Project Canterbury

Leaders of the Canadian Church
Edited by Canon Bertal Heeney

volume two
Toronto: Musson, 1920. 299 pp.

Three biographies by Archdeacon Mackay, D.D.


ONE of the first things to which the Rev. John West appears to have given his attention, after his arrival in what was then designated as Hudson's Bay Territory, or Rupert's Land, was the selection of promising native youths who might be trained to become teachers or evangelists among their own countrymen. Of those whom he gathered in, with this object in view, there were four who justified his choice. These were Henry Budd, James Settee, John Hope and Charles Pratt. The first two were ordained to the Ministry, and the other two spent their lives as teachers and catechists among the Indians. John Hope died on one of the Battleford Indian reserves, where he had laboured for some years, and Charles Pratt put in many years of faithful work among the Indians of Touchwood Hills, where his life and labours ended.

Henry Budd, the subject of this sketch, was the first native admitted to Holy Orders in the Diocese, or, as it is now, the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land. In his boyhood and youth he received such education and training as the mission schools in the Red River Settlement afforded, and in due time he was sent forth to do the work of an evangelist.

Just twenty years after Mr. West landed on the banks of the Red River and opened the first Anglican Mission near where St. John's College now stands, Henry Budd was sent to open a mission on the river Saskatchewan. At that time, outside of the Red River Settlement, the only white people in the country were the fur traders connected with the Hudson's Bay Company. On the lower Saskatchewan, where Mr. Budd commenced his work, the Hudson's Bay Company had two posts, Cumberland House and Moose Lake, about one hundred and twenty miles apart. The Company's posts were of course good places to meet the Indians, as they came and went for purposes of trade. At Cumberland Mr. Budd commenced his work, but he decided that, for a permanent station, The Pas, about midway between the above-mentioned trading posts, would be the most favourable location. This was already a favourite camping ground of the Indians, and here Mr. Budd fixed his headquarters.

The "Good News" had, however, already found its way into the dictrict. When Mr. West first arrived in the Red River settlement, the news was carried far and wide, and the Indians at Cumberland heard of him. They were told that a man had arrived, different from any other white man that they had ever seen. He had not come to trade furs, but he had a book which it was said contained the words of Kissay Munito, The Great Spirit. It was spring-time and the Indians were assembled, celebrating one of their annual feasts. They discussed the news and they decided that it would be good to hear the words of the Great Munito, so they deputed three young men, lately married, to go with their wives to the Red River, spend a winter there, learn all they could, and return the next spring to report what they had heard. The mission was carried out and in due time in the early summer of the next year the messengers returned. The Indians were again assembled, observing their heathen festival. The young men told what they had heard from the mouth of the white man who had the Great Book. When they had told their story, White Bear, the Chief, spoke and said: "If what we have heard is true, we are wrong in our way of serving Munito. I must hear more of these words, I will go myself to hear God's Word." Then he took his drum and medicine bag and handed them to one of the leading men and said: "Take care of these. If I believe what I hear from the Book, I will not come back, and I shall not want these things any more. If I do not believe, I will come back and take them again." He never came back. He became one of the first settlers in the Indian Settlement, and the families among the Indians of St. Peter's Reserve who have the surname of "Bear" are his descendants.

White Bear, however, was not the only one who was impressed by the message brought back by the young men. The leaven of the gospel went on doing its work, and when Henry Budd arrived he found a goodly number of Indians ready to receive him and place themselves under his teaching. After two years of diligent work he was able to report that there were many candidates for baptism, and, in the summer of 1842, the Rev. John Smithurst, at that time missionary at the Red River Indian Settlement visited The Pas, and baptized eighty-five Indian converts. Mr. Budd continued in sole charge of the work until the autumn of 1844, when the Rev. James Hunter, afterwards Archdeacon, arrived from England. Mr. Budd's services, however, were still as important and necessary. He interpreted for Mr. Hunter, taught him the Indian language, continued his work of teaching and itinerating and superintended or took part in the various activities required to build up a missionary station and carry on missionary work in the wilds.

