THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL;
SOLD BY THE
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
RIVINGTONS, HATCHARDS, AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.
The Rev. F. O'Meara was appointed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in 1839, as a Missionary to the Indians at Sault St. Marie. He was subsequently transferred by the Bishop of Toronto to the Government Indian Mission at Manatoulin Island.
75, PALL MALL, August, 1846.
Mahnetooahneng, Nov. 11, 1845.
MY LORD,--I beg leave to lay before your Lordship an account of my missionary proceedings, from the latest date of my last journal, to the 1st of the present month.
October 16, 1844.--In the course of my visiting to-day I met with a heathen Indian, father-in-law of one of my communicants, who has just arrived from the United States territory, and is yet undetermined whether he will settle here or not. The reason of his leaving the Americans he tells me is, that his son was lately seized by them and sent to one of their towns to be tried for murder; the true account of which was, that the young Indian being in some way insulted by a white man, drew his knife and plunged it into his breast. As soon as his son was taken away, the Indian determined to leave the American soil, without waiting for the result, as he [3/4] could not bear to see his son hanged. I, of course, endeavoured to point out the advantages he would enjoy by taking up his abode permanently at this place, which he promised to take into consideration.
October 11.--On my way to visit a sick woman, I met with an accident which might have been serious, but, by the preserving care of my heavenly Father, I was only confined two days by the effects of it, and even then I was able to go through all those parts of my duty which are usually performed within the walls of my study.
October 18.--The first indications of approaching winter in a furious storm of wind, accompanied with snow.
October 20, Sunday.--All the usual Sunday services, viz., two in the native language, and one in English, besides a Sunday-school.
October 21.--My evening class increased by the addition of two young men. This class takes about two hours every second evening.
October 24.--Meshequaunga, a baptized Ojibwa chief, whose tribe are still heathens, residing at the entrance of Mahnetooahneng bay, arrived here today, and gave me a sad account of the people of whom he is chief. He said he had been at the traders' house, and had seen there a large heap of Indian corn, which had been procured from the Indians chiefly for whisky these people generally come here, early in the winter, in want of every necessary, and are sometimes literally starving, while, if they took care of their produce instead of bartering [4/5] it for poison, they might be comparatively comfortable and independent.
October 27, Sunday--All the services as usual, but the English service was unusually thinly attended, owing to the circumstance of Capt. Anderson and his family arriving just as the bell rang for prayers. Saw Capt. A. in the evening, and was much astonished when he told me that the schoolmaster is to be dismissed, but it being Sunday, I did not, of course, ask for particulars.
October 28.--I, this forenoon, received an official letter from the superintendent at this place, informing me that it is his Excellency the Governor-General's desire, that the office of school-master should, in future, be discontinued, and his duties be transferred to the clergyman. Immediately on the receipt of this letter, I began preparing communications on the subject to the Bishop and the Government.
October 29.--Despatched my letters, both public and private, by the bateau that brought Capt. Anderson and his family up.
November 3.--Being the first Sunday of the month, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered, both at Indian and white services. Began to take up a collection from the white communicants, the proceeds of which will furnish wine for both congregations, the surplus, if any, to be applied to the relief of the most necessitous among the Indians.
November 22.--Was this evening interrupted, while engaged with my evening class, by the arrival [5/6] of a packet of letters from Penetanguishine. Among those for me is one from the secretary of the Venerable Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, asking for a report of my Mission, and of the habits, superstitions, &c. of the people among whom I labour. It is truly gratifying to find, when the Government seem likely to withdraw much of the assistance hitherto afforded to the work that I am engaged in, the Venerable Society is endeavouring to stir up a missionary spirit among Christians in Britain, on behalf of the Aborigines of this province.
November 23--This forenoon I called on Captain Anderson, with whom I had a long conversation on the state and prospects of the Mission at this place.
November 24, Sunday--All the services, &c. as usual. At evening service I baptized two young persons and two children, the former the children of an Indian of the Monominie tribe, who is himself only a catechumen, but expressed great anxiety to have his children received. This, the admirable provision of the Church enables inc to do, the sponsors being taken from the communicants. Both these young persons have been for some time under instruction.
The Indians were much interested in the progress of the eclipse of the moon, the cause of which I explained to them some evenings ago, by the aid of some astronomical plates.
November 28.--Having found it necessary from the great interruption of other engagements, which [6/7] I experience from persons coming to ask questions on religious subjects, to appoint a particular hour of the day, when I will be at home and disengaged from other business, I was much struck with one of the points on which instruction was sought in this way namely, how is humility to be attained? I told the person who asked me this question, that the best way I knew for attaining that rare Christian virtue was, to have continually before our eyes our own state by nature as ruined, helpless sinners, and the love of Christ, whose merits and death are mighty to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him.
November 27.--Much of my time this week taken up conversing with the native communicants, preparatory to the administration of the Lord's Supper on next Sunday, being the first Sabbath in the month.
November 28.--An Indian woman applied to be admitted to a participation of the Lord's Supper, but from the following circumstances, I thought it my duty to refuse her.
