Search billions of records on Ancestry.com


Return to Home 
Research Center Directory 
 



 

 

 


The Apostle of Alaska
The Story of William Duncan of Metlakahtla

 

I

THE CALL OF THE LORD

IT was a stormy, drizzly evening in December, 1853, in the little town of Beverley, in Yorkshire, England.

The windows of St. John's Church, a chapel of ease in the little city, were lighted and glittered invitingly out into the dreary darkness. But few were abroad in the stormy night to accept of the kindly invitation to attend the quarterly missionary meeting to be held that evening in the little chapel.

In the vestry, the vicar of the church, the Rev. A. T. Carr, after surveying the scanty audience which had braved the rain and storm, suggested to the speaker of the evening, the venerable rector of a near-by town, that the meeting had perhaps better be adjourned to a more propitious evening. But this was not to the taste of the representative of the Church Missionary Society, who insisted that those who had come out were entitled to hear the message intended for them.

Perhaps the old evangelical preacher had learned from a long and ardent experience in the Master's service that those meetings, where only a few earnest and sincere souls, who loved the Lord sufficiently to brave the wind and the weather to attend, were the favorite trysting-places of the " Comforter from heaven."

Be this as it may, the old rector was that evening,

15

16 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

before au audience consisting of perhaps not over thirty souls, at his best. Never had his pleadings for the wants of the missionary fields, white and ripe for the harvest and calling in vain for reapers, had a more sincere and earnest ring.

And when he turned his eyes towards heaven, and implored God to fill the heart of some young man in that slim congregation with a burning desire to serve his Heavenly Master in the mission fields, his words set the little audience on fire, and the prayers of earnest Christian men and women were wafted with his to the heavenly realms.

There was one young man in that audience, and only one.

A friend had, the Sunday before, extended an invitation to him to be present at the meeting. He graciously accepted, and promised to be there.

The evening came. He looked out. The rain and the slush were not very inviting for the long walk from his home. But he had promised - and he went.

The service was over. Alone, as he had come, the young man went away. As he trudged homeward in the storm the thought came to him :

"I was the only young man there. Why should not I become a missionary 1 May not the Lord have something for me to do in heathen lands ? "

Before he slept that night his mind was made up : If God wanted him, he would accept the call and bring the glad tidings to some desolate heathen home and hearth.

The young man was William Duncan, subsequently " The Apostle of Alaska."

During the turmoil of the day, and in the discharge of his daily duties, his resolution grew stronger.

The day's work over, he sought the companionship of one of his best friends, Stephen Hewson, a young chemist,


THE CALL OF THE LORD 17

and, while taking a stroll together, he confided to his chum the resolve he had made. His enthusiasm for the cause must have been contagious, for his friend, after listening to him, exclaimed :

" If you become a missionary, I will go with you ! "

Any one who knows what human sympathy means, in the most trying moments of life, can appreciate what this promise meant to young Duncan, and how it would naturally strengthen and clarify him in his purpose, and give him assurance of success.

But we can also easily imagine what shock he must have experienced when he, within a day or two, learned that his friend, moved thereto by the pleadings of a loving mother, withdrew his promise, so rashly made.

Young Duncan also had a loving mother. Undoubtedly, she also pleaded with him not to go away from her, not to expose himself to dangers and perils, by land and by sea. No doubt she was very persistent in her pleadings, unless, perchance, she knew from experience that her son was so constituted that when he saw his duty he did it, without regard to consequences, and therefore did not strenuously pursue what she well knew would be a useless appeal.

In any event, pleadings of mother and sisters and relatives could not make him recant the resolution of that solemn moment in which he had dedicated his life to the Master's service in heathen lands.

Neither did the fact, that the young resolution of fellowship on the part of his childhood friend had withered by the wayside, for one moment lure him from the path he had staked out for himself.

Like his prototype of old, the great "Apostle to the Gentiles," he could truthfully say, at this crucial period of his life, as at all other trying and perilous moments which were to follow in coming years : " This one thing I do."


18 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Undaunted by the desertion of his beloved friend, he sought the counsel of his pastor, the Rev. A. T. Carr.

When he told him of the purpose he had formed he was surprised to hear, falling from his lips, these words :

" It is strange, William, but do you know that evening, during the service, I prayed the Lord to put into your heart the desire to devote your life to this very work. I feel that this call is from the Lord, and that you would do wrong not to listen to it. His holy name be praised who has heard my prayer ! "

Another pillar of strength was raised up to our young man, in place of the friend who had failed him.

It was agreed that the pastor should at once communicate with the Church Missionary Society on the subject, and offer young Duncan's services. This was done.

In due time, a favorable answer came, with the request that Duncan himself should address to the Society a communication giving his life history, the circumstances of his call, and an account of " the faith in him."


II

THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN

This is the proper place to give what account I can of young Duncan's history prior to the memorable night mentioned in the preceding chapter.

That this account is so very scant is due to the innate and extraordinary modesty of Mr. Duncan, and his excessive tendency to shrink from any and all publicity in anything concerning his own personality.

His answer to all requests for something of his personal history is invariably this : " I do not believe in putting my personality to the front. The work is what counts. If I, by the grace of God, have been allowed to accomplish anything for His glory, mention the work, if you must, but leave my personality out. ' I will be glorified, saith the Lord." I have only been an unworthy tool in His hand. If an artisan has done a fine piece of work, you would praise him and the cunning of his handicraft. No one would think of extolling the tool in his hand. The place for the tool is on the floor, or, at best, on the bench. There I prefer to remain. It is the Gospel which has done the work. As for me, I have done nothing. I am only the tool in the Master's hand. Let us forget the tool."

All the most ingenious arguments of the lawyer and of the interviewer simply fell to the ground, blunted by the adamant will of the great man. This is my excuse for

19


20 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

not giving a fuller account of this remarkable man's early history.

William Duncan was born at Beverley, a city of about 12,000 inhabitants, in Yorkshire, England, some time during the month of April in the year 1832. Even the exact date of his birth is known only to himself, and he will not give it.

It is known that his mother lived to an advanced age, and died in the year 1898. She is buried at Beverley. The Indians have told me that, some years ago, he used to show them a plaid which he told them his sister had embroidered. A remark that once escaped him of spending some part of his early childhood in the home of his grandmother, leads me to believe that his father died when he was very young. But who or what he was, or what the circumstances and the religious conditions of his parents were, I have been unable to learn.

I take it, however, that his admission that he had never, as a boy, taken God's name in vain, that he never thought even of entering a public house, as saloons are called in England, that he never, until he came of age, had tasted any intoxicating liquor, and his conduct as a chorister, as I hereinafter shall relate, all point to the fact that he must have been brought up in a Christian home, and perhaps under the watchful care of a devoted and praying mother, a possible situation which would, partially at least, explain the wonderful work which he, by the grace of God, has been allowed to perform, a work which I do not hesitate to say has not been equalled on any missionary field in the history of the world, by any one man.

An incident in his life, happening when he was only seven years old, characterizes the man he afterwards was :

One day he found a penny in his clothes which he could not account for. He did not remember that any


THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN 21

one had given it to him. He knew he had not stolen it - how did it come there ?

There came into his mind stories he had heard of people selling themselves to the devil. At once the thought occurred to him : " Perhaps the devil had put it there ; perhaps he wanted to buy him." No quicker had this idea come to him than he hurled the penny as far away from him, into the tall grass, as his tiny hand could send it.

" The devil should have no claims on him ! "

When he was nine years old, the organist of the great cathedral in the city, the Beverley Minster, sent for him to test his voice. Word had come to him that young Duncan was a natural born singer, with a remarkable voice.

The test was an encouraging and approving one. The great musician patted him on the shoulder, and told him to appear at the next rehearsal of the vested choir of the Minster, and from that week till his voice, at the age of sixteen, failed him, young Duncan was not only a diligent attendant at all hours for practice and rehearsal, as well as at every service in the cathedral, but he was soon given the privilege of singing the solo parts of the boy soprano, and sang them with such feeling and such artistic skill that, according to a publication in the French language, which I have had the opportunity to examine, people came from long distances to hear his wonderful voice at the divine services in Beverley Minster,

Of this he was not at all aware. In fact, so ignorant was he of the unusual charms of his voice, and so strongly did he look upon the religious side of his work, that he frequently used to get another choir boy with him on Saturday afternoons into the outskirts of the town where they would kneel down and join in a prayer to God to help them to sing their parts well the coming Sunday so


22 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

that they could be a help in edifying the congregation, and that He might accept their part in that service and worship, and help them to render it in the right spirit.

The only education received by the young man in his childhood, outside of the usual course in the common school, was one year's instruction, mainly in penmanship, in a private institution.

He became an adept as a penman, and to this accomplishment he perhaps owed his employment in the office of the house of George Cussons & Son, the owners of a large tannery, and wholesale dealers in hides, leathers, and findings, when he was only fifteen years of age.

His first occupation consisted in making out bills and invoices, and copying letters, but Mr. Cussons, the younger, was not slow to discover his latent abilities. He taught him bookkeeping. Soon he was entrusted with the books and cash of the house, and before he was eighteen he was engaged as the commercial traveller of the firm in seven or eight of the neighboring counties.

He, from the start, made up his mind to take his religion with him into his business.

He learned the wants of his customers, and made them known to his employers, whom he informed that he considered himself the agent of every buyer who could not personally come to the warehouse of the wholesale house. If his employers could not comply with the wishes of the buyer, he simply cancelled the order, and told his employers that this would be his policy all through, and that if it did not meet with their approval, he would at once quit their service. They soon ascertained that it was money in their pocket to let the young, erratic sales- man have his own way.

Before he had been on the road two years, his quarterly trips meant that the stock was completely sold out, and


THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN 23

the warehouses cleaned out, even to the last piece of leather.

But then he was strictly attending to business. No time was wasted, and no penny of expense either. He was conscientiously aware of the fact that his time belonged to his employers, and the only privilege he asked was to return to Beverley every week in time to allow him to attend the Bible class in St. John's Church, taught by the Rev. Mr. Carr himself, a thoroughly earnest and evangelical preacher, to whose church young Duncan had attached himself as soon as his relations to the vested choir of the minister had ceased.

The loss of his voice had made singing out of the question with him for a time, but his music-loving soul craved an outlet, and it soon found it in assiduous practice on a concertina or accordion, which he still has, and which he one day, with considerable show of affection, exhibited to me. It seemed to grieve him much to ascertain, on trying the old instrument, that two of the stops would not work at all.

I, at the same time, saw the flute and piccolo which he had played in the days of his youth, but which long since had been laid aside for sterner and more practical duties.

An incident of young Duncan's experience during his second year as a commercial traveller must be mentioned :

On his entering the commercial room in the hotel at Worksop, the head waiter said :

" I suppose you have heard the sad news that our land- lord has committed suicide since you were with us last ? "

"No, I have not," said Mr. Duncan. "That is too bad. How could the poor man do such a dreadful thing ? It is a pity to think that a man could commit such a grievous sin as that."

An aged commercial traveller in the room, a well-


24 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

kuown agnostic, but then unknown to Mr. Duncan, put in a word :

" The only one I think to be pitied is his poor wife. She will have a hard row to hoe now. As for him, - if he did not like it here, why should he not shuffle off this mortal coil ? Better end it at once than to live in misery. "

" But think of his condition in the life to come. To meet his Creator in that way ! "

" Bah ! there is no life to come, nor any Creator, for all that. It is all bosh ! " grumbled the old traveller.

" Are you going to be here to-night, sir? " asked Duncan. " If so, I would like to meet you and talk over this matter after I am through with my mail."

" Certainly I will be here, and will be glad to discuss the matter with you, young man."

After he had seen his customers, and made his report to the house, young Duncan looked up his antagonist, and found him at the fireplace in the commercial room. And now commenced a battle of giants.

The old agnostic, for a while, found the young man's enthusiasm a worthy fence to the blows of his agnostic broadsword ; but Duncan soon discovered that the old infidel, with his arguments from Paine and Voltaire thoroughly mastered, was getting the best of the discussion with a young novice who had not as yet sufficiently studied the "apologies" of the Christian religion.

Finding himself unable to withstand the old infidel's attacks with counter argument, he changed his tactics.

Leaping to his feet he rushed up to his adversary, looking him squarely in the eye.

" Sir ! " he said, "you are twice my age. You could easily be my father. I think you are a gentleman, and I will ask you on your honor as a gentleman to answer me truly and honestly from your heart the question I am going to put to you. Much may depend upon your


THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN 25

answer, as far as my future is concerned. "Will you answer me truly and honestly ? "

And his large blue, honest eyes looked anxiously into those of the other man.

" Certainly I will, young man. What do you want to know?"

" The question I want to ask you is this : Here I am, a young man. I have, from my childhood, tenderly embraced the Christian religion. I have grown up in the Christian faith, have tried to live, as near as I could, a Christian life, and have so far enjoyed it. I am happy in my Christian faith. Now, sir, the question I want to ask you, and I appeal to your honor to answer it hon- estly and truly : Would you advise me to give up this religion, this faith, this happiness, and come over to where you stand, without God, without faith, without hope ? "

The old infidel looked as ill at ease as if he had received a blow squarely in the face. His eyes sought to escape, now one way, now another, from the pleading, searching glances of the young man ; but finally, as in an effort to shake off something disagreeable, he looked his young antagonist squarely in the face, and said, while the perspiration beaded his forehead :

"No, young man ! When you put it that way, I cannot, I will not advise you to drop your religion and faith. Keep them and be happy."

"But what, then, do all your arguments of a little while ago amount to ? Don't you see that you are standing on a rotten bridge? You are afraid to ask me to come out and stand by your side, for fear the rotten thing will not hold us both, but will break down. I, on the other hand, stand on a good and solid bridge. I can ask you and the whole world to come out and stand at my side without fear that the bridge I stand on will give


26 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

way. When your heart is appealed to, instead of your head, your honesty compels you to admit that your arguments are only empty words."

The old infidel wiped the perspiration from his brow and rose to his feet. From his lips fell a hesitating " Good-night," and without another word he retired from the room.

The young missionary had preached his first sermon, even before the Lord had called him to the mission field.



III

"SPEAK LORD, THY SERVANT HEARETH "

IT was understood between young Duncan and his pastor, the Rev. Mr. Carr, that he should himself, on his next trip across the country, compose his life story and confession of faith, to be sent to the Society. This he did conscientiously and scrupulously.

On his return, he called on his pastor, and submitted to him a rough draft of the communication, which met with the full approval of his counsellor.

On his next trip, a fair copy was to be made out and by the pastor forwarded to the proper authorities.

Duncan did his part, and returned to Beverley late at night on the tenth of February, 1854, with the communication written out and signed. The next evening he would take it over to his pastor, and his future would be settled.

But God willed it otherwise.

As he in the morning came up the street leading to the office of George Cussous & Son, a man behind him said:

"What are you in such a hurry for, Mr. Duncan? Have you heard that your pastor is dead ? "

"No! Not Mr. Carr?"

" Yes. Mr. Carr died suddenly last night."

It was only too true, and proved a terrible blow to young Duncan. Mr. Carr was his valued friend, and the only one to whom he could look for counsel and help.

When he came home that night he placed the letter, enclosed in the envelope, already addressed to "The

27


28 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Church Missionary Society, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, Loudon," in his desk.

He felt then that this blow ended all his ambition to become a missionary, and probably looked at it in the light of a divine interposition.

But herein he was mistaken.

A couple of mouths later, his uncle, who resided in London, wrote him that he had suddenly been called to the continent for a prolonged stay, and requested him to come up to the city at once to take charge of his rooms, papers, and other belongings.

When getting ready for this trip, Duncan, perhaps without any particularly definite intention, put the letter to the Church Missionary Society in his pocket.

After completing the business on which he came to London, the idea struck him that he might as well look up the Society, as long as he was there anyhow.

He soon found Fleet Street, and looked around. Just as he expected, over there was Salisbury Square. And, yes, there on a prominent brass plate he discovered, in plain letters : " Church Missionary Society."

" Let me go up and look at them," was his mental reflection. "Nothing lost, I am sure. They certainly can't eat me."

With these words, he evidently tried to persuade himself that the call of the Lord was not upon him as strong as ever.

But it was.

At the door a liveried servant inquired as to his wants.

"Is Mr. Chapman in ? "

"Yes, sir."

" Please take in my card, and ask if I may see him."

In a few moments the servant returned.

"Mr. Chapman wishes to see you, sir. This way, if you please."


"THY SERVANT HEARETH" 29

Ushered into the secretary's room, he was met by a cheerful :

"Ah, Mr. Duncan, glad to see you, sir. I had expected to hear from you ere this."

"So I intended, sir, but Mr. Carr died, you know."

" Yes, poor Brother Carr has gone home. It was so sad. But he is happier now. We wrote him about you, and expected an answer from you shortly, but received none."

" I know it, sir. I wrote an answer. But as I did not have an opportunity to show the fair copy to my pastor for his approval I thought I would not send it."

"That was too bad - too bad."

"Oh, nothing is lost, sir. I have it with me. You may read it if you wish."

He read it, and was much pleased with its contents, and sent him to the principal, Dr. Eyan, for examination and questioning, and before young Duncan returned to Beverley he was assured that he would soon hear from the Society.

Within a week he was informed by the committee that he would be accepted at Highbury College for his future training, whenever he was ready to report.

On his return, one of his employers told him that there was a rumour in town that two of its young men were going out as missionaries, and asked him if he had heard about it.

" Yes," said Mr. Duncan, " and I want to tell you, that I am one of those young men."

His employers tried to persuade him not to leave a work for which he had shown such great ability and apt- ness.

Knowing Duncan, as they did, they might readily have realized that when his mind was made up as to what he ought to do, no arguments or inducements could change it.


30 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

As a matter of fairness, he agreed to postpone his departure for six months, so as to give them a chance to train another man for his post, and with this concession they had to be satisfied.

One evening, a few weeks later, a gentleman who some years before had filled Mr. Duncan's position with the firm, but who was now in the employ of a much larger concern, came to his rooms and said that he had heard that Mr. Duncan was going to leave his present employers, and offered him what was deemed an extravagant salary if he would enter the employ of his firm. He even held out to him the prospect of being admitted as a partner in three or four years.

What his offer of salary was, I do not know for certain, but I have been informed, by others than Mr. Duncan, that to refuse this ofi"er involved a sacrifice of something like $5,000 per annum.

"I thank you for your liberal offer, sir ; but I cannot accept it, as I have made up my mind to become a missionary," said Mr. Duncan.

" A missionary ! And at what salary may I ask ? "

" I don't know. Perhaps a hundred or a hundred and fifty pounds per year."

"Ha, ha," said the other man. "To throw yourself away like that. You, who have one of the keenest business minds in England. Don't you see you are making a fool of yourself?"

"Fool or no fool, my mind is made up, and nothing can change it."

When the six months were up, Mr. Duncan bade farewell to his friends and business associates, and buried himself for over two years in Highbury College, where, under the tutelage of Dr. Alford and a select faculty, he was thoroughly prepared for his life-work.

So satisfied were his preceptors with the progress he


"THY SERVANT HEARETH" 31

made in his studies that, after the lapse of two years, it was mooted that he might, after another year's study, be sent as instructor to a higher educational institution then maintained by the Society in India. But this was not to be.


IV

A NEW MISSION FIELD

Great Britain has always been fortunate in counting among its military and naval officers many men who have not been ashamed to recognize Christ as their loving Master, or to speak a word for Him whenever opportunity offered.

The Gordons, the Havelocks, and the Hedley Vicars are not by any means solitary examples of Christian soldiery, either in the British army or in its navy.

Captain J. C. Prevost, a commander in the British navy, was a sincere Christian gentleman, anxious to do his share to make others partakers of the glorious joy with which a living faith had filled his own heart.

Called home to England in the spring of 1856, after a four years' cruise on H. M. S. Virago, policing the waters of British Columbia, extending for a distance of nearly 600 miles from Puget Sound to Dixon Entrance, the southern boundary line of what is now American Alaska, but which was then the Alaska of the Russians, a task which had given him a splendid opportunity to observe the savage but physically splendid type of Indians that populated this long coast line and the thousand beautiful islands skirting it, the commander had become firmly convinced that if the loving evangel of the Saviour of mankind could be preached to these heathen it would be likely to bring far better results as to ending the cruel warfare carried on among the tribes themselves, as well as between them and the white men, whose trend also on

32


A NEW MISSION FIELD 33

this coast was westward, than to send there a whole fleet of war-ships.

His heart was full of sympathy for the red men of the Northwest coast, to whose villages no Protestant missionary had, so far, found his way, though the white people, ever since the discovery and survey of the coast by Captain Vancouver, in 1792, had maintained most profitable trade relations with them.

The curse of civilization, in the form of rum, debauchery, and loathsome disease, had readily penetrated to the farthest villages, while the peace-bringing message of the White Christ had, during all these years, been withheld from them.

Captain Prevost pressed upon the Church Missionary Society the necessity of taking up this new mission field, and called their attention to the fact that Fort Simpson, a fortified trading station of the Hudson's Bay Company directly south of the Russian boundary line, and which he had visited with his ship j ust about the time of the memorable missionary meeting in Beverley, herein described, would furnish a well-nigh perfect "naval base" for a new mission, both because around it were located the numerous villages of the most intelligent tribe of the natives on the coast, the Tsimsheans, and because they, being the traders of the region, in their turn were the intermediaries between the Whites and the other Indians, as well as between the Indians of the coast and those of the Interior.

The officers of the Society were strongly impressed with the appeals of the Christian naval officer, but regretfully had to inform him that it was impossible for them to open any new field of missionary labor, because of the total lack of funds for such purpose.

They offered him, however, the privilege of the columns of their organ. The Christian Missionary Intelligencer,


34 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

for an appeal to the public for funds for the new mission, which he had urged should be commenced among the Northwest coast Indians.

It goes without saying that Captain Prevost gratefully accepted this offer, and an eloquent article from his pen, describing the Indians, their savage state, their intellectual possibilities and physical excellencies, and holding up to the readers the reproach to the nation of having, for more than seventy years, withheld from these tribes the blessings of the Gospel, while showering over them the curses of civilization, appeared in the July number, 1856, of the Society's publication.

This appeal was not made in vain. A month later, the Society could give the gratifying information that, in response to the captain's pleading, two anonymous friends had contributed $2,500 for the proposed mission among the Northwest coast Indians.

One hindrance thus was removed. But another remained. The Society did not have the proper missionary to send.

Again and again the subject was canvassed at the meetings of the committee. They could not find the man.

Then came another visit of Captain Prevost. He called to inform them that he had been reappointed to his old station on the Pacific Coast, and would sail in a fort-night, and, what was more important still, that he had obtained the permission of the Admiralty to carry in his ship on its trip around the world to Victoria any missionary whom the Society might conclude to send to the Indians on the Northwest coast.

Again the committee was called together. Where could they find the proper man ? This mission required a man of undaunted courage, of well-nigh indomitable determination and will-power, of unlimited faith in God,


A NEW MISSION FIELD 35

and of good, sound judgment, as the entire management of the mission would practically devolve upon him alone, without the aid of the counsel and direction of the Society or its committee.

Again and again did they scan the lists of available candidates, only to arrive at the same disheartening conclusion.

Then some one modestly whispered the name of Duncan.

" Duncan ! Duncan ! He is the man, " they all agreed. " But, will he go?"

 

On Wednesday evening Dr. Alford sat in his study in Highbury College.

Young Duncan had been sent for. He soon approached the president of the college, who contemplated him with loving eyes.

"Duncan !" said he, pointing, on a map hanging on the wall, to a point away up near the northwestern extremity of the American continent, "the Society contemplates opening a mission at this point, among one of the most savage tribes of the Indians of the Northwest coast, but as any missionary sent there will have to take his life in his hands, and perhaps will never return, it does not feel like taking the responsibility of sending any one there unless he would practically volunteer his services. Your name has been suggested. Will you go ? "

"I will go wherever I am sent, sir," was the instant response.

"But the missionary who goes must sail by next Tuesday. Do you think you could get ready on such short notice?"

"I can go in an hour, if it is necessary, sir."

Dr. Alford had not been mistaken in his man.

The answer showed the stern stuff of which the intended missionary was made.

" God bless you ! Duncan," he said, much affected, " I


36 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

honestly believe that you will go and return again hale and hearty, in spite of all dangers."

"Whether I will ever return, sir, will be the Lord's business. Going is mine. I am ready to do my part, and I am sure we can trust the good Lord to do His."

On Friday afternoon, Duncan took his leave of the college, with the commission of the Society for the Fort Simpson mission in his pocket.

There were perhaps some misgivings, because he was prevented from finishing his course of study and had thus to be sent away without graduating ; but the committee felt that in this case " necessity knew no law," and so far departed from the rules.

The same evening saw Duncan at the store of the out-fitters, where he gave his order for a complete outfit, Including even a shovel, an axe, a saw, a rake and a hoe, besides numerous tools for carpentering and blacksmithing.

Sunday was spent in Beverley bidding farewell to the relatives and friends of a young lifetime.

On Monday morning he sped away on the express train to London, where he was to receive his final instructions at the Society's office before departing for Plymouth.

In the London streets he was caught in one of the Inevitable jams which sometimes suspend all traffic for hours and hours. But, undaunted, he sprang from his cab, portmanteau in hand, wormed his way through the crowded streets on foot, and succeeded in reaching Salisbury Square just as the secretary was about to leave his office.

Then off he hied to Paddington station, where he found the van of the outfitters with his twenty-eight pieces of luggage, large and small, and also his best friend among the students at the college, a Mr. Trott, who had come to say the last good-bye.


A NEW MISSION FIELD 37

A few moments before seven o'clock a cab rolled up, and, to Duncan's surijrise, out stepped Dr. Alford, who had concluded to go with him to Plymouth, in order to see him safely on board.

Tickets purchased, the two were soon on their way to Plymouth.

Tuesday morning, before seven, the train pulled into Plymouth station. The travellers disembarked and went to the harbor. There, in the roadstead, impatiently tugging at her anchor, with steam up, ready to speed away from old England on her six months' cruise, lay H. M. S. Satellite,  a spick-and-span new corvette, with twenty-one heavy Armstrong guns.

Aboard went Dr. Alford and Mr. Duncan, and his twenty-eight pieces of luggage, to stow away which gave the executive officer of the ship more trouble than any- thing else just then.

Dr. Alford remained on board all forenoon, as he desired to say to Captain Prevost a last word in behalf of his young friend, but finally had to depart, as the captain tarried longer than expected.

At 2 p. M. on December 23, 1856, Captain Prevost boarded his vessel, and, half an hour later, the ship was under way, and steamed out of the harbor.

The young missionary stood alone, by himself, on its deck, but, strange to say, when old England's coast slowly receded in the fog-banks caressing it he did not, for even one moment, look back on what he left behind.

Untrammelled by any ties of kinship and friendship, fancy-free and heart-whole, his dancing, courageous, blue eyes looked forward, where the prow of the ship was ploughing the waves, into the future, fraught with danger, into the holy sacrifice of all comforts of home and home life, into the awful solitude and the absence of all human


38 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

sympathy, into the life-work which was to be his, under God, to do.

Forward and then upward were his eyes directed.

Then a smile, as of heavenly assurance, came into his blue eyes, spread over the ruddy cheeks, and around the curves of the firm mouth and disappeared in the curly, sandy locks with which the wind played.

He went away with God on His errand, under the pro tection of the almighty loving Father.

" This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark."


V

ABOARD THE MAN-OF-WAR

It had been the understanding of the committee that the young missionary should be given the privilege of the captain's cabin on the voyage.

It was perhaps with this in view that he was warned not to let the luxuries and comforts of the voyage weaken him for the many hardships that perhaps would be his, when he reached the end of his journey.

But, as it was, the committee need have borrowed no trouble on this account.

When the captain came aboard, Duncan was, for the first time, informed, that inasmuch as a prominent divine and his family were to be passengers as far as the Island of Madeira, he would, until their departure from the ship, have to put up with quarters between decks, and be transferred to the engineer's mess for his fare.

The quarters for sleeping were not over-sumptuous. A hammock slung on the middle deck, so high that when the young missionary the first night started to retire, unused as he was to accommodations of that sort, he went on his head right over his bed, with a rather more hurried than dignified movement.

He soon learned, however, the trick required to land in his hammock, instead of on the floor, and had no fault to find with his quarters.

Not so, however, with the engineer's mess, where he

39


40 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

was to take his meals. The second engineer was an uncouth, rowdyish fellow, and could not speak ten words in sequence without ripping out an oath, or other sacrilegious expression.

Duncan bore it as long as he could. But at last he reported the matter to the captain, who, after he had Investigated the complaint, found it true, and again trans- ferred the missionary, this time to the gunners' mess.

He soon found that he had almost fallen from the frying-pan into the fire.

The chief gunner was glum and morose, ugly and cross, so that to sit down to table with him would naturally make any one feel as if he were attending his own funeral.

But, as long as he was not condemned to listen to blasphemy and sacrilege, Duncan felt he could stand it for a while.

The worst was, that the captain seemed to have entirely forgotten his promise.

The sick vicar and his family were landed at Madeira, but no one thought of inviting Duncan to the captain's cabin.

Tiring of the gloomy company at table, he, at the first landing of the ship in Rio Janeiro, purchased a sack of rusks.

Every morning thereafter, he filled a little pocket-flask with water, put some rusks in his coat-pocket, and with a book for a companion, retired to the privacy of a little dingy, dangling in its davits over the stern of the vessel.

Here he spent his days, for his food munching the dry, toasted rusks, and for liquid refreshment sipping the water, until evening came, when he retired to his hammock on the middle deck.

At Valparaiso he replenished his supply of rusks, and for three months, and over, he lived on bread and water,


ABOARD THE MAN-OF-WAR 41

rather than submit to the indignities offered him at table on Her Majesty's war-ship.

When the ship left Callao, to which place it had brought a number of supernumeraries for Her Majesty's squadron stationed near that point, the ship's doctor, a kindly. Christian gentleman, and the only one aboard who had paid any marked attention to the young missionary, on behalf of the officers, invited him to take his meals at the officers' mess ; but this he declined to do, and it was only by the most persistent urging, that he was, about a month before the ship reached Victoria, induced to abandon his bread and water diet and eat at the officers' table.

On learning of this change in the programme, even the captain's memory seems to have been jogged, and he now sent for Mr. Duncan, and invited him to come into his cabin. But Duncan, who had learned to like his modest surroundings, asked to be excused, using as a pretext, that his clothes were stowed away somewhere where he could not get at them, and that, under the circumstances, he preferred to be where he was, and where he now felt perfectly at home.

It follows of itself, that he could not, during all this time, remain inactive in his Master's service.

Only a short time out of England, he organized a Bible class among the blue jackets, and had the satisfaction of seeing it gradually grow, both in numbers and in interest, until, upon the landing in Victoria, it numbered not less than twenty-five young tars.

It would naturally be supposed that young Duncan would find a genial companion in the chaplain of the ship. But not so. This worthy and dignified representative of the Church of England, if I am correctly Informed, deemed it proper to pay no attention whatever to the lowly lay missionary, who, without receiving "holy


42 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

orders" from the Church, dared go to bring the glad message of salvation to the poor savages on the Northwest coast.

After a tedious voyage, of nearly six months, the Satellite dropped anchor in Esquimault harbor, near Victoria, on the thirteenth day of June, 1857.


VI

THE INSIDE PASSAGE

VICTORIA, now one of the most beautiful and Interesting cities on the Pacific Coast, located on a rock- strewn inlet near the Southeastern extremity of the magnificent Vancouver Island, which, for a distance of nearly three hundred miles, skirts the west coast of British Columbia, was, when Mr. Duncan first landed there, an insignificant hamlet, with less than two hundred inhabitants, but, nevertheless, possessed of some importance, partly because it was practically the only white settlement north of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, but especially because here was located the headquarters for the great Northwest Territory of the powerful Hudson's Bay Company.

At the fort in Victoria, Duncan was officially received by the governor of the company. Sir James Douglas, one of the truly great men of Western Canada.

In order to allow him to begin his work at Fort Simpson, it was necessary to secure the consent of this autocrat of the coast. "Without that, he would not even be accepted as a passenger on the company's steamer, then the only means of communication between the Northland and civilization.

This consent the governor was loath to give.

He insisted that the Society had done a positive wrong in sending a missionary to the Indians without first consulting the company's officers, inasmuch as they were the only ones who knew and appreciated the true condition of things.

43


44 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" K I should allow you to go to Fort Simpson, it would be just the same as to send you to your certain death. This company cannot undertake to be responsible for your safety, under the circumstances, and does not want to become a party to your murder. Why not remain here ! We have thousands of Indians near Victoria who need a missionary, and we will give you all the aid in our power if you will direct your efforts towards their conversion and civilization."

" The trouble is, Mr. Governor, that I am sent to Fort Simpson, and to Fort Simpson I must go. If I cannot go there, I must return, unless you can secure from the Society a change in my orders, which I do not think you can. And, to tell you the truth, I would not myself very much favor any such action."

" But, young man, knowing the situation as I do, I feel sure you will not last up there three months. It is all your life is worth to go among those savage and blood- thirsty Indians. You will do no good. But you will make us eternally regret it, if anything should happen to you, which it most certainly will."

When Mr. Duncan insisted that he must, nevertheless, go, and stated that all he desired was permission to stay in the Fort until he had learned the language, after which time he would go out and shift for himself without any responsibility for his safety on the part of the company, the governor finally yielded, with this remark :

" Well, young man, if you are to be killed and eaten, I suppose you are the one most vitally interested, after all, and we will have ' to take a back seat.' "

The governor, who could not fail to appreciate the pluck, courage, and determination of the young missionary, from that moment became his staunch friend, and in after years, on more than one occasion, gave valuable proofs of his appreciation of Mr. Duncan's wonderful work.


THE INSIDE PASSAGE 45

But Victoria was nearly six hundred miles from Fort Simpson, and the steamer, which went north only twice a year, in the spring and autumn, had but a short time before started for the Northland.

There was, therefore, nothing for Mr. Duncan to do but to remain in Victoria for the next three or four months.

This time he spent, by invitation, at the rectory of Christ's Church, with the Rev. Edward Cridge, who, some years before, had come out from England as chaplain to the Fort, accompanied by his young and amiable wife.

Young Duncan, during this enforced vacation, became the leader and instructor of the young ladies' choir of the church, and also conducted services for Mr. Cridge every Sunday afternoon in a small settlement some miles from the village.

He immediately proceeded to make himself familiar with the Chinook language, a trading jargon invented by one of the company's agents to enable, to some limited extent, interchange of ideas with the different Indians of the coast, who all spoke different tongues.

Later on, he managed to find a Tsimshean Indian, who came to him an hour every day, and from him he began to acquire some knowledge of the language of the tribes among whom he was to work. But in a few weeks this Indian was off for his home, and the lessons were interrupted. He arrived at Fort Simpson a month or two before Duncan, and told the Indians about his intended coming, assuring them that they would like him, as he was their friend, and in this way, to some extent, prepared the way for Duncan, though he himself never lived to see the wonderful change which was to come over his people, as he died within a month after the arrival of Mr. Duncan at the Fort, from a gun-shot wound received during a drunken brawl.


46 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The enforced delay was anything but pleasing to Mr. Duncan, but even that proved to be of great benefit to him in the future.

While in Victoria, his inviting and frank manner and his earnest Christian zeal gained him the brotherly love and warm friendship of Rector (later Bishop) Cridge, and also the esteem of the Hon. W. J. MacDonald, who, some years later, was appointed life-senator of the Dominion Senate at Ottawa from the new province of British Columbia.

The friendship of these two men, in his coming hour of trial and tribulation, proved to him the greatest boon which he possibly could have obtained.

God only knows where he would have been today, and what would have become of the permanent fruits of his life-work, had it not been for the support and strength which these God-fearing men, standing high in the councils of the province and the nation, so unstintedly gave to him in his hour of sorest need.

Finally, the hour of release came.

On the 25th day of September, 1857, he bade his many new-found friends in Victoria a cordial farewell, as he was about to speed northward and westward on the company's steamer. The Otter.

And now there was in store for him a wonderful treat.

For five days he sailed through inlets and fjords, passages, reaches and channels, the one more beautiful and wonderful than the other, where the shifting scenery, in its solitary grandeur, enchanted the eye and charmed the soul, from earliest morn to latest dusk.

The first day out it looked as though the steamer was running right ashore. Suddenly, just as the prow almost touched the rocks, an inlet opened to the right, the helm was swung hard starboard, and the vessel slipped in as

 

THE INSIDE PASSAGE 47

between the hugging banks of a river. Then, with just as sudden a turn to port, through the swirls and tide-ripples of Active Pass out into the Gulf of Georgia, where in the wide sapphire-blue expanse between the snow-clad mountain peaks of Vancouver Island and the distant Selkirk Gauge on the mainland, he could occupy his time all day long by watching the antics of playing and spouting whales.

Now the ship enters Discovery Passage, narrow, dangerous, though interesting, especially so near its centre, the renowned Seymour Narrows, or "Yaculta," as the natives call them - (the home of the evil spirits) - where the tide races through at a speed varying from eight to twelve knots an hour. Many a ship has here been caught in the swirling currents, and hurled against the knife-edged reef in the centre of the channel, only to sink, with all on board, into the depths of over one hundred fathoms close by.

No ship at that time dared pass through these dreaded narrows, the maelstrom of the northwest coast, except on a slack tide, and in full daylight ; and even, to the present day, the largest steamers dread the Seymour Narrows, and tremble in the embrace of the giant current and tide-ripples as if they were alive and throbbing with fear.

At Cape Mudge the young missionary saw the first totem-pole, the strange carved monument peculiar to the North-coast Indians.

But some distance farther on a more horrible sight awaited him. As the steamer approached Fort Rupert, at the northeast end of Vancouver Island, dismembered and disemboweled human bodies were seen strewn all over the beach of a near-by island.

A few days before, a Haida canoe had come to trade with the Fort Rupert Indians. Some slight breach of etiquette on the part of the visitors brought on their de


48 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

voted heads the rage of the local Indians. They said nothing at the time, save to nurse their wrath. But when the time for departure came a large party had preceded the Haidas, laid in wait for them at an island near the Fort, where they knew they would camp for the night, and killed every one in the party except two young men, one of them the son of a Haida chief, who were made slaves. And there the dead bodies, mangled and mutilated, were allowed to lie scattered over the beaches of the passage as a proof of the prowess of the slayers.

This was not a very encouraging sight to meet the eye of the young missionary - enough, perhaps, to make many a weak-hearted man turn back in fear and disgust. But not so our young man. " This one thing I do," his eyes said.

It is well that we are soon in Queen Charlotte Sound, where the swell of the great North Pacific, and the storms of this misnamed ocean, can brush from our disgusted brows the memories of cruel bloodshed, as the steamer, for a distance of thirty miles, is passing in the open, with no protection from the mountainous isles of the Columbian Archipelago.

But before long the ship steers by a mountain crag, nearly four thousand feet in height, into what looks like a mighty, smooth river, running between mountain banks, the Fitzhugh Sound. Then it turns to the west through the beautifully wooded way, called Lama Passage ; then through the narrow confines of Plumper Channel ; and, after a few miles' sail in the open again, the way goes by the quaint-looking China Hat, past its Indian village and phantom-like graveyard, through Finlayson's Channel. Then we pass into Tolmie Channel, where the throbbing of the engines echoes back from the near-by mountain cliffs, and into the Hiehish Narrows, where the pines on the slope seem to elongate themselves down in the


THE INSIDE PASSAGE 49

mirror-like waters, and where the wash of the waves from the steamer against the shores, not farther away on either side than one could toss a biscuit, awakens the slumbering eagles, who have rested on the topmost branches of the highest trees, and now soar in daring flight towards the azure heavens above.

Then the reaches, Fraser, Graham, and McKay, one more beautiful and enchanting than the other. The steep, forest-clad mountain ranges, hardly a quarter of a mile apart, the deep, still waterways, the snow-clad crags, the tracks of snow slides and of rock slides, the hanging valleys, and the noisy waterfalls, sometimes dancing down from the very highest peaks for thousands of feet in one uninterrupted leap, in their turn each appeal to the eye.

And then there is the wonderful Grenville Channel, perhaps the most magnificent of them all, where, for nearly fifty miles, one course is held without change, and the ship glides almost noiselessly through the glassy sea, and past a panoramic splendour which finds adequate expression only in the use of the most extravagant superlatives.

Such is the wonderful inside passage of the Northwest coast, where the largest ships of the world can safely pass, and the grandest scenery on the globe throws open at every turn its shifting vistas to the wondering and ad- miring gaze of all who have been fortunate enough to obtain an admission ticket to this God's own show-place, where man has done nothing and nature everything, where nature's God speaks to the heart in the strange beauty of the great solitude, the " Nirvana" of the wonderful Northland.

We do not wonder that sailing through this magnificent and majestic scenery our young missionary read the wonderful handwriting of the Master of "sea and sky and land."

It was in the black darkness of a northern winter night,


50 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

on the first of October, 1857, that The Otter dropped anchor outside Fort Simpson. The whistle of the steamer created a stir in the Fort, and in the huts of the Indians on the beach as well.

The first sight which Duncan obtained of his future charges was in the glare of firebrands, running back and forth on the beach.

With the captain and the representative of the company, he was admitted to the Fort soon after the arrival of the steamer, for a social call ; but as no quarters had been provided for him, he returned to the steamer for the night.

We can rest assured that, tired though he was, he did not, before seeking his couch that night, forget to kneel down and implore the Almighty's blessing on the work he had come to do in His name and by His grace.


VII

AT THE FORT

THE Hudson's Bay Company's Fort at Port Simpson was built in 1834, near the beach of a sheltered bay, east of Dixon's Entrance, not far from the boundary line of what was then Russian Alaska, but which, in 1867, was to become American Alaska.

The illustration, on an adjoining page, is from a photograph taken by a Metlakahtla native, Benjamin A. Haldane, of an oil-painting by Gordon Lockerby, painted from water-color sketches taken of the Fort and its surroundings in 1863, and it, in Mr. Duncan's opinion, gives a fairly good idea of the Fort, its location and surroundings, as they looked when he, on the morning after his arrival, had an opportunity to first observe them.

The walls of the Fort consisted of palisades, thirty-two feet high, built of trunks of trees over two feet in diameter driven into the ground, and solidly riveted together. The double gate was iron-bound and bolted, and in it was a smaller gate, similarly protected, at which a sentinel or doorkeeper was stationed night and day, and through which, under the rules of the company, not more than two Indians at any one time were admitted, so great was the fear of the inmates of the Fort of the savagery of the natives.

At the four corners of the palisades, which enclosed a space two hundred and forty feet square, were built bastions, two of which were provided with cannon, able to sweep the surrounding country in all directions.

Inside of the palisades, about four feet below the top of

51

 

52 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

the wall, was a gallery, running all around the Fort, so as to enable an armed guard to march back and forth, and command a free view of the surrounding country on all sides of the structure, night and day.

Within the Fort were located the company's store and its immense warehouse, where thousands of valuable furs, obtained by barter from the Indians at ridiculously low prices, were kept, the captain's residence, where the mess-room for the officers was located, a smaller building for the second officer and visitors, where Mr. Duncan, soon after his arrival, was installed in two small rooms. There were also a carpenter shop, a blacksmith's shop, and a large building, containing five rooms, for the garrison of the Fort, which, besides the three officers, consisted of twenty workmen, mostly French Canadians. These men were paid the munificent (!) salary of twenty-five cents per day and rations. They were all married to, or at least living with, Indian women, and four of the families were stowed away in one room, each family living in one corner, and doing its cooking at the common fireplace in the centre of the room.

The walls of the Fort have now, and for many years past, been razed, and the only remnants of the old Fort now standing are the captain's residence and the company's storehouse. The latter has now been converted into the new company store, and the front of the building modernized, but the side wall of the storehouse still remains in the identical condition in which it was when Mr. Duncan first saw it.

When the Fort was first built there was no Indian village close by.

The Tsimshean Indians, or at least the tribes which later on took up their abode around the Fort, were then located at Metlakahtla, some seventeen miles southeast from the Fort.


AT THE FORT 53

The word "Tsimshean" means "in the Skeena," by which is meant to express : " the people living along or on the banks of the Skeena River," and this name correctly records an historical fact, for these tribes, many generations ago, had lived at different points along the banks of the Skeena River. The name of each tribe, as hereafter detailed, gives to those acquainted with the topography of the country, and the language, the exact original location of all of them.

When the Fort had been located at Port Simpson, the Indian tribes, who had lived at Metlakahtla, were Induced to take down their houses and rebuild them in the immediate vicinity of the Fort, and when Duncan arrived, there were, located around the Fort, nine tribes with a population of 2,300, living in 140 houses.

To the left of the Fort is shown the village of the Kitlootsahs (the people living inside). To the right is a portion of the village of the Kishpokaloats (the people of the land of the elderberries). The high pole, in front of the last house to the right, is the totem-pole of Legale, the principal chief of this tribe, and, in fact, the head chief of the Tsimsheans.

Immediately beyond the confines of this village was situated a large peninsula (at high tide an island), on the shores of which were located the other villages, one following in order after the other, all around the island : the Kitnakaugeaks (the people who live where there are lots of mosquitoes) ; the Kitandoahs (the people of the land of the poles) ; the Kitsahclahs (the people of the canyon) ; the Kitlahns (the people of the island) ; the Kitnatowiks (the people of the rapids ; literally, where the water runs swiftly) ; the Kitseesh (the people of the land of the hair seal traps) ; and the Kitwilgeants (the people of the last place down) .

Besides these, there were five tribes of the Tsimsheans


54 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

living up the Nass River, some forty-five miles north of the Fort, and three tribes had settled on the coast further south. The only one of these tribes which will prove of any interest to us, as this story proceeds, is the tribe of the Kithrahtlas (the people of the salt water), which lived along Brown's Passage, away out in the ocean.

The houses of the Indians were all one storey affairs, built on poles or piles on the beach, fifteen or twenty feet above high tide, one house almost contiguous to the next, and none of them provided with windows.

Most of them were, however, of quite liberal dimensions, some of the chief's houses being fifty or fifty-five by sixty-five feet. The framework consisted of heavy logs, posts, and beams, two or three feet in diameter.

Upon the large beams rested the rafters of the roof, which came to a peak, part of these rafters, for a distance of five or six feet, extending out over the beams. At the end of them was fastened a plank, against which the walls, made of split cedar planks, rested. The roof was made of big slabs of bark, which were held in position by stones placed upon them.

There was only one room in each house. Around the walls ran an elevated platform, used for storing away eatables and treasure chests, as well as for sleeping purposes. In the centre was a large, deep, oblong space, sometimes dug down into the earth. Here was the huge fireplace, with its blazing logs, and, directly above it, an opening in the roof, to allow the smoke to escape, and to furnish whatever ventilation was needed. It goes with- out saying that, in a cold winter, there was plenty of it. In fact, I have been told that a person sitting close up to the fireplace was fairly toasted on one side, while the other was white with frost.

In order to furnish a windbreak, planks were placed on the roof, in proximity to this hole, and in such a way


AT THE FORT 55

that they could be moved to correspond with the direction of the wind.

It was in this central portion of the house that the family spent the day, when not engaged outside. Often such a house would be the home of from thirty to forty people.

Each one of the tribes of these savages had its own chiefs, usually four or five, one of whom was more prominent than the others. These chiefs came from the " Skovalis," or "royal blood." No one could be a chief unless he, on his mother's side, descended from the " Skovalis " of the tribe.

In the case of the total extinction of the "Skovalis" family, the wise men of the tribe would elect one of their number to be the founder of another dynasty.

Then there were the "Ligakets" forming the aristocracy of the tribe, and from whom the head men, or counsellors of the chiefs, usually from ten to twelve, came. These men obtained their official rank and standing by the liberal giving away of property, rather than by reason of their birth.

Then we have the " Waheims," or the common people.

In addition to these castes or classes, there was also to be found in each tribe a number of slaves (kligungits) either prisoners of war, or obtained by barter and trade from other tribes. The male slaves (hah) were doing the hunting and fishing and all other hard work for the chiefs and the aristocracy, and the females (wotek) were performing all menial work required around the camp. These slaves were treated very cruelly, and often killed, at the bidding of their masters.

It has been stated that Legale was the head chief of the Tsimsheans at Fort Simpson. This does not indicate that he ruled over any other tribe than his own. Each tribe had absolute control of its own village, but when


56 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

the head men of the different tribes, for any purpose, met together in common council, or attended a great feast, Legaic, who, by reason of his having given away more property than any other chief, ranked above the others, took the most prominent seat, and greater attention was paid to his words. Only to this extent did his head-chiefship go.

Before Mr. Duncan had been at the Fort a week, it was this chief who, a little after high noon, enraged at what he considered a lack of recognition of his rank on the part of a couple of chiefs of one of the other tribes, in order to show the Indians his power and daring, shot an unarmed Indian, a visiting Haida, just as he was about to enter the gate of the Fort, and left him there wounded and dying.

Not even satisfied with this wanton deed of cruelty, he ordered two of his slaves to take their guns and go and finish the fellow.

So thoroughly impregnated with fear of the savagery of the tribes were the inmates of the Fort, that not one of the garrison dared go outside to aid or rescue the wounded man. The officers of the Fort, without interfering or pro testing at all, from the gallery witnessed the killing of the wounded man by Legale' s slaves. Looking more like Incarnate devils than human beings, they crawled over the wood-piles in front of the Fort, and, in cold blood, discharged their shotguns into the body of the bleeding and dying victim. This scene of bloodthirstiness and savage cruelty was Mr. Duncan's introduction to his future wards. Enough, surely, it was to discourage the bravest heart. But to him it only gave a stronger determination to bring to these people the message of the Gospel of peace and mercy. " This one thing I do," was still his motto.

His practical mind had already told him that the only

 

AT THE FORT 57

way to get to the heart of these savages was to bring them the gospel message in their own tongue, and that the first step for him to take was to learn this barbaric language, without a grammar, without a dictionary, yea, even without an alphabet, in as short a time as possible.

He ascertained that no one at the Fort understood the language. Even the captain, who had married a native woman, got along with the trading jargon. But the "Chinook" jargon could not be used for preaching the Gospel ; that was certain.

Within a couple of days of his arrival, Mr. Duncan, on the advice of the captain, and with his assistance, secured for his teacher of the language a young " Ligaket," from Legale' s tribe, one Clah, who occasionally came into the Fort, and who had impressed every one with his apparently greater intellectuality than the common, ordinary Indian.

But Clah understood no English, and Duncan hardly knew a word of Tsimshean. Both could, however, make use of the " Chinook " jargon, and, when that failed, they had to resort to the sign language.

Mr. Duncan had, from his dictionary, made a list of 1,500 of the most common and useful words in the English language. Now, his first task was to get the meaning of these words in Tsimshean, and to write them down, phonetically, as they were pronounced by Clah.

The difficulty was not so great while the objects of the words were at hand, or within reach, and could be pointed out, as a house, a man, a nose, an eye, a chair, a table, etc. But when it came to words beyond that pale, the ingenuity of Mr. Duncan was frequently taxed to the utmost in the attempt to make himself understood.

When I, in the summer of 1908, interviewed old Clah, who is still living at Port Simpson, I was told by him :


58 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

"Yes, Mr. Duncan teach me English, and me teach him Tsimshean."

This mutual teaching perhaps helped matters some, as Mr. Duncan, after a while, could express himself in English, at least in preparatory efforts to explain the expression he was after. Especially must the limited advance of his teacher into the mysteries of the English language have been of some assistance to him, when he sought to learn the Tsimshean expressions for some twelve hundred short sentences, which he had formed in English. But, after all, the task was appalling.

He says himself that many a time did he spend half a day in obtaining the proper words for a single idea.

Lacking, as the Tsimshean language naturally is, in many expressions greatly valuable in preaching the Gospel, - (it has, for instance, no word for " spiritual " or "carnal," nor anything that expresses either of these ideas) - there are, in other respects, a superabundance of expressions, almost inexplicable to us.

They have, for instance, not less than five different words for each numeral, depending on whether one speaks of flat objects, like blankets or books, or of round objects like dollars, or of men and women, or of canoes, or of long objects, like guns, trees, nails, etc. "Two," for instance, in Tsimshean, when applied to blankets, is "topral," when applied to dollars "kupal," to men "tupahdool," to canoes "kalbailk," and to guns " koap- skan."

Adjectives are entirely different words when applied to the singular and to the plural nouns.

Also in other respects is the language intensely complicated. Words of ten and twelve syllables are not uncommon. One page in English could not be properly translated into Tsimshean in much less than two.

Here is a sample: The expression, "May you be


AT THE FORT 59

forever happy " is one word in Tsimshean : " Clahtum-villalooahmamkalikoadsliumga." Not very remarkable for its compactness and brevity, I am sure.

One illustration of the tireless efforts of Mr. Duncan to acquire the language must here be given :

He wanted to get the expression in Tsimshean for the word " try."

He first took a slate, and wrote in big letters, "â– Clah," and showed him the writing.

Then he rubbed out what he had written, handed the slate-pencil to Clah, and pointed to the slate. Clah, who could not write, shook his head.

" Try ! try ! " with many gestures.

More shaking of the head.

Then he took Clah's hand and guided it, so that he, with Duncan's help, wrote " Clah."

Then, pointing to the word written, pronouncing it, and to the blank space below, and handing him the pencil, he again repeated :

"Try ! Try !"

A light of understanding now came into Clah's eyes. As he took hold of the pencil he exclaimed :

" Tumpaldo ! Tumpaldo ! "

" Ah," said Duncan, who wanted to be sure that he had got it right. Running over to the fireplace, he grabbed hold of a heavy log lying there, pretended to attempt to lift it, and, being unable to do so, crying all the time, while looking anxiously at Clah :

" Tumpaldo ! Tumpaldo ! "

"Ah ! Ah ! " was the answer.

"Ah" is Tsimshean for "yes." "Ein," for "no." He had found it.

"Tumpaldo" means " I will try," just as "amo" in Latin means "I love." The first person singular is expressed by the terminal " o."


60 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

While Mr. Duncan is working day and night, and burning the midnight oil, in efforts to acquire the language, we will devote a few chapters to learning something about the Tsimshean Indians, their manners, customs, and religion, for they had a religion before Duncan came among them, primitive and crude it is true, but nevertheless containing, in its legendary lore, thoughts which should make it much easier for them to embrace the wonderful truths which he had come to teach them.


VIII

THE TSIMSHEANS

Noeth of Vancouver Island, the coast Indians of British Columbia were, in 1857, the "Kwa- kiutl," the "Bilgula," the " Tsimsheans," and the "Haidas."

North of Dixon Entrance, in Russian Alaska, were the " Thlingits " and some tribes of " Haida " descendants.

The Indians of the interior were called the " Stikeen " or " Tinnehs." Up around the Yukon were the " Athabas-kans."

All the coast Indians are far in advance of the plain Indians of the United States and Canada. They have not the roving disposition, nor the nomadic habits of these Indians. They are, as a rule, industrious, frugal, imitative, and self-supporting, and have never been objects of governmental charity.

Of all of these Indian peoples, the Tsimshean nation ranks the highest, with the Haidas a close second.

While these different nations have many peculiarities in common, especially the totem institution, which hereafter will be fully described, their language, and even their makeup and characteristics are so different, that it is evident that they do not spring from the same source, and perhaps do not even originally hail from the same country.

Where the Tsimsheans originally came from, it is impossible to ascertain. Some have thought they could find points of contact between them and the New Zealanders. Others have believed that they could discover among

61


62 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

them traces of the peculiarities of the ancient Aztecs of Mexico. Those who associate them, even in the distant past, with the Japanese or the Koreans, certainly do not find any very good arguments for their contention. They perhaps drifted northward long ago from some tropical island in the Pacific. I have been told that a legend, the details of which now seem to be forgotten, speaks of a beautiful island in the sea, which one day suddenly sank under the waves - in other words, another Atlantis in the Pacific Ocean.

One of their many different legends about the "flood" also particularly accentuates that before they were dispersed and driven away by the great flood, they lived in a beautiful country, with lovely sunshine, fine large trees, and gorgeous flowers.

The following legend, related by Adolphus Calvert of Metlakahtla, may point to a warmer climate, where the sun seemed nearer, or to a knowledge of the story of the " tower of Babel," or both. I give it, in this connection, for what it is worth :

" In ages long gone the heavens were much nearer the earth than now. The people were afraid to disturb the Great Chief. So they only talked in whispers. A Tsimshean chief had a Son, who was a great thinker. He thought very much over all the troubles from which his people suffered, and he wanted to help them in those troubles. One night he stayed out in the woods all night, and saw away up into the heavens. Then he knew much more than he ever did before. Next day he commenced to make arrows, and kept on at this till he had over a thousand arrows. Then, one clear day, he shot an arrow into the heavens with such force that it moved them a little higher. Then he shot another, hit the first one right on the head, and pushed the heavens still further away. Then they were so far away that he could not


THE TSIMSHEANS 63

shoot 80 far. He then called upon the people, and they carried rocks to a small island, high above the sea. There they piled the rocks upon the highest peak. So he went up on top of the rocks, and shot some more arrows, until the heavens were moved clear out of sight. Then the people were glad, because now they could make all the noise they wanted to, without disturbing the Great Chief and making him angry."

Wherever the Tsimsheans may have come from originally, we certainly find that they must already have lived on the coast south of the Skeena, when Captain Cook visited these regions in 1778, or perhaps even earlier than that, at the visit of Captain Behring in 1741, or during the cruise of the Spanish war-ships in 1774, as one of the traditionary legends of the Tsimsheans, related to Mr. Duncan by the Kithrahtlas, gives the following account of the first visit of the Whites " to the coast, which plainly refers to one of the war-ships of one of the several expeditions here mentioned :

" One day, when my grandfather was a small boy, four people from our village were out fishing for halibut. There was a great fog, and nothing could be seen. When their lines were all down, they suddenly heard a strange noise coming from the sea. But the fog was so thick they could not discover anything. They thought it was some great monster coming in from the sea, up to the shore where the village was, so they pulled up their lines and paddled to the shore, to tell their people to look out for the sea-monster.

When they came near the shore, the fog lifted, and then they saw a big round monster swimming in the sea. Trees were growing out of its back, and heads of men were hung on the branches of the trees.  Then a baby monster " came out of the belly of the big sea-monster,



64 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

and there were the heads of many white ghosts sticking up from the back of it, and they had long sticks, and pushed the water back with them, so the baby monster flew towards the shore.

