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History of the North-west 

Alexander Begg 

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Prince Rupert, 

First Governor Hudson's Bay Company, 1670. 

OF ' 

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Sir Donald A. Smith, LL.D., K.C.M.Q., M.P., 

Qooernor of The Hudson's Bay Company , 1894, 

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Entered Acoording to Act of the Parliunent of Canada, in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and ninety-four, by Alexander Beoo, at the Department 
of Agriculture. 




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A/ ,*■>■ '< — 

y- 'J' -3^ 

31= '22 




Governor of The Hvdson^s Bay Company, 
Etc., Etc., Etc. 

Sir, — I well remember the deep anxiety and dread which 
pervaded all classes in the Red River Settlement prior to your 
arrival at Fort Garry, in December, 1869, as Special Com- 
missioner from Canada. I also have a very distinct recollec- 
tion of the feeling of relief experienced by the community 
when it was learned that you had come with full authority to 
bring about a settlement of the misunderstanding then exist- 
ing between the people of the country and the government of 
the Dominion. 

Tlie following pages will show that yours was no easy task, 
and, but for the skill and judgment displayed by you at that 
trying time, the hopes raised in our breasts of a speedy ending 
to our terrible suspense would not have been realized. To 
you more than anyone else the Dominion is indebted for a 
peaceful solution of the questions then agitating* the minds of 
the people in the North- West, and the wise and soothing in- 
fluence exercised by you in bringing together, and uniting the 
various contending parties in the settlement, is due the fact 
that bloodshnl was avoided, and the horrors of an Indian war 
averted. Only those who were on the spot and knew the 
difficulties you had to contend against can realize the herculean 

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task you were entrusted with, or the great service rendered to 
Canada at that time. 

From the day when, through your advice and co-operation, 
a convention of all the various conflicting parties was brought 
alx)ut, and a bill of rights franked for presentation to the 
Dominion Government, the North- West gradually assumed a 
peaceful attitude, until by the passing of the Manitoba Act all 
cause for discontent or discord was removed. 

The march of civilization in the North- West then began, and 
to-day, instead of Ixiing a vast hunting ground and wilderness, 
it is tlui home of thousands of thrifty settlers, and with its 
great transcontinental railway from ocean to ocean, places 
Canada in the proud position of being one of the brightest 
jewels in the British Crown. 

I l(X)k upon the successful carrying out of your very impor- 
tant mission to the North- West in 1869 and 1870 as the 
turning point in the history of the Dominion, because from it 
sprang all the subset^uent vast undertakings which to-day 
place Canada in the foremost rank as one of the most impor- 
tant links in the chain of Imperial unity. And in these un- 
dertakings I may say, without distracting from the value of 
their services, that without your aid and counsel your truly 
eminent colleagues would have found it difficult if not im- 
possible to accomplish what has been done. 

The Dominion as a whole, and the North-West in particular, 
owe much to you, and in the furtherance of science, art, liter- 
ature, and in the alleviation of the sufferings of mankind, your 
hand, as the hand of the Ixinefactor, is seen in many places. 
For my own part, undeserving though I be, you have been to 
me alwavs kind and considerate. 

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I wish, then, as an humble token of my gi-eat respect for you 
and the deep gratitude I feel for all your goodness to me and 
mine, to dedicate to you my work, which I fear is but a poor 
attempt to chronicle events relating to so great a country. 

I remain, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


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PANIES - - - - - - - 193 






EXPLORATORY WORK FROM 1773 TO 1860 - - - 238 











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TLERS 347 



















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No. 1. — ROYAL CHARTER OF 1670 - - - - iii 






ON 1st DECEMBER, 1869 - - - - xxvii 



DOUGAU., ON 2nd DECEMBER, 1869 - - XXxi 

CEMBER, 1869 xxxiii 





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A History of the North- West would be incomplete if it 
did not contain an account of the early discoveries in North 
America. Various nations claim the right to be considered as 
discoverers prior to the time of Columbus, but the historical 
evidence in most cases is based on documentary proofs of 
a disputable character, and the details are not so precise as 
to be convincing. Priority in the discovery of America is 
claimed by the Basques, the Normans, the Welsh, the Irish, 
the Scandinavians, and among the races of eastern Asia, the 
Siberian, Tartar, Chinese, Japanese and Malay. 

