Project Canterbury

Letters dated August 20th, 1867 and January 3rd, 1868

By Henry Budd

From Missionary Leaves, 1868, London, pages 41-44, 95-98.

THE Rev. Henry Budd, the history of whose life carries us back to the earliest days of mission work in Rupert's Land, was the first boy given up to our first missionary, the Rev. J. West. His native name was Uncas, but he was named in baptism after a clergyman in London, Henry Budd, and all who have followed the progress of the gospel in his native country will be familiar with his name. It has pleased God during the last few years to refine him in the furnace of affliction. In 1863 his eldest son, Henry, returned from England, where he had been prosecuting his studies at the Church Missionary College; and on September 7th, 1864, just after his ordination, he died of consumption. Within a month, the wife and mother, died; and three weeks after he followed to [41/42] the tomb a beloved daughter. Quite recently, lames Hunter, a promising lad of fourteen, died at St. John's College, Red River. His three youngest children are with their married sister, Mrs. Cochrane, at the Red River; and Flora resides with her father, his comfort and "true yoke-fellow," at Devon.

August 20th, 1867.

MY DEAR MISS LANFEAR,--Many thanks to you for your very kind letter of May 17th last. To you my thanks are due for the many, and to me very interesting, letters you have so kindly sent to me for these many years back. For this last letter I thank you particularly, because I was beginning to be afraid that there was something wrong; because since I wrote to you from my dear daughter Mrs. Cochrane's house, in June, 1866, I have written regularly from the Nepowewin, and this is the first letter I have received from you since. I am indeed very happy for this letter, and I feel that I cannot thank you enough for your kindness.

You will see from the heading of this letter that I am not writing from the Nepowewin this time, but from the Devon Mission, formerly Cumberland Mission. The Nepowewin is a long way from here. I have then, in the providence of God, come back to this station which formerly was my station for many years. I left the Nepowewin on the 9th May to succeed the Rev. T. T. Smith in the incumbency of Christ Church, Devon, and arrived at this station on the 21st, coming down a rapid stream all the way. I have now a weightier charge, and much greater responsibility. I have double the work imposed on me. The European missionaries are all going home, leaving the country to the natives. There is not one European missionary now, outside of the Red River settlement, I mean belonging to the Church Missionary stations, except the two at the McKenzie, and one of these I expect to see passing here on his way to England. We have all natives now in all the Church Missionary stations in North America, with the exception of Red River itself. I have the whole of the Saskatchewan district to myself now. For these stations, where we used to have two ordained clergymen, and several schoolmasters and catechists, I am now all alone to do the work. I have the Nepowewin under the care of a native catechist, and I have to direct and superintend his work from here, to visit the station, and examine his work as often as I can. Our flock at Cumberland House I have to visit once in two [42/43] months, and to stay some time with them each time; administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to the communicants there, baptize their children, and marry their people. And here itself I have abundance of work, and my work here is more of a parochial nature than otherwise. There are no heathen Indians here at all. The difference between this and the Nepowewin station is great. At the Nepowewin it is the constant toil of breaking up the ground for the seed, constantly contending with heathenism, and with all its accompanying evils; but at this mission it is more watering and watching the growth of the seed. The change is very perceptible; and those who have been contending and toiling against heathenism for seven-and-twenty years find the change very great, Such then is the weight of responsibility laid on me. I am sure, my dear Miss Lanfear, I need not ask you to pray even more earnestly than ever for me, for I am sure you will. I feel my charge heavy on me; and I am humbled to the dust to know that no part of that charge can be faithfully performed unless a supply of grace is sought from above.

I felt sorry and very sad, as you may well imagine, to leave the Nepowewin. It brought to my recollection all I have suffered at that place. Every pang, every loss, came fresh to my mind; but since I have come here, I have felt more happy, and more satisfied with the lot Providence has marked out for me. Although I have more work and more care, yet I feel more at home. The situation of the house, the mode of travelling here in the summer time, all on the water, the people, the daily routine of work, all tend to make me forget the Nepowewin and its sorrows. Yet, for all this, Nepowewin is still regarded by me as my station until some responsible person takes charge of it. And it will take many years before I entirely forget all I have suffered there.