" When it came to the beach, the white ghosts lifted up the sticks, and the tears of the salt water crawled down the sticks, and fell in the water, with a great drip-drip.

" Then the white ghosts went on shore. When the Indians saw them, they were afraid, but the white ghosts pointed to their halibut, and the Indians gave them one, and they cut it up, and threw the pieces in a round black box.

" Then they wanted fire, and an Indian brought two sticks to make a fire with, and commenced to rub them together. But the white ghosts laughed, and one of them took a little dry grass, and something from his pocket, and made a big noise, and a flash, and fire came right away in the wood. When the Indians saw that they all 'died.'

" Then they put that black box right on to the fire, and it did not burn up, but the halibut was cooked.  Then the Indians ' died ' again.

" After that, the white ghosts empty a sack of maggots in the kettle. After a while they take the maggots out, put them in a dish, and then they pour over the maggots the 'grease of dead people.'   Then they want the Indians to eat the maggots and the grease. But the

  • This description certainly indicates that the boat most have belonged to a man-of-war, as it is well known that the oars of such boats, when coming to a stop, are always raised up in salute to the commanding officer.

*The Indian expression for amazement.

" The Indian cooking was always done in square wooden boxes wherein they placed water, and then dropped into it red hot stones.

" Rice.

  • Blood - Evidently has reference to treacle or molasses.



THE TSIMSHEANS 66

Indiana run away behind the rocks. Then the white ghosts eat the maggots and the grease themselves.

"When they sit and eat, a goose flies over their heads. Then a white ghost takes a long stick, and points it at the goose. Then there is a big noise, and a small smoke, and the goose falls down, and is dead. When the Indians see that, they ' die ' again. But the chief and his slaves now come down to the beach. And the chief was painted black and red. And he stood up right before the white ghosts, and he looks wild at them. And the blood of many men makes his eyes very red. And when the white ghosts see his red eyes, then the white ghosts 'die.' And when the chief dances and sings the war song, and sings very hard and high, then the white ghosts 'die' again."

The native who told Mr. Duncan this story desired to impress on him the contrast between the first visit of the Whites to their home, and the visit of Mr. Duncan, at which latter event he said that none of the Indians " died."

Many stories could be told from the traditions of the Tsimsheans, of their cruel wars with the Indians of the Interior, wherein their chief, Htrakats (Thunder), seems to have proven especially valiant and successful, and of their battle with the Alaska Indians, who were finally driven back across Dixon Entrance, never to show themselves again, except for the peaceful purposes of trade, also of their warfare with the Nass Indians, which seems to have terminated in 1829 by a drawn wager of battle between two chosen representatives of the contending tribes, in which duel the Tsimsheans were victorious, and by which the feud between them was settled. But we must hasten on to more interesting topics.


IX

MODE OF LIVING

Now must be told how these people lived at the time the Gospel first came to them. The spring and summer was their work time. The long winter months were mostly devoted to fun and frolic, feasts and gambling, potlatches, dances, and medicine work, about which more anon, and to, now and then, a murder.

They had for years been the traders of the coast. The furs of the interior, which, before the white people came, they used to cover their nakedness with, when they deemed it necessary to cover it at all, they bartered from the inland Indians, to whom they, in turn, furnished food, dried and smoked fish, and the wonderful oolakan oil, in large enough quantities to last them all winter, if they had furs enough, for nothing was given without the proper equivalent, and perhaps a little more. It is said, that in trading their women always had the deciding word, and that they could always be relied upon to make clever bargains. And this in a day when there were no bargain counters around.

After the Whites came to Fort Simpson, the Hudson's Bay Company blankets took the place of the furs for covering their bodies, but only with this difference in the trading, that they bartered furs so obtained from the Interior to the Hudson's Bay Company for blankets and other of the white man's goods, which they could use. They did not permit the interior Indians to trade directly

66


MODE OF LIVING 67

with the company at all, insisting on their right to act as middlemen, and great are the bargains they sometimes made, if reports are true. But that was necessary if they would hold their own with the company, which cheated them woefully in paying for their furs. There was no currency at the coast until the Whites came, when the company's two-point blankets became the commonly recognized medium of exchange, and were generally considered to represent $2. 50 in value. Prior to that time, the marten or sable skin had generally been treated as the unit, and it still, after the company's advent, retained its position as the common fractional currency. It was taken at the company's store for a quarter of a dollar in trade, and when the prices of the company's goods are considered, I think it may safely be said that the company got the best of them both going and coming.

A piece of soap of a finger's thickness brought four martens, or fifty minks, for a mink skin was then only worth two cents.

Sea otter skins, now $700 and more, at this time in the company's store at Fort Simpson, brought only from $10 to $12 in goods, which, at the ruling prices, probably meant all the way from $2 to $4 in actual values.

The food, which these Indians subsisted upon, they largely drew on the sea for. True, once in a while, a deer, a mountain goat, or a wild fowl would furnish a few meals. Dried wild berries also, at times, might be found on the mat. (There was no table. ) But the staple food, year in and year out, for old and young, was fish - salmon and halibut, fresh, smoked and dried, fish roe (salmon and herring), clams and crabs, cuttlefish (a great delicacy), seaweed, and all of it seasoned and enriched by the wonderful oolakau oil.

When the first of March came, the Indians of the different tribes at Fort Simpson broke camp, left the houses


68 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

untenanted and unlocked, and came, with their families, to occupy, for a month or two, their ancient fishing grounds on the banks of the Nass River, forty-five miles or so farther north, where the waters of the great river tumble over the bar iuto Portland Canal.

They know that this is the time for the oolakan to run up the river, and it is important to be at hand at the great event.

The oolakan, or candle &sh. (thaleichthysjyacijicus), a wonderfully sweet fish to eat when freshly caught, is in appearance a good deal like a smelt, most of them about twelve to fourteen inches, and is said to contain more oil than any other known fish. In the frying-pan it will melt away like a lump of butter, and, when dried and provided with a wick, it will burn like a candle. Hence its name.

Between the 16th and 20th of March, each year, you can see them come by the million, yes, by the billion, up Portland Canal, and hustle over the bar of Nass River, their great stamping ground.

At the time we are now interested in, their coming furnished a great sight. On the banks of the river, and in hundreds of canoes near and on the bar, from five to eight thousand Indians, all crying and yelling : " You are all chiefs, every one of you ! " as they attempt to fill their canoes with the shining, silvery fish. The sea-gulls, by the thousands, swinging above the incoming shoals, jabbering and chattering, moving back and forth, up and down, all the day long. Further down, the spring salmon, which are after the oolakans, as well as the gulls and the Indians,- jumping out of the water in their mad chase. After them again, a little further down, are lurking the cunning hair seals, watching their chance ; and still further away you see the spouting of the large, finback whales, which follow the seals, only to be followed in their turn by the orca, the whale-killer, which will


MODE OF LIVING 69

rip open and disembowel one of these sea-monsters in the twinkling of an eye, with its fin, which is as sharp as a razor.

And this glorious sight, and all this incessant battle, keeps on for a month or more. Thousands and thousands of bushels of the little "chief" fishes are landed, and put into wooden kettles, which are filled with water made to boil by red hot stones dropped into the receptacles. The grease of the boiling fish floats on top. The remainder of the fishes, piping hot as they are, are scooped up into pine-tree-root baskets, and then the boiling hot mass is pressed against the bare breasts of the women, till the grease, and every drop of it, has been squeezed out. The oil must be pressed out in no other way. It would " shame " the fish to treat it otherwise.

With the precious grease, or oil, so obtained, the Indians now return to their homes at Fort Simpson, from where, during the early summer months, the halibut banks lure the fishermen to obtain a further supply from the ocean's storehouse. And they are seldom disappointed. Halibut of from 75 to 250 pounds greedily snap at their rudely constructed, but very effective hooks, usually baited with a herring or an oolakan.

When July comes, it is off again, this time to the old fishing villages on the Skeena River, where their ancestors, for centuries, have exercised the privilege of catching the red salmon, as it is wriggling its way up to its breeding ground, to deposit its spawn.

Here, in a few weeks, not only all necessary for immediate use, but a full supply for the remainder of the year, as well as for trading purposes, is secured, and the whole family now turns its attention towards picking and drying the wild berries growing in abundance along the banks of the river, as well as to curing the salmon caught, by smoking and drying it for winter use.



70 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The dry salmon is toasted before the fire, like our bread, and eaten with oolakan oil. On a pinch, when travelling for instance, it can be and is eaten raw. I have done so myself, and will say that when one is hungry, raw, dried salmon does not taste badly at all. When the new catch is in, what remains of the old supply is destroyed, and never eaten. It is then considered out of season.

Then comes, in September, the great mart of the natives on the beaches near the fort, where Lieutenant Simpson, in 1841, says he saw over 14,000 Indians gathered on the beach. And after that is over, come the winter festivities.

As great masters as they show themselves in the trading mart, they are greater masters still on the sea, in their wonderful canoes, hollowed out of a single trunk of one of the red cedar giants growing along the coast. With their paddles and sails, and nothing else, they make these canoes fairly fly over the frothing billows, and carry them safely through the roughest gales, when many larger crafts, with practiced mariners, furnished with compass and solid steering gear, have perished and never been heard from again.

The Indians believe that their fish is just as sensitive as they are as to any offense to its dignity.

The salmon is a chief, and must not be brought in contact with any metal. It must only be boiled in their wooden kettles. If not, it is "shamed " and may refuse to come back to its usual haunts. In eating it, they of course use only the heaven-given forks and knives, as that will not "shame" him. Duncan, when first there, often witnessed their refusing to sell salmon to the steamer unless the steward would permit them to boil it first in their own wooden kettles.

The following legend is characteristic of this superstition :


MODE OF LIVING 71

"Some boys had 'shamed' a salmon. They caught him, cut a slit close to his fin and put gravel and stones in the wound so that he could not use his fin, and then let him out in the stream again. The poor fellow wriggled and suffered, and could not swim with sand and gravel down his back. This made the god of the mountain angry with the people whose children had shamed the salmon, and he spewed fire so that it ran down the mountainside, and way down into a river where the fire sputtered all around. But a god of another mountain, near by, thought it was too bad, so he rolled down a big rock, and stopped the fire stream.

" The people then came together to consult about what should be done to propitiate the irate mountain-god, and the salmon as well, so he would not ' go back ' on them, and they came to the conclusion that the naughty children had to be killed. But when the mothers heard this, they raised a rumpus, and would not allow the sacrifice. The people then compromised by agreeing, instead, to kill the dogs of the village, which were thereupon all sacrificed and burned as a peace-offering to the salmon."

  • In the cracks of this mountain there is, to this day, to be found deposits of clear alkali, which the Tsimsheans were in the habit of using in lieu of soap before Mr. Duncan came.



X

PECULIAR CUSTOMS

BOTH the men and women of this nation, in olden times, wore rings in their noses, and rings or shells in their ears. The men of rank often wore a number of them in the ears.

The women of rank were provided with a "labrette," or ornament of bone, inlaid with abalone shell, two or three inches long, and up to an inch wide, which was Inserted in an opening in the chin. It came about in this way : When a girl reached the age of puberty, she was shut up by herself, either in a hut in the forest, or in a separate enclosure in the house, for a period of about six months. During this period, when no one except her mother was allowed to see her, a slit was cut parallel with her lower lip, and a little below it. In this slit was Inserted a piece of bone. The slit was gradually made larger, and a larger ornament inserted. The larger a woman's labrette, the higher her rank. Slaves were not allowed to wear them at all. A Tsimshean woman would never think of appearing before a strange man, or in company, without her labrette. Should she accidentally do so, she would feel as embarrassed as would one of our ladies today who might be surprised in undress.

When the six months were over, it was claimed that she had come back " from the moon." A feast was held for her, and property was given away. When the guests were all gathered in the house, a curtain was withdrawn, and the maiden was shown sitting, surrounded by the

72


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 73

" coppers "  of the family, or the tribe, and commenced to sing a song. This constituted the young lady's " coming out." She was now marriageable.

Her marriage was proceeded with as follows :

The young girls are kept very strictly. They must be modest, and never look at a young man. Outside the house they could appear only with the mother or an older sister.

There was, therefore, a very limited chance for flirtation, or even courtship. When a young man desired to marry the young lady, he consulted with his parents, or perhaps it is more correct to say that they consulted with him when they had found some one they wanted him to marry, as the mother of a young man was usually the one who looked around to find a suitable bride for him.

The mother then went to the parents of the girl, and told them she would like their daughter for her son, if they would agree. The girl's parents never gave an answer right away. That would look as if they were anxious to get rid of her. After listening to what the boy's mother had to say, they, without committing themselves in any way, told her that they would consult their relatives on the subject. This ended the meeting. After a few "moons," the boy's mother would again call on the girl's parents. If their answer was favorable, they would now suggest that the young people wait a year, so as to see if they behaved themselves, and that they would not "shame" their folks. The engagement thus being settled, without the intervention of the young people, the boy's mother brought a present to the girl's mother, perhaps a basketful of cedar bark, torn up fine like oakum, which they use for toweling, or something of that sort.

When the wedding day finally had been fixed, the

  • "Coppers " are large engraved and hammered shields of native copper, heirlooms, and very costly possessions.



14: THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

young man's father and uncles visited the girl's father and mother, and gave them presents, generally canoes, slaves, and mats. That is, they did not bring them along, but promised them by placing a stick in front of the father if they meant to give a canoe, and a stone, if they meant a slave. If this offering was deemed sufficient, the recipient would nod his head, and that settled the matter. This was really the purchase price which the boy's family paid for the girl.

On the wedding day, the young man is seated on a mat in the house of the girl's parents, with his parents and uncles. The girl's mother would then go to the house, where the girl is kept, bring her in, leading her by the hand, and take her over to the mat where the young man sits. She then seated herself on the mat at his side, but without either taking his hand, or even speaking to him.

This was the whole of the marriage ceremony.

The procession would now start for the young man's home. (If he had no house of his own, his home from that time was with his maternal uncle, not with his father.) In the procession the bridegroom went first, then the bride, then his relatives, and, lastly, hers. A feast was now given to the relatives, and, later on, one to the leading men of the village. It was now the bride's parents' turn to give presents, the father^generally presenting them with a supply of food, the mother with spoons and other household utensils.

When a child came, the girl's mother gave presents to the mother of the young man.

When a man died, his children went to their mother's oldest brother to live, and became his children. The dead man's property all descended to his oldest sister's oldest son. So did the widow, whom he had to marry, and this whether he had a wife already or not. If he did Dot want to marry her, he must give her an indemnity,


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 75

when she could marry some one else. When a young man, in this manner, got an old wife, it was not unusual for him to take a young one, also, about the same time. Except in these particular cases, polygamy was not practiced.

Before Duncan came to these people, they cremated their dead. The only exception was in the case of the medicine-men, who perhaps were considered too tough to burn, and-who were placed in a sitting position in a box, which was either hidden among the branches of a tall tree, or deposited on a prominent rock in some lonely spot.

At the funeral this was the procedure :

The box containing the corpse was placed on a mat in the centre of the floor. The widow and children blackened their faces with charcoal or black paint, cut their hair short, put on the poorest and worst clothing they had, took some old mats which had been thrown away, and made head-dresses of them. They then formed a procession, the widow leading, then the children, according to their ages, after which came the relatives. Then all marched around the box. If the deceased was a chief, they sang their famous "lemkoy," or funeral dirge. This is never sung save at the funeral of a chief, and is so sad and melancholy that a strong man is always chosen to lead it, as most of the people break into violent weeping during the singing.

If it was not a chief's funeral, an incessant wailing was kept up as long as the corpse was in the house.

After a proper amount of wailing, the box containing the body was taken out and placed in the centre of a pile of wood, back of the house, and burned. The bones remaining were picked up, ground into dust, and placed in a small box, which, if the deceased had a totem-pole, was preserved in an opening in the back part of the pole. If not, the ashes were sometimes placed in a mortuary


76 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

column, erected for the deceased some time after his death. But as both totem-poles and mortuary columns were the exception rather than the rule with the Tsimsheaus, in most cases no further attention was paid to the ashes of the dead after the cremation.

The Tsimsheans were very hospitable. The arrival of a stranger was always the signal for immediately setting before him of the best which the house could afford.

The winter season was one continuous round of feasting. Now one chief, then another, made a feast, and every imaginable pretext was made use of as an excuse for a feast, and this not only to give them a chance to show their hospitality, but just as much to furnish an opportunity "to show off."

If there was anything that the Tsimsheans prized more than a parade and display of what they had, it must have been the observation of the strictest rules of etiquette. They were worse sticklers on etiquette than the Lord Chamberlain of a European Imperial Court.

If a boy should have his ears pierced, or should assume a more important family name, or should become what they called a " principal," at once each of these occasions called for a feast, or rather several feasts, and, in the latter case, also for a " potlatch."

If a house was to be built, there had to be four different feasts, with plenty to eat, placed before the guests in big boxes, sometimes in small canoes, and it all had to be eaten, too, or, at least, taken away. These feasts were distributed during the course of two years ; but after the last feast must come a great "potlatch," which consisted in the host making his guests presents of all he had in the world of personal property.

We will witness such a "potlatch" given by a noted Tsimshean chief.

The more display that can be made, and the more


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 17

property given away, the greater glory is reflected on the tribe. Therefore, all the members of his tribe present to him for days all that they possess, coppers, slaves, canoes, guns, blankets, furs of all kinds, nets, mats, kettles, bracelets, necklaces, rings, head-dresses, masks, calico, dress-goods, hats, moccasins, and all other things fit to give away.

The first parade and display is now made of what these good people give to their chief for him to give away to others.

The day before the great potlatch, they exhibit their gifts publicly. Hundreds of yards of calico and cotton goods are flapping in the breeze, hung from house to house. Furs are nailed to the doors. Blankets and elk skins are carried along the beach by carriers walking in single file.

The cotton and calico is then brought down to the beach, the farther away from the chief's house the better, and unrolled to its full length ; a bearer is then secured for about every three yards, and now it is carried in triumph to the chiefs house.

That, and all the other presents, are to be his now. His people have ^impoverished themselves. But in an- other day he will not be much better off. All of theirs, and all of his, will then be gone.

He and his chief counsellors, and his wife, are already apportioning this new property brought to him, among those who are to be his guests on the morrow.

The great day comes, and with it the chiefs and leading men of the other tribes, and sometimes of other nations or settlements ; but not one of the chief's friends in his own tribe. If they are present, it is only as spectators, to witness the great sight. Not a yard of calico, or an ounce of powder, is given to any of them. The chief is seated at the chief's seat, the other great chiefs around


78 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

him, sitting according to their rank. A herald announces the article. The chief, who continuously consults a bundle of memorandum-sticks in his hand announces the name of the recipient, and with great pomp the gift is delivered.

Though the next morning the chief is as poor as when he came into the world, that fact does not bother him a bit, for he has experienced the glory of a potlatch, which will be spoken of for many moons.

But do not think for a moment that he is actuated by a desire to realize the beautiful sentiment : " It is more blessed to give than to receive." Far from it. That suffices for his poor tribes-people, who now have to go to work to replenish their exhausted exchequer by hard labor, excessive industry and hard-fisted economy, and who have no other means of regaining their lost property. Not so the chief. His giving-away-property is not given away at all. It is the Tsimshean way of banking and life insurance, moulded into one. He never gives away anything which he is not sure to get back with interest at the next potlatch which that chief gives. In fact, these chiefs spend a good deal of their time in keeping track of what they have received from each chief at every potlatch, and in calculating what they shall give to each in order to return an equivalent, and a little more.

The home of the Indian chief is not a convenient place to keep potted wealth in, so he sets the ball rolling. Some of it is here, and some there ; but as time goes on it comes back with a little more, now from this chief, and then again from another. In other words, his deposit in the bank is cashed out in smaller amounts, as he needs it, and a little interest added for the use of it. What more can he require ?

As to this proceeding being in the nature of a life Insurance as well, let the following indicate :


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 79

The chief dies, but his wife has the memo sticks, and Is posted on all his gifts, and as to who is owing him, and how much, and no chief will dare to slight the nephew heir, fail to invite him, or to make him the suitable gift due to his ancestor, for he well knows that the widow keeps a strict account, and as she has married the heir, she can keep him posted. Woe to the chief who failed to return the gift he owed. Songs would be made about him, "shaming" him, and he might just as well seek death at once. Life would be unendurable after such a deed. He has been guilty of the unpardonable sin, that is all.

It is even suggested that it is in order to enable the heir to keep track of these valuable claims, that the Tsimshean law requires the nephew to marry the widow, although the wise men add, that a young man and an old wife, and an old man and a young wife, should ever be the rule, because then, in both cases, there is at least one wise person in the house.

It is in these potlatches, and the contributions of the common people of the tribe to the chief's treasury, we find the only vestige of taxes or salary paid by the people to their chiefs. As a chief never does any manual labor, he must of course find his living somewhere, and here a way is pointed out for him so to do.

There was another way in which property was disposed of, even more foolishly, among these people. It was this : When one of them felt himself insulted or aggrieved by another, he would, in the presence of the other, destroy his own canoe, or other valuable property. The other must then, at the risk of being shamed out of countenance by the people, destroy the same article belonging to himself. Then the first one destroys another article, and he has to follow suit. If he fails, he is "shamed," and practically ostracized. He certainly cannot show his face


80 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

again in decent society. Many a man has in this way been absolutely ruined by a richer enemy.

Gambling was a national vice of the Tsimsheans. Many of their legends have to do with men who gambled away all that they possessed - slaves, canoes, coppers, wife and children.

At all their festivities, in fact, on all possible occasions, the Indians painted their faces in a most horrible manner. While they perhaps could find an excuse for doing so in their continuous exposure to the elements, and to the attack of gnats and mosquitoes, the real reason undoubtedly was, that, by painting their faces, they desired to make themselves look as terror-striking as possible.

"Lex talionis" was the supreme rule among the Tsimsheans, as among all primitive peoples. But retaliation among them took a peculiar form. When a Haida Indian had killed a Tsimshean, the law was satisfied by killing the first Haida they came across, without regard to whether he, or even his tribe, had had anything to do with the killing of the Tsimshean. If the man killed was a chief, two of the other nation had to pay for it with their lives. Then, and then only, was the slate wiped clean. If one of the two killed in retaliation was a chief or leading man, they had overshot the mark, and some more killing was due. But a murder, like all other Injuries, could be settled for by paying an indemnity. Every imaginable injury had a fixed compensatory schedule-price in blankets.

It would sometimes bother a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out the liability in these cases. Whether the wrong-doer intended his act, or it was wholly accidental, did not cut any figure at all, except, possibly, as to the amount of the compensation. If an Indian shot at my decoy, and thereby lost his cartridge, I was bound to pay


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 81

him the price of the cartridge. It has even been held that the owner of a stolen rifle had to pay indemnity to the relatives of the burglar who stole it, and accidentally shot himself with it, for his death.

If a man is attacked by a savage dog, and kills him in self-defense, he must pay the owner for the dog.

A small trading schooner, in a furious gale, once rescued two Indians from a sinking canoe, which had been carried out to sea. The canoe was so large that it could neither be carried nor towed, and the natives themselves cut the worthless craft adrift. When the captain landed the men at their village, they demanded of him payment for the canoe. We cannot blame him for not seeing it in that light. But still it was a perfectly correct position to take, from the Tsimshean point of view.

If a child is killed, the indemnity goes to its mother's brother, not to the father. A native, by an unfortunate accident, once killed his own son, and had to pay indemnity for his life to his wife's brother, or be killed himself to balance the account.

A short time before Duncan's arrival the Fort came near being destroyed by fire. The smoke- house, directly back of the men's quarters, had caught fire, and, before it was discovered, all of that part of the Fort was in flames. During the excitement, some two hundred Indians had come into the Fort, helping to carry water from the sea. Finally, one of them suggested carrying a canoe up on the gallery, and fill it with water, and, when full, tip it over the building on fire. This was done, and undoubtedly saved the Fort from destruction. When the fire had been put out, the Indians refused to leave, claiming that the Fort belonged to them now, inasmuch as, if it had not been for them, it would have been burned. The issue "would perhaps have been doubtful if the captain had not succeeded in bribing one of the chiefs, who made a speech,


82 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

and induced them to give up their claim. This chief, forever afterwards, went by the name of "Spoke8," a title well earned by his effective argument.

Until their contamination by the Whites, the Tsimsheans stood high in the moral scale. They were well known all over that part of the country for their honesty and uprightness. Theft was entirely unknown among them.

They had no intoxicating liquor of their own, and did not know what intoxication was until the white man brought the curse among them, and taught them how to distil the "Hoochinoo," the vilest concoction imaginable.

With the fire-water came destruction to both soul and body of the poor victims.

The Tsimsheans did raise a kind of substitute for tobacco, which they did not, however, use for smoking, only for chewing.

Before the white men came among them, lapses from virtue on the part of their women were practically unknown. Unfaithfulness on the part of a wife was punishable by death, the injured husband executing the law himself, and in addition collecting a heavy indemnity from the partner in her crime, or taking revenge upon him by killing him. When the Whites came to the coast, the sobriety and honesty of the men, and the purity of the women, soon vanished. After a while it became the fashion for the Tsimsheans to bring their wives, daughters and nieces, by the canoe-load, to Victoria, where they would rent them out for prostitution, without in any manner perceiving the moral obliquity of the act. Did not the white people do it ?

When Mr. Duncan had been at the Fort for a year or two, an Indian one day came to him quite excited, and wanted him to go for some men on a schooner in the harbor. When Duncan asked him why, he coolly said :


PECULIAR CUSTOMS 83

" They have had my two wives on board all night, and will not pay for them."

" You scamp you, why did you let your -wives go? " "Because they promised to pay me for them." It is needless to say that Mr. Duncan did not go for them. Instead, that particular Indian received the finest tongue-lashing he had ever had.

Through the influence and evil example of many bad white men, the Tsimsheans had been hurled from the lofty position of happiness and innocence which they had once occupied. Through the loving influence, and God- fearing example, of one white man, were they to be again restored to the heights where they once soared, and that from the deepest depths of degradation.


XI

THE TOTEMS AND CLUBS

We have already seen that the 2,300 Tsimsheans living at Fort Simpson were divided into nine different tribes, living each in their own separate village, close by each other.

But the bond of the Tsimshean nation was not the only one uniting the different tribes. In every tribe were found members of the same four different clans or crests, the ties and relations of these clans being much more Intimate and binding than the tribe relation. The name given to this relation is " totem." We find it not only permeating the Tsimshean nation, but also all the other Indian communities on the Northwest coast, with practically the identical crests in each. Yea, we are told that the same clan division is found among the aborigines in the Southern Sea, as well as among some of the natives of the South American continent.

The forest of totem-poles which greets the eye of the traveller all along the coast of Southeastern Alaska, and which, by their grotesque carving and painting, furnish so great an attraction to him, is an outcropping and an evidence of the existence of this clan or crest system all around him.

At first the white people were inclined to look at the totem-poles as idols, and believed them to be objects of worship on the part of the Indians. But herein they were clearly mistaken. The designs on them were simply symbolical of the crests adopted in far back ages to distinguish

84


THE TOTEMS AND CLUBS 85

the four social clans into which each tribe was divided, and the totem-pole, in reality, is a substitute for the coat of arms of the European nobleman.

The use of the totem-pole never became common among the Tsimsheans, while the Haidas, the expert carvers of the coast, were especially noted for their complex sets of totem-poles, and were closely followed by the Thlingits.

The illustration on a near-by page gives an idea of the forest of totem-poles in a Haida village. At Fort Simpson, the headquarters of the Tsimshean nation, there was never, at any time, more than eight or ten totem-poles, all told. The Tsimsheans, instead, some time painted the animals of their totems on the front wall of their houses, and every household utensil and treasure chest, as well as every box in which the winter food was stored, bore upon it evidences of the family's totem, carved or painted, as the case might be.

As it is important on a subject like this to have an authoritative explanation, and as no man on the North- west coast could be a more absolute authority on every- thing in connection with the Indians than Mr. Duncan, I will reproduce what he has written on the totem subject in The Metlacahtlan, No. 4, for the month of November, 1889 :

" The names of the four clans, in the Tsimshean language, are - Kishpootwadda, - Canadda, - Lacheboo, and - Lackshkeak.

" The Kishpootwadda, by far the most numerous hereabouts, are represented symbolically, by the grizzly bear on land, the finback whale in the sea, the owl in the air, and the rainbow in the heavens. - The Canadda symbols are the frog; the raven ; the starfish ; and the bullhead. - The Lacheboo take the wolf and the heron for totems. - The Lackshkeak the beaver, the eagle, the halibut, and the dogfish.

"The creatures I have just named, are, however, only regarded as the visible representatives of the powerful and mystical beings, or Genii, of Indian mythology. And, as all of


86 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

one group are said to be of the same kindred ; so, all the members of the same clan, whose heraldic symbols are the same, are counted as blood relations. Strange to say, this relation- ship holds good, should the persons belong to different, or even hostile, tribes, speak a totally different language, or be located thousands of miles apart. On being asked to explain how this notion of relationship originated, or why it is perpetuated, in the face of so many obliterating circumstances, the Indians point back to a remote age, when their ancestors lived in a beautiful land ; and where, in some mysterious manner, the creatures, whose symbols they retain, revealed themselves to the heads of the families of that day.

"They then relate the traditional story of an overwhelming flood, which came and submerged the good land, and spread death and destruction all around.

"Those of the ancients who escaped in canoes, were drifted about, and scattered in every direction, on the face of the waters ; and where they found themselves after the flood had subsided, there they located, and formed new tribal associations. Thus it was that persons related by blood became widely scattered from each other ; nevertheless, they retained, and clung to the symbols, which had distinguished them and their respective families before the flood ; and all succeeding generations have, in this particular, sacredly followed suit. Hence it is that the crests have continued to mark the offspring of the original founders of each family.

"As it may be interesting to know to what practical uses the natives apply their crests, I will enumerate those which have come under my own notice.

" (1) As I have previously mentioned, crests subdivide tribes into social clans, and a union of crest is a closer bond than a tribal union.

" (2) It is the ambition of all leading members of each clan in the several tribes to represent by carving, or painting, their heraldic symbols on all their belongings, not omitting even their household utensils, as spoons and dishes : and on the death of the head of the family, a totem-pole is often erected in front of his house by his successor, on which is carved and painted, more or less elaborately, the symbolic creatures of his clan, as they appear in some mythological tale or legend.

  • As before stated, this was only to a very limited extent applicable to the Tsimsheans.



THE TOTEMS AND CLUBS 87

" (3) The crests define the bonds of consanguinity, and persons having the same crests are forbidden to intermarry ; that is, a frog may not marry a frog ; nor a whale marry a whale ; but a frog may marry a wolf, and a whale may marry an eagle.

" Among some of the Alaskan tribes, I am told, the marriage restrictions are still further narrowed, and persons of different crests may not intermarry, if the creatures of their respective clans have the same instincts ; thus, the Canadda may not marry a Lackshkeak, because the raven of the one crest and the eagle of the other, seek and devour the same kind of food. Again, the Kishpootwadda may not marry a Lacheboo, because the grizzly bear and wolf, representing those crests, are both carnivorous.*

"(4) All the children take the mother's crest, and are Incorporated as members of the mother's family ; nor do they designate, or regard, their father's family as their relations. A man's heir and successor, therefore, is not his own son, but his sister's son. And, in the case of a woman being married into a distant tribe, away from her relations, the offspring of such union, when grown up, will leave their parents and go to their mother's tribe, and take their respective places in their mother's family. This law accounts for the great interest which natives take in their nephews and nieces, which seems to be quite equal to the interest they take in their own children.

" (5) The clan relationship also regulates all feasting. A native never invites the members of his own crest to a feast. They being regarded as his blood relations, are always welcome as his guests ; but at feasts which are given only for display, so far from being partakers of the bounty, all the clansmen, within a reasonable distance, are expected to contribute of their means, and their services gratuitously, to make the feast a success. On the fame of the feast hangs the honor of the clan.

" (6) This social brotherhood has a great deal to do with promoting hospitality among the Indians, a matter of immense importance in a country without hotels or restaurants.

"A stranger, with or without his family, in visiting an Indian village, need never be at a loss for shelter. All he has to

  • While even at the present day the Tsimsheans very rarely, if at all, marry within the confines of their clan, the further restriction on marriage, in the text given, never did apply to them.



88 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

do is to make for the house belonging to one of his crest. There he is sure of a welcome, and of the best the host can afford. There, he is accounted a brother, and treated and trusted, as such.

" (7) The subdivision of the tribes into their social clans, accounts in a measure for the number of petty chiefs existing in each tribe, as each clan can boast of its head men. The more property a clan can accumulate, and give away to rival clans, the greater number of head men it may have.

" (8) Another prominent use, made by the natives of their heraldic symbols is, that they take names from them for their children ; for instance, Wee-nay-ach, ' big fin ' (whale), Lee- tahm-lach-taou, 'sitting on the ice' (eagle), Iksh-co am-alyah,

  • the first speaker in the morning ' (raven), Athl-kah-kout, ' the howler travelling' (wolf).

" (9) And last, but not least, the kinship, claimed and maintained in each tribe by the method of crests, has much to do with preventing blood-feuds; and also in restoring peace, when quarrels and fighting have arisen. Tribes, or sections thereof, may, and do fight, but members of the same social clan may not fight. Hence, in contests between two tribes, there always remain in each some non-combatants, who will watch the opportunity to interpose their good offices, in the Interests of peace and order. In case, too, of a marauding party being out to secure slaves, should they find one or more of their victims to be of their own crest, such a person would be set free, and be incorporated as a member of their family ; while the captives of other crests would be held or sold as slaves.

" In writing of these matters, it must be understood that I have kept in view the natives in their primitive state. The Metlakahtlans, who are civilized, while retaining their crest distinctions, and upholding the good and salutary regulations connected therewith, have dropped all the baneful and heathenish rivalry, with which the clannish system was intimately associated."

Besides this intertribal clan division, there was also what may, for want of a better word, be denominated as a club or lodge division into secret social fraternities.

About one-half of the population at Fort Simpson


THE TOTEMS AND CLUBS 89

belonged to one or other of three such organizations. Those who did not were called " amget."
The names of the three clubs were :

  1. " Weada-ha-hallied " or the cannibals.

  2. " Nukhlam," or the dog-eaters.

"(3) "Miklah," or those who did not eat at all, but only practiced dancing and singing.

Only members of the Kitandoah and the Kithrahtla tribes were eligible for membership in the Cannibal Club, but, to the other two, membership was open to any member of any tribe.

The initiation of new members into these orders or clubs was carried on during the winter months, with the most disgusting ceremonies, and mostly in the open. But if any one came upon the members of the club while engaged in their secret work in the forest, he was compelled to become a member, whether he wanted to or not.

The initiation was generally under the direction of some old and experienced medicine-man, but those " who were made to ride the goat " were young men, and some- times boys, who, before the public ceremonies, had to pass several days and nights alone in the forest, where they were supposed to receive supernatural gifts, enabling them to go through the ordeal awaiting them.

The proceedings in the different clubs partook of the same general character.

I will let Mr. Duncan speak :

" Early in the morning the pupils would be out on the beach, or on the rocks, in a state of nudity. Each had a place in front of his own tribe. Nor did intense cold interfere in the slightest degree. After the poor creature had crept about, jerking his head and screaming for some time, a party of men would rush out, and, after surrounding him, commence singing. The dog-eating party occasionally carried a dead dog to their pupil, who forthwith commenced to tear it in the most dog-like manner. The party of attendants kept up a low, growling


90 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

noise, or a 'whoop,' which they seconded by a screeching noise made on an instrument, which they believed to be the abode of a spirit. In a little time, the naked youth would start up again and proceed a few more yards in a crouching posture, with his arms pushed out behind him, and tossing his flowing black hair. All the while, he is earnestly watched by the group about him, and when he pleases to sit down, they again surround him, and commence singing. This kind of thing goes on, with several different additions, for some time. Before the prodigy finally retires, he takes a turn into every house belonging to his tribe, and is followed by his train. When this is done, in some cases he has a ramble on the tops of the same houses, during which he is anxiously watched by his attend- ants, as if they expected his flight. By and by he condescends to come down, and they then follow him to his den, which is marked by a rope made of red bark, hung over the doorway, so as to prevent any person from ignorantly violating its precincts. None are allowed to enter the house but those connected with the art.

" All I know, therefore, of their further proceedings, is that they keep up a furious hammering, singing and screeching for hours during the day.

" Of all these parties, none are so much dreaded as the canni- bals. One morning I saw from the gallery hundreds of Tsimshe- ans sitting in their canoes, which they had just pushed away from the beach. I was told that the cannibal party was in search of a body to devour, and if they failed to find a dead body, it was probalDle they would seize the first living one that came in their way, so that all the people living near to the cannibal's house, had taken to their canoes to escape being torn to pieces.

" The cannibal, when about to go through the rites of initiation, is generally supplied with one or more human bodies, which he tears to pieces with his teeth, before his audience. Several persons, either from bravado, or as a charm, present their arms for him to bite. I have seen several who have been thus bitten."

It has been claimed that the cannibals at these rites actually devoured human bodies, and the dog-eaters the flesh of dogs. Mr. Duncan himself once believed that they did so. But I am happy to be able to say that a thorough investigation, and a most searching cross-examination


THE TOTEMS AND CLUBS 91

of several Tsimsheaus, who have themselves, in their youth, belonged to the dog-eating club (there are no former members of the cannibal club at Metlakahtla now living), has convinced me that these Indians are entitled to be acquitted of this heinous charge.

They never, - of this I feel certain, - did eat either human flesh or dog- meat. It is perhaps bad enough that they even pretended to do so. With their teeth they tore the flesh from the bones, acted as if they chewed it, and pretended to swallow it, but they invariably got rid of it, after having kept it in the mouth for a while. This was well known to the crowd that surrounded the novice, and who, with their bodies, hid him from view when he spewed out and got rid of the flesh in his mouth, so that the uninitiated among the people did not see that, and, therefore, honestly believed that he actually ate human flesh or raw dog-meat, as the case might be.

On other occasions, they had deer-meat, which they, by some trick or sleight of hand performance, substituted for the human flesh just before the critical moment.

The object of the rites of both of these clubs was, of course, to fill the people with terror at their pretended ferocity.

All of this club work, as well as the medicine work mentioned in the next chapter, was called by the Indians "hallied."

The greater portion of the membership of these clubs was made up of men and boys, approaching maturity, but there were also a few female members in each club.


XII

THE MEDICINE-MEN

THE "Slioo-wansh,"  the Tsimshean name for a medicine-man (not "shaman" as it is frequently erroneously given), was a most important character in the Tsimshean, as in every other Indian community. He was not, in a strict sense, the doctor of the tribe. The use of herbs, both as potions and as applications for wounds and swellings, was wholly in the hands of some wise old women. They were especially successful in the treatment of wounds, and that in spite of the fact that their surgery was not very antiseptic.

The "Shoo-waush" was generally called in to heal only when someone got sick without any readily explainable cause for it, and when, therefore, the lively Indian imagination was prone to suspect that a person had bewitched the party. For the " Shoo-wansh" was an exorcisor, and able to drive out the evil spirits that had taken possession of the poor suffering body.

He then came with his rattle, and rattled over the sick man, who had to be wholly naked during the performance, so that the evil spirits should not be able to hide in his clothes, but get away readily. There he would work away, rattle for dear life, dance about with wild gesticulations, blow in the patient's mouth and nostrils, pound and knead his body, chant, swing to and fro, froth at the mouth, and shout and shriek, till the patient said he was

  • The literal translation of this word is: "The blower."

92


THE MEDICINE-MEN 93

better, when the medicine-man, with great earnestness and show, replaced in the body his "soul," which he claimed to have caught in the act of leaving it, and to have incarcerated in a little hollow bone tube, which the medicine-men invariably carried on a string around the neck. They claimed to be able to see peoples' souls travelling about in the open air, in the shape of flies, with long, sharp bills, and often were observed, when walking about, to grab for something, and solemnly put it away in this hollow bone, carefully closing the cover. That was some one's soul that they had caught and imprisoned, and the unfortunate person now had to pay a good price to get his poor wandering soul back again.

If the medicine-man did not do a first-class job, he had to return the blankets, or other price he had received for his services. Sometimes he might praise his luck if he did not have to give up his life, if the patient died.

Generally, when the case was a serious one, his excuse was that some one had bewitched the party. If he gave the name of that person, he cleared his own skirts. It was generally some man of small importance, a poor decrepit old woman, or a slave, who was thus denounced as exercising the power of the "evil eye."

The following story, told me by Mr. Duncan, will give an idea of the modus operandi in such a case :

"The old chief of the Kitlahns, Neyahshlakahnoosh,* was sick in bed for a long time with an extremely ma- lignant carbuncle. He sent for a medicine-man of the Tsimsheans, but received no help. There was then a medicine-man of great renown among the Thlingits, at Tongas, called Neyahshot. He was sent for, and came. He rattled over the old chief for a long time, but no improvement was perceived. He finally, as usual, suggested that the chief had been bewitched. Some one had got

  • Neyahsh " means grandfather.



94 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

hold of some of his clothing, and had buried it with a corpse at a graveyard far away. If it did not get away from the grave, the old man would die.

" What they must do was to get the clothes away from the grave at once, and then kill the sorcerer. Some one was immediately dispatched for the clothes. He came back with something, which the old chief recognized as having belonged to him. It was all a case of make-believe. The messenger never had been near either a grave or a corpse. He was simply in league with the medicine- man. Upon his return, the medicine-man whispered solemnly in the chief's ear :

"  Nishaes is the man who has brought this upon you. You must kill him if you wish to get well.'

  • ' Nishaes was a weak old man, who trembled on the verge of the grave. He did not belong to the Kitlahn tribe, but lived a quarter of a mile up the beach. He was sent for, and came, as the Indians always do, without asking the why or the wherefore.

"When he came in, food was of course set before him. While he was eating, the chief was lying in bed with a loaded pistol in his hand under the blanket, fully deter- mined to shoot and kill him as soon as he had finished his meal.

" One of the chiefs counsellors  whispered to him :

"  Don't kill Nishaes. Don't kill him. Ask him to pity you.'

" The chief dropped the pistol, and addressed him :

"  Nishaes, have pity on me. Have mercy on me. Save me ! '

"  What do you mean ? '

"  Save me !'

"  I don't understand you.'

  • The chiefs always had some old wise men around them for advice and counsel.



THE MEDICINE-MEN 96

  • * ' You have sent this disease upon me. Pity me. Save me ! Have mercy on me ! I have suffered so much.'

  • * ' You are mistaken. I have nothing against you. I never had.'

"  Yes, you have. You have done it, but now pity me.'

"  It is a great big lie ! ' and, in a huff, the old man left the house."

The old chief got well, and, after he was converted to Christianity, he often told Mr. Duncan that he was very glad he had not killed the old man. He would say :

"I know it well. The medicine-men are all liars. How awful it would have been if I had murdered the poor old man, and should have had that on my conscience now."

In order to obtain his commission, as a " blower," the medicine-man or woman, for there were some medicine- women also, had to show some miraculous power. This they always managed to do by some trick or deceit.

An old medicine-woman, after her conversion, showed Mr. Duncan how she had convinced the people of her power to perform a miracle. She had a nice little round, green stone, which had been picked up on the beach. Producing a vessel filled with water, she asked the people present if they could get her little green stone to float in the water. They all tried, but for every one of them it sank, of course. Then she took the vessel, and, lo ! there the stone floated all right enough.

That was sufficient to show her supernatural power. But, how was it done ? Simply enough. She had a twin sister to the stone, made of wood, and in taking hold of the vessel, she clandestinely substituted that for the stone. That was all.

A favorite way of showing supernatural power, was to kill some one, and restore them to life again.

One medicine-man showed his power by one evening cutting off the chiefs head. The head rolled to the floor.


96 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

and while the blood was squirting hither and thither, it jumped from one end of the room to the other. In fact, it was a most lively head, and it is no wonder that the Indians present "died." But, still greater was their amazement, when the medicine-man put the head back again on the body, which had rolled over on to its side, and, after fumbling with it for a while, smearing the cut with some health-restoring salve and grease, exhibited the chief in his normal condition, speaking, laughing, and dancing, as if he had never " lost his head " at all.

The miracle is explained easily enough, when it is considered that the chief was an accomplice.

There was a false head put above his own, which latter was concealed by his blanket. By operating a set of strings, the false head, which was provided with bags containing blood, was made to jump around the floor. When the false head was pretended to be put back again, it was in reality hidden in the folds of the blanket, while the chief's real head made its appearance and commenced to talk.

Another medicine-man had a big box, in which he put water, and then dropped in red hot stones, so as to make the water boil, after he had put the lid on again. When it was boiling, he opened the box and the steam poured out. He then lifted up the chief, and threw him into the box, and put the lid on again. The people heard the chiefs voice inside the box, crying with pain, first very strongly, and then a little weaker, and still weaker, till you could hardly hear it at all. Then it ceased altogether. The medicine-man now waited quite a while, so that the chief would be boiled very thoroughly. Then he started to open the lid, when, suddenly, the chief's voice was heard, very strongly and distinctly, coming from the forest, away back of the house. When the box was opened, there was no chief there, but a great mass of


THE MEDICINE-MEN 97

eagle's feathers, which the medicine-man scattered around the house. Nor was there any water or stones in the box any more.

In two or three minutes, the chief came in through the door, and did not look as if he had been parboiled at all.

The secret is readily explained. There was a false bottom in the box, one end of which stood up against the edge of the platform. This end of the box was open, or had a trap-door, so the chief, after having spoken inside, until it was about time for him to die, could crawl out of the box through this opening, and then under the platform into the open.

It is said that every prominent family in the different tribes had its own trick, which was its secret, known only to the chief and his counsellors. It was part of the official business of the latter to instruct the new chief in the secrets of the family.

The awe in which the medicine-men were held, by the common people, was very remarkable. When Mr. Duncan, after he had commenced to get a following, ridiculed the medicine-men and their practices, his adherents begged of him to be careful and not to aggravate them. And when he laughed at this, they used to say :

" Oh, it is because you don't know, - you don't know."

Again and again they would beg of him not to put himself in their power :

  • ' When you cut your hair, be sure to burn it all up, so they will not get hold of any of it, and bewitch you."

Again :

"When you spit, don't spit on the ground. You must spit up in the air. If they find some of your spittle, they will make you sick, and you will die. Oh, you don't know."

Mr. Duncan, in order to show them that he was not afraid, told them that the next time he cut his hair, he


98 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

would send a lock of it to every medicine-man in the camp, so that they could have some to work on.

His friends were awe- struck at his recklessness, and could not be persuaded but that he took very serious risks.

One medicine-man did get hold of an old paper collar, which had belonged to Mr. Duncan. He placed it up in a tree, and used to go around the tree two or three times a day, exercising his rattle upon it, in order to send a throat trouble upon Mr. Duncan.

As Mr. Duncan suffers from a dry, hacking cough, due to some chronic trouble in the bronchial tubes, I suggested that this medicine-man's actions might perhaps explain this chronic throat-trouble.

With a merry twinkle in his eyes, Mr. Duncan answered :

"So it might, yes, only for the fact that I suffered from that trouble long before he got hold of my old paper collar."

It is surprising to see what a hold the influence of these medicine-men has taken on the Tsimshean people. One of the most intelligent of the Metlakahtla Indians, who was converted in his early youth, and, therefore, got away from their heathenish influences before they could have had a chance to take very deep root in him, told me the following story, with all evidences of belief in the supernatural powers of the medicine-men. In fact, he stated that he did not know what to believe, but that he knew for certain that what he told me was the truth :

"Once, my uncle, who was a great sea-otter hunter," he said, "had gone on a hunting trip, with four men, in his canoe. While he was gone, there came up an awful storm, and great big waves. He was gone many weeks. When he did not come back, our people thought he was drowned. They went to the medicine-man. He danced.


THE MEDICINE-MEN 99

Then he told them to take a stick of wood and go down to the beach, - (it was then low tide) - and to put it in the ground, where he told them to. They did so.

" Further,' he cried.

  • ' Again : ' Further. '

" Finally he shouted : ' Now, there - put it down. Hit it hard, so it will stay there.'

" When done, he said :

" When the tide comes to that point the men will all come back again.'

"The people laughed. They were sure they were dead long ago. But, nevertheless, though they did not believe in it, they waited for the tide and watched anxiously ; and, lo and behold- just as the tide reached the stick on the beach, a canoe came around the point, and all the five men were in it. They had had no food for many days, and were almost starved. The people gave them food, and they all came out all right."

That the Tsimsheaus are open to reason in other matters, and do not simply accept all that they hear, even if it has the sanction of age and tradition, appears from the following experience of Mr. Duncan, and is given to show that when faith in the supernatural power of the medicine-men still clings to them, to some extent, it must be due to a most extraordinary cleverness on the part of these deceivers :

Coming down Nass River, Mr. Duncan was invited by an Indian chief to go and see in the forest a village which their ancestors had inhabited. It was a very long journey, but they finally came to a beautiful spot, a basin with high mountains all around, except where the trail to the river went. The chief told him :

"Where you now stand, our old chief's house once stood. I would like to tell you what our old people say, and find out if it is true. They say that the chief's son,


100 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

a little child, one night cried for water. The mother was lazy, and would not get up and get it for him. The moon then came down into the room, and asked the boy why he cried. He then told the boy to come with him : ' I will give you what you want.'

"The boy took his hand, and he took him with him into the heavens. The next morning there was a great cry when it was found that the boy was gone. They hunted everywhere for him. The next night they saw him in the moon, with his little basket in his hand. What do you think of it 1 Do you think it is true that the boy could get up there *? "

Mr. Duncan would not say that it was false. He knew too much for that. He pointed up to the mountain-top, and to the pines up there, and said to the chief :

"Those big pines up there are 150 feet high, and they look like little plants. Now, do you think that you could see a little boy up there, and, more especially, see his basket?"

"Oh, no, you could not see him at all."

"Well, then, how do you think you could see a boy, and especially his basket, in the moon, which is many thousand miles further off than yonder mountain-top?"

"Well, how our old folks could lie, could they not? "

That would do for him to say ; not for Mr. Duncan.


XIII

THE RELIGION OF THE TSIMSHEANS

WHENEVER a Tsimshean saw a phenomenon in nature, as a precipice, a tidal wave, etc., he considered it a spirit, a god, and sacrificed a piece of salmon, or something, to propitiate the spirit.

But these were only sub-deities. He recognized the Great Spirit above them all, a good Spirit, the "Heavenly- Chief."

His name for Heavenly Chief was "Shimauget Lahaga," the first word being the word used for " chief" generally, as chief of a tribe; and "Lahaga" meaning, literally, "above."

I cannot find any legend distinctly attributing to this Heavenly Chief either the creation of the world, or of man, except as far as the idea can be made out from the following two legends.

The first one, related to me by John Tait, a very Intelligent and lovable Tsimshean Indian of Metlakahtla, who in his youth belonged to the dog-eating club, really has more to do with earthquakes, and the primitive Indian idea of what causes this natural phenomenon ; but curtly recites the creation of the earth by the Heavenly Chief, as if it were a well-known and established fact. The moral certainty with which the once much-mooted question of the earth being flat is established is amusing.

Mr. Tait's story is :

" The Heavenly Chief built the earth. It was round,

101


102 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

but flat. He had big piles at all the corners of the earth, on which it rested, as a house does ; but, after a while, the piles got rotten. The Heavenly Chief had a big, fat slave. He tells him to put in new corner piles under the earth, so that it shall not fall down. He was very strong, - this slave. He goes and gets new piles ; then he strikes with his big, heavy hammer on one of the old piles, to get it out of the way, and he strikes so hard that the earth trembles. That is how the earthquake comes."

The other legend has reference to the creation of man, and runs as follows :

  • ' The Heavenly Chief once said, whoever can first get a child, the rock over there, or that elderberry bush, of that child shall man be.

  • ' The rock was a little slow, so the elderberry bush became first with child. Therefore, man is weak and sickly, and dies. If the rock had come first, man would have been like the rocks, which nothing can destroy."

Mr. Duncan says that, at Nass River, an Indian showed him the rock that tried, but failed, in the race.

They evidently believed that the Heavenly Chief was immortal, that he observed all that was going on among men, and that he frequently was angry, and punished those who were bad.

They had very remarkable and advanced ideas about prayers, as will be apparent from the following, told me by Edward K. Mather, a prominent Metlakahtla Indian :

"Long before Mr. Duncan came, our people knew and spoke of the Heavenly Chief. Before sitting down to meals, the father of the family always took a small piece of the food, and, putting it on the fire, burned it, and said :

"  For thee, oh, Heavenly Chief, the first.'

"My grandfather used to tell me, if I wanted any- thing very badly, if I desired success, or anything like


THE RELIGION OF THE TSIMSHEANS 103

that, or if I was sick and wanted to get well, to go alone out into the forest and speak to the Heavenly Chief about it.

"He said I must be low in spirit, poor in heart, humble and meek, and look up and ask the Heavenly Chief, and I would get what I asked him for."

Sometimes, when calamities were prolonged or thick- ened, they became enraged against the Heavenly Chief, and vented their anger against him, raising their eyes and hands in savage wrath to heaven, stamping their feet, and saying to him :

"You are a great slave ! "

This is the strongest term of reproach their language has.

It may be here noted that the Tsimshean language has no expression for any kind of an oath. When the Tsimshean wants to swear, he must have recourse to the English language.

Like almost every people on the footstool, they have several interesting legends about the great flood.

Besides the one already given, I record the following, told me by Mrs. Lucy A. Booth, of Metlakahtla, as it is somewhat different from the one recited by Mr. Duncan, given in another chapter :

" A long time ago the Tsimshean people lived far away from here, and the people w^ere very bad. The Heavenly Chief did not like them, and told them to be good, but they did not care. Then he got angry, and he sent a big tide, bigger than ever had been before, and it rained heavily, so much, indeed, that the people got their canoes out, and the tide came up high, so that all the mountains were under water, except a big mountain peak near Wrangel.^ And there came a big storm, and all the

  • This probably refers to a mountain peak not far from Wrangel, in Southeastern Alaska, called "The Devil's Thumb," and said to be about 9,000 feet high.



104 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

little canoes were swamped, only the big ones got through. And they tied them up to that peak. And when it came low tide again, the Tsimsheaus could not find their way back, so they came south to Nass River."

They had a distinct idea of a life after this. Their word for "die" is "sever" or "part" - the same word which is used of a rope when it breaks under a strain.

They fed the dead for some time, till they should be able to find food for themselves in the spirit-land. But this food was burned in front of the dead, so as to give spirit-food to the spirit.

They claimed that when a person was about to die, he could see the great chiefs who had departed before him, and who now seemed to stand ready to receive him. Even to the present day Mr. Duncan well knows what they mean, when they come to tell him that a sick person has "seen somebody." This is, to them, proof positive that he is dying.

When, at an early day, Mr. Duncan asked them if they had any proof that the dead still lived, they told him the following "true" story of "The man with the wooden wife" :

"At old Metlakahtla lived a childless couple. They loved each other very much, and were always together whenever they could be. Everybody spoke of how much they loved each other. Once the man went out on a hunting trip. He had been gone only three or four days, and when he came back it was night, and dark. He saw a big fire at the chief's house, and knew there must be a feast there. But he was lonesome for his wife, so he steered for the beach in front of his own house.

" After pulling the canoe up, he went into the house. It was dark, but at the fireplace he saw his wife, sitting on a box. He spoke to her, but she did not answer him. When he went up to the fireplace, she turned her face


THE RELIGION OF THE TSIMSHEANS 105

away from him, and, when he spoke to her again, she still did not answer.

  • ' He then felt very badly, as he understood that his wife must have done something wrong, as she dared not speak. So he went out again, pushed his canoe into the water, and paddled about five or six miles, when he landed and camped for the night. But his heart was heavy, and he did not sleep.

" The next morning, in paddling back to the village, he met a canoe coming from there. As is the custom of the people, he stopped, and asked them for news. They told him that his wife was dead, and that she had been cremated outside the chief's house the night before.

" He was very sad, for then he knew that it was his wife's spirit he had seen the night before, and not her- self, as she was then dead.

" After that he always lived alone, and never married again, though he was a young man.

" After a while he got a block of wood, and carved out of it an image of his wife, sitting down on the box as he saw her that night, and everybody said it was an exact likeness of her face and figure.

" This wooden woman he kept with him in his house, and also took her with him in his canoe wherever he went. "

The Tsimsheans had very pronounced ideas of reincar- nation, and of what might be called soul-transmigration.

Numerous legends go to substantiate this claim. One is to the effect that a woman had a relative who was shot in the breast in a fight. Shortly after, she gave birth to a son with a red spot on his breast at the identical place where the relative had been shot. She and her people were positive that the old man had come back to life again in that baby boy.

Another woman had an uncle who died. Soon after


106 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

she gave birth to a boy with a peculiar mark on his thumb, like one which the uncle had.

Sebassah, a Tsimshean chief, had a brother killed in a light by a blow from a spear, which tore the flesh from his shoulder. His niece shortly afterwards dreamed that she saw her uncle, and soon after gave birth to a boy, who had a mark on his arm like a wound, in the same place where her uncle was fatally hurt.

But a more remarkable story is this :

"I'he Tsimsheans once made a raid on a village up Skeena River, and killed all the inhabitants. Only one man escaped. He ran up into the mountains, and was making his way to a neighboring village, to tell of the fate of his friends, when he came to a clear lake on the top of the mountain. Being thirsty, he took a drink, and at once became unconscious.

"The next thing he knew he was lying on his mother's lap, a little baby. He could not talk at all, but he remembered well about the fight, and about his running away.

"It was then found out in some way that he really was the first man slain in the fight. In order to test whether he really was that man, he, when he grew up, went to dig in a place where he remembered to have buried some gambling tools shortly before the fight, and, right enough, there he found them, just where he had hidden them."

They also have a clear idea of a future punishment. They think that a bad man is punished by getting food which is out of season - for instance, salmon, after the proper season, which no Tsimshean will eat when he has his choice.

The Tsimshean worships the moon. When it comes forth in the night, he holds up his hand, and says :

"Alio quathleay " ("we can see you walking," or " you walk in our night ").


