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Samuel and Helene de Champlain: A Canadian Romance

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Before Samuel & Helene de Champlain came on the scene, the very word ‘Canada’ had become a joke in France, thanks to Jacques Cartier bringing back quartz and ‘fool’s gold’ from Canada.  The term ‘diamond of Canada’ became a symbol for deception and emptiness.  During Champlain’s lifetime, France largely ignored him.  To most French citizens, Canada seemed distant and unimportant.  Even well-educated Parisians denied the value of Canada, sometimes dismissing it as another Siberia.

In the 16th century, France’s population was six times that of England, it possessed as much coastline, it was more affluent, its sailors were more skilled and were the first to consistently visit the Canadian seaboard.  But in contrast to England, there was little vision in France for the priority of sending people to the New World.  To immigrate to Canada, there was even a financial disincentive of 36 livres charged to anyone leaving France.  As a result, Champlain and his Quebec people felt disregarded, deserted and discarded.  King Louis XIII even had the thoughtlessness to cancel Champlain’s modest pension of six hundred livres granted by Henry IV; forcing Champlain to successfully implore for its reinstatement.

Champlain was born in 1567 in the town of Brouage, then a bustling seaport on the southwestern coast of France, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Bordeaux. His father was a sea captain and as a boy he became skilled at seamanship and navigation.  Champlain later commented: “…(Navigation) is the art…which led me to explore the coast of America, especially New France, where I have always desired to see the fleur-de-lys flourish.”  Ironically Champlain never learned to swim, even after crossing the rugged Atlantic Ocean twenty-nine times, as he thought swimming was too risky.

For a while Champlain served in the army of King Henry IV, fighting alongside Martin Frobisher in a joint undertaking by the British and French against the Spanish.  In 1599 Champlain captained a ship which returned Spanish prisoners-of-war, allowing him to explore the Spanish-controlled West Indies and Mexico.  As a result of his travels, Champlain prophetically suggested the idea of making a canal across Central America to shorten the trip to the southern Pacific Ocean.  King Henry IV was so impressed by Champlain’s map-making work that he granted him a lifetime income.  Henri IV also gave Champlain the title ‘de’, which marked him as a man of noble rank.

Four hundred and seven years ago, in 1603, Samuel de Champlain traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the site of present day Montreal, the First Nations village of Hochelaga.  In Champlain’s 1604 Journal, he wrote: “So many voyages and discoveries without result, and attended with so much hardship and expense, have caused us French in late years to attempt a permanent settlement in those lands which we call New France.”  After two Acadian colonizing attempts at St. Croix and Port Annapolis in the Maritimes, Champlain turned his eyes to the future Quebec City, a name that he translated from an aboriginal word: ‘where the river narrows.’  Quebec City, the Iroquois village of Stadacona, became the earliest enduring city north of Mexico City and Florida settled by Europeans.

Life was not easy for Champlain at Quebec City.  While building a miniature Bastille-like ‘habitation’, Champlain had to stamp out an attempted murder plot against himself.  When spring finally broke up the ice in April 1609, only eight of Champlain’s 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.

Champlain cared deeply about the First Nations people, building lasting friendships with many groups.  Pere Lalemant in 1640 wrote: ‘Would God that all the French, who were the first to come into these regions, had been like him!’ Champlain spoke prophetically to a gathering of the Montagnais, Algonkin, and French: “Our sons shall wed your daughters and henceforth we shall be one people”

When Samuel de Champlain married Hélène Boullé on December 30, 1610 in Paris, she was only 12 years old while he was approximately forty!  She was so young that her father insisted that she live at home for at least another two years.  At age 21, she moved to Quebec City.  The First Nations were intrigued by Helene who loved them dearly in return.  A titled lady with elegant outfits and etiquette, Helene was the center of attention at Quebec.  But for her the settlement held little joy.  Unlike Paris, Quebec had no shops, lively crowds or interesting chitchat.  As a high-spirited twenty-five-year-old, she pined for the exhilaration of Paris.  Champlain, fifty-six, favored the companionship of his hardy French and aboriginal voyageurs and the untainted grandeur of the Canadian outback.  And so, after four years, Champlain and Helene tragically parted ways.  Out of love, Champlain named the ‘Montreal Expo 67’ Island after her: Isle Saint Helene.  When Helene learned of her husband’s death in 1635, she entered a convent, choosing to become a nun rather than to marry again.

