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WINTER VISIT TO THE INDIANS ON THE FEB. ling. We came to the last point of wood bordering on the plain, and camped there.
March 3–We commenced a very wide opening this inorning before daylight. It was with much difficulty we could keep the road, as it was not discernible for some distance: our course lay through a wide plain, no woods to be seen before us, no living creature but wolves and foxes playing about us. All over, as far as the eye could reach, the snow heaped up here and there by the nose of the buffalo, and quite chopped up by their feet. Carcases of buffaloes to be seen lying in every direction, having been killed by the Indians, and left there to be devoured by the wolves and crows. We struck right out to the wide plain, and nothing but the blue sky to be seen overhead, and a great sheet of snow below. Long after we had lost sight of the woods behind us, we at length discovered some wood before us, and, as we approached the same, we knew it to be a river, a branch of the Kisiskachewun, called the South Branch. When we reached the river the sun was quite low. We were glad to put ashore on a small island of wood, and take a cup of warm tea, which refreshed us much. We had to make another opening, but nothing like the one we had past.
We at length reached the old man's tent. Four large tents were standing in front of us: one of them was the old man's, and the remaining three belong to his sons. A little distance off were forty tents of Crees and Stone Indians, the rest of Sutherland's sons and sons-in-law. Men, women, and children came running out of their tents, and gazed at us while we were approaching them. When I was inquiring after the old man, they pointed to a tent, and told me that he was there. While I was making my way through the crowd, going towards George Sutherland's tent, the old man came out to bid me welcome in, and gave me a hearty shake of the hand; and calling me into his tent, and having spread a new robe for me, le bade me sit down. I had no sooner sat down than he told his wife to put on the kettle. She was soon ready with something cooked, a dish of good fresh meat and buffalo tongues. I thought that what she gave me was plenty for us all three, myself and my two men; but no, she put some more meat in another dish, and filled that of meat also, which she gave to the two men. Certainly we had plenty for supper. In the evening I told the old man that I wanted to have prayers before I laid down.“ You are quite at liberty to do what you like," was the answer. The old man had prayers with us, and they all listened with much attention while I spoke on the words of our blessed Lord, St. Matthew xxviii. 19, 20. After the prayers were over, the old man and myself sat up to a late hour, speaking with him on religious subjects.
March 4-I sat with the old man in his tent most of this day. He has a very large tent, and he requires it. Besides the youngest of his own family, which could not be less than five or six little children, he has two sons-in-law living in his tent with their families, and two or three grandsons, who were grown up.
Indians from the other tents were flocking in, and filled the tent till there was no room, large as it was. The old man was busy having his tobacco-box full of cut tobacco and smoking weed mixed, and filling the big pipe of peace. The large pipe is filled, lighted, and the stem pointed
1855.] PLAINS SOUTH OF THE KISISKACHEWUN.
23 to the four quarters of the world, and then it is given to the oldest son, who gives it two or three sucks, and then hands it to another next to him, and so on till the pipe comes round to the old man. When the pipe was emptied, it had to go by the way it came, from hand to hand, until it reached the old man, who scarcely allowed it to get cool when he had to fill it again. We had it very quiet in the old man's tent; but in the forty tents at one side nothing but drumming, gambling, and singing, was to be heard. They were busy with their feasts and dances—a rite which they have to perform yearly in honour to the god Pahkuk for giving them plenty of buffalo meat. The old man's wife cooks for us regularly every mealtime, and it is surprising how fast she can cut up a joint of the buffalo. The old man still attended prayers with us this evening, and listened with astonishment to the word of life. The whole tentful sit quietly and are orderly all the time of prayers.