THE RELIGION OF THE TSIMSHEANS 107

Mr. Duncan tells how he once witnessed an enactment of the moon's phases :

" One night - it was a dark and cloudy one, - as the tide was at its lowest, one of the clubs of the ' HalHed ' congregated in a house, and rushed to the shore with a great noise. (Their noises are never yelling only, but something different for different things, like college yells.) I was out on the gallery of the fort, and saw the shadows moving. Then appeared on the shore, some distance from the gathering, a moon, - at first, it was at the quarter, then it waxed larger until it was half, then three-quarters, and then full. Then a man appeared in it.

" I think that it was made of thin deer skin, like parchment, with a light inside.

" The moon then pretended to move down towards the crowd. At this all the Indians commenced to cackle. It sounded like the yelping of a pack of wolves. All at once, the man in the moon answered them, I thought. Then the moon waned, and finally disappeared altogether, and the Indians rushed back again to the house with horrible yells."


XIV

THE SON OF THE HEAVENLY CHIEF

WHILE legends, showing the consciousness, on the part of the savage mind, of the existence of a Supreme Being, are of more or less frequency among most aborigines, I doubt whether any other heathen nation can produce evidences, like those of the Tsimsheans, of a communication, in some manner or form, of the story of the White Christ.

There are any number of their legends that occupy themselves with the mission on earth of the son of the Heavenly Chief, and the characteristics of this God-sent friend of the people, correspond so wonderfully with those of our blessed Saviour, that it hardly seems possible for them thus to have been able to picture the Man of Galilee, just as He wandered about on earth, if those who first drew the picture had not seen Him with their own eyes, or received their information from some one who had.

Mrs. Booth, a full-blooded Tsimshean at Metlakahtla, told me that her mother had related to her, when a little girl, the following :

" At first it was entirely dark. There was no light in the world. The people could see nothing, but were groping around in a continual night. Then, the Son of the Heavenly Chief came down to earth, and the people complained to him that it was so dark. He said he would help them, and then light came. He travelled around for a long time, and helped the people in their trouble.

108


THE SON OF THE HEAVENLY CHIEF 109

He was so kind and good, and the people loved him very much."

Bat, still more wonderful appears the story of  " The Battle between Good and Evil," as Mr. Duncan, who has given it to me, calls the following legend.

Two of the natives have, independently of Mr. Duncan, and of each other, related the same story, with only enough slight variations in the jphraseology to prove that they each had received it from a different source.

The story, as told me by Mr. Duncan, runs as follows ;

"Once there were only two villages of people in the world, a great river flowing between them. They were constantly at war, and the feud was so stroug that, finally, everybody in one of the villages was exterminated, except an old woman, named Kowak, and her daughter.

" Kowak was very anxious again to populate her extinguished village, which could only be done by raising up children to her daughter. But, how was this to be done? It was, of course, out of the question to marry her to any man in the inimical village, and the men in that village were the only ones alive in the world. So Kowak turned to the animal kingdom. She would spend her days and nights in the forest, crying out incessantly :

" Who will marry Kowak' s daughter?' repeating it over and over again.

"Finally, a little red squirrel peeped out from among the branches of a spruce, and said :

" Good woman, I will marry Kowak's daughter.'

" Well, then, son-in-law-elect, if you marry Kowak's daughter, what will be your aim in life ? To what will your energies be directed ? '

"'Oh, I will scramble up the trees, and gather the cones, and throw them down.'

"'No, son-in-law-elect, you will have to give up the


110 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

idea of marrying Kowak's daughter. You will not fill the bill at all.'

"Next came the bear, - the same question was put to him. His answer was :

'"I will bellow and growl, and scare everybody. Lie in wait for the animals in the forest, and kill them, and catch the salmon, as they are jumping up the stream.'

" The same reply was given to him.

"The deer next, and then others offered their services. The inquiry and the answer were similar, each animal showing that its aim in life would be only a selfish exhibition of its own narrow conception of the enjoyment of life, and the satisfaction of its animal craving.

"Then, as Kowak cried in the forest one day, there appeared before her a person in shining clothes, with a beautiful face, and kind, lovely eyes. It was the son of the Heavenly Chief.

" *I will marry Kowak's daughter, good woman,' said he.

" Oh, beautiful prince ! Heaven bless you, who will marry Kowak's daughter.'

" The same question was then put to him.

"He answered :

"'My aim in life will be to destroy the enemies of Kowak's deserted village.'

  • " Oh, you are a man after my own heart. You shall indeed marry Kowak's daughter.'

" But my wife must go with me to heaven, and live there. I cannot leave her down here.'

  • " All right. I expected that. But may I not go with you ? I would so like to live near my only daughter - all that is left me of family, parents, husband, and children. It will be so lonely for me here. '

" Well, that depends on yourself. But I doubt that you will be able to do so. Still, we will try.'


THE SON OF THE HEAVENLY CHIEF 111

" He took his wife in his arms, and told the mother to hold fast by his shoulders.

" But, as we rise up,' he said, 'if you would go to heaven, you must not look down. Look up, or at me, all the time. If you look down once, you will never get there.'

  • ' Up they rose, slowly, towards heaven, but when they had got up into the clouds, the old lady could not help throwing just one glance down to earth, and at once her hold on the prince loosened, and she sank and sank, and, finally, she landed in the branches of a tree, and there she stuck fast, and she now moaned from pain and repentance. That is what you hear moaning in the branches of the trees when the wind blows.

"By and by, three beautiful sons came to the daughter. They grew up, and became stronger and more beautiful every day. The time neared when their father wanted them to go down and destroy the inimical village. In preparation for this, they built each a fine house. One day, one of the houses commenced to sink, and it struck the earth with a great noise ; so did the next, and the next.

"In the morning the chief of the inimical village woke up and rubbed his eyes :

"  What, do I not see smoke in Kowak's deserted village ? What can it be ! '

" He gathered his counsellors together to advise him what to do. They determined to send a slave over there. He went, and came back filled with awe, and gave the most vivid description of what he had found.

" Oh, there are three fine men there. They treated me splendidly. They were so kind and nice. And there are the finest houses you ever saw.'

"The council was again called together. They then determined to send the three young men a challenge to

 

112 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

come and gamble with them. Two of them accepted the challenge. The third one refused to gamble, but said he would come along anyway.

" They came, and the game commenced. The one who took no part was especially a giant, with strong muscles and fine arms. They won the game. The chief and his followers got mad, and rose up to slay them. Then there was a great battle. In the end, every one was slain by the heavenly boys."

Mr. Duncan's explanation of this legend is, that it represents the battle between good and evil.

Evil and sin first win. It seems as if the good had no chance at all. But then it becomes joined to the Son of God. He comes to redeem the world, and help good in its battle against sin and evil.

The old lady, when she sinks back to earth, represents the flesh, which cannot overcome temptation, and, therefore, cannot enter heaven's halls. While the spirit of good in man, "the bride," is in the arms of Christ, and attains the blessings of heaven.

In the end comes the triumph of good over evil, and the final uprooting of evil, as a result of the union between Christ and the spirit of man.

"It is a beautiful legend," said he. " When I first heard it, it struck me that these Indians must have had some information as to the Christ. We cannot explain how. But the story of the Saviour, as we know it, must have come to them in some mysterious way."

In order to show that they were not only thoroughly imbued with the meek and lowly disposition of the Son of God, and with the idea that He assumed, when here, the role of a servant to man, but that they had also received a correct impression of His divine power, evidencing itself in wonderful miracles, I give the following story of Tezoda, the son of the Heavenly Chief, as told by Mrs.


THE SON OF THE HEAVENLY CHIEF 113

Joseph Neyahshack, a venerable old Tsimshean woman, residing at Metlakahtla, who prides herself on being one of Tezoda's direct descendants.

Her story is as follows :

"Once a Tsimshean chief, and the one next to him in rank, each had a daughter. The chiefs daughter was beautiful. The other was lame, and homely.

" The chief kept his daughter shut up from everybody, as he did not want her to marry any one of inferior rank. So the Heavenly Chief took pity on the maiden, and sent his son down to woo the fair one.

"The name of the son of the Heavenly Chief was Tezoda. When he came down to earth, he brought with him a slave, named Hallach. They camped in the bush outside the village, and the first night Tezoda went alone to visit the maiden. Now, he was a wonder-worker ' Nock-nock '),' so he went into the girl's room through a knot-hole in the wall. The next night he sent Hallach, in order to get his opinion of the girl. As Hallach had no supernatural powers, he had to get inside by slipping in after those who lived in the house.

"He remained all night in the house. This made the chief angry. So he said that he and the girl should get married. As the girl preferred him to Tezoda, she consented, and the wedding took place at once.

"Now, it was the custom that a son-in-law should get the wood, and do other work for his father-in-law, so Hallach was sent with a large canoe, and a number of boys, for firewood.

  • ' He brought back a very poor kind of wood ; so wet that, when it was laid on the fire, it put it out. This made Hallach feel ashamed, so he said he had a slave, named

  • The Tsimshean name for all supernatural power, as well as for the person who has such power.



112 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Tezoda, in the bush back of the village, whom he wished to have brought in to do the menial work.

  • ' So they fetched Tezoda, who came, seemingly as a slave to his own former slave, Hallach.

"As a slave, he had to sleep near the door. During the night, the chiefs wife awoke, and saw the place around where Tezoda slept lighted up with a great white light. So she made up her mind that he was no slave and thought she would watch him.

  • ' The next day Tezoda was sent for firewood. He took a big canoe, and a number of women, and started out.

" On the way, they saw a seal put its head out of the water, and he asked them if they would like to have it. They said they would, but had no means of getting it.

"He told them to hide their heads. He then took a sling, which he always carried, and a stone out of his mouth, and hit the seal on the head, and killed it.

  • ' The women were pleased, and from that time Tezoda began to be famous.

  • ' He asked them if they did not want a big tree for wood, but they said that they could not cut it down with their stone-adzes. So he told them to hide their heads again, and he struck the tree with a stone from his sling. It fell, breaking into pieces just the right length, and he piled the whole tree into the canoe, so that, when they got back, all the people turned out to see a canoe carry so big a load. And they filled up the house with wood so full of pitch that it burned like grease.

  • ' So Hallach was ashamed of himself. Also his wife was sorry that she had preferred him to Tezoda, and the chief felt very badly because he had such a worthless son-in-law.

"Now the parents of the lame girl were anxious to secure Tezoda for a son-in-law, and, as he was willing, the wedding took place, after which a great feast was to be given to the neighboring tribes.


THE SON OF THE HEAVENLY CHIEF 115

"Tezoda was sent out seal-hunting, and came back with a canoe loaded down.

"0n the morning of the feast, he took his bride to a lonesome lake in the mountains, and both had a bath. They came out of the water looking very differently from what they did when they went in to swim.

" The bride's lameness and homeliness were gone, and she was now a beauty. The groom was also much handsomer than ever.

"When they entered, and took their places at the feast, they were the wonder and envy of all, and the wife of Hallach felt more sorry than ever that she had not accepted Tezoda.

"This was in the first part of the month of March, and, shortly after, the whole village went to Nass River to get the oolakan fish.

" On the way up, there is a high, rocky point. Tezoda, who wanted still further to shame Hallach and his wife, asked Hallach to sling a stone at the rock. Hallach did so, but the stone fell short in the water. Then Tezoda took his sling, and threw a stone, which struck the mountain, boring a hole through it, which can be seen even to this day.

"Still further on the way, they saw a mountain with copper on the top. Hallach again tried to hit it, but his stone fell back into the canoe, and struck his mother-in-law, who fell into the water, where she turned into a salmon and disappeared.

" This was too much for Hallach, who felt so ashamed that he jumped overboard and was lost.

"Then Tezoda, with his sling, threw a stone, which struck the copper, and knocked it down so that it dropped and broke into twelve ' coppers. ' These he carried north. He was the first one who brought these costly media of exchange among the Northland tribes."


XV

THRAIMSHUM, THE TSIMSHEAN DEVIL


THE legendary lore of all primitive people is more or less busy with the devil, or, at least, with an evil spirit of some sort.

The Tsimshean folk-lore is no exception in this particular. In fact, their legends are so much occupied with Thraimshum, their devil, that one of them told Mr. Duncan that it would take him a whole week, should he tell him all the Tsimshean legends about Thraimshum.

But the Tsimsheans seem to have had a clearer conception of him, and his true character, than most heathen nations have. Thus it will be seen from the following, that their devil, like the Biblical one, fell, or was thrown, down from heaven. Their common nickname for him is the "father of liars." He is voracious, and a glutton, never gets enough to eat, and practically scours the earth, "seeking what he can devour."

"While he has the power to hop from mountain peak" to mountain peak, and to hurl a mountainside down into a ravine, and to change his appearance and assume gigantic proportions, he is utterly unable to do anything useful for himself. He cannot catch a fish for himself when he is hungry - can only cheat a man out of one, by some one of his many frauds, tricks and deceits.

His history, according to the Tsimsheans, begins as follows :

"A chief's son had a slave of his own age. He grew up to be an expert archer. One day he shot a raven, skinned it, put on the skin, and found that he could fly.

116


THRAIMSHUM, THE TSIMSHEAN DEVIL 117

  • The slave boy wanted to fly also, so he shot another raven, and taught the slave to fly.

"They flew up into heaven, where the Great Chief gave them, each a wife, and each of them had a baby boy.

"After a while, the Great Chief wished them to send their boys down to earth to help the people. So their fathers dropped them down. One fell on land, and the other into the sea. The latter was the devil.

" When he fell into the water, a salmon swallowed him. This happened not far from a village, where lived a chief, whose wife had no children. They both wanted children, but she did not get any. One of her slave women was out fishing with a net, and caught a big salmon. When she took it ashore to clean it, she found the boy in its belly. Then she put him under the bed of the chiefs wife.- When she awoke, during the night, she heard the boy cry, looked under the bed, found him, and took him in her arms.

" Then the chief adopted him as his own son."


XVI

BEHIND THE WALLS

At the request of Governor Douglas, Mr. Duncan, from the time when he first arrived at the Fort, read the service of the Episcopal Church for the garrison every Sunday forenoon.

The inmates seemed to appreciate this service very much, also the schooling which he gave these grown up men, many of whom could neither read nor write.

One of them, who learned the three "E's" from Mr. Duncan, afterwards became clerk in his store, and his bookkeeper at old Metlakahtla.

It was Sunday morning, some four or five weeks after his arrival. As Mr. Duncan returned from his break- fast, he saw four or five of the men in their working clothes, and with axes on their shoulders. He at once went to the second officer, asked him what that meant, and was informed that the captain had given them orders to go out into the forest and chop wood.

Duncan at once went to his room, and wrote a letter to the captain, stating what he had heard and seen as to his orders.

"Now," he continued, "I have only this to say ; that if this be so, I cannot hold any services in the Fort today. I am no hypocrite, and will not take part in any hypocritical service wherein I read : ' From the contempt of Thy word, and holy commandments,' and you answer, 'Good Lord, deliver us,' when you and I both know that

118


BEHIND THE WALLS 119

you have just broken one of God's commandments. Therefore, if you want any service, you will have to read it yourself, as I peremptorily decline so to do. "

In ten minutes the captain was at his quarters, angry as he could be. That was evident. Every one at the Fort knew what it meant, when the captain appeared with his cap, turned around with the vizor in the neck.

" I have received your letter, sir. I thought, when you came, that in a short time you would try to run the Fort, and I see I was right."

" Not at all, sir. I try to run nothing. I issue no orders, only to myself. I must have that right. I don't prevent your having a service. I simply say : I will not take any part in it, knowing that God's law as to the Sabbath is being openly broken. I am not the chaplain of your Fort, and you cannot order me, sir."

" Well, sir, I shall certainly report this assumption of authority to the Company."

"All right, do so. I will also make my report, and I have no fear of the result."

The captain, angry as he could be, ran out, slammed the door, and shouted to the men :

"You men need not go to work. It seems some one else is going to run things in the Fort after this."

The men, of course, were more than pleased to quit work, and all came to the service.

" This one thing I do."

As soon as Mr. Duncan had arrived at the state where he could, to some extent, make himself understood to Clah, he made it a point to go with him around to the houses of the Indians.

His first specific object was to take a census of the people. This occupation gave him a chance to meet them in a friendly way, and I have no doubt that his face, which even then must have beamed like a benediction, spoke to


120 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

them volumes of the white missionary's kindness and love for them.

Whenever he learned of any being sick, he welcomed the opportunity to visit them, and to try to help them out, by some simple advice, or, once in a while, with some medicine from his medicine chest, for he had dabbled a little in medicine also, thinking it might be of use to him in his missionary work. And many a heart was won by the young missionary, even before he could make himself understood at all in their language, through the kindness and sympathy he showed the sick, and by his being able to relieve their suffering by the means at hand.

It was a puzzle to the Indians to know what a white man, who was not a trader, or a whiskey-seller, or a debaucher of their women, really came among them for. Many a time must they have asked this question to each other. And frequently, I am told, did they inquire of Clah when the white man would be able to speak to them.

One day, when Mr. Duncan had been at the Fort three or four months, he was surprised to see a fine-looking old Indian chief enter his room. The chief's name was " Neyashtodoh." He was one of the chiefs of the Kitlahns, and while not the head chief, was very much respected by all the Indians in the camp).

The fact that he had three full grown sons living with him, would alone make him very much respected.

"I have heard that you have come here with the letter of God. Is that so 1 Have you the letter of God with you?" asked the chief.

"I have," said Mr. Duncan.

" Would you mind showing it to me? "

  • * Certainly. " And Mr. Duncan went into his bedroom, and returned with a large Bible, which he placed on the table.



BEHIND THE WALLS 121

"This is God's Book."

The Indian reverently, almost caressingly, laid his hand on the Bible.

" Is God's letter for the Tsimsheaus ? "

"Certainly. God sent this Book to your people, as well as to mine."

" Does that Book give God's ' heart ' to us? "

"It does."

" And are you going to tell the Indians that? "

"I am."

"Ahm! Ahm ! Shimauget." (It is good - It is good, chief.)

His coming, under the circumstances, showed how anxiously some of them were looking for the Gospel message. They could hardly wait until he was ready to bring it them.


XVII

THE FIRST MESSAGE

FINALLY, the great day came, when Mr. Duncan, after eight mouths' assiduous study, had attained such knowledge of their language that he had been able to write out in Tsimshean the first message of the Christ to the savage heart.

The Indians had but lately returned from their oolakan fishing-trip to the Nass River, when he was ready, for the first time, to address them in their own language.

On Saturday morning, he sent word to the chiefs of the nine different tribes that he would like to address their people in their respective houses the next day, and asked if they would permit him to do so.

The answer was favorable in every instance, and it must have given him much encouragement to notice that not a canoe started out that Sunday morning from the settlement. Every Indian man, woman, and child was anxious to hear what the white chief had come to tell them.

It was ten o'clock Sunday forenoon, the 13th day of June, A.D. 1858, when he started from the Fort, with his sermon in his pocket, and, accompanied by Clah, his language teacher.

The first house which he entered was that of ISTeyahsh- nawah, the head chief of the Kitlootsah tribe, where he found an audience of about one hundred gathered to hear him.

122

 

THE FIRST MESSAGE 123

It seems almost a dispensation of Providence that of all the Indian houses, at that time located near Fort Simpson, the only one of which any vestige now remains is that very house, in which he, by God's grace, was first allowed to preach the Gospel to the Tsimsheans.

The framework of this house, as shown in the illustration on a nearby page, stands today at Fort Simpson, though its occupants and their descendants long since are gone.

By actual measurement of the beams and posts now standing, it appears that this house was fifty-five feet by sixty-five feet, with a height from the ground to the lower edge of the cross-beams of a little over fifteen feet. The beams and posts are logs of nearly three feet in diameter.

This was the first Indian assembly Mr. Duncan ever faced. No wonder that he quailed before the undertaking. It required a stout heart for any one, with only his limited knowledge of a strange and difficult language, to dare lay before this waiting through the precious Gospel message. One word improperly used might produce an entirely wrong impression - one mispronounced, bring ridicule on the messenger and the message. But Mr. Duncan had a stout heart, and then he had, in addition thereto, the wonderful support of an Almighty Father, who did not allow him to yield to the temptation to read his sermon, sentence by sentence, to Clah, and have him repeat it to the people.

When he, at the last moment, fearing the effect of his faulty pronunciation, suggested this course to Clah, the blanching of the latter' s cheeks at once convinced him that things would be liable to go worse then, and, with a silent prayer to God for help, he started in by asking the people to close the door.

This brought an awe of stillness over the audience,


124 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

which was heightened by Mr. Duncan's kneeling down for a few moments of silent prayer.

He then gave them the first address they ever heard from a white man in their own language.

Fortunately, I am able to give, in English, a synopsis of this historical address, the original of which, in Tsimshean, is still kept in Mr. Duncan's safe at Metlakahtla.

He first introduced himself as a missionary from England, who had come from afar over the great seas with the specific object of giving to them the message of God from His Book, which, if they would learn and obey it, would bless them in this life, and prepare them for the life to come. He then reminded them that we do not live here always, that the term of our life here is uncertain ; but, though our bodies die, our souls do not, and proceeded :

"God's Book teaches us how we should live in this world, and so be prepared for a future life in heaven with God.

"It also teaches us about God - that He is holy, that He hates every evil way - that all men and women are sinners, and that our hearts are full of evil.

" God made us to love Him, and follow His ways ; but the people have forsaken Him, and followed their own ways, which are evil in His sight.

"God's Book tells us that God sees all we do, knows all that is in our hearts, and that, when we die, every one of us must stand before Him, to answer for our conduct on earth.

" We cannot hide anything from God, nor can we make ourselves good.

  • ' How then can we be saved from the punishment due to our sins, and become good ?

" The answer to these great questions is given us in God's Book, and this is the Gospel, or good news, which God has sent you.



THE FIRST MESSAGE 125

" I now urge you to listen to this Gospel, which is : That God so loved and pitied mankind, that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us.

" Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins.

" He is now in heaven to hear and answer our prayers.

" He bids us put away our sinful ways, and look to Him to be saved.

" If we obey, He will pardon our sins, make us holy, and take us to live with Him in heaven when we die.

" I exhort you not to reject God's message of love. Reflect on how much God has done to save us. Put away your evil ways, and learn God's ways.

" One thing I ask you to do, from this day forth, which you can do, and which will be pleasing to God. Refrain from all kind of work on Sunday, which is the Lord's Day, and meet together on that day to learn God's will, and pray to Him.

" I have a great deal more to tell you from God's Book. He has heard what I have told you today. Believe that God is longing to bless you, and to save you."

The Indians were all remarkably attentive. When, at the conclusion, he asked them to kneel down, they at once complied. And while he offered up a prayer in English, they preserved great silence.

He then bade them good-bye, and went to the house of the head chief of the Tsimsheans, Legale, where everything was prepared, a sail spread for Mr. Duncan to stand upon, and a mat placed on a box for him to sit upon. About one hundred and fifty people had assembled, who were, by the chief, admonished to behave themselves, and listen respectfully to what he had to say.

A few people from the Fort being present, Mr. Duncan first spoke shortly in English, and thereupon repeated his address in Tsimshean.

They all knelt in prayer, and were very attentive, as at


126 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

the other place. Clah, upon inquiry, assured Mr. Duncan that, from their looks, he knew that they understood him, and felt it to be " good."

After this, he went to the other seven chiefs' houses in succession, and in each repeated his address to a congregation of all the way from fifty to two hundred souls.

In some of the places, where he had an idea that the people did not understand, or pay the attention he desired, he repeated his address. At one house he even repeated it twice.

When four o'clock came, he had, without getting any rest or luncheon, preached in nine different houses, to between eight and nine hundred Indians.

That it was a great beginning of a great good to these people, the following pages will show.

That he had made a good impression on the people was evident from the fact that the head chief, Legale, offered him the use of his house for a school, which he informed them he intended to open at once, for the children in the forenoon, and for the adults in the afternoon.

The roll-call showed twenty-six children present on the first day, and the attendance increased right along. Still more satisfactory to the teacher was it to notice the attention and interest the scholars seemed to give to their work from the beginning.

The attendance in the afternoon, some fifteen only, was not so satisfactory. It evidently took some courage for the grown people to go to school.

The spirit, which Mr. Duncan had recognized, by not asking the people to hear his message, except in their own chiefs house, soon made itself felt, also with reference to the school. One chief said to Mr. Duncan :

  • ' You will have all the people to teach as soon as your own house is built."

This set him to thinking, and as Legale, when the


THE FIRST MESSAGE 127

salmon season came, was going away, lie, after a while, concluded he had better close his school till he could get a school building erected.

On July 11th, Mr. Duncan had finished and prepared a second address in Tsimshean, and proceeded to deliver it in the same way as on the first occasion.

Of all the people present, there was only one, the Chief Quthray, the head of the cannibal club, who refused to kneel, when he asked them to do so. The angry scowl and the ugly muttering of this chief showed that the medicine-men recognized in the new teaching the death knell to their nefarious practices and disgusting deviltry. They undoubtedly commenced to feel already that a new light was coming over their people, which would open their eyes to the falsehood and deceit that so long had been practiced upon them, and from which these same medicine-men had so long managed to make an easy living.

During the summer months a goodly portion of the Indians were away, but enough remained to give Mr. Duncan a lift with his school building.

Several had undertaken to cut the logs and raft them over to the beach, and now the logs were to be brought up the hill, to the place where the school was to be located, about the site where the Methodist Church now stands. But this was not to be. Only a few logs had been brought to the location, when an Indian, assisting in the work, fainted and died, undoubtedly from some heart trouble.

Any one knowing the Indian superstition can appreciate the effect of this. Naturally, any confidence with which Mr. Duncan had inspired them would be shaken, and they would be afraid to help any further in the work.

With a wisdom which seems to be of God, and which never, all through his life, has forsaken him, he immediately


128 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

stopped the work, and changed the site to a place whence it would not require such exertion to convey the logs ; but where, on the other hand, he put himself right in the path of the enemies of his work, as he later on found out.

He said nothing more about building, until September 16th. The next day he wrote in his diary :

"Yesterday I spoke to a few on the subject, and all seemed heartily glad. One old chief said to me : ' Cease being angry now,' thinking, I suppose, my delay was occasioned by anger. He assured me he would send his men to help. This morning I went to the raft at 6 a. m. But only one old man was there. In a little time came two or three. Then a few more. Then two chiefs. By about half-past six we mustered seven or eight workers on the raft, though several more came and sat at their doors, Indian-like, as though they wished only to look on.

"This seemed greatly in contrast with their expressions to me yesterday, but such is the Indian. I knew it was of no use to push, so I patiently waited,

"About seven o'clock, one of the Indians on the raft sprang to his feet, gave the word for starting, which is a peculiar kind of a whoop, and he, with the few so inadequate to do the work, determined to begin. At this, I proceeded up the beach to the building site ; but what was my surprise, when, on returning, I met upwards of forty Indians carrying logs.

" They all seemed to have moved in an instant, and sprung to the work with one heart. The enthusiasm they manifested was truly gladdening, and almost alarming. Among the number were several old men, who were doing more with their spirited looks and words than with their muscles. The whole camp seemed now excited. Encouraging words and pleasant looks greeted me on every side. Every one seemed in earnest, and the heavy blocks and beams began to move up the hill with amazing rapidity. When the Fort bell rang for breakfast, they proposed to keep on. One old man said he would not eat till the work was done. However, I did not think it good to sanction this enthusiasm so far, but sent them off to their homes.

" By three o'clock all was over, for which I was very glad, for the constant whooping, groaning and bawling of the


THE FIRST MESSAGE 129

Indians, together with the difficulty of the work, from the great weight of the pieces and the bad road, kept me in constant fear."

Within a few days the framework was in position, and the work of finishing the school building and providing the schoolroom with the necessary desks and benches, now proceeded as fast as could be expected.

Mr. Duncan had intended to buy bark for the roof, but the Indians, saying that the white chief's teaching house ought to have a roof of boards, insisted upon donating, with a great deal of ceremony and show of good feeling, the boards, both for the floor and the roofing.

Many, who could not otherwise have contributed, brought boards from their own houses, and even planks, which were part of their beds.

On November 17th, when the school was first opened, his former scholars all rushed eagerly to the new school, whither they were called by blows on a triangle of steel, used for a bell.

The attendance proved to be one hundred and forty children and fifty adults - many more than he had ever expected, or hoped to see there.


XVIII

THE DEVIL ABROAD

THESE fall months were like the calm before the storms, which always rage during the mid- winter months in Alaskan waters. With the month of December commenced the medicine work and the club work, with all its abominable and disgusting ceremonies.

On the first of December, the head chief came to the captain of the Fort, and told him that his young daughter ("the big fin ") had gone to the moon for her education, and would be back in a month, and asked him to persuade Mr. Duncan to suspend his school during that month, as it would interfere with their work, and he did not like to have the children pass by the house, going to and from school, as it broke the spell of their mysteries. If he would do this, they would all come to school after- wards. But, if he did not, the medicine-men might shoot the children as they were on their way to school.

Now this going to the moon was, of course, only a put-up game. They all know better. They simply hide the child away somewhere in the forest for a month. When she has disappeared, they go around with a mysterious air, and sing weird songs. A kind of heathenish hysterics comes over the whole camp. They pretend to know just when she is coming back. The whole tribe is gathered on the beach looking for her, when she suddenly appears, coming around the point on a raft, stark naked. They now rush out into the water, to take her off the

130


THE DEVIL ABROAD 131

little raft. She makes all kinds of funny gestures, as if she wanted to get away, and go up into the air again.

They then tie her with a medicine- man's rope, and butcher a dog. She pretends to eat the raw dogmeat, smears the blood around her mouth, and on her breast and arms, runs, with her arms stretched out, and moving them up and down, as if she tried to fly, around to all the houses in the village, followed by the crowd. At some house she gets up on the roof, with the people after her, holding her back from going to the moon again.

When the captain laid the request of Legale before Mr. Duncan, and asked him to give in to them in this matter, his answer was :

"Not for a month, nor even for a day will I stop. Satan has reigned long enough here. It is high time his rule should be disturbed. "

The second officer of the Fort should not have said what he did :

" I think you are making a great mistake, sir, in not giving in to them. You do not know what you are doing. You ought to respect their superstitions. It is likely that bloodshed will come from this."

"Well, sir," said Duncan, " I thank you for your ad- vice, which, by the way, I did not ask you to give. 1 may not know what I am doing. But I think you do not know what you are talking about. If blood will be shed, it certainly will not be yours anyhow. I suppose you mean mine. But, as to my own blood, I will be responsible for that, sir. One thing I know - whether blood will be shed or not, and I don't believe it will be, I never could afford to make a compromise with the devil, and I never will."

That is Mr. Duncan, through and through. It was his policy in the beginning. It has been his policy all through his life. It is his policy today. No one can move him


132 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

an inch, when he thinks he is right, and has laid out his course to follow.

When Legale that night came for his answer, and found what it was, he begged the captain to ask Mr. Duncan to stop for a fortnight anyway. But, by this time, the captain knew better than to run his head up against a stone wall, and told the chief it would be of no use to speak to Mr. Duncan about it again.

The day the girl was coming back, the chiefs wife hailed Mr. Duncan as he was going into the schoolroom. She said the chiefs were all at her house, and had sent her to ask him if he could not dispense with the school for just one day.

" No, not for an hour."

" The bell does so disturb them. Could you be so kind as not to ring the bell today ? "

"No, I cannot do that. If I did not ring the bell, the scholars would think there would be no school, and would not come."

" Well, you could ring it softly, not so hard ? "

" No, if I ring it at all, I will have to ring it as usual, so they can hear it."

She cried, and went away seemingly much dejected at the failure of her mission.

Mr. Duncan struck the steel used for a school bell, and says he is inclined to think that, if anything, the bell was clanging a little more lively that day than usual. And no one who knows Mr. Duncan doubts that for a moment.

Only about eighty scholars came to school that day. The rest undoubtedly knew what was coming, and prudently stayed away.

Nothing happened in the morning, but in the afternoon, just as school was to commence, Duncan, on looking out of the door (there were no windows in this school building, noticed several Indians coming in single file, Legale


THE DEVIL ABROAD 133

first. They all had their war-paint on. Some wore masks.

When Legale came into the room, the children all scampered out of the door. The other Indians, seven in number, followed Legale in. Mr. Duncan, who perhaps guessed what was coming, folded his arms, and stood immovable at his place.

Legale first commenced to scold him because he had not "obeyed" him. Mr. Duncan simply answered that he had to obey God more than man, and that God looked with auger and disgust on their heathen deviltry.

At this time, some of the other Indians evidently taunted Legale, who was considerably under the influence of liquor, for he now started over, closer to Mr. Duncan, with an ugly looking knife in his hand, assuring him in the meanwhile that he was a bad man, that he had killed men before, and that he now had made up his mind to "punish" him. He was brandishing his knife, as his companion, Cushwat, encouraged him by crying :

  • ' Kill him. Cut his head off. Give it to me, and I will kick it on the beach ! "

Mr. Duncan, who thought his last moment had come, threw a glance upward, and then looked his intended murderer, who towered above the little Englishman, firmly in the eye, as he said :

"Yes, you are a bad man. I know it. You would kill me, who have done you no harm. I, who have come here only for your good."

He noticed that while he was speaking. Legale' s eyes were turning to the left of him ; that he seemed to waver in his evident purpose. And he was more than surprised when he heard Legale commence to speak abusively to Clah.

On turning to the left, he saw Clah, who had come in without the knowledge of Mr. Duncan, standing with his


134 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

right hand under his blanket, a little behind him. He then understood that Legale, as he came up to kill him, had observed Clah's coming in, and that he, from the position, well knew that Clah had a loaded pistol under his blanket, and would shoot him dead the moment he did any harm to Mr. Duncan.

Growling and cursing. Legale' s followers left. "When he saw that, he also retired.

Well might Mr. Duncan write in his diary that night :

" I have heartily to thank that all-seeing Father, who has covered me and supported me today."

After Legale had gone, Mr. Duncan went out to ring the bell. He was surprised to find the children all huddled together under the building. (The house was built on posts.) He told them to come in, which they did. And with them came also an old woman belonging to Legale' s tribe.

Duncan was a little nervous after the attack, perhaps, but nevertheless he distributed the books, and was about to commence the instruction, when there was a heavy thump against the door, which he had just closed.

He understood perfectly well that this indicated an unfriendly action, and expected his last moment had come, as he felt sure that Legale had probably been taunted with having come and gone without doing what he had said he would do. But he, nevertheless, went to open the door.

Legale stood outside.

" You said I was a bad man. I wanted to show you I was not. Look at my ' teapots.' "

The Tsimsheans were then, as all the coast Indians are now, very anxious to obtain letters or certificates from white men, especially officials, as to their good character. These certificates, which they call " teapots," they value very much, and are very prone to show them to visiting whites, with whom they come in contact.


THE DEVIL ABROAD 135

As they generally are unable to read writing, some- times scurvy tricks are played upon them by persons taking advantage of their ignorance.

I saw once such a " teapot " handed me in good faith by an old, ignorant Indian, which read as follows :

" This Indian is an infernal thief. He will steal a red hot stove. Look out for him."

The poor old Indian did not look as if he could steal a potato.

But Legaic's "teapots" were undoubtedly bona fide, obtained from the captain of the Fort, and others. They were carefully placed between two pieces of board, which were whittled down to the thickness of thick, heavy paper.

He now handed this package to Mr. Duncan.

"No," he said, "I don't care to read your 'teapots.' I know you better than the men who gave them. But that does not make any difference. I have no ill-feeling against you. I have come here to make you good. Come in here, and sit down, and I will help you to be better."

Saying this, he took him by the arm, as if to lead him in. This was too much for the chief. With an indignant grunt, he disappeared.

His feeling continued for some time to be of such a hostile nature, that in order not to expose the scholars' lives to dangerous attacks as they passed his house, Mr. Duncan deemed it best to close the school in the school- house, and accept the offer of another chief to use his house for a school, temporarily. Over one hundred scholars were now in regular attendance.

The murderous attack of Legale took place five days before Christmas.

On Christmas Day, the scholars, at Mr. Duncan's request, brought their friends and parents with them to school. Some two hundred gathered. Now, for the first time, did Mr. Duncan attempt to speak to the people, without


136 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

having reduced his ideas to writing. The attempt, much to his surprise, proved to be a complete success.

He explained to the Indians, to whom Sunday was " dress-day," and Christmas Day " the great dress-day," why the white people celebrated this day as one of " great joy to all people." That God's Son was born on that day. He spoke again of the love of God, and His hatred of sin, and especially called their attention to the sin of drunkenness amongst men, and i3rofligacy amongst women, of which they were guilty. As he spoke, he could see that his words went home to the consciences of many.

After his sermon, he questioned the children on some Bible truths, which they had learned at school, and then they sang two hymns, which he had translated into their tongue, and which the children had practiced in school, he accompanying the singing on his concertina.

Thereafter the same kind of services were held in the schoolroom every Sunday. Hymns were sung, a short address given, a brief catechization of the people on simple truths, and then a closing song and prayer.

And this less than seven months after the Indians had, for the first time in their lives, heard the Gospel message.


XIX

FIRST FRUITS

In February, 1859, Mr. Duncan thought it safe to move the school back to the house he had built for it, and, dividing the pupils into different classes, he found himself able to make better progress than before in instructing them. Every session of the school was opened with prayer and a short address on a passage or narrative from the Bible.

Then he would make the whole school learn a text in English, which he explained and paraphrased, and which they repeated again and again until it was firmly fixed in their minds.

Singing was a very popular part of the school work. Simple hymns were translated into their language, and old and young were very much interested in learning them.

Gradually, the little crowd who gathered around the Word every Sunday increased, and those who had come from the beginning seemed to become more and more interested.

The influence of the Gospel showed itself in many of them. It was especially observable in those who attended the school. Week by week, there was a fewer number who came to school painted in the heathen way, or with the abominable rings or ornaments in their noses or lips.

Soon it was also clearly perceivable that the drunken brawls in the camp were on the decrease.

137


138 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Some of the chiefs had already let it be known that they would abandon their medicine work. And one thing was certain, that the heathenish rites were not carried on with the same spirit and dash as heretofore. One could notice that a feeling of shame had taken possession of the common people when taking part in the ceremonies, instead of the braggadocio which theretofore was one of the concomitants of the medicine and club work.

No better proof that the teaching of the Gospel was taking effect, and that the Word reached the hearts and consciences of the people, can be found than the conduct of a bad man, who was present at a service, and who finally went away muttering, and later was heard to "talk badly " against Mr. Duncan.

His trouble was that he was firmly convinced that Mr. Duncan was speaking about Mm, and had been telling the people his bad ways, and thus "shamed" him.

At a meeting held by several chiefs, in Legaic's house, in March, just before the departure of the main body of the people for the oolakan fishing at Nass River, it was resolved to send word from them to Mr. Duncan, that they hoped he would keep on to "speak strong " against the bad ways of their people, and they would also support him with "strong speeches."

But more than mere talk was it, when the head chief. Legale himself, on the 6th of April, came to the school, this time not to kill the teacher, but in order to sit at his feet and learn about " the good ways."

This example was soon followed by many. And, during the year, four or five other chiefs diligently attended school.

In August, the following event took place :

One Cushwaht had been bitten by a dog belonging in the Fort. According to the Indian custom, he was to


FIRST FRUITS 13&

take out his revenge on one of the whites, and as Mr. Duncan was the only one he could conveniently get at, he went in his rage to the schoolhouse to kill him.

As he found the door locked, he smashed it, cut out the lock, and destroyed some books and other property. It was really the time for Mr. Duncan to be at school, but, fortunately for him, he had been called to see an old Indian woman, who was suffering from peritonitis. He told her that he had to go to the Fort to consult his books, and to mix some medicine for her.

As he stood in his room rolling some pills, which he had prepared, in magnesia, two Indians came rushing in. They were very much excited, brought with them the piece which had been cut out of the door, and begged of him not to go outside the Fort, as Cushwaht had sworn that he would kill him.

One of them, an old man, one of the first to come out to his services, begged him, with tears in his eyes, not to show himself outside the Fort that day.

But Mr. Duncan was immovable. He had promised the old woman to come and see her again. She would expect him. He felt that it was his duty to keep his prom- ise ; that God would protect him in the discharge of his duty. And he went on his way.

As he left the Fort, the Indians shouted after him :

" If Cushwaht kills you, we will kill him."

He had to pass near Cushwaht' s house, in going to see the old woman. He went by with his head erect, whistling in a careless manner. He imagined he saw some one moving inside the door, but nothing happened.

While he was in his patient's house, a woman came in. It was Cushwaht's wife. He noticed that she crossed the floor, and observed him very closely. He looked up, cast a careless glance in her direction, and went on with his work. Later on, he found that she had been sent to see


140 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

whether lie appeared scared or flustered. If he had so appeared, the Indian would have killed him, without doubt. That was their way. If he was not afraid, then the Indian did not dare to attack him, as Duncan's "spirit " would then have been on top.

On coming out, the idea occurred to him to go directly past the house, as there were some other sick people farther away, whom he might visit now, when there was to be no school in the afternoon. But then it came to him :

" No, you have no duty to go there. God will protect you in the discharge of your duty, but not when you recklessly run into danger."

So he turned, and went back to the Fort. Nothing happened. He paid no attention to what Cushwaht had done. Only put on a new lock, and went about his usual business.

And now was apparent the change which had come over the hearts of the Indians during the last half-year. He had to use his strongest powers of persuasion to keep them from taking measures of revenge against Cushwaht, for doing what he had against him, and for threatening his life.

That all days of danger, however, were not yet over, is shown by the following incident :

Mr. Duncan, who had noticed that the Indian children never played or laughed or even smiled, determined to get his school children to have some innocent amusement, as well as instruction.

He, therefore, in November, after the potatoes had been dug from the garden at the Fort, secured the captain's permission to use a portion of this garden for a playground for his scholars, and erected on it a greased pole, with a cap on top, which was to belong to the boy who could first get hold of it.


FIRST FRUITS 141

They had quite a time of it, some of the old people gathering to look at the contest, as well as quite a lot of children, too small to take part.

As it was cold, and the children were scantily dressed, he was afraid that the little ones, who were just looking on, were getting chilly ; so he proposed that they run after him, and, to the one who could catch him, he promised to give a piece of soap. The little children, who already had become quite attached to the kind, loving schoolmaster, started to run. One of them stumbled and fell. Some of the others laughed at the clumsiness of the little tot, who was foolish enough to cry at the mishap.

Mr. Duncan noticed a commotion over in the crowd of people ; but did not know till it was all over what was up.

Loocoal, the father of the child, a medicine-man, who had no love for Mr. Duncan, then or afterwards, angry at his child having been "shamed," and using the Indian logic, that it would not have happened had not Mr. Duncan asked them to run after him and catch him, had lifted his gun, pointed it at Mr. Duncan, and undoubtedly would have killed him then and there, had it not been for his own nephew, who grabbed hold of the muzzle of the gun, pushed it to the ground, and held it there, till others could disarm the outraged medicine-man. Loocoal was, some years later, killed by this very nephew.

The following summer, Mr. Duncan, at the joint request of Bishop Hills, of the Diocese of Columbia, and of Governor Douglas, spent a couple of mouths, while his Indians were away on their fishing trips, at Victoria, where it was thought he could be of great assistance in helping to organize a movement to control and Christian- ize the Indian camps near Victoria, where many of the up-coast Indians came for trading and worse purposes.

He showed his ability as an organizer in this work. His plans were fully approved by the authorities, and



142 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

could he himself have been permitted to carry them out, they would unquestionably have proven of great benefit. But the people afterwards chosen to carry them into execution unfortunately did not have the requisite courage, and the work fell through, after Mr. Duncan had left for the Northland with the Rev. L. S. Tugwell, a missionary, who, upon Duncan's repeated requests upon the Society, to send him a married missionary, in order that the Indians might be taught Christian home-life, had, with hia young wife, been sent out from England, and arrived in Victoria in the month of August, 1860.

Mr. Duncan, of course, started for Fort Simpson with his new assistants on the first steamer going north.

On arriving at the Fort, he addressed Mrs. Tugwell :

" Now, don't bother about the luggage, Mrs. Tugwell ! Your husband and I will look after that. But we have no bread in the house. Will you kindly make us some biscuits ? You will find the flour over there."

"Why, Mr. Duncan," was her answer, "I don't know how to make biscuits. I never made any biscuits in all my life."

One can hardly blame Mr. Duncan, when he, of late, in speaking of this incident  said :

  • ' What do you think of that ? The Church Missionary Society had sent more than five thousand miles, some one to help me to teach the Indians Christian home-life, and here I was, obliged to make bread for her myself, the very first day she was in my house."

It is only fair, however, to say that Mrs. Tugwell, for the little more than a year that she and her husband spent at Fort Simpson, proved of much greater value than her first day's lack of usefulness would seem to give promise of.

As the accommodations in the Fort now had become wholly inadequate, Mr. Duncan concluded to build a


FIRST FRUITS 143

dwelling house outside, where he placed in charge of Mrs. Tugwell some of the older schoolgirls, who were getting to an age when they required a Christian mother's care, and some one to look after them all the time, and this position Mrs. Tugwell, to the best of her ability, filled with great zeal and Christian earnestness.

In the month of April, 1860, Mr. Duncan had under- taken a journey up the Nass River in order to carry the Gospel tidings to the Tsimshean tribes there. But as he was not, at the time, able to get to the upper villages, and now had been authorized by the Governor to warn all the tribes in the Northwestern part of the province against bringing their young women to Victoria, he, after returning to Fort Simpson with the Tugwells, made another tour up Nass River, on which trip he visited all the different villages located up that great stream.

On going away from the Fort on canoe trips, he always took with him, for paddlers, some young boys of his scholars. If he had one adult for counsel as to navigation, which he deemed safest, he always made it a point to choose an old man, whom he could expect to be able to overpower, should he attack him for the purpose of robbery. That was the extent of confidence he yet had in the Indians. So much had been preached to him by the Fort people of their treachery.

On this trip, he was happily surprised as to the character of the old man he had taken along. He says himself :

" One night, when I was camping out, after a weary day, the supper and the little instruction being over, my crew of Indians, excepting one old man, quickly spread their mats near the fire, and lay down to sleep, in pairs, each sharing his fellow's blanket.

" The one old man sat near the fire, smoking his pipe. I crept into my little tent, but, after some time, put my head



144 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

outside, to see that all was right. The old man was just making his bed (a thin bark mat on the ground, a little box of grease, and a few dry salmon for his pillow - a shirt on, and a blanket around him - another bark mat over all, his head included). When everything was adjusted, he put his pipe down, and offered up, in his own tongue, this simple little prayer :

"  Be merciful to me, Jesus.' Then he drew up his feet, and was soon lost to view."

Methinks Mr. Duncan had no fear of any attempt at robbery on the part of this old man after that day.

The reception which he met with at one of the upper villages, on his second trip up Nass River, is so unique, that it must be told, as I heard him tell it one day, in the church at Metlakahtla, to a party of tourists. But I desire to preface the narrative with the remark that not only had the news of Mr. Duncan's preaching the Gospel at the lower villages the foregoing Spring reached these tribes, but, more than that, the tale of the wonderful Influence which he had already exercised over so many of the Fort Simpson Indians had undoubtedly penetrated into the Interior, and filled these savage hearts with awe and wonderment.

On the eighth day of September, Mr. Duncan started from the uppermost of the lower villages on Nass River on his journey up-stream. The current in this river is so rapid that it is almost impossible to make much headway unless a man acquainted with the eddies of the river is at the helm.

Mr. Dancan, therefore, with thanks accepted the generous offer of Kintsadah, the chief, to pilot him on his trip.

Soon after he had arrived at Agweelakkah's village, and had encamped on the river bank, messengers from the chief came to tell him that the chief's house was not


FIRST FRUITS 145

in order just then, but that he was going to arrange it right away, and then would send many messengers to him to tell him to come.

After an hour or so, several persons came down to the river bank, in state, to invite him to come to the chief's house, and be present at his dance. Mr. Duncan was shocked, and told the messengers that he had not come to participate in a dance. That his errand was too solemn a one for that.

The messengers retired, but soon came back with word from the chief, that if the white chief would not come to his dance, he would not come to the white chiefs talk, but that, if he came, the chief and all his people would come and listen to him.

Mr. Duncan still had some scruples about going. The idea of a missionary proceeding to a dance had something abhorrent in it to him, but when the young chief finally came himself, and explained to him that a dance, with them, meant just the same as the Book with the white people (whatever he may have meant by this), Duncan concluded that he had better give in for once, and so went with his crew to the chief's house.

"Upon entering," he said, " I was, with many ceremonies, shown to a box, which had been placed for me, covered with an expensive fur, in front of a sail doing service as a curtain. There were many people in the house. Over to one side sat a number of women, who, later on, acted as a chorus. I looked just as glum as I knew how. I was not going to smile at their dancing, anyhow, and felt half-inclined to turn back, even after I had been seated.

"Soon, a man, with a long staff in his hand, stepped out in front of the curtain. He made a respectful bow to me, and said :

"  Welcome, chief ! '


146 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" As another man then came out, and placed himself by his side, he commenced a sort of improvised chant :

"  Are the heavens going to change the hearts of our old men now ? ' he chanted, striking the time with his staff.

"  Perhaps so,' the other man answered.

"The choir now fell in, asserting that the heavens were going to change the hearts of their people, when, suddenly, the curtain was drawn aside, and the young chief, arrayed in a beautiful suit, stepped forward with very graceful movements, struck an exceedingly imposing attitude right in front of me, saluted me, and then looked up to the bit of heaven showing through the opening in the centre of the ceiling, found in all Indian houses to let the smoke escape by, and, to my great amazement, instead of dancing, commenced to recite a most beautiful prayer.

" This is about what he said, in his own sonorous, flowing language :

'" Pity us, Great Father in heaven, pity us. Give us Thy good Book to do us good, and clear away our sins. This chief has come to tell us about Thee. It is good, Great Father. We want to hear. Who ever came to tell our fathers Thy will *? No- no. But this chief has pitied us, and come. He has Thy Book. We will hear. We will receive Thy Word. We will obey.'

"Then he started a plaintive chant, sounding almost like a hymn. It was an improvisation of how the Heavenly Chief had taken pity on them, and sent the white chief to tell them the great truth. Every little while, the chorus would repeat what he had sung.

  • ' He then made a speech to me, offering me the glad hand of his people.

" In the afternoon, the whole village came to my tent to hear me preach. Prominent among them was an old, blind chief of the uppermost village on the river, Skothene by name, who was greatly impressed by the


FIRST FRUITS 147

message, and repeated the glad tidings about Jesus again and again to the people, and told them that a change had now come over their hearts. He even started a prayer himself to Jesus to take his sins away.

"After supper, the chief from the lower village, who had acted as my pilot up the river, told me that the old, blind chief would like to be allowed to come to my evening's devotion with my crew, which request was cheerfully granted. About thirty came with him. Hearing me singing Christian hymns took their hearts completely. I had to promise to teach them to sing the next day, which I did, trying to instruct them to sing ' Jesus my Saviour,' in their own language.

"In the afternoon, many of the men came to me, and wanted me to write out, so that they could preserve it and always look at it, a pledge not to drink any intoxicating liquors any more. To this pledge they each attached their mark, folded it up carefully, and took it away with them."

This was probably the first temperance meeting ever held on the banks of the Nass River.

Some years later, a mission was started, under the direction of Mr. Duncan, by the Rev. R. A. Doolan, at Kincolith (the place of the scalps), at the mouth of the river. This mission was, later on, most successfully carried on by the Rev. R. Tomlinson, and later still by the Rev. (now the Venerable Archdeacon) W. H. Collison, who, together with his interesting family, still keeps the missionary fire burning at this place.

Returning to Fort Simpson, it is to be said that, during the winter of 1860 and 1861, the attendance at church was very encouraging, some two or three hundred at every service, and this, though there were three services every Sunday, two for adults, and one for the children.


148 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

As these services, as well as the school, were conducted in the native tongue, and as Mr. Tugwell did not seem to be able to make much headway in his study of the language, of course the burden of the work continued to rest on Mr. Duncan's shoulders. But the mere presence of a sympathizing co-worker, and the encouraging words and cordial sympathy of a good, earnest. Christian brother, were thoroughly appreciated by him, and undoubtedly gave more strength than the mere taking of the burden of work from his shoulders could have done. What he experienced in his solitude, both before this time, and later on, when disappointments came in his work, when he saw one or another fall back into sin, and his heart was faint, we can easily imagine.

He has himself told me, that many a night, when he felt faint and discouraged, he, before closing his eyes, ardently implored God to never let him see another day.

The Lord always hears the prayers of His children, it is said.

So He did in this case. But in His own way. He did not answer the prayer to take His servant home in his sleep. But He heard it by giving him greater strength to do the day's work, and by sending, now and then, great encouragement, so that he could plainly perceive that it was the Lord's work he was allowed to do.

The attendance at school this winter was from one hundred to one hundred and fifty children, and from forty to fifty adults.

On New Year's Day the first school feast among the natives was held. Soup, rice, and molasses were served to an assembly of over two hundred and fifty, and speeches, singing, and games were greatly enjoyed by all present.

During the second and third weeks of January, Mr. Duncan again called at the houses of the different


FIRST FRUITS 149

chiefs, and, in the evening, held preaching services, now here, and then there, in order to reach those who had not come out to his regular meetings. During this fortnight, the Gospel was thus preached to fourteen hundred Indians, all told.

The schoolhouse now had become too small. And during the summer preparations were made to erect a building (76x36) to serve both as a church and a schoolhouse. For the first time, the Indians themselves contributed towards its cost, not only by giving their labor, but also by direct contributions in the way of baskets, carved spoons, and native dishes, which all found a ready market in Victoria, as curios.

At the first service after the new schoolhouse was opened, in the Fall of 1861, upwards of four hundred Indians attended, the largest congregation ever gathered together up to that time.

Mr. Duncan had, for some time, carried on two weekly meetings for those who were candidates for baptism and inquirers for the truth. He considered this the most interesting part of his work, and had the pleasure of seeing them attended sometimes by as many as forty earnest seekers for the eternal truth.

In the month of October, the state of Mrs. Tug well's health compelled the Tugwells to give up their work, and return to England. Before leaving, Mr. Tugwell, on the 26th day of July, 1861, had the pleasure of receiving into the church, by the sacrament of baptism, twenty-three persons, fourteen men, five women, and four children - the first fruits of the earnest and strenuous labors of Mr. Duncan among the Tsimsheans.

Several others came forward, asking baptism, but, for several reasons, mainly because they did not seem advanced enough in instruction, they were advised to wait. Others, who desired baptism, and were fit for it, were, at


150 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

this time, deterred from taking the step, by fear of their fierce relatives. The only children baptized were those of Christian parents.

"While he remained in the Society's service Mr. Duncan did not, himself, baptize the converts, as he was not an ordained minister. Only in a few isolated cases did he make an exception, in baptizing those who were dying, when no priest of the Church could be reached.

Mr. Duncan, at about this time, writes thus of the newly baptized :

" Since these have come fairly out, there has been more of a persecuting spirit abroad from the Lord's enemies. This we may expect to be increased. The converts are severely tried and tempted at present, but we pray they may be preserved faithful. While some have decided, and many- - increasingly many - are anxious, others - the wicked - wax worse and worse. Drunkenness seems to gather strength, as the facilities for it increase."


XX

A CHRISTIAN VILLAGE

As early as 1859, Mr. Duncan had come to the conclusion that if the work he was carrying on should have any permanent results, it would be necessary to remove those of the Indians who had become subject to the power of the Gospel, from the evil influences of the heathen homes and surroundings. And, more important still, be it said to our shame, was it, in his judgment, to get them away from the degrading Influence of the white people at the Fort.

It could not be expected that young people, especially, could remain steadfast in their faith, and in their determination to live clean Christian lives, when they were continually exposed to taunts and temptations on the part of parents and relatives.

He, therefore, for quite a while had contemplated the removal of those who had become interested in the Gospel teaching, to a new home, where they could start a model Christian village, keep intoxicating liquors entirely away, worship God in their simple manner without taunts from scoffers or mockers, and observe the Sabbath day, as became true followers of the White Christ.

One day, on talking with an old, venerable chief, and telling him that his object in teaching the children was to make them good and happy, he was surprised to hear the old man echo his own ideas, by saying :

" "Well, if you want to make them good and happy, you will have to take them away from here. "

This remark gave him the courage to broach the subject

151


152 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

to those who attended his services, and, from this time on, he incessantly urged upon his friends the necessity of taking steps soon for removal to the proper locality, where they could start a village of their own.

The converts, and others who were friendly to the Word, soon became convinced that this step was necessary, and the question now came to the fore, - where would the proper place be for the Christian settlement ! Two or three different places were suggested by his adherents, but, upon examination of them, Mr. Duncan came to the conclusion that Metlakahtla,' situate seventeen miles south of the Fort, where these same tribes had had their old villages, before removal to Fort Simpson, would be a model place.

After visiting it in the spring of 1860, Mr. Duncan describes it thus :

" A narrow, placid channel, studded with little promontories and pretty islands. A rich verdure, a waving forest, backed by lofty, but densely-wooded, mountains. A solemn stillness, broken only by the cries of flocks of happy birds flying over, or the more musical note of some little warbler near at hand."

What especially commended it to Mr. Duncan was the splendidly protected harbor, the fine beach, furnishing an excellent landing-place for the canoes, and the fact that portions of land on many of the promontories had already been cleared, and would furnish fine garden spots for the colonists.

It was originally Mr. Duncan's plan to send Mr. and Mrs. Tugwell to Metlakahtla, to take charge of the new settlement, while he was to remain at Fort Simpson, and take trips around to the different settlements, and thus win a greater number of recruits for the cause, whom he

'Metlakahtla means "an inlet with an outlet," or "an inlet running parallel with the seashore," a " through passage."


A CHRISTIAN VILLAGE 153

could from time to time transfer to Metlakahtla. contemplating a removal that year, he, during the summer, set to work, draining the ground which he had selected for the site of the new village, but Mr. Tug well's intended departure delayed the carrying out of the project to the next spring, and of course necessitated Mr. Duncan himself taking charge of the new settlement.

On the 14th of May, 1862, everything was in readiness for the removal. The large schoolhouse, which had been built with such a purpose in view, was taken down and put into a raft, and was sent towards its destination, in charge of a number of men, who were to start the building of a temporary house for Mr. Duncan, and plant some potatoes at the new location.

Two days after the raft had started, a canoe from Victoria brought the sad news that an epidemic of smallpox had broken out there. And, in fact, it seemed as if the crew had brought the plague with them, as some of them had died on the way up.

