluded people ruin
themselves in body and soul."
At Aiyansh a Temperance Society was formed for men
and another for women. With two or three exceptions
all the Christians became total abstainers. A Band of
Hope was also set on foot for the children.
Pledges were taken and cards signed in the Church.
Outside the chancel stood a smaU* table on which were
displayed pen, ink and pledge-cards. The pledge was
taken before the whole congregation at the close of the
Evening Service, and the cards, when signed, were hung
on the wall above the table. If anyone broke the pledge,
his card was painted with a black border an inch deep and
was not taken down until the pledge was renewed !
" This," said the missionary, 11 considered a better
plan than letting a man hide away his card in his box."
The temperance movement succeeded well among the
Christians ; but it is almost needless to say that it was
impossible ever to persuade a heathen to sign the pledge.
Fighting a Forest Fire
AMONG the sketches written by McCuUagh and
intended for publication I was one with the title
given to the present chapter. Many accounts have
been written by traveUers or newspaper correspondents
of the great fires which from time to time devastate the
forests and prairie lands of the North American continent.
There is, of necessity, a great sameness about the way
in which these conflagrations are depicted ; but, as that
cannot be said of the incident related by the missionary at
Aiyansh, his remarkable narrative is here recorded in full,
iUustrating as it does the picturesque and graphic style
which was so characteristic of his writings and by which he
so easUy enabled his readers to visualize the scenes he
" It was at the beginning of August, 1885, and intensely
hot and oppressive ; there had been no rain during the
previous two months, and the country and mountain-sides
were thoroughly parched. Vegetation in the valleys was
crisp and brown, and the fallen timber by which they
were strewn was like tinder ; the river had been unusually
turbid and swollen, and never before in the history of
British Columbia had the mosquitoes a more delightful
time in the swamps and marshes, to say nothing of our
log-house, which I had to keep filled with the smoke of
smouldering grass to keep them out.
" For a week or more the clear blue of the sky had been
dimmed with a murky haze, through which the sun
appeared as a tarnished disc ; the distant mountains could
no longer be seen ; those adjacent were becoming indistinct, whUe an ominous sUence seemed to have crept
1 Page 51.
over the country—the forests in the neighbouring region
were on fire 1
" Many of the Indians were away at their fishing camps
up the canon, busily engaged in smoking salmon, and as
the water was now low enough in the river to admit of
navigation, I determined to visit them. Accordingly,
hiring a canoe and a crew of Indians, I started off on a
week's tour of the camps. The cool depths of the canon
were pleasantly refreshing ; the ' dodging ' and 1 scampering ' methods of our navigation exhilarating, while an
unmistakable spice of danger made it exciting. It was
on this occasion that I saw for the first time a man's
hair ' stand on end.' We had reached the \ forks ' of the
canon, a place where two rivers meet at a right angle and
surge furiously, working themselves into a raging whirlpool before flowing on in unity, where on all sides the
cliffs rise up as stiff and straight as the houses in Cheap-
side, but much higher. We had to get through by making
a \ cannon ' off the wheeling rim of that dreadful pool,
in order to be driven into a ! pocket/ or reverse current,
on the opposite side of the stream. Before attempting
this the men rested awhile in a peaceful eddy by the cliff,
when one of their number stood up and harangued the
others, saying, ' Now, brothers, let your hearts be strong,
it is every man for his own life ; run the canoe with all
your might, bow on, to the upper circle of the whirlpool,
when she wiU be swept round with the force of a hundred
men, then all you have to do is to keep her bow up-stream
wlnle you paddle for yonder current ! ' Up farther we
went, and then with a mighty push out we dashed towards
the whirlpool. The man who had just spoken occupied the
seat in front of me ; his hair was short, and I distinctly
saw, as we rushed on to the whirl, a creepy, bristling
process take place all over his head, while his skin turned
a whitish yeUow. He was not, however, any the less
brave on that account, nor was he an exception, for I
think a cold shiver ran through us aU, as also through a
group of Indians who were watching us with bated breath
from the top of the cliff.    A little farther up the canon we i66 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
tied the canoe to the stump of a tree and, there leaving
it, began to ascend the chff. The Indians went first, climbing in good style, while I brought up the rear ; it was a
hard climb, but the descent turned out to be harder still.
"We had not been more than three days out when,
noticing the smoke-fog growing more dense, we ascended
a hill to see if the fire had made its way into our country.
Our astonishment was great to behold not only the canon
country on fire but also dense volumes of smoke in the
direction of Aiyansh. The fire appeared to have passed
along the base of the mountains in rear of the Mission
as far as the rapids, from which point it was evidently
turning in an up-river direction. Directly this became
plain to us, the Indians with one voice exclaimed, j Dum
milth Aiyansh ! ' (Aiyansh wiU be burned) ; and then we
started off at a run for the place where our canoe was
tied. We were about one hour in reaching Aiyansh—a
distance of twenty-five miles.
" When we got there we found the old people and women
in a state of great excitement, digging pits and burying
their goods in them. There was no longer any doubt as
to the course of the fire ; it was coming up the flat strip
of land lying between the river and the mountains, on
which strip the mission village stood. There was, however, just the possibility of its progress being stayed by a
smaU stream which traversed this strip. Accordingly, I
despatched a canoe and two men to reconnoitre the locality,
who soon brought back the news that the fire had leaped
the stream.    Then we knew it must be a fight.
" The Indians were very anxious to clear everything out
of the mission-house for burial ; but to all their entreaties
I replied, \ No, thank you.' Then they tried to reason
with me, pointing out that the piles of fire-wood in the
rear of the house extended to the verge of the debris
of faUen trees by which the ground was covered, and
that nothing could save the house. I thought, however,
that an attempt to save the house might not entail any
more labour than taking everything out and burying
it ; therefore I set about'making preparations. FIGHTING A FOREST FIRE 167
At a distance of nearly fifty yards on either side of the
mission-house stood two Indian huts with two potato
gardens of some extent behind them.   The fire could not
pass over those cultivated plots, and if I could but carry
a trench from the outermost angle of one to that of the
other, a distance of about 100 yards, the whole rear of
the premises might be protected.    No sooner thought of
than done.    In a moment I am a navvy, digging off the
surface sod with a four-pronged fork and banking it up
in the direction in which the fire must come ;   the sod
comes off easily and I rapidly take my trench along ; it is
four feet wide plus the two feet of upturned sod.    I tried
to persuade the Indians to assist me, but they only stood
looking on in wonder not unmingled with contempt, as
though a little doubtful of my sanity,   But I had no time
for words ; so I worked like a machine, utterly indifferent
to fatigue and to the blinding streams of perspiration
running down my face.   I had not quite finished taking
off the sod when the roar of the fire was enough to make
one tremble ;   the sky overhead was black with roUmg
volumes of smoke ; pieces of burning timber feU about us
in showers, so that it was not very long before the fire
was  started here and there on the ; flat.'    I was now
labouring away with a shovel, covering the ground on the
inner side of my trench, to the extent of six feet, with
sand ; for after the surface sod had been removed there
was nothing underneath but fine black sand.   The Indians
were also now busy running down to the river for water,
which they poured over logs and stumps near at hand, and
with which they extinguished sparks faUing near  the
houses: evidently they had given me up as a hopeless case !
" The whole ' flat ' was now a raging mass of fire, the
heat was scorching, the smoke stifling, gigantic tongues of
flame were leaping up quite close to me with an uncomfortably fluttering sound, Uke Royal standards in the
breeze.   Every now and then I threw myself flat down
in the trench to inhale a Uttle fresh air near the surface
of the cool sand. I was getting exhausted, but my trench
Was at last completed.   My next step was to place a large 268 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
tub on the roof of the house and fill it with water, so that
I could easUy extinguish any sparks faUing on the roof
or piles of firewood. I felt considerable satisfaction as,
perched upon the roof, I watched the futile efforts of the
flames to leap my trench. The house with, of course,
careful watching, now appeared perfectly safe, flanked
by those two potato gardens ; with a broad barrier running
between, I could afford to sit and admire the terrific
grandeur of the scene. For the first time I now looked
at my hands, which were feeling stiff and sore, to find
them in a dreadful condition !
" The fire was at this period devouring the mighty forest
beyond the ' flat ' ; the flames swept along in sheets,
like immense cataracts, enveloping many a stately spruce
and cedar in a deadly embrace, and licking up with their
fiery tongues the dense undergrowth. The crackling of
branches was like incessant voUeys of musketry ; huge tree-
trunks splitting with the heat, exploded with loud reports
like the discharge of artiUery, the crash of failing timber
resembled the destruction of war as when mighty men of
valour faU in battle, while the harsh rumbling swish of the
relentless element sounded like the onward rush of a
victorious host devastating all before it.
3 The Indians now began to congregate near me, apparently in a very humble-minded condition. They were
glad that the danger was over, but evidently sorry that
their share of the fight had not been in the trench.
"Next day, however, they had an opportunity of making
amends when the fire threatened a viUage a few miles farther up the river ; there they dug a trench and no doubt
saved the place by cutting off the approach of the fire.
" This first conflagration did good in one way by clearing
the ' flats ' of faUen timber and other débris, which
would take much money and labour to clear otherwise :
the mosquitoes, too, have not been so pestilent since the
fire. The whole track of the conflagration is now distinguished by a growth of wUlows, which in a few years
have shot up to the height of ten or twelve feet." CHAPTER XXII
Burned Out
THE old mission-house at Aiyansh, with the additional
rooms built in 1893, was in an advanced stage of
decay by 1910 and had already been condemned by its
owner. And yet he loved it ; most of the labour in constructing it had been the work of his own hands. " Inside
this ramshackle, ungainly-looking backwoods structure
were to be found at least some of the comforts and coziness
of the old nest beyond the sea—a little touch here and a
little bit there of ' England, home and beauty.' What a
wealth of love for the dear old motherland is to be found
stored away in many of the most inaccessible recesses of
this vast Dominion ! Surely it is not possible that the
sons and daughters who see the mother least should love
her most ? And yet this often seems to be the case. Personally, I think if I were reduced to the condition of a
palseohthic troglodyte I should still try to reproduce a Uttle
bit of England in my cave. And if I, who am Irish, feel
like that, I wonder what the true-born Englishman feels ! "
After the incident related in the last chapter, it is easy
to understand the haunting dread by which McCuUagh was
for ever afterwards pursued, alike in nightly dreams and in
waking moments. Many years after that experience he
wrote : " So it has been with me in all the years since my
conflict with the great fire ; Uving in a wooden house, my
one only fear was FIRE. A scratching mouse sends the
blood tingling to my finger-tips ; I start up at the voice of
a bird, and the sound of a grasshopper is a burden. How
often have I been as quick as the fire itself and nipped it
in the bud."
At last the dread phantom became a Uving reality, inexorable and mercUess in the hour of its complete triumph.
The story must be told in the missionary's own words, set
down in his Journal and published a few months later in
the North British Columbia News.
" The seventh day of September, 1910, dawned fresh
and fair over the * VaUey of Eternal Bloom.' The Mission
garden, for the first time for many years, exhibited a gorgeous mass of blossom—dahlias, poppies, sweet-peas, phlox,
mignonette, stocks, pinks and pansies and many another
homeland flower. The sun waxed hotter and hotter
towards noon, glaring down pitUessly from a brassy sky.
One could hardly bear one's hand for a moment's duration
on the wood-work outside.
" At about 11 o'clock the viUage constable came in to
make a report : there had been, it appears, considerable
excitement among the dogs the previous night, and one
woman who had been up late, on opening her door to see
what was the matter, observed the figure of a strange man
standing by her garden gate a few yards away. The light
feU fuU on him, and she waited for him to speak, thinking he wanted something ; but he slunk away into the surrounding gloom, followed by a pack of yelping dogs. She
described him as ' short the stature, pale the face, broad the
shoulders and Boston the hat.'
" ' I imagine the woman must have been indulging in
fermented berry juice,' I remarked to the constable.
" ' That is what I thought at first,' he rephed ; ' but I
have been looking into the matter, and find no reason to
doubt her statement. She seems absolutely sure of her
niggit, and of course we aU heard the dogs.'
" € Yes, but the dogs may have been excited by the
thriUing advent of a porcupine,' I suggested.
" 8 No,' he said, ! there is not a dog in town with a porcupine quiU in his nose. I have looked over them aU. No
dog is missing and no dog is wounded.'
" * Then what do you make it out to be ? ' I asked, my
interest still dormant.
I ! WeU,' he answered, very slowly and with an apolo- BURNED OUT 171
getic air, as though half-ashamed to confess it, \ it was
undoubtedly a niggit. I am not going to bed to-night.
Indians never discard or think lightly of a niggit, and I
would advise you to keep a close watch on the mission-
" ' Close watch for what ? ' I inquired, rather amusedly.
" ' For fire/ he rephed gravely.
" To the best of my recoUection the above contains the
sum and substance of the conversation which took place
between the constable and myself. I was amused and,
perhaps, a Uttle interested from a psychological point of
view, being aware that the Indians have intuitions and
uncanny monitions which more civilized people have either
outgrown or never known. If only I had taken the niggit
as seriously as the Indian did, the history of this day might
have been as peaceful and uneventful in the afternoon as
it was in the morning. Twelve o'clock was our midday
mealtime, and just as we had finished lunch, a solitary
white man from Stewart arrived in town and had refreshment in the porch. The kitchen fire was then allowed to
die out or was kept very low, and there was no other fire
alight in the whole premises. After lunch our white visitor
went out to the viUage store to replenish his pack and, at
about 3 p.m., on going out to the wood-house, I found him
there and entered into conversation with him for a short
time. WhUe thus engaged, my attention was attracted to
the roof of the house by that unmistakable crackle which
sends the blood tingling to one's finger-tips and a cold chiU
to the heart. On looking up I was horrified to see the
whole roof covered with tiny waves of flame—no smoke,
only just rippling flame everywhere. Seizing an axe I
rushed indoors, giving the alarm, and essayed to ascend the
attic stair. A single glance, however, into the attic was
sufficient to assure me that by no means at our disposal
could we possibly stay or extinguish the devouring flames.