More than half of the fur-trading merchants working with Champlain were Huguenot (French Protestants) from La Rochelle; France.  The 1598 Edict of Nantes, which gave them religious freedom in Quebec and France, was first restricted in 1625 and finally revoked in 1685.  Although the Huguenot were therefore forbidden to worship in Canada by royal decree, the crews of Huguenot ships could not be restrained from holding services on board when in harbour.  The Huguenot loved to sing the psalms in French, a practice first encouraged and then outlawed by the French Royal Court.  Both Champlain and his wife Helene had been raised in Huguenot homes.  So thanks to Champlain, it was agreed that the Huguenot could hold prayer meetings on the ships, but sing psalms only at sea where no one else could hear.

After the English under British Commander David Kirke blockaded the French relief supply ships, Champlain and his men nearly starved, surviving mostly on eels purchased from the Indians and on roots & wood-bark. Champlain was forced to surrender in 1628 to David Kirke’s brothers and was sent for four years to England.  The Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye was signed in 1632 which brought Champlain back to Quebec City, much of which had been burnt to the ground by the British.  After having devoted the last 32 years of his life to Canada, Champlain died of a stroke in 1635 at age 68.

Champlain was the most versatile of Canadian pioneers, at once sailor and soldier, writer and entrepreneur, artist and voyageur, visionary and pragmatist.  He wrote four important books relating Canada’s early history.  He produced the best North American maps and its earliest harbour charts.  Repeatedly Champlain put his life in jeopardy in order to discover routes to Canada’s western wilderness. He nurtured struggling Quebec to steadfast life.  “No other European colony in America, “commented the eminent historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” I thank God for this courageous man Samuel Champlain who showed perseverance and dedication against impossible odds.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may show that same perseverance in facing our God-given daily tasks.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant Champlain, les explorateurs comme Jacques Cartier n’avaient pas réussi à laisser leur marque. Champlain et Sieur de Monts étaient des personnes persévérantes et visionnaires de grande foi qui ont fait d’énormes sacrifices pour frayer un chemin dans cette grande terre du Canada. Avec mon expérience lors de la tournée de réconciliation de La Danse cet été passé, Dieu m’a donné un amour profond pour les personnes francophones qui ont développé notre nation pendant 150 ans avant l’arrivée des Anglais.

 

Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts nous ont donné le cadeau merveilleux de la langue et de la culture française. Champlain, en particulier, a aidé à définir qui nous sommes comme Canadiens. Nous serions bien plus pauvres au Canada sans nos frères et sœurs francophones, sans leur joie de vivre, leur musique, leur danse, et leur flair artistique. Comme l’a déjà dit un poète américain, »le Canada est un pays presque inventé par le cerveau simple de Champlain ».  Un projet de loi privé fédéral C-428 fut rejeté. Ce projet voulait nommer le 26 juin le « Jour de Samuel de Champlain ». Le MP Greg Thompson du Nouveau Brunswick qui présentait ce projet de loi disait: « la plupart de nous savons qui est Davy Crockett, mais plusieurs d’entre nous n’avons jamais porté attention à Samuel de Champlain.

Tandis que beaucoup de Canadiens se rappellent vaguement de Champlain, aujourd’hui peu de personnes ont une idée de qui était l’homme derrière Champlain: Sieur de Monts. Né à Saintonge, en France en 1558, Sieur de Monts était un homme d’affaires français Huguenot à qui avait été accordé une charte exclusive du Roi Henri IV pour le commerce de fourrure dans le nouveau monde. Le Roi Henri IV chargea Sieur de Monts d’établir le nom, la puissance, et l’autorité du roi de la France; d’amener les indigènes à une connaissance de la religion chrétienne; de peupler, de cultiver, et de coloniser les dites terres; de faire de l’exploration et plus particulièrement de chercher des mines de métaux précieux. La charte de 1603 nommait Sieur de Monts comme Lieutenant Gouverneur de la Nouvelle-France, lui donnant autorité sur toute l’Amérique du Nord entre les quarantième et quarante-sixième parallèles (de Montréal à Philadelphie actuelle).

