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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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(Mount) Frederick Seymour The Forgotten Governor

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

To have the 3508-hectare Mount Seymour Provincial Park right in our Greater Vancouver backyard is such a blessing.  All of us, whether nature enthusiasts, hikers, skiers or mountaineers, would enjoy the serene forest cover of hemlock, Douglas fir and red cedar.  My wife and I, along with our three sons, have enjoyed many pleasant hours hiking along the Mt Seymour trails, especially on the Baden Powell Trail that ends up down in Deep Cove.  In the last number of years that we have been hiking on Mt Seymour, I have often wondered just whom Mt Seymour was named after.

After being given a fascinating book entitled ‘British Columbia Place Names’, I discovered that Mt Seymour is named after the first Governor of the united British Columbia colony, Frederick Seymour.  Even though Frederick Seymour has been described as the forgotten governor, his namesake is found scattered all throughout our local community.  Examples are Mt Seymour Lions, Mt Seymour Dry Cleaners, Mt Seymour Little League, Mt Seymour Soccer, Seymour Dental Centre, Seymour Animal Clinic, Seymour Golf & Country Club, Seymour Heights Elementary School, and the 11th & 13th Seymour Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers.  Even SeyCove High School is a combined name involving Seymour, as well as Deep Cove.

The more I learned about the Seymour connection, the more curious I became about just who Frederick Seymour was and why so many things were named after him, including Seymour Creek, Seymour Arm, Seymour City, and Seymour Street in Vancouver.  I discovered that Seymour was born in Belfast, Ireland on September 6, 1820 to a formerly wealthy family that had just lost its properties, position, and paycheck.  Through a family friendship with Prince Albert, Seymour was appointed as assistant colonial secretary of Tasmania.  Before being appointed as Governor of the mainland colony of British Columbia in 1864, Seymour also served in Antigua, Nevis, and finally as lieutenant governor of British Honduras for 16 years.  The Duke of Newcastle chose Seymour for BC because he saw him as ‘a man of much ability and energy’.  Seymour was thrilled at the ‘prospect of a change from the swamps of Honduras to a fine country’.

Frederick Seymour got along well with the citizens of the capital city of New Westminster.  He upgraded their school, made personal gifts of books and magazines to their library, built a 200-seat ballroom, and encouraged the growth of cricket, tennis, & amateur theatre.  He also ambitiously attempted to complete Sir James Douglas’ great highway to the interior of BC, but the financial costs of construction were staggering.

Seymour hosted 3,500 First Nations people at New Westminster for a weeklong celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday.  He also gained the support of a Chilcotin Chief in ending a violent inter-racial dispute at Bute Inlet.  Seymour later reported that his ‘great object was to obtain moderation from the white men in the treatment of Indians.’

As the interior BC gold rush began to slump in 1865, Seymour went to England in a bid to cut costs by consolidating the two colonies of Vancouver Island and the Mainland.  The British Government endorsed Seymour’s plan which resulted in the abolition of the Vancouver Island House of Assembly and the establishment of New Westminster as the sole capital of BC.  Victoria was outraged that it ceased to be a capital and lobbied successfully to move the BC capital back to Victoria.  Seymour grudgingly was forced to move from his beloved New Westminster to Victoria where he was deeply disliked by many locals.  Despite such Islander animosity, Seymour was able to establish the BC public school system, improve the courts, draw up public health regulations, set standards for mining, and reduce the provincial debt.

During this period, some BCers petitioned that BC join up with the United States.  Others began campaigning for BC to join Confederation, a move that Seymour opposed in numerous ways. Seymour initially ‘forgot’ to forward a number of pro-Confederation letters to the Colonial Secretary in London but, when he did, he included his own anti-Confederation messages.  Seymour believed that Confederation was only wanted by a vocal minority of business people who were hoping that Confederation would solve BC’s economic woes.  Prime Minister John A. Macdonald was outraged at Seymour’s opposition to Confederation, stating that Seymour should be recalled “as being perfectly unfit for his present position, under present circumstances.  From all I hear, he was never fit for it.”

Seymour’s provincial recall campaign never had a chance to get off the ground, as Seymour was called up north to settle an inter-tribal war between the Nass and Tsimshian First Nations. Using the famous Anglican missionary William Duncan of Metlakatla as an interpreter, Seymour convinced the warring groups to sign a lasting peace treaty.  On his way back, Seymour died in Bella Coola from one or more possible causes: dysentery, Panama Fever, and/or acute alcoholism.  His convenient death paved the way for his opponents to sweep the memory of Seymour and his anti-Confederation feelings under the carpet.  It is amazing to realize that when BC entered Confederation in 1871, BC had fewer than 40,000 people, of which almost 30,000 were First Nations people.  Confederation for better or worse was the ‘watershed experience’ that defined our province.  Seymour was an embarrassment to John A. Macdonald and friends.  So Seymour the anti-Confederationist became the Forgotten Governor.

In the same way that Seymour was a forgotten governor in the civil realm, God is so often a forgotten governor in the spiritual realm.  It is time that we re-establish Jesus Christ in his rightful spiritual place as governor of our land.  My prayer is that God may keep our land glorious and free and that God the forgotten governor may have dominion from sea to sea.

