Montreal Gazette, 22 Jan 1878, page 2
Temperance Among the Indians
A very interesting temperance meeting was held among the Indians of St Francis on Friday last, January 18th. For a number of years the Church of England has been laboring in that place, and there, as everywhere else, the influence of the Gospel has been neutralized by the thirst of the Indian for intoxicating drinks. By the efforts of the Revds Octave and Alfred Fortin a beautiful brick church and a comfortable parsonage have been erected in the village. Through intercourse with the neighbouring French and travel in the United States most of the Indians have acquired a limited knowledge of both English and French. It is nevertheless, very difficult to reach many of them, especially the young, except through the medium of their own language. And that has been another serious drawback to the work of the church. The meeting was called by the Rev Edouard Roy, the present incumbent, and the late director of the Sabrevois College. The Rev Edwin Benedict, the incumbent of Bristol, PQ and the Rev LN Tucker, the curate at Sorel, occupied seats in the chancel, while about one hundred persons occupied the pews of the church. The majority of those present were Protestant Indians; there was, however, besides these a goodly number of Roman Catholic Indians and Roman Catholic French-Canadians. After prayer and singing, the Rev E Roy made a short address and introduced the Rev LN Tucker, who spoke in French. In the course of an earnest address, the reverend gentleman showed the evils, physical, moral and spiritual, resulting from intemperance, and urged upon his hearers, as men and as Christians, to renounce the death-fraught cup. The Rev E Benedict next spoke in Indian. This young man is a native of St Francis, and an Indian. He studied for some time in the Sabrevois institution, and after undergoing a thorough course of theological training in the Divinity School in Faribault, Minnesota, was admitted on the 17th of June last by Bishop Whipple to the office of Deacon. For half an hour Mr Benedict kept the audience spell-bound. He showed, in the most eloquent terms, that alcohol is neither food to nourish the body nor medicine to cure its ailments, but that it is a mere stimulant; that man for the good of his body and of his mind should be temperate in the use of all things; and that the first of God’s creatures dishonors his Maker when he degrades himself to the condition of a drunkard. The Rev Mr Tucker again came forward to speak in English. He alluded in fitting terms, to the greatness, moral and material, of the old Indian tribes, and urged upon his hearers, as individuals, to emulate the virtues and the honor of their ancestors, and to break from the degrading bonds of intemperance. The meeting, as a whole, was a great success. Hymns in English, in French and in Indian were sung in very good style. And the Indians and the white men returned to their homes, some resolved to sign the pledge, and all deeply impressed and edified by the words of counsel and of exhortation they had heard.