THE following letter opens the campaign for the last movement made in penetrating the Wilderness, in the onward march of the work among the Red Men:
Thank you for your more than prudential suggestion concerning the present Station, in view of my going on farther West. And to let you know that I appreciate your wisdom, I will quote the following from my communication to the Bishop (Kemper) on the subject, to wit: "A clerical correspondent of the East writes, 'If you leave your present Mission, let it be placed under the patronage,' etc. (quoting your letter). 'Leaving this' means going farther on into the interior, as at Leach Lake. After thinking over this matter, I am of the opinion of my clerical brother, and write you, dear Bishop, to give it yourself the consideration it merits; and, if it approves itself to your judgment, would suggest that you write to the Domestic Committee (at present) a private letter on the subject. By Spring, I hope some certain, reliable relationship will be established between this Mission and the United States Government or Indian Department, as well as between us and the next Indian tribe. In such case the Domestic Committee will find here, as you, sir, can describe to them, ample Mission Houses for a Missionary, his small family, a teacher, and some Indian children,--say twenty-five,--beneath the roof. Also a comfortable log-church which is now almost newly seated with permanent open pews throughout, and a tower hastening to completion, with a good bell for the uppermost stem. Also a good farm-house, if so required, or otherwise for the use of the Mission, as may be desired. One hundred acres of land have been cleared of heavy timber, and forty acres are ready for tillage. We hope and believe the General Government will comply with the wishes of the Indians, and give us 160 acres, which will include the above land around the Mission House and church. If there should be an association for holding Church lands in the Diocese of Minnesota, and legalized, I should wish this property to stand in their name; but the whole practical working of the Mission to be in the hands of the Domestic Committee. The Board might rely always on my assistance and advice in carrying on the work, as I shall be still a near neighbor, only sixty miles distant,--the route to the post-office, and a Government road, soon to be much traveled, passing directly from the one Mission to the other, and connecting with the Mission at Crow Wing.
"But I ask for no control or interference whatever in the working of the Mission, unless it should be the wish of the Board. The Board would have a Missionary, a female teacher, an interpreter, and perhaps a farmer to support. All these, except the first, are on the ground and would be left here by me,--a fact of no little moment to the new Missionary. The machinery he would find at work, and he could in a month's time gather from me all that would be necessary to carry on the system. If not, I would be near by him to be consulted. The salary of the Missionary ought to be $600 per annum; but if there is a farmer, and he can have his subsistence from the products of the farm, then $400 would be ample. The female teacher $125 with board, or $275 to cover all expenses. The interpreter $350, which covers board, dwelling, etc. I feel confident the Indian Department will do something for the support of the school. Should this be $2000 annually, which it ought to be, and which I have asked for through the Hon. H. M. Rice, our delegate at Washington, then this sum will give a farmer $400 per annum, and $1600 for the support of Indian children in the Mission House, including the hire of native help in the kitchen, laundry, &c. The Indian women can now cook, wash, iron, and do all the sewing for such an establishment. If such should be the happy result of our application, then the expenses of the Board of Missions would be as follows: For Missionary and family $400; female teacher $125; interpreter $350. Total $875. I say $400 for the Missionary and family, supposing that the wife of the Missionary will be the matron, and hence there would be no charges for board or lodging. The $400 would be for their clothing and private expenses. The teacher in like manner would be supported in bed and board out of the common fund, and $125 a year is what we pay.
"I will not add more on this subject until I hear from the Board or yourself, Sir, of their willingness to take this establishment under their patronage, and thus allow me and mine to face the wilderness once more, to go over the same work again in a new field. I could now find much happiness in the enjoyment of the fruit of my labors as they develop here; but the experience gained will enable me to succeed better and quicker (under the Divine blessing) in a new field, than would perhaps be the case with a new man. My excellent wife is with me entirely in all this, and now talks of Keesahgahsquahgeemokag as a thing quite settled for another season. Charley Selkrig, Mr. Hall, and others, would cheerfully go with us, and in Mr. George Bungo we would find a very reliable interpreter; so that, dear Bishop, I can almost fancy your coming up to see us in our new Mission.
"We have a Mission horse, called 'Sir John' from the fact that he was bought by us from a British officer, who under his Government had been towards the North Pole, to verify the statements of Ray, and passed the night with us on his way through our country, homeward bound, to deliver his report of examinations, &c. He had four trains drawn by horses. In one of these, his wife rode. She had lived many years in Prince Rupert's Land. They had been so traveling, from their home in the North, twenty-seven days (sleeping out at night). What will your sisters say to this? We paid $85 for the horse and train. We hope to show him up in May at the Convention, along with the Injins."