In much less time than it takes to teU, pandemonium seemed
to be let loose in the entire attic space under the roof. A
large room there was entirely lined with canvas, while the
sheathing and shingles of the roof were so old, desiccated 172 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
and hot to the point of ignition almost by the down-
pouring sun that it was just like touching off a powder
magazine—the thing seemed to proceed instantaneously
from tiny ripples of flame to the mighty rush and roar of a
" It did not take many seconds to understand that little
or nothing was destined to be saved. The first thought
that took form in my mind was that my loved ones would,
in all probabihty, have to sleep on the bare ground that
night. Accordingly I made a dash for my wife's room and
succeeded in getting out with some bedding and blankets,
which I deposited safely in the summer-house. My wife
had been working at her sewing-machine and baby Nancy
had just awakened from her afternoon slumber. One or
two women came to help, but the principal thing they seem
to have got out in the short time at their disposal was the
rag-box ! My writing-machine was also saved and stowed
away among the raspberry bushes, where the keys were
being rapidly melted, when I espied it and hooked it out.
It appears that several other things were placed too near
the house, and were eventually consumed. Some Indians
also went to the assistance of my son-in-law and his wife,
who were frantically trying to save their effects in another
part of the building.
" Leaving the bedroom to the women who had come to
help, I made a dash for the sitting-room, where there were
not a few valuable things, particularly some of my wife's
wedding presents. On the first trip I brought out a large
Indian brass tray and vase, with its stand ; the next I got
away with several articles of plate from the chiffonier ; the
third attempt was more dangerous : as yet the room was
free of smoke, but the flames were fast enveloping it, and
molten tar, from some patent roofing which I had put up
a month before, was coming through the ceUing, while
showers of glowing embers poured through the stove-pipe
register. I sighed to think I was standing for the last time
in that charming room, the fruit of so much personal labour
and love. I felt loath to leave it and paused a moment for
one last look round.    On the table in the centre, on the BURNED OUT 173
piano and on the writing table, vases of fresh flowers,
which my beloved in the joy of her heart had arranged
that very morning, were aU unconsciously exhaling their last
perfume. On the walls, in their gilt frames, hung several
sweet English country scenes and well-remembered faces,
all precious in our eyes because of the love and friendship
of hearts beyond the seas. Sheets of flame swept down
from the roof and whipped the windows like banners
fluttering in the breeze. Panes of glass warped, buckled,
shivered ; soon they would be running down like water.
One or two sweet-looking children in their silver frames
found refuge in my breast ; out of either trouser-pocket a
candlestick craned its slender neck ; under each arm was
tucked a precious vase—* Good-bye, sweet home, goodbye ! ' and with a choke and a dash I was out in the open
air, never again to enter the old house. One could not
approach the house at all now; but nevertheless I managed
to trundle the washing-machine to a safe distance, also a
heavy box of hardware belonging to the Church. A few old
stoves that were in an outhouse I lifted and carried (how,
I don't know now) to a safe distance. I then felt I had
about reached the end of my tether. Haizimsqu was on
the scene now and had helped the Priestleys in getting out
some of their things ; a few old and invalid men stood
around but could do nothing. Mrs. Haizimsqu was the
very best ' man ' in the field that day—she closed with my
daughter's organ and never let go her grip until it was outside and safely bestowed.
" All at once I missed my wife and my precious Nancy.
Surely the child had not trotted back into the house and
her mother after her ? To my rather wildly-yelled inquiries
I could get no answer. I must get back into the house at
all costs ! Accordingly, I ran round to the front and made
an effort to get in through the printing office. Here an
Indian woman caught me up and pulled me back, trying to
make me understand that my wife and child were up the
street towards the Church. Meanwhile Haizimsqu, who
was stiU on the garden side of the house, also caught the
idea that Nancy had gone back into the bedroom, and 174 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
without any hesitation leaped through the burning porch
and, on his hands and knees, went about the room, groping
for the child, but of course found her not. His hands,
however,came into contact with the sewing-machine, which
he brought out with him. Burning coals had fallen aU over
his back, his clothing was on fire, and I have no doubt he
felt pretty well roasted himself, so he wisely headed for the
river !
" At this juncture James Smythe, our vUlage constable,
who had been out fishing in his canoe nearly a mile away
and had observed the fire break out on the roof of the
mission-house, leaped like a great cariboo into the midst of
our confusion.
" 'Where is the box of dynamite ? ' he panted.
" The dynamite had been utterly forgotten ! It was
stored in an outhouse off the woodshed, and the flames had
already sent out a double line of skirmishers there—the
action was head on ! But James bounded easily through
and presently emerged through flames and smoke with
the box of dynamite in his arms.
" ' I thought when I saw the fire break out that in aU
probability this box would be overlooked,' " he quietly
remarked ; " so I pulled right in-shore, without taking my
net out of the water, and raced for all I was worth.' He
was entitled to smUe triumphantly.
" Most of the able-bodied men were, like James, away
hunting or fishing, otherwise a great deal of property might
have been saved.
" Realizing that there was nothing left now but the ash-
end of things, I wended my weary way towards the Church,
and there I found my wife sitting on the grass with Nancy
playing beside her.
" ' Well, Nell,' I said, ' it is all over. I did what I could,
I am tired now.' May every tired head be as sympathetically pillowed in the time of need. We found that one
smaU handkerchief had been saved between us, and with
that the grime and moisture were wiped from my brow.
1j We have each other left/ I heard her say, ' and
Nancy.' BURNED OUT 175
" ' Yes,' I repUed, as bravely as I could, ' nothing reaUy
is lost but a few things temporal ; faith, hope and love
never go up like this.'
"And so we comforted each other.
" It appears that the first thing my wife did was to send
the nurse-girl away with Nancy up to the Church, and when
she was forced to flee herself she joined them there. As my
first thought had been about the bedding and blankets, so
my wife's first concern was for the printing office, where
she knew the things I most valued were to be found.
Making her way thither alone immediately on the outbreak of the fire, she set to work on the press, but failed to
make any impression. She tried this, she tried that—but
everything was abominably heavy. With commendable
resource she laid hold of two Indians, but her choice was
unfortunate, being limited—one could not see clearly, and
the other could not breathe freely ! So the large trays of
type and heavy machinery remained unmoved. With the
exception of a smaU proof-press, nothing was salvaged out
of the printing-office. Forgetting to save a pair of boots
for herself (I found her up the street in stockinged feet), she
spent the brief moment of salvation at her disposal in
trying to wrestle with impossible machinery because she
knew these things lay nearest my heart.
" The apartments occupied by my daughter and her husband had been sweetly fitted up for them on their marriage
in July last. Poor things ! they, too, lost nearly aU their
belongings. It was quite pathetic to see them, as the fire
went down, trying to hook things out of the burning. And
right nobly have they sustained their loss ; I have not
heard the shadow of a complaint from either of them.
" We were now homeless, and as they had it in the newspapers afterwards, * destitute.' And thus we stood on the
bank of the river as though we had just been dropped
down from the skies, unencumbered with any of this world's
goods, and nothing to go upon but our faith in God. We
very soon realized, however, that, having faith, we had
" The fact is, we never for a moment felt destitute or dis- 176 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
tressed or depressed ; we had passed through the fire, it is
true, but the ' smell ' of it had not passed upon our hearts.
The promise of our divine, ascending Master, ' Lo, I am
with you alway,' was amply verified, for we were harassed
by no care, worried by no anxiety, beset by no misgiving.
An abiding sense of security and an all-pervading peace
kept our hearts. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,-
as it were, the proportions and perspective of life were
changed. The foreground, with its laboured insistence on
the importance and value of things present, faded into a
mere fleecy cloud in the background, while the indefinite,
though heart-ravishing ethereal blue of the far-away took
glorious shape and presence in the one fundamental fact of
life that We are in Christ. I said to myself, * This is worth
the loss of all things to see this as I see it now.' Of course
I knew it before—as a doctrine, a teaching, a Gospel truth ;
now I seemed to know it just as I know any physical fact
about myself—in my heart, in my mind, in myself. Outside of Him we can do nothing, i.e. nothing that He wiU
own, that can be identified with His work. Thus we
reasoned, and then, this being so, we unitedly resolved to
ask no man for anything and make no appeal for funds in
any quarter, and that only a bare statement of facts should
be published about the fire. We felt that such a calamity
did not faU upon us without the Divine permission, and
that the matter of supply and rebuilding ought to be left
entirely in God's hands.
" An Indian house was temporarily placed at our disposal,
two rooms of which were habitable, one being the kitchen,
with table and cooking-stove in it. We took possession of the
inner chamber, while the Priestleys occupied the kitchen.
Our blankets and bedding were deposited in a corner on
the floor ; a few salvaged chairs came in handy, while the
rag-box, for the first time in its life, found itself in a position
of honour ! Then that inestimable feature of the Indian
character, which places him easily side by side with the
best white people, was sweetly unfolded to our view ; one
by one the women came up to my wife, the tears streaming
down their cheeks, took her in their arms and kissed her. BURNED OUT 177
That, I suppose, was a manifestation of sympathy on the
spiritual plane. Then they came down to the level of
ordinary everyday fife, and showed more sympathy there.
One brought in a cardboard box, from which she drew a
suit of men's underwear and a shirt—' no doubt " Shimoi-
git " would be glad of a change after the hot time.' I can
truly vouch for the fact that * Shhnoigit ' was very glad.
Another comes in with a fifty-pound bag of flour on her
back—' for Nancy to eat.' Buckets of potatoes, tea, sugar,
coffee, ship's biscuit and loaves of bread, milk and cream,
bacon and mountain mutton, new-laid eggs, fresh salmon,
salt salmon, smoked salmon and dishes of fresh fruit came
pouring in ' for Nancy to eat.' BUnd Paul Muddy water,
with two overcoats on his arm, is led in ; one coat he delivers
to me and the other to young Priestley, ' for a rainy day.'
And stiU it comes : cups, saucers, dishes, plates, pots, pans,
jugs and pails, drop in intermittently, ' for Nancy's mother
to use.'
" A heap of firewood seems to deposit itself automatically
outside in the street ; a fire begins to crackle in the stove ;
a tub of fresh water is set down on the verandah; the kettle
begins to sing the old familiar song; there is a pleasant
sound of spoons tinkling against cups and saucers, and
presently Melita's sweet voice caUs out, ' Tea is now ready/
|; At first we thought that, owing to the near approach of
winter, we should have to get out to the coast as quickly
as possible, but Paul Muddywater offered us the use of his
viUa, consisting of one room and two ' cubbies.' The house
had not been occupied for many seasons and was in pretty
bad repair ; but we looked it over and concluded that by
buUding on a kitchen and duly patching up the original we
might possibly be able to winter in it. And so again I
found myself scraping, tinkering, papering, painting and
Bravely as the missionary and his wife bore their heavy
burden, they must have felt intensely the loss of their home
and treasured possessions, as well as the privations and
discomforts which of necessity had to be endured by them-
selves and their two ht tie chUdren (Jean was born just a
month after the fire). A sentence, cuUed from a private
letter written by McCuUagh soon after the fire, shows how
sorely their faith and courage were tried : " My experience
has never been like this in all my time here. All the hardness of the past twenty-eight years roUed into one winter's
experience ! If it were not for a very special revelation of
the Lord Jesus Himself to our souls we could never have
weathered the storm."
Unfortunately, neither the mission-house nor the missionary's personal possessions had been insured.
An appeal for help was at once made by friends in
England through the Caledonia Missionary Union, by Mr.
Baxter through the Missionary Leaves Association, and
also by friends in Canada through the Women's AuxiUary of
various dioceses. Prompt and generous was the respons*||
and very interesting and instructive on the spiritual side
is the way McCuUagh was able to write about this when
the buUding fund was weU on its way.
"It is the habit of Christians generally to speak of
answers to prayer as something exceptional in the religious
life ; whereas, really, the unanswered prayer should be the
exceptional experience, the answered prayer the rule. It
was fuUy two months after the fire before I could find it in
my heart to make the buUding of the new mission-house a
subject of special prayer. And when I did lay the matter
before the Lord, it was not in the form of a request, asking
for anything, but rather begging Him to consider the
situation in all its bearings upon the glory of the Father,
and to do what was good in His own sight about the re-
erection or otherwise of the Mission buUduigs. Since then
there is abundant evidence that it is the Lord's wiU to
reconstruct the Mission on a better basis. Up to date I
make out that the sum of 2,606 doUars has been voluntarily
contributed by God's people towards the erection of new
mission premises. We have not asked anything for ourselves, and not a doUar of the above sum goes towards
replacing any of our personal losses. It is entirely a
diocesan fund for a diocesan provision.    Dear Bishop   BURNED OUT 179
Ridley sent me shortly before he died a cheque for ioo
doUars towards replacing some of my private losses-
books, I take it—but I have spent this sum upon a little
type and a small press. This is the only sum I have
received which is available for my personal needs. The
Indians here also gave me a contribution of 65 doUars
towards my printing outfit. I ought to mention that the
loss of my printing outfit and my books touches me closer
than the loss of the buildings. I felt as though a lifelong
coUeague in my work had been suddenly taken away from
me. One evening in the Church, while keeping vigil there,
I asked the Lord about the printing press, but received no
definite assurance. The people were at the time assembled
in the town hall at a supper given by one of the chiefs, and
the subject of my printing-press formed the basis of their
postprandial conversation. The dish went round and 65
doUars were coUected on the spot. This was handed to me
next day, and I received it as the Lord's answer to my
inquiry and an earnest of restored equipment."