Bishop Anderson, the first Bishop of Rupert's Land, visited The Pas in 1850, and on that occasion decided to admit Mr. Budd to Holy Orders. After his ordination to the Diaconate and subsequently to the Priesthood, Mr. Budd remained at The Pas, assisting Mr. Hunter in the work of the district. When Mr. Hunter left in 1854, Mr. Budd resumed the charge of the mission, and he remained at The Pas until the summer of 1857, when he was appointed to open a new mission at Fort a la Corne, with the view of teaching the Indians of the Plains. He laboured at La Corne, or the Nepowewin Mission, as it was called, until the summer of 1867, when he was recalled to the charge of The Pas Mission. His work ended in 1875, and on the 5th of April of that year, he was laid to rest among the people whom he had been instrumental in bringing to the knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. He was taken away while still in the full vigour of life and quite equal to his work. His loss was keenly felt by The Pas Indians. Some time after his death, the writer of this sketch remarked to an elderly Christian Indian: "You must have been very sorry when Mr. Budd was taken away?" "Sorry," said the man, "does not express what we felt. My own father died some years ago, but when Mr. Budd died, I felt for the first time what it meant to be an orphan."

Mr. Budd was a man of fine appearance. He was above the average height and well proportioned. He never had the advantage of a college education, there was no institution for higher learning in his young days, but he made good use of such opportunities as he had, and he was fortunate in being associated with Mr. Hunter, who was a scholarly man and a diligent reader. He helped Mr. Budd in preparing for ordination, and Mr. Budd helped him in acquiring the Cree language and in his translations.

Mr. Budd's ministrations were almost altogether confined to the Indians, and he rarely preached in English, but he was a good English scholar. He was ready in conversation and he was a good letter writer. In the Cree language, in which he ministered to the Indians, he could hardly be excelled. He was a fluent and forcible preacher and he was gifted with a strong but mellow voice. He was an able minister of the New Testament.

He possessed also some qualities that were remarkable in a native, and that were of great value in the management of the temporalities of a mission. He was methodical and thrifty. Under the system of the Church Missionary Society in those days, a native missionary had only half the stipend of a European missionary and yet, with this financial disadvantage, a mission station, under Mr. Budd's charge, was a model of neatness, and no European missionary kept things in better order. His garden and live stock and his management generally were object-lessons to the Indians. In a letter from The Pas, a year or two after he resumed charge of that station he remarked: "I think the Indians are beginning to try to make up for lost time. They have so many patches of land under cultivation this year, that when I go through the village visiting, I find it difficult to get round the fences."

In his ministrations in the Church, Mr. Budd carried out the same principle of care and method which he observed in secular work, and which in the services of the church make for reverence. The services as conducted in Cree, were the simple prayer book service, efficiently and properly rendered, for he himself had a hand in the translation of the prayer book, and he followed the Apostolic precept: "Let all things be done decently and in order."

It is a subject of regret that he did not leave any of his name to carry on his work. He was married, before he entered on missionary work, to a very estimable woman of mixed extraction, who made him a suitable helpmate. They had several children, three of whom were boys. The eldest, young Henry Budd, received an education in England, at the Church Missionary Society's College in Islington, and was a young man of great promise. He was ordained to the Priesthood in May, 1863, by the Bishop who had ordained his father. He was not in very good health at the time, but went out nevertheless to assist his father in the Nepowewin Mission. His health did not improve, and within a year after his ordination he had finished his course, very much regretted by all who knew him. Two other sons died before they reached manhood. There were three married daughters, one of whom did good work as a mission school teacher, until she married. In the later years of her life she became connected with the Woman's Auxiliary, in which she took part with heart and soul, and, inasmuch as her marriage did not result in the making of a very happy home, the meetings and associations of the W. A. meant a great deal to her own life, apart from the opportunity of helping in the Church's work.