She had been confirmed in 1842, and went on very steadily as a communicant for some time, but the summer before last, she was induced to leave this settlement, and to go to Owen's Sound, where she returned to the use of intoxicating liquor, and otherwise behaved in a manner unworthy of her Christian profession. Not finding the settlement at Owen's Sound to answer her expectations, she returned to this place last summer, and though she [7/8] has not been guilty of any intemperance since her arrival, yet, I did not think that she manifested sufficiently repentance for her past misconduct, and therefore thought it expedient, both for her own sake and for the sake of the other Indians, to refuse her this time. I had much conversation with her on the subject, and told her that as soon as she manifested repentance for her departure from the right way, she should be again admitted to former privileges.
December 1.--Administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, both at Indian and English services. The Indians having now all returned from their fisheries, and settled down for the winter, the attendance both at service and Sunday-school is pleasing, and thus it usually continues till the sugar-making season, when they separate again. The winter is the only season during which we can reckon on having all the Indians about us, and in regular attendance on the means of grace, for at other seasons there is always something to draw away a portion of them, with their families, from the village; this is to be regretted chiefly on account of the young, who, by their irregularity in attendance on school, lose much ground, and consequently make slow progress.
December 2.--Finding that the Indians who usually winter in the Ojibwa village have arrived, I spent the visiting portion of the day among them, These Indians generally spend the summer in different encampments on the lake shore, and when they have made their fall fishery, come to stay at this place, [8/9] where they continue till the sugar season. They attend the services, and their children go to school, daring their stay; some of them have been baptized, but others of them are still heathen, but listen willingly to the instruction given them.
December 7.--I have been much interrupted in my usual engagements since the fall by an affection of my eyes, for which the doctor prescribes abstinence from study, particularly by candlelight, and avoiding exposure to cold and damp winds; and this considerably retards my operations, both in translation and out-door pastoral visiting.
December 8, Sunday.--All the usual Sunday services. The Sunday-school increasingly well attended, but both this and the day-School would be better attended, were there any means of providing a small stuck of warm clothing, to be given to those children who are kept at home for want of it. I have brought the matter before some of my friends in Ireland, through whose means I hope something may be done in this way.
December 10.--One of my communicants came to me to-day to talk on religious subjects. She complained of her own slowness in comprehending and retaining in her mind the things which she hears in church. I directed her to pray constantly to God for the guidance of his Holy Spirit, who is promised to all that earnestly seek him, to guide them into all truth. As she was much distressed, I told her that salvation was not promised to a certain degree of understanding, but to an humble fruit-bearing faith [9/10] in the finished work of Christ, as the only cause of the sinner's pardon and acceptance as righteous before God. Such conversations are most useful to myself, in that they show me more plainly the necessity of constant prayer to God for his blessing on my ministrations to this people.
December 12.--An old woman who wishes to have a young heathen girl, a relative of her husband, baptized, with a view to her being married to one of the young men at this place, came to me with the girl. I told her that as the girl was an adult, and had only just conic to the Mission from her heathen friends, I could not baptize her till she had received instruction, but I would put down her name as a catechumen. It is one of the difficulties of a Mission among the heathen to keep the baptized young people from forming connexions with the unbaptized. The same may be said at this place of connexion with Roman Catholics.
December 15, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
December 16.--This evening a young man, who has for some time attended my evening class, remained after the rest had left, and said he wished to talk with me, for that he had been for some time back thinking of what he had heard about the necessity of being in earnest in the concerns of his soul, and he wished to ask me what be must do to be saved. I answered him in the Apostolic words, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Spent a considerable time with him, [10/11] explaining more fully the way of salvation. To all that I said he listened with the greatest attention. I appointed another evening for more conversation with him on that all-important subject.
December 17.--I had a very pleasing instance of the power of Divine truth on the mind even of a savage, in enabling him to detect falsehood by comparing it with the word of God. One of my people came to me to tell inc of an error held by an Indian residing at this place, who came from the Methodist settlement of Owen's Sound, where he got an idea which be is endeavouring to propagate among the people here,--that by fasting a certain number of days, any one might see God and a vision of heaven. "When this Indian came to ray house," said the person who came to me, "be endeavoured to draw away some of my children but when I heard what he proposed to them, I thought it over in my mind, and compared it with what I had heard of God's book, and thus I found that it could not be true, for the Scripture tells me that spiritual blessings are not to be purchased by works, but come only by the free gift of God and the Scripture also tells us that no man hath seen God at any time."
December 20.--Engaged for a considerable portion of the day in pleading the cause of some Indians who came here late in the fall, and are in a very destitute condition. I succeeded in procuring a good deal of provisions, both from the white people and the Indians.
December 22, Sunday.--All the services as [11/12] usual. Sunday-school well attended. At evening service baptized the son of one of the communicants.
December 25, Christmas-day.--Two morning services--one for the Indians at eight o'clock in the morning, and another at eleven for the whites; at each of these services I administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In the afternoon we gave a feast to the Sunday-school children, who on this occasion mustered about forty in number.
December 26, St. Stephen's-day--Had the usual services for the day; a very good congregation of Indians assembled at morning service.
December 29, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
January 1, 1845.--Indian service in the morning, and white service in the afternoon; at noon the Indians had a feast give them from the public store, according to custom.
Sunday, January 5.--Being the first Sunday of the month, I administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at both services.
January 6, Epiphany.--Two services, one for the whites, and another for the Indians.