A considerable interval of time was necessary before the
new mission-house could be built. '' You can't take a tree
that is growing in the forest and turn it into a house the
same year it is cut ; the wood must be seasoned." As
soon as possible, however, the logs were procured, brought
to the saw-miU, cut up into suitable lengths and carted to
the new site which had been cleared over an area of about
one acre. By the spring of 1912 the material was thoroughly seasoned and the work of construction was finished
during the foUowing summer. Before the winter of 1912-13
McCuUagh was able to write home with his heart full of
thankfulness and his spirits buoyant with a fresh note of
cheerfulness and hope.
The new house was considerably larger than the old one,
the reason for this being that a number of white men had
come out to settle in the country. McCullagh's heart
warmed towards these lonely men ; he greatly desired to
make his home a centre for them where they could come
and feel themselves at home. He thought especially of
Christmas time ; therefore several additional rooms were i8o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
bunt in anticipation of his future guests. In the autumn
of 1912 he wrote : "A truly noble structure, bmlt in
* colonial ' or ' Californian ' bungalow style, with fine outspreading eaves, lofty porch and wide verandah, stands
looking out upon a lawn-designate and flowers, miniature
lake, rustic bridge, kitchen garden and ample grounds, the
whole covering ten acres and fenced in with strong barbed
Relapse and Revival
1HAVE no greater joy," wrote St. John, " than to hear
that my children walk in the truth." But that
kind of happiness has not always been the good fortune of
the Apostles and pastors of the Christian Church. " I am
afraid of you," wrote St. Paul to his Galatian converts,
" lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." McCul-
lagh had known well the joy of the one experience ; he
lived to learn the bitterness of the other. Towards the
close of 1910 he had to witness the spiritual retrogression of
the people he loved so dearly at Aiyansh ; there appeared to
be at one time even a danger of their return to heathenism.
The drink-evil was largely the cause of this ; the same
principle governs a whole community as that by which the
individual soul of a man is influenced ; if any one form of
sin is yielded to it makes a breach through which the flood
of unbelief finds an entrance and swamps the whole
rehgious life.
The village Council had been elected according to law,
and the members sworn in ; also the constables, but they
failed to govern the viUage or to maintain order. Insidiously the mischief got hold of the people ; at first secretly,
but soon openly, the drink-habit was indulged in. Before
long " every man did that which was right in his own eyes,"
until, at last, " after the return from the coast last autumn,
things went from bad to worse. And yet, strange to say,
they nearly all came regularly to Church on Sundays, clean
and neatly dressed, as though they had none of them gone
out of the way. They would sing and answer the responses
freely, and then look daggers at the pulpit, where the
faithful mirror of God's Word showed them what they
really were. Some especially resented the preaching. It
seemed to me often to make matters worse, to arouse even
positive animosity.
" The months of October, November and December,
1910, I shall never forget. The recent loss of the Mission
buildings and all our worldly goods, together with the
straitened circumstances in which we found ourselves, were
but a featherweight on my heart compared with the distress
occasioned by the dishonour done to the ineffable Name by
those who bore it, whose brows I had once solemnly signed
with the sign of the Cross, in token that thereafter they
should not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ
crucified. And now, behold, their greatest ambition was
to make a glory of death. Day in and day out feasts for
the dead, offerings for the dead, honour for totems, honour
for crests, grave-stones erected with processional and
musical honours ! Eight beasts were slain during those
three dark months to provide feasts for the dead. It was
history repeating itself : ' They joined themselves also unto
Baal-peor and ate the sacrifices of the dead ' (Ps. cvi. 28).
As might be expected, the old heathen halaid lifted up its
befeathered head at these feasts. It was only a matter of
time, a short time,' before other painted abominations
should resume their ancient sway, the glorification of the
dead being the pivotal point of Indian heathenism. The
preacher's reiterated warnings that God would visit for all
this fell upon unheeding ears. ' See, he never preaches
now without cursing us,' they said one to another. To
warn an Indian congregation of God's wrath is to denounce
it and curse it and blight it.
"At last my spirit began to despair. To despair while our
blessed Lord sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high
is a deadening if not a deadly sin. With the words ringing
down the centuries and in our ears, ' All power is given
unto Me in heaven and in earth '—how dare we doubt ?
And yet I did doubt—not the Lord, of course, but I had
my doubts about many things. I doubted whether I was
here to any purpose.    I doubted whether the work of my RELAPSE AND REVIVAL 183
life had been real. I doubted whether it was right of me
to keep on burdening the Christian Church with a mission
among a people who, after twenty-seven years' work among
them, could rise no higher than the glorification of a dead
man and desire no other pleasure than that to be extracted
from a keg of fermented berry juice. And while my mind
was occupied with doubts like these, I picked up a little
magazine called ! Living Waters,' and there I saw a small
headline that stopped me like a Mauser bullet—' Don't
draw back, believe in God.' That was aU, but it was enough.
" No, I would not despair ; I would not allow myself to
be worried by doubts. I would take the whole matter
officially to the Lord and put it in His hands. There was
to be a great feast at Gitlakdamiks for a dead chief, and
my heart trembled for the people ; there was no knowing
what they would do next.
" It was 7 p.m. on a dark December night, the temperature fifteen or more degrees below zero, and the whole village
had gone up to the feast—a long line of dogs and sleds,
tinkling bells and twinkling lights over the snow. Lighting a hand-lantern, I proceeded alone to the Church, where
I put on my robes and entered the chancel, my solitary
light looking like a ghostly star in the pUed-up gloom. It
was cold, but I did not heed that. Before the Holy Table
I knelt down, and there audibly and deliberately made my
official report to the great Head of the Church, going into
all the detaUs from beginning to end. Very fully did I
realize that this was not just taking things to the Lord in
prayer. I cannot weU describe it or define the act, but I
understood, and I knew the Lord would understand that,
as His servant, I had come to the end of the ordinary means
and resources placed in my hands. It was a wonderful
passage in one's ministerial and spiritual life, and would be
kept secret as well as sacred in my own breast if it were
not that the glory of God demands the teUing. The Lord
answered me fully and questioned and examined me closely
on every point, aU by means of the written Word, the
Spirit applying it and throwing light upon it in my soul.
I replied too, and pleaded also the written Word.  But some i84 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
of my pleadings were denied and plainly shown to me to
be based on false assumptions. I was glad to be put right.
I felt that this was part of the loving correction that makes
a man a new creature. The feeling of distress and depressing sense of despair were utterly lifted from my soul. I
forgot the cold in the warmth of the Master's love, and the
pUed-up shadows feU away. There was no doubt left in
my mind—the enemy was already driven back, beaten,
discomfited !
" How wonderful ! That very night at the feast the head
chief of the Gitlakdamiks made a speech strongly advocating the return of the tribe to heathenism. But a strange
thing happened : the daughter of an Aiyansh man, who
had been dancing a few minutes before, had tripped over the
fire and was nearly burned. The incident seemed to her
father to be a sign, a portent of mischief and trouble to
foUow. He arose after the chief had sat down, and spoke
out what was in his mind, and his words had a powerful
effect in opening the eyes of aU who were present to see
whither they were drifting. Self-reproach and dismay at
their foUy began taking possession of them one by one.
The next night there was another feast, this time at the
Town HaU at Aiyansh. Again I stood officially and alone
in the Church before the Lord, the sounds of the idiotic din
faUing on my ears, for the HaU is quite close to the Church.
Considerable dissension arose at this feast, certain men
accusing others of having led the people astray for the
purpose of ministering to their own pride and famUy preeminence. One cried, ' How long wUl it be before we
understand that the devil has captured us all ? '
" And so, night after night, for a couple of weeks, whenever the people were gathered together feasting and drinking, I stood robed in the chancel before the Lord.
" Now the work of grace began to be renewed in their
hearts. From Gitlakdamiks and Aiyansh penitents came
to me seeking to make their peace with God, one of the
first being the chief who had suggested the re-establishment of the old heathen system.
" It seemed to me important, in view of the necessity of RELAPSE AND REVIVAL 185
maintaining some measure and form of Church discipline
(not by way of inflicting punishment or imposing penance),
that order and method should be observed in the reception
of penitents, to the end that all might know that the Church
stands within the walls of the Lord's authority and that
her gates are guarded day and night. The wanderer
returning must knock ; the penitent must seek admission
if he would be re-admitted, and the return, the penitence
and the re-admission of each erring one, being manifestly the
concern of all, should be made known to the faithful within.
"FoUowing this line, therefore, each penitent had an
interview with me in the vestry before the Service, and a
list was drawn up for public announcement, together with a
short statement from each, of his or her intention to lead a
new life. This was read after the sermon, from the chancel
steps, the penitents standing before me. The congregation
was then asked to unite with me in prayer for the strengthening of these weak brethren. Sometimes the nature of a
case demanded pubhc admonition or some definite instruction, and these were delivered there at the time. The
method worked weU and was entirely satisfactory, both to
myself and the congregation.
"By Christmas Day, with the exception of a few
stragglers, our wayward flock was safely folded again, and
our various Uttle Church organizations once more at work.
I am glad to say our Church Army never became quite extinct, though its active membership at one time dwindled
down to three ; these three held the fort and bore faithful
witness. It had been the practice of the choir to decorate
the Church at Christmas time; but this year I closed down
all decorations. Instead, I had the purple hangings put
out, and the Church was in mourning on Christmas Day.
"On these lines we proceeded during the Epiphany
season, buUding up and restoring faith to a higher level,
assuring and comforting the weak-hearted, nursing and
nourishing the wounded of the flock, gently leading some,
helping others along by forcible persuasion and sharp
rebuke, with a strong check aU the time upon the Indian
tendency to excitability," i86 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
The relapse indeed had been serious, but the revival was
real. The missionary's lonely vigil developed into a small
intercessory prayer union. Very wonderful were some of
the answers received for petitions offered at the throne of
grace. A leading heathen chief named Nis Yog, at Gitlakdamiks, openly abjured heathenism and avowed his faith
in the Lord Christ. He proved the reality of his new confession by cutting down his totem pole. In doing so he
said : " No man has talked to me about this, but the Spirit
of God has put it into my heart this day." His example
was foUowed by others, and the next Sunday most of
the leading men had taken their stand beside Nis Yog,
and of their own accord requested the missionary to draw
up a paper for them to sign, by which they renounced aU
the old customs and practices of heathenism, and pledged
themselves by a solemn oath in the name of the One true
God, to carry out the reformation of their people on the
lines laid down by the teachings of Christianity.
The alternations of discouragement and renewed hopes
to which McCuUagh became Uable after these events may
be understood by an extract taken from a private letter
written to a friend in England :
" I don't know how I live ; my heart is so sore about the
Indian work. But I hold on to my faith in God like grim
death. If I die, I will die trusting Him ! Yet I have joy
and hope, as well as faith, still, in the Indian work, and I
beheve it wiU eventually come up to our hopes. When the
Indians from four villages come to me and plead with me
(as though I had only to speak and the thing should be
done) to do this and that and the other for them, and I know
I cannot do it—cannot even make ends meet from pantry
to kitchen—I feel as if I would like to die ; and again, when
I see sheep after sheep (lost for two or three or more years)
come back to the fold, I feel as if I would like to live.
Unfortunately, neither my dying nor my living can accomplish anything if the work goes unsupported. AU the
grand work of past years wiU be ■ scrapped ' very soon if
we don't make ' fast aU over/ " 1
The White Man
THE servant of God who is commissioned to go and
preach the Gospel to the heathen usually finds
before long that the pagan barbarian is not the only man
that comes into the orbit of his human interests. Whatever be the corner of his Master's vineyard in which he
labours ; whether the natives are black, brown, yeUow,
or red, there, sooner or later, he is bound to come across
the ubiquitous white man. The missionary is always
preceded or foUowed by the explorer, the trader or the
settler. This often means for him a good deal more in
the way of responsibUity than he counted on when he
undertook to evangelize the heathen. There is, of course,
the natural joy of seeing a white face and of holding
social intercourse with those who have been brought
up in the customs and manners of civilization. This
gladness is frequently enhanced by the privUege of
helping, in things material and spiritual, the lonely settler
or colonist, or the agent of some trading company who
finds what he needs in the brotherly welcome afforded
him at the mission-house.
Speaking in a general way about British Columbia,
it has been said that "if we classified our Church missions under past, present and future, the missions of the
past would be largely a history of work among the
Indians ; the missions of the present would be about
equally divided between the Indians and the settlers ;
while the missions of the future would include the scores
of new places which are springing up in connection with
mining, fishing, lumbering and farming, chiefly along the
line of the Grand Trunk Railway—entirely white work ex-
cept for a touch of yellow here and there where the vigorous
and enterprising Japanese are estabhshing themselves."
This was McCullagh's experience during the eight-and-
thirty years he spent on the Naas River. As time went on
he felt increasingly the claims of the white man as well as
the burden of the Red Indian.    In 1914 he wrote :
" The work at Aiyansh is no longer that of a mission but
of a ' parish/ extending over the length and breadth of the
whole valley. Many white settlers have come to make
their homes here—English, Irish, Scotch, American, Dutch,
German, Norwegian, Swedish, French and others. The
blending of all these different elements into one harmonious
community, with a good moral tone and an attitude of
friendliness towards the Church, as represented by the
Mission ; as also their relationship to the Indians and that
of the Indians towards them, make the work of the
missionary at this time not only arduous but highly
important and interesting."