Before going away, Mr. Duncan had intended to speak a last word to all the Indian tribes. As the shadow of the fell disease was now upon them, he felt still more impelled at once to see them and warn them. He says :

" I, therefore, spent the next few days in assembling and addressing each of the nine tribes separately. Thus, all in the camp again heard a warning voice, many, alas, for the last time, as it proved. Sad to relate, hundreds of those who heard me were soon and suddenly swept into eternity."

On May 27, 1862, the departure came to pass. Mr. Duncan says :

" In the afternoon we started off. All that were ready to go with me occupied six canoes, and we numbered about fifty souls, men, women, and children. Many Indians were seated on the beach, watching our departure with solemn and anxious faces. Some promised to follow us in a few days. The party


154 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

with me seemed filled with solemn joy, as we pushed off, feeling that their long-looked-for flitting had actually commenced. I felt that we were beginning an eventful page in the history of these poor people, and earnestly besought God for His help and blessing."

They arrived at their new location the next afternoon at two o'clock, and at once set to work with a will building their new homes. Those who had gone before had already got all the lumber, except some extremely heavy beams, carried to its destination, had erected two temporary houses, and planted fifty bushels of potatoes.

Every night, after the day's work was ended, the whole colony gathered on the beach, a happy family, for singing, evening prayer, and devotion.

Mr. Duncan is a very methodical man. Before starting on this new enterprise, he had drafted the following rules, which every adult was required to pledge himself faithfully to live up to, before he could become a member of this model community.

The rules were simple, but definite, and pledged each inhabitant :

  1. To give up their "Hallied," or Indian deviltry.

  2. To cease calling in conjurers when sick.

  3. To cease gambling.

  4. To cease giving away their property for display.

  5. To cease painting their faces.

  6. To cease drinking intoxicating drinks.

  7. To rest on the Sabbath.

  8. To attend religious instruction.

  9. To send their children to school.

  10. To be clean.

  11. To be industrious.

  12. To be peaceful.

  13. To be liberal and honest in trade.

  14. To build neat houses.



A CHRISTIAN VILLAGE 165

  1. To pay the village tax.

These obligations may seem easy enough to us, but when we consider that the first five rules really required of these people the surrender of all their ancient national customs, which had, for ages, not only occupied their time, but had come to be looked upon with the veneration of religious rites, we can readily understand that to give them up all at once would seem to many of them like "cutting off the right hand or plucking out the right eye."

But Mr. Duncan had no idea of making the change an easy one for them. That is not his style : it was a change of heart he wanted. No half-hearted measures would do. No compromise with the devil, or with the heathenish past, could be tolerated for a moment.

No wonder, therefore, that many quailed before the sacrifice, and deemed it too severe. But, strict as the requirements were, they did not deter those who were really in earnest.

It was a small company which started away with Mr. Duncan that day, but what must have been their feelings when they, within a fortnight, on the 6th day of June, espied coming dashing down the inlet thirty canoes, loaded with three hundred people, who were coming to join their fortunes with the happy family, which had gone before. If there were any faint hearts among the pioneers, would not such a sight make them cry with joy?

Among the new arrivals was almost the whole Kitlahn tribe, with two chiefs.

This must have been a great day for Mr. Duncan. He could now plainly see that his labors had, indeed, not been in vain.

But he and his adherents were to be sorely tried.

The awful smallpox plague soon after broke out, in full


156 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

blast, among the Indians at Fort Simpson. More than, five hundred of them died from the ravages of the fell disease, and, though quarantine, as strict as possible under the circumstances, was maintained at Metlakahtla, the disease was of course brought there, and soon a great number of the newcomers fell victims to the plague.

God's protecting hand, however, was over the community, and only five of the settlers in the new village died from the plague.

One of this number was Stephen Eyan, one of the group baptized by Mr. Tugwell the year before.

Mr. Duncan gives a touching account of his (Eyan's) last days :

"He died in a most distressing condition, as far as the body is concerned, away from every one whom he loved, in a little bark hut on a rocky beach, just beyond the reach of the tide, which no one of his relatives dared approach, except the one who nursed him. In this damp, lowly, distressing state, suffering from the malignant disease, smallpox, how cheering to receive such words as the following from him :

" * I am quite happy. I find my Saviour very near to me. I am not afraid to die. Heaven is open to receive me. Give my thanks to Mr. Duncan. He told me of Jesus. I have hold of the ladder that reaches to heaven. All Mr. Duncan taught me, I now feel to be true.'

" These words he wanted carried to his relatives :

"  Do not weep for me. You are poor, being left. I am not poor. I am going to heaven. My Saviour is very near to me. Do all of you follow me to heaven. Let not one of you be wanting. Tell my mother more clearly the way of life. I am afraid she does not yet understand the way. Tell her not to weep for me, but to get ready to die. Be all of one heart, and live in peace ! ' "

Indeed, one such death was well worth all the sacrifices, all the loneliness, which Mr. Duncan had gone through, and all he was still to go through. And there were to be many, many more such deaths at Metlakahtla.


XXI

LEGAIC


"This man, the head chief of the Tsimsheans, who, it will be remembered, once sought to take Mr. Duncan's life, but who, later on, attended school, and seemed to come under the influence of the Word, was not among those who first went to Metlakahtla.

And this was hardly to be expected. To no man in all the tribes would moving to Metlakahtla, and becoming a Christian, mean so much as to Legale.

Mr. Duncan had, in his wisdom, found it necessary to do away with all chieftainship among the Christian Tsimsheans. This, the very foundation for their heathen institutions, must be entirely eradicated before a new foundation could be laid. So, his word was :

" We recognize no chiefs among us, except those who excel in living upright Christian lives, and show that they are true sons of God."

At Fort Simpson, Legale was sought, for one purpose and then another. He was looked up to and honored as the head chief of the nation. At Metlakahtla, he would be as low as the lowest - no higher than the lowest, until his life showed that he was a true and exemplary Christian.

The government of the village was, and of course had to be, in the hands of Mr. Duncan. He could brook no chiefs beside him, certainly none above him.

The only assistants he had, in the beginning of the life of the new village, were twelve native constables, who had to see that peace was maintained, that no strangers

157


158 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

coming among them misbehaved, and that the people of the village lived proper Christian lives. It was their duty to report all misbehaviour to Mr. Duncan.

Later on, the number of constables was increased to thirty, and a village council appointed, the membership varying in number from time to time. Each one of these officials were then given the supervision of ten of the Inhabitants, an arrangement similar to the class system in the Methodist Church.

Legale' s tribe seemed to have suffered more, in proportion, than any other from the ravages of the smallpox epidemic.

This visitation brought him to his senses, and sent him, with his family, to Metlakahtla, where, for a while, he seemed to try hard to live an humble and consistent Christian life. But, every now and then, messengers came to him from the Fort Simpson Indians.

He was wanted there for this and for that. When an Indian had a feast, or had built, or was about to build, a new house, or was to have a potlatch, he did not feel that the festivities were complete without Legale' s presence.

Legale once asked Mr. Duncan what he should do about this. Whether he could not go over and help them sometimes. Mr. Duncan's answer was :

" No. You should not go. You have to be one thing or the other."

It was the same old rule - no compromise with the devil ; no half-heartedness.

After a while. Legale got so that he wanted to be friends with both sides, and his talk, as reported to Mr. Duncan, threatened to cause bad blood among the people at Metlakahtla.

Mr. Duncan sent for him, and said to him :

"Legale, you had better leave here, and go back to Fort Simpson. I don't want you here. You are wearing


LEGAIC 159

ing the mantle on both shoulders. Yon want to serve both God and the devil, and you are doing the devil's work here. You had better leave here and go back, for your heart is there with the heathen, and where you can be a chief."

There was nothing for him to do after that but to leave. He knew Mr. Duncan. But he was a chief, a great chief, and it would never do for him to admit that he had been sent away. So, before he pushed his canoe off from the beach, he made the crowd a little speech, in which he told them that he had to go away. That he knew he was doing wrong, and probably would be very sorry for it some time. But his friends over there were too strong for him and pulled him away.

How did these new Christians act ? - shrug their shoulders, and say :

" Just what I told you. It is just what I expected, that he could not stand. I am not at all surprised " ?

No. That is the way among many Whites, who pretend to be good Christians. Not so these people.

As his canoe scraped against the sand, they knelt down on the beach, and prayed God that He would speak to his heart, and not allow him to turn away from his Heavenly Father.

And then some of them hastened to Mr. Duncan to tell him that Legale had gone.

They must have been surprised indeed when he answered them :

" Yes, I know it. I told him to go."

What? Send Legale away - the head chief ! Not care to keep him in the village !

A little meditation, perhaps, made Mr. Duncan grow a head or more in their estimation. But for that he did not care.

It was late at night, the third day thereafter, when


160 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Mr. Duncan heard a knock at the door of his little cabin. When he opened it, he found Legale standing outside. He scanned his hands for a weapon. He was a little afraid that he had come back in the night for revenge. But he discovered nothing. Legale' s eyes were cast down.

"What do you want?"

" I want to come in."

" What do you want here?"

" I want to talk with you."

"All right. Come in then."

He looked dejected, and broken-hearted, and walked and acted very diffidently and humbly. There was nothing of the proud chief about him now ! When in the room, Mr. Duncan said :

" So you have come back ? "

" I have come back."

" Why did you, when I told you to go away ? "

" Because I could not help it. I have not slept for three nights. I have come back to say to you : Tell me what to do, and I will do it. Tell me what not to do, and I will not do it. There is only one thing you must not tell me to do, for I will not do it."

" What is that ? "

" Do not tell me to go away. I will not do it, for I cannot do it."

Impressed by his earnestness, Mr. Duncan allowed him to come back, and he now became a truly humble, earnest seeker, and the following year was baptized, together with his wife and only daughter;

In his baptism he, at his own request, received the name of "Paul," and well might he, for he proved another " Saul of Tarsus," indeed.

The man who once was ready to take Mr. Duncan's life, now became known, up and down the coast, as his most ardent admirer and assistant.


LEGAIC 161

Once, and only once, after that, did he fail in his duty, but Mr. Duncan gave him then such a good lesson that he never forgot it :

The constables of the village were furnished with a cap, belt and cape, as badges of office.

Legale, who perhaps in this saw a distinction to make up for the loss of his chieftainship, asked Mr. Duncan if he would not appoint him a constable, and he readily assented.

After a year or more, when he had found out that the office of constable did not only consist of wearing a cap, belt and cape, but that there was considerable work connected with it, and sometimes even considerable danger, he came to Mr. Duncan and said he thought he would give it up.

"All right," Mr. Duncan said. "It is wholly voluntary, you know. If you take no interest in it, I'll not have you."

Legale told him that all the others wanted to give it up too.

"What!"

Duncan ordered him to stay right where he was, and at once sent for all the other constables. When they had arrived, and were all seated around the table in his office, he commenced :

"I have heard that some of you are dissatisfied with your job, and want to give it up. If that is so, I want to know it. I don't want to force this honorable but dangerous office upon any one. It takes men with a heart for that business, and I want no one else. Let us now hear from each of you in turn. You - what do you say 1 Do you want to give up your cap and belt 1 "

"No, sir. I don't want to. I never thought of such a thing."

"And you, sir I"


162 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

"No.

And so all around to nine of them.

The tenth, who belonged to Legale's tribe, said :

"I have poor health, sir. Sometimes great strength and endurance are required to discharge the duties of the office. I don't think I have that strength, and some- times I have thought of giving it up."

"All right, sir. You are right. Tour health is rather poor, and I think myself it may be the best thing for you to make place for another man."

The eleventh answered a definite " No."

" Now, as to you. Legale, - I will not ask you. I want to say to you, sir, that you cannot be a constable any longer. I want your cap, belt, and cape at once."

A couple of months later, Legale' s wife came around and told Mr. Duncan that he would like very much to get back on the force. He evidently missed the authority and distinction.

"No. Tell your husband that he has given it up once, and never can be a constable again as long as he lives."

This humiliation he took like a Christian, and never expressed any dissatisfaction with Mr. Duncan's decision.

For several years he supported himself and family by working as an humble carpenter, and whenever he could say a word for the Master, who had conquered his proud and savage heart, he did not fail so to do.

In 1864, he and Clah were present with Mr. Duncan at a meeting in the Indian camp at Fort Simpson.

After Mr. Duncan had spoken, an old man got up and said that he had come too late to do the old people any good ; that had he come sooner, when the first white traders came, the Tsimsheans would long ago have been good ; but they had been allowed to grow up in sin, and
 

LEGAIC 163

now their sins were so deeply laid that they could not change.

Mr. Duncan was about to rise to answer the old man, when he, to his surprise, noticed that Legale had already sprung to his feet, and with great fervor said :

"I am a chief, - a Tsimshean chief. You know I have been bad, very bad, - as bad as any man here. I have grown up, and grown old in sin. But God has changed my heart, and He can change yours. Think not to excuse yourselves in your sins by saying you are too old, or too bad, to mend. Nothing is impossible with God. Come to God. Try His way. He can save you."

In 1869, while on the way down from N"ass River, he was suddenly taken ill at Fort Simpson.

When he became convinced that he could not live, he sent the following note to Mr. Duncan :

" Dear Sir :

" I want to see you. I always remember you in my mind. I shall be sorry not to see you before I go away, because you showed me the ladder that leads to heaven, and I am on that ladder now. I have nothing to trouble me, only I want to see you."

A malignant epidemic was, at the time, prevalent at Metlakahtla, making it impossible for Mr. Duncan to leave, though a second and third message came in quick succession, and finally this last, which had not been fully completed when the Father called him home :

" My Dear Sir :

" This is my last letter, to say I am very happy. I am going to rest from trouble, trial, and temptation. I don't feel afraid to meet my God. In my painful body I always remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ "

Here the pen had fallen from the dying man's hand.


164 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

This was the death of Legale, once the mortal enemy of Mr. Duncan, and of the holy cause he represented.

His life is not different from that of many others of the Indians who found a happy, blessed end, thanks to the solace of the Gospel, which Mr. Duncan had brought to them at such sacrifice, and with such infinite labor.

It is only his one-time prominent position, and the fact that he, in order to become a Christian, had to give up so much more than many of the others, that entitles him to any special mention.


XXII

ONWARD AND UPWARD

The building up of the little village now proceeded at a rapid gait.

Before the Fall of 1862, thirty-five houses, averaging 34x18, and each with four windows, had been erected. Governor Douglas himself gave the windows and the nails for the buildings.

Mr. Duncan had built a log house for himself, containing a sitting-room, a kitchen and a bedroom, provided with two bunks, so he even was in a position to entertain an occasional guest.

He had also, during the Summer and Fall, erected, in time to be able to use it for the first time for the Christmas services in 1862, a large, octagonal church. There were two roaring fires in the centre, the smoke finding its way up through an opening in the middle of the roof, Indian fashion. The building had no flooring, the people sitting on the bare gravel floor. It could easily hold seven hundred people, and soon, as more and more every year came to live at Metlakahtla, it was often taxed to its utmost capacity.

Both of these buildings were, later on, torn down to give place to the magnificent Mission House. Unfortunately, there are no photographs in existence of the two pioneer buildings at "old" Metlakahtla.

From its beginning, Metlakahtla became known for its rigid observation of the Sabbath day. It was the first duty imposed by Mr. Duncan on the Indians, in his very first

165


166 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

address to them, and he had always continued to insist that it is a Christian's foremost duty to keep the Sabbath day holy, to do no secular work on that day, but to devote it entirely to worship and rest.

The Metlakahtla Indians, the name under which his people soon became known all over the coast, not only observed Sunday rigorously when at home, which they could not, of course, very well help, but wherever they went, and no matter how great the temptation might be, they were true to their convictions, and not only abstained from all labor, but made it a point to gather around the Word every Sunday.

Bishop Hills, in 1863, after mentioning the excitement attending the short fishing season, and the importance of every hour's work while it lasts, writes :

"But what did the Christian Indians do when the Sunday came ? The first Sunday of their fishing season, as Christians, although the fish had come up in greater abundance than ever, and the season was so short, the Christians said :

" We cannot go and fish.'

"The heathen were full of excitement, gathering in the spoils, but the Christians said :

" No, we are God's people. God will provide for us, and we will spend the day as He tells us to do.' "

Mr. Duncan relates an interesting incident, which took place some years later :

Captain Butler, who was, at the time, superintending the building of the telegraph lines through the Interior of British Columbia, by the Western Union Telegraph Company, and who was in a great hurry to get a shipment of wire and other supplies up to the large squad of workmen in the Interior, who would all be idle till the materials reached them, came to Mr. Duncan to ascertain if he could furnish him some men to take the supplies up the Skeena River in their canoes, just as fast as it could


ONWARD AND UPWARD 167

possibly be done, whenever the materials should arrive on the steamer.

" Yes," Mr. Duncan said. " I can get you the men, and very reliable men at that, but they will not work Sundays."

" That is too bad. We are in such a hurry. We have a large force lying idle at the Company's expense. Every day costs a small fortune. But get me twenty-four men and four canoes anyway."

This was done. When the captain came back with his small steamer, they were ready. The steamer was towing several canoes, belonging to some Indians, whom he had picked up. When he came by Metlakahtla, Mr. Duncan said :

" I have done what you wanted me to ; - the men are all ready."

"I am sorry," the captain answered. "I don't need them now. I have got enough Indians with me who will work on Sunday, and every other day."

And, with these words, he started towards Skeena River with his steamer and canoes.

The Indians, aggravated at his conduct, sought Mr. Duncan's advice as to what to do.

"He has hired you," Mr. Duncan answered, "and has insulted you by passing you by. You had better paddle your canoes the twenty miles, and tell him you are ready to go to work, as you agreed."

They did so. It was a good thing for Butler, for when he was ready to start his canoes up the river, he found his "Sunday and every-other-day " Indians all gone. They had only wanted to get their canoes towed up any- way, and, under pretense of getting huffy at some treatment by some of his men, they had all left him in the lurch. He was, therefore, more than glad to take the Metlakahtla Indians, under the circumstances.


168 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

He had some boats manned by white sailors, and he started them all together one Saturday at noon.

When Sunday came, the Indians refused to proceed, and tied up their canoes for the day on the river bank. He coaxed and threatened, but it did not help. Then the sailors commenced to taunt and ridicule them, knowing the Indians' weakness on that point. But they stood by their guns, stayed and held their little meeting, while the white sailors pulled on their oars.

Monday morning they started in afresh, and, before Tuesday noon, they came up with the white sailors, and shot past them like a streak of lightning. Now it was their turn to laugh and taunt. They shouted to the sailors that they would tell their friends that they would be coming along by and by.

Captain Butler, later on, had to acknowledge that these Indians were the best and most reliable men he ever had to deal with, and that they always managed to get ahead of those who worked on Sundays.

After that, he always tried to get Metlakahtla Indians whenever he could.

New Year's Day, 1863, the people of Metlakahtla were to pay their first annual village tax, to wit : one blanket, or $2.50, for every adult male, and one shirt, or $1.00, for boys approaching manhood. The proceeds were to be used towards village improvements ; that year for the building of a road around the village.

Of one hundred and thirty amenable to the tax levy, only ten defaulted, and they were excused on account of poverty.

The total proceeds of the tax collection was one green, one blue, and ninety-four white blankets, one pair of white trousers, one dressed elk skin, seventeen shirts, and seven dollars.

It is evident that there were no tax-dodgers at Metlakahtla.


ONWARD AND UPWARD 169

As to the spiritual condition about this time Mr. Duncan wrote the Church Missionary Society as follows :

  • "About four hundred to six hundred souls attend divine service on Sundays, and are being governed by Christian and civilized laws. About seventy adults and twenty children are already baptized, or are only waiting for a minister to come and baptize them. About one hundred children are attending the day school, and one hundred adults the evening school. About forty of the young men have formed themselves into two classes, and meet for prayer and exhorting each other.

"The instruments of the medicine-men, which have spell- bound their nation for ages, have found their way into my house, and are most willingly and cheerfully given up. The dark and cruel mantle of heathenism has been rent, so it can never be made whole.

" Feasts are now characterized by order and good-will, and begin and end with the offering of thanks to the Giver of all good gifts. Scarcely a soul remains away from divine service, excepting the sick, and their nurses. Evening family devotions are common in almost every house, and, better than all, I have a hope that many have experienced a real change of heart. Thus the surrounding tribes have now a model village before them, acting as a powerful witness for the truth of the Gospel, shaming and correcting, yet still captivating, them, for in it they see those good things which they and their forefathers have sought and labored for in vain ; to wit - peace, security, order, honesty, and progress. To God be all the praise and glory ! "

In April, 1863, Bishop Hills, of Columbia, came up from Victoria to baptize fifty-seven adults.

Before admitting them to the holy sacrament, he examined the applicants carefully. He says about this part of the work :

  • "It was a strange, yet intensely interesting sight in the log cabin, by the dim glimmer of a small lamp, to see just the countenance of the Indian, sometimes with uplifted eyes, as he spoke of the blessedness of prayer, - at other times with down- cast melancholy, as he smote upon his breast in the recital of


170 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

his penitence. The tawny face, the high cheek bones, the glossy, jet black, flowing hair, the dark glossy eye, the manly brow, were a picture worthy the pencil of an artist. The night was cold - I had occasionally to rise, and walk about for warmth - yet there were more. The Indian usually retires, as he rises, with the sun ; but now he would turn night into day, if he might only be allowed to ' have the sign,' and be fixed in the good ways of God."

It is exceedingly interesting to read the bishop's description of the church, and of the preparations for the baptism :

"The impressiveness of the occasion was manifest in the devout and reverent manner of all present. There were no external aids, sometimes thought necessary for the savage mind, to produce or increase the solemnity of the scene.

"The building is a bare, unfinished octagon of logs and spars - a mere barn - capable of containing seven hundred persons. The roof was partly open at the top, and though the weather was still cold, there was no fire. A simple table, covered with a white cloth, upon which stood three hand- basins of water, served for the font, and I officiated in a surplice. Thus, there was nothing to impress the senses, no color or ornament, or church decoration, or music. The solemnity of the scene was produced by the earnest sincerity and serious purpose with which these children of the Far West were prepared to offer themselves to God, and to renounce for- ever the hateful sins and cruel deeds of their heathenism. And the solemn stillness was broken only by the breath of prayer. The responses were made with earnestness and decision. Not an individual was there whose lips did not utter, in their own expressive tongue, their hearty readiness to believe and to serve God."

Among those baptized on this occasion was Legaic, the head chief, an account of whose life and death was given in the foregoing chapter.

When it has been said, in a publication produced under the Church Missionary Society's auspices, that this absence of all "external aids" to devotion was the result of


ONWARD AND UPWARD 171

circumstances, rather than choice, it shows either a total un-acquaintance with Mr. Duncan's peculiarities and ideas, or a willful perversion of facts.

From his earliest days, Mr. Duncan has been, shall I gay - a most intolerant opponent of everything even smacking of ritualism. No crosses or altars, or vestments, or even lecterns, are allowed in any church with which he has anything to do. Every service has to be as rigorously simple and unostentatious as it is possible to make it, and it may well be believed that no bishop or any other priest would be allowed to indulge in any high church frills, like bowing to the East, or having the catechumens kneel before the officiating clergyman, or before any one but God. He simply would not have it. As he once expressed himself to me :

"He was Bishop of Columbia ; but I was Pope of Metlakahtla. So it had to be the way I wanted it, or not at all."

We, who know Mr. Duncan, can readily affirm that this picture, painted by himself, is not the least bit over- drawn.

It should, perhaps, here be added, in order to explain his position on these matters, that it is due to an honest conviction on his part that it would be absolutely detrimental to the Indian to allow ceremonies, ritual, vestments and church decorations to be a part of his religious devotion, for the reason that he feels assured that, in that case, these outward elements would assume too great importance to him, and that they would, in fact, become his religion, instead of, as it should be, the faith of a repentant heart, and the soul resting, its sins forgiven, in the loving arms of Jesus, the blessed Saviour.

It may also at this place be said, that as much as he detests forms, and rituals, and ceremonies in religion, just as cordially is he opposed to emotionalism, and, from


172 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

the earliest times, he has discouraged, as much as ho could, any phase of religion, which would particularly address itself to the emotions of the natives. With him it is, and must be, conviction, faith and practice, and nothing else.

In his sermons, it is the head he addresses, rather than the heart. And yet he can sometimes be as tender as a woman.

The bishop, before he left, on the occasion mentioned just before this digression, gave a feast of rice and mo- lasses to all the village.

His description will give a new idea, both of their ways, and of their accomplishments. He says :

" They assembled in the octagon. Cloths were laid. They all brought their own dishes and spoons. There were three tables, at each of which one of their chiefs presided. Their custom is to eat little at the time, but to take away the principal part of the allotted portion.

" All rise, before and after the meal, for grace. Singing was then introduced, and excellent certainly were the strains of harmony poured forth in the English language. Several well- known rounds were capitally sung. First, a boat song; then : -

"  When a weary task you find it, Persevere and never mind it.'
Then :-

"  Come tell me now, sweet little bird. Who decked thy wings with gold ? '

and last: -

"'God save the Queen.' In this they were as quick and lively as any children in the world, the men joining too, in good time, and with voices sweet and soft. Mr. Duncan afterwards addressed them in an earnest speech."

Six months later, the Rev. E. J. Dundas came to Metlakahtla, for the purpose of baptizing thirty-nine more adults and thirteen children.


ONWARD AND UPWARD 173

In 1866, the bishop again visited the settlement, and then baptized sixty -five adults on Whitsunday. And in September of the following year, the dean of Christ's Church, Victoria, Mr. Duncan's old and beloved friend, the Rev. E. Cridge, came up, stayed for several weeks, and baptized ninety-six adults, and eighteen children.

Thus, the good work continued. Almost every year, from now on, an increasing number were baptized. And every New Year's Day, a large number of new colonists were solemnly admitted to the privileges of the Christian community. In some years over one hundred joined.

In this connection it may be said that Dean Cridge, on his visit to Metlakahtla, by his charming Christian disposition, completely won the hearts of the Indians, who, after this, looked upon him as their best friend, next to Mr. Duncan.

This was made apparent, when Bishop Hills, several years later, wrote to Mr. Duncan that he intended again to visit Metlakahtla.

Some time prior thereto, the bishop had had a falling- out with Dean Cridge, which occurred in this way :

A sacerdotal and ritualistic priest of the extreme high wing of the Church had one day, at the bishop's invitation, preached in Christ's Church in Victoria. He gave full vent to his extreme, faddish notions, a matter of bad taste, to say the least, as it was well known that the dean was an extreme low- churchman.

After the sermon, the dean announced that never again, as long as he was dean of Christ's Church, should such a sermon be delivered in that church, an announcement which was received by the congregation with a round of applause.

The bishop, who was present, went into a paroxysm of rage, and not only roundly abused the dean in the vestry, after the service, but even went to the extent of having


174 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

him prosecuted before an ecclesiastical court, on the charge of " brawling in church," a prosecution which ended in the bishop taking away his license.

The result of this abominable treatment of Dean Cridge was that not only he, but almost his whole congregation, left Christ's Church, and joined the "Reformed Episcopal" Church, which latter church soon after recognized his eminent qualifications by making him a bishop. This high office he, to this day, at the advanced age of ninety years, still fills with that true Christian love and evangelical zeal for which he always has been noted.

When the bishop's message came to Mr. Duncan, he, who knew of the Indians' feelings in regard to the trouble between the bishop and Dean Cridge, thought it best to lay the matter before a meeting of his church, and to ask the Indians what answer they wanted him to give the bishop.

It did not take the Indians long to come to the conclusion that they wanted Mr. Duncan to write the bishop :

"Let the bishop first become reconciled with Mr. Cridge, and then he may come to Metlakahtla."

The letter was sent, but no bishop came.

The Indian Christians at Metlakahtla showed plainly enough, by their action at this time, that they were not persons with cringing knees, even before the highest church dignitaries ; but reserved their Christian privilege to insist upon Christian conduct and disposition, even in the princes of the Church.

This declaration of independence on their part should have given fair warning to the Society, and to the Church, that they were not to be oppressed by any hierarchical domination. But it was not heeded, as will hereafter be made apparent. In fact, it is not unlikely that their open and frank avowal, at this time, was at least one of the causes of the persecution, on the part of the Church and State, to which they would some day find themselves subjected.


XXIII

TEMPORAL ADVANCEMENT

God well knew what He did, when He placed a practical business man as missionary among these Indians.

When a Tsimshean became a Christian, he became poorer than when he was a heathen. This statement may seem absurd, but its correctness is easily proven. To become a Christian does not make him a smarter hunter, or a more skillful fisherman. In other words, if no new Industry is provided for him, his income remains the same as before. Not so with his expenses. When a heathen, his old, dirty blanket was sufficient, both for a suit and for bedclothes. His wife and children, most of the time, trotted around only half-clothed. When he became a Christian, he needed a decent suit to go to church in, and another for his daily work. His wife required a civilized dress, and the children also must be clothed and shod. This meant to him quite an additional outlay.

Therefore, it was absolutely necessary, not only to convert him to Christianity, but also to open to him new sources of industry, new means of earning wages, with which to meet the extra demands on his purse.

This Mr. Duncan gradually set about doing. To begin with, he paid the Indians wages for their work on his house, and on the church. Then they were paid for all work on the public improvements, such as the roads which were being built, the drainage necessary, and, later on, the building of a public guest house, or market house, where

175


176 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

visiting Indians could be housed while staying at the village for trading purposes.

One hundred garden plots were also laid out on a neighboring island, where some of the old villages had been located, and distributed among the villagers, who thus were enabled to raise all the potatoes they needed for household use.

They were also encouraged in preparing salted and smoked salmon, oolakan grease, and dried berries, for exportation to Victoria, and Mr. Duncan made it a point to exhort them to extraordinary efforts to secure furs of all kinds.

After a while, he started a soap factory among them, at which cheap soap was manufactured from the oolakan grease, an industry which gave steady employment to several people.

But, in order to get rid of their articles for export, and to obtain the necessities of life, outside of what the ocean furnished them, the Metlakahtla Indians were either obliged to go to Fort Simpson to trade with the Company's agents, or encourage the visits of trading schooners, who were at the time " a visitation indeed " of the coast.

To go to Fort Simpson exposed them to the very temptations from which Mr. Duncan had wanted to remove them, when he took them to Metlakahtla. Several of his people, to his sorrow, while going to the Fort to trade, had fallen victims to the temptations there so freely thrust upon them.

On the other hand, the trading schooners were practically nothing but grog-shops, and their visits to the settlements of the Indians were only too frequently marked by murder, and the very maddest of riots.

Mr. Duncan, therefore, soon after coming to Metlakahtla, made an earnest effort to have the Hudson's Bay company open a store in the village where the Indians could


TEMPORAL ADVANCEMENT 177

exchange their furs and other produce, and obtain, in return therefore, the necessities of life, without being compelled to go to the heathen hell-hole at the Fort.

The only conditions he imposed were, that no intoxicating liquors should be sold or kept on the premises, that only a reasonable profit should be exacted, and that the agent in charge should be a decent man, who would respect the Sabbath day, and not, in any manner, throw any hindrance in the way of the Christian and civilizing work carried on in the village.

The directors of the Company, who did not much fancy the removal of all these Indians from the villages around the Fort, refused to grant this reasonable request, and, what was more, when Mr. Duncan attempted to induce one after the other of the Christian merchants in Victoria to establish a branch store at Metlakahtla, the Hudson's Bay Company, which, at the time, was just about almighty on the coast, insinuated to each of them that he might not find it to his interest to take up this enterprise. They, therefore, one after the other, backed out, after first having taken very kindly to the proposition.

But Mr. Duncan was not the man to be daunted. He knew something about business himself, and what he did not know, he could learn. And he concluded to open a store on his own account at Metlakahtla.

He could buy furs, and other articles from the Indians himself, and ship them to Victoria, and, in return, sell them what they needed.

By being exceedingly careful and saving, he had been able to put away quite a portion of the meager salary of $500 per annum, which the Society paid him while at the Fort, and this small capital would now enable him to purchase and pay cash for a small stock of goods, such as the Indians needed.

But he soon ascertained that capital was not the only


178 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

thing which he required. He was easily six hundred miles from Victoria. His exports had to be shipped out, and the goods that he needed had to be shipped in. And the Hudson's Bay Company's steamers were the only means of communication along the coast.

He was hardly prepared for their decision that their steamers would not be allowed to carry any freight, either to or from Metlakahtla.

But when it came, he made up his mind that a little thing like that was not to baulk his plans.

He determined to buy and fit out his own schooner, and have the Indians run it up and down the coast. It would give more of them a living. That was all.

He laid the matter before the Governor in Council, who agreed to advance him, from the public funds, five hundred dollars. The schooner could be bought for fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Duncan, who wanted the Indians to feel personally interested in the enterprise, persuaded them to take shares of five dollars each to the amount of four hundred dollars, all told, and the balance he advanced from his own private funds.

Soon the Carolina j with a native master and crew, was running up and down the coast, bringing goods for the store up to Metlakahtla, and furs, by the ton, down, for, as soon as the other Indians living outside of Metlakahtla found out that their marten skins, which, at the Company's store had only been worth twenty-five cents, at Mr. Duncan's establishment brought their possessor from three to four dollars ; mink skins instead of two cents, fifty or seventy-five cents, and sea otters, instead of ten to twelve dollars, one hundred dollars, they soon found it to their interest to transfer their trade to the new store. And the Carolina now carried a full cargo both ways, and was kept busy running all the time.

When, at the close of the year, Mr. Duncan was able to


TEMPORAL ADVANCEMENT 179

pay each of the Indian stockholders five dollars per share in dividend, they did not like to take the money at first, as they thought they would then have to give up their interest in the schooner ; but when he explained to them that they still retained their interest, just as before, as part owners, and that the sum which he paid them only represented what they had earned on their investment, they almost "died."

After that, they wanted to rechristen the schooner, " Hah " (a male slave). " For," said they, " he does all the work, and we get all the profits."

The Indians evidently do not agree with us as to the gender of a ship.

But it stands to reason that the Hudson's Bay Company, which, at that time, was the Standard Oil Company of the Northwest coast, not to say of all Canada, and used to having things pretty much its own way, would not stand for a man like Mr. Duncan, a poor man, and a mere missionary at that, interfering in this manner with their monopoly, without trying to make him feel its power.

An order was given to overbid him on furs, and to undersell him on goods, which the Indians wanted. He would soon find that it did not pay to play with a concern like theirs. They could well afford to run their business at Fort Simpson for, say a year, even at an absolute loss, if necessary, in order to crush this inconvenient and obstreperous rival.

But the Company did not reckon with the kind of man Mr. Duncan was.

When he heard of these plans of theirs, he went to the Company's representative, and said to him :

"I have heard what the Company has concluded to do, and I am perfectly willing to have you carry out its orders. I do not fear you, and I will tell you frankly how I will act in the matter, so that you may take your measures


I8O THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

accordingly. My goods are all paid for, and it will not break me if I do not sell a pound or an ell of my stuff. The moment I find that you raise the price of furs above a fair living price, or lower the price of goods below a fair profit, I will turn the key in the lock of the door of my store, and not sell another article. When the Indians come for goods, or with furs, I will send them to you, and tell them they can make a good profit by coming to the Fort. But, mind you, you will have to keep on with your plan, and your prices. For the moment I learn that you have come down on the furs, or have come up on your store goods, I open the door of my store again, and tell the Indians to come and trade with me once more. That I can do as well as you with them. And, considering the way they feel towards you, I think I will be able to get them to do just about as I tell them. 'Now, honestly, what do you think about my plan ? "

Captain Lewis evidently did not think much of it, for the Hudson's Bay Company's order was revoked, and, for the first time in its history, this purse-proud and powerful Company had to acknowledge a defeat in its great trade of the Northwest Territory.

And what was more, not only did the directors conclude it was good policy not to baulk Mr. Duncan in his enter- prise, but, within another six months, they notified him that they would be able to ship his freight on their steamers from that time on, if he desired to sell his schooner. This he did, obtaining a cash price of one thousand dollars for it.

Of course, he paid back to the provincial government its proportionate part of the proceeds of the sale price, undoubtedly a surprise for the government, which naturally never had expected to get back a cent of any money advanced to a missionary.

Never was victory more complete.


TEMPORAL ADVANCEMENT 181

The profits of the trading establishment at Metlakahtla were largely applied to public improvements of all sorts, and to such new enterprises as promised to give employment to the people at their own home.

Very soon a blacksmith's shop was started, then a carpenter's shop followed.

At an early day Mr. Duncan had told the Indians that he would teach them how to make water saw lumber for them. When he first came to Metlakahtla, he had in mind a fine water-power not far away.

When the water-wheel had been put in position, and a sawmill started, one of the Indians came to him, and said :

" I want to die now."

" Why do you want to die ? "

" Oh, I want to go and meet our old chiefs, and tell them the wonder I have seen, that you have made water saw wood. They never heard or saw anything like that while they lived, and I want to be the first one to tell them."

He sat down on his haunches a whole day by the mill, and seemed to take in everything intensely.

Strange enough, he did die a short time afterwards.

Some years later, Mr. Duncan, discovering some suit- able clay near by started a brick kiln, which soon made all the bricks they needed for their chimneys, and considerable for export to other camps.

After he had been at Metlakahtla a short time, Mr. Duncan concluded that it would be well to give the prominent Indians some share in the government of both the village and the church. He, therefore, appointed a number of natives to be members of a village council, to which council, together with the constables, whose number now had been increased to twenty, he gave an advisory voice in relation to all village affairs.

Of course, Mr. Duncan naturally reserved to himself


182 THE APOSTLE OP ALASKA

the final decision of all matters, while he, with great urbanity, listened to all they had to say on any question, and generally followed their advice.

He also appointed such number as he, from time to time, deemed proper, to act as elders of the church.

After a while he thought he would try the experiment of having them elect their own village council and elders. His first experience convinced him that he could fully trust them.

An elder was to be elected.

He called into the council-chamber the leading men of the village, and told them that as they knew their fellows in daily life, and when away from the village, he had made up his mind to have them vote for whom they thought would be the best man for elder.

He announced the mode of election to be as follows : He would go into the next room. Then, one of them at a time could come in there, and tell him whom he wanted to vote for.

The first man in voted for Silas. The next one also. He was very much surprised to see that Silas had a great majority of the votes cast. He himself had never thought much of Silas. He was a quiet, reserved man, who never had much to say, or testify. When the election was over, he told them of his surprise at Silas receiving such a vote, and asked them how it came about.

They said, "You don't know him. He is so quiet here. But when he is out at the fishing stations, on Sundays, he always gathers the people around him, and prays, speaks and exhorts, and does a great work. Greater than any one of us."

And thus Mr. Duncan found it to be. Silas proved one of his best men, and still he had never suspected it.

Later on, Mr. Duncan got up another mode of election. At that stage very few of the electors could write. So


TEMPORAL ADVANCEMENT 183

they could, of course, not vote by ballot. He wanted to get a perfectly free expression, and let every man have a secret vote. This is how he arranged it :

Mr. Duncan nominated a certain candidate. Every elector was furnished with a button. Then Mr. Duncan took a deep hat, and passed it in front of them all slowly. When the hat was before him, the elector was instructed to put his hand, in which he held the button, way down to the bottom of the hat. If he had any objection to the man proposed, he should drop the button in the hat. If he was favorable, he should withdraw the hand retaining the button in it.

Once a certain man had been proposed for elder. When the ballot was closed, there was one button in the hat.

Mr. Duncan told them that while one button would not defeat an election, he wanted to know if there really was an objection, or whether the button had been dropped by mistake. So he said :

" I will pass the hat again. Everybody put his hand in again. If the one who dropped his button let it fall by mistake, he can pick it up again when he puts his hand in."

The hat went around again. The button was still there. There evidently was no mistake.

Mr. Duncan had never heard aught against the man nominated, and was anxious to know whether the black ball was due to spite, so he said :

" I don't want to declare this man elected now. Let the man who dropped this button come to my office tomorrow some time, and tell me why he did so."

The next morning, very early, before he was out of bed even, he noticed a man walking back and forth in front of his office. He opened the door.

" Well, what do you want ? "


184 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" I am the one who dropped that button."

" Ah - you had good grounds for it, I suppose? "

" I will tell you, and you can judge for yourself. He and I were at the store together one day. He paid for some goods. By mistake he got one dollar too much in change. After a while he showed it to me, and asked me if he should give it back to the storekeeper, or keep it. I told him to give it back. And he did. But I thought that a man, who did not know enough to be honest, was not fit to be an elder of the church."

That man was not declared elected, though there was only one button against him.

Later on, this mode of election proved too slow.

Another course was then adopted, by which ten men could be elected in half an hour.

The electors were stood up, with their faces to the wall, all round the room, and told not to look around. When a man had been nominated, any person who was opposed to him was told to put his closed fist behind his back. If favorable, the open hand. Sometimes Mr. Duncan, who of course was the sole judge of the election, saw a closed fist move very violently behind some back. Ten or more closed fists defeated the candidate nominated.

At the present time, when all the electors are able to read and write, the election is by ballot, every New Year's Day.

It is, perhaps, unnecessary to say, inasmuch as Mr. Duncan is a confirmed bachelor, that there is no female suffrage, and never has been any at Metlakahtla.

"What is more remarkable, perhaps, is that there are no suffragettes either.


XXIV

INTERESTING INCIDENTS

THE "Highmas"* of Duncan's time was sick. His brother, Womakwot, came after Mr. Duncan. This was while he still resided at Fort Simpson. When he came near the house, he found out that a medicine-man was in there, working upon him. The women outside tried to persuade him to go by, and not enter the house, as he would disturb the work. But he boldly entered at the front door.

Highmas was wholly naked in a very cold room, and the medicine-man was rattling away over him for dear life.

When Mr. Duncan came up, the medicine-man " blew off steam," and quit his work.

Mr. Duncan took the man's pulse, and found him in the midst of a severe chill. He saw that it was necessary to restore his circulation, if he should not die then and there, and ordered him covered up quickly with many blankets, and placed close by the fire.

He then took the brother along with him to the Fort, and gave him some medicine for the sick man. Highmas recovered.

Two or three years later, Highmas came, with his people, to Metlakahtla, from Victoria. Mr. Duncan heard that he had whiskey in his canoe, and sent for him. But as he was not a magistrate at the time, he could only give him a tongue-lashing. He abused him roundly for bringing fire-water among his people and corrupting them, so they would go back to their old savage state.

  • The head chief of the Kitaeesh tribe. 185



186 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

He answered sullenly, that he did not want to be a white man. He only wanted to be an Indian, and retain the customs and ways of the Indian.

He was at the time dressed in a pea-jacket.

" If that is so," Mr. Duncan answered him promptly, "you should be consistent. You should carry the blanket of an Indian and not go around with a white mail's good coat on your back."

This must have taunted him, for, with a violent movement, he tore off the coat, and threw it at Mr. Duncan's feet, saying that he wanted nothing belonging to the white men, and that Mr. Duncan could keep it. With this, he rushed out of the house.

An hour or so later, his wife came in, and commenced to abuse her husband in every way :

" Highmas is such a big fool ; he has no sense at all. He is a very foolish Indian. He don't know what he is doing. I am very much ashamed of him. You must forgive him."

" What is it you want ? "

It was the coat she wanted.

Mr. Duncan told her : "Take it - I don't want it. It still lies where he threw it. I have not touched it."

She picked it up triumphantly, and went out, evidently very well satisfied with the results of her diplomacy.

One day, while Mr. Duncan was on a visit in Victoria, an Indian from the reservation near by had shot at a man standing close by the mast of a schooner, just as it passed out of the harbor, and, while he missed the man, the bullet had hit the mast. The next day, the chief of police met Mr. Duncan on the street, and told him about the incident, and said that he did not know how to


INTERESTING INCIDENTS 187

secure the arrest of the Indian, inasmuch as they did not even know his name.

As Mr. Duncan told him that he thought he might help them in the matter, the Governor, later in the day, sent for him, and asked his advice. He unfolded a plan, which afterwards was successfully carried out.

The next day, at 1 : 30 p. m. , Mr. Duncan was to go to the reservation, gather the Tsimsheans together, find out from them who did the shooting, and try to persuade the Indians from taking the guilty man's part. This he did, and found that Cushwaht was the guilty party, and that he was hidden in a Haida house near by.

The reader will, perhaps, remember Cushwaht as the Indian who had volunteered to kick Mr. Duncan's head on the beach the day Legale was going to make an attack on him in the schoolhouse ; also, as the same man who had smashed the lock of the schoolhouse door, and who had threatened to kill Mr. Duncan.

Mr. Duncan told the Indians that Cushwaht had committed an outrage, which the white men could not over- look. But that they only wanted Cushwaht, and would not harm any other Indians, if they did not interfere in the matter.

This was so much contrary to their idea of law and procedure that they seemed unwilling to believe it, thinking that the government would be sure to take its vengeance on all of them.

Mr. Duncan, in order to satisfy them that they were wrong, offered to stay among them, as a pledge of good faith. In this way he kept them apart, behind a mound, some distance from the house where Cushwaht was hidden.

When the smoke from the gunboat appeared, the Indians made a rush away from him, but he called them back. And when the red jackets came marching up.


188 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

there was another rush away. But he called them back again, and succeeded in quieting them.

The Governor then asked him to call on the Haidas to surrender the man. But they refused. After he had repeated their answer, he, by request, returned to them, and told them that the Governor gave them just ten minutes in which to surrender the man. If they did, no harm would come to any one of them. But, if they did not, the troops would charge on them, and they would probably all be killed. Still no move.

He held his watch in his hand. When there was one minute left, he told them :

"You had better produce him now. If you don't, I am afraid you will be sorry."

Just as the time was up, they brought Cushwaht out, and turned him over to the military.

They were going to take him to jail, when Mr. Duncan protested to the Governor, and insisted that the man should be flogged publicly, as the Indians cared nothing for jail. This was done, and Cushwaht was thereupon committed to await his trial.

It seems that in those days of primitive justice, even a governor and a magistrate did not consider it out of the way to punish a man first, and try him afterwards. It was perhaps the only safe course to take with the Indians.

Some days afterwards, the jailer came and told Mr. Duncan that there was an Indian in jail who would like to see him. He went in, and found that it was Cushwaht. He sat in his cell, looking very dejected and gloomy. When he saw Mr. Duncan, he said :

"I was bad to you. You pitied me. You did not punish me. Pity me now. Save me ! "

" If I do, will you promise to be a better man ? "

" I will. If you will get me free, you shall never find any fault with me. Pity me ! "


INTERESTING INCIDENTS 189

Mr. Duncan went to the Governor, and pleaded for the poor fellow. As he had not injured anybody, the Governor set him free on condition that Mr. Duncan would vouch for his good behaviour. This he did. Cushwaht went home right away in his canoe, and when Mr. Duncan, a short time afterwards, returned to Metlakahtla in the steamer, Cushwaht at once reported to him, and assured him of his complete allegiance.

After that day he became a good Indian, and was al- ways loyal to Mr. Duncan. Though he never moved away from Fort Simpson, or became a Christian, he often attended public worship, and seemed to be a very respectful hearer, if not a doer, of the Word.

There is a sad story connected with the life of Simeon Johnson, the man on the lower row, farthest to the reader's right, in the illustration on a near-by page : " Mr. Duncan's Pioneers."

He was a murderer.

It was discovered in this way :

When Mr. Duncan had been but a few years at Metlakahtla a man came very late one night to his house. He asked him what he wanted, as he was a little suspicious, and never knew what moment some one might come to kill him.

" I want to talk with you."

" Why do you come so late f "

"It is about a great secret."

"All right. Come in then," he told the man, still watching him very closely.

After a while he confessed that he and two other Indians had one day, several moons ago, away south, met a canoe with two white men, who had been good to them,


190 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

and given them biscuits.

At the command of Sebassah, a mighty chief of the Kithrathtlas, who was one of the three, they shot and killed the white men, and took their effects.

One of the Indians had since died, and this one now feared the same fate. He had heard Mr. Duncan preach, and knew now that he had done a great wrong, and his friends, with whom he had talked about it, had advised him to come to Mr. Duncan and tell him all.

What to do, Mr. Duncan did not know. He advised the fellow to say nothing to any one about it till he heard from him.

He then wrote the attorney- general in Victoria, who advised that the matter be dropped, as they could not convict, inasmuch as there were no witnesses, etc.

Mr. Duncan thought it was too bad to take this course, as it certainly would encourage the Indians to kill more white people. But he was obliged to let the matter rest.

Some time later, when the Gold- Commissioner for the Interior, who was a magistrate, came to Metlakahtla for a visit, Mr. Duncan talked the matter over with him. They agreed to act together, and arrest the murderous chief.

Mr. Duncan sent his constables after Sebassah. They performed their duty, and brought him into court. He was a haughty, self-important fellow, with two slaves supporting him, one by each arm. Other slaves brought a feather bed into court for him to sit upon. His wife also accompanied him into the hall of justice, as did a number of his retainers.

When the charge was read to him, he said he was not the only Indian who had killed white men.

" Who are they ? "

  • Such action always had a bad influence on the Indians, They saw in it an evidence of fear, which would naturally give them courage to attack those who had thus shown the white feather.

     

INTERESTING INCIDENTS 191

He then related how four or five Indians, some years ago, had killed five white men in a canoe, eighty miles south of there, and gave their names.

The court was adjourned. Warrants were issued for the other Indians. They were arrested, and an examination was held over all of them.

They all fully confessed their murderous deeds. Simeon Johnson was one of the last batch.

The magistrates committed them all for trial, and sent them down to Victoria.

When the time for the term of court came, Mr. Duncan was summoned to go down.

The attorney-general told him that he could not prose- cute them for murder, as he did not know the names of the murdered men, and, besides, there was no evidence except their own confessions, which were not sufficient to convict upon.

Mr. Duncan said :

" That is too bad. If you let them go, no white man's life will be safe among the Indians. They must get a healthy respect for the law, and feel that their evil deeds will be punished. If you do not prosecute and convict them, you will have to be responsible for the consequences to all of us white men who live up there."

" I could perhaps change the charge to piracy on the high seas, with violence."

" All right. I do not care what the charge is, if they are only punished."

One of the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company, who was anxious to curry favor with the Indians, told Mr. Duncan that he would get them to plead not guilty, and get them a lawyer, and that if he did so they could not be convicted. Mr. Duncan tried to convince him of the moral wrong he would be guilty of if he did so, but all to no purpose.


192 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Just before court was to open, Mr. Duncan went into the jail to see the Indians.

" Has any one seen you ? "

" Yes."

"Who?"

" One of the Company men."

"What did he say ?"

" He said we should say that we did not do it."

" Are you going to do that ? "

"No, we will tell the truth."

"That's right. That's the way to act. You do that when you get into court, and I will do the best I can for you."

When called into court, Mr. Duncan interpreted and explained the charge to them, and asked them :

"Did you do this?"

They all nodded, hung their heads, and said :

"Yes, we did."

" Enter a plea of guilty," said the judge, Sir Mathew Bigbee. Whereupon, he delivered a long speech to the Indians, which was interpreted by Mr. Duncan, and finally sentenced them to be hanged.

" But," said the judge, " many snows have fallen over our white brothers' blood, and your friend Mr. Duncan tells me that you were ignorant, and did not know what bad things you did, so I will consult with the other white chiefs, and see if they can make your punishment lighter."

He laid the matter before the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, with the result that the sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life, but on the condition that they should serve their term at Metlakahtla.

They were then, by the court, handed over to Mr. Duncan, with the understanding that they should live at Metlakahtla, and have the freedom of the village limits, as long as they behaved themselves ; but when not, to be


INTERESTING INCIDENTS 193

turned over by him to the proper authorities for life-imprisonment.

He took them along.

Simeon Johnson, and the man who came to Mr. Duncan at night, and confessed, became good earnest Christians, and later on went along with him to new Metlakahtla.

Sebassah, in a way, sought to be a better man ; but had considerable difficulty in conquering his haughty spirit.

When Bishop Ridley tried to get a foothold against Mr. Duncan, and drive him away from Metlakahtla, this convicted murderer and ticket-of-leave man was one of the "chiefs" whom he numbered among his few adherents.

Sometimes, it might, of course, be desirable to get some evil-minded, or evil-doing, man out of town. Mr. Duncan had a way of accomplishing this without violence, which occasionally might prove dangerous, and cause bloodshed.

In the centre of the village, close to the Mission House, was, after the first five years at Metlakahtla, located a bastion, an octagonal building, the lower part whereof was used for a jail. The upper part formed a balustrade, and was provided with a tall flagstaff, on which, on festive occasions, the English colors were hoisted.

When a bad man was desired to leave town, Mr. Duncan hoisted on this flagstaff a black flag, showing that there was a public enemy in camp. The man who was offensive knew well enough who was meant. Usually, the people knew it too. If they did not, Mr. Duncan let a few trusted ones know who it was. That was enough. In a few moments public opinion was aroused. As soon as they saw the flag, the tongues commenced to wag. If any one met the man, he would look at him askance. Some one might say right to him :

" You better get out of here. We don't want you,"


194 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

This was sufficient. No one could resist the public and general scorn and abhorrence which the black flag indicated.

In one instance only was the black flag not sufficient to drive a "devil " out of town.

He was a chief, who had just succeeded to his rank, upon the death of his old uncle, Neyahshlackahnoosh, the old head chief of the Kitlahns, and now was anxious to show what he could do, perhaps in order to do justice to the old adage, that new brooms sweep clean.

There were forty or fifty of his tribe at Metlakahtla. He was a surly, disgruntled fellow. One Saturday night he called a secret meeting of the members of his tribe, at which he railed about how their old, time-honored customs were being abolished, their old, proud memories disgraced, and their warlike and brave family traits eradicated, and then exhorted them to go back to the old feasts, joys, and pleasures.

No one said anything. Not a single man expressed disapproval of what he had said.

Mr. Duncan learned of the meeting Sunday morning. This looked very much like mutiny. Heroic measures were evidently required, and that at once. He made up his mind that he must have that chief out of town before service, or no one could tell where it might end.

So he hoisted the black flag at once.

Oh, what a talk it started ! " Who can it be?"

He called two constables, and told them to go at once, and tell the chief to take his canoe and get out of there before eleven o' clock.

The black flag was not sufficient in this case. It meant: "There is no one with you. Ton are our enemy. "We are all down on you. "

This man had an idea that so long as no disapproval was voiced at the meeting, he was backed by a certain


INTERESTING INCIDENTS 195

element in the town - that public opinion was not against him. The black flag did not tell the truth as to him. He, therefore, refused to go.

Mr. Duncan now stepped out in front of his cottage with his revolver in his hand. He stood where the man could plainly see him, and told the constables :

" Go over and tell him from me that in ten minutes, by the watch, his canoe is to be hauled down, and he on his way out. If not, I will meet him face to face. And one of us, perhaps both, will die."

Inside of five minutes, the chief's belongings were brought down to the beach, his canoe pushed off, and he went his way.

The black flag came down.

Nothing was said by Mr. Duncan about the affair that day. On Monday, he sent for all the men who had been present at the chief's meeting, and gave them a straight talk :

"I hear you have been at the meeting of the new chief of your tribe, and that he talked 'bad,' and that none of you showed any disapproval of what was said. Now, I want to know what impression this talk made upon you. If you want to go, you are at liberty to do so. You are also welcome to stay. But one thing I want you to know. I want no one who is dissatisfied here. Therefore, speak out plainly. There will be no ill-feeling about it. All I want is a clear understanding."

One of them, an old man, arose and said :

"It is true, we were at the meeting, all of us. "We heard what Neyahshlackahnoosh said. It made no impression on us. He is gone. That is well. We do not want to go away. Not one of us."

Several got up and expressed the same sentiments.

That was the end of that meeting, and of the incipient mutiny.


196 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Neyahshlackalinoosh came back a year later, promised to behave himself, and was allowed to live at Metlakahtla.

What I am now going to relate happened at a later day. But it comes properly under " interesting incidents."

The sawmill at old Metlakahtla, being quite a distance from the store, a telephone line was installed between the two places. This was many years ago, when telephones were still in their infancy, and when the same instrument did service as a receiver and transmitter. One could not hear and speak at the same time ; but had to put the instrument to the mouth and speak, then lift it to the ear to catch the answer.

An old Indian thought that Mr. Duncan had made a mistake in putting up such an arrangement as, in his opinion, he ought to have had something that could speak the Tsimshean language.

"It may, perhaps, talk English," he said, "but I am sure it cannot talk Tsimshean. Just remember how long it took you to learn our language. You only put that thing up a few days ago. How can you expect it to have learned Tsimshean so soon?"

"I want you to try it," said Mr. Duncan, who took hold of the transmitter, and said to John Tait, who was at the other end of the line :

  • ' Leamlahaga ^ is here. I want you to say something funny to him over the 'phone."

He then handed the instrument to the Indian, who took hold of it as if he was afraid of it, but finally managed to put it to his ear. Then he suddenly dropped the receiver.

"Indeed it can talk Tsimshean, and it can talk non- sense, too," he said, and fled.

  • Walking-on-the-air.



XXV

HOW MR. DUNCAN BECAME A JUDGE

In the early days there lived at Karta Bay, in Russian Alaska, a Russian trader, by the name of Charles V. Baranovitch.

Baranovitch, who was married to a Thlingit Indian woman, was a sharp, smart, unscrupulous man, and not at all particular about how he made his dollars, if he only made them.

It did not bother him in the least if he got the best of the Indians in a trade for furs, by giving them some firewater, although he of course well knew that it was not only against the law, but extremely dangerous, especially to all white men who came in their way while they were under its influence.

Baranovitch had a fine schooner, and traded all the way from Victoria to Sitka.

One day, in the early spring of 1863, he came with this schooner into the harbor at old Metlakahtla. Mr. Duncan heard a report that he had liquor on board.

He took his canoe, and went aboard the schooner. But he first posted his Indians on the beach, and told them if he waved his hand to at once take their canoes, board the schooner, and put her on the beach.

When on the deck of the schooner, he told Baranovitch that he had no objection to his trading with the Indians, but that he did not allow any liquors at Metlakahtla ; that he had heard he was dealing in them, and had them on

197


198 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

board, and that before he allowed the Indians to trade with him, he wanted to search the schooner for liquors.

