A. R. (Augustus Robert) Buckland.

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A Life on Ihe

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A-RBUCKLAND
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JOHN HORDEN, BISHOP OF MOOSONEE.
[From a photograph taken about the titm of his coTisecration."}



JOHN HORDEN

MISSIONARY BISHOP



BY THE



REV. A. R. BUCKLAND, M.A.

AUTHOR OF "the HEROIC IN MISSIONS*



SEVENTH. ^PJTiOM,,




LONDON:
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION

57 AND 59 LUDGATE HiLL, E.G. 4



MRS. HORDEN



FOR MANY LONG YEARS



THE COMPANION



HER HUSBAND S MISSIONARY LIFB



973929



NOTE



For the material contained in this Life I am
indebted to Bishop Horden's letters, published in
the Periodicals and Eeports of the Church Mis-
sionary Society, and in the colunms of the Record ;
to the volume, Forty-two Years amongst the Indians
and Eskimo, compiled by the Editor of the Coral
Magazine, from letters addressed to her; to the
account of Bishop Horden amongst the Brief
Sketches of Church Missionary Society Workers ; and
to information privately communicated.

A. E. B.



CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE

I. A boy's ambition . . . . .11

II. THE DEPARTURE FOR MOOSONEE . . .20

III. FIRST LABOURS AMONGST ESKIMO AND INDIANS . 32

IV. "in journeyings often" . . . .42

V. ENGLAND VISITED ..... 54

VI. OUT-STATIONS . . . . .61

VII. A NEW RESPONSIBILITY . . . .68

VIII. LEAVES FROM BISHOP HORDEN'S DIARY . . 77

IX. YEARa OF TRIAL ..... 97

X. TO ENGLAND FOR THE LAST TIME . . . 110

XI. HOME AGAIN . . . . . .125

XII. CLOSING SCENES ..... 134



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



JOHN HORDEN, BISHOP OF MOOSONEE
ESKIMO WOMAN AND CHILD
AN INDIAN CHIEF ....
LOADING CANOE FOR A RIVER JOURNEY
ESKIMO MAN .....
YORK FACTORY ....

AGED CREE MAN ....

bishop's COURT, SCHOOLHOUSE, AND TENT, AT

FORT .....

MAIN STREET, WINNIPEG

INDIAN TRAPPERS ....
HUNTING DEER ....

ASCENDING A RAPID.
CREE CHURCH, YORK FACTORY



PACK

Frontispiece
23
30
35
49
57
62



MOOSE



69

79

91

115

121

126



10



John Hoedbn

MISSIONARY BISHOP



CHAPTEK I

A boy's ambition

A Child's Resolve and a Life's Devotion — John Horden at
Home and at School — A Book that made a Missionary —
Apprentice Days and Work at Home — Accepted for the
Mission-Field.



T is hard to find a healthy and

intelligent boy, who does not,

sooner or later, make up his mind

what he would "like to be."

It happens now and then that he chooses

something unsuitable, or that he has made up his

mind under the influence of a merely temporary

11




12 JOHN HORDEN

interest. It happens, too, that ambitions cannot
always be gratified. But these things do not
keep the majority of boys in each generation
from choosing or seeking to choose for themselves.

The missionary-bishop whose life will be told in
this book was one of the boys who made up their
minds early. He was also one of those who found
that other people's views as to his future did not
agree with his own. Yet happily he is to be counted
amongst the boys who, disappointed at first of their
cherished ambition, were afterwards able to realise it
in full. John Horden as a child resolved that, God
willing, he would be a missionary. He had at first
opposition and disappointment to face. But in due
time his wish was granted; he lived and died a
missionary in one of the hardest fields of labour
known to the modern evangelist.

Horden gives us an example of a lifelong devotion
to a single cause. This marks him off at once from a
large number of the best-known workers in the foreign
mission field. William Carey was thirty-three wh-en
he volunteered to go out as a missionary, and his



A LIFE'S DEVOTION 13

sign-board had borne the notice " Second-hand shoes
bought and sold " before he became a schoolmaster
and preacher. Adoniram Judson had yearned for
distinction in many paths, had taught in a school, and
had travelled with a company of actors, before the
turning-point in life which saw his decision for God
and his resolve to be a missionary. Allen Gardiner was
a naval officer, from childhood warmly interested in
the service, before he took up missionary work in
Zululand, or made the heroic attempt which led to
his death in Tierra del Fuego. To come to more
modern instances, Dr. John G. Paton had preached
the gospel earnestly at home before he was called to
enter on his marvellous experiences in the South
Seas. Hannington, the martyr-bishop, was taken
from a country parish ; Alexander Mackay, from
work as an engineer; Mr. Monro, some time head
of the Metropolitan Police Force, from well-earned
repose after an active life ; and many others, whose
names the world has not heard of, have laid
down secular occupations, in order to work amongst
the heathen or Mohammedans abroad.



14 JOHN HO R DEN

Again, there are young people who in early life
make up their minds what they would " like to be,"
but discover, after a brief trial, that they have made
a mistake, and turn, more or less readily, to something
else. Many a boy inspired by the delightful sea-
stories so popular with every generation, has resolved
to be a sailor, and has insisted, against advice and
entreaty, that a sailor he will be. With a good
many of these a single voyage is enough. They
find out with amazing promptitude that the one
thing for which they are peculiarly unfitted is the
sailor's life. Happy are those who discover such
mistakes before they have gone too far, and are
saved the unhappiness which falls in life to the lot
" of the round man in a square hole." It was other-
wise with John Horden. He formed his resolution
early' in life ; to it he was always constant ; and in
the exercise of the calling he had chosen he died in
a green old age.

John Horden was born at Exeter in 1828, the
eldest son of William and Sarah Horden. His father
was a printer by trade, and the family were in



AN EARL Y DECISION 1 5

humble circumstances. But the parents were
devout Christian people, and, despite their early
views about the calling of a missionary, they had
much to do with the framing of their son's career.

At seven years of age John Horden entered
St. John's School, Exeter, a charity the origin of
which goes back to the twelfth century. When
Horden was a boy it was a school in which a varying
number of orphans and others were clothed, educated,
and prepared for a useful life. There, too, he was
under religious influences, and there John Horden
definitely accepted Christ as his Saviour. Some
observers look with suspicion upon all signs of
religious conviction in boys and girls. They declare
that it is unnatural, and can only end in disappoint-
ment. The theory is contradicted by many a
consistent life which began in early childhood the
conscious service of God, and the life of John Horden
is a case in point. The convictions of boyhood
remained the convictions of his manhood.

In the Thirties and Forties there were not many
books dealing in a popular way with foreign



i6 JOHN HORDEN

missions. Such enterprises were less numerous,
were less cared for, less known, less talked of, than
in these days, when the lives and work of such men
as Livingstone, Patteson, Hannington, Gilmour, and
Paton, have made some sides of missionary work
familiar to "the man in the street." But if the
books were fewer, they had their readers. One came
into the hands of Horden, and, under God, decided
his future for him. It dealt with India, and the
horrors of heathenism as there displayed. Horden
read it, and decided upon his career in life. He
would be a missionary, a missionary to India, a
bearer of the glad tidings to those who lay in the
grasp of the cruel superstitions described.

Eesolutions of this kind are easily formed, and as
easily forgotten. In Horden's case they were
cherished. He had not made up his mind in a fit
of exaltation; in everyday language, he "meant
business." But he was not his own master. There
was home to think of, his parents to consult, and his
father strongly opposed his plan. It would be easy,
of course, to condemn Mr. Horden for standing in



FRUITFUL OPPOSITION 17

the way of so noble a decision ; but remember the
times. Those were not the days in which the
foreign missionary was a familiar object. The
Church of Christ in our land is still but poorly and
feebly doing its duty by heathendom; but it is a
miracle of zeal and industry compared to what it
was in the Thirties and Forties. John Horden only
met with the opposition which was so general in his
times, and has always had to be counted with in one
way or another. As a matter of fact, too, that early
opposition was justified ; it ended in Horden becom-
ing much better equipped for the work of his life
than if he had from the first entered on the special
training for a missionary.

When John Horden left school he was apprenticed
to a trade, and, like an honest Christian lad, worked
at it with intelligence and vigour. The result was
a readiness at manual labour, a skill in the use of
tools, and a capacity for making the best of unpro-
mising material, which, in after life, stood him in
better stead than the regular course of seminary
training could have done.



i8 JOHN HORDEN

But, whilst working with his liands, he never
forgot his great ambition. In his spare time he
plodded steadily on with his books, toiling at the
Greek and Latin, of which, if his hopes were ever to
be realised, a knowledge would be demanded. He
succeeded so far that, when his apprentice days
were over, and the opportunity came, he laid aside
manual labour and became a schoolmaster. But
though he did this it was not because he had any
foolish contempt for working at a trade, for even as
a bishop he was always ready to take up tools
himself, and that not as playthings, but for
practical ends.