His journals and letters throw many an illuminating
side-light on the characters of the white men he came
across ; they also show the special difficulties he had to
overcome in the balance of justice when seeking to
reconcile the rival interests and prejudices of the Red
Indian and the white settler. He had learned by the
grace of God to love the Indian ; by a natural predisposition he also loved the men of his own race and
colour. He had a big warm heart with room in it for
both and for aU, and his natural gifts and quickness of
adaptability to any sort of environment enabled him to
acquire that personal ascendancy over the Indians which
played so important a part in leading them to accept the
Gospel ; while it came easy to him to get on with the white
trader or settler—a peculiar species of their kind who, for
the most part, showed a generous front to the breezy
manners, the manly personality and the transparent
sympathy of " Mac," as he was familiarly called by those
who knew him well. He had the gift of finding his way
many a time to the hearts of those rough men who bore
the reputation of being " hard nuts to crack." THE WHITE MAN 189
It will be remembered *■ that at Fishing Cove, near the
mouth of the river, the missionary's summer residence
was a Uttle shanty built in a dangerous position, because
the two white men who owned most of the land around the
Cove refused to give him a plot on which to build. After
his first furlough in England, on his way back to Aiyansh,
he, with his wife and daughter, spent a few days at the
Cove, arriving there in September 1892. The fishing was
over for the season ; the Indians had returned to their
hunting-grounds ; but a few whites and some Chinamen
were still there.
On Sunday McCuUagh went down to the harbour at the
river's mouth and held a service in the little church
there for the English-speaking people ; being accompanied by a contingent of white men from the Cove.
On the following Sunday the whites from the harbour
came over to the Cove, where a service was held in one
of the shanties. Among those present were the two
white men who, four years before, had refused to let him
have land for building. One of these had been an infidel ;
the other was not much better.
" After the service I said to B :
" ' WeU, Commodore, you've got the sunshine down here
all to yourself ; you ought to be generous and share it; I've
got none.'
" ' Yer just right there, Mr. Mac ; the sun shines here all
the year round, and yer can have yer share of it if yer like.'
" I How can I have my share of it when my house is under
the cliff, thanks to your kindly feelings of four years ago ? '
" ' Oh ! that was a mistake, a mistake,' regretfuUy. ' But,'
suddenly, ' Ned and I'll put that right in a jiffy ; eh, Ned ? '
" \ Yeas,' replied Ned, ' Mr. McCuUagh can shift the
shanty any time he likes, and we'll be rale glad to have him
near us ; there's the purtiest spot on earth, beyond where
the scow is beached, that ye can have ; there's an Injun
shack on it, but I'll take that down and I'll have no more
Injuns squattin' round close to the house, drinking ginger
and Florida wather.'
1 See page  88> igo McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
"So it is arranged that I move my cabin down to the
' purtiest spotÉ next spring, for which I am very
A few days after this, the McCullaghs resumed their
journey up the river, staying for an hour at Greenville
(Lak-Kalzap). Near this village a white settler lay
dying. McCuUagh went to see him and found him on a
bed on the floor, propped up by pillows and protected
by a mosquito curtain.
" How very pleased he was to see me ! and how pleased
I was on inquiry as to his spiritual state to find that
he was falling asleep in Christ !    * You remember/ said
he, * when you preached to B C and me a year and
a half ago ? Well, I doubted if I could be saved then ; but
I am dying in Christ now; I have a good hope and a strong
consolation.'    ' Praise God for that, Y ,' I replied ;
' hold fast to Christ as you pass through the dark valley,
and fear no evil ; for He wiU bring you safely into the
light of eternal day.' "
1897 was annus mirabilis in the gold-mining industry of
British Columbia, some rich discoveries having been
made in the valley of the Yukon river, in Alaska. Thousands of adventurers, British and American, hastened to
explore the auriferous fields. The rush to Klondyke
was the outstanding sensation among the gold-seekers.
The Naas and Skeena rivers were the most direct routes
to some of these mines, and many of the white men,
prospecting for gold, passed through Aiyansh. On one
occasion, at least, they expressed their amazement at
finding a village where they could stay for a few days'
rest and leave their mining outfits and other valuables
lying about with no fear of anything being stolen by the
Indians. As typical of this unwonted experience, one of
the gold-seekers, in his inimitable style, remarked to a
comrade on the traU, after leaving the Mission : " Ef I
hadn't seen it meself, and that thar preacher down Aiyansh
'ad a told it back East, I'd a said he wuz lyin', straight."
They were equally astonished at the whole appearance
of the settlement.    Men who had never been inside a THE WHITE MAN 191
church in their fives before, remained over Sunday, in order
to attend divine service and try to understand something
of the way in which the miracle had been wrought.
" Among them were several professional men, and it was
quite encouraging," wrote McCuUagh in one of his annual
letters, " to hear their frequent and unexpected encomiums
on the work of the Mission. One man, a doctor, whom
I had asked to accompany me on a visit to a sick person,
took me into his confidence. ! I don't mind teUing you
now,' he said, ' that I came here very much prejudiced
against missionary work.'
I * Indeed ; and are you still so minded, having seen
something of the work ? '
" * No, sir,' he cried, ' I'm converted right down to the
" Another party cried out, on starting for the gold-fields :
' The first nugget we find shall be for the Mission.' "
The burden of the white man at times lay heavily on
the heart of this faithful servant of the Lord, with his warm
sympathies and his love of souls.
" During my ministry here," he wrote, " I have met men
of aU classes coming and going—prospectors, miners,
timber-cruisers, land-seekers, engineers, surveyors, government officials and others, most of them decent fellows and
friendly to the missionary (excepting the land-grabbers),
and these I am hoping to string together wherever they
may be, as my congregation, by means of my little
printing-press. With a scattered parish like this I can
have no classes, no meetings, no instruction-lessons
orally ; I must therefore use the press. You may say,
' There is ample Uterature supplied cheap by various
agencies that would cover all this ground. Can't you use
that ? ' I reply, ' No ; it would not even gain a reading
among the class of people with whom I have to deal.
The production must be local and have the home-interest
interwoven with local colour. Furthermore, the Indians
would benefit indirectly ; for, whUe they might be indifferent in regard to what I printed for them and just take it
for granted, they wiU never rest until they know every word 192 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
of what I am saying to the white man. I shall print as
time allows little Chats by the way and mail the same
with a type-written, friendly epistle to each man just to
say \ How do you do ? ' or ' Keep your pecker up,' etc.
" They are to be termed ' WAYFARERS,' and all I ask
of them is to keep me posted with their address. I
would be glad to get from parents in the old country the
names and addresses of sons who are out here trying to
make their way in the world. A private letter from
father, mother, sister or brother would be considered by
me as a sacred commission, and would ensure that the
WAYFARER got a word to put him wise and a pat on
the shoulder to hearten him up."
Again : "I want something that wiU draw the white
men in the direction of the mission-house without making
them fight shy, and the best thing I can think of is a
Backwoods Lending Library. I want books on History,
Romance (i.e. the historical novel), Fiction, Travel,
Science, Agriculture, Religion (evidential), Poetry. Think
of the men, evening after evening, in cabins and shacks
with nothing to read and far from all touch with civilized
surroundings. Oh ! the number of shelves in many an
English home, full of books, unused, unread, unconsulted,
cumbering the walls ! And yet they could be made to do
work for God if applied wisely to the purpose."
His mind was full of schemes for the material and
spiritual welfare of the settlers and other white men.
He was very hospitable, giving them a welcome whenever
they came to see him, his chief difficulty being that sometimes he had not enough blankets to go round. That
these men went to the missionary in times of sickness
and accident is made evident by one of his journals in
which he says that his stock of medicines for the Indians
was being used up so quickly by the white men that he
would have to ask for a special extra grant of drugs from
the Government until a regularly qualified doctor could
come to settle in the valley.
When referring afterwards to the new mission-house
which was built in the place of the one destroyed by fire,   THE WHITE MAN 193
Mrs. McCuUagh wrote : " It had been built extra large
with the view of exercising hospitality among the white
men who had settled in the valley. The Christmas of 1913
wiU never be forgotten by those forty or fifty men and one
or two families who found corners all over the viUage and
mission-house to sleep in during the three days' festivities.
The Indians exceUed themselves in good-wiU, clearly
proving their Christianity by forgetting aU differences and
old feuds at the time of peace and good-will to men."
How McCullagh's heart yearned over these men may be
seen in a letter he wrote home to a friend in England :
" We want this house to do work for God ! We want to be
able to gather the men about us and make them feel at
home, and the lower they are in the social scale the more
we want to give them a place at the mission-table, not
below the salt but above it." And yet once more he
wrote : " Remember, these settlers, almost without
exception, are strangers and foreigners to the Christian
faith. If they have any sentiment at all in this regard
it is antipathy, backed up by prejudice and misconception. It is our aim to change the former to sympathy
and the latter into thin air. The first we do by taking
them into our hearts and homes just as they are ; and the
way their nature responds is a revelation. Within the
short space of one year we have exchanged hearts—we
love them and they love us. There is not one among them
under whose feet we would not place our hands ; and there
is not one among them who would not willingly risk his
life, if need be, to save ours. This is a glorious beginning ;
but it is only a beginning. Whether I shall realize all my
programme for them lies in the Lord's hands ; something
really definite and practical ought to be done. To go running round after these men with just a tract or two in your
pocket is cheap—cheap for the missionary and cheap in
their estimation. I want to come into their life and take hold
of their hearts as a necessary preliminary to gaining their
attention for what I have to say about the things of God." CHAPTER XXV
With Voice and Pen
EVERY missionary is not a born preacher or public
speaker. Some of those who do the best Work as
pioneers of the Evangel and in the building up of native
churches have no gifts of oratory ; nor does the lack of
this natural endowment always form a serious impediment
to their endeavours to teach and train their converts
in the truth and practice of Christianity, instruction in
faith and ethics being more necessary than fervent appeals
to the conscience and reason when these are in their
undeveloped state.
Sometimes the missionary who has learned the art of
preaching with power and attractiveness in the language
of the people who claim and receive the best that is in
him does not excel in the pulpit of an English church
or on the platform of a town-hall where the atmosphere
and environment are so different from that with which he
is for the most part familiar.
McCuUagh possessed a natural gift of eloquence and,
with it, the rare talent of being equally at home when
preaching or speaking to an English or an Indian audience.
WTien describing his work at Aiyansh he wrote :
" I experience a great deal of pleasure in preaching to
the Indians. They are keen listeners, and many of them
are so receptive as to be able to reproduce verbatim many
of my sermons. The great thing is to be able to present
the subject of a sermon as one distinct idea, discussed
and explained from the Indian point of view as well as
from our own.   They like and appreciate the contrast.
They also have a great deUght in Ulustrations taken from
Indian Mfe, their habits and customs, laws and traditions
—from all of which I draw freely."
" His preaching was wonderful," writes Mrs. McCuUagh,
" and his power of enthralling the Indian mind and
holding the close attention of his listeners was remarkable. Particularly they loved to hear his teaching on the
Old Testament, where so many of the acts of the Children
of Israel and others would find a counterpart in their own
lives. How often have I seen an Indian seize him by the
hand after church and thank him again and again for the
wonderful sermon which had uplifted his spirit or possibly
humbled the hearer to the dust."
In an article contributed to the Church Missionary
Review for March 1913, Bishop du Vernet described a
Sunday he spent at Lak-Kalzap when McCuUagh was there.
" There were fine congregations," the Bishop wrote,
" both morning and evening. At the evening Service
I watched the faces of the men, women and children as
they Ustened with rapt attention to Mr. McCuUagh
preaching most eloquently and powerfuUy in their own
tongue. I could see how he was winning those people
and bringing the unruly element into subjection through
the power of his masterful personality. God the Holy
Spirit was indeed at work over-ruling things for good."
One day an Indian came to him as a penitent. McCul-
lagh expressed surprise at this, saying, " I am more than
pleased to see you take this stand, George ; I certainly
did not look for you, seeing that you and Andrew have
been booked to make several death-feasts."
" • Ah/ he replied, ' that is where you make a mistake,
Tkalwelimlqu. Do you suppose we approve of the things
we do ? We do not approve. We hate the whole
business ; but we are so roped together as Indians that
one drags the others down untU we are all in. We know
all the time that we are doing wrong ; but it is very
" 'What is very hard ? ' I asked.
" ' It is very hard,' he replied, ' where the Malasqu 196
(preaching of God's Word) comes against us. I've
come out of church sometimes and vowed I would
never enter the building again, I felt so angry. Often
after Service I have not been able to eat my food ; it has
stuck in my throat. Several times I have gone away into
the bush and wept ; I have said the vilest things I could
think of against you.'
" ' Why ? ' I interrupted.
" ' Because you made us feel sore in our hearts/ ' he went
on ; ' you shot at us from every side, you burned up
every bush we hid behind, you left us no way of escape,
we could find no excuse anywhere. The very things we
said secretly in our hearts you told them to us openly
before our face. We knew we were doing wrong, but we
would not admit we were as sinful as you made us out
to be. You made us feel that we must either change
very much or become heathens altogether. It certainly
was hard."
When he was home on furlough McCuUagh, of course,
did a good deal of deputation work for the Church Missionary Society. Wherever he went he was very acceptable, both in the pulpit and on the platform. His
sermons were marked by intense fervour and spirituality.
I To preach to an English congregation," he wrote,
" is indeed a spiritual treat. They give such expectant
attention that the soul of the preacher is called forth in
response. How lenient they are and how self-repressing,
even to the end ! Congregations differ, temperamentally,
one would suppose, according to locality ; but the difference is always agreeable, and all are capable of great
things if touched by enthusiasm. The English character
can well afford a Uttle more enthusiasm in spiritual
His power of appeal to the hearts and consciences of
his hearers was proved when the offertory was counted
afterwards ! During his last furlough, he went as a
deputation for the C.M.S. to a town in the west of England,
preaching in different churches on the Sunday. The
morning congregation ,at a certain church was called THE  REV.   J.   B.   McCULLAGH,
At the author's home in Norfolk, during his last furlough.  1
"wealthy" by comparison; the sermon then being
preached by a weU-known and highly esteemed clergyman ; the coUection was £8 13s. 6d., a pound less than
the previous year. McCuUagh was the evening preacher.