Thanks to you, my dear friend, for the tidings that you have again 'sent a famous lot of goods' to me, which will be so useful to our people here, as well as those at the Nepowewin.

You inquire of Mr. and Mrs. Umphreville. They are settled up in the neighbourhood of the Nepowewin mission; they form part of our charge, and are constant attendants on our religious services. They are doing well, and have a large family growing up around them.

All my children are still in the Red River settlement, two of them doing very well in their respective schools; and the other two are living with their sister Mrs. Cochrane. I had hoped to have gone in again to see them; but my services could not be spared so long, and [43/44] I had to relinquish my intended trip. I shall hear oftener from Red River now that I am here, and I can write oftener to England, too. One very great drawback at the Nepowewin was that I could hear so seldom, even from Red River, and less frequently from Europe.

I thank you much, dear Miss Lanfear, that you had intended to have sent the fringe for my church at the Nepowewin if my letter had reached you in timo. Should you still be inclined to send it, and can conveniently do so, I would be very glad to have it; because although I am now away from the Nepowewin, still the church stands in my name, and I would like to have it completed. I don't know anybody else to ask so well as yourself in your country. [It has since been sent out.]

Of our schools, I am thankful to say that they give me encouragement. The school at the Nepowewin was promising well when I left it. The average number of attendance daily was thirty children; though at the Sunday-school the number was more. These we were teaching nothing but English reading, writing, etc., all in English. The system however of teaching these Indians in English is being abandoned. We are to teach the children now Indian, almost exclusively. We find they get on better; and understand at once what they read. The number of communicants at the Nepowewin station averages from twenty-five to thirty: a small number for the population; but we never encourage a great many. These are entirely from among the heathen, and they sometimes very materially suffer from the evil practices of their heathen neighbours. Here, however, is quite a village of Christian Indians, and my work among them is something like in an English village. I am in some measure reaping the fruits of my labours of twenty-seven years. The same plan is adopted in the school here as in the Nepowewin school. Some eighty children are being taught to read and write their own language daily; and some of them can read the Holy Scriptures fluently. In the Sunday-school we have above 100 names, many of the young people attend this school for the purpose of reading in their own language. We have about 100 to 120 communicants at this place alone, and a good number at Cumberland House. All these have to be attended to, spiritual instruction and the means of grace supplied them.

Allow me now, in closing, to ask you, my dear friend, to remember me often at a throne of grace and mercy.

I remain, my dear friend, yours much obliged,

H. BUDD, C. M. S."


"January 3rd, 1868.

MY DEAR MRS. MALAHER,--Having just come home from a missionary tour round my district, just in time to write a few letters to my friends in your country by the mail which will in a day or two be expected to reach this, I take the opportunity to thank you for a valuable, and to me a very interesting, letter, which I found among my papers and which I fear has not been answered by me. It is one you had written hastily on the 12th April, when you were sending off three bales and a box for my station, the Nepowewin. It seems to me that I have written to thank you for these three bales and the box; but I cannot make out that I have answered this letter, and if I have not, will you kindly excuse the overlook, and accept of the assurance of my best thanks now.

I had expected another letter from you before now, for I am sure I have written since the receipt of this one. However, I trust that the mail we are looking out for will bring one from you. It will give you, I am sure, much joy to know that your last annual gifts to my station have all been safely received; the first time perhaps for nearly twenty years, have the gifts from my Christian friends come the same year they were sent out.