.....I have just received a private letter from Mr. Rice at Washington, from which the most important measures appear to be entrusted to me with the Indians of the interior, and hence the pressing necessity for the best man to be had to come here and relieve me as soon as practicable, for I shall necessarily be much away from St. Columba after May next. What do you think of Brother Peake? Has not the discipline of his studies at Nashotah admirably adapted him to the work here? I fully think him to be the very man for the post. He is, it is true, wanted in the White field, and so was I before I came into the Red. But many could occupy there with advantage, that could not here, and hence the belief that he might be spared, especially as a young clergyman is to be out in the Spring, according to information received from Brother Wilcox-son, who as yet has no station in view. I suppose he will be out by the time of your visit. Moreover, Brother Peake has written anxiously about the Dakotas, which dwell about him; and from his sympathy for them, I trust he would not find it much against his natural disposition to labor amongst these. Will you not, dear Bishop, help me to obtain this my earnest request? Peake and I could heartily work together, and this would be a very important point to compass, in view of the future of these people.....I have been very anxious for Nashotah, seeing so few acknowledgments in the papers from Dr. Cole. I was rejoiced at the noble offering of the Church of the Holy Communion, New York. I hope the late appeal in the Banner will bring him funds. Our next offering must be a little later, on account of the early celebration of Easter. The Chippeways will only have got into the sugar camp by that time, and they do not come out until the first week in May, and it is from their sugar that we expect their next offering. I am sorry not to receive a letter of acknowledgment to the Indians; for, as they do not read the papers, they cannot be certified of the reception of the offering, at the place where we told them we should bestow it. They understand the letter, and would appreciate it.
I never shrink, you know, dear Bishop, from what is imposed upon me;--but, that sermon! Why, only think of it! An Injin Missionary preach to White folks! It has now been three years and three quarters since I have written a sermon. But, if they will be satisfied with an Injin sermon, they shall have it. Perhaps, if I have two or three Injins before me, I can preach! I will inform Brother Manney, who, living at a military post, is, of course, always ready primed!
From the place of date you will know me to be writing you from the new Mission Station, sixty miles North of St. Columba. Mr. Hall, candidate for Holy Orders, and Mr. Parker, the carpenter that has been with me from the beginning of our work amongst the Indians, and previously one of our parishioners at St. Paul, have accompanied me. You will be delighted to know of the work here appointed me to do by the General Government, as well as by the Church. Favorable treaties were made with these Indians the past year, by which they live on the same grounds in bands, where they have before been living from the days of their forefathers. The lands intermediate between these bands, have been ceded to the United States. It is in these homes that we hope to benefit the Indian. Perhaps you will see in the Banner an outline of the work given us to do. To you, my dear Brother, I will write with greater particularity than I would wish to appear in the papers, so that you will simply keep it to yourself. I have already written you fully regarding St. Columba, and the provision we hope to make for its support' through the Domestic Committee. But the Bishop writes dis-couragingly, and I question whether they would do more than give a meagre support to a Missionary. I have offered a thousand dollars a year for the support of Indian children in the school, if they will undertake it. I shall soon know all about it, and you too, my dearest Brother, shall know about it. The new Station will have its individual expenses; but, in some very important particulars, the Church will be spared heavy outlay. The General Government has offered to my acceptance the School and Civilization fund for these Indians. The buildings for the school are to be put up at the expense of the Government. We are limited to a certain amount a year for these buildings, as well as for the support of the children who are to be received into them. I am left to my own judgment as regards these buildings, what they are to be, &c. Three laborers are given into my charge, selected by myself, and paid by the Government. Besides, two hundred acres of land are to be cleared and plowed at the expense of the Government, and this work is given into my hands. Indians are recommended by the Government to be employed for all work, when they can be induced to labor. The pay for this clearing and breaking up of land will be extra, outside of all other allowances. I am responsible to the Indian Agent for all that I do, except in the method for carrying on the work. Now, my dearest Brother, in view of the necessity of civilizing the Red Man, in order to make anything of him as a Christian, you will rejoice with me in this thing that has so remarkably fallen into my hands. These are the nearest Indians to those at St. Columba, and the Government is now completing a road from our Mission, through the wilderness, to this place, at an expense of fifteen thousand dollars; so that we have a good road sixty miles at once, from our first Station to the second. I have been relieved from coming through this time on foot, by the Agent authorizing the purchase of a span of horses for the work to be done (he paid $400 for them), so that we have come up in fine style on runners, sixty miles. We start back to-morrow. Do you not envy our fine long winters and snows?
The object of my present visit has been to select a site for the Mission buildings. This lake is about thirty miles in length by fifteen in width, but it is beautifully diversified in its outline by bays and peninsulas, and has .three islands in it. Its shores are covered with the sugar-maple tree, from which, at this season, the Indians are making thousands and thousands of pounds of sugar. I have selected a bold shore, and a beautiful sugar grove for the Mission. This is now the fourth Church establishment I have had the honor to assist in locating, upon the bold frontier of the Northwest. All of them are pronounced by good judges to be truly beautiful, and not to be excelled by any spot in the adjoining country. I am happy, dearest brother, in thus laying foundations in new places. Give us your prayers, that the work may be so done, that none may be ashamed to work thereon. I am also most happy in having a wife so willing to advance the cause of the Church along with me, as to be glad to accompany me into the wilderness. In case, dear Brother, we do not find a clergyman to take charge of St. Columba, it will occasion me great difficulty to provide for both places.....
At St. Columba we have had to employ a carpenter at $500 a year for the entire time of the Station. The buildings there are all in nice order. Also we have had to employ a farmer all this time, and break up our land, after very expensive clearing. In the new Mission these expenditures will be met by the Government.....The teachers and Missionary, with part of the school-children, will be supported by the Church. Now, dearest Brother, we are coming amongst a wild people, said to be far wilder than any we have been with; but, I am proud to say, the chiefs and braves feel highly satisfied at the appointment of myself, and to-day I meet them in council.