He was told that the congregation would be composed
of just moderately weU-to-do people and artisans, and that
he could not expect Inore than about £3, which was the
amount given the year before. " Well," he said, " I don't
want this year to be less than last year." "lam afraid
it wiU have to be less," said the Vicar. The people
began listening to the sermon with much religious indifference ; but they were soon awake ! For three-quarters of
an hour they hung with bated breath on the preacher's
words. Then came the coUection. A lady who was
present observed a young man sitting in front of her take
sixpence out of his pocket in anticipation, but when the
plate came round he substituted for it a ios. note.
When the churchwardens came to count the offertory it
was found to be £18 17s. 6d. !
As a platform speaker his popularity was very marked.
Those who heard him once would go long distances to hear
him again. His racy Irish humour when telling an
anecdote, his convincing way of presenting the cause of
Missions, his telling appeals to the conscience and the heart
wiU never be forgotten by those who Ustened to him. His
own feelings on such occasions found expression thus
when recording his impressions about the methods of
conducting missionary meetings :
" Given a good start and sufficient time, the missionary
must understand that the success of the meeting depends
on himself. Can he take hold of his audience and make
them see and fed the things that he has seen and felt and
done ? Can he be convincing and at the same time
entertaining ? Can he eUcit sympathy, without appealing
for it ? Can he infuse the spirit of sacrifice and show the
glory of it ? His story is only a means to an end and,
be it long or short, unique or commonplace, he must reach
that end—must reach it by force, by the force of his own
personality.   Poor missionary !  He may never have given i98 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
a thought to his little bit of personahty, and yet—what
would his story be without it ? "
There was no privilege he esteemed more highly than
that of addressing large gatherings of men, and he knew
the power he had over them. " PersonaUy, I love men ;
I love to see men come to a missionary meeting, particularly business men. It interests me to interest them
and to show them that missionary work is a man's
He did not consider himself a children's preacher.
" Meetings and services for children are more difficult
than any other. It requires a special gift to gain and
retain the attention of chUdren ; but it is worth all the
pains and trouble." And yet, that he was more successful here than he was aware may fairly be inferred from
one incident. In 1916 he gave an address to the children
of the Priory School, Great Yarmouth. This awakened
in their minds such an interest that a special request
was sent, asking him to write them a letter before his
furlough was over. The answer came promptly in a
type-written message, which has been preserved and is
here reproduced, because of its characteristic originality
as well as the interest it possesses for the lovers of birds
and animals.
" The raven is the first bird mentioned by name in the
Bible. It seems that Noah thought very highly of him,
for of all the birds in the Ark he seemed to be the wisest
and cleverest and best fitted to be sent out over the wild
waste of waters to see how things were going on. But he
did not prove a good messenger; he forgot to return and
so earned a bad name for himself. But he made up for
this later on by feeding Elijah who was hiding near the
brook Cherith—■ the ravens brought him bread and flesh
in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening, and he
drank (water) from the brook.'   We love the ravens for WITH VOICE AND PEN 199
that service, and we are glad to read in the Bible that God
feeds the young ravens when they cry.
" Out in British Columbia, in the backwoods and among
the mountains, the ravens love the companionship of
man ; I think they love the missionary very much, for
they always come to his house and sit on the roof, and
they have no fear of him. Some people do not like the
raven because he is dressed in black; they think he is a
duU bird, but that is quite a mistake ; he is fuU of fun and
loves a joke when he has had a good dinner. Just see
him when the joy of fife takes hold of him, cutting all
sorts of capers up in the air, looping the loop and hanging
by his toes to the Cottonwood's topmost bough, laughing
and croaking to himself as if he were a boy ! He is broader-
minded than the blue jay, and does not get cross at little
troubles or scold one like the blue jay ; but he is smart,
very inquisitive and as cunning as cunning can be in
getting what he wants. He is also a very clever pretender,
and if he wants a thing very much he never lets you catch
him looking at it. I do not know if he can count, but
I almost believe he can think, and what is more, that
he can let the other ravens know what he thinks.
" I remember one winter's day watching a raven competing with a dog for a piece of salmon which had been
dropped near the viUage water-hole on the ice of the river.
Every time the raven got hold of the salmon the dog
drove it away, but the raven was back again at the hole
as soon as the dog. The raven's tail got wet every time,
and by the time the dog retired from the contest the
raven had a large blob of ice frozen to the soft feathers
under his tail, so that when he was free to fly away
with his prize he was not able to lift it into the air. For
a moment he seemed at a loss what to do ; then, dragging
his piece of salmon some little distance away, he left it
there and flew up with some difficulty on to the roof of
my house. The roof was covered with three feet of snow ;
but where the kitchen stove-pipe stood there was a nice
little crater thawed away by the warmth of the stovepipe, and there the raven settled himself until the ice was 200 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
aU thawed from his tail, when he flew down again and
found his piece of salmon all right, this time being able
to lift it and carry it away to the woods.
" I once had a lovely St. Bernard dog whose daily morning ration consisted of a piece of dried salmon. Sometimes she would leave a bit of this, and lie with her nose on
her paws a little way off, watching it. One day a raven
tried to get away with this precious morsel, and Norah
allowed him to take liberties with it to a certain extent,
but when he tried to fly away with it she leapt to her feet
and chased him away, barking furiously. Three times
the raven tried to get the salmon and three times Norah
chased him. Then he flew away. But by and by he was
back with another raven, and they both sat on the wall
watching the dog. Presently one raven ventured down
into the yard and began to walk about innocently but
intent upon the salmon, for which he made a dash at last.
Then Norah leapt at him and enjoyed a good long bowwow at him. But while she was thus engaged the other
raven came down quickly from the wall and, snatching the
salmon up in his beak, flew with it into a tree. And there
the other raven joined him and together they enjoyed the
feast. This looks as if the ravens were able to make
known to each other what they thought.
" The raven is also a good fighter. I once saw a conflict
between two ravens and an eagle which lasted an hour.
The eagle did not try to fight at aU—indeed, it could
not, for one raven always managed to be above it and the
other underneath, for it was aU done while flying in
the air and over the river. The eagle made desperate
efforts to get in among the trees at the side of the river,
but the ravens never allowed him to do so ; they kept
him flying to and fro above the water, always beating
him lower and lower. Then I understood their tactics—
they intended to drive him so low that he would be bound
to strike water and so become powerless ; and this,
indeed, they succeeded in doing at last, and so conquered
their enemy.
" Among the Indians the raven occupies a high position, WITH   VOICE AND PEN
for you wiU see him carved on almost every totem pole.
The Indians think he lives longer than a man and has had
a supernatural origin. It is strange, too, that the Nishga
Indians of British Columbia and the Arabs in the desert of
Arabia should have the same name for this historic bird.
But, of course, the reason for this is obvious when we
find the raven calling himself by the same name—Gag ! "
We can easUy understand that a mind so versatile as
McCuUagh's should want to give expression at times to its
thoughts and feelings and aspirations in the language of
poetry. If his life had not otherwise been so busy as to
leave but few leisure hours for cultivating such a gift,
he would probably have developed a high order of talent
in this direction. As it was, he wrote a fair number of
poems which indicate the latent possibUities of real
genius. Three short ones will serve as samples of the
(An Allegory)
You came along one summer's day
And paused where I was resting,
And through the trees one heavenly ray
Did on your golden tresses play :
I thought you " interesting."
With wistful gaze your eyes of blue
Caught mine, a moment holding :
The woodland blooms took brighter hue
And birds began their song anew,
But I sat self-enfolding.
It seemed as if with out-stretched hand
You stood a moment pleading :
I felt my soul within expand ;
A light (ne'er seen on sea or land)
Shone in.   I went on reading.
A shadow fell athwart the glade.
The birds gave up their singing,
The very flowers seemed dismayed :
I looked, and saw your image fade,
And rose up—arms out-flinging. McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
But you had gone 1   And now I see
You were an Angel maying—
A golden opportunity,
A gift of life and love to me,
Now lost through my delaying.
Not for itself does the lily bloom,
In vesture fair arrayed :
For you and me is its sweet perfume
Wafted across the glade.
Not for himself shines the orb of day,
All glorious in the sky :
For man and his does the quick'ning ray
The warmth of life supply.
Not for itself falls the gentle rain
Upon the furrowed field :
For us and ours does the golden grain
Its store of plenty yield.
Not for the pain are sorrow and grief ;
Not for its balm is love ;
Not for the joy of living is life,
But all for the world above.
Not for itself, but for man, is the earth
A beautiful abode ;
Not for himself comes man to the birth—
Not for himself but God.
A dark and cloudy morn ;
Cling sad and chill
The raindrops on the thorn
Beneath the hill.
Emblem of human tears,
Heart-break and pain ;
A soul beset with fears
When hope seems vain.
Lo ! clouds asunder break ;
The sun shines clear ;
The rain-drops glory take,
And disappear. WITH VOICE AND PEN 203
Thus are the woes of years
Transfigured, while
Away are wiped all tears
In God's own smile.
O weary heart, look up,
As God looks down ;
Hold forth thy empty cup,
Behold thy crown. CHAPTER XXVI
The Flood
McCULLAGH came home in 1914 for what proved to
be his last furlough in the old country, bringing
with him his wife and three Uttle children. They arrived
in England just before the outbreak of war. It seemed
to him at first that " the missionary alone would have no
place in the national Ufe ; for where and how could he
hope to plead his cause or urge its claims amid the impending tumult and alarms of war ? " But very soon he saw
things in a different light. " The atmosphere of the
Church is now so cleared of extraneous matter that the
cause of Foreign Missions can be viewed and treated side
by side with the cause of the nation. For if the nation
considers the cause of righteousness, truth and justice
so precious as to justify England's position on its defence,
how can the Church deny the Gospel to the nations still
sitting in darkness ? . . . For there is no glory for England
apart from the Cross." Although as keen as ever to
preach and speak for the work he loved and for the Master
he loved stiU better, his efforts were greatly hampered by
Ul-health. Sometimes he could scarcely get through a
sermon or address because of internal pain. How much
he suffered only his wife and his doctor knew. To the
outside world he always showed a brave face ; if he
referred to his illness at all he made light of it, as though it
were a subject for humour rather than fear. In a letter
dated March 3, 1915, he wrote :
" By the way, I did not teU you, the doctor is reducing
me : probably I have lost 20 lb. since I saw you last.
I am allowed nothing but meat—if I eat anything else I
have to steal it ! Just think of it ! not a murphy to my
taste ; no sugar or sweetmeats of any kind—but I am
very brave and call them all sour ! It is wonderful
how one gets to beheve a thing when set forth in the garb
of plfilosophy and repeated often enough. Oh, my lovely,
laughing Irish potato ! That I should ever have to speak
of thee as an enemy, and look upon thee in the dish
with a hostUe gleam in my eye, absolutely breaks my
heart. After a long and happy life together, it is very
hard not to be on speaking terms."
He was to have returned to Aiyansh in the autumn of
1915, but the medical authorities, acting for the Church
Missionary Society, as well as for his personal welfare,
advised him to remain under their care until the next
April. He went into a nursing-home to undergo an
operation ; but, after being twice X-rayed, this was
considered inadvisable.
By the following spring he felt quite fit again, and in
August he started on his return journey, with his wife and
four chUdren, Nancy, Jean, Pat and Chris. They were
accompanied by Miss Gambles, who joined them as
nursery-governess for the children and who proved
herself an invaluable friend in the dark days that lay in
front of them aU.
The train in which they traveUed from Euston met
with an accident at Bletchley, one of the passengers, a
soldier, being killed in the coUision and several others
injured. Nancy and Jean got knocked about rather
badly, but happily they were not seriously hurt. As
their luggage was delayed by this accident, they lost
their boat at Liverpool and had to wait for the next
ship sailing to Quebec, eventually arriving at Aiyansh
about the middle of September. " How proud we felt
of our new house ! " wrote Mrs. McCuUagh, " with its
own enclosure, its gay flower-beds and green lawns."
Alas ! their joy and pride were destined to be shortlived.
McCuUagh found the people at a low spiritual ebb,
" trying to make a show of living while they were dead. 206 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
My time has been entirely devoted to putting a new
foundation to their faith." The attendance at Church
Services and Bible-Classes was poor at first ; but soon
there were signs of improvement. The drink-evil had
again gained ground ; the foe was too deeply entrenched
among the Indians to be easily eradicated. By the
autumn of 1917 McCuUagh had completed his translation
of the Epistle to the Romans ; a few finishing touches only
were required before the work was to be sent to London
and passed through the printing-press of the Bible
Society. While translating, he also taught the people,
going through the Epistle in eighteen lectures. " This is
the first time," he wrote, " the Epistles have been opened
up to the Indian mind ; and the result is very interesting.
First a great sense of disappointment as to the man
Self ; and secondly, a great and new joy in the man
Christ Jesus ! I may truly say that the whole Indian
conception of eternity has been changed, and I am now
eager to make that change permanent by printing the
Before this could be accomplished the blow fell and
the Aiyansh Mission was washed out by a devastating
flood. Such a catastrophe had never been contemplated
by McCuUagh since the time when the old mission-house
stood on the river-bank. The new house had been built
much farther back and on higher ground. As a rule the
Naas falls to a low ebb during the dry summer months,
its reservoirs of supply being exhausted by October or
early November when the autumnal freshet is due ; this
being caused by the Chinook or warm south wind which
then sets in and thaws the soft, newly-fallen snow on the
September, 1917, was an unusually wet month. October
was stiU more so, sixteen inches of rain having been reckoned as the downfaU. Before the melted snow came
from the mountains the river was already in fuU spate and
absolutely unnavigable. In writing about this afterwards, McCuUagh expresses amazement at the want of
forethought shown by himself and the Indians ;   they THE FLOOD 207
ought to have known that, when the melted snow should
add its volume to the already swollen stream, the river
was bound to overflow its banks. But they could hardly be
blamed for that which really caused their great misfortune.