 

Une des conditions de la charte exigeait la colonisation de soixante nouveaux colons chaque année. En 1604, Champlain et de Monts, pères du Canada, ont établi leur première colonie sur l’île de Saint-Croix, sur la frontière entre le Nouveau Brunswick et le Maine, aux États-Unis.  Précédant Jamestown, Virginie (1607) et Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Saint-Croix était la première colonie européenne sur la côte nord de l’Atlantique. Des Huguenots (protestants français) et des catholiques romains étaient inclus parmi les 79 premiers colons, avec un pasteur Huguenot et un prêtre catholique. Grâce au décret de Nantes, on a accordé aux Huguenots l’exercice libre de leur foi, une liberté qui a duré jusqu’en 1625. Comme mon épouse et mes enfants ont des racines Huguenotes, j’ai été fasciné d’apprendre que les Huguenots persécutés étaient au premier rang de la bourgeoisie française naissante.

 

On croit que Champlain a choisi Saint-Croix parce qu’elle partageait la même latitude que la France tempérée, supposant que le climat serait semblable. Au lieu de cela, les banquises de glace ont séparé les colons de la nourriture fraîche et de l’eau du continent. Ce premier et seul hiver sur Saint-Croix fut brutalement froid, ayant pour résultat 35 décès causes par le scorbut. Ironiquement les os de ces premiers colons français ont juste été ré enterres cette année à Saint-Croix, après avoir passé un demi-siècle à Temple University, à Philadelphie.

 

La colonie de Huguenot/Acadienne a été déplacée en 1605 à Port-Royal (l’Annapolis moderne royal en Nouvelle-Écosse). Tandis qu’il était à Port-Royal, Champlain a fondé le premier club social de l’Amérique du nord « l’Ordre du Bon temps » dans un effort de briser la monotonie des longs hivers nord-américains. Chacun leur tour, les messieurs préparaient le dîner en essayant de surpasser les autres avec son choix de viande, de vin et de chanson. Pour leur divertissement, Marc Lescarbot, un jeune avocat parisien, a écrit et produit la première pièce de théâtre en Amérique du Nord, « le théâtre de Neptune ».

 

Sieur de Monts a souffert plusieurs revers, y compris le retrait de son monopole du commerce de fourrure en 1608 et l’assassinat de son bon ami, le Roi Henri en 1610. En 1608, Sieur de Monts a envoyé Champlain a Québec, de ce fait fondant la ville de Québec, la première colonie permanente au Canada. « Je suis arrivé là le 3 juillet» a écrit Samuel de Champlain en 1608. « J’ai cherché un endroit approprié à notre colonie, mais je ne pouvais n’en trouver aucun plus commode ou mieux situé que la pointe de Québec ». Champlain y a mis à pied et déploya la fleur de lys, marquant le début de cette ville, ainsi que du Canada.

 

Ma prière est que ceux qui lisent cet article puissent démontrer ce même esprit de pionniers exprimé par Champlain et Sieur de Monts.

 

le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Recteur, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

 


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Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts: Canadian heroes

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Until Samuel de Champlain over 400 years ago, explorers like Jacques Cartier all had  failed to leave any permanent mark.  Champlain & Sieur de Monts were persevering people of vision and faith who made enormous sacrifices to pioneer this great land of Canada.  God, through the La Danse tour of reconciliation, has given me a deep love for the francophone people who pioneered our nation for 150 years before we Anglais turned up.

 

Samuel de Champlain & Sieur de Monts gave to all of us the wonderful gift of French language and culture in Canada.  In very real terms, Champlain especially helped define who we are as Canadians.  How much poorer we would be in Canada without our francophone brothers and sisters, without their joie de vivre, their music, their dance, and their artistic flair.  As an American poet once put it, Canada is a country almost invented out of Champlain’s single brain.  A while back, there was a Federal Private Member’s Bill C-428 which unsuccessfully attempted to name June 26th ‘Samuel de Champlain Day’.  The sponsoring New Brunswick MP Greg Thompson put it this way: “Most of us know who Davy Crockett was but a lot of us never paid attention to Champlain.”

 

While many Canadians vaguely remember Champlain, few today have any awareness of the man behind Champlain, Sieur de Monts.  Born in Saintonge, France in 1558, Sieur de Monts was a French Huguenot businessman who was given an exclusive charter by King Henry IV for fur trading in the New World.  King Henry IV directed Sieur de Monts “to establish the name, power, and authority of the King of France; to summon the natives to a knowledge of the Christian religion; to people, cultivate, and settle the said lands; to make explorations and especially to seek out mines of precious metals.”  The 1603 charter made Sieur de Monts the Lieutenant Governor of New France, giving him authority over all of North America between the 40th and 46th parallels (from Montreal to present day Philadelphia).