Conditions have changed since Henry Budd planted the standard of the Cross on the banks of the Saskatchewan, and gathered in the Indians at The Pas. An up-to-date town now stands where the Indian village formerly stood. A railway bridge spans the river. The Indian has had to move, and the new conditions do not all make for his well-being. It would be well if at the present time there were more men like Henry Budd, having that knowledge of the Indian ways and modes of thought which constitutes one of the most valuable qualifications for the work of raising the Indian and helping him to fit himself to meet the new conditions.

At the time when John West was laying the foundations of the Anglican Church at St. John's, Father Provencher was doing a similar work for the Romish Church at St. Boniface. In due time both Churches wanted a Bishop. Father Provencher, the first missionary was, in accordance with the usual policy of the Church of Rome, appointed the first Bishop. If John West had remained, and the same policy had taken effect in his case, it would have been an interesting study to mark the development of the two churches side by side, under similar conditions. Although Mr. West's own work in this land covered only a short period, he proved himself a good builder for the future, and not the least of his claims to that distinction was his selection of Henry Budd.


JAMES SETTEE was one of the four lads taken for training by the Rev. John West, and he justified Mr. West's choice, and did good service in evangelizing his fellow-countrymen. He and Henry Budd were the two who were admitted to Holy Orders. They commenced their work in a similar way. Shortly after Henry Budd was sent to open a mission on the Saskatchewan, James Settee was sent farther north, to the Churchill River, to open a mission in that district. There, too, the Gospel had been carried by voluntary effort ahead of the regular mission agent. A Cumberland Indian, Kayanwas (The Prophet) was impelled to carry the "Good News" to his friends at Lac la Ronge. The writer of this sketch heard the story from his widow. They started, the man and his wife, in their birch-bark canoe, hunting their living as they went. Before they were half way, they ran very short of food. One morning the man said to his wife, "Perhaps we are not wanted to go on this errand. If God wishes us to go He will provide for us. I will go out to hunt. If I am successful, we will take that as a sign that we should go on. If I get nothing to-day we will turn back." He had not been very long absent from the camp when she heard a shot, and, presently, her husband returned with the news that he had killed a fine moose. They had now abundant provision for the journey and they proceeded on their way.

When Kayanwas reached Lac la Ronge, the Indians heard him gladly, and when James Settee arrived there, he found many ready to receive his teaching. In 1847, he was able to report that there were a number of Indians ready for baptism.

The Rev. J. Hunter accordingly visited Lac la Ronge from The Pas and in July of that year admitted one hundred and seven Indian converts into the Church by baptism.

James Settee was ordained to the ministry in 1853. After his ordination, he did not return to the scene of his first labours. The Rev. R. Hunt arrived from England in 1850 to take charge of the work at Lac la Ronge. He removed the station to a point on the Churchill River about forty miles from the first location on Lac la Ronge, and named it Stanley after Stanley Park, Mrs. Hunt's birthplace in the old land. James Settee, however, was the founder of the Mission, in the same way that Henry Budd was the founder of "The Pas" Mission, and, here it may be noted, that this Indian Mission has been from the beginning and still continues, one of the most encouraging in the Diocese of Saskatchewan. It is encouraging in that the Indians respond to what is done for them, and also they are a strong, healthy people, and have been steadily on the increase ever since Christianity reached them. In the early days they all belonged to the one mission at Stanley. They are now divided into three bands--Montreal Lake, Lac la Ronge and Stanley. Fifty years ago they numbered about three hundred, now they number over eight hundred.