By the middle of November the state of the river was
awful to behold ; on the afternoon of Sunday, the 18th,
tidings came that the river had broken through near
Gitlakdamiks and was rushing down behind Aiyansh.
The terrible import of this soon became evident ; it meant
that before many hours were over the devoted settlement
would be surrounded by water, and would soon be the
plaything of two mighty currents, rapidly converging,
until they united to become one torrential stream.
" Towards evening, in the dim, misty light, like a thief,
like a panther stalking its prey, the water bounded forth
from the forest at the back of the town and, following a
natural depression in the ground, sprang fair at the
back of the mission-house. In ten short minutes the
basement was full and everything therein swished about
in a churning of liquid mud. Presently the two seething
volumes of water met, beat up against each other for a
time in competition, and then, uniting their forces, started
to climb over every obstacle through the live-long night."
It was indeed an awful night, the turbid stream rushing
past below, whUe the rain, like sheets of water, fell from
the heavens above. By Tuesday morning there were over
ten feet of water in the house and the deluge was still in
the ascendant. " Notice to quit " was imperative. In
the afternoon three Indians arrived with a large canoe,
and the mission-house party decided to avail themselves
of this opportunity. Throwing a few necessaries into the
canoe, they stepped into her off the verandah and then
poled and paddled their way through the trees to Gitlakdamiks. Here they took refuge in the church which had
been built but was not yet completely finished. By
Wednesday the flood began to show signs of abating.
A return to Aiyansh was effected, and they found the
mission-house in a deplorable condition ; it was standing
aU right, but everything inside was ruined, including the 208
winter's supply of provisions which had only just been
stored. The missionary's printing-office was completely
submerged. When the waters eventually subsided, he
found that the machinery and type could be cleaned of
rust and recovered for use as gold is washed from mud,
but his precious books (including the backwoods library)
and translations were reduced to a muddy pulp. Some
of the other houses in the village had been carried away
entirely by the flood ; the saw-mill and many of the
buildings were swept away and the débris scattered
all over the country ;   the church was stiU standing.
A big meeting of the Indians was held, a few weeks
after the river had resumed its normal condition, and
the situation was squarely faced and fairly discussed.
It was considered a certainty that, at any time in the future
when the river was high, the overflow would come through
the breach once made in the bank below Gitlakdamiks and
so make possible a repetition of the inundation which had
so nearly swept away their entire village. Therefore they
decided upon removing the houses from Aiyansh to Gitlakdamiks. Between them they formed a company and,
in turn, each man's house was puUed down, the lumber
was carted on sleighs along the Gospel road and rebuilt on
the new space of ground allotted to him. The removal
of the mission-house was delayed until sufficient money
could be coUected for its deportation, the Church Missionary Society giving a grant for this purpose.
As the mission-house was not habitable, McCuUagh and
his family took refuge in the same little house belonging
to Paul Muddywater which had sheltered them after the
fire. This time it was a very close fit ; there being four
children instead of two, and in addition, Miss Gambles,
whose courage, adaptabihty and resourcefulness were
splendid for a girl who had been brought up quietly in a
good and comfortable English home.
When news of the disaster reached England early in
1918, sympathy and substantial help came from many
quarters and were a source of much comfort and good
cheer to the distressed party at Aiyansh.   They suffered THE FLOOD 509
much from the winter's cold and from lack of proper
food, as they had no means of replenishing their potato
stock, or the barrels and boxes of provisions destroyed
or carried away by the flood.
During the winter of 1917-18 the missionary did
his best at cleaning from the accretions of mud and rust
his beloved printing-press (a new one for which he had
coUected money during his last furlough) ; this he set up
in a place screened off in the church, and there he recommenced his work of translation. But the flood had
proved too much for him in his dehcate state of health,
and he never recovered his physical strength. He had to
leave to others (including Charlie Morven and some
faithful helpers) the work of removing and re-erecting
the mission-house at Gitlakdamiks, whUe he could only
stand by and look on ; indeed, his heart was broken for
such labour. He and his family were able to move in
for the winter of 1918-19 ; but, owing to lack of funds,
there were no comforts in the home, and they had to five on
very meagre fare. Steadily his health declined, and he
suffered much from pain and sickness. A doctor from
the coast came up the river to see him and, with his help
and by using the medicine he prescribed, McCuUagh
managed to puU through until the spring, when he was
persuaded to take the boat for Prince Rupert and put
himself for six weeks under the care of his good friend
and much-valued medical adviser, Dr. Kergin, who then
aUowed him to return to Aiyansh on the condition that
he took things very quietly for a year, and then, if the
work proved too much, that he should resign and come
home to England.
His strength, however, steadUy decreased, and so he
decided on sending his resignation to the Church Missionary Society. This was accepted by a letter expressing
a hearty appreciation of his great work and also begging
Mrs. McCuUagh to take every care of him until the spring
opened up, and his C.M.S. friends would then all be looking
for his return and hoping to see him enjoy his much-
needed and weU-earned rest. 2io McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
But this was not the will of God for him. One Sunday
evening in October (1920), after preaching with intense
earnestness and with aU the appearance of his old-time
vigour, he coUapsed in the church and was carried up
the hiU to the mission-house. This was his last Service
in church. During the foUowing winter the Services on
Sunday were carried on by the faithful licensed lay
preachers, Charles Morven and Jonathan Mercer, with the
occasional help of the brothers Paul and William Mercer,
two of the boys trained by the missionary to do his printing work. Faithfully and to the best of their ability they
fulfilled their duty, while their dear " Master " lay on his
bed of sickness, " weak and often suffering, but never uttering a word of complaint or disappointment at being unable
to go on with the work his heart had been so greatly set
on accomplishing."
Nothing now seemed left for him but his faith in God,
which never failed, and the love of those who watched by
his side, nursing him and ministering to his needs with the
best of their available resources, and hoping that he might
yet be restored to some degree of health and strength.
But that hope was never to be realized. CHAPTER XXVII
AND was this to be the end of it all ? Thirty-eight
years before, he had renounced the ambition of his
youth, he had turned his back on the alluring prospects
held out to him of a successful career in the Army, and
instead he had chosen the humble lot of serving a tribe of
Indians, then in a degraded condition. He had given
them the very best of aU the powers with which God had
endowed him. The work he accomplished for their moral
and spiritual regeneration, as weU as for their material and
educational advancement, had provoked the wonder and
admiration of aU who were acquainted with this great
transformation. He had gloried in acknowledging that
his faith in God was the secret spring of all he had done,
and that the passion of his life was to see the Indians he
loved raised to a high standard of Christian living and
social weU-being.
And then came the fire to try his work and test his faith.
Afterwards came the flood and swept away the material
fruits of his toU and labour. And now he lay on his back,
tired, worn out, suffering from pain and sickness, knowing
that his work in the place and for the people so dear to
him, was finished. Where was the reward of his faithful
service ? Where was the answer to his prayers ? Where
was the God in Whom he trusted, and the Saviour in Whose
name he had preached and for Whose sake he had endured
privations and faced perils and toiled through the blazing
summer sun and the icy cold of many winters ? Was this
to be the end of it all ? No, indeed ; this was not the
end, nor had God forgotten His servant, nor were his
prayers of faith unanswered. And he knew all this with
an assurance which made him rejoice with a quiet gladness
in his heart. On April 21, 1919—that is, nearly eighteen
months after the flood—he was able to write : " This has
been the most wonderful winter's work in the history of the
Mission, and consequently in my life. It would almost
require a smaU book to exhibit it properly in its natural
and spiritual setting. I am just aching to get a chance of
writing it up."
What did he mean by this ? Ill-health prevented him
from ever fulfiUing his desire to write an account of what
he could have told. But we know from other sources
what he meant, and we also know that, beyond the date on
which he wrote the words just quoted, the wonderful work
to which he referred was still going on.
The answer is found in the fulfilment of a desire he had
cherished for the last ten or fifteen years of his life. This
was the linking up of the two villages of Aiyansh and
Gitlakdamiks. In 1909 he had mooted a scheme for taking
down the old mission-house (then situated on the bank
of the river) and, with the best of the old materials, building a new house with a school adjoining it half-way between
the two viUages. For various reasons this scheme had
fallen through. Now, after the flood, by the overruling
providence of God, something much better came to pass.
It wiU be remembered that the men of Aiyansh * decided
to avoid the risk of another flood by taking down their
houses and re-erecting them on the spaces allotted to them
at Gitlakdamiks. " Here," writes Mrs. McCuUagh, " the
missionary at last saw the firstfruits of his labours at the
viUage which had bnce held out so obstinately in its heathen
prejudices against the intrusion of the Christian faith. The
Indians at Gitlakdamiks welcomed their ' brothers ' from
Aiyansh with outstretched arms, giving to them the best
sites for their buildings, and in every way showing their
desire to place the newcomers on an equal footing with
themselves. And so, during those last three years of his
life, the great desire of his heart was fulfilled ; for the two
1 See p. 208. SUNSET 213
viUages became one, and the people one—no longer two,
but one people."
In 1911 the building of a church at Gitlakdamiks was
commenced. Charles Morven and a few faithful helpers
worked splendidly, so that by the time the flood came it
was nearly finished. Then the west window of Holy Trinity
Church at Aiyansh was taken out and, with some of the
interior fittings, removed to Gitlakdamiks and there placed
in St. Bartholomew's, helping to make it a really beautiful
little church.
At this latter viUage there was a town-hall, which was
used for all kinds of purposes, mainly secular. A Church-
hall was badly needed there, to be a centre of Christian
work, and never to be used for any meetings which could
keep alive the customs and feasts of the old heathen days.
So the church at Aiyansh was taken down, removed to
Gitlakdamiks, and there rebuilt as a Church Army HaU.
Furthermore, the people at Aiyansh had been greatly
humbled by the flood. They accepted it as an act of
discipline intended for their good, and as a warning to
discard the drink evil which had been the cause of their
moral deterioration and religious backsliding. Those who
came to settle in Gitlakdamiks did so under the inspiration
of a new purpose—the resolve to abjure that which had so
nearly been their spiritual undoing. The few who would
not break with the drink-habit remained behind in the
dereUct viUage of Aiyansh.
Three incidents took place at the mission-house at Gitlakdamiks during the winter of 1920-21, pathetic, inspiring, and also fuU of comfort and hope for the brave and
faithful servant of God, whose end was nearer than he
thought. These scenes left an indelible impression on
the minds of those who were present, especially of the
devoted wife who cherishes them as a sacred memory of
that anxious time.
1. When it became knownat Lak-Kalzap that the missionary had resigned his oversight of their spiritual interests,
the members of the Church Army came up the river (a 214
distance of forty-six miles) to offer their sympathy and to
say " Farewell." One by one they entered the front door
and passed through the house. Their voices shaking with
emotion, they said " Good-bye " to him and assured him of
the earnest prayers which were offered for him every night
at the meetings of the Church Army.
2. A chieftainship in the tribe became vacant during the
winter. The choice of succession lay between Charles
Morven and Paul Mercer. They both refused. Paul was
pressed to accept it, but still refused, because he was afraid
it might involve him in some acts contrary to his Christian faith and profession. At length, after much earnest
prayer, in which he laid the whole matter before the Lord,
he offered to accept the honour which was urged upon him
if he was allowed to receive it at the hands of God's servant
the missionary ; on that condition alone would he consent
to become chief. The rest of the tribe agreed to his proposal. And then took place a ceremony which, so far as I
know, is unique and unprecedented in the annals of the
North American Indians. On the day appointed for the
ceremony, Paul came to the mission-house, dressed in his
Sunday suit, accompanied by six chiefs and Charles
Morven ; followed also by a large company of his feUow-
tribesmen. They entered the drawing-room where the
missionary was sitting in his robes (he was too weak to
stand). A portion of the Office for the Ordination of
Deacons, together with prayers selected for the occasion,
was read, and then, with evident reverence and solemnity,
Paul knelt at the feet of him whom he loved to caU " Master." Laying his hands on the bent head, the missionary
asked him in the words of the Catechism, " Dost thou
renounce the devil and all his works, etc. ? "
With steady voice the young Indian replied, " I do."
Then, while he still remained on his knees, the insignia
of his office were thrown across his shoulders, and he
received the missionary's blessing.
In describing the scene, Mrs. McCuUagh adds : "It was
a very impressive service :, it brings a lump into my throat SUNSET 215
when I think of it ; and Paul has been true to his promise,,
thank God."
3. Once more a wonderful Service was held in that mission-house, leaving behind it the fragrant memory of an
act on which guardian-angels must have looked with
joy and wonder.