 

 

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

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

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

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, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, 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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Sir Alexander Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Alexander Mackenzie ranks as one of the most remarkable persons of North American wilderness history and, indeed, as one of the greatest travelers of all time.  His transcontinental crossing predated (and indeed inspired) the more famous Lewis and Clark American expedition by twelve years.  Even Bernard De Voto, the well-known Utah-born historian said of Mackenzie, “In courage, in the faculty of command, in ability to meet the unforeseen with resources of craft and skill, in the will that cannot be overborne, he has had no superior in the history of American exploration.”

Mackenzie realized the dream of a Canada stretching from sea to sea.  Beneath the lion and the unicorn supporting the coat of arms of Canada are the Latin words: A MARI USQUE AD MARE, taken from a Biblical text, ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Without Alexander Mackenzie (and his Nor’Wester friends Simon Fraser and David Thompson), Canada would have lost her entire Pacific Coast, being shut off from any access to the sea.

In 1764, Alexander Mackenzie was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, a windswept, rugged island in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  When Alexander was ten, his mom died.  Neighbours, knowing he had memorized long passages from the Bible, predicted that Alexander would become a clergyman. Through the local pastor’s library, he learned about astronomy and the use of telescopes.  At age 13, Alexander tabulated all the animal and plant life in the Hebrides, and he and his pastor tried unsuccessfully to get it published in London.

To escape the grinding poverty, his family, like thousands of other Highlanders, moved to the New World, only to become caught up in the American Revolution.  His father, like Simon Fraser’s dad, joined a United Empire Loyalist regiment near New York, before escaping with his family to Montreal. In those days, every one of Montreal’s 4000 inhabitants was involved in some way with the fur trade.  To young Alexander Mackenzie, the Montreal-based North West Company fur trade signified adventure, a chance to travel and explore new territory.

The heart of the fur industry was the voyageurs, who were the heroes and athletes of the 18th century.  As with the NHL, a voyageur was an old man at forty and forced to retire.

 

A good voyageur paddled 40 strokes to the minute and could keep up that pace from dawn to dusk with brief stops.  They had the reputation of being the finest canoeists in the world, who could travel anywhere.  Most of the North West Company’s 1,100 voyageurs were Canadians, which in those days meant that they were Quebec-born francophones.  The Northwest Company brought together a unique blend of Canadians and Scots like Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie.  At the height of the North West Company, it had eight times as many men in Western Canada as the more cautious Hudson’s Bay Company.

While looking for the Pacific Ocean, Mackenzie discovered and charted the largest river in Canada, the 2,500-mile long Mackenzie River .  He reached the Arctic Ocean on July 14th, 1789 –the same day as the angry Paris mobs stormed the French Bastille. Mackenzie was so heartbroken over ending up at the wrong ocean that he named his river ‘The River of Disappointment.’  The Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin renamed it the Mackenzie River.  Over 200 years later, there are 11 different places named after Alexander Mackenzie in BC and the North West Territories, including the Mackenzie Delta, the Mackenzie Mountains, the Mackenzie Highway, and the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park.

Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog was above all things resilient.  Rather than give up his Pacific quest, he went to England to improve his knowledge of astronomy and geography.  Upon returning to Canada, Mackenzie once again struck out towards the Pacific Ocean, known by some First Nations as the ‘Stinking Lake’.  This time he traveled down the Peace River and the Parsnip River before trekking the final distance over the ‘Grease Trail’, traveled by the First Nations for countless generations.  Once again his victory was bitter-sweet. Yes, he had succeeded in reaching Bella Coola on the Pacific Ocean.  But like Simon Fraser, he too had discovered a route that was useless as a fur-trading canoe highway.

Following his two epic journeys to the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans, Mackenzie wrote an instant best-selling book called Voyages.  His book was so popular with the English and Germans that the publisher could not print enough copies to keep up with the demand.  During this time, he went back to England, became friendly with the Prince of Wales, and was knighted by his father King George IV.  That winter and spring, Sir Alexander was the most popular man in London. No social event was considered a success unless he attended it.

Between his book sales and his fur trading, Mackenzie became one of Canada’s wealthiest men. He even spent a brief period in Canadian politics which ‘bored him to tears’.  He also founded his own fur-trading ‘XY Company’ and tried unsuccessfully to do a corporate takeover of the failing Hudson’s Bay Company.

Few people in Canada realize that Mackenzie was an unwitting ‘accomplice’ in Napoleon’s planned re-conquest of Canada.  Napoleon had Mackenzie’s book smuggled from England and translated into French.  Mackenzie’s description of the Western Canada river system was so precise that Napoleon had set up a scheme during the War of 1812 to use Mackenzie’s book to invade Canada.  Canada would be conquered by a surprise attack from New Orleans, up the Mississippi River.  Fortunately for Canada, Napoleon ended up invading Moscow rather than Ottawa.

My prayer is that Jesus may raise up many more Alexander Mackenzies, people with bull-dog persistence, inexhaustible energy, and insatiable curiosity.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-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.

– 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