 

One of the conditions of the charter required the settlement of sixty new colonists each year.  In 1604, Champlain and de Monts, as Fathers of Canada, established their first settlement at St. Croix Island, on the border between New Brunswick and Maine, USA.  Predating both Jamestown, Virginia (1607) and Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), St. Croix was the first European settlement on the north Atlantic coast.  Both Huguenot (French Protestant) and Roman Catholics were included among the original 79 settlers, along with a Huguenot pastor and a Roman Catholic priest.  Thanks to the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenot were granted free exercise of their faith, a freedom that lasted until 1625.

 

As my wife and children have Huguenot roots, I have been fascinated to learn that the persecuted Huguenot were at the forefront of the emerging French middle class.

 

It is believed that Champlain chose St. Croix because it shared the same latitude as temperate France, assuming that the climate would be similar.  Instead the churning ice floes separated the colonists from the fresh food and water of the mainland.  That first & only winter on St. Croix was brutally cold, resulting in 35 scurvy-related deaths.  Ironically the bones of the original French settlers have recently been reinterred at St. Croix, after spending half a century in Philadelphia’s Temple University.

 

The Huguenot/Acadian colony was moved in 1605 to Port-Royal (the modern Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia). While at Port-Royal, Champlain founded North America’s first social club the ‘Ordre de Bon temps/The Order of the Good Time’ in an effort to break the monotony of the long North American winters.  Each gentleman in turn prepared dinner and attempted to outdo the others in the meat, wine and song offered.  For their entertainment, Marc Lescarbot, a young Parisian lawyer, wrote and produced the first drama in North America, “The Theatre of Neptune”.

 

Sieur de Monts suffered many setbacks including the revoking of his fur trade monopoly in 1608 and the assassination of his close friend King Henry IV in 1610.  In 1608, Sieur de Monts sent Champlain to Quebec, thus founding at Quebec City the first permanent colony in Canada.  “I arrived there on the 3rd of July,” wrote Samuel de Champlain in 1608, “when I searched for a place suitable for our settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than the point of Quebec.” Champlain stepped ashore and unfurled the fleur-de-lys, marking the beginning of that city and indeed of Canada.

 

My prayer is that those reading this article may show that same pioneering spirit expressed by Champlain & Sieur de Monts.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Saying No to Abuse

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

It takes courage to say ‘No’.  It takes courage to stand up against abuse.  Over the years, I have met many people in abusive situations who have paid a great price to eventually extricate themselves from the vicious cycle of manipulation and recrimination.

Sexual and physical abuse, in particular, scars the victim deeply.  Often the victims falsely blame themselves.  Recovery from abuse involves breaking the conspiracy of silence and deception perpetrated by abusers.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, we are as sick as our secrets.  Only the truth, however painful, can really set us free.  Secrecy keeps us chained to our abusers.

Part of the cycle of abuse is that abusers are very skilled at blaming the victim.  Many abuse victims internalize these false accusations and begin to blame themselves.  Sexual abuse victims often carry a false sense of guilt and shame.  Breaking false shame off victims can be very liberating.  Sometimes scripture can help release people from such self-rejection: ‘You are already clean because of my word spoken to you’ (John 15:3) and ‘Do not call unclean that which God has made clean’ (Acts 10:15).  All of us need to experience the cleansing stream of God’s Holy Spirit.  All of us need to be washed with the water of the Word, removing our stains and blemishes (Ephesians 5:27).  All of us need catharsis in our daily lives.

Abusers exercise ongoing control over their victims through fear and guilt.  The heart of all addiction is the cycle of fear and guilt.  Breaking the cycle of manipulation will release massive breakthrough in a person’s life.  As the Good Book puts it, perfect love casts out all fear.  Breaking the power of fear is critical to putting the abuse victim on a stable footing.  Abusers are always destabilizing the victim’s environment, causing them to ‘walk on eggshells’.  Abusers will often use ‘divide and conquer’ techniques that cuts the victim off from their natural support network.

God’s truth through Scripture can be most helpful here.  It is not by accident that the phrase ‘Do not fear’ is used over 365 times in the Bible, at least once for every day of the year.  As Timothy was once reminded, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) .  God’s gift of ‘a sound mind’ is key to removing ‘stinking thinking’ and giving us instead peace that passes all understanding.  God hasn’t given us a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear but rather has given us the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15).  The key to breaking fear is realizing that in Jesus, we are adopted, we are chosen, we are accepted in the beloved.  Nothing can cast us away from his loving arms.