April 6th.--Again am I spared to see St. Columba, and my dear wife is at my side. I find a letter from Bishop Kemper containing the following from the Secretary of the Domestic Committee: "Unfortunately, at our meeting last evening, Mr. Hobart and Mr. Curtis were both absent until late, when Mr. Hobart came in. There is a general feeling in the Committee that Mr. Breck had much better retain the charge of St. Columba, where he has been so blessed. If any clergyman can be found, to aid him in missionary duty, so that he can push on to Leach Lake, we will do all we can to aid you. But your funds and ours are nearly, if not quite, used up at present. We wait to know more; but the Committee will not again undertake the charge of land, building, farm, and an alliance with the Government, precarious and unsatisfactory. That, you, or Mr. Breck, or the authorities in Minnesota, must do for us, if we aid, as we will gladly do when able, in the Indian Mission." From the above, dear Brother, I find little to encourage us. I am quite unwilling to hand this post over to the Domestic Committee to support only a Missionary, and we to support all the rest of the establishment. The Church will give the Board the credit of sustaining the Mission, when in fact the great burden will be upon my hands. I am quite unwilling for this. It is better for me to keep the whole, and pay a clergyman a salary of six or eight hundred dollars a year, than give up to the Board the main officers; for the Church will lose sight of the lesser ones, whom we should have to aid. So that now, dear Charles, I have followed your advice, and you see how little faith is to be placed in the Church's authorized organ. That organization costs, as a clergyman wrote me shortly since, eighteen thousand dollars a year, and he said that his offering of Jive dollars would not reach the Missionary until this amount were first made up to pay the officers, agents, rents, &c. This is bad; but there is a Church way to avoid it, and, until avoided, it can never become the great channel for Church alms. At another time I will write out my thoughts on this subject.
I hasten to send you the enclosed copy of the result of our deliberations at the Mission House. The paper will explain itself; and what it does not, I must at present leave to the Bishop to do. You will see by it that you are to choose one clergyman and one layman, and myself the same. I agreed we would not choose the Chaplain at Fort S., for peace's sake, at present. I shall elect Brother Manney, and you can elect Peake or any other. I am not yet determined as to a layman, and I fear you will experience the same difficulty; but let us do it for the sake of the property.
.....The new Mission is to be called "Ke-sah-gah" after the name of the lake where the band resides. The lake is thirty miles long by fifteen in width, and diversified with deep bays and bold shores, and three islands. We have now seven men at work, making preparations in building, clearing and breaking land, &c., for our removal there the present Summer or ensuing Autumn. The Rev. Mr. Peake, of Nashotah, is to take charge at St. Columba. We have twenty children beneath the Mission roof, and expect to have more than this number at Kesahgah. More than that number attend the school from the wigwams.
(October 21st.--To his Brother Charles) Your letter of the 10th September, giving us information of your noble offering to our field, has come to hand, and also the letter of your noble-hearted parishioner Mr. Du Pont. Thank you much, dear Brother, for your renewed expression of interest in our work. I have written a proper letter, I hope, to Mr. Du Pont, which he will doubtless, show you. At another time I hope to write you a more graphic description of our field and work. It has of late been suggested to me by clergymen that I write a book for our Sunday Schools, containing an account of the St. Columba Mission, from its foundation to the time I leave it in the hands of my successor. They think it would do good. If you think so, dear Brother, will you confer with the Secretary of the S. S. Union, that he may bring the subject under the notice of the Board; and, if they request it, I will try to do it, and thereby make some return to the many children and Sunday Schools that have aided us in this work so materially. Some good ladies in Connecticut have volunteered to build a church for us at Kesahgah. I have just returned from the North, where the ground has been selected for the site of the second Indian House of Prayer.
Yours of the 17th October and 7th November, my dear Sister, are received, and I am glad to be able to reply to them at this time. I went down to St. Columba, the beginning of the past week, to meet the Bishop. Only a little boy accompanied me, and we had a very cold night camping out. We reached the Mission a little after noon on the second day, where I found letters, the second of the above from yourself, and another from the Bishop, stating that that night he would be at Crow Wing twelve miles distant. Accordingly, I took a hasty meal and proceeded on to meet the Bishop. I found him according to appointment, and on Wednesday brought him to Kahgeeashkoonsikag. Permit me here to say, how delighted I have been with our successors in office at St. Columba. Both Dean and Matron, are, in my judgment (and I have heard no contrary opinion expressed), the very persons to carry forward the work we have been permitted to begin there. Mrs. Peake is active, cheerful, and devoted, whilst of Mr. Peake, you have already heard my happy sentiments. I felt most highly pleased, and my heart was full of gratitude to the Most High, that He had raised up just such spirits just at the very moment they were needed. Mrs. Peake was especially delighted with the appearance of the children in the Mission House. You will be pleased to learn that the leaden box and contents for the corner-stone were awaiting my arrival at St. Columba. Thus on the same day, I found the items for the foundation-stone of the new Indian Church, your own pious offering to build it, and a new Communion service from the S. S. of St. Paul's Chapel, New York City. The service books had previously come, and were at Kesahgah. What more delightful and varied proof could we have of the blessing of heaven upon our new work?