In the viUage were five babies whose parents wanted
them to be baptized.   They had a great desire that their
own missionary, and no other, should sign the sign of the
Cross on their little ones.    By this time he was too weak to
leave his bed—too weak even to read the Service or to
utter more than the fewest necessary words.    By his
request, William Mercer robed and stood near the bed on
which his "master" lay, and the children were brought into
the sick-room.    WiUiam had never used the Baptismal
Ofiice before ;  but now, with much feeling and without
making a single mistake, he read it through.    A bowl of
water was then held for the missionary. One by one William
asked of the parents the appointed questions, then took
each chUd and gently laid it on the bed, when the missionary
signed the sign of the Cross on their brows and repeated
the words, " We receive this child, etc." " They were lovely
services indeed," adds Mrs. McCuUagh, " but hard for me to
bear.   Many times ' a sword pierced through my heart.' "
A great desire took possession of the sick man.    If only
he could get down to the coast and inhale the sea breezes,
he thought he would get better. The Indians said that such
a thing would prove a mad adventure, the temperature
at that time being below zero ; but his craving for sea air
was so strong that Mrs. McCuUagh felt it wise to yield, and
the Indians were persuaded to do their part in the undertaking.   As soon as the decision was reached, preparations
were at once made for the long journey.    " I just had three
days' notice," wrote Mrs. McCuUagh, " to clear up all his
business, pack all my belongings, and make final arrangements.    During the three days, a strong stretcher or box
had been made by our Indian friend and carpenter George
Eh.   This box was nearly six feet long, quite wide, and 2i6 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
with high sides. A pole was stretched across the raised
head and foot, so that a canvas could be thrown over it if
necessary. Into this box the invalid was assisted, warmly
clothed in wooUen underwear, socks and his precious Jaeger
dressing-gown—the last gift of his dear old friend, Mrs.
Foquett—and he was then borne out of the large French
window by a stalwart crew of Indians on to the balcony,
and from thence to the waiting sleigh below. Maisie, our
pet pony, was also ready in her little red sleigh to do her
share in drawing the luggage, with Pat and Chris, who had
elected to ride, and who thought it aU great fun. The rest
of the party walked, and as we passed through the village
of Gitlakdamiks, every door in turn opened, the occupants
of the house, descending the steps, joined us, tiU finally
quite a procession was formed, moving slowly and quietly
behind the smoothly gliding sleigh.
" Each step of the way was a pleasure to the dear
missionary, lying there so snug in his spacious feather bed.
The fresh, frosty air seemed to put new life into him, and a
happy smile lit up his face as he passed once again down
the dear old ' Gospel road,' now covered five feet deep in
beautiful white snow, which sparkled and shone in the
bright sunlight.
" AU too soon slipped by those last moments, spent in
happy converse with my dear ones to be left behind. Many
were the words of encouragement and hope exchanged ;
many were the silent prayers offered for strength to bear
the long parting and for success to our venture.
" Arrived at Aiyansh, a distance of two miles, the procession was swelled to a large number by the remainder of
our flock who were working at Aiyansh. A little farther
on we were met by Mrs. Priestley, who had crossed over the
river with her husband to wish us God-speed. A hard
moment was this for us all. In the bright sunlight our
dear invalid looked more pale and wan than she had seen
him yet, and good-bye is always so hard to say to those we
love. But as these sad thoughts dim her eye, a kindly
whisper from the sleigh meets her ear : ■ Never mind, dear,
nevermind.    It is better so.'    Yes, truly better so. SUNSET
"So we gather up our courage and proceed the few
remaining steps to the river's edge, where awaits us, in aU
its grace and beauty, a real old-time war-canoe ! What
memories, dear heart, does not that conjure up before your
vision ! What recoUections of hairbreadth escapes, of
trials and excitements, of joys and sorrows and conquests
in those adventurous years long since passed away ? How
fitting, was it not ? that this great war-veteran of Christ's
Kingdom should so travel on his last journey down the
dear old Naas !
" After the box had been lifted into position and the
crew and myself had taken the places allotted to us, there
comes a pause. The missionary is far too weak for the
usual prayer and blessing which precede our goings and
comings on those dangerous waters. Who would fiU his
place ? No need for me to doubt or question. Out of the
stillness rises the voice of an elder, clear and unfaltering,
earnestly praying that all may be well with the dear master
now leaving them for the last time, and that the flock left
behind may remain faithful and true to their Master in
heaven. Then some one started a hymn, such a beautiful
hymn, rising clear and fuU from every throat, into the pure
air—one seemed to take wings and fly away too like a bird.
A few more earnest, heartfelt prayers were uttered, and
then, to the soul-stirring strains of the parting hymn, ' God
be with you tiU we meet again/ the great canoe slipped
noiselessly away down the slow-flowing river. For a
moment a white hand appears above the enveloping blankets and flutters feebly a handkerchief from the side of the
canoe—a sUent last fareweU from him they love. I see and
hear it all as I write. There was not a dry eye amongst us,
and there was absolutely no sound as the last words died
away—■ TiU we meet at Jesu's feet.' God grant that not
one may be missing when the great, joyful day comes.
You, at least, faithful servant, have done your part, and
already many happy souls await you across the shining river.
" The river being open from Aiyansh to Gwinoha, the
first part of our journey was easUy accomplished. In a
couple of hours we reached Gwinoha and found a comfort* 2l8
able resting-place for the night in Chief Paul Zalie's nice big
house. A large spring bed and mattress were brought in
for the invalid, which insured a good night's rest for him,
an important thing, as the next day was likely to try to
the utmost his limited strength. As a night in camp was
out of the question for him in his serious condition, it was
necessary to make a very early start next morning, so as to
cover in one day the twenty-five miles between Gwinoha
and Lak-Kalzap.
" The river was still navigable for a few more miles, but
it was considered safest to leave the canoe at Gwinoha and
follow the track, which was frozen and should prove good
going. This, however, turned out to be the hardest part of
the journey, for the ice in places was not fit to pass over, so
the river bank had to be scaled and a rough trail foUowed
through the thick forest which lies on either side of the
river. Up and down the sleigh tipped and rocked and
rolled. Once it actually overturned, but by heroic efforts
was righted before much damage was done. Not a word
or sound of discomfort was heard from the occupant, who
now, as always, was game. Yet his real sensations were
later on discovered, in answer to the doctor's questions as
to how he liked the sleigh ride ? ' Oh, it was aU right. I
think I travelled on my head most of the way.' Truly
thankful were we all to find ourselves once more on the
smooth-frozen river, and from there onwards, as far as the
trail was concerned, the worst was over.
" I must now tell you of my beautiful white ' bird of good
omen.' She appeared quite suddenly beside the trail, so
near that the sleigh leader might have put out his hand and
gathered her up. She was bigger than a pigeon,and was a
pure lustrous white—even the snow on which she sat in such
friendly stillness was no whiter. Not in aU my backwoods
wanderings had I seen a bird like this, and the Indians, too,
came babbling on with expressions of surprise and admiration. ' Whence came you ? whither going ? ' I .wondered.
' No member of a noisy emigrating flock of birds are you/
No, just a gentle dove, a comforter, sent perhaps from the
skies from which she seemed to come and to which she SUNSET 219
seemed as suddenly to return, to bring a thought of comfort
to an anxious and rather fearful woman's heart."
Thus the missionary's wife referred to herself ; but she
must have had a very brave heart. She had to walk on
foot that long day's journey down the frozen river, helped
by leaning on one of the sleighs. Her strength gave out at
last and, when near Lak-Kalzap, she feU down footsore and
exhausted. Room was made for her on the front of her
husband's sleigh, the Indian crew making light of her extra
weight, only saying how sorry they were they had not
known sooner she was so tired. " They thought she was
enjoying herself !" At Lak-Kalzap they were held up for
five days by a severe storm, the wind blowing strong and
cold from the north.
" On the fifth day of our sojourn at Lak-Kalzap, the wind
abated, and in due time some of the Kincolith boys arrived
with our own messengers, to tell us the journey was now
possible and the boat awaiting as soon as we could get off.
Just before we left, a young girl came in with a parting gift
for the missionary ; and what do you think it was ? A vase
of the wonderfuUy sweet-scented cotton-leaves ! My husband's one regret that we had heard him express on leaving
Aiyansh, was that our departure was too early for him once
again to see and smell those exquisite leaves which had
been his joy and defight year by year as the spring opened
up. And here, nearly two months before the season, his
desire was fulfilled ! I still see his smile of delight as the
young girl offered them, and still treasure some of the
leaves in memory of a wonderful little miracle Nature
worked to do my dear husband this pleasure as he left his
' Valley of Eternal Bloom ' for the last time.
" There were two hours of a rough and winding traU over
and around the massed ice-floats, and a short and difficult
mile or two along the river-bank, ere we reached the
waiting gas-boat. Here our last and saddest fareweUs took
place with the Morvens and a few faithful boys, who had
seen us safely through the hazardous journey and were now
about to depart on their return trip, leaving us in the care
of friends from Kincohth. 220
" It was icy cold on the open water, but the invalid
imbibed the sea air with great breaths of satisfaction, and
oh ! how good it was to see his earnest desire for those
same breezes at last fulfilled."
A week's delay was necessary at Kincolith, as the mail-
boat had just departed. A welcome was given to the
invalid and his wife at the house of Archdeacon CoUison,
where medical supervision and trained nursing restored
him for the time. " It was a pleasure to watch his keen
enjoyment of his food and his growing appetite. But, alas !
the same trouble was there, strong as ever—he could not
keep his food down. Always within a couple of hours there
would be the same terrible vomiting, followed by a period
of great exhaustion.
" A week slipped quickly by, and once again, after many
solemn farewells, we started on the last part of our journey.
The ' Friendly Helpers,' a band of stalwart young Indians
who had formed themselves into this company for the purpose of giving their services to those in need of it, for the
sake of the Gospel, carried the missionary once more,
comfortably tucked up in his box, down the long road to
the landing-stage where a gas-boat was in readiness to take
us across the water to Arrandale Cannery. The landing at
Arrandale was a difficult and arduous task, for the tide
being low, the heavy box had to be borne across the slippery rocks for a good distance. The good-will of the boys,
however, never faltered ; so we finally reached the wharf
and waited there in the darkness for the coming of the
steamer. It was good to get on board at last and see the
dear invalid comfortably established in a state-room. Ere
leaving, the ' Friendly Helpers ' filed in one by one and
solemnly wished him good-bye and God-speed.
" Thanks to the wonderful ? wireless ' we were able to
make our needs known in advance ; so our good friends Dr.
Kergin and the Indian Agent, Mr. CoUison, were on the
wharf to meet us at Prince Rupert, with the ambulance in
readiness. When the doctor saw my husband's condition,
he just slipped off his coat, gathered him up in his arms,
and carried him with infinite care to the stretcher, on which SUNSET 221
he was taken to the waiting ambulance below. In spite of
a few protests from the missionary (who, though so weak,
knew just what he wanted to do, and vice versa), he was
promptly whirled off to the hospital, where he was able at
last to get the full advantage of medical skiU and trained
" You may imagine how comforting to my anxious heart
was the answer given to the doubting question, ' Have I
done right in risking his precious life to bring him down to
you, doctor ? ' ' Right ! indeed you have done right ; you
have done the only thing ! ' "
He Uved for about two months after being brought to
the hospital. HappUy, God enabled him to rest without
anxious thoughts about his loved ones or his work. " He
just felt his work was fully completed, and he was quite
content to leave his flock in stronger hands and to rest in his
weakness. He slept most of the time, and spoke very little,
sometimes talking low in Indian. He was always glad to
see me sitting beside him, reading or writing, but never
asked how I was or how the children were—too weak even
to feel being parted from them, though he was able to
kiss and name them in turn when they visited him in the
hospital on their arrival from Aiyansh, a fortnight before
his death. This is what helped me so much ; for to realize
what I was suffering would have given anguish to his tender
thoughtful soul."
Miss Gambles, who brought the chUdren from Aiyansh,
was a great comfort to Mrs. McCuUagh as weU as to the
dying missionary during his last days.
On Easter Day he received the Holy Communion at the
hands of Canon Rix and was able to join in the Service with
a fuU clear voice and, at the close of it, he said to Canon
Rix, " Brother, this is no mere form to me."
On May I, 1921, his brave spirit was released from its
earthly tabernacle. He was buried, in his robes, in the
special part of Fairview Cemetery at Prince Rupert reserved for Church people. The Service here was conducted
by Canon Rix. " Everything," wrote Mrs. McCuUagh,
1'was just as it should be.  My great desire was to strike the 222
note of triumph. So the usual hymns were not chosen. I
selected instead, * Fight the good fight,' ' There is a Happy
Land,' and ' Now thank we all our God.' I felt it would
have been a poor thing not to be able to rejoice with him
that he was so quietly and painlessly called into his glory.
His grave was lined all round with beautiful evergreens, so
that it seemed just like laying him down in one of those
beds of cedar in which he had so often rested in his old
times of camping out."
"So He giveth His beloved sleep." CHAPTER XXVIII
Character and Service
SOMETIMES, after reading a biography, we close the
book with a feeling of disappointment ; we are
not satisfied that the author has given us a true life-
portrait. The colouring of the picture seems too bright
to be real. We say to ourselves, " Surely the man must
have had some faults of character ; but his biographer has
not shown them to us and, glad as we are to know all about
his goodness, his noble deeds and the fine example he has
set, we should also like to know what were those infirmities
of disposition wherein he showed himself to be human like
Were there no faults in the character of McCuUagh ?
or are we to suppose that he was so perfect that he never
made a mistake ? Of course, he had faults, like other
men ; of course, he made mistakes, as every one does.
There were flaws in his character, but they did not go
deep enough to mar seriously the value of his life's
I should say that, naturally, he had a quick temper.
But certainly he learned, as every true Christian does learn,
the secret of controlling it.
I Although," writes Mrs. McCuUagh, " he acquired
among the Indians the name of being quick-tempered and
easUy made angry, he had the most wonderful power of
self-control I have ever seen ; his indignation, invariably,
partook of the character of righteous wrath, and so it
always brought good with it."
There were times when severity was necessary in dealing
with the Indians—severity backed up by the force of strong
wiU-power. An instance of this occurred at Lak-Kalzap,
just before McCuUagh took over the mission there from
the Methodist Church. There had been a drunken brawl
in the viUage. He called the chiefs together and " put
the whole crowd of brawlers through the miU," fining the
principal offender, a leading chief, fifty dollars, with the
option of two months' hard labour. " He was very proud
and defiant ; but a steady look into his eyes of two
minutes' duration worked wonders in him, and he paid his
fine." The others also paid the fines separately imposed
on them.
