A. R. (Augustus Robert) Buckland.

John Horden, missionary bishop; a life on the shores of Hudson's Bay online

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population was so scattered that, when Horden was
summoned home this time, he had, as he put it, just
returned from "a five months' walk" in his own
"parish."

Bishop Horden left England in May, and went
home overland — that is to say, he again approached
Moose from the south. It was another case of hard
work, hard fare, and hard dealings from the mos-
quitoes, which had no more reverence for a bishop
than for a curate.

Of course there were rejoicings at the return of the
bishop, but Horden himself settled down at once to



WINTER WORK 71

everyday work. He had his plans for the diocese,
dividing it into districts, in the hope of placing a
clergyman in each. Into the work of translation he
threw himself with new zest, using upon this the long
days when the rivers were in the grip of the ice, and
little travelling could be done. Thus, in writing on
May 5th, 1874, the date of the great Church Missionary
Society meeting of the year, in the Exeter Hall, he
gives us a glimpse of one such quiet day at
Moose : —

" Outside it is very gloomy ; it is still very cold ;
the snow is very deep on the ground ; the ice in the
river is nearly as strong as it was in the middle of
winter, and we do not anticipate a break-up for a
fortnight, and when the break-up comes we fear a
flood.

" And, now, how shall I spend the day ? Princi-
pally on my translations, which, I thank God, are
progressing very favourably. I am now engaged on
the Psalms, which are to form the commencement of
the book I have in hand. See me, then, as I shall be



72 JOHN HORDE N

half an hour hence, pen and ink and manuscript
book before me, Scott's Commentary opened
at the ninetieth Psalm, with Mason's Bible, Cree
Dictionary, Prayer - book, Cruden's Concordance,
arrayed around me, and I shall be deep in
the beauties of that solemn Psalm. At nine
I take Bertie and Beatrice for an hour, and
then return to my translations until dinner-
time. Afterwards I shall go out to see some
of my people, notably a very aged woman,
grandmother of our schoolmaster; she has lived
over a century."

But with these cares in his mind he always had
an eye for the ordinary life of the settlement. He
could help with the rest in preparing for the
winter; in seeing that a potato crop was got in;
that a stock of fish was caught, and salted or
frozen; that pigs and cattle were killed and
frozen; that great stores of firewood were brought
in. For those who were healthy there were
amusements too. The bishop's boys — like any



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 73

other boys — enjoyed wielding an axe, and were
never better pleased than when out in the
woods. Then they could taste the keen joy
of rushing through the crisp air on a toboggan,
which even those who have only known the
sport as it is practised in winter in Switzerland
will envy them. There was fishing too ; cold
work with the temperature "a little below zero,"
so that the trout froze hard soon after they
left the water. But the bishop knew the secret
of contentment, and writes down his own view in
these words —

" The happiest man is he who is most diligently
employed aboict his Master's business."

Perhaps Horden's new dignity added weight to
his words. At all events, it was soon after his
return as a bishop that a curious interruption
stopped for a moment one of his services. He had
been up the bay, when, during the journey, he saw
a body of Indians in the distance. As usual, he at
once arranged a service for them. A good many



74 JOHN HORDEN

young people were present, to whom the bishop
spoke.

Suddenly there was a stir amongst the hearers,
and cries were raised.

He stopped for a moment in astonishment; but
then their voices told him the cause of the
tumult. The mothers were making the most of
his advice.

" Do you hear ? " they cried to their daugh-
ters ; " isn't this what we are always telling

you?"

Then the daughters were hauled to the front,
whilst their mothers shouted : " Come here, that he
may see you; let him see how ashamed you look,
you disobedient children."

This interlude over, the sermon went on to a
happy end.

Bishop Horden had for years been training some
natives, with a view to the ministry, and two were
speedily ordained by him. His own summary of
his first ordination sermon will interest those
who care to know the spirit in which Horden'



A SERMON TO EVANGELISTS 75

worked, and the spirit he desired for his helpers.
The text was Heb. xii. 2, and the summary runs
thus —

" 1. Look unto Jesus, to learn in what spirit your
work should be performed.

" 2. Look at Jesus, and see in Him how a minister
of God should pray.