Baranovitch wanted to know what authority he had for such a proceeding. To which Mr. Duncan answered :

" Authority ? I have no authority, sir, except the authority of self-defense. My life is in the hands of these Indians. They are my friends now. But if you take away their reason, I will have nothing to defend my life with. And I am going to prevent your placing my life in jeopardy if I can."

"Do you see those Indians on the beach? They are only waiting for a signal from me. The moment they get it, they will rush aboard this boat, overpower your crew, beach your schooner, and burn it with all its contents. They will do it at one word from me. They are obedient to me now. If they get liquor, they will serve the devil, and not me, and the first thing he will tell them to do may be to kill me. "Will you let me search your schooner peaceably, or shall I give those men the signal ? "

He consented. Nothing was found. It was probably hidden away pretty well. In any event, he solemnly agreed not to sell any liquor, and shortly after he left.

Later on, he went to Victoria, and complained to Governor Douglas of the high-handed outrage which Mr. Duncan had subjected him to. Governor Douglas wrote to Mr. Duncan, and told him that he suspected he had taken the law into his own hands, but that he did not censure him for it. And, in order that he might not have to do it again, but have legal authority to protect himself, the Governor enclosed to him a commission as justice of the peace, with jurisdiction over five hundred miles of the coast line of British Columbia, and over all the islands of its extended archipelago as well.

It is perhaps the first time in the history of the world


HOW ME. DUNCAN BECAME A JUDGE 199

that a man has been made a judge and a conservator of the law on account of having broken that law himself.

The Governor certainly knew what he did. The very- life of the Commonwealth depended on the suppression of the unlawful liquor traffic with the Indians of the coast, and he well knew that no more fearless man could be found in the North Country than the little English missionary, and that he would see to it that the accursed traffic was manacled and stopped.

It did not take many years, after Mr. Duncan had the Governor's commission as a magistrate in his pocket, before his name became a terror to all evil-doers anywhere along the coast, as far as his jurisdiction extended.

In less than ten years, the unlawful liquor traffic with the Indians had practically ceased.

It may be that at times all the forms of law were not strictly observed in his court ; that all the technicalities were not always given the seat of honor ; that sometimes the evidence did not go in according to all the many hair- splitting rules of lawyers and text-book writers ; that the information filed against a prisoner might not always, in every particular, be according to the best established rules of pleading. But who will have the heart to blame this rugged magistrate for brushing aside the web of technicalities and hair-fine distinctions, which perhaps has been the means of defeating justice oftener than maintaining it ?

He was there to do substantial justice, and he did it as he saw it.

His aim was "Let no guilty man escape!" And none escaped.

If the evidence was sufficient to create a moral conviction of a man's guilt, who will blame him for convicting the prisoner if it did not always come up to the utmost requirements of all the technicalities of the law, especially,


200 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

as his knowledge of these technicalities was very limited ?

The fact remains, that not a single one of his decisions was ever reversed on appeal to higher courts.

One charge can certainly not be laid to his court. It cannot be said that the court played with justice, and let the offender off with a punishment so light as to make the proceedings a farce.

I believe it is the proud record of Judge Duncan, that only in one single case did a convicted liquor-seller get anything but the very highest punishment which the law allowed.

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of devoting a few pages to showing how justice was dealt out to offenders in the high court of Metlakahtla, between 1863 and 1885, when Mr. Duncan presided as its " chief -justice."

But before that is done must be related the circum- stances under which Baranovitch and Mr. Duncan met again.

Several years later, the captain of a South-going steamer from Sitka came ashore at Metlakahtla, and asked Mr. Duncan if he had any brandy on hand.

Mr. Duncan informed him that he always kept some in his dispensary for medicinal purposes.

" Oh, my," said the captain, " I wish you would let me take some. Baranovitch is on board. He is dying. The only thing which can keep him alive, till we get to Victoria, is the administration of stimulants, and I do not want him to die on the way. Would you let me have it ? "

Duncan did. What a sight ! The great temperance apostle of the coast, the terror of all whiskey -sellers, furnishing the most notorious illegal liquor- vendor with the brandy which he needed to keep him alive on his last journey. For he did really live till he reached Victoria, but died a few days after arriving.


HOW MR. DUNCAN BECAME A JUDGE 201

Last Decoration Day I saw at Metlakahtla Baranovitch's Indian wife, who was on board the steamer with him at the time just mentioned.

She came up to Mr. Duncan, and shook his hand as cordially as if he had been her best friend. I think he probably was.

I am told that she was overheard, at this time, to say to Mr. Duncan that her husband always spoke of him as one of the greatest men he had ever met.

Baranovitch was a discerning man.


XXVI

FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET

AS to the Indian lawbreakers, Judge Duncan did not always follow the strict letter of the law of the land. For some of their offences he made up his mind as to what punishment would be most likely to produce the best results, and then inflicted it, regard- less of whether he found it on the leaves of the statute book, or not.

Fortunately, there were no hair-splitting lawyers to take appeals from his judgment in those cases.

He says himself :

"I sometimes went a little outside the law. I never have allowed myself to stumble over a law, when something good was to be accomplished."

Thus the sentence, in all cases, when an Indian had been guilty of an act of violence which might have resulted in death, was inevitably a public whipping. The whole village was then summoned to witness the affair. The man was bared to the waist, tied to a post, and whipped with a rope, but not with a cat-o' -nine-tails.

Sometimes the whipping was administered by the judge himself, but, most generally, by one of the constables.

In one case of improper relations with another's wife, the injured husband wished to kill the man. But Mr. Duncan persuaded him that it would be a greater satisfaction to be allowed to whip the seducer in public. I think it may safely be surmised that he did not simply pretend to flog his man.

Once the man to be whipped was of a very savage

202


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 203

disposition, so much so, that the constables said that they dared not whip him, for fear that he would kill the one who did it in revenge, as soon as he got free. Now, what was to be done ? The constables were ordered to blindfold him, so he could not see who flogged him, and were cautioned not to utter a word, so that he could not recognize the executioner by his voice.

When Duncan arrived at the whipping-post, he merely, in silence, pointed to the constable, whom he ordered to do the whipping. He trembled, and commenced to talk, giving expression to his fears.

" I forbade you to talk, did I not? " said Mr. Duncan. " Now, that you shall not be in the darkness as to who whipped you, know that it was myself."

He took the rope, and laid it on pretty heavily.

After the whipping, the man was incarcerated for two weeks. That was the legal part of the punishment.

Mr. Duncan had him brought to his room every evening, and gave him a good lecture. He finally succeeded in making the man see that he had really done him a good turn, because, by whipping him, he had probably saved his life, as the man he had attacked was still a heathen, and would have been likely to take his own revenge, while now he had declared himself satisfied with the punishment meted out to his adversary.

The man who was whipped on this occasion, at a meeting not many years ago, when those present gave their experiences, stood up and said he was now leading a good life.

" I suppose you would like to know what saved me from an evil life," he said. "Know then, that it was Mr. Duncan's whipping me many years ago."

Such influence had the combination of the Gospel message, and this policy of Mr. Duncan upon getting the best of the savage disposition of these Indians, that while


204 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

there were eleven murders committed among the tribes at Fort Simpson the first year he was there, now, for forty years, there has not been a case of bloodshed, or even an attack with a weapon among the Indians who have come with him.

Once, when Mr. Duncan was away, some of them quarreled, and two of them used their fists upon each other. That is the nearest approach to an act of violence committed among them in forty years !

What white community can show a record like this ?

Mr. Duncan's very decided views upon the efficacy of flogging as a punishment, in certain cases, may be well worth some attention on the part of criminologists.

He does not hesitate to say that if a murderer and high- way robber was, in addition to imprisonment for life, or a long term, sentenced to be flogged thoroughly every first Monday of every month, we would have a considerable decrease in the number of these crimes.

It would certainly be a dread thing for such a criminal to have to look forward to, just as the wounds from the last flogging had about nicely healed up.

Probably no man would have to be sentenced the second time for such an offence, after he had such an experience for a number of years.

It might be well worth trying anyhow, unless the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment would stand in the way.

But Mr. Duncan did not believe in meting out flogging as a punishment for wife-beating, as the legislatures of Delaware and Oregon have decreed.

He says :  "It would not be well to send a man back to his wife with a sore and aching back, which he could thank her for. He would not be likely to say: *My dear,' or to speak any very lovely or honeyed words to her, when


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 205

every movement reminded him of what she had brought upon him."

Mr. Duncan's way of handling these cases was original and effective.

When a man had been convicted of wife-beating, he sentenced him to imprisonment in the village jail, but for no definite term.

He told the man :  " I will not fix the time of your imprisonment. I leave that to your wife. When she comes to me, and tells me that she thinks you have been punished enough, you will get out. Not one day before."

Mr. Duncan had another peculiar arrangement in connection with his jail. He did not feed his prisoners. They had to find their own fare while in the calaboose.

When a wife-beater was incarcerated, the constable in charge had orders to lock up, with the prisoner, the one of his children who brought him his food, for an hour or so each day.

The natural consequence of this was that the prisoner would send, continuously, word to the wife, with the child, asking her to pity him. Gradually, of course, her heart would soften. It hardly ever took more than a week before she would come to Mr. Duncan, and say :

" I think my husband has been punished enough now, sir. He promises that he will be good, and never beat me again."

The prisoner would then be sent for. When he arrived, Mr. Duncan would go out, leaving them alone together in the office for half an hour or so. On returning, he would take pains to let his coming be known by a loud cough, or by shuffling his feet.

When he opened the door, he invariably found them in opposite corners of the room, as far away from each other as they could possibly get.


206 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

He then told the man that any one who would beat his wife was a fool.

"What would you think," he would say, "of any one who would take a sharp knife and hack his own hand ? Would you not say he was a fool ? "

" Yes, sir."

" Well, that is just what you have done. Your wife is part of yourself. And you," he would say, turning to the wife, "undoubtedly are quite a bit to blame yourself. No man will beat a good woman. Now, see if you cannot be better also. Go home now, both of you, and behave yourselves. If your temper gets the best of you again, kneel down and ask God to help you to overcome it."

In only one single case of wife-beating had the punishment to be repeated, and after two years at Metlakahtla, wife-beating became an unknown offence. If it existed at all, which is doubtful, no complaint was ever made of it, at any time after that period.

The stories about the trials of the whiskey- sellers, before Judge Duncan, would fill a volume. I can only give a few :

One whiskey-seller, whose name shall not be given, was brought into Mr. Duncan's court room, a large, lofty apartment, in front of the Mission House, where four elaborately-carved totem-poles held up the ceiling. He was duly convicted, whereupon Mr. Duncan, in sentencing him, addressed him as follows :

" I have the right to give you six months in jail, but, as you claim that it is your first offence, and as I have never heard of you before, I will let you off with one month. But, as the jail is cold, and I am not going to keep a fire going there for your sake, I will not order you to be confined in prison. You shall go with the constable,


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 207

and live at his home for a month, or as long as you do what he tells you. If you disobey him, I will give him orders to put you in the cell at once."

He went away. Mr. Duncan saw him occasionally, but paid no attention to him, nor spoke to him, until his time was up.

He then sent for him to tell him that he was now a free man, and could go wherever he wanted to.

Mr. Duncan was surprised, or pretended to be, when the man thanked him for his kindness, and said :

"I have never lived in a Christian family before. I have never seen the life of Christian people until now. Your constable insisted that I should be present at their family prayers every day. The kindness of the whole family has made such an impression on me that I have made up my mind to become a good man. I have never owned a Bible before. I am going to get one before I leave Metlakahtla."

And he did buy one in the store, before he left. Mr. Duncan, of course, was glad to hear the result of his peculiar sentence, and gave the man all possible encouragement in his determination to turn over a new leaf.

When, some years later, Mr. Duncan was in Victoria, and one evening was trudging up the avenue on his way to Bishop Cridge's residence, he was hailed by a man in a buggy, who asked if he might offer him a ride. Mr. Duncan accepted, and to his amazement recognized the quondam liquor-seller he had given the queer sentence. He learned that the man actually had become converted in the Indian house at Metlakahtla, that he had abandoned the liquor-peddling, and had started a coal business at Victoria, where he had joined the Methodist church, of which he now was a prominent member, holding a position of trust, and rejoicing in being able to do some humble work in the Lord's vineyard.


208 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

That was not, however, the way all liquor-sellers, brought before Mr. Duncan, turned out.

Mr. Duncan once met one Collins in Victoria, and told him that he had a warrant for him, which had not been served.

" But," said he, " why do you not quit that business, and go in for legitimate trade "? If you do, and come up our way, I not only will not have that warrant served, but will help you all I can in your trade. But, if you will persist in your evil ways, you had better keep out of my jurisdiction, for if we catch you up there, I will punish you to the full extent of the law, that you may feel assured of."

The man promised.

Before Mr. Duncan returned, Collins had gone North. When he came home, he heard that the man had been at an Indian camp, not far from Metlakahtla, and sold liquor. There was abundant proof of this new offence. As he had already left the neighborhood, Mr. Duncan sent his constables after him with the old warrant. They brought him back.

"Why did you not keep your promise, which you gave me in Victoria ? "

" I don't care anything about your old warrant."

"Neither do I. I will not use that now. Here is a new charge against you, and there are the witnesses."

The constable had brought the sloop along.

The sentence was five hundred dollars fine, which was duly paid. Then the sloop was confiscated, and the liquor destroyed.

Collins swore, went back to Victoria, and bought a new sloop, which he called "Duncan," thus intending to throw contumely on the honored name. But he fared badly, and died poor.


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 209

The trial of Peter Garcotitch came a good deal later, in fact, after Mr. Duncan's return from his first tour to Europe, of which we shall hear later on.

On his return from England, Mr. Duncan made a short sojourn in Victoria. One evening he sat down at table in a restaurant with a German friend. It was soon after the close of the Franco-Prussian war, and this war was the subject of their discussion.

Mr. Duncan happened to remark that he thought it was a just and proper ending of a war, which France had had no business to declare.

As they were leaving, a man at the next table, who evidently wanted to pick a quarrel with them, said :

"You can crow now, but the Pope will be on top yet."

"We did not speak to you, sir," answered Mr. Duncan. "What do you mean, anyway? We have nothing to do with your Pope. As a gentleman, you ought not to mix up in our conversation, when we did not address you."

The man was Peter Garcotitch, a Slavonian trader. He afterwards told Mr. Duncan's agent in Victoria that he was going to get even with Duncan. That he was going up to his island, and make all his Indians drunk.

The agent told him he better not do that, as Mr. Duncan would put him in jail for his trouble. Peter said he was not afraid either of Duncan or the devil. They would never get him.

Several months later, an Indian told Mr. Duncan that Peter was at Woodcock's Landing, ten miles or so from Metlakahtla, and that he was selling liquor to the Indians,

"Do you know it?"

" Yes, sir. I peeped through a hole in the tent, when Peter sold a bottle to another Indian. He gave me the


210 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

bottle and I have brought it to you. And the Indian is along outside."

Mr. Duncan issued a warrant, and gave it to Eli Hamblett, a Dane, who had married one of the Metlakahtla Indians and was then living in the settlement, and asked him to take two Indian constables with him, and go and arrest Peter.

Six hours later, the man returned, threw the warrant down in front of Mr. Duncan, and said he would not serve it. When Peter had been informed that they had a warrant for him, he had pulled a revolver, and swore that he would shoot any man who tried to arrest him.

" Don't say you will not arrest the man till you have heard me. The majesty of the law must be maintained. Will you go if I show you that you can arrest him, with- out any danger to your own life? "

" Yes, I will."

' All right. Take four canoes, and ten Indians in each. Let each Indian carry a loaded gun. When you get within gun-shot distance of him, stand up in your canoe, with the warrant in your hand. Don't you have a gun. But have every one of the forty Indians aim his gun at his head. Then cry to him : ' Hold up your hands, without a weapon, at once, or my Indians will shoot and riddle you with their bullets.'

If he does not obey, command ' Fire ! ' If he does comply, step forward, and arrest him."

"All right, I will go."

Everything went as the plan was laid. four or five of his men were arrested, and twenty-three casks of liquor taken. Peter fled up the river, but they hauled in upon him in an hour or two, and he surrendered gracefully.

It was nearly midnight when they arrived.

"Mr. Duncan, Mr. Duncan," called Peter, "there


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 211

are two hundred Indians after me. They want to kill me."

" Yon will be all right, Peter. No one will kill you here," said Mr. Duncan. "Put him in the jail till morning, and have an Indian stand guard over him and the liquor till then," was the order to Mr. Hamblett.

The next day he was brought into court, and asked if he wanted any one present at his trial.

' Yes. " He mentioned some twelve or thirteen miners at the landing.

"All right. "We will send for them, but then we cannot have the trial till the day after to-morrow."

This was so ordered, and then the day of the trial came.

Mr. Duncan told him that he was glad his friends were present, so that they could see that he had a fair trial.

The two Indians then testified conclusively to the sale.

Duncan now turned to the defendant :

"Now, Pete, do you want any one sworn to testify to your good character, which I am frank to say would weigh quite a bit with me, or to anything else, for all that"? If so, let me know."

" Yes, sir, I do. I want to have Harry White sworn first. He knows me and my character."

"Very well, sir. Be sworn, Harry White."

A big, burly miner stepped forward, was sworn, kissed the book, folded his arms over his breast, and said, with a great deal of pomposity :

' Well, sir, I have known Pete for these many years. He has been a respectable and honorable man, sir, and I always thought he had a good character, until the other day, sir, when I found he sold liquor to the Indians."

"What do you say? Did you know him to do that?"

"I do, sir. - 'Yes, you did, Pete, and it is no use denying


212 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

it. I am under oath now, sir, and I will tell the truth. You cannot get me to lie for you."

"Pete, do you want any other witnesses sworn ? "

I can well imagine the humorous twinkle in Mr. Duncan's eyes as he put this question to the defendant.

"No, sir," was Pete's surly answer.

He was convicted, of course, and paid in "spot cash" the fine of five hundred dollars imposed.

"Unfortunately," says Mr. Duncan, "we could not confiscate the liquor, as we could not prove that it was brought up to sell to the Indians, against his positive assertion that it was brought here to sell to the miners."

Pete, therefore, started away with his twenty-three casks of liquor. But it did him no good. He had to " pack " it, at great expense, over the Divide, into the Interior. When he arrived at his destination, he applied to the Gold-Commissioner for a license. He, however, refused to grant him one, as he had heard that he had been convicted before Mr. Duncan.

" Mr. Duncan trumped up a case against me."

"I know Duncan, sir. He is an honest and conscientious man, who trumps up no case against any man. You can get no license here."

As he could not even get a permit to sell the liquor to some one else, he was obliged to " pack " it back again. As the liquor had not been paid for, this transaction ruined him. Shortly afterwards, he committed suicide.

The way of the transgressor is hard !

But it was when he tackled the Hudson's Bay company, for selling liquor to the Indians, that Mr. Duncan truly showed his grit.

No other man in the Northwestern Province would have dared do it.


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 213

To accuse this "honorable" company, and its "honorable" directors, the very power behind the throne in the Province, of the most heinous offence then known to that country !

But they should soon find, if they did not suspect it al- ready, that Mr. Duncan was no respecter of persons, or even of the mightiest corporation in the land.

Among other, not altogether excellent, assistants, which the Church Missionary Society had, from time to time, sent him, was an ex-prize-fighter, named Cunningham, who claimed to have been converted, but whose conversion was not any deeper than that he, on his way up to act as a missionary, gambled away every cent he had.

Mr. Duncan soon found him out, and sent him about his business. This was just the proper man for the company : he could put them right with the Indians. So they picked him up, and appointed him agent at Fort Simpson.

It was rumoured about that liquor was being sold at the Fort to the Indians. One of Mr. Duncan's constables, wholly on his own account, and anxious to secure the moiety of the fine which the law allowed to the Informer, got a Fort Simpson Indian to take a marten skin, go into the Fort, and ask for a bottle of whiskey.

The assistant-trader, a Norwegian, Hans Bjornson by name, sent him to the side door of the warehouse, where Cunningham came, examined his skin, and then gave a bottle to Hans, who, in turn, handed it to the Indian, who again brought it to the constable waiting outside the gate of the Fort.

The evidence was not very strong. The only corroboration of the Indian who bought it being that of the constable that he saw him go into the Fort with the skin, and come out soon after, without it, and that he brought


2M THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

back a bottle, which he was morally sure he did not have before he went in. And, of course, there was the bottle.

The evidence not being very strong, Mr. Duncan preferred to summon Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Bjornson, rather than to issue a warrant for them. On the return day, Mr. Cunningham appeared, but not Mr. Bjornson.

Mr. Duncan, who had been informed by the constable that he had not served Mr. Bjornson, because Mr. Cunningham had taken the copy of the summons for him, and promised he would give it to him, upon the opening of court, said :

"Where is Hans Bjornson, Mr. Cunningham?"

"I don't know."

"Did you give him the summons you took from the constable?"

"No, sir."

"Why not, sir?"

" He did not come back before I left."

"Was he not in the Fort when the constable was there?"

"No, sir."

Mr. Duncan, who knew that this was false, and had formulated his plan, announced :

"This case stands adjourned till to-morrow forenoon at eleven o'clock, at which time you will appear again, sir."

Mr. Cunningham protested against this arbitrary adjournment, but that was all the good it did him.

A warrant was at once issued for Hans Bjornsou, and the constables were ordered to proceed with all possible haste to serve it, and to be sure to get to the Fort before Mr. Cunningham, bring Mr. Bjornson along with them, and, under no circumstances, to allow Mr. Cunningham to speak to him.

They started at once, and soon hauled in on Cunningham,


FROM JUDGE DUNCAN'S DOCKET 215

who, suspecting something to be in the wind, had hurried back. Seeing their canoe hurrying by, Cunning- ham tried to follow it. Fortunately, a fog came in from the sea just then. The constables, noticing the other canoe following them, changed their course, and paddled with hard strokes out to sea. After them, as fast as he could go, went Cunningham. When they thought they had got him sufficiently out of the right course, they placed their paddles in the water, noiselessly and stealthily, but with heavy pulls, steering their canoe in towards the land, and reached Fort Simpson, arrested Hans Bjornson, and were a couple of miles on their way back, when they met Cunningham's canoe, which had lost its bearings in the dense fog. He tried to speak to Bjornson, but the constables knew their business, and flew past him, singing their canoe song so loudly that no one could get a word in edgewise.

Arrived at Metlakahtla, and brought before Mr. Duncan, Hans Bjornson fully and voluntarily admitted the transaction, and said he wanted to plead guilty, but Mr. Duncan put him in a cell till the next morning, when he was brought into court and confronted with Cunning- ham, who tried in vain to get into communication with him.

Bjornson' s case was called first, and he pleaded guilty, though Cunningham tried, by gestures and grimaces, to have him stand trial.

Cunningham denied everything, but was convicted, as Mr. Duncan considered the Indians' story at least morally, if not legally, corroborated by the assistant's plea of guilty.

As it was only one single transaction, and the maximum fine, five hundred dollars, had to be apportioned between them (at least that was the way Mr. Duncan understood the law), he fined Cunningham four hundred and Bjorn-


216 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

son one hundred dollars, which fines, of course, had to be paid before they were allowed to leave the court room.

The Company afterwards sued out a writ of error, but the conviction was held good, and the Hudson's Bay company again had to acknowledge that it had met its master, and its second Waterloo in its fight with the lowly lay-missionary of Metlakahtla.


XXVII

BACK IN OLD ENGLAND

THE following incident will show the wonderful influence Mr. Duncan's personality exerted, even over neighboring Indians not belonging to his colony.

Two white miners had been murdered by a party of Indians. A war-ship was dispatched to the village to compel the surrender of the murderers. After a parley, the Indians gave up two of the three men implicated. According to their notion of law and justice, they had then done all that could be required of them. Two lives had been lost, and two were given up to satisfy the demands of the Whites. So, even had their village been bombarded, which the captain threatened to do, it is questionable whether they would have gone any farther. At least the ship left with only this partial result accomplished.

Six months later the same war- ship came to Metlakahtla. This time not on an errand of war, but for the purpose of bringing the Bishop of Columbia to the village. When it had signaled its arrival, by firing a gun, Mr. Duncan came out in a canoe, manned by ten Indians. By his side sat an Indian, who was not handling a paddle. It was the murderer, whom the heathen village had refused to surrender to the war-ship. He was now Mr. Duncan's prisoner. Some time after the war-ship had left, having accidentally come under the spell of his preaching, he went to Mr. Duncan, and said :

217


218 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" Whatever you tell me to do, I will do. If you say I am to go on board the war-ship when it comes here again, I will go."

Mr. Duncan told him that was the only thing for him to do. He allowed him to stay in the village on condition that he would give himself up when the next war- ship came up the coast.

When the gun sounded, he could easily have escaped ; but, true to his word, he came to Mr. Duncan and said :

"The war-ship is here. What must I do ? "

" You must come with me as a prisoner."

So he did, and he was delivered to the captain to be taken South to be tried for his life.

What a ship of war, with its belching cannon, could not do, the influence and power of the lowly missionary had accomplished.

At his trial, it appeared that he had been compelled to take part in the murder through fear. That he had, from the first, protested against the killing, but, as one of the others had killed the first man, he, driven by fear that his companions would turn on him, had reluctantly joined in the killing of the second, but had succeeded in saving the life of the third man.

Under the circumstances, he was pardoned. After- wards he came to live at Metlakahtla, with his family, and became a sincere and earnest Christian.

In 1864, the Rev. R. A. Doolan was sent out to Mr. Duncan, who advised him to start a mission among the Nass River Indians, who, at an earlier day, had so thoroughly succeeded in arousing his interest in them.

After a short sojourn at Metlakahtla, he followed this advice, and started a mission station at Kuiuwoch, on the Nass River. He only remained three years, during which time he went through many trying experiences, and had many narrow escapes, but, in spite of the many difficulties


BACK IN OLD ENGLAND 219

which he had to overcome, he laid the foundation for a great work, which should bloom grandly after he left the field.

Before being compelled to leave for England, by reason of a death in his family, he removed the mission station to Kincolith, heretofore mentioned in these pages. This was done by him in conjunction with the Rev. R. Tomlinson, a graduate of Dublin University, both an earnest and talented evangelical preacher, and a practicing physician as well, who arrived in Metlakahtla from England in the year 1867.

Given his choice as to whether he would remain at Metlakahtla, or take over the mission on the Nass River, he promptly chose the latter. The fact was, that his mind had, while in Victoria, been thoroughly poisoned against Mr. Duncan by the Rev. F. Gribbel, who, with his wife and child, had also come out to help Mr. Duncan, but who found that they could not stand it more than seven weeks.

I believe Mrs. Gribbel was the lady, who, when she was presented with a goose, had to send for one of the Indian women and have her teach her how to cook it. Of course, that did not strengthen the confidence of the native women in her ability to take care of the training school, where their daughters were, by her to be initiated into the mysteries of housekeeping, as practiced by the whites.

Mr. Tomlinson, however, after a few months, found the stories which Mr. Gribbel had told him to be absolutely false, and, after overcoming his first prejudice, became Mr. Duncan's truest and best friend, and the strongest and trustiest colleague he at any time has found in his labors. He made a great success of the Kincolith mission, where he remained, a faithful servant in the Master's vineyard, until 1878, when he thought he saw a


220 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

more fruitful field among some of the tribes living on the head waters of the Skeena River, whose language he had mastered.

In 1865, Mr. Duncan tore down his own old log house, and erected, on the point where it had stood, and from where he had a full and unobstructed view of the two wings of the village, which at this point came together as at the apex of a triangle, the Mission House, so called, a truly palatial building, compared with what he had occupied up to that time. It was a two-story structure, 64 x 32, containing on the first floor seven large and airy rooms. On the second floor was, besides numerous other apartments, the dormitory for the girls attending the training school, which, in spite of many vicissitudes, caused by the poor female help continually sent him by the Society, had, most of the time, been carried on, and with many evidences of God's especial blessing.

Mr. Duncan, at an early day, advised his men, who were inclined to turn Christians, not to marry any of the young women in the camp at Fort Simpson, who had been taken to Victoria, and there exposed to the most degrading vices, but to defer taking unto themselves wives until the girls in his mission training school were through with their education.

Most of his young men followed this advice, and to this day thank him for it, for by so doing they secured bright, well-educated, Christian wives, who knew how to make the home pleasant and homelike, and these very girls are today the prominent mothers and grandmothers of the best homes in the new village, and an ornament to its society, as well as to its church.

About this time the fire brigade of the village was organized, consisting of six companies of ten members each.

There was now, for years, a slow but steady progress of the village in every particular. Of course, there were


BACK IN OLD ENGLAND 221

drawbacks, and difficulties, even troubles, sometimes. There always are. But Mr. Duncan's words show how well he and his people knew how to meet them. He writes in 1868 :

" The enemy is only permitted to annoy, but not to destroy, us, only to make us stand more to our arms, and look more imploringly and continually to heaven. Nor is he permitted to triumph over us."

One joyful sign of spiritual progress was the formation of the young men, to the number of one hundred or more, into Bible classes for the study of the Word. The young women of the training school, at about the same time, took charge of similar classes among the women, young and old, and often did the elders of the church, and other earnest Christian men, go to Fort Simpson, and to other neighboring tribes to bring to their heathen brethren the glad Gospel message, which had fired their own hearts.

A missionary spirit was over the people, which testified greatly to their own Christian sincerity and upright- ness.

Metlakahtla was becoming what had always been Mr. Duncan's wish, a brilliant beacon light on the desolate Northwest coast, sending its splendid rays in all directions, the guiding star of the heathen tribes, towards the only port of safety and happiness, on a rocky and dangerous coast.

But at this time Mr. Duncan had further ambitions for the young settlement. He writes :

" The spirit of improvement, which Christianity has engendered among these people, needs fresh material and knowledge, in order to develop itself. The sources of industry, at present in the hands of the Indians, are too limited and inadequate to enable them to meet their increased expenditures as a Christian and civilized community, which is no longer able to endure the


222 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

rude huts, and half-nakedness of the savage. Again, numbers of young men are growing up in the mission, who want work, and work must be found for them, or mischief will follow. They will be drawn to the settlements of the Whites, where numbers of them will be sure to become the victims of the white man's vices and diseases."

He had now, at the beginning of the year 1870, been in the wilderness and among the savages over thirteen years. The call of the home land came upon him. There he felt he could go, and find out about and learn trades, which he again could introduce to and teach the Indians.

Never had the time been so propitious for an absence, necessarily much longer than the few hurried trips to Victoria, all the outings he, so far, had enjoyed.

The elders were well-schooled, and able to divide among them the people for smaller meetings in the houses every Sunday. The constables had had experience sufficient to teach them what was necessary and proper to do to maintain order. The village council knew now what was expected of it. There was a competent storekeeper in charge of the store, and a good man running the sawmill. He felt that they had got so far now, that with proper Instructions they would be able to carry on the moral and temporal government of the village for a year. He knew he could trust them, and that they would feel proud and anxious to show themselves worthy of the confidence he was about to repose in them.

So, on the 28th day of January, 1870, he left his beloved Metlakahtla for a visit to old England.

What the departure of their beloved teacher meant to the natives, and how attached they were to him, were made fully apparent when he left.

Though he had been to every house, and bade them all an individual farewell, when the time for his leaving came, they gathered in knots on the beach, for still another


BACK IN OLD ENGLAND 223


baud- shake. And even after the last farewell, and the last solemn prayer, when they all knelt together on the sandy beach around him who had led them out into the light, they could not allow him to board the ship alone ; but followed him in their canoes until the smoke from the steamer disappeared in the dim distance.

I have had access to the entry he made in his memorandum book before he left, as to the different trades and occupations he intended to investigate and study, and try to take back with him the requisite knowledge of, from old England.

It reads as follows :

" Teasing '
Carding
Spinning

 

Making soap
" brushes
" baskets
Dressing deer skins
Making bricks
" tiles
Weaving
Cleaning
Dyeing
Drying
Wool " rope
" clogs
" staves
Gardening
Photography



Quite an ambitious undertaking, it must be admitted, for one man, with about six mouths' time to learn it all in.

Mr. Duncan is a peculiar man, and he acted peculiarly. He came to Beverley on a Friday night. One would think that, after nearly fourteen years' absence, he would rush to meet mother and relatives, and friends and childhood acquaintances. Not so he. He put up at an inn on the outskirts of the town. Saturday he spent wandering about, a great deal of the time in the cemetery. He wanted to observe the changes wrought, and find out who the silent immigrants to the resting-place for the dead were, alone, undisturbed by friendly greetings and joyous chatter. The return was to him a solemn end to a solemn absence.

Sunday, he went towards the old chapel of ease,


224 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

St. John's Church, where he had spent so many hours of devotion, but, as he neared it, he saw a man he knew, and though the beardless youth had returned a man, with heavy, full, sandy whiskers, he was afraid of a recognition, which he did not desire yet, and pretended to be busy wiping his face with his handkerchief, as he passed by on the other side of the street.

The Methodist church was, he thought, the only safe place for him to worship in that day.

Towards evening, he sought the residence of his former employer, Mr. Cousins, who recognized him at once. He kindly consented to go the next morning to prepare Mr. Duncan's mother for his return. The old lady would not believe it, when he first suggested that her son was likely to return home very soon, and Mr. Cousins had to go a second time to assure her that she would see him that day, before she could make up her mind that it was so.

While he needed rest very much, after his assiduous labors, he soon started on his round of learning the various trades. He went to an old Irish woman, who, for one shilling, taught him the mysteries of the spinning- wheel, and then thought that a fortune had fallen to her ; to Manchester for the weaving, carding, etc. , of wool ; to Yarmouth to learn rope-making, and how to construct rope- walks, and to other places to learn to make clogs, or wooden-soled shoes, and cooperage.

And he learned all that he was to learn, and learned it quickly. He had extensive notes of every trade, and each and every particular connected with it, in his memorandum book.

Nor did he forget photography. He brought back with him a photographic apparatus, plates, and chemicals. He was the first photographer on the Northwest coast, and many of the illustrations given in these pages from old Metlakahtla are from photographic plates taken by


BACK IN OLD ENGLAND 225

Mr. Duncan himself, and these photographs, used by the engraver for illustrating this book, are now, in many cases, the only copies extant of his first efforts in an art, in which, nowadays, almost every traveler considers himself an expert.

I must tell how he managed to get instruments for a brass baud :

He had noticed that the natives, though having no instruments except a primitive drum, and the rattle, were great singers, had fine voices, and a good ear for time and music.

He, therefore, made up his mind to get instruments for a brass band for them. He inquired, but found the price, about $500, too high for him. The music dealer, who had become interested when he heard he wanted them for an Indian mission band, told him of a rich silk manufacturer, who, some time ago, had purchased thirty Instruments for a brass band, for his workmen to play on ; but had got Into some difficulty with them on account of an unwarranted strike, and now kept the instruments locked up, and perhaps would sell them at quite a discount.

Mr. Duncan called on the manufacturer.

" Pardon me, sir, but I heard you had a set of brass band instruments."

" I have. What about it ? "

" I was told you might sell them at a reasonable figure, and as I want to buy a set "

" What do you want them for ? "

Mr. Duncan told him about his work, and his Indians. The capitalist seemed to grow interested as he proceeded ; but when Mr. Duncan had finished, he said, gruffly :

"My instruments are not for sale, sir."

"All right," said Mr. Duncan, "I beg your pardon for intruding, and taking up your time."


226 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

"I said they were not for sale. But that does not prevent my making you a present of them, does it ? You may take them. I hope you will have more joy from them than I have had from the ungrateful men I bought them for."

He now had the instruments. But the next thing was how to teach the Indians to play on them.

After a short sojourn in San Francisco, where he was fortunate enough to secure, at a cheap rate, a set of looms and other machinery for a weaving plant, from a manufacturer who intended to put improved machinery into his own factory, he landed in Victoria on his way home. He there heard of a very fine music teacher. He called on him and told him he wanted to learn the gamut of all the thirty pieces he had obtained for his band. The teacher opened his eyes. One man, thirty pieces !

" But I have only a very limited time."

" How much time have you? "

" I leave here in eight days for the North."

The music teacher almost fainted away.

But he did not know his pupil. Mr. Duncan took eleven lessons, paid him $11.00, and, when he was through, he had learned the gamut of them all.

After he came home, he called some of the young men together, gave them the instruments, showed them how to use them, and told them to go out in the forest to practice on them. This they did, and what a noise they made !

They came back after a couple of hours, and told him that they knew how now. He was not so sure. He was not going to let them get away with the instruments anyhow. So he made them hang them up on the wall in his office, and come back another day and practice some more.


BACK IN OLD ENGLAND 227

After a while, he had succeeded in teaching them to play, in a manner, "God save the Queen."

Later on, he had a German machinist, from Victoria, who was quite a musician, come up to Metlakahtla. He instructed the natives for three months. That is all the instruction they have had from any white people. The rest they have taught themselves, and with what wonderful results will be shown later on.

He also, at this time, brought with him from Victoria an organ, which was placed in the church, thus relieving his old concertina from further service.


XXVIII

HOME AGAIN

Just a few days more than a year after leaving for England Mr. Duncan returned to Metlakahtla, on the 21st of February, 1871.  If he had ever had any doubt of the affection with which the Indians clung to him, such doubt was very promptly dissipated by the manner in which he was received on his home-coming.

I prefer to let Mr. Duncan describe it himself :

"The news of my arrival at the mouth of the Skeena River had traveled to Metlakahtla, and on the following morning a large canoe arrived from there to fetch me home. The happy crew, whose hearts seemed brimful of joy at seeing me back, gave me a very warm welcome. I readily decided to leave the steamer, and to proceed at once to Metlakahtla with my Indian friends, who assured me that the village was in a great state of excitement at the prospect of my return.

"We were favored with a strong, fair wind, and, with two sails up, we dashed along merrily through a boiling sea. I now felt that I was indeed homeward bound.

"My happy friends, having nothing to do but watch the sails, and sit still, could give free vent to their long pent-up feelings, and so they poured out one piece of news after an- other, in rapid succession, and without any regard to order, or the changes their reports produced upon my feelings ; thus we had good and bad, solemn and frivolous, news, all mixed indiscriminately.

" On sighting the village, in accordance with a pre-concerted arrangement, a flag was hoisted over our canoe, as a signal to the villagers that I was on board.

"Very soon we could discern quite a number of flags flying over the village, and Indians hurrying towards the place of landing. Before we reached the beach, large crowds had

228


HOME AGAIN 229

assembled to greet me. On my stepping out of the canoe, bang went a cannon, and, when fairly on ray feet, bang, went an- other. Then, some of the principal people stepped away from the groups, and came forward, hats off, and saluted me warmly. On my advancing, the corps of constables discharged their muskets ; then all hats were doffed, and a general rush to seize my hand ensued.

" I was now hemmed in by the crowds of solemn faces, many exhibiting intense emotion, and eyes glistening with tears of joy. In struggling my way to the Mission House, I had nearly overlooked the school children. The dear little ones had been posted in order, on one side, and were standing in mute expectation of a recognition. I patted a few on the head, and then, with my feelings almost overcome, I pressed my way to my house.

" How sweet it was to find myself again in my own little room ; and, sweeter still, to thank God for all His preserving care over me.

" As numbers of the people were pressing into, and crowding, my house, I ordered the church bell to be rung. At once they hurried to the church, and, when I entered, it was filled. Such a sight ! After a minute's silence, we joined in thanks- giving to God, after which I addressed the assembly for about twenty minutes. This concluded, I set off, accompanied by several leading Christian men, to visit the sick and very aged, who, I was told, were anxiously begging to see me.

" The scenes that followed were very affecting. Many assured me that they had constantly prayed to God to be spared to see me once again, and God had answered their prayers, and revived their hearts, after much weeping. On finishing my visits I made up doses of medicine for several of the sick, and then sat down for a little refreshment.

"Again my house becoming crowded, I sat down with about fifty for a general talk. I gave them the special messages from Christian friends, which I had down in my note-book, told them how much we were prayed for by many Christians in England, and scanned over the principal events of my voyage and doings in England. We sat till midnight, but even then the village was lighted up, and the people all waiting to hear from the favored fifty what I had communicated. Many did not go to bed at all, but sat up all night, talking over what they had heard.


230 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

"Such is a brief account of my reception at Metlakahtla. I could but reflect how different this was to the reception I had among the same people in 1857. Then they were all superstitiously afraid of me, and regarded with dread suspicion my every act. It was with feelings of fear and contempt they approached me to hear God's Word, and, when I prayed among them, I prayed alone. None understood. None responded. Now, how things have changed ! Love has taken the place of fear, and light the place of darkness, and hundreds are intelligently able, and devoutly willing, to join me in prayer and praise to Almighty God.

" To God be all the praise and glory ! "

Any amount of work was now before him. The spiritual part, of course, naturally first occupied his attention. Then there were the sick, who needed medicine and advice. Again, the constables urged upon him an examination and re-adjudication of the law cases, which the council had settled temporarily. And, strangely enough, there was only one of these cases in which Mr. Duncan found it necessary to modify their rulings and decisions.

There were thirteen marriages to celebrate. And then the new improvements were to be planned, and laid out and started.

Sixty men were set to work at once. A rope- walk was built, also a building for the weaving enterprise, a shop for the clog manufacturing, a cooper's shop, and a sash and door shop, and soon the wheels of industry were humming in the little village.

Of more especial interest to us is the weaving industry. The women, with their spinning-wheels, on which the mountain sheep's wool was spun, have been immortalized in the illustration from a photograph taken by Mr. Duncan, on the opposite page. A number of others were engaged at the looms, fair wages were paid the workers, and excellent work turned out. A specialty was made of


HOME AGAIN 231

shawls, which the older women always wore outside of the house. I have examined some of these shawls now in the stock of the store at new Metlakahtla, and must acknowledge that the workmanship seems to me excellent. It is claimed that they could not wear them out.

The ground for the magnificent new church building, to be erected later on, was, after a while, cleared and drained. Logs were cut, and rafted to the mill, for the heavy framework of this extensive building, and soon the men in the sash and door shop found themselves busy preparing a stock, not only for the church, but also for the new buildings of the village, for the people had, on the advice of Mr. Duncan, determined to rebuild their village in a more substantial manner.

But it took time to accomplish all these improvements.

It was not until Christmas, 1874, that the splendid new church, with a seating capacity of about 1,200, could be dedicated to the Master's use. And the year 1878 was well under way before Mr. Duncan could report that the natives, with a donation from him of $60.00 for each house, had replaced their old temporary dwellings with eighty-seven new, substantial double houses, of two stories, each provided with windows, chimneys, and other civilized improvements.

The building lots, each 60x120, had been laid out by him, and were now neatly fenced in, and contained flower and berry gardens in the front, and vegetable gardens in the rear. In short, the little village commenced to assume the substantial and cozy appearance of a New England town.

The church, at a cost of over $12,000, was erected wholly by voluntary contributions, partly from the natives themselves, and partly from personal friends and admirers of Mr. Duncan.

The balance was provided from the profits of the trading


232 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

enterprises of the village. Not one dollar of its cost was contributed from the funds of the Church Missionary Society.

Some time later was completed the building of the two-storey schoolhouse, containing a large auditorium, with a seating capacity of about 800. At times, when a large number of the people were away on fishing expeditions, this room was used for church purposes.

That he had not one moment's rest all day, and many a time, if not all the time, had to encroach upon the hours of the night, in order to get his work out of the way, will be apparent when we for a moment consider his varied occupations and duties : Preacher, pastor, schoolmaster, doctor, magistrate, chief of police, mayor, manager of a store, a sawmill, and of half a dozen other manufacturing establishments, church builder and architect, bookkeeper, gardener, and adviser and arbiter of every little trouble and dispute arising between 900 to 1,000 people, only one degree removed from savagery. Indeed, sufficient was all this to turn half a dozen heads, if they did not sit as squarely on a pair of Yorkshire shoulders, as Mr. Duncan's did.

It was not until November, 1873, that Mr. Duncan, after his first removal to Metlakahtla, had any assistance in any part of his work worthy of the name. At this time, Mr. W. H. Collison came from England as a school- master. He was accompanied by his worthy wife, and

  • In 1885, Mr. Duncan showed that, up to that time, the total amount received by him, in the way of donations from friends, was less than $6,000. The total sum expended by him, up to the same time, for the erection of the splendid church edifice, establishing Industries, plants and buildings, village improvements (roads, wharves, etc.), and in aid given to the natives in building their new dwellings, was nearly $35,000 - a most marvelous result of a rare business capacity in a preacher.



HOME AGAIN 233

they entered upon the discharge of their new and difficult duties with great ardour and zeal.

The girls' school, under Mrs. CoUison's management, especially attained new life, and the fruits of this part of the work became promptly apparent.

They continued as Mr. Duncan's trusted assistants at Metlakahtla, to a great extent relieving him of his duties as schoolmaster, at least, until the year 1876, when they were, in their turn, relieved by Mr. and Mrs. H. Schutt, who had been sent out in order to allow the Collisons to take up missionary work among the Haidas at Massett, on Graham Island, the largest of the group of the Queen Charlotte Islands, where they were permitted to see very gratifying fruits of a work extending over the greater part of three years.

Mr. and Mrs. Schutt continued their work at Metlakahtla for several years. Mrs. Schutt was a conscientious and painstaking woman, for whom Mr. Duncan has nothing but praise. Her husband does not, however, seem to have been of any particular benefit.

The picture of the beautiful Christian tone which the life of the natives attained under the spiritual administration of Mr. Duncan would not be complete without giving a little pen sketch from the hand of the Venerable Archdeacon Woods from Victoria, who, in the year 1871, visited the Christian settlements of Metlakahtla and Kineolith. He describes what took place on his trip up to Nass River, whither he went in a canoe manned by Metlakahtla Indians :

" Having paddled from daylight till dusk, with a brief rest of about half an hour, we reached the only available campingground on the coast, where we rested for the night under such shelter as the canoe sail, stretched across the mast, could afford. And, having lighted a fire, I prepared supper. Mr. Duncan had provided me with food ready cooked, so my sup-


234 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

per was soon made, and I laid down to rest, wearied with sitting all day in the canoe. The Indians cooked their venison and salmon, Indian fashion, and then, all reverently taking off their caps, one said grace, with every appearance of devotion. "After supper, I was amused at the evident fun that was going on amongst them, for, though I could not understand their language, a laugh is understood all over the world.  By and by, as I was dropping asleep, I was aroused by their sudden stillness. My first impression was that they were getting wearied, but it was not so. They were only calming down before retiring for rest, and soon I observed them all, with their heads uncovered and reverently bowed, kneel around the camp-fire, while one said prayers for all, and as the Lord's Prayer (for I could recognize it in the strange language in which it was clothed) ascended from beneath the shades of the forest, from lips which only lately had acquired the right to say 'Our Father,' ... I could not fail to realize how grandly Catholic is that prayer, which He Himself gave to those to whom alone He gives the right to use it."

It is only natural that Mr. Duncan, in his work, should come into serious contact with the heathen Indians surrounding Metlakahtla on the question of slavery, which we have seen was practiced to a great extent among the Indians of the coast.

It goes without saying, that no slaves were allowed to be kept in bondage at Metlakahtla. The Christ had, of course, made them all free. But this was not sufficient for Mr. Duncan or his Christian natives. They considered it their Christian duty to help to free from bondage any slaves belonging to neighboring Indians, whom they could reach. For the purpose of purchasing slaves their freedom, the sum of $5,000 was, from time to time, set aside from the profits of the trading establishments, and the greater portion of it used.

Whenever any slaves reached Metlakahtla, it meant freedom forever. No cruel master was allowed to reclaim them from that city of Christian freedom.


HOME AGAIN 235

To what extent Metlakahtla became to these poor slaves, all over Alaska and British Columbia, a city of refuge, will be apparent from the following, penned by Mr. Duncan in the year 1876 :

" A poor slave woman, still young in years, who had been stolen away when a child, and carried to distant tribes in Alaska Territory, where she had suffered many cruelties, fled from her oppressors last summer, and, though ill at the time, took to the sea in a canoe all alone, and determined to reach Metlakahtla, or perish in the attempt.

" On her way (she had upwards of one hundred and fifty miles to travel) she was seen and taken by a party of Fort Simpson Indians, who would no doubt have been glad to hand her back to her pursuers for gain, but, on hearing of her case, I demanded her freedom, and, finally, she was received into a Christian family here and tenderly cared for. Both the man and his wife, who received her into their home, had themselves been slaves years ago. They understood her language, sympathized deeply with her, and labored hard to impart to her the knowledge of the Saviour of sinners.

" After three months, her cruel master, with his party, came here to recapture her, but they had to return home unsuccessful. In three months more, her strength succumbed to the disease which had been brought on her by cruelty and hard- ship. She was a great sufferer during the last few weeks of her life, but she died expressing her faith in the Saviour, and rejoicing that she had been led here to end her days."


XXIX

NOTABLE VISITORS

IN 1875, Mr. Duncan found it necessary, in order to protect the Indians of British Columbia generally from the attacks on their ancient rights by the white land-grabbers, to take a trip to Ottawa, Canada, where he laid before the Dominion government the outrageous legislation adopted by British Columbia, and log- rolled through its legislature, by the land-grabber lobby, by which it was intended to allow the Indians only ten acres of forest and rock for each family, in lieu of their old ancestral rights and privileges, of which they were now by law to be deprived.

He insisted that it was the duty of the Dominion Government to protect the Indians from this onslaught on their rights, and succeeded in persuading the government that failure so to do might, and likely would, result in an Indian uprising, the consequences whereof could only be contemplated with horror, fear, and trembling.

This attack of the white land-grabbers was, thanks to his efforts, thus frustrated. But they should again be heard from. They always are.

His visit drew the attention of the officers of the Dominion government upon Metlakahtla, and the great work which the little, talented and resourceful Yorkshire missionary had accomplished. It was undoubtedly the main cause of the visit of Lord Dufferin, the then Governor-General of the Dominion, to Metlakahtla, on the 30th of August, 1876.

He came in a warship, accompanied by Lady Dufferin

236

 

NOTABLE VISITORS 237

and his suite, and received a truly royal welcome, though his coming was wholly unexpected and unheralded, and, therefore, the greater portion of the villagers were denied the privilege of meeting him, as they, at the time, were away putting in their winter supply of salmon.

An address, very likely prepared by Mr. Duncan, was read and presented by David Leask, one of Mr. Duncan's aptest and brightest scholars, on behalf of the native council, and the Governor-General, who, with his lady, was most agreeably surprised at what they saw, accepted the address in a fine speech, in which he pledged the Indians the protection of the government and its most gracious queen, and paid the highest encomium on the work which Mr. Duncan had done among, and for, them.

Interesting as this visit proved to the mission and the Indians, a greater treat still was in store for them.

Captain (then Admiral) Prevost, who had been, under God, the means of starting this wonderful work among the Indians, on the 18th day of June, 1878, paid Metlakahtla a long promised visit, for he had promised Mr. Duncan and the Society that he, while stationed on the coast, would make frequent visits to Mr. Duncan at his mission station. But in the busy whirl of the life of the squadron he had forgotten it, or been prevented from keeping his promise.

During the dark days through which Mr. Duncan had striven, in the desperate struggles to which he at first was exposed, there is no telling what help a visit from the Christian captain, sailing his man-of-war, would have proven to the young missionary. But, during these dreary years, when he was peering through the fog for the Union Jack, and the standard of the captain, he looked in vain for a help that, after all, would have been only of the earth, earthly. Perhaps it was better so.


238 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Maybe it turned his heart, and his thoughts, with greater fervor to the Helper who could do greater wonders, and who had stood by him in so many an hour of need.

One thing is certain : If the feeling, that this visit, which had been promised to be made in times when he needed it so sorely, had been deferred to a time when he was on top, when his sailing was plain, and the cause of Christ was, and had for years been, triumphant, in any manner embittered Mr. Duncan's thoughts, he did not in the least let it interfere with the hearty welcome extended to the visiting admiral, whom he cordially introduced to his people as the father of their mission.

The sight which met their visitor must have sufficed to dim the bravest eye, must have filled the most callous heart with gratitude to God for having been allowed, even in the smallest measure, to share in the responsibility for such glorious results.

I will let the admiral himself describe what he saw and felt the Sunday he spent in Metlakahtla :

"To me, all days at Metlakahtla are solemnly sacred, but Sunday, of all others, especially so. Canoes are all drawn up on the beach above high water-mark. Not a sound is heard. The church bell rings, and the whole population pour out from their houses - men, women, and children - to worship God in His own house, built by their own hands. As it has been remarked, ' No need to lock doors, for no one is there to enter the empty houses.' Such is the deep attention of many present, that, having once known their former lives, I know that the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost can alone have produced so marvelous a change.

" First, there was a very old woman, staff in hand, stepping with such solemn earnestness; after her came one who had been a very notorious gambler ; though now almost crippled with disease, yet he seemed to forget infirmity, and literally to be leaping along. Next followed a dissipated youth, now reclaimed ; and after him a chief, who had dared, a few years ago, to proudly lift his hand to stop the work of God, and now,


NOTABLE VISITORS 239

with humble mien, wending his way to worship. Then came a once still more haughty man of rank ; and after him a mother carrying her infant child, and a father leading his infant son. A grandmother, with more than a mother's care, watching the steps of her little grandson. Then followed a widow, then a young woman, who had been snatched from the jaws of infamy ; then a once notorious chief; and the last I reflected upon was a man walking with solemn gait, yet with hope fixed in his look. When a heathen he was a murderer : he had murdered his own wife and burnt her to ashes. What are all these now, I thought, and the crowds that accompany them? Whither are they going ? And what to do ? Blessed sight for angels ! Oh, the preciousness of a Saviour's blood ! If there is a joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, with what delight must angels gaze on such a sight as this ! I felt such a glow of gratitude to God come over me that my heart was stirred within me, for who could have joined such a congregation as this in worship and have been cold, and who could have preached the Gospel to such a people and not have felt that he was standing where God was working ? "

Before leaving Metlakahtla, Admiral Prevost made the village a present of a set of street lamps, a gift which was greatly appreciated, both by Mr. Duncan and the villagers - another symbol of the light which Metlakahtla was spreading through the darkness surrounding it.

Before these street lamps were installed, Mr. Duncan had contrived a very original way of lighting the streets, and the church as well.

He caused each Indian to erect a post, with a cross- beam, outside of his house, from which was suspended an oil lamp, fed by oolakan oil. When the time came for divine service on winter evenings every householder detached the lamp from the beam, and used it for lighting the way of the family to the church. Arrived at church, the lamps were placed on the organ, on the pulpit, and on tables so as to light up the church. As all the people were at church, there was, of course, no need of gtyeet


240 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

lamps during that hour. Upon returning from church, the lamps again did service in lighting the streets and the entrance to the houses.

Another very interesting visit to Metlakahtla must be recorded. That of the late Right Reverend William G. Bompas, the venerable and beloved missionary bishop of Athabaska, who arrived in November, 1877, and remained for nearly five months.

But, before giving the details of that visit, it is necessary to retrospect a little.

Mr. Duncan, though himself a member of the Anglican Church, had always considered that his mission was to make Christians out of the Indians, not merely Episcopalians.

These, his views, had been cordially shared by the Church Missionary Society, as long as the venerable and evangelical Rev. Henry Venn was its General Secretary and virtual head. He fully approved of Mr. Duncan's work, as well as of his methods. In the Society's published reports of the Metlakahtla mission, Mr. Duncan's praises were for years sung without stint. When he practically failed to use among his people the ritual of the church, and abstained, for weighty reasons, from admitting them to the Lord's Supper, no word of criticism was heard.

But, upon the death of Mr. Venn, a more churchly spirit began to dominate the Society, and it, for the first time, even suggested that the mission should be turned into an Episcopal church, with the full administration of the sacraments of the church.

Already, as far back as 1867, Bishop Hills had urged upon Mr. Duncan to take orders. But he definitely declined to do so.

The argument which he advanced was that when the Jews were delivered out of Egypt, and were to be brought


NOTABLE VISITORS 241

to the promised land, it was Moses, who was no ordained priest, who was their deliverer, not the priest Aaron.

"I prefer, in an humble way," he said, "to be the Moses of these poor people, rather than an Aaron. God has granted His blessing to my humble work, when I went among them only as a lay missionary, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and nothing else. I am not so sure that He would grant me the same blessing were I to appear in any other capacity."

Again he said to the bishop :

" Ought I to be ordained, when I really look upon the priestly orders, as far as they apply to me at least, as Saul's armour was to David, - no protection, but really a hindrance and an encumbrance !  I prefer to stick to the sling and the stone. That has done good work so far. Let it continue."

Mr. Duncan undoubtedly believed that the true reason for the bishop's urging him to become ordained was that he desired the mission to become a full-fledged Episcopal church, of the regular connection, and the Indians to become Episcopalians, which Mr. Duncan honestly believed was not the best for their Christian life and growth.

But it must be admitted that in this it is at least possible that Mr. Duncan is mistaken, inasmuch as considerable inconvenience and extra labor, devolving upon the clergy of the Columbian diocese, would necessarily be obviated by having an ordained priest in charge of the work at Metlakahtla, who could lawfully administer the sacraments, or, in any event, the ordinance of baptism.

On the other hand, it is barely possible that Mr. Duncan's strong prejudice against ritualism, vestments, altars, and all the paraphernalia of the churchly church, made in his mind more pernicious by the importance placed upon them by the High Church element, had considerable


242 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

to do with his refusal to entertain the bishop's proposition to ordain him a priest.

It is a fact worthy of notice, in this connection, that his only really true and faithful friend and colleague in the missionary work on the coast, Mr. Tomliuson, though ordained a deacon when he first came out, has ever since adopted the same policy, and declined to receive full priestly orders.

When it was ascertained by the Society that there was no prospect of Mr. Duncan receiving orders, its officers bent their every energy to secure the services of an ordained priest, who could come out, and be the pastor of the church at Metlakahtla, whether with a view of thereby superseding Mr. Duncan, or not, is not perfectly clear to my mind.

I would rather be inclined to think, however, that there was no such intention, at this time, both because the Society could not possibly close its eyes to the wonderful work which he had done, and also because I know it to be a fact that it was held out to Mr. Duncan, presumably with the full knowledge of the Society, that, when he first was ordained, the next step would be to have him consecrated bishop of a missionary diocese on the North- west coast.

Had Mr. Duncan aspired to power and authority, the way was here opened for him to the fullest extent.

But he spurned the tempter and the temptation, and went about his old, simple, unpretentious ways, working day and night for the full redemption, spiritual and temporal, of his beloved Metlakahtla Indians.

A report reached Victoria, in the spring of 1877, that the Fort Rupert Indians had carried away as a slave an Indian woman from the Nanaimo reservation. The Vancouver Island government dispatched the warship Plumper to the Indian village. The captain sent word to


NOTABLE VISITORS 243

the Indians that, unless they brought the Indian woman on board within forty-eight hours, he would destroy their village. He did not desire to kill them, and they could, therefore, leave ; but the village must be bombarded, unless his request was complied with.

The Indians, as was generally their custom, waited up to within half an hour of the time-limit fixed by the captain. Then they sent word to him that they wanted to see him on shore. When the captain came to meet them, they had gathered some little distance from the beach. One muscular, strong Indian approached, dancing to the beach, swinging a big knife violently above his head. When he had come directly in front of the captain, but some little distance back from the beach, where the latter stood near his boat, he came to a stop, and with a violent swing, stuck his knife deep into the sand. He then made a speech, wherein he said :

" Why did the Whites let Duncan pass by these Indians when he went with the letter of God up the coast ? Why did they not send Duncan to us, and make us good ? But no ! no ! To us they only send ships to kill us. Now, then, kill me at once. I am the chief of this village. There is the knife. Kill me, and let my people go in peace."

So saying, he pointed to the knife, and bared his breast.

The captain answered him that he had no desire to kill any one of them, if they delivered up the slave woman. This they finally did, at the last moment.

The captain returned to his ship, and wrote his report to the authorities. In this report he had just suggested that if some Duncan could be sent to these Indians, Instead of war-ships, it would be a decided improvement, when Mr. Duncan himself, who happened to pass by the place, dropped into the cabin of the Plumper.

Informed of what had happened, and what the captain


244 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

had just been writing, be went ashore, and addressed the Indians, to whom he suggested that he might perhaps come to them himself within many moons, to tell them the glad message of the blessed Saviour. This gave great joy to the hearts of the Indians, who never could understand why Duncan had passed them by in the first place.

At this very time, Mr. Duncan had really made up his mind to leave Metlakahtla, and give up the work there to a young clergyman, the Rev. A. J. Hall, whom the Society had prevailed upon to come out.

He felt that the way the Society was now constituted there was perhaps no hope of his, in the long run, successfully resisting the organizing of the mission into an Episcopal church. As he did not want to be a party to a step, the fatal consequences of which to his devoted life- work he could not help but foresee, he had made up his mind to turn over Metlakahtla to Mr. Hall upon his arrival, and to go somewhere else to start another mission work in another field.

He now looked upon this particular incident as a pointer from the Lord as to the field upon which he ought to concentrate his labors.

When Mr. Hall arrived, on the 6th of August, 1877, Mr. Duncan installed him and left for Victoria, there to mature his plans for the future. But meantime without any final leave-taking with the Indians.

He felt it was better thus. A declaration that they would then see him for the last time might result in their revolting against the Society's plans, and against the priest whom it had sent them.

Mr. Duncan desired to put no hindrances in their way, and left them in full possession of the field, to do what their consciences allowed them to.

Now, it so happened, that Mr. Hall, though in many


NOTABLE VISITORS 245

ways a gifted man, and burning with an earnest zeal for Christian work, of which his many years of devoted service in the mission field of the Northwest coast bear evidence, was, at the time, lacking in the wisdom and experience, which he undoubtedly later on acquired. He did not know the Indians as the old tried Moses, who had brought them out from the heraldom of heathen darkness, into the glorious sunshine of Christianity. He did not understand how they had to be taken, and just where the hidden shoals and rocks of their Christian life were situated.

Only a few weeks after the old leader had left Metlakahtla, he heard in Victoria that a rumour had come down by one of the steamers that angels had appeared at Metlakahtla.

Upon inquiry as to what that could mean, he ascertained from a certain party at Victoria, that he had received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Crosby, a Methodist minister at Fort Simpson, wherein he thanked God for the good work now going on at Metlakahtla.

Mr. Duncan knew Crosby. He was a well-meaning and able man, but very impulsive and emotional. A veritable shouter of the shouters, who had managed to get some of the Indians at Fort Simpson into what almost amounted to a religious frenzy. Mr. Duncan, therefore, thought he well-knew what the nature of the work going on at Metlakahtla must be, when Crosby felt inclined to thank God for it.

He knew in his heart that something was going wrong, and that the results of his life-work were in danger of being lost forever in the bog of religious fanaticism.

His friends in Victoria urged him to go up at once and take hold of the mission again, in order to save it from destruction. After much urging, he went.

He came just in time to save the situation.



2i6 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The young priest had, in his inexperience, preached to the Indians on this text from Joel, the prophet :

  • ' Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."

In the exuberance of his youthful enthusiasm, he had painted to them the scene, vividly and impressionably. The imagery of the poetic native was appealed to. That was all. But it was enough.

Inside of a day or two, some of them went out into the forest, and saw angels, and devils, and I don't know what else.

Mr. Crosby had come from Fort Simpson and fanned the flame. With his own violence of speech, motions, gestures, and eloquence, he encouraged the crazy visions and the fanatic life. In short, Mr. Duncan, on his arrival, found things in a terrible turmoil. So far had things gone, that one man had even imagined he heard the Holy Ghost whisper to him :

" Get up ! Go out ! Wake up the village ! Call it to a meeting in the church at midnight to hear the Spirit speak."

He so did, and there had actually been a well-attended meeting, in fear and trembling, in the church at mid- night.

Mr. Duncan arrived at the village on a Saturday night. After talking the matter over with two trusted elders of the church, who came to him, he took command just as if he had never left, and as if there was no one else in charge.

He gave orders that there should be no church on the morrow. Then, that the men should meet him in the schoolhouse in the morning, and the women in the afternoon.

When the morning came, all the men were on hand.


NOTABLE VISITORS 247

He gave them a good talking to, and told them that he had found out about the immorality that had been practiced - called it plainly the devil's work among them, and finally announced that there would be service in the church in the evening, and that all could come who were sorry for what had happened. But that he did not want any one there who had encouraged this crazy, fanatical deviltry.

"When they went out, he noticed some of them looking very glum, and made up his mind that they were the ringleaders.

One of the elders at noon came in a great huff, and told him that one of the former chiefs had sent word around to the women not to go to the meeting in the afternoon.

"What shall we do ? " he asked.

"Do nothing. They will come anyhow."

So they did. They were all there. It was plain to see that they had taken no part in the excesses, except so far as a few had been, in good faith, duped.

When he had finished his speech, one of them rose and said it was simply awful what had been going on, but that they were glad he was back. Everything would now be all right.

At the evening service the church was filled ; but the men who had looked so glum were not there. He knew now positively that he had spotted the ringleaders.

The next morning he called them to the office, and told them that they were the ones to blame - that they had been doing the devil's work, and ought to be ashamed of themselves. That they were puffed up, and loved notoriety. That was the secret. They knew well that they had been lying, but loved to fool the people, as the old medicine-men did.

One of them had the courage to say :

" You are mistaken, sir. We have had revelations."


248 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

"Revelations fiddlesticks!" came from the old leader in impatience. Then, turning to the young priest, who was present :

" Mr. Hall, is this God's work ? "

To his credit be it said, the young man without hesitation answered right to their faces :

" No, sir, I am sorry to say that it is not."

Mr. Duncan then told them not to dare to come to the church. They were doomed to stay away from the service of God's people. He wanted nothing more to do with them till they came back, like the prodigal son, repentant for their sins, and ready to acknowledge that they had simply been the devil's tools.

Shamefaced, they sneaked out of the office, one by one.

A short time after this occurrence, Bishop Bompas arrived. He had been requested by Bishop Hills to visit Metlakahtla, as the latter did not desire to become reconciled to Dean Cridge, as the Indians had suggested, and did not want to irritate them by visiting them without complying with their request.

When this trouble was laid before Bishop Bompas, he decided that Metlakahtla was no place for a " novice," even if he was clothed in the full vestments of the priest, and advised that Mr. Duncan take up the work again, as before.

Mr. Duncan now suggested to Mr. Hall that he go to Fort Rupert, among the heathen there, travel around and preach the Gospel among them, till some one accepted the Word, and then move them away and start a new Metlakahtla.

The young priest, with true Christian meekness, accepted the advice, and threw himself with great ardour into the work. The Church Missionary Society approved of this course. But when Bishop Ridley, of whom more


NOTABLE VISITORS 249

anon, arrived on the scene, he located Mr. Hall at Alert Bay, where some white people who had started a cannery- had promised to help the mission along. This promise they kept by ringing the cannery bell for work Sundays, when Mr. Hall rang his church bell for services.

Bishop Bompas, who had been relied upon by the Society and Bishop Hills, to revolutionize things at Metlakahtla, by turning the mission into an Episcopal church, and by introducing the sacrament of the Lord's Supper there, after investigating matters thoroughly, decided that, under existing conditions, it was not the best thing to do.

The old evangelical divine, a genuine disciple of his great Master, though he had been induced to don a bishop's robes, could not be made to play church politics at the risk of destroying and undermining the wonderful Christian work he found in full blossom at the beautiful inlet of the North Pacific. And, after having confirmed 124 of the natives, baptized many, and ordained Mr. Col lison a priest, he departed, leaving with the wonderful lay missionary and his Christian community the blessing of a true Christian.

Metlakahtla he left as he found it, a second edition of the beautiful Garden of Eden, but with no serpent in it. The time was to come, however, when the serpent should appear, to blast its happiness and beauty with his fetid breath.


XXX

TROUBLES BREWING

While Bishop Hills of Columbia, in 1879, was in England, his diocese was divided into three. Out of it was carved, among others, the missionary diocese of Caledonia, which consisted of the mission fields in the northern portion of British Columbia, in which there were then, all told, three clergymen, and one lay preacher, Mr. Duncan.

In return for the doubtful privilege of nominating the incumbent, the Church Missionary Society undertook to pay the salary of the bishop of this new diocese. The Rev. William Ridley, who had been a missionary in India for a couple of years, but had returned on account of failing health, and obtained a living in England, was consecrated bishop of this diocese on July 25, 1879, designated Metlakahtla as the Episcopal seat of his See, and arrived in the little Indian village on the first day of November, 1879.

That day was a black letter day for the village and for the mission which had so successfully been carried on within its gates.

At first the bishop was all smiles and pleasantry. He had nothing but kind words for the place, the work, the Christian Indians, and their wonderful teacher.

In his first speech to the Indians he assured them that he had not come to interfere with Mr. Duncan ; but would willingly work with him. This, of course, was just as it ought to be, considering the wonderful monument to

250

 

TROUBLES BREWING 251

Christianity and civilization this lone man had there reared.

But it was not long before the true nature of the hierarch asserted itself.

Knowing Mr. Duncan's antipathy to all sorts of clerical show and vestments, he made it, nevertheless, a point to appear arrayed in his full Episcopal regalia, when in church on Sundays, where he had nothing to do but to sit in a pew, like any other attendant, as he could neither preach nor pray, so that the natives could appreciate his efforts.

His claim to the title and address of "My Lord" was, of course, just as offensive to the simple and lowly layman.

Then he commenced to mildly suggest some improvement in the service - a little more of the ritual. And he had not been there many months before Mr. Duncan received very broad hints that it was essentially wrong to deprive these poor Christians of the great advantages of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

As he had argued to the Society, so he now told the bishop the reasons why he had hitherto, with the full approval of the leading members of his church, abstained from admitting them to the sacrament.

Whether we agree with him or not in his reasons, it must certainly be admitted that he knew the Indians better than both Society and bishop possibly could, and that, for this reason, if for no other, his opposition to such an important innovation in their worship could not, in all fairness, be easily brushed aside.

His reasons were as follows :

  1. Not so long ago these Indians had at least assumed the appearance of cannibals. They had been taught this practice to be a most atrocious and heinous sin. Now, when told that they were to partake of the body and blood



252 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

of the blessed Saviour, how could they, with their limited reasoning capacity, be expected to distinguish between the two acts ? "Would it not, at least, be liable to bring back to their minds the terrible custom, and give the scoffers among them an opportunity to taunt them with their inconsistency ?

  1. Then there was always the danger that they, in their ignorance, might come to look upon the sacrament as a charm, which would take away their sins, and be a passport to heaven. Their former training and ideas would easily foster such a belief.

  2. Again, there was this inconsistency, which would strongly appeal to them, and to them seem inexplicable. The Queen's law forbade any man to give an Indian any wine, and punished him for doing so. Now the church would give it to him, and it was not wrong.

  3. With the inordinate appetite of the Indian for all intoxicating liquors, there w^as special danger in offering him wine in the sacrament. Many might seek frequent admission to the sacrament, for the very opportunity which it afforded them, to a limited extent, to cater to this appetite. The unconverted heathen would certainly look upon it as a covert indulgence in what the law for- bade.

  4. The law treated the Indians as children. It forbade them drinking liquors, and punished them for doing so. It was never the contemplation of the Christian Church that any one, who had not attained further than the estate of children, should partake of this sacrament. Hence, they were not, as a matter of analogy, yet sufficiently ma- tured to receive it.

The bishop also was in favor of a more liberal administration of the ordinance of baptism.

Mr. Duncan had very decided views on this subject also. In fact, all his views were decided. That was


TROUBLES BREWING 253

the make-up of the man. It was one of the secrets of his success.

He had always insisted that no adult should be baptized until after a long probation, and that no children should be baptized at all, unless they, first, had Christian parents ; secondly, that the parents in asking for their baptism acted upon religious grounds, and thirdly, that they were reasonably competent to discharge their religious duties towards them. There was, in his opinion, always the danger that the half-savage mind would harbor an idea that the holy ordinance, and that alone, was equivalent to an insurance policy of salvation.

Others had not been so conscientious in their dealings with the Indians.

Some years before, Mr. Duncan had called before him a half breed chief, Alfred Dudoward, from Fort Simpson. He had just been initiated into the mysteries of the cannibal club, and Mr. Duncan notified him that if he ever repeated this heathenish tomfoolery, he would send him to jail, as it was a crime under the law to expose one's person in a state of nudity on the beach.

This scared him so that he, a short time after, went to Victoria.

Judge of Mr. Duncan's surprise when he, some time later, read in a pamphlet published by a revivalist, named Hammond, that this same half-breed had converted "five hundred bloodthirsty savages," and that he had come down to Victoria for a Methodist preacher to come up and baptize them.

This was really done by a preacher, named Pollard, who came up and baptized these Indians, men, women, and children, without first teaching them the word, and without knowing anything about these people, who were really still savages, and to whom he thus lightly affixed the label of Christianity.


254 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The state of the Christian understanding of these people is characterized by the fact that some of them, right after their baptism, affixed a sign to the door of their houses, reading :

"I am a Methodist."

Bishop Ridley would have done well in adopting Mr. Duncan's caution in regard to the administration of this sacrament. If he had, he would not have had the following experience, most ludicrous, if it was not so closely bordering on the sacrilegious :

One of the chief medicine-men on the Nass River was very sick - in fact, near death. Bishop Ridley heard of it, went to him, and asked him if he did not desire to be "saved." The word he used was one which, in their language, is equivalent to our "healed," "made well again. " Of course he did. " Yes - certainly ! "

Then he must give up his rattle.

Well, he thought he would be willing to do a small thing like that, if he could only get well.

So he gave his rattle to the bishop, who carried it off as a trophy, after having baptized the old heathen.

But the old medicine-man did not get well. In fact, he actually got worse.

He called in his wise men. They told him he had made a mistake in giving up his rattle. That was his power.

He grew worse and worse. Finally, he made up his mind to get that rattle back again at whatever cost.

He found out that the bishop had sent to the creek for water to baptize him with. So he sent for a bowl of water from the creek himself, and placed it by his bed- side. Then he summoned the bishop.

When the bishop arrived, he told him that he had fooled him. His lordship tried to argue with him ; but he would not listen. He only wanted his rattle back. The


TROUBLES BREWING 255

bishop would not give it up. But when the old Indian made use of threatening language, it scared him, and he finally said that, though he would not give it up to him, he might compromise by agreeing to give it back to the man's wife. When he had sent for it, and the old medicine-man would not let him go till he had done this, he handed the rattle to the man's wife.

As he now was about to depart, the old Indian grabbed the bowl of water, threw it at the bishop, and said :

" Take your water back, too. I don't want it."

After that he got better.

There was no danger that anything like that ever could have happened to Mr. Duncan. But he was not a bishop - only a common layman missionary. So, of course, the wisdom God had given him, and his long experience among these people, counted for nothing against the notions of a " high priest of the Church."

The bishop could, however, easily perceive that against a man of his firmness, he could not have his way. So he concluded to bide his time, and undermine him with the Society if he could.

Mr. Duncan in a short time had an opportunity to find out the lay of the land.

The bishop came into his room one day in a great stew. He had heard that the Methodists were going to start a mission at Hazelton, away up on the Skeena River. The "Church" must come in on the ground first and stop them. So he immediately dispatched a young schoolmaster from Metlakahtla to the place, with a blackboard, in order to start a school for the natives, and hold the fort until a priest could arrive.

The next move was to write Mr. Tomlinson, and order him to give up his mission, where he had inaugurated a blessed work, and go post-haste to relieve the young man with the blackboard.


256 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Mr. Tomliuson did not believe in this kind of practice any more than Mr. Duncan did, so he refused to comply with the order of the bishop, went home to England, as fast as steam could carry him, laid the matter before the Society, was sustained in his position, and returned with an order from headquarters reversing the bishop's disposition of him.

The next move on the bishop's part was to take Mr. Hall from the work he had started, at Mr. Duncan's suggestion, itinerating around Fort Rupert, and to place him at Alert Bay, where nothing could be accomplished, because of the contaminating presence of the Whites.

Mr. Duncan wrote to the Society about this change in the work, and the bishop was again overruled. But, disregarding the Society's orders, he continued the erection of mission buildings at Alert Bay, and retained Mr. Hall at a place, where experience, even to this day, has shown that no satisfactory results could be obtained.^

These experiences undoubtedly opened the eyes of the Society to the fact that the ai3pointment of Bishop Ridley was not such an unmitigated success, after all, and perhaps were the direct cause of anew order promulgated at the beginning of the year 1881, to the effect that the missionaries, clergymen and laymen, should meet annually at Metlakahtla, under the presidium of the bishop, for a conference which should determine as to the work at the different mission stations of the diocese.

This conference met, for the first time, in July, 1881. The bishop, for some reason best known to himself,

  • "When I, in the summer of 1908, came down the Inside Passage in company with Mr. Hall, what was my surprise to find, upon our arrival at Alert Bay, where the steamer put in in order to land the priest, that an old time potlatch, with painted faces, Indiana singing and dancing, was in full awing.



TROUBLES BREWING 257

absented himself from these meetings, and was sulking in his tent until the conference had adjourned, when he somehow managed to do some work, which I prefer not to characterize, but which should tell thereafter.

It cannot sufficiently be regretted that the Society should have made such a mistake in the man appointed to this missionary diocese. Had a man been selected of the splendid and upright character, and with the loving and Christian disposition exhibited by his successor in the diocese, the Right Reverend F. Du Veruet, there is no question but that the glorious work at old Metlakahtla never would have been interfered with, and that God's Church would not have been scandalized, as it was in the years to follow.

The membership of this first conference of the workers of the Northwest Coast Mission was made up of the clergymen Tomlinson, Collison, and Hall, Mr. Duncan, lay missionary, and Messrs. Schutt and Chantrel, schoolmasters.

The conference desired to have Mr. Duncan preside over its deliberations. But, as he peremptorily declined, giving as a reason that he desired to absent himself when they discussed and voted upon the disposition of the Metlakahtla Mission, Mr. Tomlinson was elected temporary chairman, in the absence of the bishop, and Mr. Collison, secretary.

After all the business relating to the various other stations had been disposed of, the future of Metlakahtla was taken up.

Mr. Duncan reminded the conference that he was a layman, and of the Society's wish to have an ordained man in his place, and asked the conference whether it would not, in view of these facts, advise him to resign his connection with Metlakahtla.

He then left the room to allow the conference to fully


258 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

discuss the matter, without being hampered by his presence but was soon recalled, when the following resolution, which had been adopted by the unanimous vote of all the members of the conference, including the Rev. Mr. Collison, who at the time was stationed at Metlakahtla as a clergyman, and who sustained very close relations to the bishop, was read to him :

"The conference, having heard Mr. Duncan's statement, and knowing the value of his labors and experience, not only in the work at Metlakahtla, but also to the Church Missionary Society's missions generally in the North Pacific field, unanimously decline to advise Mr. Duncan to resign,"

The question of his resignation having been disposed of in this manner, another question naturally arose, to wit : how the difficulty involved in his remaining at Metlakahtla could be met, when the Society was demanding changes there, which he could not conscientiously endorse.

He, therefore, asked the conference if it would not advise the Society to allow Metlakahtla to become an independent mission, work out its own destiny, and defray its own expenses, without in any sense changing in its sympathy with the Society's missions or missionaries in other places.

The conference, after due deliberation, again in his absence, by a majority vote, passed a resolution "advising the Society to constitute Metlakahtla into a lay mission, and to leave the work in Mr. Duncan's hands, without clerical supervision. " *

The minority consisted of Mr. Tomlinson, Mr. Duncan's special friend and ardent supporter. So that the resolution, as passed, really was supported by the bishop's

  • Italicized by the author.



TROUBLES BREWING 259

friends in the conference, and opposed by Mr. Duncan's real supporter.

Nevertheless, it was by Bishop Ridley afterwards characterized as "absurd and cowardly."

The minutes of the resolutions adopted by the conference were soon afterwards forwarded by the secretary, Mr. Collison, to the Society in England.

Mr. Duncan and Mr. Tomlinson have always been of the opinion that, in some way, the wording of the last resolution, at the instigation of, or by Bishop Ridley himself, was changed before the transmittal of the minutes to the Society, and, unfortunately, there seems to be no question about the correctness of this supposition.

It may be surmised that the report of the doings of the conference was followed almost immediately by letters from the bishop to the Society, poisoning its mind against Mr. Duncan and his position at Metlakahtla.

That, and that alone, can explain the subsequent action of the Society towards Mr. Duncan.

The latter thought it only fair to wait a decent time before writing the Society a long letter, detailing his po- sition, both with reference to the question of closer church connection at the mission, and the administration of the sacraments, especially that of the Lord's Supper, giving his reasons for such position.

Before the receipt, however, of this letter, the Society, after receiving the minutes of the conference, and the bishop's epistles, wrote Mr. Duncan a letter, inviting him to come to London to confer with them on the future status of the mission at Metlakahtla.

This letter, dated September 29th, 1881,' he received while in Victoria, where he had gone to purchase machinery

  • I ask the reader to note this date, as it becomes of importance as the story progresses.



260 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

for a salmon cannery, which he had made all arrangements for starting in Metlakahtla in time for the coming season.

This was a project which he had a long time had in mind, as the only practical way of giving the Indians any proportionate benefit from the visits of the piscatorial hosts to their ancient salmon streams. By it he saw an opportunity to further aid the natives to an independent living.

He immediately answered the letter of the committee, stating that, under the circumstances, it was at that par- ticular time impossible for him to go to England, as to do so would postpone for a year the instalment of this important industry, but that if the committee, after receiving the letter in which he had fully covered all matters with reference to the mission, and which had crossed on the way the letter just received by him, still deemed it desirable for him to come home for a conference, he would cheerfully comply with its request as soon as the present pressing preparations, with reference to the new cannery, had been got out of the way.

As he bid his friends in Victoria an affectionate farewell, and started for his little home among the Indians, he little suspected what surprises awaited him on his arrival at Metlakahtla.


XXXI

THE RUPTURE

IT was on the 28th day of November, 1881, that he landed in Metlakahtla. The steamer on which he came brought with it a great many tons of freight for him, and stayed several hours in the harbor discharging its cargo.

Hardly had Mr. Duncan turned the key in the door of his office before Bishop Ridley rushed in, and in an excited tone asked him if he was going to England to meet the committee.

Mr. Duncan calmly informed him that he was not, just at present, but that if the committee, after receiving his communication, sent them some time ago, were of the opinion that his presence in England was desirable, he would go as soon as it was possible for him to do so with- out interfering with his plans absolutely necessary for promoting the welfare of Metlakahtla.

" There ! " said the bishop, with a malicious gleam in his eyes, as he thrust at Mr. Duncan, "with as much self-satisfaction as if he had been dealing the last deadly blow to a mortal enemy,"  a sealed envelope, and then, as Mr. Duncan opened and read it :

" I guess I am master now ! "

" Well, bishop, have you not acted a little prematurely ? Have I refused to go home ? But, all the same, I thank you for this. It clarifies the situation considerably."

*This is the language used by Mr. Duncan characterizing the bishop's actions in a later letter to the committee.

261


262 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

This was the letter handed to Mr. Duncan by the bishop :

" Church Salisbury Square,
Missionary Society. London, E. C,
Sept. 2d, 1881.

" To Mr. W. Duncan.

" Dear Brother Duncan : - The envelope containing this letter is placed in the hands of the Bishop of Caledonia, with a request that he will hand it to you only in the event of your refusing to come home to confer with the committee, and continuing your opposition to the spiritual work of the mission being carried on in accord with the principles of the Church of England, accepted by this Society.

" With the deepest pain and sorrow the committee has come to the conclusion, that in such a contingency they have no course to pursue, but to take the necessary steps for dissolving your connection with the Society.

" We feel that we need hardly assure you, that the committee have followed, with admiration and thankfulness, the history of the development of Metlakahtla under your hands. The devotion, resolution, and energy with which you have stuck to the work, and the wonderful influence you have been permitted to exercise over the Indian mind are by no means forgotten, and the memory of them must live so long as the history of the mission survives, whatever be its future. But the committee feels that they have paramount duties to fulfill, both towards the Native Church, built up through the agency of this Society, and also towards the members of the Society at home. We seek the extension of the kingdom of our dear Lord and Saviour, and the principles that actuate the Society are well known. Our allegiance to our Lord forbids us to go from these principles.

"It is now our painful duty to request you to arrange, as soon as possible, for the handing over to the Bishop of Caledonia the charge of our mission. We have asked him, and have no doubt that he will accede to our request to act for us temporarily, and to assume the charge of the mission.

" We cannot tell whether this decision of the committee will bring you home to England, but whether by letter or by verbal

  • Italicized by the author.

 

THE RUPTURE 263

communication, we shall be thankful to enter into communication with you regarding a final grant.*

"We cannot but repeat the expression of the deepest sorrow with which we have to convey to you a decision which has cost the committee much pain. God grant that all may be overruled for good and the advance of His kingdom, and may His blessing and guidance ever rest on you. We remain, dear Brother Duncan,

" Yours very faithfully in the Lord,

"Fred. E. Wigram,
"W. Gray,
"Secretaries."

In this cruel, heartless, unchristian way was then to be rung down the curtain over one of the most wonderful works accomplished by one man in the world's history of missions.

" The Church," not Christ, was to rule Metlakahtla.

When one remembers that this letter bore the same date as the letter received by Mr. Duncan in Victoria, simply inviting, NOT summoning, him to London for conference, and that in that letter no hint even was given of the intention of the committee to sever the relations if he did not come home, one will readily admit that the course of double dealing and underhandedness of the Bishop of Caledonia had manifestly been adopted by the committee, if not by the Society as well.

It was perhaps only meet that the bishop should not even respect the conditions imposed by the committee before severing, as far as in the power of the Society lay, Mr. Duncan's connection with his life-work at Metlakahtla, which well might have deserved greater consideration and gratitude, but should deliver the letter to Mr.

One cannot be surprised at the poor English of the committee at a moment when they dared to hold out to Mr. Duncan the promise of a money bribe if he would only play the traitor to his Indiana and give them up.


264 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Duncan, though he, to the bishop's knowledge, never had refused to go home to England.

The bishop, undoubtedly fearful of the consequences of this overreaching, unless he could be present in person and excuse it, did not choose to comply with the committee's request to take charge of the mission, but deputized Mr. Collison to act as the agent of the Society, and precipitatedly fled to England on the same steamer on which Mr. Duncan had arrived at Metlakahtla.

One of the Indians, seeing him leave on the steamer the bishop had expected Mr. Duncan to take out of Metlakahtla, cried after him, as he left the beach :

" Haman was hanged on his own gallows, was he not ? "

Immediately upon receiving this inconsiderate dismissal from his life-work in connection with the Society, Mr. Duncan prepared to leave and vacate the Mission House. When what had transpired had spread like a prairie fire in the village, one of the Indian houses was at once set aside for him, and hundreds of loving hands were ready to carry his furniture and his books to the new quarters. There was great excitement, and the feeling at the outrageous conduct of the Society and the bishop ran high. But, be it said to the credit of the Indians, there was no breach of the peace.

That same evening a meeting was held, at which the Indians unanimously passed a resolution, requesting Mr. Duncan to remain as their preacher and teacher. But he refused to give them an answer then, as they were excited, and many of the people were away.

The same answer he gave to another resolution of similar import, adopted at a second meeting held shortly afterwards.

Before deciding, he wanted to be sure that all the people were with him, and that their action was not taken in haste and excitement, which they might rue thereafter.


THE RUPTURE 265

The church had not been opened from the time of his dismissal till about Christmas time, when everybody was back in the village. The elders then called a meeting in the church for discussion on the action of the Society. All the natives came out - sick and well, young and old - even the cripples humped along as fast as they could.

Only Mr. Duncan was absent. He did not want to influence them by his presence.

The meeting did not last long. These people intuitively felt what he had done for them, and what he had been to them. They knew that they owed him all that they now prized - happy homes, loving families, peace, order, civilization, and, most of all, a sure hope of heaven, and they needed no long harangues in order to know what to do.

A few speeches were made, short, to the point, and full of feeling. Every heart beat in unison. And when one of the elders put the question to them : * ' Will you have the bishop or Shimauget' for your leader?" even the holy place where they were, and their great respect for it, could not restrain a shout of: "Shimauget !" which almost shook the solid walls. And when a show of hands was called for, every hand in the house was raised for Mr. Duncan. Not one hand stirred for the bishop.

Now Mr. Duncan was sent for. He came. The elders met him at the door, and conducted him to a seat prepared for him at the head of the centre aisle.

One of the elders, George Usher, then approached, Bible in hand, and turning to the congregation, said :

"You are now asked to confirm with your own voices, your action at the different meetings, and to say whether you wish Mr. Duncan to continue as your teacher and

  •  The chief. The name which all of them had given to Duncan for years. Every child in the village knew who "Shimauget" waa. There was only one of that name in the village.

206 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

minister. All of you who so desire show it now to Mr. Duncan by holding out your hand to him."

Every hand in the audience went out to their beloved teacher.

The elder turned to Mr. Duncan, placed the Bible in his hand, and said :

"In behalf of this Christian congregation, I say to you : continue to be our minister, and go on teaching the Word of God, as you have done for the last twenty years."

That is all the ordination as a minister of the Gospel Mr. Duncan ever had. Methinks that perhaps it may suffice, even if it is not strictly according to ecclesiastical rules.

Mr. Duncan, at least, considers it as sacred and holy, as the laying on of hands would be by a bishop, who to such an extent forgot all mandates, not only of Christian priesthood, but of Christian manhood, that he did not hesitate to report to the Society in face of the foregoing facts, which constitute the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the following misrepresentation :

"At one of the public meetings, Mr. Duncan put the question : " Will all on the Lord's side hold up their hands? ' All held up their hands. Then, he artfully said : ' All on the bishop's side hold up their hands.' Imagine their surprise at being thus ensnared ! Several afterwards told me that they did not know that Mr. Duncan was the Lord, or they would not have raised their hands."

Mr. Duncan briefly told them that he accepted their call, and assured them that he would remain as their teacher.

The public services were now resumed, as well as the educational work in the school. Public improvements were again started. The work went on just as if there


THE RUPTURE 267

had been no rupture. And all Mr. Collison had to do, in order to earn his salary, as the Society's agent, was to hold on to the keys of the Mission House, which Mr. Duncan had turned over to him.


XXXII

THE SERPENT

In the meantime, there was quite a turmoil in the offices of the Church Missionary Society. Upon receipt of Mr. Duncan's long letter, he was informed that his explanations were satisfactory, and that he need not come to England. A letter was dispatched post-haste to the bishop instructing him not to deliver " the enclosure." But too late. The enclosure had burned the bishop's hands, till he had a chance to prematurely deliver it. And now came the news that the Indians were unanimously "Duncan's Indians," and not "the Society's."

Not even one single solitary soul was there, to whose spiritual wants the bishop and priest between them could have an opportunity to administer.

Things were looking desperate indeed, and Bishop Ridley's ears must have tingled at what he heard of deprecation and disapproval of his hasty and ill-considered action.

Finally, the bishop was told to hasten back to his distant See, and move heaven and earth to get Mr. Duncan to come back into the fold, with his mission and Indians - to make all possible promises and amends, to promise to move away from Metlakahtla, if necessary. In short, Metlakahtla, the most precious crown jewel in the diadem of missionary achievements of the Church Missionary Society, lost by the indiscretion of the bishop, must now, at whatever cost, be recovered.

268


THE SERPENT 269

The bishop came back. From Victoria he wrote Mr. Duncan, made him all kinds of propositions, some showing such a small, contemptible mind, that they could not help making a man of the sterling moral solidity of Mr. Duncan recoil. All in vain. Mr. Duncan's one answer was :

" Too late."

In a white community of 948 souls, for that was found to be the exact number of inhabitants at Metlakahtla, when, a few years later, a census was taken, it would not be expected that there could not be found some one who would not stand steadfast through all temptations, for any length of time. Some one has said about the Tsimsheans :

"The Indians are no better than the white men."

It was, therefore, not strange, if the wonderful unanimity should, in time, be slightly broken. There were at Metlakahtla some people who had not lived such consistent lives as Christians should. They had been rebuked and reprimanded by Mr. Duncan, some of them publicly.

A few of them were former chiefs, who felt slighted. They were not made much of, and were, in fact, kept down. Their ambition had been wounded by the stern and determined man at the head of the colony, who knew no other merit than Christian virtue.

It took but little inducement, - small attentions, - once in a while a little stirring in the hardly-healed wound, which still smarted at times, to fan into flame the smoldering embers of dissatisfaction in these minds.

So, after four or five months, there was really a " bishop's party" at Metlakahtla, consisting of four or five adults, a majority of them so-called ex-chiefs, one of them, at least, an ex-convict and a ticket-of-leave man,

  • It was one of their own number who said it.



270 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

whose freedom from jail Mr. Duncan held in the hollow of his hand. I need not say that he never exercised the privilege. He would not be the man he is, if he had.

This was all the bishop wanted. He at last had acquired a " party " at Metlakahtla.

On the very day of the rupture, he had approached Mr. Duncan's native teacher, David Leask, a sterling man and noble Christian (who, till the day of his death, was a leader and a giant among this people), and offered him, as a bribe, a salary one-third larger than what he had, if he would forsake Mr. Duncan's leadership, and accept work for the Society under the bishop's orders. But Leask, poor as he was, spurned the tempter.

On his return from England, the bishop was more successful in corrupting Mr. Duncan's white teacher, an Englishman, who had been paid by Mr. Duncan out of his own private funds since the severance from the Society.

A female Indian assistant in the school did not have the power to resist, which David Leask had shown. "When she also was tempted by the bishop to give up her school for a consideration, she deserted Mr. Duncan.

Thus he thought to interfere with Mr. Duncan's school work, and for a time really partly succeeded in this.

His next scheme was to cripple the resources of the Metlakahtlans.

Upon his return, he let it be assiduously understood that Mr. Duncan, a lone, insignificant man, never could successfully stand out against the Society, which, he was very careful to impress on their minds, had an annual income of over " a million dollars."

Now the Indians were to feel the truth of this :

The main income of the Metlakahtlans, enabling them to run their village, their school, and their church, as


THE SERPENT 271

well as their other enterprises, came from the village store, which now had been organized on a cooperative plan.

What does the bishop do, but use the Society's means in procuring a stock of goods, placing them for sale in the Mission House, and selling them at cost price.

Here again these splendid natives spurned the serpent's bribe. Not one of them could be induced to leave their own store, and buy goods at a much smaller price from the bishop.

Oh, for such character among our white Christians !

But the bishop's scheme did partially succeed. The neighboring tribes, whose trade constituted quite an item in the store's business, were, to some extent, tempted by the cunning bribe, in the nature of lower prices, and the village store lost quite a large proportion of its usual annual profits. But, thank God, the work was able to survive this blow also.

As showing the bishop's haughty and arrogant disposition, I cite the following :

After his return, the village council passed a resolution stating that it did not desire him to reside in the village. A letter containing this resolution was handed him by a native. He met him, took the letter, and, without opening it, tore it into pieces, threw the fragments down, and trampled on them.

When another man called with a second letter, he summoned him into the house, led the way to the fireplace, and threw the letter, unread, into the flames.

How little he attempted to follow in the footsteps of the great Prince of Peace, whose servant he was supposed to be, is apparent from his own account, given in one of his reports.

The medicine-men at some mission station had disturbed him by their noise. He says :


272 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" I stepped quickly up to the chief performer, took him by the shoulders, and before he could recover his self-possession, had him at the river brink, and assured him that I would assist him further down next time."

I wonder how many heathen Indians Mr. Duncan would have succeeded in converting at an early day, if his method of procedure had been tainted with the bishop's "muscular Christianity."

The next move of the bishop was to call for a war-ship to come up to cow the Indians into submission to "His Lordship."

The village store was built close to the Mission House. No part of the Society's funds had been used in its erection. But the bishop now had commenced to set up a claim that all that was built and started by Mr. Duncan from private contributions sent him, was the Society's property. Mr. Duncan, in 1885, stated that all such contributions, from the very first up to that date, amounted, in all, not to exceed $6,000, and as against this he showed the cost and maintenance of the church $12, 959, establishing new Industries $11,426, village improvements $3,040, and aid furnished the villagers in building their new houses $7,238, or a total expenditure of $34,663.

The Indiana, after having sought legal advice as to their rights in the premises, concluded to move the village store away from the undesirable proximity to the Mission House, where the bishop resided.

When they undertook to do this in a peaceable and quiet way, the bishop, who in the meantime had secured a magistrate's commission, got up and read the riot act to them, and immediately sent such an alarming report of the occurrence to Victoria that the authorities dared not wait till they could get hold of one of their own war-

  • Church Missionary Oleaner, No. 91, July, 1881, page 79.



THE SERPENT 273

ships, but prevailed upon the "United States Government to send up the revenue cutter, Oliver Wolcott, with two magistrates. They at once, upon arrival, proceeded to Investigate the so-called riot ; but came to the conclusion that, on the Crown's own evidence, there had been no riot, and, therefore, dismissed the case.

But before the revenue cutter arrived further troubles had arisen :

The riot act had been read by the bishop on the 30th of November, 1882.

On the 18th of December, some one of the bishop's party had bought a drum from one of the Indians. As he was only part owner of the drum, with six or seven others, they objected to the sale, and wanted Mr. Duncan's help to get it back. Mr. Duncan wrote to Mr. Collison, who refused to return it, and recommended a lawsuit. This, of course, was a small matter, but there was at the time so much bad blood in the camp that it did not require anything very great to create a row at Metlakahtla.

Mr. Duncan, who did not want to exercise his powers of a magistrate, where he feared he might be prejudiced, sent the boys to a justice at Fort Simpson. But he, afraid of the bishop and the Church, would not take up the case.

Mr. Duncan and Mr. Collison then agreed to submit the matter to the bishop. He consented to act, but put the complainants off, perhaps, because they were then in the midst of the Christmas festivities.

It had been agreed that in the meantime the drum should not be used. But when a boy, contrary to the terms of this agreement, appeared on the street with the "bone of contention," two of the part owners took the drum away from him.

The bishop, who had not been in any hurry up to this time, now became very much aroused and at once, on


274 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

December 26tli, issued his warrant for the two malfeasors. When brought before him, he, without any examination or hearing, on his own motion sent them to jail, there to remain until January 2d. His excuse was that he wanted to have it determined as to the ownership of the drum before their hearing.

The Indians, with a keen appreciation of the rights of an accused person to a speedy trial, at once called a meeting, without the knowledge or presence of Mr. Duncan. At this meeting it was voted to send a delegation to the bishop, and request him to give the men an immediate trial.

On proceeding to the bishop's house for this purpose, the delegation espied him coming up the street, and concluded to wait for him. One of the delegates, an old man, held up his hand as the bishop was nearing, and said :

"Stop, bishop."

The bishop pushed the old man aside. But one of the others, a young man, named Paul Legale, the old chief's nephew, stepped out into the road, and said :

"No, bishop. Don't do that. We want to talk to you. Why do you not try the two men, before sending them to jail?"

The bishop did not answer the question, but struck the young man a blow. He was a strong, powerful man, and could have annihilated the bishop, and did, in fact, lift his hand, when one of the others said :

" No, don't strike back. Let him go."

He followed the advice, and did not touch the bishop. One of the party, Robert Hewson, a humorous and gifted young man, now a highly respectable and influential citizen of New Metlakahtla, could not hold back an odious comparison. He stepped up to the bishop, and, taking hold of his right hand, said :


THE SERPENT 275

" Bishop, this hand baptize Indian. This hand fight Indian."

The bishop, in his rage, gave him a violent blow on the chest with such force as to throw him against another Indian, Jacob Bolton. That was more than Hewson could stand. He had a temper as well as the bishop, and he struck back once. At the same time, Jacob Bolton, whose nose was bleeding from the blow he had received when Hewson was pushed against him, started in earnest to give the bishop what he evidently was looking for.

This was a signal for the whole crowd to take a hand, and the bishop would undoubtedly have fared very badly had it not been for Mr. Duncan's constables, who rushed in, pushed the crowd aside, and rescued the bishop, with the warning words to the men ;

" Christians must not fight. Better suffer wrong."

" But the bishop struck us first."

" Well, let him do that ; but not we. We must show him that we are Christians."

The bishop now went to the Mission House. The crowd started to the jail and released the prisoners.

When the magistrates came up on the riot case, this whole drum trouble, with all its ramifications, was brought before them.

Legale had, in vain, sought redress for the bishop's unprovoked assault upon him, as Mr. Duncan felt a delicacy about taking the matter up, and the Fort Simpson justice, to whom he sent the young man, was on too good terms with the bishop to take any steps against him.

At the hearing before the magistrates, the bishop swore that he was set upon by a mob of two hundred and fifty Indians. It was clearly proven, however, that there were not over twenty or twenty-five Indians present.

He also swore that the old Indian had first struck him.


276 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

This testimony he, however, at a subsequent hearing, changed to a greater consistency with the truth.

At the hearing, the drum, the miserable cause of it all, was restored to its rightful owners. Robert Hewson was fined ten dollars, as being guilty of a technical assault, by taking hold of the bishop' s hand, when making his humorous remark, and another Indian was also fined a similar sum.

The prisoners and their liberators were discharged, as their imprisonment by the bishop was held to be illegal.

As might be expected, nothing was done to the bishop. He was a little too high up for that.

These actions on the part of the bishop so irritated the Indians, and created so much bad blood, that after this it seemed that both parties just watched for an opportunity for getting at the other and stirring up trouble.

Sometimes, undoubtedly, one side was in the wrong ; sometimes the other - most of the time, both of them.

Small, insignificant trifles were made use of to try to "down" the other side, and every six months or so the bishop called for another war-ship, and for commissioners and magistrates.

It has been calculated that his efforts to fight Mr. Duncan and the Indians of the mission have cost the Province of British Columbia not less than $30,000 in cold cash. And, in order to hold the fort, and gain twelve or fifteen families, which was the total result of five years' intrigue and most godless warfare, the Society was made to spend another $30,000 of "mission" money.

At Metlakahtla they had long had a by-law forbidding the erection of any building, unless the consent of the council had first been obtained. One of the bishop's followers disregarded this by-law, and irritated the council by following his teacher's example, and saying publicly


THE SERPENT 277

that he would build just whatever, and wherever he pleased, without asking the council.

The Indians now made a mistake. Instead of prosecuting him, they went to his place and pulled down the few scantlings he had erected.

But, improper as this action was, it would hardly seem to warrant the bishop's calling for another war-ship on to these poor people. But he did. It came, and with it a magistrate and an Indian agent.

That such a condition of things was not very favorable to the growth of the Christian life of the Indians follows of itself. That the people involved in this petty warfare and miserable intrigue, indulged in more or less on both sides, did not lose their religion altogether is a surprise to all who know anything about it, and a living proof of the genuineness and earnestness with which the seed had been planted.

An occurrence like the one to be mentioned makes the heart sick :

Before one of the numerous commissioners, sent up on the war-ships to investigate Metlakahtla affairs, the bishop, who had paraded through the streets armed with a rifle, so that Mr. Duncan was obliged to request him in writing to desist, as he could not be responsible for what might result from such action during the excited and troublous times in which they were living, testified that he had been fired at. It was night. The shot passed through a window close by him. He distinctly heard the report of the gun, and chased the two villains in the dark, but was outrun. The following morning the bullet was found in the room.

All of this was sheer imagination. There had been no gun fired at all. A young man of the bishop's own party had, in sport, intended to toss a small pistol bullet at the wall of the bishop's house, for the purpose of scaring a


278 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

young girl be saw at a window. Unfortunately, he missed his mark, and the bullet happened to fly in through the window of the room in which the bishop was sitting at the time. That was all there was to it !

To put the case very mildly : What must one think of a man with an imagination as lively as that ?

The fight seemed now simply to have come down to a question of endurance in power to invent causes for trouble between the bishop and the Indians.

At one time, when there happened to be nothing else in the wind, the Indians took possession of the schoolhouse, as a test case, as they called it, though Mr. Duncan had at first been inclined to make no claim to the building, inasmuch as the Government had contributed the small sum of $200 towards its erection.

This meant simply another war-ship. Seven men were tried, four of them held by the magistrates, and sent to Victoria to languish in jail for several months, when the case against them was dropped, or dismissed by the grand jury, which severely criticized the magistrates for allowing themselves to be made tools of by the bishop.

The names of the men, who thus were made to suffer as the first Metlakahtla martyrs jailed at Victoria, are today emblazoned on the roll of honor of the Metlakahtla Indians, and to preserve their names in history they are here given :

Cornelius Hudson, Dennis Malone, Charles Spencer, and Edward K. Mather.


XXXIII

THE LAST BLOW

But the bitterest fight was to come. The bishop had always claimed the ownership of the Society to the two acres of ground on which the mission buildings were erected.

The Provincial Government of British Columbia had, of late, set up the claim, opposed to the general trend of the policy of Canada, as well as of the United States, in dealing with the Indian land claims, that the Indians had no rights in the lands which they and their ancestors had been in possession of for centuries before the advent of the white man, and that they were wholly dependent for permission to occupy any lands at all upon the grace and bounty of the Queen.

In order to gain the support and aid of the Provincial Government, in his war upon these Indians, who refused to submit to "His Lordship's" benign rule, the bishop now turned traitor to the interests of all the Indians in the Province, sided with the land-grabbers and the local government in their unjust claims, and demanded that the Government by virtue of its sole title and ownership of the pretended Indian lands, survey and set aside to the Missionary Society the two acres at the mission point above mentioned.

This was more than the Indians could stand. Those who had posed as would-be shepherds and protectors, now ready to turn and rob them of their patrimony !

The war-cloud commenced to hover over the entire Indian horizon in British Columbia, and no one could tell what the end would be.

279


280 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

But Mr. Duncan now stepped forward. He assured the Indians that the Dominion Government never would sanction such a policy, and advised that an appeal be made to it.

In obedience to this voice of peace, which never had been lifted against the Indians, those in the western part of the Province elected three delegates, two of them leading men of Metlakahtla, John Tait and Edward K. Mather, to accompany Mr. Duncan to Ottawa, in order to invoke the intercession of the Dominion Government, anent the attacks of the Province on the ancient Indian rights and privileges.

So eloquently did Mr. Duncan and this delegation plead the cause of the Indians, that Sir John Macdonald, then Premier of Canada, promised, not only to prevail upon the Church Missionary Society to withdraw entirely from Metlakahtla, but also to grant the Indians of the Province full relief from their oppressors.

He asked Mr. Duncan to lay before him in writing a plan for the relief of the Indian grievances. This he did. This plan involved the appointment of a local superintendent of Indian Affairs, in direct connection with the Dominion Government.

Sir John heartily approved of the plan, which he admitted furnished the key to the only practical solution of the difficult Indian question hitherto presented, and promised to carry the scheme through at the next session of the Dominion Parliament.

"But," said he, "there is one difficulty. Unless we could secure the services of yourself as superintendent, I would despair of a successful issue."

"Very well," said Mr. Duncan, "to help the Indians out, I will consent to act as superintendent for one year, on condition, however, that I receive no salary."

"Good," answered Sir John, " that settles it. In six


THE LAST BLOW 281

months your proposed plan shall be the law of the land."

" That being the case, I think it would be better for me not to return to Metlakahtla until your plans have been fully matured, since for me to go back there under these circumstances would only fan the flame, which I hope we now, with your aid, will entirely subdue. All I ask you, then, is to give to the Indian delegates your assurance that the matter will be settled the way they have, through me, asked."

This was done.

Mr. Duncan went to England, there to await developments, and the delegates returned home, filled with hope that the Queen's Government would give them their rights, and fulfill the solemn pledges theretofore made to the Indians by Lord Dufferin, the Governor-General and Her Majesty's representative in Canada.

They cheerfully reported to the other Indians at home the fine promises of Sir John.

Poor, deluded Indians ! They did not know that a politician's promises are like ropes of sand. One day they should find out that Sir John Macdonald was only a politician, and that his word of honor, though solemnly given, was not worth a picayune.

In London, Mr. Duncan again had an audience with Sir John, in which the same promises were reiterated, and wherein he told him that he had written the Society, and had met a committee from it in Loudon on the matter, and had strictly adhered to his former demands, that they abandon Metlakahtla at once.

Before leaving London, however. Sir John had a second conference with the Society, after which he entirely changed front, went back on all his solemn promises to Mr. Duncan and the Indians, and in his official report, soon thereafter issued, appeared in the role of a defender


282 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

of the bishop, and of an accuser of Mr. Duncan, who now in his eyes had become an "intolerable dictator."

People have been malicious enough to insinuate that, at this second interview, a bargain was entered into between this Christian - no, pardon me - Church Missionary- Society, and Sir John, by the terms of which he, in consideration of a complete surrender of the rights of the Indians, secured the support of the sympathizers of the Church of England party of Canada, in the approaching general election, which was to decide his fate, and that of his party.

Mr. Duncan waited the stipulated six mouths. He heard nothing. When eight months had gone by, and no tidings, he returned by way of Ottawa, sought an Interview with Sir John, but could not get it. He then wrote a letter to the Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs, who promised to write him an answer to Metlakahtla. But no answer came. He then again wrote from Metlakahtla to Sir John. No answer. Not even an acknowledgment of the receipt of his letter, which the commonest courtesy certainly would require.

Instead of an answer to these letters, came, in the Fall of 1886, a surveying party sent out by the Dominion Government itself to survey what it was pleased to allow the Indians for a reserve, though no treaty, or agreement, had ever been made with them for ceding the land which they were now called upon to surrender.

The Indians felt that the time had now come for them to assert their rights, or to lie down, like cowards, and be robbed of all their patrimony. So they concluded to prevent the surveyors from going on with their work. This they did, however, without any violence, though often sorely provoked by the insolence of the surveying party.

They simply did it in this way :


THE LAST BLOW 283

"Whenever the surveyor planted his instrument, the Indians took it up, and laid it down. When the surveyor drove a stake, the Indians pulled it up. When the surveyor laid a chain, the Indians took it away. But they kept it up all the time.

I can well a£ford to admit that this was a great mistake. Nothing could be gained by actions of this sort, except what happened after the lapse of some time, to wit : the arrival of another war-ship, and the deportation of seven of the leaders in the interference : John Tait, Edward Mather, Fred Ridley, Alfred Atkinson, Adolphus Calvert, Moses Baines, and James Smith, and their subsequent incarceration in jail in Victoria for from three to six months.

But we should remember that it was not easy for Mr. Duncan to have their untutored minds grasp any too fine distinctions, where they felt their innate rights so shamefully distorted and played with.

The Indians, in order to get a test case in the law courts about the two acres claimed by the Society, about the same time erected a small building on a portion of them, and put a man in possession.

This action finally forced the bishop to start an injunction or mandamus proceeding in the courts in Victoria, to compel the tearing down of this offensive little building.

Mr. Duncan, who had gone down to Victoria after the survey trouble, to see if nothing could be done to prevent the dispatch of another war-ship to Metlakahtla, and in some way secure some amicable arrangement of the land trouble, was present in court, when Chief Justice Begbie announced his decision granting the bishop's application. In doing so, he not only took pains to state from the bench that " the Indians had no rights in the land except such as might be accorded to them by the bounty and charity


284 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

of the Queen of England," but also, as it seems to me, in a very improper and injudicious manner, characterized the utterances of Lord Dufferin, wherein he pledged Her Majesty's Government to protect and recognize the rights of the Indians in and to their land, as ' simply blarney for the mob."

Mr. Duncan, who still would be detained in Victoria for some time, on matters concerning Metlakahtla, wrote the exact language of the judge to the Rev. R. Tomlinson, who, in the year 1882, had resigned from the Society's service, and at Mr. Duncan's and the Indians' earnest request, a short time after his resignation had come to Metlakahtla with his lovable family.

Mr. Duncan built a fine house for him, anent his coming, and ever since that time Mr. Tomlinson had been Mr. Duncan's faithful and indefatigable co-worker at old Metlakahtla, and undoubtedly a mighty comfort to him in the many trials and tribulations which he, during these years, was destined to endure.

As soon as Mr. Duncan's letter arrived, and its contents had been communicated to the leaders, a meeting was called of the Indians.

As to what there was done, we will learn later on.

About two weeks after writing to Metlakahtla, Mr. Duncan, to his surprise, heard that the steamer from the North had brought down some of his Indians. He went to meet them, and found David Leask, Robert Hewson, and Josiah Guthrie at the wharf.

They looked solemn, mysterious and glum. When he wanted to know their errand, they refused to talk then. They all three threw suspicious, fearful glances at the people near by, indicating to him that they feared everybody, and trusted no one.

Finally, upon being informed that they would not speak till the next day, and then only if they could meet


THE LAST BLOW 285

him all alone, where nobody could overhear, he made an appointment with them for the next forenoon at Senator MacDonald's beautiful home, "Armadale."

The Government of British Columbia, at the time, consisted of a premier, an attorney-general, and a secretary.

At ten o'clock that same evening, Mr. Duncan called at the house of the secretary, Mr. Robson, the only one of the members of the Government who seemed to have any conscience about the treatment of the Indians.

Mr. Duncan said to him, when alone with him in his library :

"A delegation of Indians has just arrived from the North to see me. They are reticent, and will not tell me their errand. I am afraid that this bodes no good. I come to you now, for the last time, to see if nothing can be done to stop this trouble. I can speak now, for I know nothing. Tomorrow, after I have seen them, and know what they have concluded to do, my mouth will probably be sealed, so I can tell you nothing. There are only one of two decisions that I can imagine they could have come to. One is, to leave for Alaska. If it be that, all is good and well. If you hear, to-morrow night, that I have left for the States, you may know that it is Alaska. But, if I do not, I am afraid that it means fight. And if it does, may God have mercy on the white people of this Province. You will need to send five thousand men up there. And they will go there only to be killed too. The Indians will withdraw up Skeena River, and all the military you can send up there will be simply slaughtered in the canyons, while the Indians will go comparatively free. Your treasury will be depleted. Your population will be murdered. Your soldiers will be slaughtered. But if it is 'fight,' don't come to me any more. Don't try to get me to do anything.


286 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

For I will not. I am going to leave you all to your fate now. I have pleaded, and preached, and prayed, till I am sick at heart, at the injustice you have showered on those poor Indians."

"It is terrible to contemplate," said Mr. Robson, "but we have deserved it. I admit it. I admit it."


XXXIV

THE NEW HOME

The next evening Mr. Robson learned that Mr. Duncan had left for Washington. The members of the Government slept easier that night. Mr. Duncan says :

"It grieved me to hear, when I returned from Washington, that the Premier was dead. The magnificent house, which this ex-farmer was building for himself in Victoria, stood there half-finished, and now abandoned. The attorney-general was dying, and could not be seen. Since then, everyone connected with this crying injustice has died. 'The vengeance is Mine,' saith the Lord."

  • At the meeting of the Indians at Metlakahtla, so it was afterwards learned, a great conflict had been raging. Many wanted to take up arms, and martial feeling ran high. It seemed to these people as if there was nothing to live for now. Justice had been denied them everywhere - by ministers, and governors, and premiers, and now, at last, by the courts, their final hope, their last resort. The Church was harassing them, the State was incarcerating them, and stealing the possessions which they had inherited from the fathers of their fathers.

"We might just as well make a last stand," they said.

  • ' Just as well first as last. Just as well fight, and kill, and die, as to have these highway robbers take away from us the land which our fathers possessed for hundreds of years before a white man put a foot in British Columbia."

The more earnest Christians pleaded for Alaska :

287


288 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" A Christian can suffer. He can die. But he cannot kill," they said. " Let us go to the great land of the free. We are slaves here. There we can be free men. We love this land. We love this beautiful place, where our fathers lived, and where our children were born ; but we love Christ more. Two wrongs cannot make one right. Let us go to Alaska, where we can worship God as we think right - where there will be no bishop to worry and tantalize us - where, as Mr. Duncan tells us, every one can have his own religion without any persecution, either from church or government. Let us go to a peaceful life - to a life in God."

And the Christians won the day.

The delegation was sent down to ask Mr. Duncan to go to Washington, and ascertain if the Metlakahtla Indians would be allowed to come to Alaska, to seek a refuge there from their troubles - and whether they would be received as citizens of the country, and be protected in their rights. If so, they were willing to go and leave all. Go where they would be free to worship their God as their consciences dictated, without interference, or worry from priest, bishop, or Society.

Mr. Duncan thought it best first to appeal to some Christian friends in this country, of whom he had read, before addressing the proper officers of the Government at Washington, and to ascertain from them the best modus operandi.

And he did not appeal in vain to grand, warm-hearted men like the silver-tongued Episcopalian Bishop Phillips Brooks, in Boston, and the patriotic Henry Ward Beecher, in Brooklyn. Both of them opened their magnificent churches for him, and gave him their moral support in a unanimous request by their congregations to our Government, to grant these homeless Indians a refuge in our Alaskan Archipelago.