January 7.--Began to take charge of the school, which is given up by Mr. Burkitt, in consequence of the discontinuance of the office of schoolmaster by Government six or seven hours being the least that a regard for the progress of the children will allow me to devote to them, in addition to my own peculiar engagements, make the labour very severe. As to the improvement of the children, I am sorry [12/13] to say it is by no means commensurate with the money that has been laid out for that object by Government. This appears to me to arise from various causes; First, the ignorance of the master of the language of the children, which precludes all possibility of the children being brought to take an interest in the engagements of school; indeed, so much stress am I disposed to lay on this subject, that, had I the selection of a person to undertake the duties of schoolmaster to the Indians, I would make it a sine quâ non, that he should, from the very outset, give his entire energies to the work of learning the language; for, it is obvious, that, till the instructor and the instructed understand each other, nothing of consequence can be done in the way of education. Secondly, and arising from the former, the absent children are not sufficiently visited by the schoolmaster, or the cause of their absence inquired after. Though this is not a part of the duty of a schoolmaster among white people, it forms a very necessary part of the duty of one among a people such as those for whose benefit this Mission has been established. The savage has little or no authority over his children, and, even when partly civilized and Christianized, can with difficulty be made to understand the duty of using compulsion with them. Thirdly, the irregularity of the children, owing to their being obliged to accompany their parents to their sugar bushes, &c.; and lastly, the state of Mr. Burkitt's health, which has prevented his giving as much time to the school as [13/14] I think it requires. All these causes have combined to produce the present unsatisfactory state of that important part of the Mission.
January 12.--The services as usual. Having lately seen more plainly than ever the evil of a book such as the Methodist Hymns being in the hands of my people, after the more public and fatiguing labours of the day were concluded, I tried what I could do at translating some of the Hymns and Psalms from our own collection. I succeeded in this, my first essay in that kind of work, so as to encourage me to proceed in the translation of a small collection to be appended to the Prayer Book.
January 13.--The Indians left in a body for the woods, in order to make a beginning themselves, of what they have, in vain, at different times, and in different ways, endeavoured to obtain from the Government, a church. According to the dimensions given to the Indians for their guidance, the proposed building will contain between three and four hundred persons. The people, in commencing this work, do so in reliance on the assistance of their white brethren, who know, by experience, the privilege of having in their midst a house of prayer set apart, within whose sacred walls the word of God is faithfully preached, and the sacraments duly administered; for they cannot hope, without such assistance, to carry it beyond the frame, and I have considered myself justified in encouraging that reliance in them, feeling, as I do, quite sure that they will not be disappointed.
 January 20.--Express arrived, bringing letters with the agreeable intelligence, that the Bishop's remonstrance to the Government had had the desired effect, the obnoxious order being rescinded; the governor's secretary stating, that that order had been made in consequence of a misapprehension on the part of His Excellency as to the real extent of my duties.
January 27.--Mr. Burkitt resumed the charge of the school.
January 28.--This morning, three of the larger boys in the school refused to comply with the rule of the school, which requires each boy that is able to rend to have a verse from the Faith and Duty of a Christian by heart, on entering the school in the morning. They assigned as the reason of their refusal, that Captain A-- had told them not to learn anything in the Indian language to be said in school persisting in their refusal, they withdrew from the school.
In the course of visiting, this afternoon, I found a wigwam in the woods, which, on entering it, I found to be occupied by the wife of one of our people. I asked her where was her husband, to which she answered, "In his own house;" on further inquiry I found that she had left him after some domestic quarrel. I spoke to her on the evil of such a course, reminding her of the vows that she had taken on herself at her marriage.
January 29.--The boy who first left the school yesterday, returned to-day, declaring his sorrow for [15/16] having been so foolish, and his readiness to comply with the rules of the school in future. The other two returned shortly after.
January 30.--Left home this morning to see some Indians who are at Chettahwaheguneng, a bay on the south side of the island. I found but one of the families that I was in search o but stopped some time at a Potahwottamie village, where I spent most of the day in conversing with the Indians, and returned home in the evening, crossing the island from south to north, by a road which the Indians have made, in passing to and from the south bay in quest of fish, and bringing home to their families what their skill in spearing through a hole in the ice has procured for their subsistence. In the evening I had a long conversation with an Indian of this place, who having had some dispute with his wife, wished me to undo the knot which my predecessor had tied, in order that he might be at liberty to marry another. I recommended him to be more kind to his wife in future, as there is no possible means of his being released.
A good deal taken up this week in conversing with the communicants, on subjects connected with the due reception of the Lord's Supper.
February 2.--Attendance at the Sunday-school to-day forty-three. Average for the past month thirty-four. Administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to whites and Indians, at their respective services. This being the second Sunday since the Bishop's Pastoral Letter, directing a [16/17] collection to be made in aid of six destitute clergymen, came to hand, having given notice last Sunday, I preached to-day an appropriate sermon, and the sum of eleven pounds fourteen shillings was collected among the white residents; I did not apply to the Indians, as they have nothing to give but their prayers and good wishes.
February 5, Ash Wednesday.--Though the bell was rung at the appointed time for service, only one (the nearest resident to the mission) appeared the reason of this was a violent storm of wind and snow; the drifts were so high that I failed in my attempts to get out to my usual visiting.
