No. 61
22nd May 1865
I went on the 10th Instant in company with the Roman Catholic Bishop of British Columbia and the Reverend Father Fouquet, of the Order of Mary Immaculate, to visit the Indian School established by the Mission at St. Mary's ontheManuscript image the Fraser, 30 miles above New Westminster.
2. As soon as the vessel which conveyed us hove in sight a feu de joie was fired by some Indians who had come to the Mission to see the first inspection of the Native Schools made by the Governor of the Colony. On our landing a salute was fired likewise with all the muskets available. We were then escorted through an Arch erected by theboysManuscript image boys and extremely well decorated under the direction of the priests. A Song of welcome to me was then sung by the boys in Chinook and Addresses read to me by them in English and French. Immediately afterwards they sang "God save the Queen" in English extremely well and then we followed them to the School room.
3. There were forty-eight boys present, of whom, I believeupwardsManuscript image upwards of forty were of pure native race. The remainder had some intermixture of White blood. Their ages ranged from eight to fourteen years. Their fine healthy appearance and good clothing at once satisfied me, that in this institution at least the native race was not weakening and dwindling by contact with Europeans. Indeed the pupils appeared more robust and active than the boys of their age whom I had seen in the forests, andtheirManuscript image their cheerful faces presented an agreeable contrast to the worn and anxious countenances of the Seniors who came to be present at the Inspection.
4. The School room was large, clean and well ventilated. It had been decorated with flags, boughs and ribbons by the boys. I found them on examination to have made very considerable progress in arithmetic, geography, and spelling. Some of the handwritingwasManuscript image was extremely good. The priests have almost entirely thrown aside the inconvenient Chinook Medium and teach the boys in English. Even better than the writing was the singing. I have not heard in any school with which I have officially come into contact, here or elsewhere, any piece of music so well delivered as was one Catholic hymn by these Indian boys.
5. We visited the dormitoriesandManuscript image and found them thoroughly ventilated, and supplied with double rows of small beds as neat and clean as any children of the lower classes could desire.
6. About an Acre has been already laid out in flower gardens and orchard by the pupils, and additional land is now being fenced in and cleared for the planting of potatoes.
7. The regular inspectionoverManuscript image over, the boys competed for trifling prizes in archery, canoe racing and athletic games. It was gratifying to observe the spirit of order and discipline which restrained the manifestations of the great animal spirits evidently enjoyed by all.
8. On our departure the whole school stood bareheaded on the bank while they sang again their Chinook song of welcome, and at my requesttheManuscript image the Catholic hymn once more. They closed with "God save the Queen," and three as hearty cheers as any English schoolboys could have given.
9. Though the Establishment at St. Mary's is not yet on a large scale, it is sufficient to show that the native race can thrive and improve under civilized habits. Mind and body seemed to have expanded together, and the cultivation oftheManuscript image the brain, if one could judge by the demeanor of the students towards their preceptors, to have improved the impulses of the heart.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
A very interesting report. I presume some verbal recognition of the services of the Roman Catholic Authorities at this School will be signified.
ABd 25 August
TFE 25 August
EC 25
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 62, 3 September 1865.