" It is no easy matter," he wrote, after describing
this, " for an unsupported white man, 800 miles practically
from the seat of law and order, to tackle a tribe of Indians,
single-handed, and bring them to time and attention.
Very wiUingly would I avoid and evade doing this kind of
thing ; but then, what would the harvest be ? It requires
the working up of enormous will-power to do it ; and it
leaves me very weak and limp afterwards. But it would
not do for them to think that ; one's eye must never
weaken in their sight."
His most conspicuous fault (if fault it could be called)
was an optimism which was not always justified. But
is not this the common failing of all enthusiasts ? Is it
indeed possible for anyone to become an enthusiast in a
good cause without being an optimist, with the risk, always
attached, of making mistakes, great or small ? The
highest and noblest work in the world is done by men of
vision ; and McCuUagh certainly may be reckoned among
them. But the man of vision can scarcely help sometimes becoming a visionary ; it is a part of his nature
and temperament. In his eagerness to achieve great
things he is liable to create ideals which are beyond his
power to realize. The failure is not always his fault ;
frequently it is owing to the lack of enthusiasm in others
who could help him but wUl not. Has there ever lived an
enthusiast who has not at some time become the victim of
his own illusions ?
"I  dream dreams and see visions/'  said Raphael, CHARACTER AND SERVICE 225
" and then I paint my dreams and my visions." But
he must have had many a dream which never materialized
and seen many a vision which was never transferred from
his brain to the canvas or the fresco. So it was with
McCuUagh, the practical worker and man of action.
Many of his letters breathe the passionate desire he felt for
the welfare and progress of the Indians along fines where
they could never travel. In 1905 he wrote : " Plans and
calculations crowd my brain. I seem to see, as a seer,
the glorious things lying within future possibility. In
my secret heart and in my dream-prayers I sigh for the
realization of hopes which, circumstanced as we are at
present, only a dreamer, perhaps, would dare to conceive.
But why should God's work go ' a begging ' ? Is not the
promise stiU good that ' whatsoever we ask according
to His will we shall receive ' ? I believe it with all my
For many years his mind was fuU of a project for the
betterment of the Indians' social condition. He called
it " A Proposed Settlement Scheme for Aiyansh." He
talked to the Indians about it incessantly ; he referred
to it constantly in his sermons ; "in season and out of
season " he strove to create among them an atmosphere
of desire and ambition for that which he believed would,
more than anything else that was secular, raise them
to a position of permanent stability and progress as the
citizens of a great Empire. He obtained from the
Government a grant of land for the purpose ; he drew a
map of the whole Reserve with aUotments coloured,
and hung it up for the Indians to see ; but he could
only prevail on a very few of them to stake their claims,
and the scheme faUed in the end, owing partly to the
natural indolence of the red man and partly to his want
of confidence in his white rulers. The Indians have a
deep-rooted suspicion of the good faith of the white man's
Government !
On several occasions, during the later years of his life,
overtures were made to McCuUagh by company promoters
in British Columbia.   They stated their object plainly; 226 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
they had heard of the influence he wielded over the Indians,
of his intimate knowledge of the value of land, and of his
expert acquaintance with the mineral resources of the
country, etc. ; if he would agree to place his experience at
their disposal they would give him a large interest in their
shares. But he always refused. Speaking of this, he
said, " If I had yielded to the temptation I might have
been a rich man, possibly a miUionaire to-day, and I
have been called a fool for my scruples ; but I will live and
die the poor man that I am rather than give the Indians
any reason for thinking that I would make gain out
of them or become rich at their expense."
His unselfish generosity and thoughtful sympathy for
the needy and suffering Indians may be instanced by an
extract from a private letter written in 1904 : "I could
not help smiling at your advice that I should get rubber
boots. I invest in these things and in oilskins regularly
every year, but I can't keep them ; that is where the
difficulty comes in. Some unfortunate consumptive is
sure to get them when the bad weather begins. However,
it is very seldom I am the worse for the want."
He had a big heart, fuU of sympathy and affection
for his feUow-men, both white and red ; but the best
part of all he was and all he had was ever kept in
reserve for those who had the strongest claim on him ;
his love for his wife and children overflowed with joy
and passionate devotion and tender solicitude for their
welfare and happiness.
His love of nature comes out on many a page of his
journals and letters ; his power of observation must have
been remarkable, as also was his gift for interpreting the
inner and deeper meaning of the things he saw. He
seemed never to fail in the use of picturesque and poetic
language in which to describe the glory of the mountains
and the beauty of the valley, whether clothed in its
summer verdure or wrapped in its winter mantle of snow
and ice. Thus he wrote : " I do love to get as near as I
can to Nature ; there is a great affection between us ; she
speaks to me things that I cannot find words to express, CHARACTER AND SERVICE 227
and I rejoice to hear what she says and to see what she
reveals. " She is really more to me than the social world
from which I am cut off. There is no hiatus between
her converse and the things of heaven ; her earthly
things have also a heavenly meaning."
And yet, although cut off for the greater part of his life
from the social world, he kept himself weU acquainted
with all that was going on ; his active brain was a safeguard against the possibiUty of vegetating. " His interest
in the world and its doings never slacked," wrote his
wife ; "he read the newspaper (often months late) with
avidity, and he had wise opinions at all times to offer upon
every subject."
On reading through his letters one sometimes comes
across bits of philosophy about human life, its secrets of
success and failure, written in his clear-flowing trenchant
style.—For instance : " The opportunity for a life-work
only comes to a man once. I think history wiU bear out
that statement. And I notice that the biggest life-
works of which we have reliable records aU had very
humble beginnings. The men who performed them did
their chores to begin with, endured the contradiction and
contumely of adversaries, opposed no pride, took no
offence, ate their peck of dirt bravely, took root, grew
up into their work and at last branched out into fuU
fnnt-bearing before the astonished world."
His own work was never recognized as it deserved. Earthly
honours did not come his way, and he neither sought nor
desired them. In reading through his journals and private
letters I have come across no sentence in which there is a
word of self-praise, nor has he anywhere betrayed a sign
of personal ambition or the feeling of disappointment and
wounded vanity at being passed over. The absence of
any spirit of self-seeking was equally noticeable in conversation with him. He never seemed to think that he
had done anything great.
The varied nature of his gifts and the practical uses to
which he apphed them could not be summarized better
than in the testimony of the late Dr. Jacob, Bishop of 228 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH
St. Albans.   When writing (in 1907) about the history of
the mission at Aiyansh, he said :
" It is much more than the conversion of a tribe of Red Indians
from savagery to Christianity. It is the story of the building-up of
a Christian society by one man, who has been the principal agent
in their remarkable transformation, one whom I have known and
whose career I have followed for many years. Whether as evangelist, pastor, doctor, architect, builder, designer, printer, photographer, carver, administrator of justice, sanitary reformer, expert
on salmon, on which so many of his tribes depend, and general
civilizing and humanizing, as well as Christianizing agent, Mr.
McCuUagh realized that Christianity must permeate life and
consecrate every department of it."
Among the tributes written in appreciation of the man
and his work are the following :—
From the Rev. Oliver Thorne (his successor at
Aiyansh) :
f I keep finding out matters that increase my admiration for
the genius of McCuUagh. Fancy ! he knew he was to die, and
before he went out he formed a permanent Church council of
most of the old men of the village. They were to stay in power,
and they were to add only as they lost members by death. They
were to be responsible for both the spiritual and material welfare
of the Church. McCuUagh knew the somewhat childish nature
of the Indian, always running after a novelty ; so he formed
this council of the elders to steady the younger element. All
—Church Army, wardens, choir, women workers and Y.M.C.A.
—all are under the guardianship of the Church Council and can
start- no innovation without their approval."
From the Church Missionary Society :
" The Committee have received with sorrow the news of the
death, on May 1, of James Benjamin McCuUagh, of the British
Columbia Mission. . . . By his earnest devotion as a messenger
for Christ Jesus, by a forceful manliness, by a great heart of
love for Indians and Europeans alike, and by unfailing courage
coupled with winning humour, he gained a position of unique
influence among the Naas Indians and hardly less among the
many European traders and others with whom he had contact
at Prince Rupert and elsewhere."
From the Archbishop of Caledonia (F. H. Du Vernet,
" Rightly to appreciate the wonderful work accomplished it
would be necessary to have before one, first an accurate picture
of what the Upper Naas Indians were like thirty-eight years
ago, and then to bring into vivid contrast with this what they
are like to-day. Degrading heathenism is now a thing of the
past on the Upper Naas River, and the Indians on the whole
aire an intelligent and fine band of people, not yet perfect by any
manner of means, but steadily progressing, enlightened by the
Gospel of Christ. This is the great memorial to that veteran
of the Cross who so dearly loved this picturesque valley and these
native people.
" When I spoke to him on his dying bed of his noble work,
he replied, that ' it was no credit to him, as he had enjoyed the
work from beginning to end/ This was one of the secrets of
his success: his heart was in his work.
" He was highly gifted as a linguist, and delighted in comparing
verbal roots of various languages. His early military training
never left him, and often proved of service when, as a justice
of the peace, he maintained law and order. He was a man of
visions and could dream dreams. Some of his dreams he helped
to turn into realities. His gift of pictorial description and his
fervid Irish eloquence captured his audiences when home on
deputation work. He will long be remembered on both sides
of the Atlantic.
" When repeating to him the text, \ The Eternal God is thy
Refuge and underneath are the Everlasting Arms,' though I
made no reference to his speedy departure he replied, ' I am
ready, I am willing to go.' "
What was the hidden source of his power and success ?
—the underlying and uplifting motive by which he was
inspired ?
Let his own pen give us the answer and reveal the
secret. He had been describing the hard work of those
early years of the misson when he was learning the language and afterwards when he was translating the Bible.
Many times he tells us that he sat at his desk all night
in order to get the quiet he needed for such work—the
quiet which was denied him in the day-time through
frequent interruptions on the part of the Indians. He
went on to write : "I slaved and slaved. Yes, I glory in the
word Slave of Jesus Christ. Paul exclaimed with joy
ôovXoç eîfii, and it is with joy and thankfulness for the
privilege that I also cry ôovkoç ei[û.   It rings like music OF AIYANSH
in my ears ; it thriUs me ; it buoys me up amid the waves
of discouragement, more than does the hope of glory. I
crave not for glory. ' Thine is the glory, and I am Thy
servant.' I often wonder if we shall have work to do
when we cross the border. I trust so : I love to look
forward to an eternity of work and worship for Him who is
my glorious Chief, perfect in every particular. To rise
with Him into battle ! The thought makes me feel like a
flame of fire ! " Epilogue
HOW can we summarize the impressions made on our
minds by a study of the life-story of James
Benjamin McCuUagh ? What can we learn from him
whose gifts and energies for nearly forty years were
dedicated to the glory of God in that far-away valley of
our Empire ?
Three facts of supreme value stand out clearly.
First, there is the power of the eternal Gospel.
This was the uplifting, regenerating force by which the
Nishga Indians were redeemed from cannibalism, cruelty,
superstition and ignorance. No human hands could
have performed such a miracle without this divinely-
wrought lever. There is no record on the pages of history
where a transformation so marvellous has been effected by
any other means. This chaUenge is made without any
fear of refutation.
And what the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ did for the
Indians on the Naas River it can accomplish for any other
people or nation all the world over. The grace of God,
which made a new creation of the Red Indian on spiritual,
ethical and material lines, is the one thing also needed
by the white races on both sides of the Atlantic. Nothing
else can cure the moral cancer which is sapping the life
out of Europe. Concerning all ranks and classes among
us it is equally true to say, " There is no other Name
under heaven given among men whereby we must be
saved." Jesus Christ alone can produce order and
harmony in place of the chaos and the discord of conflicting passions which are so glaringly patent in the
poUtical arena, in the industrial markets and workshops
of the world and in the home-life of the nation.
231 232
Secondly, " God works, His wonders to perform," by
the agency of human fives, kindled into the flame of a
consecrated resolve and fanned into action by the breath
of His Spirit. How great is the honour conferred upon us
sinful men that we should be taken into partnership
with the Holy One and used by Him for carrying out His
purpose of love in the regeneration of our feUow-men !
It is the conscious possession of this bright secret which
inspires the missionary to abandon the comforts and
joys of home-life in order to lay out in unselfish devotion
the treasures of faith and knowledge and love entrusted
to him as talents to be spent in his Master's name.
If this sublime truth were fully realized and universally
acknowledged by Christian people, there would soon be
no land unvisited, no nation unreached by the messengers
of the Lord Christ, no lack of financial aid to equip and
provision the soldiers of the Cross for their glorious crusade.
And thirdly, there is the divinely-appointed law of
human influence—the moral force and inspiration of
example, which should awaken into life and quicken anew
in each one of us the burning aspiration to apply our
talents to a more effective use than we have yet done.
Of the first saint and martyr who lived for the glory of
God and died as the penalty of his loyalty to the truth,
it was said, some four thousand years later, " He, being
dead, yet speaketh." The last page of this book is written
within eighteen months of the day when the hero of the story
entered into his rest. With the memory of his zeal, his
toil, his battles against the powers of darkness, his conquests over sin and Satan and his burning love for his
Saviour, let his example inspire and nerve us aU to a
nobler purpose, a more devoted self-sacrifice, a more
generous enthusiasm and a stronger faith in the presence
and power of our divine Master and Redeemer—" Jesus
Christ Himself."
Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner Ltd., Frame and London   pim^^all:.^^ ||«
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