After his ordination Mr. Settee was sent out to Swan River District, now in the Diocese of Qu'Appelle, to work among the Plain Indians, who, at that time, were the wildest and most savage in the country, a people entirely the opposite of the peaceable and docile Indians of Lac la Ronge. He worked in Swan River District a number of years, chiefly itinerating, without establishing any permanent mission station. In fact his life work after establishing the Lac la Ronge Mission might be called itinerating, for he was moved, and he was already ready to move from place to place whenever there was a need. This nomadic kind of life seemed to suit him better than steady settled work. After he left Swan River, he worked for a number of years under the late Archdeacon Cowley, in St. Peter's Indian Settlement and outlying missions, and shortly after the Diocese of Saskatchewan was set apart from the Diocese of Rupert's Land, he went to Saskatchewan, and was employed there in the same kind of work. In 1883, he was called upon to undertake a duty which required an experienced and reliable man. The Pas Mission had been for a number of years under the charge of a missionary sent out from England by the Church Missionary Society. This man came under the influence of a Government official who was out in the district surveying Indian reserves, and who belonged to the sect called Plymouth Brethren. Our missionary imbibed their opinions and preached their doctrines and gave up using the Prayer Book Service. The Pas was at that time isolated, and this condition of things went on for some time. A few of the Indians were won over to the new way. When the state of things at The Pas Mission became known, the missionary was disconnected and someone was wanted who could be depended on and who could minister to the Indians in their own language. Mr. Settee was, as always, ready to go. He left Prince Albert in a canoe with two Indians, the Chief and a Councillor from St. James' Reserve, near Prince Albert. These two men went down, not only as canoe men to Mr. Settee, but to give their fellow-countrymen at The Pas a word of advice and exhortation. The Pas Indians received Mr. Settee gladly. As his canoe was nearing The Pas an Indian came running down to the beach and called out, "Who are you?" The reply was "James Settee!" Immediately there was a shout of joy and the Indians crowded down to the shore to welcome him. The church bell was once more rung, the Prayer Book again restored, and when Mr. Settee was relieved in about a year the church and its services were safe.

He returned to Prince Albert, and continued his work of itinerating for a few years, until, with advancing age, his strength was not equal to the work, when he retired to St. Peter's Red River, and spent the remainder of his days with his friends and children, still doing, however, as opportunity offered, any work that he could do for the Master. He died in Winnipeg, in 1902, almost unnoticed by the Church that he had served so faithfully, according to his lights and opportunities, although we may note with thankfulness that one of the few who paid him a tribute of esteem and appreciation was the present Primate of all Canada, and, possibly in the Church Triumphant, he may occupy no mean place.

In appearance, James Settee was a typical native, as his likeness shows. He was about middle height, thickset, and full of vigour. He was of a happy disposition. No inconveniences or discomforts ever gave him cause for complaint. If he had a rough time, he generally got amusement out of his experiences.

He could not be credited with much foresight or good management in temporal matters, but this was not due so much to actual carelessness as to accepting literally the Saviour's admonitions--"Take no thought for the morrow," etc. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," etc. He followed out his conception of Scripture teaching in more ways than one. While he was working in Swan River, on one occasion he came on a visit to Archdeacon Hunter, who was then at St. Andrew's, Red River, and who was the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society. In talking matters over with him the Archdeacon advised him not to move from place to place, but to establish a permanent Mission Station in some favourable locality. Mr. Settee listened to the advice very attentively and when it was ended his only reply was, "But you know, Mr. Archdeacon, we read that 'Here we have no continuing city.'"

He always looked upon the bright side of things and was also always ready to believe the best and not the worst of others. This attitude of mind led him sometimes to condone what deserved disapproval, although he gave no encouragement to wrong-doing by his own life and conduct.

He had a deep knowledge of the things of God, and could speak from his own consciousness and experience. On one occasion he visited a lady who had just passed through a very sore trial, and he spoke words of comfort to her in his own simple way. The lady remarked afterwards, "A good many have spoken kind words of comfort to me since my terrible loss, but Mr. Settee's words have given me more comfort than any other."

He had a fair English education and he mixed a good deal with white people, but civilization never spoilt his native simplicity.

He had a large family. One of his sons is the Rev. J. R. Settee, at present at Cumberland in Saskatchewan Diocese, and a grandson, also J. R. Settee, is a catechist and school teacher at Montreal Lake.

He did not live in the limelight, but he quietly worked for the Master, and, among not a few of the children of the forest and the prairie, the name of James Settee and the story of his work is not forgotten and will be handed down from father to son.


THE early missionaries to the Indians of the North-West were not heroes. There was nothing in the conditions of the country or the work to call for heroism. The missionaries were not the pathfinders. In this country, as in most countries, commerce opened the way for missionary effort, and the fur-traders were the pioneers and pathfinders. They plunged into the unknown wilds, and, when the missionary work commenced, the missionaries found the country dotted over with trading posts, which were reached by regular routes and means of travelling. There was a good deal of roughing, which, however, was not the peculiar lot of the missionaries, but the common experience of every one in the country.

But if they were not heroes, it can be said with truth that the missionaries sent out by the Church Missionary Society in the early days were generally men of no ordinary stamp: Jones, Coch-ran, James and others who might be named, were men of power. To this class James Hunter belonged. He was a man of strong physique and commanding presence. He was an able preacher and platform speaker, an extensive reader, a good linguist, and an energetic worker.

Mr. Hunter was sent out by the Church Missionary Society to take charge of the work, in what was then known as the Cumberland Mission. Cumberland House was the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in that district. It is the oldest trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company in the interior of the country west of Hudson's Bay, and was established by Samuel Hearne, the discoverer and first explorer of the Coppermine River. Up to the time of the establishment of Cumberland House, the Company's trading posts were all on the Bay, and the Indians themselves brought their furs down to the coast to trade with the Company, but the North-West Company was pressing in by way of Fort William and the Winnipeg River and cutting off the trade of the interior. A good many of the officers of the North-West Company were men of broken fortunes, who had been ruined by their clans or families espousing the cause of the Stuarts, and Hearne, in defiance of them, named the post after the victor of Culloden.

When Mr. Hunter arrived in the country he came the usual route, by the Hudson's Bay Company's ship through Hudson's Straits and the Bay to York Factory. From York Factory, he travelled by boat through the usual waterway to Norway House, and across Lake Winnipeg to the Grand Rapids at the mouth of the Saskatchewan, and then up the Saskatchewan to his destination. Henry Budd, who opened the mission, had not seen fit to make the Company's headquarters the headquarters of the mission, but had selected a place on the Saskatchewan sixty miles below Cumberland. It was a wise choice, as it was a favourite camping ground of the Indians. Mr. Budd had commenced the work in 1840. Two years later, Mr. Smithurst, at that time the missionary at St. Peter's, Red River, had visited the place and baptized eighty-five converts, and now Mr. Hunter took charge of the work. There was a great deal to do. The Pas was the first purely Indian Mission Station out in the wilds. The Mission at St. Peter's, Red River, had been commenced a few years before, but the missionary there and his flock were more or less in contact with white settlers. English was used a good deal in the services, and no translations into the Indian language had been made. There was of course no church at The Pas when Mr. Hunter arrived, and only a small log house roofed with bark, for the habitation of the missionary. It was different also from Moose. When Mr. Horden arrived there he found a residence for the missionary and a neat little church that had been put up by the Hudson's Bay Company, who always had at their principal depots plenty of building material and also skilled workmen, but here was a spot in the depth of the wilds, with none but untutored Indians around. However, Mr. Hunter had no very great difficulties. In those early days of the work the Church Missionary Society supplied their missionaries with means without stint. Mr. Hunter hired a skilled carpenter from the Red River Settlement, and for the rough work, getting out logs, sawing, etc., he found very willing workers among the Indians, who, being dwellers in the forest could use their axes, and soon learnt to turn the logs into lumber with a whip-saw. In a few years he had a well-equipped mission, so far as buildings were concerned--a nice church and schoolhouse, and a commodious and comfortable mission house.

It is interesting to note that in the building of the church Mr. Hunter had the assistance for some months of a number of men belonging to an expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. These men were spending the winter at Cumberland House, waiting for the opening of navigation, and having little or nothing to do, put in a few months at The Pas helping in the building.

It is interesting to note also the cheapness of labour in those days. There was no money in circulation. Prices were reckoned by skins of beaver, which was the standard of value and the daily wage for an ordinary labourer was half a skin in goods, which at the most was twenty-five cents, and he received a daily ration of two and a half pounds of pemmican, which cost five cents a pound.

But while putting up model buildings, Mr. Hunter did not neglect the intellectual and spiritual side of his work. He applied himself to the study of the Cree language, and set about making translations in that language. Both in acquiring the language and in translational work he had the advantage of the assistance of Mrs. Hunter, who had a good knowledge of the language, and also of Mr. Budd, whose native tongue was Cree.

The work had its difficulties as well as its encouragements. Some of the Indians accepted Christian teaching very rapidly, while others were strongly opposed to it. One of the strongest opponents for a time was the Chief of the band, a man of strong passions and powerful physique. One day he attacked Mr. Budd, threw him down, drew his knife, and held it to Mr. Budd's throat. Mr. Hunter was near and called for help. Later on the Chief accepted Christianity, and he has at the present time a large number of descendants among the Christian Indians of The Pas.

When Mr. Hunter left The Pas, he left a well-organized and well-appointed mission. When he arrived it was a wilderness in which the Indian wigwam was almost the only human habitation. When he left, the church, the school and the mission buildings generally, were objects of admiration to the voyagers as they passed on their way to and from the north and west. There was not a book of any kind in the Cree Indian language when he commenced his work, and when he left, the Indians had their prayer books and hymn books and portions of the Word of God in their own tongue. The sound of the church bell brought them together to worship in the House of God, and they had learnt to join in, and to love, the church services. Many of the first converts were truly earnest and godly Christian men and women.

In 1854, after ten years of work, Mr. Hunter went home on furlough and during his stay in England did good service in deputation work for the Church Missionary Society, advocating the cause of Indian Missions. He was one of the speakers at the Annual Meeting of the Society in Exeter Hall, in May, 1855. It was the days when openings for missionary work among the Red Indians were taken up with enthusiasm by the Church Missionary Society and its supporters.

After his furlough Mr. Hunter did not return to The Pas. He was appointed to the charge of St. Andrew's, Red River, which was then the headquarters of the Church Missionary Society's work, and he also held the office of local secretary of the Society.

When Bishop Anderson thought it advisable to organize the Church in Rupert's Land by the appointment of Archdeacons, he had no difficulty in deciding which of the clergy in his diocese were best fitted for, and most worthy of, the distinction. Cochran and Hunter were appointed, the former with the designation of Archdeacon of Assiniboia, and Hunter with the designation of Archdeacon of Cumberland.

Up to 1859, the Anglican Church had not extended its work to the far north, only the missionaries of the Church of Rome had penetrated those remote regions. The feeling, however, had grown that the Church Missionary Society should extend its work to Athabasca and Mackenzie River. Archdeacon Hunter volunteered to make a visit to the north, with a view to the establishment of a permanent mission. He left the Red River in the beginning of June with the Portage la Loche boats, and spent the winter in Mackenzie River, returning the following summer. The result of his visit was the commencement, the same year, of permanent missionary work in the district of Mackenzie River. Archdeacon Hunter was thus the pioneer missionary of our church in the far north.

After twenty years of service he returned home. He worked for the Church Missionary Society in deputation work for a time, and then accepted the important charge of St. Matthew's, Bays-water, in London. During his pastorate his preaching attracted a large congregation. It was found necessary to enlarge the church, and a new St. Matthew's was built to accommodate the increased number of worshippers. He held his pastorate until his death. He had great gifts and in the providence of God, he was called away while in the full possession of all his powers.

Archdeacon Hunter was twice married. His first wife, a lady of devoted piety, died in November, 1847. His second wife was Jean Ross, daughter of the Hudson's Bay Factor at Norway House. As before mentioned, she had a good knowledge of the Cree language and was of great service in the work among the Indians.

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