You spoke particularly of the spectacles, that I had not mentioned whether they suited. Thanks to your dear children for the spectacles, for I have no present that I value more than I do their valuable present. I had four pair from Reading that time, [95/96] two pair new, and two pair quite good and little used. Out of the four pair, I gave two pair to our old people, and kept the two remaining pair myself. It was so fortunate that they just suited my eyes, they could not have been better. I had the misfortune to break one of them, as I had laid them down on the table, and the room being dark, I incautiously laid a book on them and broke the wire, not the glass; I think they can be mended. The other pair I keep only for use at church services; and in order to have them long, I use another pair in the house. So you see, just that little present from those dear children, how much good it has done. To me they are invaluable when I read the church services and break the bread of life to my flock; and who can estimate the true value of the other two pair I gave away to the old among my people, when it enables them to read the word of God for themselves, which otherwise they could never do! I say, who can say what blessings have come on the souls of the little donors through the prayers of the two old persons, who, whenever they took up their spectacles, and (many a time perhaps) lifted up a silent prayer for those dear children who gave them the spectacles! Time would fail me to attempt to describe to you all' the good your kind gifts are doing, even among ourselves here; I could never do it adequately. Therefore, please to present my hearty thanks to all those ladies and gentlemen who contribute so much, and give such valuable aid to the spread of the gospel and the furtherance of the kingdom of our common Lord.

Remember me particularly to Lady Emma Cust, the Hon. Mrs. Cust, and Mrs. Bower, of Ripon; and to all the rest give my grateful remembrance.

You wish to know whether the hoods for the women are liked; I can assure you the poor women find them invaluable and warm in this cold region, and they like them exceedingly.

Please not to forget me to your young friends, and tell them that I have a large number of native children in my school who daily read the word of God in their own tongue. Over 80 [96/97] children attend the day-school, and 120 the Sunday-school; and I am myself the only teacher for the Christ Church school. They are formed into classes of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, etc., according to their age and capacity. The two first classes read the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. They can do this fluently in their own language. Formerly, we used to teach the children to read their Bibles in the English tongue; but we found out that it was difficult to make them understand the English; they could read well enough, but did not understand what they read. And when they grew up and mixed with their Indian relatives they ultimately lost all their English. Since the language was printed we have taken another method in teaching them. All their writing and reading is now in their own tongue; so that now they can take their books home, and read to their parents and friends and they can now understand what is read to them. It is delightful to see them come into the school in their native dress, some wrapped up in rabbit skins, some in the buffalo skins, and reindeer skins, etc.; notwithstanding this, they are benumbed with cold. They prefer the English dress to their own, by far. They are capable of learning anything they are taught, and some of them have very pretty voices. In the church everything is done in the native style,--the prayers read in the Cree, the lessons read in the Cree, the communion, epistle, and gospel all read out in their own language, the hymns and the sermons, all the marriages, the burials, and the baptisms performed in the native tongue. And all join in all these services so heartily that I have often thanked God and taken courage.

The Devon Mission, formerly called Cumberland Mission, or Pas, is a village of Christian Indians, entirely so; there is not one heathen family in the whole village; in every house there arises daily an incense of prayer and praise to the God of heaven. My work then for the most part is pastoral, the same as any English parish. Only when I go out to the different stations now under my care, then it is direct missionary work. Some eight and twenty years ago it was not so. Then these people were like [97/98] all others living in the darkness of heathenism. But, to God be the glory, we can witness some changes that He has wrought among these people. I am the only ordained missionary now of the Church Missionary Society in the Saskatchewan. I left the Nepowewin early in May to take charge of this mission, the head station in the Saskatchewan. I still have to superintend the upper station, the Nepowewin; I have a catechist in temporary charge to keep up the work already done, and to endeavour to bring in some of the heathen families around. Besides this station I have another portion of my flock at Cumberland. House itself. There some thirty persons have partaken of the memorial of our Lord's dying love, at the last visit I made. At the Nepowewin, the outmost boundary of Cumberland district, about the same number communicate; I was up there in September. At Moose Lake, where we formerly had a school, we have a few sheep too, among wolves; but we can do nothing for them, I have too much work on me already, I am all alone. The European missionaries are all withdrawing and leaving the work to the native missionaries, and these are much too few.

Thus, my dear Mrs. Malaher, I have given you a small sketch of my position now; but I must confess that not one half has been told. I am sure you will not withhold your prayers for me and for all my scattered flock.

Hoping that the Divine blessings of every kind rest on you and yours,

I remain, dear Mrs. Malaher, yours much obliged,

H. Budd."

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