THE NEW HOME 289

Arrived at Washington, he was received by the representatives of our Government, President Cleveland, his Secretary of State, and of the Interior, and his Attorney- General, with friendly feelings, and assured privately that he and his Indians were welcome to choose themselves a home in Alaska, and that, in time, undoubtedly some action would be taken by the Congress fully to secure them in their rights, if they themselves would select an island suitable to their purposes ; but that officially nothing could, at that time, be done which might be construed by Great Britain as an unfriendly act to the Canadian Government, or to the government of any of its provinces.

This promise was honorably redeemed, when, in 1891, at the solicitation of these same government officials, as well as of the then Governor of Alaska, the Congress of the United States did, by the Act of March 30, 1891 : "Until otherwise provided by law, set apart the body of land known as the Annette Islands, in Alexander Archipelago, in Southeastern Alaska, as a reservation for the use of the Metlakahtla Indians, and such other of the Alaska natives as may join them, to be held and used by them in common, under such rules and regulations, and subject to such restrictions, as may be prescribed from time to time by the Secretary of the Interior."

Mr. Duncan never overlooks anything. He had foreseen the possibility of his people being obliged to immigrate to Alaska, in order to enjoy religious and civic liberty, and for that contingency he had already looked up where eligible and desirable sites for the new colony might be found.

As soon as it was made apparent to him that a way would be opened to their immigration to Alaska, he wrote to Mr. Tomlinson and to Dr. J. D. Bluett-Duncan, a devoted Christian gentleman of means from England,


290 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

who had, at home, read about the wonderful colony built up under Mr. Duncan's fostering care, and, some two or three years before, had come out to see with his own eyes, and had remained to give the Indians, without cost or charge, the benefit of his professional services, and in other ways give to Mr. Duncan what assistance he could.

Mr. Duncan's letter suggested that a deputation of Indians should go at once and examine certain eligible sites for a new colony, which he suggested, and select the one that seemed to them best.

This was done at once. Five Indians, accompanied by Dr. Bluett-Duncan, started on a voyage of exploration.

Seventy miles north of the old village, on the other side of Dixon Entrance, they came to Port Chester, on the northwest side of Annette Island. The beautiful waterfall, giving promise of a splendid water-power, the sheltered bay, the fine canoe beaches, the gently rising stretch of land directly back of the beach, the luxurious growth of cedars, spruce, and hemlock, all won upon their eyes, and one of the Indians said :

" It is no use to go any further. We can certainly not find anything finer than this, if we go a thousand miles."

This voiced the opinion of all.

Thus, on the 25th day of March, 1887, one of the loveliest spots in Alaska was selected as the new home, in the country of the brave and the free, for the persecuted and hounded Metlakahtla Indians.

Here, under the protection of the stars and the stripes, this race, which had already made such wonderful strides in civilization. Christian virtues, and civic progress, should recover from the cruel blows given it by bigotry and priest-craft, and its little village should blossom forth in peace and prosperity as the model Christian community of Alaska, the far-away Northland, its fame to redound into all lands, and among all people.


THE NEW HOME 291

The Indians who had the honor of selecting this new home of the colony, were David Leask, John Tait, Edward Benson, Adam Gordon, and Fred Ridley. The explorers at once returned to their home, and made a glowing report of what they had found. And the selection was, in a short time, ratified by all.

"Thanks be to God, peace should once more reign among them. Strife and vexatious irritation and continuous brawling should cease." Happiness shone in every face.

Word was sent to Mr. Duncan, notifying him of their selection of the new home. Soon pioneers were dispatched to build temporary huts near the beach, while the rest of the villagers went on their usual summer tours to gather and put up the winter supply of food.

July gone, and the canoes returning, many started directly for the new home, to assist in the work of erecting the temporary houses.

On August 7, 1887, about noon, a gun announced the arrival of the steamer Anco7i.

It brought Mr. Duncan, who landed at once, accompanied by some American gentlemen on board.

A temporary flagstaff was rigged up, and, under the boom of cannon, the stars and stripes were hoisted for the first time on that shore.

The Indians, with solemn mien, uncovered their heads, as the silken banner, a present from friends in the States, slowly rose above them, and unfurled to the breeze the most beautiful colors any nation could ever boast of.

Speeches were made by the Hon. H. E. Dawson, United States Commissioner of Education, and by Mr. Duncan. But, more eloquent than the speeches, were the silent tears glistening in the eyes of the stalwart Indians, as they were looking admiringly up at the flag, under whose protecting folds the future of their little nation was to be


292 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

lived. They spoke of the untold sufferings and sorrows of the past years. But they also spoke eloquently of the living hope of the relief the future would bring ; and with silent praise to God for their deliverance, there arose to the throne of the Almighty at that moment, I am told, from those Indian hearts, many a wish for the success of the great Nation, which now held its protecting banner above the little persecuted flock.

Since that day there are four great holidays celebrated at Metlakahtla every year : Christmas Day, the birthday of the Christ ; New Year's Day, the birthday of the year ; fourth of July, the birthday of the Nation, and the 7th of August, "Pioneer Day," as it is called, the birthday of New Metlakahtla, for so was the new haven of rest christened.

At three o'clock that day divine services were held on the beach, - the first conducted by Mr. Duncan in American Alaska. Then, in song and praise, and prayer, in the soft, flowing language of the Tsimsheans, the native heart was lifted up to and beyond the beautiful flag now floating above their heads, into the holy of holies of the glorious heavens.

The next morning, while Mr. Duncan's effects, including a complete steam sawmill outfit, which he had bought in Portland, were unloaded and stored in the log house built for him, filling it to overflowing, so that he himself was compelled to live in a tent during the first Fall months, George Usher, a prominent native, was by him sent back to old Metlakahtla to bring the Indians there news of the arrival of their leader.

As George Usher ploughed the blue, sapphire waves of the North Pacific with his paddle, he composed a song or chant, with which to greet his people.

When he arrived in the inlet at old Metlakahtla, he did not run his canoe up on the beach. Indian fashion, he


THE NEW HOME 293

stopped a little distance from shore, where he rested on his paddle.

Some one on shore espied and recognized him. Like lightning, the message flew through the village. The steamer, which was supposed to carry " the chief," had been seen pass by, going North, a couple of days ago. In the twinkling of an eye, it seemed, the beach was black with people, who swarmed out of houses and yards, - men, women and children. The whole village was there. Even some of the bishop's party ventured forth.

Then came over the waves, in words of song, the glad message, in their own beloved tongue :

" The great chief has come.
He has gone to our new home.
Now he sends me to you.
He bids you come, one and all.
We shall be slaves no longer.
The land of freedom has accepted us.
The flag of the ' Boston men ' is hoisted
At the site of a new Metlakahtla.
It will protect us and our freedom.
We can worship God in peace.
We can secure the happiness of our children.
They will be the freemen of a great nation.
Come, therefore, one and all.
Gather your little ones around you.
Push the canoes from the beach.
Good wind will fill our sails ;
We will hasten to the land of freedom."

Hardly had the last note died away over the waves, when the scraping of the canoe-keels on the sand was heard. In less than an hour, ten canoes, filled with men, anxious to see with their own eyes their new home, were on the way.

After temporary log huts were erected, the return voyage was made. And now, as the pilgrim fathers of


294: THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

old, they came back with women and children, and with what little of their possessions they were allowed to take, in canoe fleets, towed across Dixon Entrance, by their little cannery steamer. Princess Louise, and by the Methodist Gospel boat, Glad Tidings^ chartered for the occasion.

It stands to reason that many a tear glistened in the Indians' black eyes, as they left their old home, where their fathers had lived for generations back, where their children had been born, where they themselves had seen the great light, and been received into Christ's church on earth, and where they left so many of their dear departed behind.

But, though cruel persecution asserted itself at the very last moment, and denied them the right to take along even the windows and doors of the houses they themselves had built, the sawmill machinery, and the lathes and other machinery they had owned, the looms they had bought and paid for, the very organ in their church, to which every Indian had contributed his $2.50, or $500 in all, the carpet, which their women had provided for their church, after the rupture, the prows of their canoes were headed North, towards the land of freedom, towards a haven of rest from petty spite and persecution, and the sobs of parting were choked down, and the brows lifted in hope and courage.

In that hour, big with the future, all was soon forgotten but the glorious hope of the morrow lying ahead of them.

Though deprived of all they had toiled for during a lifetime, though smarting under the cruel injustice, which had, in the name of Holy Church, taken from them what was theirs, and driven them from hearth and home, appropriated their houses and gardens, their church and school, without a penny of compensation ; nevertheless,


THE NEW HOME ' 296

this host of Christians went forth to a strange land, in their hearts of hearts glad to sacrifice what they did for the sake of their faith and religion, and smiling through their tears.

Quite 823 of the 948 constituting the population of the village left that fall for New Metlakahtla. Some who did not belong to the bishop's party remained, not because they sympathized with him, but because they had not the moral courage to pull up stakes and start again in a strange land.

The real strength of the bishop's party did not, at the time, muster over ninety-four, counting in his white retainers.

He and his followers did not hesitate to reap where they had not sown. It is said that it was with a look of satisfaction the bishop contemplated his victory. That he actually smiled when he saw these poor natives driven from home and all that was theirs. Had they not dared to oppose " His Divine Lordship " !

And now, he and his adherents took possession. Theirs was the church, and the school, and the mission house, and the weavery, and the cannery, and the sawmill, the store, and the factories, and the buildings, and Mr. Duncan's own house, paid for out of his own "private" funds. All - all was theirs, with none to dispute their title.

As the last fleet of canoes glided away over the placid waves of the inlet, carrying those who had come to fetch some portion of what had belonged to them, but who now were compelled to return with empty hands, because the State's aid had not in vain been invoked by the Church, but had stayed their hands from taking what was theirs, I fancy I can hear a satanic " Ha ! Ha ! " echoing back from the mountain peaks, as the bishop contemplated all the possessions which he found on his hands.


296 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

But what easily comes, easily goes, the proverb says.

One day, in 1901, fire from heaven devoured all of the bishop's ill-gotten gains. The magnificent church, the school, the cannery, the factory buildings, the mission house, practically everything that had been stolen from these poor people, went up in smoke, carrying with it the bishop's private possessions, his books, and his manuscripts - in fact, all that he owned.

Indeed, Mr. Duncan could say :

"Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord."

Since that time the Society has, in 1903, built a small church. It has built "The Ridley Home," a boarding-school for half-breed Indian children, which still is in operation.

Everything has been done by the Provincial Government to foster old Metlakahtla, and keep the dying mission there going. A school for boys, and a school for girls, have been built, and operated by the aid of ludicrously excessive grants from the Government, but it seems that the end of this artificial hothouse gardening has now come. The Government did, in 1908, withdraw its support, and both of the schools are now deserted. The furniture was sold at auction in the summer of that year.

The new day-school building erected by the Government, and just finished this summer, will be wholly use less,* as there are school buildings enough and to spare for the present population, which, according to the figures furnished me by the Indian Agent, totals 187, including the boarders at the schools.

The Government has thus paid at this place $140 per year for each pupil, while at Port Simpson, seventeen miles away, it at the same time paid the Methodists only $60.

  • The upper hall of this building is now used every Saturday night for a public dance, where the white men from Prince Rupert come over to dance with the Indian maidens !



THE NEW HOME 297

Of the many assistants of Bishop Ridley, there now remain at old Metlakahtla only the venerable missionary, the Rev. J. H. Keene, who, when I visited there, during the summer of 1908, acted as his own schoolmaster, as well, and Miss M. West, the principal of the "Ridley Home."

Bishop Du Yernet has moved his Episcopal seat to Prince Rupert, a new town in the making, on a neighboring island, and the intended terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The Metlakahtla Indians still remaining at old Metlakahtla had a windfall a year or so ago, when the railroad company paid them something in the neighborhood of $50,000 to acquire their reservation interest in the lands on which Prince Rupert is to be partly located.

This money has, by these Indians, been invested in modern dwelling-houses.


XXXV

THE PIONEERS

At New Metlakahtla the pioneers found work enough before them. The dense, primeval forest extended down to the beach. The giant trees, all the way from one to six feet in diameter, quite a distance from the ground, had to be felled, the stumps removed, the land cleared, and the ground drained, before the permanent allotment of town lots could be made. They all went at it with a will.

While there had, many years ago, been a small Thlingit village at the spot, the only evidence of it now was an old totem-pole, which has since been removed, and now is found in the museum at Sitka.

One of the first public buildings to be erected was the sawmill, where a plant was installed, and kept busy sawing the lumber for temporary buildings, as well as for use the next summer in the erection of a cannery building.

As to permanent dwellings, the edict of Mr. Duncan was that none should be built for the first two years. He was afraid that some of those who had come might desire to return to the fleshpots of old Metlakahtla, after a while, and he did not desire that they should be held back by having made permanent and costly improvements.

The same spirit was over him as of old. There was to be no discontent. All should be foot-loose, so that they could pull up and go back, if their hearts were not in it.

In spite of this, only two or three families returned.

One of his first acts was to gather the adult men together, and explain to them their duties to the new country, which had received them so kindly.

298


THE PIONEERS 299

It was a sight worth witnessing, when, in the faint glimmer of the oil lamps, all these swarthy men, young and old, at the behest of their beloved leader, who already held a magistrate's commission, one evening held up their fight hands, and with a patriotic glow in their eyes solemnly and collectively swore allegiance to their adopted country.

The proceeding was not authorized by law, but Mr. Duncan knew that it would, as far as the Indians were concerned, have just the same effect as had it been a legal proceeding. He wanted to bind them at once with the ties of allegiance to the new country.

The next thing to do was to draft and adopt a constitution for the new community, which every resident of the village had to accept and sign, before he could be considered as having any rights there.

The result of Mr. Duncan's labors in that direction was the following :

Declaration of Residents

" We, the people of Metlakahtla, Alaska, in order to secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of a Christian home, do severally subscribe to the following rules for the regulation of our conduct and town affairs :

" 1. To reverence the Sabbath, and to refrain from all unnecessary secular work on that day ; to attend divine worship ; to take the Bible for our rule of faith ; to regard all true Christians as our brethren ; and to be truthful, honest, and industrious.

"2. To be faithful and loyal to the Government and laws of the United States.

"3. To render our votes when called upon for the election of the Town Council, and to promptly obey the by-laws and orders imposed by the said Council.

"4. To attend to the education of our children, and keep them at school as regularly as possible.

"5. To totally abstain from all intoxicants and gambling, and never to attend heathen festivities or countenance heathen customs in surrounding villages.


300 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

" 6. To strictly carry out all sanitary regulations necessary for the health of the town.

"7. To identify ourselves with the progress of the settlement, and to utilize the land we hold.

" 8. Never to alienate, give away, or sell our land, or building-lots, or any portion thereof, to any person or persons who have not subscribed to these rules. "

This constitution has never been changed or amended, and is faithfully lived up to unto the present time.

After the ground had been cleared and drained, the village was surveyed, and a plan made of the blocks and streets.

Here again the wonderful wisdom of Mr. Duncan showed itself.

All envy and jealousy must be kept out of the new community.

So, in making up the town plat, he divided every block into four lots, of eighty by ninety, in order that every native householder should have a corner lot.

But now came the question, how to distribute the different lots, so that there should be no trouble.

There was a preference, of course. The lots facing the beach, or rather the public street, running immediately above and along the beach, were the best and the handiest for a population which spent half of its life in the canoe or boat.

The first method of distribution was by the drawing of lots. But the result convinced Mr. Duncan that it would not give satisfaction. So, thinking it over during the night, he evolved another mode, which he felt sure would be successful.

Calling them together the next day, he announced that all done the day before would have to be annulled. " I am not going to have you feel badly towards each other, if I can help it," he said. "Now I have thought out


THE PIONEERS 301

this plan :  " The oldest brother in each family chooses his lot first, then the second, the third, and the fourth. Then, if there are more, the same proceeding is resorted to in the block back of the front block, etc. If you do not then get what you want, don't blame me. But blame yourselves for not having come into the world any sooner than you did."

The humor of this parting shot took hold of the Indian mind, and the plan worked satisfactorily.*

The Rev. E. Tomlinson, Mr. Duncan's faithful co-worker at old Metlakahtla for the past five years, came over to the new place for a few weeks, but, as he could not find any conveniences for his large family, he left them behind in Mr. Duncan's house at the former home. After consultation, they came to the agreement that Mr. Duncan, as he now would not be called away from the settlement to fight the battles of the natives against the bishop's continuous and sinister attacks, could perhaps get along alone. And, as Mr. Tomlinson was anxious to take up again, at the first opportunity, his work among the upper Skeena River Tsimsheans, the Jonathan and David of the Coast had an affectionate parting, and Mr. Tomlinson thereafter located at Meanskiuisht (the foot of the pitch pines), where he ever since has continued to carry on a blessed work on his own account, without the support of any mission society. The fruits of this work will perhaps never be fully known, until that great day, when our accounts up yonder are finally closed.*

  • In this connection it should be borne in mind that with the Tsimsheans, as with the Coast Indians generally, a man's cousins are called his brothers and sisters, and treated as such.

  • In the winter of 1908-9, Mr. Tomlinson, accompanied by his estimable wife, at the urgent request of Mr. Duncan, again came to Metlakahtla to assist him in his work. It goes without saying that the Metlakahtlans gave them a most hearty welcome.



302 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Dr. Bluett-Duncan also accompanied Mr. Duncan to the land of freedom, and for more than five years not only gave him the benefit of his Christian sympathy and practical advice ; but also relieved him, at a time when his attention was greatly needed in other directions, of the duty of giving medical attendance to the sick.

It stands to reason, that by the persecutions to which Mr. Duncan and the Metlakahtlans had been exposed at the hands of both Church and State in British America, and by their being deprived of their property, as well as of the fruits of years of labor and saving, their funds were not in a very excellent state to withstand the drain of removal, and of building up anew their little town.

While Mr. Duncan has always been averse to asking any help whatsoever from any one, friends were by God, in this their hour of need, mainly by the valuable assistance of Henry S. "Welcome, a wealthy Englishman, who, at his own expense, published and spread broadcast a book on the glorious work of Mr. Duncan, raised up, both in America and England, with the result that within two years of the removal to Alaska, the "benevolent Fund," as Mr. Duncan has styled it, had reached the sum of $6,591.55.

At midnight on June 28, 1889, the colony had the misfortune to see the destruction by fire of their sawmill, and of all their sawed and dressed lumber, entailing a loss of over $12,000, as there was no insurance.

On July 10th, Mr. Duncan was already on his way to Portland to purchase machinery for a new mill. It is evident that it had not taken a long time to make an American of him. Though he was not then possessed of the means with which to pay for it, he felt the absolute necessity of quick action, if the building up of the new village should not receive a serious setback.

He succeeded in getting extra time allowed him. In
 

THE PIONEERS 303

less than three mouths from the date of the fire, a new mill of greater capacity was running at full blast, and, by the following May, friends in America had contributed, aueut this loss, the sum of 16,069.92, thus covering about half of the actual misfortune.

Practically all of this amount had been raised through the magnificent efforts of the Hon. E. J. Thomas, of Brookline, Massachusetts, who has since gone home to his Father's house.

In the meantime, the building lots distributed had been deeded to the persons entitled to them, by the village council, on payment of a three dollar fee, which was covered into the treasury.

The lots were being cleared, fences built, berry and vegetable gardens started, and the building of permanent houses commenced.

The dwellings were mostly square, two-storey buildings, built of dressed lumber, and provided with verandahs and porches.

In March, 1891, Mr. Duncan could report that ninety-one substantial new dwellings had been erected. The number of dwellings in the village today is one hundred and thirty.

Every year, of late, some of the residents have discarded their old homes and built new houses. Most of them, however, have been concerned, as far as the improvement of their property goes, in freshly painting their dwellings, and putting in new picket fences around their lots.

Even among the houses built of late years the square, two-storey-building style seems to be the one predomina-ting. But a few of the more recently built homes would, in style and arrangement, do honor to any little New England village of its size.

Among them may be mentioned Tom Hanbury's


304 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

house, built in 1902, painted dark green, with white trimmings; Alex. Guthrie's bungalow, built in 1903, painted pink, with white trimmings, and dark red shingled roof, and Benj. A. Haldane's house, built in 1906, and painted orange, with white trimmings, and dark green "shingled roof. The monument in front of his house was placed there in honor of his deceased father, Matthew Haldane, one of Mr. Duncan's most trusted friends, who is not, however, laid to rest at this place. He was buried in the cemetery.


XXXVI

A DAY AT METLAKAHTLA

Among the industries started at New Metlakahtla was a printing establishment. One of the natives was sent to Portland to learn typesetting and printing, and a small outfit of type and a hand-press were procured.

On this press, was, within a year after the flitting from British Columbia, printed a little hymn-book, or " Church Manuel," as the title-page styles it, of thirty- six pages, containing eleven hymns in English, fourteen hymns in Tsimsheau, part of them translations from well- known English church hymns, and part original compositions by Mr. Duncan ; the ten commandments, the golden rule, and some fifty suitable selections from the Scriptures in English, and the Lord's Prayer and the Apostolic Benediction in Tsimshean.

On this printing-press also was printed from time to time, with intervals of from two months to one year, eight numbers of a little four page, two column, ten by seven paper, The Metlakahtlan, aiming to be a sort of means of communication between the new community and its friends in the States.

The date of the first issue is November, 1888, and the last, December, 1891.

As, by this time, I take it, the readers have become so much interested in the personality of Mr. Duncan, that they will prefer to hear as much as they possibly can from him personally, it will perhaps not be amiss here to reproduce an article from his pen in the first number of

305


306 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

this paper, entitled "A Day at Metlakahtla," both because it, in itself, is rich in interesting news from the new settlement at this early date, and also because it gives a veritable pen-picture of what was required of this wonderful man, from day to day, while he was superintending and assisting in building up a new home for his people, as well as of his unlimited capacity for all kinds of work.

The article reads as follows :

"Nov. 13, 1888. - The weather this morning, like yesterday, is fair, bright, and frosty ; such a delightful change from the dreary and soaking wet weather we have had for the last two months.

"Having twenty-two men employed, I begin the duties of the day by going to look after them. I found waterproof coats were doffed, and everybody outside seemed brisk and busy. Before I had finished my inspection I was summoned to break- fast ; but I told the cook to ask Dr. Bluett not to wait for me. Having finished my work outside, I took a hasty meal.

" Then, the school bell rang, and quickly one hundred and thirty-two children, all with happy faces, took their places in school. . . . We commenced school as usual by singing a verse of the good old hymn, * Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah.' Prayer followed, and then the Scripture lesson ; - the subject this morning being the meeting of Jacob and Esau. The children then marched to their classes, seven in number, the sexes being divided, with the exception of the first class. I have three native assistants, and we go to work at what is called the three R's, and soon the usual hum of school sets in.

" We teach the children to read and write in English, but I am sorry to say the lessons furnished in the primary reading books are generally very unsuitable for Indian children, having too much nonsense about cats owning tails, and dogs being able to bark, and so forth ; all such information appearing very ridiculous to the Indian aspirant after learning, when translated into his mother tongue.

" This morning the reading lesson in one class was exceptionally good ; it was the fable of the dog and the shadow.



A DAY AT METLAKAHTLA 307

After reading the lesson, the children were asked to write on their slates what they thought was the lesson the fable teaches us. One boy wrote, ' When people let fall the truth they find nothing.'

"We have no fire in our school, and the building we are temporarily using is so drafty, that if King Alfred with his candle clock occupied it, he would be obliged to use curtains to keep the flame steady. I therefore gave the children ten minutes recess to warm themselves by a scamper on the beach. The lively scene which ensued would take too long to describe. I suppose this is the only school in Alaska where there is no fire, yet I doubt very much whether there is such another healthy community of children in any part of the territory as ours is. - Time being up, lessons recommenced.

" At the end of the three school hours the children seem glad to get their freedom. The boys rush to secure their wonted places for their favorite game of marbles, and so fascinated are they with this game that they seem to forget they need any food before returning to school. On several occasions I have caught them playing in pouring rain ; and, twice lately, I saw them playing on the road by the light of a lantern. I see that an Indian boy is as proud of his bag of marbles as a white boy is.

" A little pleasant excitement was caused in the village this morning by two men - employed by our musicians - setting to work to fell a huge and noble-looking pine. The stir was due to the difficulty of the undertaking. The tree had to be cut about twenty-four feet from the ground, and made to fall in a certain direction, to avoid crushing the houses near it. The men performed their work admirably, and were so elated with their success that they nailed a pole on the top of the stump with four small American flags attached to it. The twenty-four feet of trunk left standing is to form the base for a stand on which the brass band will be mounted to greet our friends, or any Government officials, when they come to see us.

"In the afternoon, I went to our steam sawmill, to talk over the work to be done with our native foreman. The men have lately completed an order for over 16,000 cases from a salmon cannery about thirty miles off. All the work of sawing, planing, and stenciling these cases, was done by the natives ; and done so satisfactorily, that the order given us for another year is nearly doubled.


308 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

I then stepped into a sash and furniture workshop, lately erected by two native artisans on their own account. They have managed to bring into their service a small stream, to turn the wheel by which their lathe is worked. The men were busy executing an order from a neighboring Indian tribe for a grave fence. I noticed, too, that they had finished a nice-looking bedstead of yellow cypress, which, I learn, forms part of an order from Portland, Oregon.

" My business with them was to tender the work of making me some large windows and doors for the new school we are erecting, - if we can agree upon the terms. I left them to think over the prices, and let me know them to-night.

" I next walked to the site on which we are erecting our permanent school, and gave some directions to the workmen.

" In the evening, several of the men came to receive their wages, and others to pay their accounts for lumber obtained at the mill.

"After supper, one of our people came to see me privately, about a family quarrel which he wished me to help him to settle. While, however, he was telling his story, another man walked in, to press his complaint against a man of a distant tribe, a Haida, who, with his party, happened to be here for the purpose of trade, and staying in the village guest-house.

" As it was supposed the accused man would be leaving our village early the next morning, I concluded to settle his case first. Accordingly, I sent for the native constable - who holds a commission from the Government, - and directed him to go and tell the stranger I wanted to see him ; and that he might bring his friends with him.

" As the Haida and Tsimshean languages are totally unlike, I also sent for one of our people who knows them both, to act as interpreter. In the meantime, several persons dropped in to listen ; and as soon as the Haida and his friends arrived, we opened the case.

"The affair was this: - The complainant, and the accused, had met while hunting bears on Prince of Wales Island. The former greeted the latter courteously, but his civility was not reciprocated. The Haida, both by looks and words, and still more particularly by suspiciously manipulating his gun, showed signs of anger. The complainant stated that he kept his temper, otherwise, he felt sure, violence would have ensued. In defense, the accused said, that the complainant, not know-


A DAY AT METLAKAHTLA 309

ing the Haida language, had allowed his fears to be unnecessarily aroused ; - that the angry words he used were not addressed to the complainant, but to the Haida in company with him, - and, as for the way he carried his gun, - that was explained by the fact that he was hunting bears.

"As no act of violence had been committed, or threatening language used, it remained for me only to caution and instruct the accused man, which I did very fully. I was glad to find that my words were well received. He thanked me, and said he was glad to hear good words, and know the law, and on his return home he would not fail to tell his people what he had learned. The complainant and the accused then shook hands and went away with the greater part of the audience.

" Among the few remaining, were the man who came in first about the family quarrel, and a Haida, - (not from the same village as the man I had just dismissed), who had some trouble to tell me of. The latter said that he had chosen a young woman from the Thlingit people for a wife, and both the young woman and her guardian had favored his suit. The engagement being made, he went over to her tribe, and had already given a month's labor to her relations for their good-will. For some reason, however, of which he professed to be ignorant, her guardian had suddenly annulled the engagement, and ordered him to leave the village. I promised to send a message to the persons concerned by the first canoe which leaves here, and when I have ascertained the facts on the other side, I shall know what to advise in the case. There are, I am sorry to say, some old customs still rife among these tribes in regard to marriage, which are constantly provoking trouble. When questioned individually, not an Indian will venture to defend them, and yet they retain their hold of the public mind. After the Haida had left, I addressed the man who had patiently waited some hours for a private interview about his family affairs. The remedy for his trouble was humility and kindness. These I prescribed for him, and he went away.

"I then had two foremen to talk with about the morrow's work. After they had left me, I took a peep at the beautiful moonlit sky. Soon I heard the bugle sounding in the village the welcome ' Go to bed,' and then came my quiet hour for reading."


XXXVII

LEAVES FROM MR. DUNCAN'S DIARY

Before proceeding with a short account of the history of the village, in the way of industrial and other development, I will invite the reader to partake of a little treat from Mr. Duncan's diary, from which I have already, during the earlier phases of the history of the mission, drawn quite liberally.

This diary was faithfully kept up by Mr. Duncan from the day he left England until within a few years ago.

It is not to be understood, however, that he made entries in his diary from day to day. But, now and then, as something out of the ordinary happened, he chronicled the occurrence, more in the nature of a complete sketch, than by attempting to give its gradual development each day.

I am particularly inclined to reproduce these extracts from his diary, because they will give the reader an idea of the celebration of Christmas and Nev/ Year's Day among these people every year. Also, because they contain brief mention of some of the last law cases with which Mr. Duncan was burdened.

In a few years, white settlements were started near by, and he then cheerfully limited his magisterial duties to his own people.

Although Mr. Duncan ever since has been, and still is, a United States Commissioner, with all the powers and duties of a magistrate, so peacefully inclined are these people, and so little crime is committed by or

310


LEAVES FROM MR. DUNCAN'S DIARY 311

among them, at least when at home, that for years this office of Mr. Duncan's has been the merest sinecure. In fact, his only duty has consisted in making out his annual report to this effect :

  • " Number of cases tried ? None. "
  • " Amount of fees and fines collected ? None."
  • " Amount of disbursements ? None. "

I cull the following entries from his diary, with such parts omitted, which I do not think of particular interest at the present time :

"December 18, 1888. - Rarely a day passes that I have not some grievances to settle, but one brought before me today was of more than ordinary interest, reminding me of my early days among the Tsimsheans in British Columbia.

" A native, named Annetka, from the village of Lachshaila, about thirty miles off, came here a few days ago to lay a complaint against one Skigahn of the same village. He was accompanied by a brother, to act as his spokesman, and his gloomy and morose looks indicated that his trouble was of a serious nature. 1 then listened to a long and painful story, which convinced me that the complainant and the accused were deadly rivals, and that in order to prevent them from shedding each other's blood, no time was to be lost in settling their quarrel. I, therefore, at once wrote a letter to Skigahn to inform him that Annetka was at Metlakahtla waiting to meet him before me, and that I would undertake to settle their differences as peacemaker if he would come here without delay ; but, if he refused my invitation, I should be obliged to send men with a warrant to arrest him.

" I well knew that neither Skigahn nor any of his people could read the letter I sent, but it served as a seal to the verbal message I gave to the bearer. Annetka and his brother both doubted the efficacy of my plan, assuring me that Skigahn would not come to Metlakahtla unless I sent a force to take him. Events have shown, however, that their forebodings were uncalled for. today Skigahn arrived, having traveled over thirty miles of dangerous sea in his canoe, with his aged uncle and other members of his family.

"Tonight a large gathering of our people assembled to


312 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

listen to the case. Skigahn - a bold and stern-looking man, took his seat, with a defiant stare at his accuser, Annetka, and the latter at once began to relate a series of attacks made upon his person and property. I took notes.

" Skigahn sat silent and stolid till his turn came to make his counter-charges against Annetka.

" Finally, it appeared, that the offenses each had committed against the other were pretty evenly balanced, and each had, while under the influence of liquor, attempted to take the life of the other.

" The case gave me ample scope and illustration for a serious address on the misery of a sinful and lawless life, and opportunity for showing in contrast the blessings which the Gospel of Christ, if embraced, would ensure them.

"After my address, a solemn scene ensued. Both Annetka and Skigahn stood up, and each placed his hand on the Bible, as a token of their sincere desire to forgive and forget the wrongs of the past. This done, they approached each other, and shook hands, which act evoked many expressions of joy from the audience. Thus a deadly feud was healed !

" The mail steamer Idaho, which we have been expecting for the last twelve days, arrived this morning, bringing us some freight from Portland. As our supply of flour and groceries was almost exhausted, and Christmas was very near, - the arrival of the steamer caused great rejoicing in the village, and especially among the children. Her delay, we were sorry to learn, was due to some crippling injuries she had sustained in a gale of wind on her last downward trip.

" The steamer being bound for Sitka, the seat of government for Alaska, we had, I regret to say, five passengers for her, - two white men, being prisoners, and three natives acting as guards. The two men were arrested on their way North by canoe, over two weeks ago, for smuggling intoxicating liquors, and I had to commit them for trial at Sitka. The greater portion - some 240 gallons - of their liquor fell into our hands, and remains in our custody till we receive orders from Sitka what to do with it.

"Sunday, December 23, 1888. - Our unusually large attendance at church during the winter season was augmented today by the addition of some sixty or seventy strangers, who arrived here yesterday to spend Christmas with us. Though they came without being invited, they were heartily welcomed, and


LEAVES FROM MR. DUNCAN'S DIARY 313

hospitably received, by our people. Our guests are from four native villages, and of two distinct languages ; - both being very different to the language of the Metlakahtlans.

" Monday, January 1st 1889. - Christmas and New Year is always a joyous season with the people of Metlakahtla, and the last one has proved to be no exception to the rule. Though still living in temporary shanties, built among stumps and huge trees, both standing and fallen, yet the people are healthy and happy.

"Some few days before Christmas the usual avocations of the natives are suspended, - smiling faces greet you everywhere, and the village storekeepers are overwhelmed with business.

" The church elders hold meetings for the purpose of restoring the fallen, and reconciling to each other persons who have quarreled.

" On Christmas Eve there is a noticeable stillness outside, but the houses are illuminated. The waits are rehearsing their Christmas carols in the schoolroom, and I have deputations from the officials of the village, - council, elders, constables, - brass band, and fire brigade, to interrogate me about the proceedings of to-morrow. Late at night, the two men, - one being a born artist, - who have designed and secretly prepared some Christmas decorations, are busy arranging them in our temporary church. During the first hours of Christmas morning the voices of thirty of our young men are heard outside, singing hymns of praise, some in their own tongue, and some in English.

"On Christmas morning, at ii o'clock, our church was crowded for divine service. The decorations were admirable, both in design and execution. The principal figure was an angel with outstretched wings, holding in each hand an olive branch, and supporting most gracefully, by both hands, a flying scroll, some thirty feet long, on which was written

  • On earth peace, good will to men. Nations shall learn war no more.'

" The service was commenced by chanting our Christmas song in Tsimshean ; and, preceding the address, the choir sang the anthem, ' God is the refuge of His people. ' The collection amounted to $130.08, the largest sum ever contributed by our people on one occasion. The money will be passed to the building fund for the proposed new church.

" The afternoon was occupied with the children, - happy


314 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

family, indeed ! 190 of whom received toys - while but five were sent empty away for misconduct.

" The last night in the year was dark and stormy; nevertheless, the attendance at our midnight meeting was very large. The order of the service was as follows : Hymn in Tsimshean on the departure of another year ; prayer ; address on Peter's bitter repentance; silent prayer from 11:55 to 12:05 ; singing the prodigal's resolve, and a hymn on the opening year; address on St. Paul's cry for guidance ; anthem, ' Safely through another year ; ' the service being closed with prayer by two of the elders.

" The 1st of January was a memorable day at Metlakahtla. In the morning, all the men assembled to witness the admittance of fifteen new members to our male community, ten of whom were from four native villages near by, and five were Tsimsheans. The newcomers were placed in the centre of the building, and, after my address, each approached the table, and placed his left hand on the Bible, and raised his right, in token of the sincerity of his act. He then subscribed his name to be a faithful member of our community, obedient to the law, and loyal to the Government of the United States.

"In the evening all the men again assembled, this time for tea, talk, and music. The strangers were invited, and their table was placed in the centre of the building. Our feast consisted of biscuits, tea, apples, and raisins. The brass band played at intervals, and sixteen stirring speeches were made. After my address, we sang the doxology, and the meeting closed. Before leaving, the council and elders tendered their badges of office, as the new elections for these offices will take place this week.

" January 18, 1889. - Sad news. A canoe manned by natives arrived from Tongas late last night, bringing the corpse of a murdered man, and the murderer; - both white men. This morning I held an inquest, and took the depositions of witnesses. The six jurors were Metlakahtlans, and, on their verdict, I committed the accused for trial. He will leave here under native guard in a few days.

" Intoxicating liquor, procured, as usual, at Port Simpson, from the store of the Hudson's Bay Company, was at the bottom of this sad tragedy."


XXXVIII

SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY

ONE of the first public buildings erected in Metlakahtla, Alaska, was the village store. It is operated by Mr. Duncan, and carries a stock of general merchandise, of the average value of about $20,000. The goods are sold to the natives at a small advance over the cost price. Not far away from the store is Mr. Duncan's private dwelling and office.

In the front part of this building is his office.  On one side of this office is his bedroom, and on the other, a storeroom for his account books and papers. In the rear is a dining-room, high ceiled as his office, and both heated only with fireplaces. Adjoining the dining-room are three bed- rooms and the kitchen. In this lowly dwelling, Mr. Duncan has always insisted on remaining, though far better quarters have for years been near at hand, but remain unoccupied, except for occasional visitors.

During the first two years in Metlakahtla, Alaska, there was no regular house of worship. The temporary schoolroom was too small, so, at first, the services were held on the beach and the rocks, and, later on, in a shed built for industrial purposes.

But, on the 29th day of April, 1889, a queer-looking building with twelve gables, intended originally for the public school, was finished, and here divine services were held until the large, fine church was completed.

Of late, this building, which is heated with hot water,

316


316 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

and lighted by large oil lamps, has been denominated the "Town Hall." The natives have their feasts or tea- parties here on festive occasions, and here all concerts and public entertainments take place.

In March, 1890, the Boys' Home, a building in the shape of a St. Peter's cross, was ready for occupancy, but could not be taken in use till the next year, when a new teacher arrived. The Boys' Home, because of want of proper teachers, did not prove a success, its name was changed to the " educational building," and the public school for children of both sexes was there housed. In it are now also located the young men's evening schoolroom, the Sunday-school teachers' classroom, the place for the mid-week prayer-meeting and the public reading-room.

The same Fall the Mission Building, or the Industrial Training School for girls, with rooms on one side for the teacher's family, and on the other for the doctor's, as well as for the pharmacy of the village, which is well stocked with all necessary medicines and preparations, was ready from the builder's hand. Upstairs are dormitories for twenty-four girls, and below, in the centre of the house, the dining-room, and in front a large school hall, which now, for several years, has been used as the council room, where the village council holds its meetings. Both this hall and the large schoolroom in the educational building are heated by open fireplaces in the centre of the room, A large hood of sheet-iron comes down above the fireplace, and not only carries away the smoke, but acts as a splendid ventilator.

In the Spring of 1890, a cannery building was erected, and that Summer a beginning was made of the salmon canning industry : four hundred and seventy cases, of four dozen cans each, were canned.

But as Mr. Duncan's funds were not sufficient to carry on this business on the scale which was necessary, if it

 

SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 317

should prove profitable, he finally was induced to ask some of his friends for assistance, in the following way :

A corporation, "The Metlakahtla Industrial company," was formed, with $25,000 capital stock. Of this stock, Mr. Duncan and a few of the natives took about half. The other half was donated by friends of the mission, with the understanding that if the enterprise came through all right, they should be paid back the money advanced. If not, they would lose it, and he would be under no obligation to repay them.

On the first of January, 1895, Mr. Duncan formally turned over to this corporation all the industries of the colony, the store, and the sawmill, as well as the cannery. This business was managed so prudently that, in 1905, the corporation could be dissolved, as having served its purpose. The native stockholders were paid back their money, with fifteen per cent, interest per annum for the time they had had their money invested. This interest had been paid to them annually. The other stockholders received their money back, with seven and a half per cent, interest, and Mr. Duncan now personally took over all the business and the property, including the two steamers in the meantime acquired, boats, barges, nets, and the entire stock of lumber, merchandise, and canned salmon on hand.

Since that time all of the business has been carried on by him personally, with the aid of trusted native employees in the different departments.

In the month of June, 1890, the village had the honor of receiving the first official visit of the Governor of Alaska, the Hon. Lyman E. Knapp.

The Governor arrived on a United States Revenue Cutter on Sunday ; but so strict was the Sabbath observance rule at Metlakahtla that even the Governor of the Territory could not be officially received until the


318 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

following day, when a platform was erected near the beach, and a reception held for him.

Speeches were delivered by leading natives, and by the Governor, who promised to do all in his power to se- cure them an established and definite right to the Island, and what they always have so much desired, citizenship.

The first of these rights was accorded them by Congress the next year, but the boon of citizenship is still being withheld from them, though President Roosevelt, in his admirable message to Congress in 1905, strongly urged upon that body to grant this privilege to the Metlakahtla Indians, whom he did not hesitate, in this interesting State paper, to characterize as highly intelligent and civilized, and fully entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizenship. Congress, however, failed to act up to his suggestion in this matter, as in so many others. Subsequent events have shown that the temper of congress, with reference to granting citizenship, or the right to acquire citizenship to any other than Caucasians and negroes, was such, that there was no hope of passing an Act allowing these highly civilized Indians the right to become naturalized, a right which is freely granted, every day in the year, to other much less intelligent and patriotic aliens.

Senator Knute Nelson, of Minnesota, who has taken a great interest in the welfare of Metlakahtla, therefore, on February 4, 1907, introduced a bill to grant them the right to obtain licenses as pilots, captains, and engineers, and to run and operate their own motor boats, with the same force and effect as if they were citizens of the United States. This bill, by the kindly aid of President Roose- velt, then, as always, the determined friend of the Metlakahtlans, who instructed the Department of Commerce and Labor to take all proper steps to secure its prompt passage, became a law in the very short time remaining


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 319

of that session of Congress, and, on the 4th day of March, A. d. 1907, received the signature of the President.

It is to be hoped that in the near future Congress will see that it cannot any longer afford to refuse to these civilized and intelligent men the right of citizenship, which was explicitly promised them, as they thought, with the full approval of the national government, by the Governor of Alaska, when they first came to this country.

In the summer of 1891, things had progressed so far at Metlakahtla, that 6,000 cans of salmon were canned, and over $10,000 paid to the natives in wages from this branch of the industries alone.

That winter saw ninety-five new, permanent dwellings erected. Since then, their number has been added to, so that there now are one hundred and thirty private dwellings, all told, in the village.

On November 5, 1892, the second steam sawmill erected by Mr. Duncan in the village was destroyed by fire, at a net loss of nearly $9,000.

This second fire, which was due to the carelessness of one of the native operators, determined Mr. Duncan to make use of the splendid water-power obtained from the "Lake in the Clouds," filling an old crater, about 800 feet above sea level, in the mountain valley of " Purple Mountain," located on the other side of the bay, and the overflow of which tumbles down the mountainside.

At an expense of $9,000 he now built a dam at the mouth of this lake, and a pipe line down the mountainside and around the bay, and thereby not only provided water-power for the new sawmill, which now was being run by a Pelton water-wheel, but also furnished all necessary water for the cannery, and, in addition, a splendid water supply for the use of the whole village.

The business affairs of the colony were now in such


320 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

shape that this new work was done, the mill rebuilt, and new machinery purchased, without Mr. Duncan having to call on his friends outside for any help whatsoever.

The 12th day of February, 1893, was a sad day in the history of Metlakahtla.

For several weeks a north wind had been blowing. The north winds in that part of Alaska always bring fine weather. There had been no rain at all for a long time, and everything in the village was as dry as tinder.

A veritable gale from the northeast was blowing, when, near noon, the fire-bell clanged. People looked at each other with fear and trembling.

" An awful day for a fire ! "

" Where was it ? "

Fortunately, it had started in the western portion of the village. In an hour or two all of that part of the village (except two houses, which miraculously escaped unscathed, though located directly in the path of the flames), some twenty dwellings in all, with the contents of most of them, were wiped out of existence by the fierce fire fiend. The best fire department in the world could have done nothing, under the circumstances. The flames simply kept on licking all with voracious tongues till no more food for them could be found.

Here was a beautiful opportunity for the Metlakahtla people to show what Christianity had done for them. And they did not fail. Not only did neighbors make room for those who had no home ; but in less than two days $1,600, to be distributed among the fire sufferers, was raised right in the little village, and about $1,000 of the amount came from the poor natives themselves, though they were at this very time struggling hard to recover from the losses entailed upon them when they had to give up all that was theirs for the sake of their faith.



SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 321

As soon as news of the misfortune reached the outside, God touched many hearts, and in a very short time nearly $3,000, in money and contributions in natura, came for the benefit of the sufferers, $1,000 of this amount from a gentleman in London, England, Henry S. Wellcome, Esq., who on this occasion, and not for the first time, showed his great interest in Mr. Duncan and the Metlakahtla Indians.

This fire stirred the village council up to procure at once four hand -pumps, with hose, for fire protection. Two fire-bells were also bought, to be placed in different parts of the town. A bucket and ladder company was organized. Cisterns were located near the houses. In short, many measures for better protection against fire were now taken.

Within a year, the burned district was rebuilt, thanks especially to the timely aid granted.

In 1893, ground had been broken for the magnificent church to be erected in the village, the building of which had been delayed so long only because it was Mr. Duncan's aim to build a church that would in every way be an honor to the place.

In April, 1894, the raising of the heavy framework was commenced in earnest, and, on Christmas Day, 1896, could be dedicated and used for the first time what many people are pleased to call "Mr. Duncan's Westminster Abbey,"  even unto this day the largest church in Alaska, and most certainly a magnificent temple of worship. It is one hundred feet long, has a seventy foot span, is forty-three feet to the ceiling, and the tops of the spires on the towers are eighty feet above the ground.

The cost of this edifice, where everything, except the fine pipe organ and the gas fixtures, is the work of the natives, was a little over $10,000. Of this amount, the


322 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

natives themselves had contributed $2,500. About $3, 000 had been taken from the Benevolent Fund, one-half from the amount already mentioned as having been contributed by friends in England and the United States at an earlier period, and the other half from later contributions for the express purpose of helping Mr. Duncan to build this beautiful temple to God. But by far the greater amount, about $4,500, was donated by Mr. Duncan himself from his own private funds.

The church is heated by a hot water plant, and is lighted by acetylene gas.

The cost of maintaining it, by way of repairs and painting needed (therein included the cost of the lighting plant), from January, 1897, to July 1, 1908, was the sum of $2,751.30. This does not include pastor's, organist's, janitor's, or any other salaries. All these services are, at Metlakahtla, given gratuitously.

Of this amount, the natives have by their Thanksgiving and New Years' offerings, since 1896, raised the sum of $2,144.90. (There are no collections taken at the regular services.) From offerings by tourists of the different excursions visiting Metlakahtla during the last twelve years, the total sum of $1,005.99 has been received, so there was, on the first day of July, 1908, on hand in the church fund, a balance of $400.

For a long time after the removal, travel about the streets of Metlakahtla was, after heavy rains (and heavy rains are of rather frequent occurrence in a country where the annual rainfall is usually about 120 inches), a decidedly unpleasant undertaking.

But in the nineties, it was concluded to obtain, on credit from Mr. Duncan, planks to the amount of $2,000, and to apply the village tax, which in 1889 had been fixed at three dollars per annum for each adult, to work on the streets.


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 323

In this, as in almost all Alaska towns, the streets consist of plank walks.

From 1895 to 1900 considerable work was done, and in the latter year the planking of the village streets had been completed. During these five years from $600 to $1,000 was every year expended in cash and labor in and about planking the streets. In 1903, the total expenditure on village improvements was $1,300, and, in 1906, when the whole of the front street was re-planked for a distance of about one mile, the public work expenditure exceeded $1,500.

In 1897, Mr. Duncan finished the "Guest-House," another strange, octagonal-shaped building, which is completely furnished, including seven bedrooms up-stairs, drawing-room, library, dining-room, and a very elaborate kitchen down-stairs. Mr. Duncan says he has built it for his successor. Perhaps that is the reason he declines positively to move into it himself, for it is in every way more convenient and suitable than the little house containing his den. His private library is, however, Installed in this building.

Mr. Duncan's reasons for the many gables and sides of his buildings are, first : that he thinks it gives greater strength to resist the winds, which in the winter season can be very violent at Metlakahtla, and, next, because he expects thereby to secure better ventilation, as he in the town hall has provided a ventilator in the top portion of every one of the twelve gables.

In 1905, the last public building to be erected at Metlakahtla, a combination of jail, engine house, and public library building, was completed. It is painted in all the national colors. The first storey is red, as befits an engine house, if not a jail. The library storey is painted in white, and the cupola in blue.


324: THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The jail portion is a perfectly perfunctory institution. The only occupant I have ever known it to have is, now and then, a small boy, whose mother cannot manage him, and gets Mr. Duncan to help her by placing him under restraint for a few hours. In the Summer of 1908, an Incorrigible girl had a taste of jail life for a day.

The public library housed in the second storey was Installed in the Winter of 1905 and 1906. It is the largest public library in Alaska, and contains 2,077 volumes, viz : 353 volumes of religious books ; 329 of history, geography, travels, and biography ; 38 of politics, government, and political economy ; 845 of fiction ; 265 of miscellaneous books ; 70 of music, and 265 of reference books. The latter cannot be removed from the library, but must be used there. The library is kept open for a couple of hours every Saturday night.

The books in the library most prized by the natives are two volumes of " Presidential Addresses and State Papers," presented to the library by President Roosevelt, and bearing upon the fly-leaf of the first volume, in the President's own handwriting, the inscription :

" With good wishes for the Metlakahtla Indians from

" Theodore Roosevelt.
" October 8, 1906"

Among other books contained in the library, is a full set of President Roosevelt's Works, in beautiful morocco binding, a de luxe edition of Universal Anthology (32 vols.), a full set of the United States Digest, of the American Digest, and of the United States Compiled Statutes, a deluxe edition of Talmage's Sermons (21 vols.), an old edition of Plutarch's Lives (6 vols.), printed in London in 1758 ; complete sets of all the works of Dickens, Thackeray, Marryat, Scott, Wilkie (Collins,


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 325

Hall Caine, Fennimore J. Cooper, Ralph Connor, George Eliot, Mary A. Fleming, Rider Haggard, Hawthorne, Mary Holland, Anthony Hope, Bulwer Lytton, Henty, Carleton, Emma Southworth, and Mark Twain. Several modern encyclopedias, dictionaries, and Bible dictionaries are also found on the shelves.

This library was culled from the private libraries of prominent citizens of Minneapolis, Minn., and several publishing houses, such as the Fleming H. Revell Co., Funk & Wagnalls Co., S. S. Scranton Co., The Hope Publishing Co., and the West Publishing Co. also made valuable contributions from their publications.

The Northern Pacific Railway Company and the Alaska Steamship Company carried the library books free of expense to their destination, and Mr. Duncan kindly housed and shelved them.

A catalogue of the books in the library has been printed, and can be obtained from the librarian for fifty cents. As the proceeds from the sale are devoted to meeting the expenses of the library, any one who desires to contribute for that purpose can do so by forwarding fifty cents in postage stamps to the " Librarian of the Public Library" at Metlakahtla for a copy of the catalogue. It will prove interesting as a memento of the great work done there.

The natives, who obtain the books without any fee or charge whatsoever, have taken out about one hundred library cards, and the library is fairly well patronized.

On October 2, 1907, the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Duncan's arrival at Fort Simpson was celebrated at Metlakahtla.

It at first was intended to have a central general celebration of the day, either at Port Simpson or old Metlakahtla, and an invitation was extended to Mr. Duncan to come over there ; but he absolutely declined to go where


326 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

old wounds could not help being reopened, so the natives of Metlakahtla resolved to celebrate the anniversary at their own home.

They all gathered early in the town hall, which was decorated with evergreens, festoons, and flags. four of the elders made impressive and touching addresses, interspersed with prayer, and four beautiful anthems were sung by the church choir.

The room was then transformed into a banquet hall, where, at three p. m., three hundred people were seated, and the good women of Metlakahtla served a most excel- lent dinner, while the Metlakahtla brass band furnished choice music.

A fine, leather covered chair was presented to Mr. Duncan by his people.

John Tait and Sidney Campbell, who both were present when he landed at Fort Simpson fifty years ago, addressed him at length in words of appreciation of his life and labor among them, and pledged themselves and the people to love him better than ever in the future.

Mr. Duncan, on being led to the chair, spoke at length in Tsimshean, rehearsing, like a Moses or Joshua of old, all that God had wrought for them those many years.

The Rev. J. A. Chapman, the Methodist preacher of Ketchikan, some seventeen miles distant, then spoke.

The crowning event of the day, however, was the rendering by a choir of forty native voices, in a most excel- lent manner, of Handel's renowned oratorio "Messiah," under the leadership of Edward Marsden, with Benjamin A. Haldane at the organ.

The 13th of June, 1908, was the fiftieth anniversary of the preaching by Mr. Duncan of his first sermon in Tsimshean. The day was remembered in prayer in every house at Metlakahtla. But no public celebration occurred. Mr. Duncan does not care much for anniversaries,


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 327

and the celebration, on October 2, 1907, would probably never have taken place had it depended on him.

The fact remains, however, that the wonderful work which has been done, and the remarkable results which we find in the beautiful village of Metlakahtla, are practically, under God, the sole work of this one man, and others undoubtedly feel that the memory of this fact should be kept green, however much he personally, by reason of his innate modesty, may deprecate it.

We have seen that, with the exception of five years, when he had the benefit of the invaluable services of Mr. Tomlinson and Dr. Bluett-Duncan, he, while at old Metlakahtla, had practically no help in his work, except that of the native teachers, which he himself had educated.

Most of the time he has labored in Alaska, he has been in the same position. And, when this has been so, it is not because he was not willing to secure the aid of competent and able assistants. Time after time they have come to him, and gone again after a short stay. It is not given to every one to endure the isolation and solitude of the position, as he has been able to do. It is not as easy a matter as one might imagine. The climate is trying. The difficulties of the work are manifold. The life becomes almost that of a hermit. It may be that Mr. Duncan has so long been accustomed to being monarch of all he surveys, that assistants chafe under the form of government which he has unwittingly established at Metlakahtla. I think it may safely be characterized as an "absolute monarchy," although the monarch is both kind, pleasant, and lovable. The hand that rules Metlakahtla wears a velvet glove. But the hand is there within the glove just the same all the time.

After Dr. Bluett-Duncan left. Dr. H. J. Minthorn, with wife and daughter, spent nearly three years on the


328 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Island on two different occasions. They are all remembered and beloved for their many kindnesses and valuable services, he as a doctor, and his wife and daughter as teachers.

After an interval of one year, the village had a new doctor, in Dr. Ernest E. Pike, who, with his wife, spent there a honeymoon of two years, from 1899 to 1901.

Thomas Boyd, who had studied medicine in Ireland, came to act both as missionary teacher, and as doctor, and filled both positions to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, from February, 1903, to December, 1904, when he, on account of failing health, was compelled to return to Europe, where he, ere long, died, leaving an estimable wife and a lovely little daughter, the first white child born on Annette Island.

When Mr. Duncan first came to Alaska, the Government offered him assistance in the educational branch of his work, and allowed him $1,200 per year, with which to pay a teacher or teachers in his school.

When he had, received this help for about six years, - and that it was a welcome one during those trying years we may well imagine, - a rule was promulgated that the Bible should not be taught in any school in Alaska supported by governmental aid. When Mr. Duncan learned of this, he immediately refused to receive another dollar of Government money.

"The Bible will not be exiled from any school that I have anything to do with," he said.

The same grand old man !

"This one thing I do!"

Other missionaries in Alaska circumvented the order. They had their Bible reading and studying, but at special sessions. Then they adjourned, and walking the children around the building, came in again and organized the school.


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 329

Mr. Duncan was, however, too great a man for such tricks. Let the money go ! God would give help ! And He has.

Of the white teachers who have come and gone at Metlakahtla, besides those already mentioned, we may note : Mr. and Mrs. J. F. McKee, from Pennsylvania, from April to October, 1892 ; E. W. Weesner and wife, Qua- kers, from August, 1893, to October, 1894 ; John H. Had- ley and wife from Iowa, from August to December, 1897 ; and Miss Daisy Stromstedt, from September 1, to November 1, 1906.

David Leask was, till he died in 1899, a great help to Mr. Duncan in the schoolroom, and during the last four or five years his daughter, Martha Leask, has been employed the greater part of the time.

Alonzo Hamblett, a half-breed, with a good education, served as a teacher in 1897 and 1898.

I will frankly admit that of late years the children have not received the attention they should, and which their fathers and mothers in their youth received from Mr. Duncan personally. His many duties make it impossible for him to personally give the time he would like to the education of the young. Mr. Duncan sees this as well as any one, and he sincerely regrets that he, unfortunately, has been unable to help matters. He hopes that different results may be expected now, as he has secured the services, as schoolmaster, of an earnest Christian gentleman, Mr. Bertram G. Mitchell, formerly principal of the public schools in Ketchikan, Alaska, who, with his wife, removed to Metlakahtla in August, 1908.

But if he has had bad luck in getting schoolmasters, who would make a long stay at Metlakahtla, he has certainly been most fortunate in having with him, for all of ten years, an excellent Scotch couple, Mr. and Mrs. James Wallace. During all these years, Mrs. Wallace has faithfully


330 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

tried to make Mr. Duncan's home as pleasant for him as it could be made by a neat and most excellent housekeeper. And Mr. Wallace has, by discharging the duties of postmaster, and wharfinger, as well as by taking care of the excellent fruit and vegetable garden, himself been a great help and comfort to Mr. Duncan.

All the more the pity that he, after this year, will miss their valuable assistance and pleasant Christian society, as they intend to go South, and settle on their beautiful little farm near Portland, Oregon.

When we do not count the schoolmasters, who, for the last ten years, have occasionally flitted so far North for very short and limited periods, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace have been the only white people permitted to live at Metlakahtla, with the exception of an old French Canadian, Jeremiah Zuruet, who claims to be over one hundred and five years old, but who probably, in fact, is not over ninety-five. He was at Fort Simpson before Mr. Duncan, married a Tsirashean woman, moved with the natives to old Metlakahtla, and also to Alaska. He is quite a factor on the island, inasmuch as he has three children, eighteen grandchildren, and seventeen great grandchildren ; but is hardly possessed of the sterling qualities of the natives, who stand far above him in intelligence and education.