February 9, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
February 13.--Left home to visit some Heathens who are wintering on a small island between the establishment and the main-land. Arrived at the Indian encampment at about two o'clock; hearing from the Indians that there was another camp at some distance, which I would be able to reach before night, I went on; but on arriving at the point which they had named, I found no camp, and saw the tracks of the Indians, who had lately removed to some other place; with difficulty I succeeded in getting back to those on the island before dark; I talked to them for some time on the importance of attending to the concerns of their souls, and told them of the means which God has provided for all men, without distinction, that they might not perish, but have everlasting life; they [17/18] seemed very attentive while I spoke, which is by no means generally the case.
February 14.--In returning home I was Overtaken by a very heavy snow-Storm, which not only destroyed all traces of the path on the ice, but also prevented my seeing more than a few feet before me. I followed the Indian boy whom I had with me, but soon found, by attending to the direction from which the snow blew in my face, that we were going out to sea. I therefore changed my course, guided by the wind, and went on for some time, quite uncertain whether I was right or not; at last, a momentary cessation of the snow enabled me to see the land, in the direction in which we were going, and in a few minutes after we were close to the establishment.
February 16, Sunday.--All the services as usual; there were forty-three children in attendance on the Sunday-school to-day. A Roman Catholic chief came to see me after service, with whom I had some interesting conversation on religious subjects.
February 18.--Heard to-day from good authority, that since the Jesuit came to the Roman Catholic village, great exertions have been made, by both the priests, to get a footing at this place; they have gone so far as to apply to Government for leave to build a church, and establish a Roman Catholic village here, to both of which projects Captain Anderson is opposed, as the settlement of the island was made from the first on the principle of having the different religious persuasions located in different parts.
 February 19.--Left home this morning for Chetuhwuhegunneng, with the intention of seeing some of the Indians from this place, who are there fishing, and returned in the evening.
February 23, Sunday.--All Sunday duties as usual.
February 26.--Left home this morning on a journey in the direction of the main-land, but finding that, in consequence of a thaw which we have had for some days, the ice is not fit to be walked on, I was obliged to return.
February 27.--There having been a considerable frost during the night, I left home a second time on my proposed visit to the north shore; stopped on an island where a number of Indians generally encamp during the winter, but found nothing of them but the poles of their wigwams. I went on till I came to another encampment, where I found some lodges, and stopped and conversed with the inmates for about an hour and a half; and then proceeded on my way, intending to reach the Hudson's Bay Company's house before night, which I accomplished.
February 28--Left the Company's house after breakfast, to go to an Indian encampment about five miles further on, where I spent the day conversing with the Indians, and endeavouring to lay before their minds the advantages, both temporal and eternal, which would arise from their embracing the Christian religion. Returned to the Company's house in the evening.
March 1.--Left for home early this morning, [19/20] hoping to arrive at the establishment in the evening, so as to be ready for the morrow's (Sunday) services; but in consequence of a heavy fall of snow, which continued all last night, my dogs could with difficulty draw the empty cariole; and the walking was so bad, that night came on when I was still twelve miles from home, and I was obliged to sleep in the snow.
March 2, Sunday.--Left my encampment at about three o'clock in the morning, and reached home before sunrise. All the services as usual. Administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, both to whites and Indians.
March 10.--Made a short excursion to visit some Indians who are snaking sugar on the other side of the bay, a distance of about six miles. Spent the day with them, nod returned home in the evening.
March 11 .--Having lately heard from the Saut St. Marie that the Papists and Dissenters have been making great efforts to draw away our people there, I thought it would be well to write to them, to acquaint them with my intention of visiting them early in the spring. With this view I left for La Cloche, knowing that the Company's last express for the season would soon leave that for the Saut. Arrived at the Company's post in the evening; learning that the express is to leave to-morrow morning, I wrote a letter to Shengwokore and his band.
March 12.--Having seen the express off for the Saut, I left La Cloche for home, accompanied by [20/21] Mr. Buchanan, the gentleman in charge for the Hudson's Bay Company.
March 16, Sunday.--All the services and other duties of the day as usual.
March 19.--An express arrived today from Penetanguishine, by which I had a letter from the Governor's secretary, in which he informs me that His Excellency had been pleased to express his satisfaction at the account of my visits to Indians residing on the north shore of the lake, and in other places, apart from the establishment at Mahnetooahneng, which account I had made out, and forwarded, in compliance with the desire of His Excellency, expressed in a former letter from the civil secretary.
March 21, Good Friday--Indian service in the morning, well attended, and English service in the afternoon.
March 22.--Engaged in conversation with the communicants, preparatory to the administration of the Lord's Supper to-morrow.
March 23.--Easter Sunday--Administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at both services.
March 24.--Had made preparations for another journey among the Heathen, which I had purposed setting out on this morning, but was prevented by a fit of illness, which continued for some days, and by the time I was sufficiently recovered to undertake the journey, the ice had become so bad that it was dangerous to venture any distance on it.
March 30, Sunday.--All the services as usual.  Indian service not very well attended, in consequence of the bad state of the roads from the sugar camps, and the rain which fell heavily all day.