"3. Look unto Jesus, and learn from Him how
to improve opportunities which arise in the course
of your ministry. When paddling with an Indian,
over one of the lakes, teach him to look to Jesus,
who walked on the waves of the Lake of Gennes-
aret. In the lonely bivouac, speak to him of Jesus
who bad not where to lay His head. In the squalid
tent, of Him who, though He was rich, yet for our
sakes became poor.

"4. Look unto Jesus, and learn from Him how
best to convey instruction.

" 5. Look unto Jesus in His holiness, and fashion
your life in the same faultless mould.



76 JOHN HORDEN

" 6. Look unto Jesus, for the fulfilment of His
promises.

" 7. Teach those to whom you are sent to look
unto Jesus."

The bishop's words were, his hearers knew, but .
the reflection of his own life.




CHAPTEE VIII



LEAVES FROM BISHOP HORDEN's DIARY



More Helpers— A Roundabout Way to the Far North — A Terrible
Journey — An Arctic Home — Lonely Churchill — An Indian
Heroine — The Fruits of Christianity — Another Year of Rest.



N" the settlement of teachers for the




little communities under his care
the bishop felt the greatest joy. He
was able to place two native clergy-
men amongst the Ojibbeways. York Factory, an
important trading-post on the south-west shore
of the bay, had an English clergyman, Mr., after-
wards Archdeacon, Winter ; another English clergy-
man, the Eev. J. H. Keen, worked at Moose, and
then at Eupert's House ; and then Mr. E. J.
Peck, who had begun life in the navy, came out to

77



78 JOHN HORDEN

work amongst the Eskimo. Mr. Peck was ordained
by the bishop in 1878, and is still attached to the
same mission.

But it must not be supposed that the help thus
given made Horden himself less active. He
"laboured more abundantly than they all," and
with the same cheerful humility. He made a
journey to the south-west to attend a Synod at
Winnipeg, and thence proceeded, by way of con-
trast, to the north-west that he might visit York
Factory. This curiously illustrates an old saying
as to the " longest way round " being the " shortest
way there." York Factory lies far to the north-west
of Moose on the shores of the Hudson's Bay, at
the mouth of the Nelson Eiver. To reach it
Horden went almost due south to Mattawa; then
westward by the Canadian Pacific Kailway. A
stay was made near Winnipeg ; then he went
still farther west by steamer and boat before
striking to the north through a desolate land
to York Factory. Here the bishop was busy as
ever, conducting an English school, — for desolate as




79



THIRTY DEGREES BELO W ZERO 8 1

the spot is, the fur trade has gathered a little colony
of English there, — helping the resident missionary to
learn Cree, and teaching the natives.

From York Factory Horden pushed on to Fort
Churchill, the most northerly spot inhabited in
his diocese. This, too, is on the shores of the bay.
The bishop's diary of this expedition shows the
life which a missionary must be content to lead
who would preach Christ in the far north. Here
it is : —

"-Feb. 1st, 1880. — ^At four o'clock, soon after the
close of the Indian service, drove from York Factory
8 miles, through willows and woods to a house
occupied by wood-cutters. Temperature, 30 degrees
below zero.

" Feh. 2nd. — After service and breakfast, set out on

our way to Churchill ; the cold was severe and the

wind high, so high indeed that the guide had some

doubts about crossing Nelson Kiver, which we reached

soon after starting. Where we crossed it was 8 miles

wide and very rough, the ice piled high most of the
6



82 JOHN HORDEN

distance ; it was the most difficult travelling I have
ever experienced ; we were obliged to cross miles
higher up than the route some of my companions
had taken in coming to York only a few days
previously, the ice having been broken up by the
fierce winds which have lately raged. Having
crossed without accident we went down the northern
bank of the river towards the sea ; at noon we took
dinner, when our guide thought we had better put
up for the night. We all went to Benjamin Kayam-
awililew's tent ; he was very kind, and enlarged his
tent so as to accommodate the whole of us ; we spent
a very pleasant evening, I conducting our service
in English and Cree. Temperature, 27 degrees
below zero. We had among us two carioles, two
sledges for baggage and provisions, and sixteen
dogs.

" Feb. 3rd. — After prayers and breakfast, resumed
our journey for a short time through woods, and then
over more open country. The wind was high and
cold, and the drifting of the snow did not permit us
to proceed after twelve o'clock. We had a very good



A TERRIBLE JOURNEY 83

encampment at Island Bluff. Temperature, 23
degrees below zero.