According to the Icelandic historian, the discovery and set- 
tlement of Iceland led to the opening of America to Europe. 
The distance to the eastern shore of Greenland is only forty- 
five miles, and it is not surprising to hear that some of the 
ships when sailing to Iceland, and driven out of their course 
by storms, caught sight of the coast of Greenland, although 
it was long after this that Erik the Red landed on its shores. 
The consistent and natural proof of any occupation of Amer- 
ica by the Norsemen, south of Da\ns Straits, is certainly lack- 
ing, but there is beyond this what is perhaps, after all, the 

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moHt satisfactory way of solving the problem — a dependence 
on the geogi-aphical and ethnical probabilities of the case. 
The Norsemen have passed into cre<lible history as th^ most 
hardy and ventui>iome of races. Their colonization of Ice- 
land and Greenlan<l is indisputable, and it is hardly conceiv- 
able that they should have stopped short at this point. There 
was not a long stretch of open sea between Greenland and 
Labra<^lor, a voyage for which their ships and crews were not 
unfitted, and it is, therefore not unlikely that some vessels 
may have l>een blown westerly out of their course in the 
same way as Greenland was first discovered, and the main- 
land coast once found, to follow it to the south would have 
been the most consistent action on the part of the discoverers. 
The weight of probability is therefore in favor of the Norse- 
man descent upon the coast of the mainland somewhere to 
the south of Greenland, but the evidence cannot be classed as 
well established historical records. 

It is more than probable that successive emigrations took 
place from eastern Asia to the American shores centuries be- 
fore the Columbian discoveries, and there is hardly a stronger 
demonstration of such a connection than the physical resem- 
blances of the peoples now living on opposite sides of the 
Pacific Ocean in the upper latitudes. It is (juite conceivable 
that the great northern current setting east athwart the 
Pacific should have carried vessels to the shores of California, 
and further noHh. It is certainly possible that in this way 
the Chinese or Japanese may have helped populate the west- 
eiTi slopes of the American continent. 

The probabilities being then in favor of the Pre-Columbian 
discoveries, it will be well to take a glance at them in chrono- 
logical or<ler. As far back as 340 B.C. we find it claimed 

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that Pythias, the Greek philosopher, discovered Iceland, but 
there seems to be no record or note of any further discovery 
until the sixth century, when King Arthur is said to have 
sailed for that northern land. In the Saga of Thorfin Karl- 
sefne, a portion of America, including that part wliich is now 
known as North and South Carolina, Georgia, and East 
Florida, is called "Irland edh Mykla," that is, "Great Ire- 
land," which arose, it is said, from the land being colonizr^d 
by the Irish, probably in the year A.D. 800. 

In the year 795 it is claimed that a number of Irish priests 
visited Iceland and formed a settlement there, for in 875, 
when Ingolf , a jarl, of Norway, went there with Norse settlers, 
they found the Irish in possession. The latter, however, 
refused to consort with the newcomers, and the result was 
that the Irish finally abandoned the country to the settlers 
from Norway. Previous to Ingolf s visit, the celebrated 
Norse viking Naddod, in 860 discovered Iceland, naming 
it Snowland, and in 864 he was followed by Gardar, of 
Swedish extraction, who named the land "Gardar's Holm." 
In 870 it was visited by two Norsemen, Ingolf r and Leif 
(Hjoerleifr), by whom it was called Iceland, which name it has 
retained ever since, and from this time there were successive 
emigrations of Norse, until, within half a century, a little 
republic of nearly seventy thousand inhabitants was establish- 
ed In 876 a sea-rover named Gambiorn, while making for 
Iceland, was driven in his ship out of his course in a westerly 
direction and sighted a strange land, but his reported discov- 
ery remained unconfirmed for over one hundred yeara, until 
" Erik the Red," in 984, sailed for the new land and found it. 
It appears that Erik was of a lawless character, and having 
to flee from Norway for killing a man in a brawl, he took 