March 5: Lord's-day- After we had breakfasted, I asked the old man to call in his family into the tent. I wanted to have prayers, and I wished them to be present, in order that I might tell them something of the love of God and the salvation of their own souls. He sent a young man over, and now the tent was found far too small to hold all that came-a large tent of twenty buffalo skins : it was like a little church. The men only were allowed to come in, and buffalo robes were spread for them to sit on: the women were not allowed to come in: even those belonging to the tent were ordered out. I was very sorry, but I could not interfere. However, I learnt afterwards that the women had heard the sermon as well as the men: they seated themselves round the eaves of the tent, and, the tent being open, they heard every word distinctly. I believe there were far more outside than those who were in. There was no smoking going on, and not a word from any of them all the time of service. I spoke to them from St. John iii. 16, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” After the service the old man took the pipe again, and the same operation was gone through. They found one pipe too little, and now they must have two pipes going. As they were smoking, and talking over what they had just heard, one giving his opinion and another giving his, first one said that he thought it to be all true what he had heard. “ Yes," said another, “I think it is all very good too." Would to God that they heard of the love of God in Christ often, and the way of salvation through Him! I am persuaded that if one was to itinerate among them, tent with them, preach to them of the love of God, of their own ruined state, and exhort them to “flee from the wrath to come,” the word of God would soon take hold of their minds, and they would be led to fly to Christ for a refuge. I wish, from my heart, that I had the means of spending some few months with this camp of Indians in the course of a summer. I am led to think that it would not be time spent in vain. Even now, if I had not set out to go to Fort Carlton, and if I knew that the services could be kept up at home without me, I would not return, but send the men home with the sleds, and I would remain with the Indians alone, and go in with them some time in May. I would be sure of a congregation always, and of a church too, in the old man's tent. In the afternoon I read to them portions of the Cree translations of St. Matthew,
FEB. the Belief, the ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer, all in Cree; the old man interrupting me, asking some questions on the Command. ments, wanting to know the meaning of them. The women did not leave their seats outside the tent until it was all over. We had some Stone Indians, too, among our congregation; but of course they would nor understand what had been said. They sat still, and gazed at us with astonishment.
JAPAN. The fact that our admiral on the Chinese station has been successful in opening friendly intercourse with the Japanese authorities, and forming with them some sort of national agreement and understanding, is one of
[MARCH, those remarkable occurrences, which, in more tranquil times of peace, when we were happily free from the painful excitement of the present hour, would have commanded much attention and curiosity.
When the Jesuit Missionaries reached Japan, towards the latter end of the sixteenth century, Japan was an open country, accessible to all. They met with full toleration, and propagated, without hindrance, their paganized Christianity, until their converts were computed at 200,000. But Rome does not inculcate submission to the powers that be; nay, she has often taken upon her to release subjects from the allegiance they owe their princes, and encouraged them to rebellion, when the interests of the church so required it. We cannot wonder, if, under such auspices, the 80-called Christians of Japan were found, after a time, arrayed in rebellion against the legitimate authorities, and civil wars ensued, which ended in the utter extirpation of Christianity from the islands, and the shutting up of the Japanese empire from intercourse with foreigners of every cline, Asiatics or Europeans, the Chinese and Dutch excepted, who were permitted to hold each one factory at Nagasaki, a sea-port near the western extremity of the island of Kiu-Siu; and so things have remained since the year 1640.
Between the empires of Japan and Great Britain, in situation and kindred circumstances several" curious features of resemblance exist. Each consists of several islands grouped together into one kingdom ; and as in Great Britain, so in Japan, one is superior, the island of Niphon, about 860 miles long by 170 in its greatest breadth. Moreover, the situation of Japan off the eastern coast of Asia, is similar to that of Great Britain off the western coast of Europe, and would seem to intimate that this insular empire is fitted, if raised by the healthful influence of Christianity, to exercise as powerful an influence on the affairs of Asia as our own country has exercised on the affairs of Europe. The extent of the sea-coast, the numerous harbours, and the proximity of the sea to every part of the Japanese dominions, indicate the future attainment of maritime preponderance. The country may be called mountainous, and the climate, far more severe than that of European climates in the same parallels, is calculated to brace the human frame with hardihood and energy. Thus, by the application of human industry, a country, often rugged in its aspect, is made productive, and labour and skill, overcoming every obstacle, render even the sterile rock fruitful. The sides of the hills are terraced, and sown with rice and planted with vegetables ; so much so, that scarcely a foot of ground to the tops of the mountains is left uncultivated. The staple product is rice, used by all classes, from the emperor to the peasant; and in the middle and southern provinces it is yielded so plentifully as to supply the northern portions of the empire, where the cold is too great for it to thrive. Besides, they grow barley, buck-wheat, maize, and other grain, also peas and beans, which are much used. But, next to rice, the tea-plant has most care bestowed on it, and to such an extent is it prized throughout the islands, that, besides larger plantations, every hedge on every farm consists of the tea-plant. Domestic animals are few, and kept only for agricultural purposes; and fish, fowl, and venison, with submarine vegetables of various kinds, complete the culinary statistics of the Japanese.