The Bishop on Thursday consecrated the burial-ground of the Church of St. Columba, in which already lie three Chippeway infants, the only Christian dead of one hundred baptized natives,--so greatly has this little flock of believers been blessed. The yard I had had enclosed with a neat board and picket fence before I had left for the North.
But now comes the disappointment for all of us. The intense cold just now, and the necessity of traveling a road of sixty miles without a single habitation of any kind upon it, spending one night at least out in the woods with a bed of snow to receive us,--these were altogether, I thought, a little too much for so aged a father in the Church as the Bishop, especially since every necessary act to be done just now at Kesahgah, could lawfully be performed by the second Order of the Ministry. I therefore told the Bishop he ought not to be subjected to this exposure in going and in returning. But, that your devotional agreement with us on the 8th December might not be disturbed, I determined to leave St. Columba on the Friday morning, in order to reach the new Mission by Sunday. The Bishop accordingly remained, and on Sunday was to celebrate the Holy Eucharist for the natives, and administered Confirmation to a class of twenty-two Ojibwas. This is the number of the class, but several were absent, yet I hope sixteen received this Apostolic Rite.
When it is remembered how wild the people are amongst whom we have come to minister the Gospel, you will now be delighted to hear somewhat of our first services amongst them. Upon Sunday morning I had Divine service for the Mission family. Now this family consists of three separate households, viz.: my own, in which are the matron, one female teacher, and two small Indian girls from the training school at St. Columba, and "William Augustus Muhlenberg" my son. The second household is our carpenter, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, and one child. The third, the Mission farmer, Mr. and Mrs. Rees and five children. These two last-named workmen are in part supported by the General Government. All these are, as far as their years and opportunities will permit, communicants of the Church. Up to Sunday morning last, our services and my discourses have been directed to these persons in our calling as Missionaries (each one a necessary member for the body), in our separate and collective capacity. And to preserve our sense of this calling and the momentous duties before us, I have appointed five English services during each week, in which as one family we will unite, viz., on Tuesday morning, at 9 o'clock, the Church service, made as joyous as possible; on Thursdays, 12 o'clock noon, the Missionary Office of Nashotah, which you have; on Friday noon, the Church Litany entire; on Saturday evening at 8 o'clock, an office preparatory to the Holy Communion; and on Sundays (weekly) the Holy Eucharist, which has been our uninterrupted custom from the beginning of Nashotah, in each Mission till now. On all days of the week, except Sundays, for which separate services have not been appointed, is a litany, at which any persons of the families may attend. So much for the discipline of the House, to keep alive in ourselves the sense of our calling as Missionaries.
On Sunday afternoon was appointed the first native service. There was a large attendance of the people in the principal room of the Mission quarters. My interpreter was David Kahzhequa, an Ottawa Indian student of St. Columba, who has been for upwards of two years a beneficiary of the Sunday-school of St. James's Church, New London, Connecticut. Thus are we beginning to make use of the material of our own training. My dear Sister will wonder how a Missionary will go to work under such circumstances as those above described,--a house full of savages, unused to restraint, and ignorant of God;--a Missionary of the Cross (called the black robe): what shall be said? what done? To describe my discourse, &c., would appear childlike; but it is for the children of the forest. Let it suffice to add, that every knee was that same day bent before the Altar and the Cross of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. And so far as I could tell, every tongue spoke something of prayer, in the words of our LORD, as taught by Himself to His disciples. Throughout, they behaved with the greatest propriety, and after a few words explanatory of the service of the morrow (for the laying the corner-stone), they were invited to attend.
At the hour appointed, on the 8th December, the house was again filled. The paper with the names of the good ladies of the Seabury Society and of the Minnesota Circle was read in the ears of the wild man, an honor he never before had conferred on him. All things were prepared, and in solemn procession we went forth in single (Indian) file to the site of the Church, and there, with the usual ceremonies, we laid, in the Name of the Triune GOD, the corner-stone of the "Church of the Good Shepherd." We then returned to the Mission House, chanting the Gloria in Excelsis on our way. The last words of it were sung as we stepped into the House, from which you may judge of the distance of the church from our dwellings. After some closing exercises, I caused a little native rice and a piece of maple sugar to be given to each one, and all retired pleased with the events of the day. From these services, we date our birthday at Kesahgah; and from them has begun the long line of daily prayers, which we humbly trust may never end. Daily at Kesahgah are Ojibwa prayers -both taught and said by the faithful (for all of the Household here attend them) and by the congregation of pagans--catechumens.
I think, under all the circumstances of the case, you and your dear sisters have abundant cause for thankfulness along with us, for what you have begun in these woods; and I pray GOD that another flock of an hundred sheep may soon be gathered in this wilderness. The Messing of GOD upon our labors at St. Columba, and the parable of our LORD being so exactly fulfilled in our having one hundred converts, and this our coming again into the wilderness after the lost sheep, suggested the name of the "Good Shepherd" for our new second Indian Church, and I hope you and your dear mother and sisters will be pleased with it.
The return of the Winter Feasts reminds me of the many obligations I have been brought under to yourself and others abroad. A residence sixty miles further up in these woods is not calculated to diminish this sense.