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refuge in Iceland, where, on again outraging the laws, he was 
sent a second time into banishment. It was then that he set 
sail for the land which Gambiorn had reported, and when he 
discovered it, he returned to Iceland with the tidings. In 
the following year Erik sailed again for Greenland with a 
fleet of thirty-five ships, only fourteen of which, however, 
reached land, and it was on this visit that he gave the name 
of " Greenland " to his discovery, in order, it is said, to attract 
settlers, who would be favorably impressed with so pleasing a 
name. A flourishing colony of Icelanders and Noi'semen was 
thus established, and maintained its connection with the 
mother countries for 400 years. 

The discovery of the mainland of America, is said to have 
happened in this way. In 986, " Erik the Red " took up his 
residence in Greenland, and accompanying him was an Ice- 
lander, named Herjulf. The son of the latter, named Bjamo 
Herjulfson, was in Norway when his father left Iceland with 
Erik, and on his return he at once set out for Greenland, but 
during the voyage, the ship being driven out of its course, he 
sighted land, which was flat and covered \^dth trees, altogether 
different from what he expected to see. Bjamo knew that 
he was not looking upon Greenland, and therefore^ did not 
attempt to land, but continued on his voyage, and there is 
reason to believe, from the course of the winds, the direction 
of the currents, and other circumstances, that the point first 
sighted by Bjamo was one degree south of where Boston now 
stands, and that he afterwards saw the shores of Nova Scotia 
and Newfoundland. Thus it is claimed that Bjamo Herjulf- 
son, although he did not make a landing, was the first Norse- 
man who beheld any part of the American continent. 

It is related that when Leif Erikson, the son of *' Erik the 

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Red," heard the descriptions given by Bjamo of the land 
he had seen, he resolved to go in search of it. Accordingly he 
bought Bjarno s ship, and, with a crew of thii-ty-five men, set 
sail and found the lands to the south-west of Greenland, 
which he named Heln, and which are now known as New- 
foundland and Nova Scotia. He then proceeded to make 
further discoveries, and after sailing two days landed at or 
near where Fall River is, in Massachusetts, which he called 
Markland, but a German who had accompanied the expedition, 
having found grapes growing, the country afterwards received 
the name of Vinland. Leif then returned to Norway, and, 
finding that King Olaf Tryggvesson had embraced Christian- 
ity, he accepted the new faith, and when he was ready to 
return to Greenland, a priest was assigned to accompany him. 
In this way it is declared Christianity was introduced into 
Gi'eenland, and churches were built, the ruins of one of which 
stand to this day. 

In 1002, Thorwald Erikson, the brother of Leif, resolved to 
make further explorations in the new country of Vinland, and 
for that purpose set sail from Greenland with an expedition. 
But, at the end of three years, Thorwald was killed by the 
natives and buried in Vinland, and in 1831 a skeleton in 
armor was found near Fall River, Massachusetts, which was 
thought by some to be his remains. No regular settlement 
took place in Vinland, however, until the year 1007, when 
Thorfin Karlsefne, with a party of one hundred and fifty -one 
men and seven women, landed in the country and remained in 
it for several years, until hostilities between them and the 
natives compelled them to abandon their colony. During the 
residence of those people in Vinland, it is said that a child was 
borne in 1008 to Thorfin Karlesfne and Gudrid, his wife, and 

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was named Snowe Thorfinnson, this being the first white child 
bom in America, from whom, it is claimed, Thorwaldsen the 
Danish sculptor was descended. 