From this till the Indians came in from the sugar camps, my engagements were uniform. In the morning, whenever the weather permitted, I left home to visit the Indians in the bush, and in the evening revised the translation of the Prayer-book, and translated some Hymns or Psalms.
April 6, Sunday.--All the Sunday duties as usual.
April 13, Sunday.--All the Sunday duties as usual.
April 16.--One of the workmen brought me a letter which he had received from a brother of his in Toronto, in which he endeavours to convince him of the truth of Millerism, which the writer of the letter has himself embraced; and begged that I would give him such information on the subject as would guide him in Ins reply. I promised to draw up in writing some observations on the subject which would answer the purpose. The letter of the deluded young mall was a striking evidence of the fearful advantage that fanaticism possesses in the gross ignorance of the multitude that it seeks to delude.
April 20, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
April 22.--The first arrival from Penetanguishine, by open water, this year.
April 26.--Two Indians of the Monominie (wild rice) tribe, who with their families have been some time under instruction as catechumens, came to me to-day to tell me that they intend leaving to visit [22/23] their friends in the Monominie country in the spring, and wish to be baptized before they go. I spoke to them at considerable length on the importance of the vows to be undertaken at baptism, and desired them to consider well with themselves whether their minds were made up to endeavour to abide by those vows.
April 27, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
May 1, Ascension-day.--Indian service in the morning, and English in the afternoon.
May 2.--Spent part of the day in conversation with the Indians whom I purpose baptizing to-morrow.
May 3.--This morning at Indian service I baptized the two Indians above mentioned, they having professed n desire to live according to what they have heard in the preaching of the gospel. Their object in going among their relations is to induce some of them to come and settle here with them but I have not much hope of their succeeding, as the late arrangements of the British Government preclude the possibility of their obtaining the privilege of sharing in the presents, and by leaving the American territory they forfeit their share of the yearly payments for land. The refusal of presents to future emigrants from the United States is likely to prevent any considerable increase of cur present population for some time at least.
May 4, Sunday.--All the services as usual.
May 6.--Left the island at about ten o'clock, AM. for La Cloche, there to await an opportunity of going [23/24] on to the Saut Saint Marie; when about half way, the most dangerous accident that can occur in canoe-travelling happened to us: the mast and sail all together went overboard, while we were sailing with a strong wind; but the canoe was saved from upsetting by means of the skill of the Indian who was at the helm. Reached La Cloche at a little after six P.M. I was detained at the Company's post for a week before any opportunity occurred, during which time I occupied myself in revising the translation of the Prayer-book, and conversing with the Indians who came out from the hunting-grounds and sugar-bushes.
May 12.--This afternoon a small trading-boat from Goderich passed on its way to the Saut, and in it I took a passage. I was especially pleased at this opportunity, as the owner of the boat was likely to call wherever there were Indians. We sailed all night; at about midnight, or a little after, I was wakened by a shock as of the boat striking violently on a rock, which, on getting up, I found to be the ease, the man at the helm having fallen asleep; had the wind been high at the time, the consequences would probably have been serious; but as it was providentially quite calm, the boat sustained no injury.
May 14.--Arrived at Missesahga, a place on the mainland, about half way between Mahnetooahneng and the Saut, where there is a waterfall, at which the Indiana assemble at this season to spear sturgeon. We were detained at this place by the wind for three days, during which time I [24/25] endeavoured to draw the attention of the Indians whom I saw to the advantages of Christianity and civilization but to such an extent are they supplied with ardent spirits by the traders, that I could scarcely find one who was in a state to comprehend what I said. I considered myself happy in meeting a canoe which arrived at Missesahga a few hours before we left it: with these Indians I had an opportunity of conversing before they had time to get any spirits from the traders. I especially addressed myself to a woman of the party, who last fall lost her husband, who, being quite drunk, had fallen out of his canoe close to land, and was drowned; his wife, who was in the canoe with him at the time, having been too much intoxicated to render him any assistance. I addressed myself to her feelings on the consequences of sin, and thought that had made some impression, but in a few hours I saw her quite drunk on the bank of the river, as we sailed down on our way: so completely does this accursed traffic in ardent spirits bar up all way of access to the minds of the poor infatuated creatures, who are the victims of the auri sacra fames of the fur-traders. Is there no way by which this undisguised breach of the law forbidding the sale of spirituous liquors to the Indians can be prevented?
May 16.--Left Missesahga at sunset, and sailed all night.
May 17.--At daybreak we were close to St. Joseph's Island, and after breakfast, the wind springing up in our favour, we arrived at the Saut [25/26] at a little after sunset, where I was hospitably received by Mr. Ballenden, the gentleman in charge at that place for the Hudson's Bay Company.
May 18.--Trinity Sunday.--At eleven o'clock I had service, and preached in English, the Indians, to whom I had sent notice of my arrival, not having yet come up from Garden River. As soon as they came, I had service, and preached in Indian, appointing another service to be held to-morrow morning.
May 19.--Had service for the Indians, and baptized two children. After service I spoke to them on temporal matters, viz., their cowing to reside on the Mahnetoolen Island, on which subject they had promised to give me a final answer this spring. I showed them a letter that I had received from the Governor-General's Secretary, expressing his Excellency's concurrence in the opinion which I entertain as to the expediency of their removal.