*" Feh, 4:th. — Bitterly cold, with a cutting wind,
blowing directly in our faces; our way lay over
plains interspersed with belts of trees ; encamped
between one and two o'clock at Partridge Creek.
Temperature, 30 degrees below zero.

** Feb. 5th. — Cold still more severe; wind as
yesterday, right in our teeth ; could not travel after
eleven o'clock, when we encamped at the edge of
Stoney River Plain. With the exception of myself,
all were frozen; the guide and James Isaac, my
special attendant, very severely. Temperature, 36
degrees below zero.

" Feb. 6th. — No change for the better, but obliged
to proceed, as food for both men and dogs was but
limited ; the crossing of the large plain was terrible,
and all suffered a great deal. At three o'clock we
encamped at Owl River. Temperature, 38 degrees
below zero.

" Feb. 7th. — We had very bad weather to-day, the
wind very high and cold, with a little snow and



84 JOHN HORDEN

much drift ; could not proceed after eleven o'clock,
when we encamped on the edge of the Big Plain.
Indians killed two deer to-day. Temperature, 32
degrees below zero.

" Feh. ^th. — ^We started very late, and at once
faced the plain. In looking over it, one could
fancy himself beholding the frozen surface of the
sea ; no trees or bushes break the uniform level of
white, and over it we jogged as rapidly as possible.
Riding in a cariole over such a surface is by no
means agreeable; one does not experience the
sense of rapid movement over a smooth surface,
one rather feels as if moving slowly over a rough
road; more than anything else, it resembles that
of being in a springless cart in a rugged country
lane, for the snow lies in ridges, hardened by the
wind, over which the cariole is incessantly jumping.
At eleven o'clock we reached Bwaak, and proceeded
no farther ; it was terribly cold. Temperature, 46
degrees below zero.

" Feb. 9th. — Started early ; weather not so cold.
At two P.M. reached the south end of a belt, of



V CHURCHILL 85

woods, called Eobinson's Bluff, when it was snowing
somewhat thickly, and as this was a good place, with
plenty of good wood, we encamped for the night.
Temperature, 28 degrees below zero.

''Feb. 10th. — The weather somewhat better, and
we made a good day, encamping in the evening
among the eastern woods. Temperature, 31 degrees
below zero.

" Feb. 11th. — A fine day, bright and cold, without
wind ; passed over several plains and small lakes, and
through some belts of woods. At noon we took
dinner at Statchookem Kidge, and there, 15 miles
from Churchill, made a good smoke to signal our
approach; 8 miles farther on, we made another,
and were soon met by men from the post, with a
team of dogs, by which we sent forward our
doctor, who, with his fresh team and drivers, could
get on much faster than we could do. We now
made a descent of a couple of miles through a
wood, which Jprought us to the bank of the Churchill
Kiver, here 4 miles wide; the crossing was some-
what disagreeable, from the great roughness of the



86 JOHN HORDEN

ice, although it was nothing like as bad as that
which covered the Nelson Kiver. At half - past
four o'clock, I arrived at Churchill House, where the
warmest of receptions was given me by Mr. Spencer,
the Hudson's Bay Company's agent, and his wife.
In the evening, held a service attended by all at the
post. Temperature, 30 degrees below zero.

" The temperature given is that registered within
the Fort at York Factory. The actual cold we
experienced on the trip would be, at least, two
degrees more in intensity than those I have given, on
account of our exposure and of our journeying
northward. Every evening, from an hour to an
hour and a half was expended in preparing our
barricade, on which much care was bestowed ; the
snow was first cleared from the ground, a wall
of pine-trees, with the brush on, was then raised,
over 4 feet high, so as to protect us effectually
from the wind; at some distance in front of this
the fire was laid, the whole space between it and
the wall being thickly piled with pine -brush,
which formed an agreeable carpet and bed; the



CAMPING OUT



87



quantity of firewood cut was enormous : a small fire,
and one not constantly replenished, would make but
little impression on air 40 degrees below zero. Cook-
ing and taking supper occupied some time, and then
we would sometimes get a story from one of our




A HUNTER VISITING HIS TRAP.



companions of his travelling or hunting experiences,
in which pluck, endurance, and self-reliance shone
with becoming lustre. All closed with a service, in
which everyone seemed to join with great heartiness.
In the morning before starting, another service



88 JOHN BORDEN

was always held. From all, I experienced the
greatest kindness; my faintest wish was complied
with, if it had not been already anticipated. All
were willing, all were cheerful; an angry look or
an angry word was not interchanged the whole way."