There were several expeditions by the Norsemen to Vinland 
after 1010, notably in 1011 under Freydis, and in 1121, when 
Bishop Ei-ik Upsi went as a missionary to that country. In 
1347, however, the Black Plague, which raged throughout 
Europe until 1351, and reached even Iceland, Greenland and 
Vinland, put a stop to further attempts at exploration or col- 
onization on the part of the Norsemen. 

So much for those hardy mariners. Now for other nation- 
alities. As a result of the voyages made by them, it is said 
their fame having reached the ears of the Welsh Prince 
Madoc, son of Owen Gwynedd, a seafaring man, he resolved to 
lead a colony to the new western lands, and in 1170 sailed in 
their direction and succeeded in establishing a settlement in a 
fertile land, presumably America. He then i-eturned to Wales 
and fitted out a larger expedition, consisting of ten ships, with 
which he sailed, but was never heard of again. In suppoi-t of 
this account it is claimed that traces of the Welsh tongue ap- 
pear in the language of some of the American Indian tribes. 

Tlie identification of the native Americans with the stock of 
the lost tribes of Israel was a favorite doctrine with the lead- 
ing New England divines of early days. William Penn be- 
lieved in it, and the subject has been frequently discussed pro 
and con. It is held by certain historians that a crew of Arabs 
about the eleventh or twelfth century reached land, possibly 
the Azores, although some are inclined to the theory that they 
succeeded in landing upon the shores of America. And so one 
nationality after another claim the right to be considered the 
first discoverers. According to a book printed in Venice in 

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1558, two brothers belonging to that city, by the name of 
Nicols and Antoine Zeno, while on a voyage were wrecked 
upon an island in the North Atlantic where they lived for 
several years, and while there, they fell in with a sailor who 
gave a wonderful account of a country called Estotiland, and 
also a region on the mainland called Droges. The Zeno bro- 
thers conveyed this information to Venice where it was after- 
wards published in book form, and the subject has since caused 
much discussion and difference of opinion as to its verity. 
The presence of the Basques on the coasts of North America 
is often asserted, and it is even said that it was a Basque mar- 
iner who, having been on the banks of Newfoundland, gave 
Columbus some premonitions of the New World. Several 
Portuguese writers assert that loas Vaz Cortereal, afterwards 
hereditary governor of the Island of Terseii-a, discovered a 
land supposed to be Newfoundland, thii-ty yeai*s before Col- 
umbus made his first voyage. 

In 1477, Columbus visited Iceland, and it is not improbable 
that he received information then of the discoveries of Green- 
land and Vinland, made from 1000 to 1347 by the Norsemen. 
There is also every reason to believe that information relating 
to Vinland was in possession of the Vatican as early as 1100, 
or thereabouts, because in 1112 Pope Paschal II. appointed 
Erik Upsi Bishop of Iceland, Greenland and Vinland, and, in 
1121, Erik Upsi is said to have paid a visit to the latter coun- 
try. Columbus, doubtless, was able to avail himself of the in- 
formation possessed by the Vatican, and possibly took advan- 
tage of it. Washington Irving says : " When Columbus had 
formed his theoiy, it became fixed in his mind with singular 
firmness. He never »poke in doubt or hesitation, but with as 
much certainty as if his eyes had already beheld the promised 

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land/* Such a state of mind as thus described could hardly 
have resulted from mere inspiration, as some claim, but rather 
from certain information in his possession, which probably he 
partly obtained during his visit to Iceland in 1477. 