May 20.--Left the Saut for Garden River, where I had appointed again to meet the Indians. I spent the day in conversation with them, particularly on their removal to Mahnetooahneng; most of them, among whom the chief was the foremost, promised to go; some said they would remove in the summer, others that they would leave the Saut next spring, and a small portion of them said that they would not say any particular time, but if the others settled finally at Mahnetooahneng, they would not stay behind. Concluded the day with Divine service, and baptized a child. Returned to the Saut in the evening.
May 23.--Left the Saut in a steamer for [26/27] Mackinah en route to Toronto, in order to make arrangements for the printing of the Prayer-book, &c. Arrived in Mackinah about a quarter of an hour after a steam-boat had left that for Buffalo, and the next one for the same place cannot be in less than twenty-four hours.
May 25, Sunday--The steamer which was due yesterday evening did not arrive till this morning, and of course I could not proceed in her, but must wait for that which is expected to-morrow. During my stay I enjoyed the company and conversation of the Rev. Mr. O'Brien, with whom I became acquainted seven years ago at Detroit, and who has been for some time chaplain of the garrison at Mackinah. I have been in the habit of recommending my people to his care whenever they have occasion to go to that place, and have reason to feel thankful to him for his kind attention to them. Preached for Mr. O'Brien at morning and evening services.
May 26.--Left Mackinah on board a steam-boat for Buffalo.
May 27.--Arrived at Detroit, and immediately waited on the Bishop; I wished to ascertain from him what he would do towards the Indian Prayer-book, as my translation could, with a few alterations, be adapted to the Indians in his diocese, speaking the Ojibwa or Ottahwah languages but found that he had himself procured a translation of part of the service into that language, which he had caused to be printed, and which has been for some time in use. [26/27] The Bishop gave me two copies of this work, which is in the form of a small pamphlet, and though on the title-page it professes to be a translation of the Morning and Evening Services, contains only the Morning Service, the Litany, and the Ten Commandments, to which are added a few hymns taken word for word from Peter Jones's Collection. On looking over the work I find it very carelessly done, and in many places a total misrepresentation of the spirit and meaning of the Liturgy for instance, the verse Daniel ix. 9, 10, at the opening of Morning Prayer, is translated as if it were a prayer. The Absolution is also made a prayer of, or rather an unintelligible mixture of prayer and exhortation. Where the word circumcision occurs in the Litany, it is translated so as to make the supplication run thus, "By the cutting of thy forehead."
May 29.--Reached Toronto.
June 24.--Having arranged satisfactorily all the matters on account of which I came down, I left Orillia on my way up to the island.
June 25.--Went on shore at a small island in Lake Huron, between Coldwater and Penetanguishine, in the expectation of seeing some heathen Indians, who are usually to be found there, but on this occasion, though the fires were in their temporary huts, no Indians were to be found.
June 29, Sunday.--Encamped all day at a village inhabited by heathen Indians at the Sandy Islands, (Wahsahkooseng,) about forty miles to the northwest of Penetanguishine, on the way to [28/29] Mahnetooahneng. I spent the day in conversation with the Indians, endeavouring to draw their attention to the concerns of an hereafter state. While we were at this place, though it was Sunday, some of the Indians were engaged in making canoes. Those who dwell in a Christian land, and are accustomed to see the Sabbath honoured, at least by a discontinuance of usual week-day labours, cannot imagine what one feels when among heathens, and seeing them continue their work as on other days. What a blessing is even the outward observance of the Lord's day, even though it is to be feared that in the majority of cases it is merely superficial.
July 4.--Arrived at Mahnetcoahneng after a protracted passage of ten days from Coldwater.
July 6, Sunday--All the Sunday duties as usual.
July 7.--Had some interesting conversations with some of my people, which gave me great pleasure, as they induce me to believe that a real concern for the salvation of their souls is abroad among them. One of the individuals whose conversation pleased me so much was baptized last summer, and spent last winter about Goderich and Sahgeen; he told me that the Methodists at the latter place had been very urgent with him to receive the Lord's Supper at their hands, but this he absolutely refused to do, saying, that whenever his own minister thought it was time, and that he was fit to receive that ordinance, he would gladly do so, but not from them, but from his own minister. I was glad to find that he had made good use of the books I had given [29/30] him, for, on questioning him, he appeared to be well acquainted with their contents. He expressed a wish to become a candidate for Confirmation.
July 8.--Assembled the Indians this morning, and after service addressed them on the subject of Confirmation, explaining to them the nature and importance of that rite, and exhorted as many as had not come forward at the last Confirmation, as well as those adults and young persons who have since been baptized, to make up their minds to be in earnest in the all-important business of the salvation of their souls, and to come forward for admission to the enjoyment of the full privileges of the Christian church at the approaching visit of the Bishop to this place.
July 10.--Resumed my week-day morning services.
July 13, Sunday.--Administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Indian and English services, and at the former baptized two children.
July 15.--After morning service to-day I took down the names of those who wish to become candidates for the rite of Confirmation, and appointed to meet them at my own house every alternate morning, in order to their receiving instruction preparatory thereto.
July 16.--In conversing with the candidates for confirmation to-day and throughout, I took the Baptismal and Confirmation services as the ground-work of my instructions, in order that they might fully comprehend the meaning and importance of the renewal of the promises of the former made in the [30/31] latter; concluded always with prayer. The weather at tins place has been for some time excessively hot. During tins warm weather I employ the mornings and evenings in my pastoral engagements, and the heat of the day in preparing my Indian manuscript for the press.
July 20, Sunday.--All the Sunday duties as usual.
July 21.--One of the heathen Indians from Shegwunandod, who occasionally resides at this place, came to me and expressed a wish to be baptized forthwith I of course told him that that was impossible, till he shall have received particular instructions, with a view to his receiving that ordinance. I talked to him much on the subject, and appointed to see him again the same evening.
July 22.--The Indians, assisted by the workmen of the establishment, raised the porch and steeple it was happily finished without the slightest accident.
July 26.--An artist from Toronto arrived here on a professional tour of the Lakes, for the purpose of obtaining sketches of Indian scenery, and painting striking Indian heads. He had been at the council called by the Methodists at Sahgeen, to which the Indians of all denominations had been invited, and the object of which was to make them dissatisfied with their present locations, and induce them to settle at Sahgeen, and of course to become Methodists. They had sent a message to the Indians at this place, and they, supposing that the council was to be under the sanction of the Government, were preparing to go, but being better informed, they gave [31/32] up their purpose. I was informed that there was great indignation among the Methodists, at what they termed the bigotry of the Church Missionaries for not allowing their Indians to go.
July 27, Sunday--All the services as usual.
July 30.--The first arrival of Indians coming for their presents; this is somewhat later than last year. From this till the Indians separated after the issue, my time was taken up in going from wigwam to wigwam, endeavouring to communicate the knowledge of salvation to their benighted inmates; and I hope that, in some cases at least, my instructions were not without advantage. I had Divine service with a scripture exposition every morning, which was generally attended by as many as the schoolhouse would conveniently hold. It is at this season especially that we feel the want of a suitable church, as many more would attend service were there a place sufficiently large to hold them.
August 3, Sunday.--All the services as usual the school-house was excessively crowded, and many went away, not being able to find room within. After the morning service I administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
The entire of the remaining period, until the departure of the assembled Indians, was occupied in religious conversation with those to whom this is the only opportunity that, for a year, they can enjoy of being informed of the things which concern their souls. In most instances what I said on these subjects was listened to with apparent, if not real, [32/33] attention. It would be tedious and unnecessary for me to record the conversations which I had with those untamed sons and daughters of the forest suffice it to say, that in all cases I endeavour to point out to them the existence of a soul in each individual of the human family, and of a Supreme Being, who holds in his hands the issues of life and death; the nature of sin and its hatefulness in the sight of the Great Spirit; the universal and total depravity of the sons of men; the existence of one heaven and one hell, the same for the Indian as the white man; the need of a Saviour in which all, without distinction of race or colour, stand; and the existence of such a Saviour in the person of Jesus, the Son of God, who came down from heaven and gave himself to death upon the cross, to make a full, perfect and sufficient propitiation for the sins of all; and that that Saviour sends to them by me his ambassador, the invitation, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Among those from a distance whom in this way I visited, were the Indians from French River, formerly Methodists, but who now pressed their desire to be considered as members of the Church of England; two of their number joined the communicants of this place, and Sault St. Marie, in participating in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on Sunday last.
After the departure of the Indians my time was much occupied in preparing the candidates for Confirmation, and examining them singly before giving them tickets.
 Sunday, August 24.--Every thing was prepared for service at the time appointed for the Bishop's arrival at this place, but owing to high contrary winds his Lordship did not arrive till late in the afternoon, when eleven persons were admitted to full communion with the church by the apostolic rite of Confirmation, after which the Bishop addressed the confirmed on the step they had taken, and the greatness of their privileges, and the necessity laid on them of continuing to live up to those privileges, adorning the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things; the Missionary acting as interpreter. The Indians had intended addressing his Lordship, but owing to his speedy departure, (he was obliged to leave immediately after service, in order to be at Owen's Sound, his next place of visitation, at the time appointed,) they were precluded from doing so. There were others prepared for Confirmation, but unfortunately they were away at the time of the Bishop's arrival; they came home a few days afterwards; their number was three.
Sunday, August 31.--All the services as usual.
September 1.--The measles, which had been brought here by some of the strange Indians and had been in the village ever since, began, at this time, to spread more rapidly, attacking not only children but grown persons it spread so much among the children, that for some time there was no school, almost all the young people being laid up by the prevailing malady. As the doctor of the establishment was absent, I was obliged to attend to [34/35] the sick, which occupied almost my entire time, till the malady abated, as I had to make up medicine, not only for my own people, but for daily applicants from the Roman Catholic village.
Sunday, September 7.--All the services as usual, but no Sunday-school, in consequence of the prevalence of the measles.
Sunday, September 14.--All the services as usual.
September 16.--Sent the first portion of the manuscript of the Indian Prayer-book to the Rev. Mr. Grasett, to be transmitted by him to Dr. Bethune; it contains the Morning and Evening Services and Litany. I have taken much care with the writing, that it may be as legible as possible.
Sunday, September 21.--All the services as usual. The measles still continues to prevail extensively. We have already heard of several deaths in consequence of it, both on the main-land and at the Roman Catholic villages of Wequamckoong and South Bay; but, by the blessing of God, not one has yet occurred among my people.