Abusers specialize in condemning their victims as bad and unworthy of acceptance.  The Good Book in contrast says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  Breaking the power of condemnation releases great joy into the lives of abuse victims.  No longer do they need to falsely accuse themselves and beat themselves up.  Instead they learn to accept themselves in Christ’s love.  When the manipulative power of fear and condemnation is broken, victims can become victors in remarkable unexpected ways.  Creativity becomes released. Healthy boundaries become re-established.  Abusers lose their power to control and entrap others.  Victims stop enabling the very behaviours that keep them enslaved.

It all starts when people stop rewarding abusers and start blowing the whistle on them, when people say no to manipulation, say no to fear and guilt, say no to the ways of death and destruction.  It takes courage to reach out to the support networks around you, whether to your teacher, doctor, social worker, counsellor or pastor, but it is well worth it.  It is not your fault.  You deserve better.  Say no to abuse. Say yes to life.  You are worth it.  You are loved.

Two resources that I would recommend in your recovery from abuse are Dr. James Dobson’s book ‘Love Must Be Tough’ and Dr. Townsend & McCloud’s best-selling ‘Boundaries’ book.  My prayer for each person reading this article is that we and our families will be given the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference, in Jesus’ name.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Governor James Douglas: Father of BC

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

How often do we give thanks for Governor James Douglas, Father of BC?  BC still bears the mark of Douglas’ vision.  Douglas had little to work with in terms of men, money and materials; the only thing not lacking was Douglas’ determination.  Governor Douglas prophetically said: ‘It is the bold, resolute, strong, self-reliant man, who fights his own way through every obstacle and wins the confidence and respect of his fellows.  As with men, so it is with nations.’

Douglas had a vision of a great highway of commerce down the centre of the mainland colony.  In little more than two years, he was to achieve what seems almost a miracle: a wagon road, eighteen feet wide and four hundred miles long, connecting the wealthy new gold fields of the Cariboo to the older coastal settlements

Douglas was born in Guyana.  His mom Martha Ann Ritchie, originally from Barbados, was a free Creole whose family moved to Guyana for better employment in the late 1790’s.  His father John Douglas, a Scottish merchant planter, took James and his brother to Scotland at age nine.  James never saw his mom again, never returning to Guyana.  After schooling, James moved at age sixteen to Canada and apprenticed with the Northwest Company, which eventually merged with the rival Hudson’s Bay Company.  James spoke French so well that he was even able to lead Prayer Book worship services in French with the other voyageurs.

At Fort St. James he married Amelia Connolly, whose father was an Irish-French fur trader and whose mother was a Cree Chief’s daughter.  The Douglas family moved to Fort Vancouver, Washington where James quickly became the Hudson Bay Company Chief Factor in 1839.  While still at Fort Vancouver, he had set down in a notebook four tasks that he hoped to achieve.  These were: “The moral renovation of this place; Abolition of slavery within our limits; Lay down a principle and act upon it with confidence; The building of a church of Christ in this place.”

As it became more obvious that everything below the 49th Parallel would become American territory, James Douglas was sent to Vancouver Island to relocate the Hudson’s Bay Fort.  On March 14, 1843 Douglas founded the new capital Fort Victoria.  In 1851 Douglas was appointed the second Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island.

When the1858 Gold rush struck BC, Douglas noted: “this country and Fraser’s River have gained an increase of 10,000 inhabitants within the last six weeks, and the tide of immigration continues to roll onward without any prospect of abatement.”  Writing to Lord Stanley, Douglas predicted that ‘in the course of a few months there may be one hundred thousand people in the country.’

James Douglas preserved BC from absolute chaos during the 1858 Gold rush.  With tens of thousands of American gold miners descending upon BC, James Douglas held back a avalanche that would have irrevocably swept BC out of any Canadian orbit.  As historian Derek Pethick commented, “It is in the hour of crisis, when all but the bravest would have abandoned the unequal struggle, one man stood up and was counted.  That man was James Douglas.”  There is no doubt that Canada as we know it ‘from sea to shining sea’, would not exist today without Governor Douglas, one of the greatest of the Fathers of Confederation.

Governor Douglas had an outer exterior of implacability, but in his private family life he showed great depths of feeling. Upon the death of his daughter Cecilia, Douglas lamented: ‘She was the joy of my eyes, the light of my life; her ear was ever open to the calls of distress; the poor and afflicted never appealed to her in vain; they will miss her sympathizing heart and helping hand.’