In the meantime his spiritual life, and with it his
ambition, was fostered under the happiest influence.
The Vicar of St. Thomas's, Exeter, encouraged an
interest in foreign missions. In connection with the
church there existed a little group of young men who
met regularly for Bible study and gave their leisure
to Christian work. Horden was not alone amongst
them in looking forward to a life in the mission-
field. But until the door should open, they prepared



ACCEPTED EOR SERVICE 19

for the work of evangelists abroad by acting as
evangelists at home. It was the way to keep
their resolution alive. It seems only natural to
learn that, of this little band, six eventually became
missionaries.

As for Horden, he was no longer a boy but
a man when, in 1850, he was able to offer himself
to the Church Missionary Society. He was
accepted, and although it seemed probable that some
time would elapse before he would be sent to the
field, he had at last drawn within reach of his
ambition. Its actual realisation came, as a fact,
much sooner than he could have ventured to hope
for.




CHAPTEE IT

THE DEPARTURE FOR MOOSONEE

A Land of Romance — Moose Factory — The Call for a Man — Horden
Chosen — A Hasty Departure — First Impressions of Hudson's
Bay — Moose and its People.

many generations of English boys
the vast regions of the Far West
have been a land of romance.
To-day, when railways span the
continent of America from Atlantic to Pacific,
when the isolated settlements of a generation
ago are already large towns, and when " the noble
red man " is threatening to become as extinct as the
dodo or the great auk, that old interest in the land
is gone. But, as the continent has become better




A VAST PARISH 21

known, we are the more able to realise its enormous
area. Horden, as we shall presently see, went out to
a diocese which measured some 1500 miles from top
to bottom and side to side, and had some 3000 miles
of coast. Yet it is a mere corner of North America.
If you look at the map of that continent, you will
find. the great arm of the sea, called Hudson's Bay,
thrusting itself far into the land. Its south-eastern
extremity is called James' Bay. Into this a river
discharges, and on that river, on an island, a few
miles from its mouth, stands a village known as
Moose Fort or Moose Factory. As its name suggests,
it is a station of the Hudson's Bay Company,
to which it owes its existence and the presence
of a small European population. The post is still
cut off from the world by almost impenetrable
forests, and by the ice-bound waters of the bay.
Once a year, in the Fifties and much later, a ship
came from England with stores and news; when
it left, the door seemed again to shut on the
outside world. The natives of the regions were
Eskimos, Chippeways, Crees, and Ojibbeways. Now



2 2 JOHN BORDEN

the vast area, from the border line of the United
States to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and
from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific Coast, is dotted
with mission-stations ; but then much of the land in
the south, now open to. settlers, was still unexplored.
As for Christianity, thousands of Indians are
now living consistent, God-fearing lives, where
then no missionary had so much as preached the
Word.

But Moose Fort enjoyed some privileges of its
own. The European population included men of
Christian character, and a Wesleyan missionary
had worked amongst the natives. The field was
not, therefore, entirely uncared for; but little had
been done.

In May 1851, the Church Missionary Society
was informed that the Wesleyans were about to
withdraw from Moose Factory. There were those
who felt that the position ought to be occupied,
and as the Church Missionary Society was extending
its work in the north-west, why should it not
occupy this admirable centre upon the shores of




23



A HASTY DEPARTURE 25

the Hudson's Bay ? The call seemed imperative ;
it was resolved to fill the vacancy.

John Horden's opportunity was come. The
committee resolved to send out a lay missionary,
and the offer of the young Devonshire schoolmaster
svas remembered. He seemed to be the very man
for the post ; but could he go ? If he went at all,
he must sail a married man, and the one ship of
the year was to leave in two or three weeks.

But the genuine soldier of the cross is always
ready. On May 10, 1§51, Horden received a letter ,
from Henry Venn, the honorary secretary of the
Church Missionary Society, announcing his appoint-
ment to Moose Factory. On May 24, Horden left
his work at school ; on May 25, he was married ; on
May 28, he left for London on the way to his post in
the mission-field.