Churchill is not a place which any European
would choose as a home if duty did not call him
there. The cold is believed to be as intense there as
in almost any other spot on the earth's surface,
and the isolation is so great, that the wife of
the agent in charge was "often years without
seeing the face of a civilised woman." Nor shall
we wonder, since it is a place where the land
sees eight months of continuous winter, with only
some six weeks of real summer. There also, however.
Bishop Horden was able to place a resident mission-
ary, with so much blessing that, in recent years,
nearly all the adults have regularly met at the table
of the Lord. A few sentences from a comparatively
recent letter will show that, desert as the land may
be called, it has been fruitful before God.



SNO W IN CHURCH 89

"Constant and regular attendance," writes the
missionary, '^ at all services is some proof of a desire
to serve Christ at Churchill, for I am quite sn re there
are many real Christians in England whose place in the
house of God would often be vacant if they had such
a church as we had last winter : it was no uncommon
thing to see minister and congregation covered with
snow, and often have I gone through the full service
with the thermometer a long way below freezing-
point, yet all were as reverent and devout as if in a
comfortable English church. Thank God, we have
now got our new church opened and in use, so
that I hope we may escape rain and storm,
though to get the church fairly warm, with the
thermometer 50 degrees below zero, requires good fires
and gooid wood; the latter is an impossibility to
get at Churchill."

The bishop's letters, during the period of service
over which we have been looking, include many testi-
monies to the character and worth of the Christian
Indians, both men and women. The " noble Eed



90 JOHN BORDEN

man" does not always appear in fiction or in fact
with much true nobility of character ; yet under the
gospel of Christy men and women such as had once
killed their own kindred, to save themselves from
starving, proved themselves genuine heroes. Such a
woman was Eliza, whose history Bishop Horden
often alluded to. It is given in full in the letter
which speaks of her death. Here it is in his own
words —

" When I came to Moose, five - and - thirty
years ago, among my first scholars was a young
Indian girl, named Eliza Crow; she was very
industrious in her studies, and was not long
in acquiring the power of both speaking and
reading English, and her Bible soon became
her greatest delight. After a while, the family
with whom she was living was sent far away
into the interior to take charge of a trading-
post, and she went with them. Here she
married ,a Christian Indian, who was in the
service of the Hudson's Bay Company. Leaving




INDIAN TRAPPEHS.
91



AN INDIAN HEROINE 93

that employ, they went to Albany, her husband's
home, where they obtained their livelihood as
fur -hunters. One winter they hunted on the
Island of Agomske, the English interpretation of
Ukamuske — *the land on the other side of the
water/ Food was very scarce, and became more
so, until their two youngest children succumbed
to starvation. They were upwards of seventy
miles from Albany, the nearest point at which
assistance could be obtained. This must be
reached, or all would starve. Eliza tied her
two remaining children, a boy and girl, well
wrapped up, on her sledge, and, preceded by
her husband, now in a state of great exhaustion,
began the weary tramp. Bravely they toiled on,
until the husband's strength was spent. She
then made up a small tent, lit a fire, and
made him as comfortable as possible. She then
pushed on with her load, reached the leading
establishment, and fainted away. Nature had held
out longer than could have been anticipated.
Kind and busy hands were, without a moment's



94 JOHN HORDEN

delay, engaged in ministering to the wants of
the famished ones. As soon as she could
speak, Eliza evinced her anxiety for her hus-
band, stating the condition in which she left
him, and beseeching that help might be sent
to him at once. Eskimo dogs were harnessed,
and supplies instantly despatched. The tent
was reached, but succour had come too late.
The remains — cold, stiff, and emaciated — of the
sufferer were alone there. These were buried, and
the organisers returned to Albany. In the following
summer Eliza came on to Moose, where she supported
herself and her children by her industry; she was
after a time married to her second husband, Norman
Mardevela, a European, to whom she was a faithful
and attached wife, and by whom she became the
mother of four children, and these she brought up in
an exemplary manner. Her last illness was a long
one, which she bore with great patience. As the
end approached, she seemed very anxious to
be gone, saying that her Saviour stood waiting
for her ; her end was peace. She was held in



A CONTRAST 95

honour by all at Moose, and she will long live
in our memory."