September 22.--Had made arrangements for leaving to-day for the Sault St Marie, but early in the morning some of the Indians came to me, and begged me not to leave until the sickness had abated, to which request I thought it right to accede, although the lateness of the season makes it very problematical whether I shall be able to go to that station when the disease subsides. I have lately heard that it has been very prevalent at the Sault, [35/36] and several lives have been lost. This latter circumstance makes me very desirous to visit my people there, this fall, if possible.
Sunday, September 28.--All the services as usual.
September 29.--The number of sick being considerably diminished during the past week, and most of those who still continue unwell being in a state of convalescence, I left to-day on my visit to the north-west shore of the Lake and the Sault de St. Marie, and after a rough sail arrived at the Company's port at La Cloche, just in time to escape a most fearful storm of wind, rain and lightning, which commenced about ten minutes after my arrival; had my canoe been caught out in the Lake by it she could not have escaped.
September 30.--It rained heavily; but as the wind was fair and the season so far advanced, I left La Cloche, and succeeded, notwithstanding the rain, in making a good day's voyage.
October 2.--Reached Missesahga, where I expected to meet with Indians; but the fishery being not yet set in, there was not a single Indian to be seen there, they being still inland. I therefore passed on, though it rained heavily, and encamped about two leagues further.
October 3.--The weather, which had up to this been very unpleasant, raining almost incessantly, cleared during the past night, and we had a calm and beautiful day; arrived at Point Tessalon, where what may be called the estuary of the St. Mary's River [36/37] commences; here we found a large family of Indians, whom I visited for the purpose of talking to them on religion; they were heathen, but listened with apparent attention to what I said, and a present of fresh fish from them followed me to my encampment. I offered them tobacco for it, but they would not take it, the fish being bonâ fide a present.
October 4.--Broke up our encampment and embarked, many hours before daylight, and arrived at the Sault in the dusk of the evening, where, as usual, I was most hospitably received by Mr. Ballenden, of the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company.
Sunday, October 5.--It having been too late last night when I arrived to send down to Garden River to the Indians, I was not able to have any Indian service to-day, but had English service, at which the Indians who were about the place attended.
October 6.--Spent the morning in conversation with some of the Indians who are staying about this place, but those from Garden River did not arrive till it was too late to have any service; conversed with them when they came on many subjects connected with their temporal and eternal interests, and appointed a service at Garden River on the next day, as there are some of the people there not yet sufficiently recovered from measles to come up to the Sault. The Chief is still lame from the effects of a severe cut which he had given himself last summer, and which for some time threatened to prove fatal; this, he says, alone prevented his going to settle on the island at the present time.
 October 7.--Left the Sault for Garden River. About half way met an Indian who had been baptized by Mr. M'Murray, but of late years has been conducting himself very unlike a Christian. When I saw him from the opposite side of the river, I immediately crossed over to him, and spoke to him and his family on the awful consequences of forsaking Christianity and renouncing his baptismal vows, and exhorted him to amend his life, and to remember and act on the promises he had made at baptism. Had Divine service at Garden River, and preached to the assembled Indians, after which spent till a late hour of the night in interesting conversation with them. Heard some circumstances from them which show how anxious both the Papists sad Dissenters are to obtain a footing among our people at this place.
October 8.--On account of the lateness of the season I did not think it prudent to stay any longer) as the winter not unfrequently sets in at this place about the middle of the present mouth. I took leave of the Indians with many exhortations to stedfastness; embarked on my way home at an early hour this morning found an encampment of Indians on a point of the main-land opposite St. Joseph's Island, whom I visited and conversed with; they are heathens, but listened to what I had to say to them on the subject of Christianity, without however making any observation of their own; their Chief, whom I was anxious to see, was absent with his family at his potato garden on St. Joseph's Island.
 October 11.--Arrived at home after a stormy but speedy passage of four days, one of which was spent in inactivity on an island, in consequence of foul wind.
October 13.--Busily engaged during all the time that could be spared from my usual work, preparing the manuscript of the Ojibway Psalms and Hymns, as the next opportunity will probably be the last this season.
October 20.--Dr. Darling and his family, and Mr. Ironside, the new Superintendent, arrived here in the afternoon, after a very bleak and tedious passage.
October 22 to 25.--Still engaged busily at the manuscript, which I succeeded in getting ready for the opportunity that occurred on the 25th.
October 28.--The Indian whom I have already mentioned as attempting to spread absurd Methodist notions among my people, finding that he received no countenance here for his absurdities, and that there was nothing in the Church to feed his spiritual pride, left this settlement to-day, unknown to Mr. Ironside and myself. I understand that he has gone back to the Methodists at Owen's Sound. The departure of such characters is certainly no harm but a great deal of good to an infant Christian community such as this.
October 31.--Engaged writing to the Christian Knowledge Society on behalf of the church at this place, of which, as already stated, the frame is already raised. By the Lord Bishop's directions I [39/40] enclosed a copy of the address of the Indians on the same subject, sent to his Lordship last summer in a letter of my own, seconding the prayer of the address.
Your Lordship's obedient Servant,
FREDERICK A. O'MEARA.
The Hon. and Right Rev.
The Lord Bishop of Toronto.