Horden had not to choose a wife with the haste
which this statement might suggest. At the time
when he first offered himself to the Church Mission-
ary Society he became engaged to Miss Elizabeth
Oke, who was not only a member of the same congre-



26 JOHN HORDEN

gation as himself, but was filled with the same desire
to be a missionary. She, too, had prepared for the
foreign field by working at home. When the call to
Moosonee came, the decision rested with her. With-
out hesitation she resolved to go, and the hasty
wedding began a married life of singular happiness
and of long duration.

Horden and his wife joined their ship at Graves-
end on June 8, 1851. The voyage out was slow and
uneventful, but the time was not wasted. The
young missionary did not believe in keeping his
message only for Indians and Eskimo. He acted
as chaplain whilst on board ship, and so, in his
missionary work, began that consistency of life
which, from first to last, won for him the respect
of all who knew him. He worked, moreover, at the
language he would have to use, and, with an eye to
brightening the services with the natives, he learned
to play the accordion. Nor was Mrs. Horden idle.
One of the passengers on board came from Hudson's
Bay Territory, and in this woman Mrs. Horden found
her first pupil.



LAND HO! 27

On July 26th, Horden noted in his diary their
arrival at the entrance of Hudson's Bay. His own
words convey an excellent impression of the land to
which he had been sent : —

"The sun shone very brightly in the morning and
we saw several large icebergs. In the afternoon the
atmosphere became very thick and cold ; all felt that
they were experiencing the rigour of winter in the
month of July. About six the mist almost instan-
taneously cleared off, the sun shone forth, and land
was visible. Yes ! we had entered the straits — Ee-
solution being to our right — a barren, bleak, but
lofty and majestic shore ; while on our left lay an
immense field of ice, extending many miles. We
passed thousands of pieces of every description and
size, some resembling churches, others hills, valleys,
mountains, and houses. It was most amusing to
hear the sailors give names to the several pieces —
This is such a head ; that is the hull of such a vessel
or barge, and so forth."



28 JOHN HORDEN

. Horden went on to describe the voyage up the
bay, the perils of which from ice and fog and
tempest every year made the advent of the annual
ship a matter of extreme anxiety. The navigation
of the bay, with its slow progress, its demand for
unceasing watchfulness, its alternation of hopes and
disappointment, its constant demand upon the
voyager to "endure hardness" — was, in a way,
both a preparation for and a figure of the difficulties
through which Horden would have to pass in his
spiritual work on the land before him. Here, for
example, are three entries from his account of the
voyage :—

" Aug. 10. — Surrounded with ice, atmosphere very
thick. It feir calm about tea, and we anchored to a
very large piece of ice, and filled our water tank.
The ice opening, and a good breeze springing up,
we got under way about seven, sailing through very
thick ice. Having sailed a few miles, we were again
fast, and for four hours gained nothing.

''Aug. 11. — We anchored to a large piece of ice at



FOOTBALL ON THE LCE 29

four A.M. It rained or snowed almost the whole day.
The wind blew very strongly but did not open the
ice. Some of us went on to the piece to which we
were fastened- It was about two miles in circum-
ference.

''Aug. 12. — About three a.m. we loosed from the ice,
and, having proceeded six miles in five hours and a
half, we were obliged to anchor again, the ice being
very close and heavy around us. In the evening the
men enjoyed themselves by playing football on the
ice, which happened to be very flat."

The ship remained locked in the ice for a week ;
then they were able to make some progress, and at
last, on August 23, they anchored in the outer Moose
Eoads, about forty miles from the Fort. Three days
later Horden was at Moose Fort, which, from that
day until his death, was the centre of his work.

The first sight of the place and its people left a
vivid impression on his mind. The diary, which
formed his first letter to the Church Missionary
Society, gives us a summary of his impressions : —



30 JOHN BORDEN

" On reaching the Fort, which stands on a rather
large island, wigwams, houses, and inhabitants began
to present themselves. We saw first three Indian




AN INDIAN CHIEF.



boys, dressed in flannel coats, playing on the beach,
then a house, then many Indian wigwams, and the
old factory and stores. Some way beyond, on the
same side of the river, stood a neat little church with



THE PEOPLE 31

a suitable tower, while still farther on were a few
Indian tents. After dinner we visited almost every-
one on the island, including nearly 150 Indians, all of
whom were very glad to see us. Most of their tents
are of a poor description, but some are superior, in
the form of marquees. Most of them were dirty.
The general clothing of the men is a flannel coat
bordered with red, with trousers of the same
material ; some, however, have decent cloth coats
and trousers. A part of the women wore gowns,
others a petticoat with a blanket thrown over their
shoulders.

" A contrast, this, to Devonshire ! "




CHAPTEK III

FIRST LABOURS AMONGST ESKIMO AND INDIANS

Place and People— Horden's Training — Cut off from the World —
Getting to Work — Learning Crce — A Laughable Blunder —
A Visitor at Moose — Horden Ordained — A Man of many
Tasks.

ORDEN had reached the scene of his
labours, and it is time, therefore, to
say something more as to the place
and the people.
His missionary interest had been first drawn out
towards the teeming millions of India. But he
had been called to an almost Arctic climate, and
not to a field under the tropics ; to a few scattered
sheep in a veritable wilderness rather than to
the dense population of the Indian cities.




A LONEL V POST 33

At Moose Fort the European was cut off from the
outside world. Once a year — if no accident happened
—a ship came and went, but so difficult was naviga-
tion that those who depended upon the ship for
supplies were never free from anxiety on its behalf.
Even on that moving subject news travelled slowly.
One year the ship was held fast by ice in the
bay. The tidings reached England before they were
known at Albany, a hundred miles from Moose.

Inland communications were no less difficult.

Koads there were none. In summer the birch-bark

canoe made the readiest vehicle, but even its use

meant much hard labour. In winter the choice lay

between the dog-sleigh and the snow-shoe. Food

was never very plentiful. The natives and even the

Europeans knew what scarcity and sometimes famine

meant. The extremes of temperature have an

alarming look to those who know only an English

climate. In summer the heat might reach*100°,and

the busy mosquito add its torment to the trials of

the season. In winter the mercury would fall many

degrees below zero. It will be seen at once that a
3



34 JOHN HORDEN

missionary in such a place had need of pluck and
endurance. Horden had to shepherd a vast region,
which meant occasionallyjourneys which extended to
a thousand miles or more. He had to camp out, to
share the food of his Indians, to be ready for any of
the contingencies which may befall the traveller in a
land of wood and stream, where men are few and
roads are not. But the early disappointment,
which gave him a training in manual labour, had
hardened his muscles, and educated hand and eye.
It had been, after all, the right way for him.

In like manner his after experience as school-
master had prepared him for the very serious task of
teaching himself new languages and teaching others
the gospel story.

One advantage Horden had which does not often
fall to the lot of a pioneer missionary. There were
Christian men and women to meet him at his coming.
The head of the Company's station warmly welcomed
the young missionary and his wife. In company
with the few other Europeans he rejoiced at the
advent of a religious teacher, alike for the sake of



ALREAD Y at home 37

the white men and of the Indians. Of the latter,
too, some few had, under the teaching of the
Wesleyan missionary, become devout and consistent
Christians. Thus Horden began his life-work with
some advantages on his side. From one point of
view they were especially useful ; they enabled the
young missionary and his wife at once to feel that
Moose was their home. It is not often that this is
the case ; but with Horden the shores of Hudson's
Bay were henceforth home, and England was but a
place to visit. They lived, as he himself put it a few
months before his death, " buried in the interminable
forest, the door of our grave being opened but
seldom." It was hard, perhaps, but he was able
to add: "I doubt there being many happier
communities than the one to be found where the
hand of God has placed me ; the wheels of our little
society move smoothly ; and with God in our midst
we envy none the advantages they possess, and are
contented with our own diminutive world/'

Horden lost no time in getting to work. When he
reached Moose there were three or four hundred



38 JOHN HORDEN

people in the place; he visited them all within a
few hours of his arrival. The next and most urgent
task was to learn Cree, the language used by the
majority of the Indians within reach. He began
this systematically, on the day after he reached
Moose. With tlie aid of a native interpreter, he
composed a short address, which he read to his
congregation that same evening. So hard did he
work that in a few short months he could preach
without aid. And Cree is not an easy language.

He found it more trying than Greek and Latin,
possibly because he lacked the aids which every
schoolboy has for the learning of these languages.
But his first sermon drew from an Indian woman
this reply : " I thank you for your kind words ; I will
keep them to my heart." It was, no doubt, Horden's


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Online LibraryA. R. (Augustus Robert) BucklandJohn Horden, missionary bishop; a life on the shores of Hudson's Bay → online text (page 1 of 5)