It was upon the same day in November, in which the Rev. E. Steele Peake and wife entered upon their duties at St. Columba, that Mrs. Breck, a female teacher, and I, arrived at our new Mission at Kesahgah. Our journey lay sixty miles through a perfect wilderness. The first snow had just fallen, and lay wet upon the earth. The noon meal was taken upon the ground, by the side of a running brook. I had feared too much the exposure of an encampment for the night on the part of the ladies, We had therefore left at half-past three o'clock in the morning, and by great effort we made the journey by twelve o'clock the following midnight. Our road lay through a wilderness, that had never been traveled by any vehicle until this year; and although no inhabitant is found between St. Columba and Kesahgah, yet we met many of the Red Men, with their wives and children, which were to form our new charge, on their way to receive the annual payment, which they receive by treaty with the United States.
One scene in the deep, dark woods occurred, that might have affrighted many stouter hearts than ours. It was near midnight, and almost impenetrable forests lay on either side of us. This will be better felt by you, from the fact, that upon the General Government opening this road the past year, only one Indian could be found, in the large band of Kesahgah, that could conduct the white man through them. While pursuing our. journey alone through these woods, suddenly we heard whoops and yells answering one another. They were evidently coming nearer to us. The Red Man over the hills had heard the rumbling of the White Man's wheels over the frozen earth. There was no turning aside, had we been ever so disposed to avoid the meeting. The Mission Houses of St. Columba and every habitation of the White Man had now been left fifty miles behind us. But I had learned the Indian better than some that were with me, and we pursued our way as though nothing strange were happening. Soon we came up with two or three of the blanketed tribe. We saluted them in a friendly way, and passed on amid their salutes, to more of their number yet ahead. Within half a mile we saw lights in the distance. There was evidently an encampment. As we approached nearer, the shouting ceased, and birch-bark torches appeared ahead on either side of the narrow track. We were now even with them. Wigwams were on either side of us, and a large company of chiefs, braves, and women with their children and pappooses thronged us. We now stopped and saluted them. They were friendly Indians.
How different this seemed from the following, which took place within a month afterwards among these same people. It was a procession. All moved in regular ranks. There was no confusion, no shouting, nothing unbecoming the occasion. It was a solemn procession, returning with joyous notes from some important transaction. It was headed by a surpliced Priest and Missionary. A little band of Christians followed, chanting with heart and voice the Gloria in Excelsis. Following these a long line of wild Indians moved forward in single file, with perfect order and fixed attention. They had been engaged in the solemn service of laying the corner-stone of the "Church of the GOOD SHEPHERD." We had left at St. Columba one hundred baptized Chippeways, and had now come again into the wilderness after the next lost sheep. These facts suggested the name for our second Indian Church. My interpreter on this occasion was one of the young disciples, that had been trained at St. Columba. Thus is our first work telling upon the further work, as it opens before us in the onward inarch of the blessed Gospel. From the above ceremony, began the second long line of Ojibwa Daily Prayers; and up to this time the Mission Prayer-room has been daily well filled with these wild people and their children. In the Mission House on Sunday, when we held our first Indian Service, every man, woman, and child rose and knelt, and tried to say with me, in their own tongue, the LORD'S Prayer.
(January 15th.)--I am now at St. Columba. It is a weekday. The bell for Prayer is ringing, and you see old and young going forth from houses and wigwams to worship the true GOD. At this very hour at Kesahgah the lay Missionaries are leading those wild people in the Daily Service. They are yet Gentiles and "grand medicine" men. These are Christians, and men that have renounced the religion of their fathers.
(January 26th.--To the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson.) The work done at St. Columba has given us at least two years advantage of growth here. The people are very ready for the Gospel and for civilization. Work out of doors or in the house is not counted unworthy of the dignity of an Indian, as it was at first at St. Columba. All work here, and there is no shame. We are not yet occupying the Mission House proper. We are living in what is to be the farm-house, and eating-house of the children. We have, however, ten native boys and girls in our family. Six of these were baptized on Sunday before last. Others are now waiting baptism.
I have before me the very interesting duty to thank you and the ladies of the Seabury Society for their renewed and very successful efforts in our behalf for the year 1857. May your work of the past year accompany us through all this passing one, and may your prayers be continually our helpers in the LORD. How delightful is that faith which worketh by love, through all these years! How feeble were our efforts when you began with us in that little wooden Mission House at Nashotah, where now the four-story brick building rears its beautiful structure amid the ancient oaks! How deep has the seed, which with you we there sowed, taken root, watered as it was with many tears and prayers, that it should now bear so abundant fruit! Unwilling to remain there when my work was done, you also, unlike the most of our friends, refused to be left behind, and have courageously accompanied us again on to the wide Frontier. And this kindness has been more manifest than ever in your willingness to come into these wild woods, where the roving Indian alone finds his home. You were the first to rejoice with us that an opening was made in the Red Man's ranks for the admission of the Church. You have witnessed, in the White field of Minnesota, the little band of three laborers increasing to ten Missionaries; and where there was no church building, ten now invite to prayer and the Sacraments. In St. Paul, where in 1850, we found but three communicants, a second parish has been organized, which is now, without appeal abroad, putting up a church at the cost of $10,000, and can call, with success, the devoted Rector, Rev. Dr. Paterson, from his Church in New Jersey, to its charge. The earnest members of the Seabury Society can also turn with gratitude and encouragement to this seed sown by the Associate Mission, and behold their labors yielding an hundred-fold into their bosoms.