This story of fighting hunger is but too sadly com-
mon in the simple records of Indian life. Amelia's
case was not unlike that of Eliza's ; she too lost her
husband in the vain effort to reach help. In the
midst of this anguish a child was born, and that little
one Amelia succeeded in carrying alive to Moose.

There was the wife of Jacob Matamashkum, who
saved her husband from starvation by feeding him
with the milk nature had given her for her child.
" In the summer," wrote the wife of a native pastor
at one station, " we depend altogether on our nets,
and if fish fails, then there is nothing at all."

There are people sitting quietly at home in
England, who sometimes doubt the value of
Christianity to such as these Indians. The contrast
between the heathen who in time of death saved
himself by cannibalism, and the Christian who
showed the courage and faith of Eliza and Amelia,
is worth their consideration.



96 JOHN HORDEN

The bishop went back from Churchill to Fort
York, and hence, by the annual ship, went to England
for rest after his first eight years of work as a
bishop.




CHAPTER IX

YEARS OF TRIAL

Moosonee Once More — Pestilence and Famine— A Perilous Journey
— A Forest Fairyland — A Long Ride Behind Dogs.

ISHOP HORDEISr returned to Moosonee

in 1882. His friends in England

had seen a marked change in him

since he was last amongst them,

and even those who, like myself, had never met

Bishop Horden until this period, could not help

noticing that he seemed physically unequal to the

long, tiring journeys, and the extremes of heat and

cold, and the exposure to which he was about to

return. But at Moose their one anxiety was to have

him with them.
7




98 JOHN HORDEN

Horden travelled again by the southern route.
The progress of the Canadian Pacific Eailway was
making a change along the lower part of his
diocese. Mattawa, when last he went that way to
Moose, consisted of three houses. He now found
it a flourishing little town. But the railway could
not carry him north to Moose, and when once
more in the canoe he found the weight of years
beginning to tell upon him. But his spirits did
not fail him.

In his diary he looks to the pleasure of meeting
his own people ; writes gleefully of the joy shown
by a few Moose folk whom he met as they
drew near the settlement ; then of the little tumult
that ensues when the news of his arrival is
announced by voice and flag and bell ; and, lastly,
of the service which is almost at once held in the
church.

Progress had been made in the bishop's absence,
but there were sore trials to face. In the summer
of 1883 an epidemic of whooping-cough broke out at
Moose and Albany. At the latter station forty-foui



MANY SORROWS 99

died out of the small community ; at Moose the disease
was scarcely less fatal. In August a severe storm
did much damage at Moose, and threw the more
gloom over the settlement because the yearly ship
was then expected. September came, day succeeding
day without the expected arrival. It had been a
time of great suffering, and the prospect of Christmas
without the supplies expected filled all with alarm.
Medicines were exhausted, candles were nearly all
gone, only half a crop of potatoes was available, and
even clothing was getting scarce. It was not until
September 21st that the joyful cry, "The ship's
come," was heard.

The anxiety told so much on Horden, and the
results of another shipwreck would have been
so serious, that he resolved to lay in a year's
supply of all necessaries for all the stations, and
so to lessen the risk of starvation. The money
was found, and their yearly dread was therefore
gone.

But there were more sorrows to meet. The year
1884 was one of much sickness anri distress, which



loo JOHN HORDEN

had to be fought on all sides. Early in the summer
the bishop made a journey up the Moose to Long
Portage House. It was the kind of work which now
tried him — the canoe journey hard, and the weather
cold for camping out. Yet he was repaid by the
pleasure of ministering to the little group of people
at the station. On the journey out they met in five
days b\it one family. On the return they came upon
a small body of Indians. They stopped at once, and
a service which lasted for three hours was held. The
bishop went into camp at half-past ten, and was up
and in the canoe again at four.

In the September of that year he had only just
returned from the hard journey, when the news that
influenza was raging at Albany sent him off on
another journey of 100 miles again.

And his presence there was sorely needed. The
epidemic threatened to sweep off the whole population,
and was especially fatal to the young men. There
were five funerals in one day, as many as for the
most part occurred in a year. "To aggravate the
evil," writes the bishop, " the weather was terrible;



A WELCOME BISHOP loi

for it was raining almost every day, while suitable
food was not obtainable. Of flour, salt pork, and
salt geese there was abundance, and they were
distributed with a liberal hand ; but in the summer
there are no birds in the Albany marshes — no fish in


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