Some historians are inclined to repudiate altogether the 
claims of the Norsemen as discoverers of America, and Ban- 
croft styles them as " mythological in form and obscure in 
meaning ; ancient, yet not contemporary." It is held that the 
stories of the voyages and privations of the Norsemen ; the 
discoveries they made ; the colonies they formed, and the very 
names and dates given in connection with their early efforts 
are all the outcome of imagination on the part of the Icelandic 
historian. But against this, it does not seem improbable that 
those hardy navigators, having established themselves on Ice- 
land and Greenland, should in the course of their many voy- 
ages have sighted and even landed upon the mainland of 
America, which was not far distant. Washington Ii*ving, in 
his "Columbus, 1828," dismisses the accounts of the Norse- 
men discoveries as untrustwoiiihy, but later, under the influ- 
ence of Rafn and Wheaton, two writei's who studied the sub- 
ject very closely, he moflified his views, so as to consider them 
of possible importance, and finally admitted that he thought 
the facts to be established to the conviction of mast minds. 
Henry Wheaton, wlio was United States Minister at Copen- 
hagen, wrote a historj^ of the Northmen, strongly supporting 
the theory of their discoveries, and Carl Christian Rafn was 
considered the chief apostle of the Noi>*eman belief. But the 
opinions of those two writei*s did not affect Bancroft, who to 
the last expressed his unbelief in the Norseman discoveiy of 
Vinland. Jle admitted, however, that Scandinavians may 
have reached the shores of Labrador, although tlie soil of the 

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United States had not, he declared, one vestige of their pre- 
sence. Professor Daniel Wilson, of Toronto, says : " With all 
reasonable doubts as to the accuracy of details, there is the 
strongest probability in favor of the authenticity of the 
American Vinland." 

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Whatever may be Haid pro or con in regard to the so-called 
Pre-Columbian discoveries, it is to the untiring energy, zeal, 
and perseverance of Christopher Columbus, that the world is 
indebted for the opening up and settlement of the continent 
of America by Europeans. Even allowing that he had fore- 
runners in the work of discovery, and that his expeditions 
may have been prompted by what had been done by others 
before his time, it does not in the least dim the glory of the 
great service he rendered to mankind. 

In 1419, the Portuguese discovered Madeira; in 1448, the 
Azores ; in 1449, the Cape de Verde Islands, and in 1486, the 
Cape of Good Hope, the latter being so named because of their 
expectation of finding a passage that way to the Indies. It is 
probable that the fame of these expeditions led Columbus to 
undertake the finding of a passage by a more northerly and 
dii-ect route, which resulted in his discovery of America. In 
1474 he had some correspondence with Toscanelli, the Italian 
savant, regarding the discovery of land westward, which at that 
time had become in the mind of Columbus a well established 
theory. By reading the ancients, by conferring with wise 
men, by close research, and by questioning mariners returned 
from westerly voyages, he had suflered the thought of a direct 
western passage to India to germinate in his mind for years. 

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In 1484, he urged his views upon the Portuguese King, and 
that Monarch dispatched a vessel secretly to discover, if 
possible the passage. The vessel returned, however, without 
accomplishing anything, and Columbus, when he found out 
the deceit put upon him, left the Portuguese court in disgust. 
He then negotiated through his brother Bartholomew with 
Henry VII. of England, but without result, and finally laid his 
proposals before Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. For seven 
years Columbus experienced eveiy vexation attendant upon de- 
lay, and at last, wearied and disappointed, he turned his back 
upon the court of Spain. He sought the Grandees, but without 
success, and finally turned to the convent of Santa Maria de la 
Rabida, where he made a favorable impression upon the Prior 
Marchena, by whose interposition he was summoned to appear 
before Isabella the Queen. The surrender of Granada at the 
time, and the successes of the Spaniards against the Moors, 
left the sovereigns of Spain more at liberty to listen to his 
proposals, and Columbus was in a fair way to meet with a 
favorable reception. But while the negotiations were being 
carried on, he demanded recognition as viceroy, and a tenth 
share of all income from the territories to be discovered, which 
so displeae-ed Ferdinand and Isabella that all came to an end, 
and Columbus mounting his mule in anger, started for France. 
Two ministers of Spain, however, named Santangel and Quin- 
tanilla being much impressed with the proposals of the navi- 
gator, induced Isabella to send and overtake him before he 
had proceeded far. 