And now you witness along with us in the Red field the farther sowing of seed, indeed fallen into soil, very barren, very full of thorns and briars, very stony, but not hopeless of recovery. We cannot expect to do much with many of the knotted and gnarled trees that have grown for three-score years in such a soil; but we have hopes of the younger plants. This is much as you say of the Puritan growth around you. But like the backwoodsman, by adding stroke to stroke, acre by acre is cleared of heavy timber, and at length in almost old age he witnesses a beautiful farm, with its pastures, and flocks and herds grazing in them. Thus is it with the Missionary work in these wild woods, and with these wild people. Neither of them have ever been touched with the backwoodsman's axe until now.
But notwithstanding all I have said of the difficulty of the work, our success in turning the attention of these people to something more excellent in both temporals and spirituals has been very evident. Only the continuous work of the Gospel for years can produce that fixedness of life and principle, which we desire to see implanted, and thence to be the outgrowth for all generations to come. It is much, very much to see the willingness of this wild tribe of men to turn aside from their long-established ways, and listen to the voice of instruction. The "black robe," as the Missionary of the Church is called, is happily seen in a reverent light by the Red Man, and his words are not lightly regarded. Hence there are those who readily turn at his words, and give themselves up to instruction. We receive them as children, frail and mortal; and, after teaching them the Creed, the LORD'S Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and giving them instruction in the solemnities of public worship, and they give in their adherence to the great baptismal vows, we then snatch them as brands from the burning of Gentile obstinacy.
After they have been baptized, the pagan religion considers them wholly removed from its influences, and we are left undisturbed in our possession. Our duty is then a very grave one and one for which we must be well prepared to act with the utmost patience and forbearance. I am now speaking of adults. The little children that are given to us are baptized as soon as they are admitted to the Mission roof. Hence now, within the Kesahgah Mission, are already sixteen baptized Chippeway children. On Sunday next, I intend (the LORD willing) to receive four persons of full years into the Christian Fold. Two of) them are heads of families. Thus by the influence of St. Columba's work, where it took four and a half years to baptize one hundred pagans, four months here have done one-fifth as much; that is, we shall have baptized twenty on Sunday next.
Thank your dear Mother and Sisters for their kind wishes in behalf of a boy that is but eight months of age, named after my spiritual father. He is the delight of our home in the wilderness, and the subject of many prayers and expectations of his pious mother and loving father.
One of our devoted female Missionaries was writing to some of her former Sunday-School pupils in Addison, Steuben County, New York, and before sending the letter away, she brought it to be read. The following incident contained in it, I thought, would please you, and I have therefore copied it for you. The writing it was wholly unintentional as respects yourself, and therefore it will please you the more. I have no time to write a letter, and one at present is not expected of me, but this will, I trust, gratify you:
"We have many children in the school every clay, who are not in the family; but they are anxious to learn, and some of them come very regularly. We have had a little girl in the family, part of the Winter, that was named Selina TJimock after a dear good lady at the East, who has done, and is still doing, much for the Mission. This little girl is a bright-eyed, amiable little creature, and very mild and gentle in her manners. Mr. and Mrs. Breck persuaded her parents to give her up to them, and she left them and the wigwam without making the least objection. We learned afterward that she had been teasing her father for some time to let her come, telling him she did not like to live in a wigwam, and if he would let her go and live with the white people, she would be a good girl all the time. And so she has been. She is a dear little creature, and we all love her very much." May this be some reward to you, Madam, for your gracious deeds done to us from year to year. May your prayers follow this little one, and may GOD prosper her, as He has every righteous work of your hands, since He took you to Himself within His own Ark of Salvation!
(July 16th, Fort Ripley.--To the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson.) You will be surprised to hear, that we have suspended operations at the Upper Station, until the Government affords us greater protection for our persons and property. Whisky is now common as water at Crow Wing in seven different shops, all accessible, and all illegal, to the Indian, from a pint to ten gallons at a time. This Fort is also now abandoned, that is, there is not a soldier here. We have many good Indians at the Upper Station, but Indians of the North have no Government, and all, with fire-water, is anarchy, unless the White Man does something for law and order. This step has been deeply thought over for some time, and now taken. I have left our buildings in charge of a chief, a fearless man. But more when we meet, which may be in a few days. This discipline has already been keenly felt by our Red children, and we hope from it the most salutary effects for the future.