Douglas deeply loved nature as seen in a letter to his daughter Martha: ‘The sweet little robin is pouring out his heart in melody, making the welkin ring with his morning song of praise and thanksgiving.  Would that we were equally grateful to the Author of all good.”  In giving advice to his son James, Douglas commented:  “We are all poor frail creatures when left to ourselves; our sufficiency is of the Lord; we must look to him for strength and guidance in the hour of trial.  His power is sufficient for us…”

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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‘Hanging Judge’ Matthew Begbie

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Described as a ‘swashbuckling judge’, Chief Justice Matthew Begbie profoundly shaped BC.  Sir Matthew Begbie and his friend BC governor Sir James Douglas have ‘larger-than-life’ statues at the BC Legislature entrance.  As founding fathers of BC, both Begbie and Douglas were Scots born in the tropics who became bilingual in French while studying in England.

As a child, I first heard of Begbie while on vacation at Barkerville.  Actors still pretend to be Judge Begbie, telling of life when Barkerville was the biggest town west of Chicago and north of San Francisco.

After five years at Cambridge and fourteen years as a lawyer, Begbie was sent to BC at age 39 in response to the 1858 flood of 30,000 American miners from San Francisco.  BC was literally birthed through gold-diggers who panned $543,000 of Fraser River gold in one year.  Most miners stayed a year or less, never putting down roots in BC’s ‘boom or bust’ beginnings.  While a few struck it rich, most came up near empty, spending their gold on wine, women and song.

Without Judge Begbie establishing order on the BC frontier, all hell would have broken loose.  Leading American mining journals in 1863 were already referring to the Fraser River as ‘Our Territory’.  Begbie showed unusual strength and stamina in his work, often travelling by foot and sleeping in a tent so damp that his books mildewed.  Six feet four inches tall with a Van Dyke beard, a gaucho hat, and a long black cloak, Begbie was a commanding figure.

A deeply spiritual man and long-time church-choir member, he loved to read the Anglican Evening Prayer service by campfire, singing hymns before going to his tent.  Even when holding court on a stump under a tree, he wore formal robes.  For twelve years, Begbie was BC’s only judge, travelling two-thirds of the year, and sometimes doing double-duty as a postman!  Because of Begbie’s firm fairness, incidences of violence and highway robberies, all common below the border, were extremely rare in BC.

The ‘hanging judge’ expression was never applied to Begbie during his lifetime, but rather was an overstatement. As historian David Williams puts it, Begbie was ‘an extremely humane, literate, generous, humorous and fair-minded man’.  He abhorred the taking of life.  While vacationing, Begbie met an American former jurist.  The American said: ‘You certainly did some hanging, judge.’  Begbie memorably replied: ‘Excuse me, my good friend.  I never hanged any man.  I simply swore in good American citizens, like yourself, as jurymen, and it was you who hanged your fellow citizens.’  In the BC Place Names (1997) book, it states that Judge Begbie ‘by firmness, impartiality and sheer force of personality maintained British law and order…’  Angered by the acquittal of an armed robber, Begbie said to the prisoner: ‘The jurymen say you are not guilty, but with that I do not agree.  It is now my duty to set you free and I warn you not to pursue your evil ways, but if you ever again should be so inclined, I hope you select your victim from the men who acquitted you.’

Judge Begbie, conversant in four different aboriginal BC languages, had a real heart for the First Nations people whom he praised as ‘a race of laborious independent workers.’  Begbie also advocated for the Chinese miners who often suffered from racism.  He was concerned that legal justice be fair and speedy, regardless of race, colour, or wealth.  Begbie was known as ‘the salvation of the Cariboo and the terror of rowdies.’  Fellow pioneers agreed that Judge Begbie was ‘just the man for a new country’.  “My hair is white, but my hand is strong, and my heart is not weak.  If I punish only a little,” said Begbie, “it is not because I am weak, nor because I am afraid, but because I wish to change your hearts.”  “

When Judge Begbie died in 1894, his two favorite hymns were sung: ‘Just as I am’ and ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’.  Since the death of Governor Douglas in 1877, Judge Begbie had indisputably become the first citizen of BC.  The size of the Victoria funeral procession was unprecedented with military bands and marching troops, but all that Sir Matthew Begbie wanted on his gravestone was ‘Lord be Merciful to Me a Sinner’.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca