THIS book contains a narrative of the life and thoughts of a simple missionary during twenty years spent in North-Western Canada. It is dedicated, with much respect, to those dear friends on both sides of the sea who have so often cheered this missionary with their help and sympathy.
To make the experience of the missionary appear real to other people, it has been necessary to speak of many personal and local matters; but the general subjects that are mentioned will have their interest for readers whose thoughts may be turning sometimes to North-Western Canada, and especially to the Edmonton district of Alberta, as this has been the centre of the missionary work that is narrated, and the standpoint of the observations that are made on the history, races, and customs of the people brought under review.
The references that are made to the origin of our Indian tribes, and their intimate relationship with Eastern Asia, only represent a small part of the results of the missionary's reading and reflection on the whole problem of ancient America. Of the correctness of the views that are given as to the substantial identity of the languages and peoples of America and Asia, there is little room for doubt. To those learned authors who take a different view of the origin of the North American Indians, I can only plead, that circumstances have helped me to a conclusion which I might never have reached, had I not lived so long on the border-lands of the far West. But before residing here I had given some attention to the customs, ideas, and languages of the far East.
It also gives me great pleasure to note that the public at home are turning their attention to this part of the world as one of its ancient centres, where events are transpiring that are likely to affect the destiny of England and the British Empire.
The present writer may live to visit Europe by travelling over the Siberian Railway, the opening of which will be a new epoch in the world's history. Japan may checkmate Russia in the North Pacific. And if Japan or Russia should marshal the yellow races, what will come after to Europe, and even to America? Solitary students even in the far-off wildernesses are dreaming of these things, and their anxious hope is that England will be prepared for the changes which are even now at hand.
I have only to add that a portion of the chapter which gives an account of the Right Reverend John McLean, the first Bishop of Saskatchewan, was written by his widow, and it will, no doubt, be read with the respect which it deserves.