.....In consequence of the late increased facilities for getting whisky, and the enormous use of it by wild savages, who under its influence become fiends, I have thought it my duty to suspend operations at the Upper Station until there could be provision made by the Government for the greater protection of life and property. At Crow Wing (the nearest White settlement, of only thirteen dwelling-houses), there are seven whisky shops, which openly sell to the wild Indian from a pint to ten gallons. These Indian grog-shops have grown up mainly within the past eighteen months, in the presence of the Indian Agent and all the public officers, including the whole garrison at Fort Ripley. By the last treaty with the Indian, in 1855, when this land was ceded to the United States, no whisky was to be allowed upon it, under penalty of the White Man's law. The violation of this, first winked at, has now become so fixed and fearful, that no public officer, nor this whole Fort (when in full equipment) would dare interfere with the entire population of whites, half-breeds, and Indians, who are personally and deeply interested in the traffic of fire-waters. Already for some years no jury could be found, who would convict a seller of whisky, for by so doing they would be convicting themselves. At Kesahgah or Leech Lake reside a band of upward of a thousand Indians, who glory in the name of "Pillagers." It is amongst these people that our Upper Station is located, and although it is seventy miles from Crow Wing (their dkpot for fire-water), the Indian thinks nothing of transporting five and ten-gallon kegs full of this poison upon his back, fastened by a portage strap across his forehead. In this manner, as well as by canoes and ponies, it is brought into our midst, and becomes a daily beverage with naked savages. We arrived at our new Station in November, when the Indians were absent at the payment (sixty-five miles from us), and only a few of the men returned to pass the Winter with us. In the Spring, however,, at sugar-making, all the male portion returned from their hunting-grounds and war-path. Their sugar, the gift of a kind Providence, was now largely exchanged for whisky, the poisonous drug of the White Man. In years past, at times of drinking fire-water (which was seldom, owing to the difficulty of obtaining it), the Indian, for his own protection, put aside all weapons, and a certain number remained sober, to govern the rest against committing any violence. But now the frequency of drinking has blunted their sensibilities on this subject, and every drunken Indian goes armed, and takes advantage of this frame of mind to revenge his wrongs, or to make his demands and threats. The past six weeks at Leech Lake has been dearly-bought experience with our Mission. The drunken Indian has visited us at our Mission House at various times. My own experience has been, to be kept at bay in Mrs. Breck's private room, by the drawn knife of the half-drunken savage, who entered to gratify his unreasonable demands. On another occasion, a heavy-framed, drunken Indian, danced like a maniac in the midst of the broken glass of our front windows, which were smashed to atoms by himself and others, who would enter our house. I went out to them by a back door, but upon my following a white man, who was now pursued by an Indian, this man in the window demanded my life, and only by arts, and with great difficulty, he was kept from bursting open Mrs. Breck's door with a great club, where I was entreated to remain. The next day this hideous monster said to one of our men, that I had escaped this time, but the next he would have me. I think five years' residence amongst Indians has proved my courage to face and govern them in their sober moments; but what can reason or persuasion do with wild men, made yet wilder and maddened with whisky? After the first of the foregoing occasions, I called upon one of the chiefs and a number of the men, and informed them of the threatened violence to my person, and warned them of its repetition. After the second scene I have described, I called together the head chief, and other principal chiefs, and demanded of them protection against its repetition. I told them we had come amongst them men of peace, that we were unarmed, and our religion and the purposes for which we had come amongst them, forbade us the use of weapons and violence as means of defence. They asked me for this time to bury the matter, for the men were drunk. I told them they would be drunk again, and then where was our security? I then informed them what would alone satisfy me. It was a reasonable request. There was no use in my appealing to the Fort (seventy miles distant from us) for protection, for the Indian and I knew, that in a few days (as has been the case) every soldier in this whole garrison would be removed far away to the South.
The fact is, and the chiefs of Kesahgah openly confess it, they are themselves afraid of their men. There is consequently no law or protection in the chiefs, no law or protection in the Government, and less, if possible, in the immediate frontier Whites, for all, or nearly so, are personally interested, if not engaged, in the whisky trade. An annual treaty payment by the General Government of $30,000, besides the furs, sugar, &c., of the wild Indian, are all-powerful inducements for the most extensive trade in an article that will the most readily obtain these valuables.
The above, violence took place some time since. But in different forms, and finally in one yet more aggravated, we have been brought to a stand-point, wherein the intoxicated Indian has compelled us to find out, by retiring from his country, whether there was any adequate protection or no, to be extended over us by the Government. We have simply suspended operations until this is known. In this, all with me at Kesahgah concurred as the only recourse left-us, except we should arm ourselves and fight, or be continually and basely trodden under foot by drunken Indians.
I have not time to enter farther at present into particulars. I have visited the Agent and laid the matter before him. He had just made the Spring payment to the Mississippi Indians. He told me that he had done what he could to destroy the whisky trade, but the Government afforded him no means for carrying out his authority. Whisky was sold all over the grounds of the payment, and it is believed four hundred Indians were drunk at one time. The payment had to be put off, until they were sober enough to receive their pay. No soldiers were on the ground, for none were to be had in the country. Even this restraint is now taken away. The Agent afforded me no hope, and said he did not think the Government would take any adequate notice of the violence of the Indians, even if my own life and the lives of all my family were taken, he said he had been trying, but in vain, to get any assistance in putting an end to the whisky trade. I am now intending to see the Superintendent of Indian affairs, who resides in St. Paul. I will inform you of the result in due time.
I have never turned my back upon the plow I have taken hold of, neither do I now; but I see no martyrdom in laying down life for drunkenness, and this result, the death of some °f us, is certain if we maintain ground where there is no law, either in the nation, or over the nation. If we take the sword, may we not perish with the sword, as many brave soldiers, and lately (in March last) forty settlers have, at the hands of the Sioux? These Indians, during drunkenness, habitually fight one another, and many have been killed, and many wounded, during their affrays in the past two years. I purpose writing to the Bishop again after my interview with the Superintendent.
