Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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WordPress now tells me which countries my visitors are coming from…

2012-02-09 to Today (350,744 visitors so far)

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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 


1 Comment

Colonel Moody and The Port Next Door

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Have you ever given thanks for Colonel Richard Moody and the Royal Engineers who defended us in BC’s first war? Have you ever even heard of BC’s first war?

In 1858, Colonel Moody’s troops steamed north along the Fraser River to Yale on the Enterprise.  Ned McGowan had led a vigilante gang to falsely imprison the Yale Justice of the Peace, PB Whannel.  Ned McGowan had great influence with the vigilantes, as he was both a former Philadelphia Police superintendent implicated in a bank robbery and a former California judge acquitted on a murder charge.  Without Moody’s intervention, the fear was that BC would be quickly annexed to the USA by Ned McGowan’s gang.

Upon arriving in Yale, Colonel Moody and his Sappers from Sapperton were unexpectedly received with ‘vociferous cheering and every sign of respect and loyalty’.  No shots were even fired!  Matthew Begbie the so-called ‘Hanging Judge’, in his first-ever BC Court case, fined McGowan a small amount of £5 for assault, after which he sold his gold-rush stake and promptly returned to California.  BC Premier Armor de Cosmos said of ‘Ned McGowan’s War’  that BC had ‘her first war- so cheap- all for nothing…BC must feel pleased with herself.’

Born on Feb 13 1803 in Barbados, Colonel Moody became the second-most important leader in the formation of BC.  Like our first BC Governor James Douglas who was born in British Guyana, Moody brought Caribbean ingenuity and vision to the frontiers of Western Canada.

Moody had entered the army at an early age.  Moody’s father Thomas was also a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. A graduate of the Royal Academy at Woolich, Moody joined the Royal Engineers in 1830 and served in Ireland and the West Indies, as well as a professor in Woolich.  After Moody had been sick twice from yellow fever, he drew plans submitted to Queen Victoria for restoring Edinburgh Castle.

In 1841 he went to the Falkland Islands as Lieutenant Governor, later Governor where he stayed until 1849.  In 1858 Moody was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Lieutenant Governor of the new colony of BC.  Moody was soon sworn in as Deputy to Douglas on the mainland and empowered to take his place, if anything should happen to the Governor.

Moody’s role in the colony was two-fold: to provide military support and to carry out major building projects with the Government considered necessary to keep up with a sudden growth in population and commerce.

Moody’s Sappers were specially trained in surveying, reconnaissance, and constructing roads, bridges, and fortifications.  They represented many trades such as printers, draughtsmen, photographers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and masons.

Colonel Moody and his sappers were sent to BC because of the 1858 BC Goldrush.  On April 25th 1858, 495 gold-rush miners arrived in Victoria.  Governor James Douglas commented that ‘they are represented as being with some exceptions a specimen of the worst of the population of San Francisco – the very dregs in fact of society.’  By the middle of July 1858, the number of American miners exceeded 30,000.  Rev. Lundin Brown held that ‘never in the migration of men had there been seen such a rush, so sudden and so vast.’

Colonel Moody personally chose BC’s first Capital New Westminster, established the Cariboo Wagon Road, and gave us the incalculable gift of Stanley Park.  Moody also named Burnaby Lake (of Burnaby City) after his private secretary Robert Burnaby, and named Port Coquitlam’s 400-foot ‘Mary Hill’ after his dear wife ‘Mary’.

Thanks to Captain George H. Richards who thoroughly surveyed the BC Coast, Colonel Moody’s name has been immortalized in BC history with the city of Port Moody.  The city was established from the end of a trail cut by the Royal Engineers, now known as North Road to connect New Westminster with Burrard Inlet.  Port Moody was developed to defend New Westminster from potential attack from the USA. The town grew rapidly after 1859, following land grants to Moody’s Royal Engineers who then settled there.  All of the officers returned to England, but most of the sappers and their families chose to remain, accepting 150-acre land grants as compensation.  Port Moody was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s original western terminus.

In 1863 Colonel Moody planned to cut a trail from New Westminster to Jericho Beach due west, but Lieutenant Governor Douglas was very much in opposition.  Of this venture, the matter was taken to the Colonial House, London, England, and permission was granted for Colonel Moody to proceed with the trail.  Unfortunately he ran out of money before completion and the trail ended at Burrard Inlet.

Moody’s Royal Engineer detachment was disbanded by Governor James Douglas in 1863.  Only 15 men accompanied Colonel Moody back to England, with the remainder settling in the new colony. These men formed the nucleus of the volunteer soldiers that led to the formation of the BC Regiment twenty years later.

Colonel Moody left his mark not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.  At the conclusion of BC’s ‘Ned McGowan War’, as it was Sunday morning, Colonel Moody invited forty miners to join him at the courthouse for worship.  As no clergy was present, Colonel Moody himself led worship from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

“It was the first time in British Columbia that the Liturgy of our Church was read,” wrote Moody.  “To me God in his mercy granted this privilege.  The room was crowded with Hill’s Bar men…old grey-bearded men, young eager-eyed men, stern middle-aged men of all nations knelt with me before the throne of Grace…”  My prayer for those reading this article is that like Colonel Moody, each of us may leave a lasting impact not only in the physical but also the spiritual.

 

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore

-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