There were 823 natives who emigrated to New Metlakahtla. Since that time a few new residents have been added to the colony, but not many. And a few have left, some for the old place, but more for other places in Alaska, notably Ketchikan, where they have a better opportunity to earn more wages.

The last census of the village, in the summer of 1908, shows a population of only 683. This decrease in the population is mainly due to the excessive mortality rate.

While Southeastern Alaska is not an unhealthy country


SOME METLAKAHTLA HISTORY 331

at all (in fact, some one has jocularly said that no one dies there, except from accident or old age), still, it must be admitted that the adoption of the clothing and food of the whites by the natives does not seem to have added anything to the condition of their health and strength. Quite the opposite is the sad actuality. Tuberculosis, and pulmonary troubles generally, seem to be the prevailing causes of death, while a couple of epidemics of influenza, and one of whooping-cough, have claimed their share of victims.

According to the records, which, however, are not very complete as to the cause of death, there have been not less than fifty-five deaths from the white plague, out of a total of 502 deaths, as against only 452 births  recorded from the time of removal to Alaska up to July 1, 1908.

Of the deaths, 146 were of infants, 106 of children from two to ten years, and sixty-three of adolescents from ten to twenty years old. Some twenty-four deaths were caused by accident, mostly drowning. One old woman died at an age exceeding ninety years. (She was married, and had children before the white people first came to Nass River, in 1832) ; twenty-six of the deaths were of people between eighty and ninety ; twenty of between seventy and eighty, the same number between sixty and seventy, and twenty-six between fifty and sixty. So, it seems, that if a native can manage to get through childhood, he has a pretty fair prospect of longevity.

  • As no particular record of births is kept at Metlakahtla, only of children brought into the church the first Sunday of each year to be prayed for, it is quite likely that there have been considerably many more births than here stated. It is perhaps fair to estimate that at least fifty per cent, of the 146 children given as having died in infancy never were so presented, and that probably the true number of births would come nearer 525 than as above given. But, even so, this certainly shows a bad condition of things.


332 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The death-rate among the children, which is so much greater in proportion than in the settlements in the States, is perhaps, in a large measure, due to the exposure which follows from the habit of taking their families along and camping out on their logging, fishing, and trapping tours ; but I cannot doubt that the change in the building of their houses, which precludes the ventilation and constant supply of fresh air, which their old mode of building, with the central fireplace, and the large opening in the roof for the escape of smoke, insured, has consider- ably to do with the waning health, and deplorably excessive death-rate among these people.

This state of things, of course, affects the parents as well as the children. Some remedy must certainly be found for this high mortality rate in the near future, or the funeral knell of the whole race will soon be sounded.


XXXIX

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

No more beautiful sight meets the eyes of an excursionist in Alaska than the vista that this little village presents on a sunlit day, as the steamer approaches it.

What first attracts the eye is perhaps the curious little island, which lies right across the entrance to the bay, and very properly has been called "Duncan's battleship."

It takes very little imagination to believe, when at some distance, that a real battle-ship is anchored at the inlet to the harbor. Passing along, one notices the beautiful little " Good Time Island," as the natives call it, and then looms in full sight the magnificent "Purple Mountain," which towers above the sea some 2,500 feet, with the silvery strip of a waterfall leaping down its dizzy height from "The Lake in the Clouds." To the right, and directly behind the church, is "Yellow Hill," so called from its peculiar color, caused by the action of the elements on the serpentine building stone, of which this immense rocky ridge consists.

Then, what first attracts the eye are the public buildings on Mission Street, and especially the magnificent church, all in glorious white coats. Below these buildings, and nearer to the beach, are strewn around in the luxurious verdure of the gardens, the houses of the natives, painted in all colors ; pink, green, light and dark, orange, lemon, gray, and white - the latter two colors predominating.

333


334 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

No one approaching this peaceful little village doubts that it is a place of happy homes. Everything indicates it. And if you know something about what a model village lies before you, you certainly do not doubt that peace and happiness here reign supreme.

We assuredly can most properly call it a model village, for, upon inquiry, we learn that in this little town a glass of liquor cannot be had for love or money. That a pipe or cigar is never seen within its limits, except when the tourists bring them along. That one never hears there, from one end of the year to the other, God's name taken in vain, or any oath of any kind uttered. That when Sunday comes, the quiet and peace of the true Sabbath rest over the village. Not an axe is lifted to chop kindling ; not a pail of water is carried ; not an oar is dipped into the sea until after the last service is over Sunday night, at 8 : 30, All of these people come as near living a consistent Christian life, loving each other, caring for the poor and nursing the sick, as any Christian community in the land, or for all of that, in any land.

So many people have an idea that all of Alaska is a refrigerator, that it may be proper here to say that the winters in this part of Alaska are not at all cold. The influence of the Kuro Shiwo, or Japanese Current, which circles around the islands, prevents excessive cold.

As a general thing, the thermometer does not go below the freezing point, and it is only on two or three occasions during the last twenty years, it has been known to go down to zero, or under.

So, while snow lies all winter on the mountains, and across Clarence Strait on the higher mountains of Prince of Wales Island all summer too, at Metlakahtla it hardly ever stays more than a day or two, and it is not by any means every year that the young people can enjoy the sport of skating, on the little lake back of the village.


FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 335

But whenever the winter is cold enough to freeze the lake over, skating parties are the order of the day, and even a picnic party on the ice is not considered any less the proper thing than the summer picnic parties in the forests in the States.

On account of the mild weather in the winter, there is not a plastered house in Metlakahtla. In fact, there is no necessity for it. Nor are there any screens protecting doors or windows, as there are no mosquitoes in the summer.

Even on a warm day in the summer the refreshing sea breezes see to it that the thermometer hardly ever climbs any higher than eighty degrees. The nights, following on a warm day, are always refreshingly cool.

The climate here has, however, its drawbacks. Both in summer and winter, and especially in the winter, there is an enormously heavy rainfall. Some years it has even exceeded 120 inches. In the winter time, there are, further, very disagreeable wind storms, occasionally lasting for days in succession, when access to the harbor is almost impossible.

But as soon as spring comes, the flowers peep forth. It is not an uncommon sight to see in the Metlakahtla gardens anemones, primroses, daisies, and forget-me-nots, in full bloom in the first days of May, yea, in some earlier years, at the commencement of the second half of April, when even the grass in the Middle West has not commenced to put on its summer coat.

"Wild flowers, and wild berries, grow profusely all over the Island. Among the latter may be mentioned the salmonberry, the thimbleberry, the cloudberry, the blueberry, the blue and red huckleberry, and the whortleberry.

The natives grow in their gardens strawberries, raspberries, black currants, and gooseberries. There are


336 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

several crab apple trees and cherry trees. Two years ago, scions from apple trees, growing on the west coast of Norway, under practically the same climatic conditions, were imported and grafted, and are now growing finely, transplanted into the native gardens.

All sorts of vegetables, especially potatoes, are raised by the Metlakahtlans.

Since a friend of Metlakahtla, some four years ago, commenced to give prizes every year for the best flower gardens in the village, greater care has been bestowed on the gardens. Kew fences have been procured and neatly painted. Flower beds have been laid out in a very a tistic and original manner, taking all sorts of shapes : - Halibut, starfish, half-moons, crosses, anchors, and hearts. In one garden a battle-ship was built, with a rose-bush climbing up through the smoke-stack, and a little furred animal peeping up from out the forehold.

Rose-bushes of all kinds, bearing luscious roses, pink, red, white, and yellow, have been procured and planted, and the gardens are gay with pansies, tiger- lilies, dahlias, and peonies, not to speak of daisies in all colors, and forget-me-nots of the most beautiful bright blue hue, much bluer than they are ever seen in the States.

The garden which, the first year, received the first prize, is the only one at Metlakahtla which can boast of a lawn, and a lawn-mower. The lawn party, of which an Illustration is found herein, was given in this garden.

The question will naturally arise, whether the interior of the houses of the natives is as attractive as the exterior. My answer is, that I suppose there is a great difference between the natives, as among white people, with regard to cleanliness, neatness, and taste.

I have seen houses at Metlakahtla where I would not particularly care to sit down to eat a meal. But I have


FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 337

also been in houses there where everything was as scrupulously clean and neat as in any home of the same class of people, - the ordinary working class, - which I have ever entered in the States.

There are carpets on the floor, in most cases linoleum, fair pictures on the wall, good, useful furniture, much bric-a-brac on the shelf over the fireplace, curtains at the windows, draperies at the doors, musical instruments for the girls to play on, while everything, including the kitchen, and the kettles and dishes, are scrupulously clean.

The mere fact, that there are at Metlakahtla two pianos and forty-six organs will give an idea of the love of these people for music. And I might say right here, that none of them are bought for ornament : they are faithfully used. Wherever one is found, it is the rule, not the exception, that the parents as well as the children, over twelve or thirteen years of age, can and do play on it.

The Metlakahtla brass band, of thirty pieces, is well known all over Southeastern Alaska. In 1904 it, contrary to Mr. Duncan's advice, made a concert tour covering some of the Pacific Coast cities. Owing to poor management, the boys lost money on the tour, for which they had bought new silver-plated instruments, at an expense of over $2,000. But those who heard them were full of admiration for the native talent.

In addition to the brass band, there is at Metlakahtla a reed band, a string band, an orchestra, a ladies' orchestra, and a girls' zobo band. The church choir, consisting of twenty -four members, comprises some very beautiful voices. A captain of one of the visiting warships once said to Mr. Duncan, after hearing the congregational singing in the church on Sunday :

" Why, you have the voices of prima donnas here ! "

And I am not surprised at the remark. I have heard


THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA 338

in the church in this village voices so sweet and clear, that I can well understand that proper cultivation could produce a counterpart of a Patti's or a Melba's wonderful register.

Many of the young people play several different Instruments. There are no less than four men and one woman among them who can handle the pipe organ in the church very effectually. Mr. Haldane I have heard play on the piano with great skill and feeling difficult compositions of Grieg, Tchaikowsky, Brahms, and Chopin, which he had never laid eyes on or heard before.

Mrs. Lucy A. Booth, the best soprano among them, reads music readily, and sings the score at once without practice. The old Tshimshean love song, which is here reproduced, is one of her favorite songs, and was sung by her before Mr. Haldane, who wrote the music for me from her singing.

 

340 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Almost all Tsimsliean men and women are born actors and speakers. Even in ordinary conversation, their soft flowing speech is accompanied by a mimicry and a gesticulation, which makes one almost feel that one under- stands the strange language falling from their lips.

Public speaking with the men seems to come as natural as singing to the women. Their delivery is very effective - never ranting, often, indeed, it is pathetic and pleading. Their flow of language is continuous. You never hear one stutter or stammer or hesitate. They impress you as being full of their subject, whether speaking on religious or secular matters, and as being earnest and honest in what they have to tell you. The modulation is wonderful. The gesticulation is never extravagant, many times, indeed, it is exceedingly persuasive, and always natural. The imagery of the native eloquence is something remarkable in its simple beauty. It is always strictly correct. Let me give one single example, taken from a religious exhortation by George Usher, now deceased :

"Brethren and sisters :  You know the eagle and its ways. The eagle flies high. The eagle rests high. It always rests on the highest branch of the highest tree." We should be like the eagle. We should rest on the highest branch of the highest tree. That branch is Jesus Christ. When we rest on Him, all our enemies will be below and far beneath us."

Mr. Duncan says that he has never heard even a little child among them speak ungrammatically.

The Tsimsheans are great lovers of all athletic sports, an inclination which Mr. Duncan, from an early day, thought it well to encourage. The Metlakahtla baseball nine is easily the champion team in Southeastern Alaska.

  • Always the order used by them in addressing a mixed audience.
  • This is strictly correct.

     

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 341

Of late years have been formed the second and third team. There is also at Metlakahtla a football team.

Governor Swilleford, soon after the Metlakahtlans came to Alaska, encouraged Mr. Duncan in forming and drilling a company of volunteers, and promised to furnish uniforms and accoutrements. In compliance with this request, the " Metlakahtla Volunteers " were formed, and drilled assiduously for more than two years, when the Governor informed Mr. Duncan that the judge of the district had decided that he could not legally encourage a company of volunteers among them, inasmuch as they were not citizens. .Whereupon, the company was regretfully disbanded.

I have already, in a footnote, stated that the Tsimshean calls his cousins, on the mother's side, brothers and sisters, and treats them as such. Even to this day no Tsimshean, with a proper regard for the ancient rule, will marry any one from his mother's clan or totem.

Do not be surprised, should you visit one of them, if he, after having introduced you to his mother, says :

"And this is my mother."

And again :

" And this is also my mother."

All of his aunts, his mother's sisters, are his mothers. That is the explanation.

Another peculiarity even to this day : A woman is most generally not spoken of in the village as " Mrs. So and So."

If her first child's name is "Emma," the name that the mother goes by is "Nos Emma" (Emma's mother). Her husband generally is "Nugwahd Emma" (Emma's father). If they have no children, but happen to have a pet in the family, like a dog, they are spoken of as the father and mother of the dog, naming it.

Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, for instance, being a childless


342 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

couple, were among the natives generally designated as "Nugwahd Mollie" and " Nos Daisy" respectively, as they saw Mr. Wallace milk and take care of " Mollie," Mr. Duncan's cow, and Mrs. Wallace invariably feeding little " Daisy," Mollie' s calf.

I will give a few of the most common words in Tsimshean :

"Naxsh" is the common name for either wife or husband.

Grandfather is " Neyahsh."

Grandmother, "Nhsteets."

"Nugwahdo" is "my father." "Nugwahdum" is "our father."

A grandchild is " Tclutaghn. " Grandchildren, " Tclu- laghut."

Any one might know that a word like "Tclem-shu- mahnak " must mean something real bad. It is Tsimshean for mother-in-law !

" Kemmukum-cheeoost " is their word for the sun, " Kemmukum-ahtk " for the moon, the heater of the day and of the night. " Kemmuk " is heat j " Kemmukum " is the adjective "hot."

So, "kemmukum akst" is hot water, while simply warm water is "shpoatishkum-akst," and cold water "guatkum akst" from "guat" the word for chill and coldness.

When the Tsimshean wants to tell you that it is a hot day, he will say "kemmukum sha." The expression for " all day " or the whole day is " oui ' - sha-sha."

"Katketum coffee," means "strong coffee" ; but " katketum-akst " is Tsimshean for "whiskey." An- other name for strong drink is "lamb," really applied originally only to rum.

The Tsimshean calls spring "kohim," summer,

  • Prouounced like the French word for " yes, "

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 343

"sliooud," autumn, "fhskoot," and winter, "koam- shum."

When a Tsimshean wants to be very polite in greeting you, he will say : " Endohwillahwahu," "How do you do ? " But ordinarily he will simply inquire, " Athlahm- willah wahm," "Are you well?" and you may with great propriety answer: " AJhrnwillahwahloo," "I am well." They have no word for "thanks" or "thank you."

There is one word for an adjective in the singular, and a different word for its plural. For instance, while hot water is " kemmukum-akst," as stated, hot potatoes are

  • ' lemmukum-shoosheed. " " Strong man " is " katketum youat ; " strong men, " katleletum youatah."

The same is the case with the verbs. For instance, "stand" in the singular is "hightk" ; in the plural

  • * makst. " "I stand " is " hightkahnoo " ; "he stands, " "hightka" ; "we stand," "makshum" ; "they stand," "makshadat."

I will here subjoin, for the benefit of the reader, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostolic Benediction in Tsimshean, given in the Metlakahtla Church Manual :

The Lord's Prayer

" Wee-Nahgwah-dum koo tsim lachahgah, Nclootiksh ah Noo-wahnt. Shahaksheah ntsabbany. Shah-koad-kan turn wahl ah halle-tsohamee, Ke- wahltkah tsim lachah-gah. Kinnam klahgam ah shah quah ahm shkabboo wenayah. Kamkoadan ah naht-ahtackamee, newahl-dah dee willah kam koadamum ah haht-ach-ah-deah gam. Killohmdzah tah-taink umt shpiet t'in shpahlt koadumt ; addah mah al tillahmautkum ah haht-achahdat ; Ahwill n'tsabbandat, addah nahkat kettandat, tilth n'cloadant, addah turn clah- willah wahl. Amen."


344 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

The Apostolic Benediction

"Nah ahmshkh Meyalinum Jesus Christ turn klah willah hoksh-kh-deah gam, tilth nee sheepanshk Shi- mauket kah lachahgah kanel Ahmtkh Hietk. Amen."

A Tsimshean has a superstitious aversion to pronouncing his own name, and will never give it, unless it is absolutely necessary. If two or more children are together, and you should ask the name of one of them, he will look foolish, as if he did not understand you, and then throw a beseeching glance at the others, one of whom will, after the proper pause, help him out of the difficulty by giving his name. The first one will very likely return the favor for the other.

The same superstition prevents a parent from giving the age of a child, or the date of its birth. To figure out anything like this might make the child die.

It is very touching to see these people's affection for their children. It is carried to such an extent that they often are in danger of spoiling them. When a child is sick, and Mr. Duncan, on inquiry, finds out that it has been given something to eat which it ought not to have had, and asks the mother : " What made you let her have that?" the answer invariably is: "She wanted it, sir." That seems to settle the matter in the mother's mind.

An echo of the old potlatch practice may be found in the peculiarity of the Metlakatlan, when giving you a present, always looking for a present in return. They keep strict account of their gifts, and of their expectations.

An old man one day came to Mr. Duncan, and asked his help to collect twenty dollars from a party in British Columbia. Upon inquiry as to the nature of the debt, Mr. Duncan ascertained that the old man, thirty years

 

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 345

ago, gave the woman's mother, since deceased, on her wedding day, a cloak of the value of twenty dollars, and as the mother never had given him any equivalent return present, he perceived that he now had a valid claim for the value of his gift against the daughter, who, on her mother's decease, had become possessed of her property.

As to the Metlakahtlans' faces and general appearance, I prefer to let the photographs given in the present book speak for themselves.

As to their manner of dress, it may be said that the men are clothed just about like men of the same class in the States. The women, especially the young women, are perhaps a little inclined to wear gaudier hats, and a little brighter shirt-waists than white people of the same social condition ; but not much more so. Many of them exhibit very good taste, indeed. The very old women generally wear shawls, and on their heads black silk kerchiefs, tied under the chin, which give them a very sedate and modest appearance.

It is remarkable how well most of these people, both men and women, carry their age. Women, whom at first sight I should have judged to be young women of between thirty and forty, on inquiry turned out to be grandmothers of over fifty. I know a number of men, over sixty years of age, without a gray hair in their heads, and who easily would pass as being under forty. Gray hairs are a matter of very rare occurrence among them anyhow. Only now and then will you see a person of very advanced age with a gray head.

The men have, as a general thing, not very much of a hirsute adornment. Now and then we find a scanty moustache. There are only two full beards in the village among the natives, and they are not of a very luxurious growth. I have heard this explained by a custom prevalent, more especially in earlier times, of pulling out the


346 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

hairs of the face as they were first showing themselves.

It is remarkable to see the smallness of the hands and feet, especially of the women. Another noticeable feature about these people is their well-preserved teeth. While the teeth are generally ground down, especially among the older people, more than they would be among the Whites, there are very few mouths with decaying teeth.

There is still more interference on the part of parents and relatives in the way of match-making than there ought to be, but Mr. Duncan has, to a great extent, done away with it. When he has an idea that a woman is unduly influenced to marry some one, he acts as he did in the case of a young woman whose parents asked him to marry her to an old man. He called her alone to his office, and asked her :

" Do you want to marry that old man ? "

" My parents, sir "

  • ' I did not ask if your parents wanted you to. I knew they did. What I want to know is if you want it ? "

" They say I must, sir. They have promised him."

" Do you love him ? "

"No, sir."

" Do you like anybody else ? "

" I don't know, sir." This with quite an amount of hesitation.

" Well, you don't like him, in any event ? "

" No, I do not."

" Well, then, you shall not marry him, either."

So that match, which evidently was not made in heaven, was broken off.

I need not say that divorces are wholly unknown in Metlakahtla.

Practically all of the natives at Metlakahtla are common workmen, fishermen, trappers, loggers, and workers


FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 347

in the sawmill or cannery. But some of them are carrying on a private business of their own. Thus, there are five small native stores, and two restaurants in the village, two blacksmiths' shops, two silversmiths, two photographers, two expert wood- carvers, several carpenters, six or seven boat builders, and one young native man operates a Remington typewriter.

A good many of the older women make baskets and mats out of cedar bark, for the tourists. The patterns for the mats are quite varied, and many of them are very neat and attractive.

In basket- making, the Tsimshean women have, how- ever, not acquired either the dexterity or the taste, nor do they use the fine materials of the Thlingit and Haidawomen, especially the latter, who are experts in this art.

When the Tsimsheans came to Alaska, their conveyance on the water was the canoe. Mr. Duncan says that, years ago, he counted, at one time, twenty-eight new canoes building on the beach. A canoe is now a curiosity, and is no longer employed at Metlakahtla. The natives have learned to build the white man's boat, and prefer it, as being both stronger, cheaper, and safer.

The Columbia River sailing-boat has been the style of late years, and there are not fewer than thirty-five of them owned in the village. But very lately, it seems, that the gasoline launch is coming to the front, also among the natives at this place. There are now nine gasoline launches owned at Metlakahtla - all, with the exception of two, of quite a good size. Most of them are each thirty-five or forty feet long, with from seven to eight foot beam, and supplied with good and reliable engines.

It is on the water that these natives are especially masters of the situation. Their nautical skill is marvelous, while their knowledge of the channels everywhere


348 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

in Southeastern Alaska is well-nigh perfect. They use, but do not need, charts. In their opinion, there are still too many errors in them - too many rocks and reefs not yet located. And they are right.

I went in the summer of 1908 on a cruise of five hundred miles with two of these natives, in waters wholly new to one of them. The other had not visited them for over twenty years. But his memory never failed him. And he had no use for my chart, after he found that a certain rock, awash at high tide, and which he had told me about, was not marked on the map. In ten minutes we came to the place. And there was the rock all right, as it had been twenty years ago.

To my surprise I found that the little craft was not furnished with a compass. And still we always found our way over large expanses of open water, as well as in narrow channels, where the tide-swirls were running wild.

Good sailors, good fishers, and trappers, good work- men, and even good mechanics, as they are, these natives all seem to be lacking in executive ability. And as business men, they are not a success. Several enterprises undertaken by some of them, away from the island, have been signal failures. So have some of their small stores, and widows and others who confided to them their little savings, under hope and promise of big returns, have not only failed to harvest the profits, but have lost their capital invested, as well, and this through no dishonesty of purpose on the part of the enterprisers, but wholly for lack of business energy and ability to carry on the under- taking on proper business lines.

Another fault with a good many of these people is their inability to appreciate the necessity of exactness, accuracy, and completeness. A native seldom is on time for an appointment. When a house is built, there is generally something left unfinished. I am inclined to


FLOTSAM AND JETSAM 349

think that these are defects which a more finished education, and a generation or two of business training, will wholly eradicate.

The fact remains, that these natives, in the way of work, seem to be able to do everything they see others do, at least when properly instructed. That they are able to complete such complex building undertakings as the two large churches built by Mr. Duncan at both of the Metlakahtlas, with the limited apparatus and appliances at hand, without a single mishap or accident, certainly speaks volumes for their ability as mere workmen and mechanics.

A stranger cannot fail to be impressed by their excessive politeness and good manners. They always knock at the door before entering. They always remove their caps or hats when coming into Mr. Duncan's office, and address him with marked deference.

To ladies, and to white men, whom they know and respect, they invariably doff their hats on the street. The other day I noticed the amiable clerk in Mr. Duncan's store, a man over sixty years old, respectfully doff his cap in saying good-bye to a little golden-haired white girl, only about two years old, who had just bought five cents' worth of candy from him.

Dropping into Mr. Duncan's store one day in August, 1908, I found several natives present, listening to a phonograph, which was reeling off some Columbia records. I was engaged in an interesting conversation with the Rev. Mr. Tomlinson, and paid no particular attention to what tune was played until I saw the hats and caps of all these uncouth laborers and fishermen come off quickly. I looked up in surprise. Then it struck me that it was "The Star-Spangled Banner" that was being played. These natives, who were not yet American citizens, had shamed me in paying homage to our country and its flag.


XL

THE METLAKAHTLA INDUSTRIES

Mr. Duncan's books show that the sum total of the business transacted in his industrial enterprises at Metlakahtla, covering the store, the sawmill, and the cannery, from the beginning, in 1887, up to the first of July, 1908, was not less than $900,937.31.

From these gross proceeds he has, during the same time, paid in wages to the natives the sum of $481,043.

The difference between these sums does not, of course, represent the profits of the enterprise. Out of the gross proceeds, the stock in the store, every year renewed, must be paid. Also tin and soldering materials for the millions of cans for the cannery, boats, nets, machinery, lacquering materials, and labels, heavy freight bills, Insurance of the pack at Seattle (no insurance premiums being paid at Metlakahtla), and a liberal commission to the house handling and selling the pack.

During all of these years Mr. Duncan has not only been the preacher and pastor, and, most of the time, the only physician of the village, without pay or hire, and, to a certain extent at least, schoolmaster of the young, but also the manager, bookkeeper, timekeeper, general overseer and cashier of this extensive business. And in addition to all this, he is the counselor of every man, woman and child, the arbiter in all their little troubles, the comforter in their sorrows and adversity, the adviser on all matters of policy, economy, and health, both private and public.

350


THE METLAKAHTLA INDUSTRIES 351

The sawmill and planing-mill, by employing loggers, as well as sawyers and mill hands, have contributed a good deal towards furnishing many in the village with their means of subsistence. But it is on the cannery that Mr. Duncan mainly relies for employing the idle hands of the village at a fair compensation.

It is a great pity that this business can be carried on only for a short time during the year.

The canning process is practically limited to two months, July and August, when the salmon are running, as it is called.

For the benefit of those who know nothing about the life and habits of the salmon, let me explain :

The salmon is hatched in some fresh -water lake, the head waters of some little stream, where the spawn is deposited. After living for some months in this lake, the young salmon gradually works its way down the stream towards the ocean, and disappears. No one knows where it goes to, or where it dwells. Only this is known : in four years, it attains full size. It then returns, by thousands, yea - by millions, to the same stream, leading to the same lake where it was once hatched. It gradually works its way up the stream, jumping up the waterfalls from rock to rock, often leaping as high as seven feet in one jump. Some- times the first effort fails. Then it tries, and tries again, until successful. Onward and upward it progresses, until it reaches the breeding ground in its native lake, sore and

  • How life is able to find the exact way, through thousands of miles of ocean, how it can locate the stream whence it came, how It can distinguish it from others just like it, no one has attempted to explain, but it is a settled fact. Each stream in Alaska has its particular salmon coming to it, and up it, and no other. Young salmon have been marked, and found to return to their native lake. Never, in a single instance, has a marked salmon been found in the wrong stream. "What a lesson of the guiding force of an almighty power !


352 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

torn, disheveled and disfigured from its rocky path, from its enervating, exhausting efforts to get there.

When arriving at the spawning ground, the first work undertaken is that of the male. Burrowing with his nose and pushing his body again and again into the sand, he makes deep furrows, so, after a while, the spawning ground looks as if a plough had gone over it. Then comes the turn of the female. She places herself in the furrow, and deposits the spawn. The male then fertilizes it. This done, she covers it, with her wriggling tail, with sand. The life-work of the salmon is now ended, and it is ready to die.

These lakes soon become filled with putrid fish, emitting such an odour that it is almost impossible to approach them. Some of the salmon have life enough left to wriggle themselves down the stream, but most of these die before they reach the ocean. Those that do get back die there and are washed ashore by the tide.

It is when approaching these, their native, streams, in large shoals, the salmon are caught in nets or seines, or traps, by the fishermen, and brought to the canneries. Some time after they have touched fresh water, varying according to the distance they have to travel up-stream, they become soft and flabby, and unfit to eat.

In the different streams, the estuaries of which the cannery at Metlakahtla draws upon for its salmon, there are four different kinds of salmon running. The red salmon, the sock eye (in Tsimsheau "mehsho"), the medium red salmon, the cohoe (in Tsimshean "ghua"), the pink salmon, or the humpback (in Tsimshean " stah- maun"), and the white salmon, called "chum," or dog salmon (in Tsimshean "kineesh").

The latter, though a very good salmon, but not so fat as the others, is put up only to a very limited extent at Metlakahtla. Japan has been the single market for it,


THE METLAKAHTLA INDUSTRIES 353

until lately, when it has, with considerable success, been introduced in the South, where it seems to suit better, as the hot climate makes a dry fish preferable to an oily one.

The first work done in a cannery is in the spring and early summer, when the cans are manufactured. As the capacity of the machinery at Metlakahtla enables it to pack 20,000 cases of salmon, consisting of forty-eight pouud cans each, nearly one million tin cans must first be made, also 20,000 boxes of planed boards. This work employs a force of about one hundred men and boys for about two mouths, at wages varying from one to two dollars per day.

Immediately after the fourth of July, the fishermen are started out with their boats and nets, and the steamers make their daily rounds of from forty to seventy miles, to gather up the salmon catch, and bring it to the cannery. There it first goes through the hands of the cutters, who remove the head, tail, and fins, and disembowel the fish. It is by them turned over to the cleaners, who clean it thoroughly in two running waters, whereupon it is cut up into proper lengths on a machine, and delivered in trays to the women, who put it in cans. The cans, after being filled, are wiped clean, and a spring cover put on them. Then the cover is soldered, and the cans put in the boiler for the first cooking. After this first cooking, a hole is punched in each can, to allow all air to escape. Then the hole is immediately filled up again with solder, and the can replaced in the boiler for its second cooking. After being thoroughly cleaned, and all grease and oil removed, they are allowed to cool. They are then thoroughly tested by experts, who tap each can, and by the sound can determine if there is a leak in anyone can. All "leaks" are set aside, and carefully examined till the leak is found, when it is closed with


354 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

solder. In most canneries the cans are now at once lacquered, labeled, and marketed. Not so at Metlakahtla. The lacquer will often temporarily close a leak. After a while, however, the leak reappears, and the result is a more or less spoilt can of salmon, when it reaches the consumer.

In order to obviate this, the cans at Metlakahtla are, after cooling, piled up till the season is over. Then, they are again tested, new leaks closed up, and then, and only then, are they lacquered and labeled, put into cases and made ready for the steamer, to be by it carried to the commission house in Seattle (Kelly, Clark & company), who finally dispose of them to the wholesale trade.

The entire work in the cannery at Metlakahtla is done by the Indians, under the constant supervision of Mr. Duncan from early morn till late at night. The people who do the work are scrupulously clean : none other are allowed to handle the salmon. Tables, floors, and trays are scoured and cleaned thoroughly every day, so that after a day's work is done, one, on peeking into the cannery, would not know but that it was one's own kitchen he was poking his nose into.

There are canneries where putrid salmon is put into cans. The Chinese are under contract to fill them, and they have no very bothersome consciences. Of course, Mr. Duncan could not tolerate such conduct for a moment in his cannery.

Once in a while, one comes across a sick salmon. This can always be discovered by the touch of the human hand. In most canneries the filling is done by machinery, which of course takes the salmon, whether it be sick or well. Not so at Metlakahtla. Any piece from a sick salmon is at once discarded, and goes into a pail under the table.

Then, again, a time comes when the salmon becomes


THE METLAKAHTLA INDUSTRIES 355

flabby, and not in prime condition. This is towards the end of the season, when the salmon is running the strongest. As soon as this is the case, Mr. Duncan closes his cannery. Not another salmon is allowed to be canned. I have known seasons when he closed his cannery quite fourteen days earlier than any one of the other canneries in that part of the world.

It is his ambition that every can of Metlakahtla salmon shall be up to its reputation, as the best salmon canned in Alaska.

We can form an idea of the honesty and care with which his (Mr. Duncan's) business is transacted all through, when we hear that every can when filled is placed upon a pair of scales, on the other scale of which is a tin can with a pound weight in it. Every can must tip that scale. If it does not, it is returned to the filler for more salmon, and then weighed again before it is accepted.

He is bound to give an honest pound of salmon in every can. There is old genuine Yorkshire business honesty for you !

Some years ago, a friend of mine from Minneapolis came to Metlakahtla on the Spokane, after having made a tour of Alaska. After we had been around and Inspected the buildings and the church, he mentioned that after having visited the salmon canneries he had made up his mind never to eat another meal of canned salmon. He could not do it.

" Have you been through the cannery here ? "

"No."

I took him along. It so happened that the entire force was at work, and I let him thoroughly inspect the whole process from beginning to end. When we went down to the dock, he said :

" I am glad you showed me this. I will make an


356 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

exception of Metlakahtla salmon. But I will eat no other."

Neither do I.

The brands manufactured at Metlakahtla are :

  1. The " Mission Brand" (red salmon).

  2. The " Metlakahtla Brand" (medium red salmon).

  3. The " Buckle Brand" (pink salmon).

They have all on the label somewhere : " Packed by the Metlakahtla Industrial Co., at Metlakahtla, Alaska," as the label of the old corporation has not been changed.

The total pack, from 1891 to the end of the season of 1907, was 247,344 cases, or nearly twelve million cans, a manufactured product from over six thousand tons of salmon.

The fishermen employed by Mr. Duncan, and they ai-e of course all Metlakahtlans, are paid by the fish, and can earn from three to five dollars per day.

I have seen as many as ten thousand salmon handled in one day, the last of the salmon being ready for the first boiling in ten hours.

The women filling cans are also paid by the piece, and can make from two to two dollars and fifty cents a day.

The cutters, the cleaners, the men around the boilers, and the testers are paid wages of fi'om two to three dollars per day. The women who wipe the cans get one dollar per day, the girls, who put the covers on them, an equal sum, and boys working at different jobs, piling cans, etc., from fifty to seventy-five cents per day.

As very often three and four members of a family are employed, the total earnings are quite a bit, even if the season is short.

The total number on the pay-roll, during the canning season proper, varies from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and fifty. In 1908, it was only one hundred and eighty-five.


THE METLAKAHTLA INDUSTRIES 357

Until the pack is sold, or at least until New Year, Mr. Duncan pays his employees only in coupons, good at his general store. At New Year, any balance coming to them is paid in cash.

This year he has promised his people to introduce the profit-sharing element in his cannery business. If there is any profit from the pack, which is not a certainty, by any means, as for three years in succession, some years ago, the business proved an absolute loss, he will after the season distribute one-half of the net profits between the cannery employees, including the fishermen, in pro portion to the wages earned by them already.

As all the inhabitants of Metlakahtla cannot find employment at its industries, a number seek work at other places, at canneries and sawmills, especially during the summer season. What Mr. Duncan is looking for, and hopes to accomplish in time, is the operation of so many additional industries, and such extension of those already going, that the whole population can find steady employment on the island all the year round.

Small as their wages are, and limited as the capacity for employment is, yet a good many of the Metlakahtlans have managed to save quite a little sum from their earn- ings. One of their number, not long ago, consulted me in regard to the most profitable investment of $2,000, and several of them, to my knowledge, have a few hundred dollars laid by.


XLI

THE " CHRISTIAN CHURCH "

AS the life of the Metlakahtlaus centers round, and has its foundation in, the religion of the Christ, so, naturally, every interest in the little village clusters around, and culminates in the church. It naturally dominates all and everything.

The official name of the church of Metlakahtla is simply " The Christian Church of Metlakahtla." It and its members belong to no sect or denomination. It is strictly an undenominational, evangelical church.

Its whole creed is found on the beautifully inlaid pul- pit, on the ribbon held in the bill of the white dove : "God is love," and in the glad Gospel message surmounting its preaching platform :

"The angel saith unto them : ' Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people : For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.' "

In this pulpit is welcomed any evangelical preacher, and from its platform have spoken to the people of Metlakahtla Bishop Rowe, the efficient and indefatigable head of the Episcopal Church of Alaska, as well as Methodist, Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Lutheran ministers and laymen.

The only condition exacted is that they preach no ism," but only the pure, simple Gospel message of "Jesus, the Christ crucified."

It may, in this connection, be interesting to read Mr. Duncan's views on the propriety and expediency of non- sectarianism in heathen missions. He says :

358

THE "CHRISTIAN CHURCH" 359

" I hold that it would be well if all missionaries, on leaving their several societies to preach the Gospel to the heathen, would leave their respective church colors behind them, and take their stand in heathen lands under but one and the same banner - the banner of Christ.

" If this were done, we would, I believe, not only have less strife and rivalry, ill-success and hollowness, in mission work, but we would have more reality, more progress, and more victory.

"Divisions among religious teachers are sad stumbling- blocks to the heathen. Bad enough to have divisions at home, but far worse to carry them abroad, to fetter and worry new converts, while in the weakness of their pupilage.

" If, however, denominational differences must ultimately arise among the new converts, to divide them, as they have divided us, then let, at least, such divisions be inaugurated by themselves, and be attributable to diversity of thought and choice, as with us. As far as we are concerned, let them remain united, as long as they can, and divide only when necessity from within demands it.

" It seems to me worthy of the best sympathies of the Christians at home to foster the desire of newly-formed congregations in heathen lands for church unity in their respective countries, and nothing less than simple, unmitigated cruelty to try to divide them for the glory of any church denomination or party."

These were his sentiments when he first left England fifty years ago. He was animated by them in his opposition to clapping the manacles of the Church of England on his new converts, and to this day he is true to the convictions of his youth, and has faithfully carried them out in the church formation, rather than church organization, at Metlakahtla.

Three times a day every Sabbath do the church bells of Metlakahtla call upon the people to attend divine service.

The morning service is at 11:30. It is a great sight Sunday morning to see the walks black with people. From all directions they are coming - men, women, and


360 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

children. As the people are entering the church, with solemn mien and stolid faces, while the bells still are pealing out their message of invitation to one and all, a prelude is played on the fine pipe organ, thus far the only one in Alaska. As the last sound of the bell is dying away in the stillness and peace of the place, Mr. Duncan, clothed in a black Prince Albert coat, without even a white tie, or any other clerical vestment or adornment, ascends the preaching platform, and kneels down for silent prayer behind the reading desk.

A hymn is then sung in Tsimshean by the congregation, which always rises in singing. Thereupon, Mr. Duncan, kneeling in the pulpit, after saying in English " Let us pray," offers an earnest prayer in Tsimshean, the congregation all kneeling in their seats.

At the conclusion of this prayer, which usually takes about five minutes, the audience joins with him in the Lord's Prayer, also in Tsimshean. Thereupon, he closes with the Apostolic benediction. The congregation now sings a song from Pentecostal Hymns Nos. 1 and 2, whereupon the church choir, consisting of twenty-four excellent voices, gives an anthem.

Mr. Duncan rises, approaches the reading desk, and again kneels down for a very short, simple prayer in English, the audience also again kneeling.

He thereupon reads, in English, the text, which in the forenoon always is the International Sunday-school lesson, the audience following him in their Bibles. Tlien he begins his sermon, always in Tsimshean. He first paraphrases the portion of the Scriptures read, in Tsimshean, taking pains to make it very plain to his people, and then gives them the message which God's Word has for them on that day.

The benign face of the inspired teacher fairly beams, .as in a solemn benediction. It seems to be lit up by the


THE "CHRISTIAN CHURCH" 361

light from Leaven, and a8 lie explains and reproves, consoles and praises, and points to God's help, the animated face and his impressive gesticulation change, so that one, even though not understanding a word of the language, seems to be able to follow him in his exposition, and after listening to him one well understands the wonderful hold he has on his people, and how they never tire of hearing him expound the Gospel message.

In fact, so pronounced are his earnestness, sincerity, and solemnity in speech, as well as in prayer, coupled with the most serene simplicity, that I was not surprised to hear Mr. Wallace remark that he felt more edified by hearing him in Tsimshean, a language he did not under- stand, than by hearing many ministers preach in English.

After a sermon, of about three-quarters of an hour, he again says: "Let us pray," and all kneel for a short prayer, at the conclusion of which, he, as well as the audience, remains kneeling for a fraction of a minute, in silent prayer. The audience now files out, quietly and solemnly, with the Word of God, so forcibly imprinted on their minds and in their hearts, reflected in their solemn faces.

There is no chatting, no visiting among these church- members, either at the church or on the way home. You can see in their faces, and in their reverential demeanor, that God's Word has not been spoken to them in vain. There is no room for levity.

It is Mr. Duncan's plan that nothing shall intervene after the Word has been sent home to their hearts. For that reason, he never allows, at the morning service, any closing hymn.

It was this same idea which, when he at an early day itinerated around, and preached the Gospel in their different villages, caused him to order his men to have his


3G2 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

canoe ready, so that he could start immediately after the service had closed. He did not want to give them any opportunity for familiarity, or for fraternizing with him. He wanted " to leave the message, and remove the messenger" from their minds.

In the afternoon, at 3:30, the natives have their own service in the church, while Mr. Duncan gathers around him, in the schoolroom, the smaller children, all under twelve years of age, to a number all the way from ninety to one hundred and fifty, according to the season, and personally conducts their Sabbath-school service.

On Saturday night he always meets, for an hour, the Sunday-school teachers, and goes over with them the lesson for the next day, explaining and expounding, and advising them how best to teach it, so that they are duly prepared for their duties the next day.

The natives' own service is conducted by one of the elders, chosen by his fellows for each service. The leader gives out a hymn from Pentecostal Hymns, and offers a prayer in Tsimshean. The classes then separate, and the lesson is studied by each.

Upon reconvening, the leader makes a short address on the golden text, also in Tsimshean. Another hymn is sung in English, and the meeting closes with prayer by one of the other elders, only to reconvene again in a few minutes for what is called the "Young People's Gospel Hj^mn Song Service."

And now the Tsimshean love of song and music has a feast. It is most edifying to see with what vim and feeling they sing, one after the other, their favorite Gospel hymns. And at almost every service a new one is added to the list, which makes their hearts swell, and their voices rise mightily to the throne of God in song and praise.


THE "CHRISTIAN CHURCH" 363

At 7:30 the church bell again calls these devoted people, this time to the evening service, at which there is the singing of a hymn in English, a prayer by Mr. Duncan in Tsimshean, and a short address in the same language on some subject selected by him from the Scriptures. Then the doxology is sung, and one of the elders, selected for that purpose, while all the congregation is kneeling, from his pew leads in a closing prayer. The congregation solemnly and reverently disperses, and the Sabbath at Metlakahtla is over.

Later on, one hears the organs in the different houses and Gospel hymns continue to be sung in the homes until ten o'clock, which is the recognized hour of rest in the village.

On Sunday evenings Mr. Duncan generally takes up a series of discourses. The summer of 1908 it was the parables which furnished the theme.

On Wednesday evening is held the mid-week service, attended by all of the more earnest Christians at the place, for of course there are here, as everywhere, those who are more earnest in their Christian life, and those who are lagging behind. It lasts about an hour, and is opened with one of the old, well-known hymns in English. A short prayer and address in Tsimshean follow, then the closing prayer by one of the natives. For a couple of years the "Epistles of St. Peter" were taken up at these meetings, then the "Psalms." In the year 1908, the miracles of Christ furnished the subject for devotional consideration.

Mr. Duncan has never at any time made any translation of the Bible, or any part of it, into their language. He has such pious veneration for the old King James version, that he can only think of an attempt to transfer it into their tongue as an absolute mutilation of the Holy Word.

Bishop Ridley, at an early day, with the assistance of a female native, made a rather abortive attempt at


364 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

translating into Tsimshean the Book of Common Prayer, but Mr. Duncan claims that the translation is more than useless. Half of the time it is absolutely meaningless to the Tsimsheans, and what they can understand of it partakes rather of the ridiculous than of the sublime, in its awkward expressions of the holy thoughts.

Several natives at Metlakahtla, who have tried to use the book, fully agree with him in his views in this regard.

Any one looking a (an) illustration... of the interior of the church at Metlakahtla, will undoubtedly believe that the large book above the preaching plat- form inscribed " Holy Bible " is carved in wood. From whatever point in the pews it is looked at, it has all the appearance of a book perfectly carved in wood. But this is an optical illusion, caused by the native painter's art, and makes it really a greater work of art than if it had been carved, for it is nothing but a flat piece of board, properly painted and shaded.

The paintings in the two fields of the front wall, like everything in the church, except the pipe organ and the gas fixtures, are the work of the natives. One depicts the announcement by the angels to the shepherds at Bethlehem of the joyous event of the birth of the Christ ; the other the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. In the background, bathed in the rays of the star, loom up the walls and the houses of the little city of Bethlehem.

It should be noted that neither of the natives, who have produced these works, have had any instruction in painting, or, for that, in drawing. Their handiwork is simply the result of the raw native talent. The inlaid work on the pulpit is very tasteful.

In the rear of the church, near the entrance door, is fastened on the wall a memorial tablet in polished marble, recording the loss to the church of David Leask, for many years one of its elders, and already frequently


THE "CHRISTIAN CHURCH" 365

mentioned in these pages as one of Mr. Duncan's most valued assistants among the natives.

Undoubtedly it will be interesting to see what stand Mr. Duncan and his church now take on the administration of the two sacraments, so long the subject of vital difference between him and the Society.

As I have felt that on this subject I should, if possible, secure Mr. Duncan's views in his own language, I some time ago wrote and asked him to give them to me, and I here reproduce his answer to my letter, prefacing it, how- ever, with the remark that some short time after removing to American Alaska, when he thought the people had attained the proper understanding of its importance, he introduced among them the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in the modified form in which it is now administered, and that he invariably uses the unfermented wine.

It may here be stated that the main reason why he never would consent to the administration of this sacrament among the natives, under the form and ritual prescribed by the Anglican Church, and by a priest arrayed in his robes and vestments, was that he was afraid, and certainly not without good reason, that it would too much partake of, and remind, the Indians of the powers and practices of their old medicine-men, who, appareled in their blankets, were nothing but ordinary men with ordinary power ; but upon assuming their robes, headdresses, necklaces, and rattles, became, in the Indian mind, endowed with superhuman, miraculous ability.

Mr. Duncan says :

"As I believe that faith in Christ should precede baptism, and as there is no definite command or warrant to baptize children - we do not have infant baptism.

" I know that some good people regard the ceremony of Infant baptism as an act of dedicating their children to God. To this I reply, we can dedicate assuredly to God what will obey


366 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

our will, but not that which can resist our will, having a will of its own. King David of old could, and did, dedicate his gold to God, and the gold was used for God's temple, but, if he ever undertook to dedicate Absalom to God, he lived to see and mourn over his failure. Each individual has a will, which none, not even father or mother, can command, but only the possessor - and, without the exercise of that will, religious service is but mockery.

"What, however, we can do for children, is what was done for the children who were brought to Christ and received His blessing. The disciples at that time were baptizing more people than John the Baptist, we are told, but, surely, if children were being admitted, as well as adults, the disciples would not have been guilty of the mistake they made when they ' rebuked those that brought the children.'

" We too can bring children to Christ for His blessing (for He is present now with His Church - where two or three are met together in His name), and this we do at Metlakahtla.

"Generally, on the first Sunday of the year, the parents, after a meeting with me, in which the importance of this step is impressed on them, bring those of their children born during the past year to church at our morning service. A special prayer is offered to God in behalf of these little ones, and each child thereupon receives a card to commemorate the occasion, as follows :

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: " Suffer little children to come unto Me."

When an infant

____________________________

was brought into the Church at

Metlakahtla, Alaska on the day of

______ A. D. 190_, and prayer was offered on your behalf.


Remember this as you grow in years, and follow on to know the Lord Jesus Christ,
whom to know is Life Eternal.


THE "CHRISTIAN CHURCH" 367

" When the children arrive at maturity, a class of catechumens is started, in which they are especially instructed in the essential truths of Christ's religion, and their duty to accept Him and join the church by baptism, impressed upon them. Whereupon, those who desire to be are baptized.

"When I, while in British Columbia, objected to the administration of the Lord's Supper to the natives, one of the reasons was, that I felt persuaded that the man-made additions to the ordinance, which the ritual of the church imposed, would mislead and prove to be a curse rather than a blessing to the natives in their infantile condition as Christians. I cannot shut my eyes to the sad fact that out of and around the administration of the sacrament (not out of the partaking of it) have arisen the greatest errors and the bitterest strife which have cursed and torn the Christian Church, and I did not want to see these errors spring up in Metlakahtla, while I had influence to keep them out.

" After the settlement of our people in Alaska, we added this Christian ordinance to our Church service, but we keep it in the simplicity of its inauguration. I recognize the ordinance to be simply a memorial, and Christians are to partake of it - but I see no authority for it to be administered by a priest. We have a very solemn and simple service. After my address to the people, on some Scripture bearing on the service - I step down, and take my seat among the congregation ; - four elders then go to the table, and while they stand before it I read the words from the Scripture which our Lord used when He Instituted the ordinance. The elders then take plates of bread, and hand them to the communicants where they are seated. After the bread is received, each communicant kneels in silent prayer. The wine, in four vessels, is dealt with in the same way. When all have partaken in this way, I resume my place at the desk, and we join in a hymn of praise, and this is followed by prayer by one of the elders.

" This takes place three times a year, only at evening service, to which none come but those who desire to participate in the Communion Service."


XLII

THE GRAND OLD MAN

THE fame of the mission of Metlakahtla has travelled all over Alaska, and it is now generally recognized as the only successful missionary undertaking in all the great Northland.

Even those in Alaska, who have no use for churches, and no faith in missionaries, priests or ministers, make an exception of " Father Duncan," as he is generally called in the great Northwest. The roughest miner, the most godless gambler, the most arrant infidel, will take his hat off to him. That is merely an evidence of the general respect with which a great, unselfish but successful Christian man and his accomplishments inspire everybody, even though they be not believing Christians.

If Mr. Duncan should be asked for his views as to why Metlakahtla has proven such a contrast to the pronounced failures surrounding it, he would, undoubtedly, after having insisted on giving God the glory, first and last, say :

"First: I have always, from the first, given these natives the Gospel message in their own language ; I never would speak to them, either through an interrupter' or in the trading jargon.'

"Second : I have kept out all sects and denominational

  • His way of spelling interpreter.

  • A bishop, who once addressed some Indians through an interpreter who spoke Chinook, could appreciate the broad grin he observed on the faces of his hearers, at the translation of the first two words in his address in "Chinook," when he afterwards learned that "Children of the forest," had, by the interpreter, been given as " little men among the big sticks."

368


THE GRAND OLD MAN 369

rule. We are simply 'Christians,' nothing else, at Metlakahtla, The Word of God has united us, not split us up into parties, and we love and treat all evangelical Christians as our brethren.

"Third : By removing those who came under the Influence of the Gospel away from heathen and bad white influences, and by, as much as possible, keeping them and their children uncontaminated by bad associations."

To this I would like to add a further reason for the success of Metlakahtla, viz :

fourth
The combination, so rare, that it becomes almost miraculous, of an excellent Christian preacher, filled with the Holy Ghost, and a first-class, practical business man, in the person of the missionary in charge.

Mr. Duncan has, naturally, after his sad experience, no use for Missionary Societies, or Missionary Boards. According to his idea, successful missions, fostered under their care, come to exist, not "proper hoc," nor even "post hoc," but " in spite of hoc."

His conception of an ideal mission is one conducted by a practical. God-fearing missionary, selected from the midst of a Christian congregation, and supported by it, or, at the most, by two or three congregations who conclude to do this work together. He thinks that with direct communication thus continuously existing between the congregation (and preferably between individual members of it) and the missionary, far better results will be obtained than by the present complex machinery, which naturally has a tendency to foster a spirit of intervention, dictatorialness, and short authority in the executive board, which must' have anything but a healthy effect on the growth of a Christian mission.

Some way or another, Mr. Duncan always makes me think of Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles,

 

370 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

Not only in Lis mental make-up and splendid determi- nation, but in his appearance, there is something that reminds me of the picture I carry in my mind of the great Apostle.

Short of stature, stocky,' a strong bald head, a full, white beard, sparkling, bright, blue eyes, and ruddy cheeks, like a bonny country lassie, - there is such a virility, such courage, and such youthful power emanating from him, that it seems almost incredible that the snows of seventy -six winters have fallen on his devoted head.

When you observe the erect carriage, the elastic step, the almost electric activity, and when the fire of the sparkling, laughing eyes lights yours, and you hear the sonorous, persuasive voice, relating some interesting Incident in his wonderful life, you simply refuse to believe that any more than, at the outside, fifty years can have been, so far, the span of his life.

You fully believe him when he tells you that he has never been sick in bed for a day of his long life. He is indeed a walking evangel of the simple life, and shows it in every feature.

No one who has enjoyed the privilege of sitting under the spell of his conversational powers will ever be able to forget the impression made upon him. And if that is the case with us, who only have heard him converse in English, what must it be to those who can understandingly listen when he converses in Tsimshean, the

  • He is only 5 feet 6 inches tall.


  • His weight is about 165 pounds.


  • The little hair remaining is as white as ever.


THE GRAND OLD MAN 371

language in which he himself says he both thinks and dreams.


His great kindness is writ in large letters all over his face And the glad smiles of the children of Metlakahtla, when they come into the sunshine of his eyes, bear witness to it.

Mr. and Mrs. Wallace tell me, that during the ten years they have lived with him as every-day companions, year in and year out, he has never spoken a cross word.

A man with a temper as sweet as that, ought to be married. But he has thought otherwise, and is a confirmed old bachelor.

One evening, four years ago, as we sat one moonlit night on the verandah, and a spell of reminiscence came over him, I suppose, he said that if any one, when he was twenty years of age or so, should have told him that he would live his life as an old bachelor and never get married, he would have laughed heartily at their ignorance.

"I had my friends and acquaintances among the young ladies," he said, "and, while I probably never was what you would call really 'in love,' there were some I liked very well indeed. I always enjoyed ladies' society, and do to this day. During the first ten or even twenty years of my sojourn among the Indians, my friends in Victoria were very busy trying to find a help- mate for me. Some of them even went so far as to send ladies, whom they wanted me to marry, on trips up the coast. But while I of course appreciated their kindness, I would much have preferred to make my own choice, if I had felt so inclined."


372 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

After a short silence :

"I even had a love-letter once. Would you believe it ? A lady in Victoria wrote me that she had admired me from the first day she had heard of my work, and still more so after she met me, and that she would gladly have become my wife, and joined me in my work, had I asked her. But that I had never asked. That she, before she on the morrow was to become another honorable man's wife, thought she would close these pages of her life by telling me what her feelings had been.

"And she was no old maid, neither," he added with a humorous twinkle in his eye. "She was a fine-looking young girl, and a very good woman. I guess she wanted me to know what I had missed."

" Would you mind telling me the real reason you never married?" I asked. "Was it not because your experience with Mrs. Tugwell, the first lady missionary sent out to you, prejudiced you against all women ? "

" Oh, no," he said, " I had better sense than that. I knew very well there were a few of them who could make biscuits. But I made up my mind that I could not conscientiously ask any refined woman to come up and share my lonely life among the Indians, hundreds of miles from all the comforts of life. I knew well enough that I could ask no one else to make the sacrifice I made. I knew that nothing would have been so precious to me as human sympathy and interest in my work ; no greater help to me than to have some one share my sorrows and troubles, as well as my joys and my glorious experiences. But I also knew, that what was promised in enthusiasm might be rued after years of hard trial, and that the time might come when I might be compelled to give up my life-work at the solicitation of a wife who had become tired of the tribulations of a career among the Indians. In brief, I made up my mind that my life-work was of


THE GRAND OLD MAN 373

greater importance to me than domestic happiness ; and so I pursued my solitude. And still, I am wrong in calling it solitude. God was with me. Do you know, when I returned to England in 1885, and met an agnostic, who expressed doubt about God's existence, I said to him :

"Sir, do not talk that way to me. I have been in God's presence during my solitude among the savages. There have been times when I felt God's very presence - when, it seemed to me, that I even saw His face."

And as Mr. Duncan's eyes glowed when he said it, and as his face shone in the moonlight, I really believed that he had, I thought I could see in it the reflection of Jahve's glory.

Like every old bachelor, of course Mr. Duncan has his peculiarities. Thus, he allows no person to come into his bedroom. For these many years he has persisted in making his own bed, and himself takes care of his immediate belongings. Even his office must be free from female interference. It is only on rare occasions, when he has been away, perhaps once every four or five years, that Mrs. Wallace has had the privilege of dusting and cleaning it, and putting things in order.

But, after such a house-cleaning, it takes him quite a while until he gets everything back into that beautiful disorder, the mixture on floor and chairs, and shelves, and tables, of books and boxes, and papers, and letters, which enables him to find anything he wants, when he wants it, because he remembers just where he put it, and how many other layers have been placed above it, for he has a memory which seems almost superhuman. He not only practically knows the whole Bible by heart, but he can reel off whole sentences from books that he has read


374 THE APOSTLE OF ALASKA

perhaps years ago, and recite hymns and songs at pleasure. Names of the most insignificant persons whom he has met once in his life, forty, fifty, or even sixty, years ago, seem to come as readily to his tongue as if they were impressed on his mind but yesterday.

One day, some three years ago, I stood near him on the dock at Metlakahtla, as the Spokane, with a large number of excursionists, was about getting away. A kind-hearted, elderly lady, who had shown great interest in the work, asked him :

" What have you done about a successor ? What is to become of this glorious work when you die ? "

He did not answer in words.

The index finger of his right hand was lifted on high, pointing up into the sky above.

It was not done for effect. I saw a glorious ray of faith in his eye. I then believed that God would provide. I still so believe.

And yet, I betray no professional secret, for Mr. Duncan has himself spoken of it to the Indians, when I say, that he has, to my knowledge, in his will provided that all he owns in the world is after his death to go into the hands of three intimate friends, to be by them held in trust for the benefit of the Indians, for the purpose of maintaining among them the same Christian work, in the same spirit as it has by him been carried on.

We all hope and trust, however, that God will give him many years of life and of work to His glory yet.

But when the time comes - when his life-work shall be ended, and God, the Almighty Father, shall want him to come home, I hope it will be his good fortune to look for the last time into the indescribably rich beauty of a


THE GRAND OLD MAN 375

glorious Alaska sunset, and that the Lord of Hosts, as He took Elijah of old, will send down His chariot of fire in which to take to the paradise of the Christ, above the sunlit clouds, His venerable, lovable servant,

William Duncan,
"The Apostle of Alaska."