P. S.--I have brought the entire Mission family away. Part of the children I have left at St. Columba, and part of the laborers are also there. I should here add that one of the female teachers and one male were struck by drunken Indians. The former had to dismiss her school for the day, and retire to bed. It was Miss West.
I fear Sir, unless the Government is more energetic in protecting her frontier settlers and citizens who live in the Indian country, she will have another Indian war to pass through. Troubles are arising in every section of our Territory from out of the White Man's speculations and indiscriminate sale of firewater. I have suspended operations at the Upper Station for the time being. Soon I shall know whether it is to be abandoned. It was a life work which I had given to the Indian, and I never had thought of any other portion of the Missionary field in which to labor. But the wickedness of the White Man, in his deeds unrestrained by the Government of our country in the very thing forbidden, has driven us from our post. But I shall soon send to the Church papers some expression of these views, which will render a fuller statement here unnecessary.
...... Shortly we are to have a Convention of the Church in Minnesota. We are now sixteen clergymen. And if I return not to the Indian field, it is very probable some Institution of the Church will fall to my lot to found in Minnesota for the training of her sons in right paths, and for rearing up the Missionary of the Frontier, as at Nashotah.
(September 10th, St. Paul.)--You have, dear Miss Edwards, perhaps heard of our disturbances in the Indian field, at the Upper Station. I have just written a somewhat full article to the Church papers, explanatory of the real causes. But in addition thereto, I feel it my duty to communicate the following to you, especially as you have been for so many years, along with your dear sisters, the benefactresses of our varied Missionary work in the far West.
It will be gratifying to you to learn that what we have heretofore looked upon as an evil (the delay in building the Church at Kesahgah) has not so resulted. The hurried work of last Autumn prevented our doing more towards the "Church of the Good Shepherd" than to hew and score some of the timber required for it. And in the winter the snow was so deep as to prevent any work of the kind in the open woods. And this Spring we have been waiting for whip-sawyers and the like to be on hand: so that little has actually been done towards the blessed work, which you have given us to do for CHRIST and His cause. The increasing troubles on our Indian frontier, both amongst Sioux and Chippeways, occasioned by late treaties that have banished them from much of their country, the removal of all the troops from the entire Chippeway frontier, and the introduction of fire-water after the manner of a flood, into the whole of the Indian country about our Missions, leave us little hope (soon at least) of re-entering upon our labors in the Red field. So that--with your permission--I will turn your offering into another channel, and let it be the seed of a church in some portion of the White field. I hope this will approve itself to you and your sisters.
The buildings at the Upper Station have all been erected at the expense of the Government, so that in case the Missionary work cannot be carried on there, the Church will be no loser thereby. I have made provision for the baptized children of the Upper Station, at the school of St. Columba; so that the work will not altogether be lost, provided the Rev. Mr. Peake should be left undisturbed at his post I wish once more to thank you and your whole household for the much encouragement you have given us in our work through so many years, and I shall never cease my prayers for you and those with you.
My precious brother: Yours of the 31st August has just been received, and I answer it in few words without delay. A full communication to the Church papers will shortly appear, by which you will comprehend more clearly the seriousness of our Indian difficulties; so that I shall not enter upon a subject here that has been so trying, and most difficult to reconcile with the complete gift of self, which I had made for the Red Man, for my whole life. It may be that a second Nashotah is to develop out of this chaos of Missions. Minnesota has had but one graduate of Nashotah added unto the ranks of her Ministry during these seven years. Wisconsin could alone dispose of all she can send forth. But more pf this when we meet, which we hope will be in November,--I cannot tell what time of the month. We are about having a second attempt at a Convention. But no Bishop, I suppose, can be consecrated, until our admission into union with the General Church, and hence I do not much think any steps will be taken for. an election. I shall have much to talk with you upon, when we meet.
The Church papers announced your extraordinary loss a day or two before I received your letter. You have indeed been deeply afflicted, and the Church also, at large, by the death of Alexis I. Du Pont. If GOD'S strength were not all-sufficient for His own work (and to convince us of it), such men (pillars) would not be taken away.
A second parish has been organized in St. Paul, and it is building a church which is of stone, and to cost $15,000. The Rev. Dr. Paterson is here, and acts as Rector. We have now sixteen clergymen in Minnesota.
(September 27th, Faribault.--To the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson) Brothers Manney and Peake have been with me at this place since Thursday night, and we have set the ball rolling, by which the Church's work is, we trust, to have being in all this region lying round about. We do not think it best to present any for confirmation at this time, inasmuch as we expect to be here early in the Spring as the regular pastors of this people, when we shall take all who are preparing for the Sacraments of the Church through a regular series of exercises for the different grades of the Christian life. We find here seven Church families, besides persons interested in the Church.....We have given notice of a service for Sunday next, and of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. You will find Mr. Young ready to help you in all things. There are, I think, but four communicants, viz., Mr. and Mrs. Scutell, and Mr. and Mrs. Young. I would feel highly pleased to hear from you after your visit to the towns farther West and South, so that we may be informed of the material you find there. Please write me at New York, care of Thomas N. Stanford, Esq.