An agreement was then signed on April 17th, 1492, making 
Columbus viceroy, and giving him an eighth, instead of a 
tenth, of the profits from discoveries. This being satisfactorily 
arranged, the work of fitting out the vessels for the expedition 

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was commenced, and after some difficulty and delay in supply- 
ing and manning the ships, Columbus with his small fleet con- 
sisting of the Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina, sailed out of the 
harbor of Palos, on the 3rd August. On the 12th October, a 
low sandy shore w^as seen, and a landing being effected, the 
country was taken possession of in the name of Ferdinand 
and Isabella of Spain. Columbus then continued his voyage 
of disco veiy, during which one of his vessels, the Santa Maria ^ 
was lost, whereupon he returned to Spain, reaching Palos on 
the 14th March, 1493, having been gone a little over seven 
months. He was royally received by the court and people^ 
and on the following 25th September, set sail with seventeen 
veasels on his second voyage of discovery. 

Columbus was a great navigator, but as an administrator of 
affaire in the new land he did not prove to be a competent 
governor. At least serious charges and complaints were laid 
against him before the court of Spain, while he w^as absent on 
his second expedition, which resulted in his returning in 1496 
to defend himself, and this he appears to have done suc- 
cessfully, for we find that in 1498 he undertook a third voy- 
age to America. On this occasion, however, his enemies seem 
to have been powerful, and so active in their pei-secution that 
an emissary was sent out to supersede him, and Columbus was 
brought back to Spain, bound in irons, only to regain once 
more, soon after his arrival, the favor of his sovereigns, and 
on the 9th May, 1502, he set sail on his fourth and last voy- 
age, which in many respects proved to be a disastrous one. 

It is certain that Columbus entertjiined the idea that the 
land he discovered was part of India, and hence the name 
" Indians," which was given to the natives. He died in the 
belief that he had discovered the short passage and stood 

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upon Indian soil, for on his last voyage, during the attack of 
fever which overtook him, his strong faith cried to him, "Why 
dost thou falter in thy trust in God ^ He gave thee India ! " 
But the conviction did not long outlive its author ; the dis- 
covery of the Pacific soon made it clear that a new world and 
another sea lay beyond the discovered land of Columbus. The 
geographical mistake was found out about 1517, but the ap- 
pellation, " Indians," given to the natives, had become estab- 
lished, and it has been retained to the present day. 

The disasters and the sickness which ovei"came him during 
his fourth voyage pi-oved to be too much for even the iron 
frame and will of Columbus, and when he returned to Spain 
in 1504 he was prostrated with weakness and disease. In 
this state he lingered, deserted by his sovereign Ferdinand, 
(Isabella being dead), until on the 20th May, 1506, the gieat 
navigator breathed his last. During his lifetime the services 
of Columbus to his sovereign and the whole world were not 
adequately recompensed, and even after death posterity re- 
mained unmindful of him and his work until Washington 
Ii-ving made a recoixl of the navigator s eventful life — a bril- 
liant effort and a just tribute to the magnanimity of Colum- 
bus' character. 

In 1495, John Cabot laid proposals before Henry VII. to 
make a voyage of discovery to the west, and he and his sons 
were granted patents for any discoveries they might make. 
In May, 1497, therefore, Cabot set sail from Bristol in a small 
vessel with eighteen persons, and on the 24th June he discov- 
ered land upon which he planted a large cross, and the flags 
of England and St. Mark, thus taking possession in the name 
of the English King. On this voyage Cabot discovered New- 
foundland, saw Labrador, and entered the Gulf of St. Law- 

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reiice, which appeared to him to be the North-West passage 
to the Eist Indies or China, and under this impression, with- 
out penetrating further, he returned to England and was 
knighted for his services. His discoveries gave the crown of 
England a claim to the sovereignty of North America, and 
laid the foundation of the extensive commerce and naval 
power of Great Britain. Henry VII. now granted Cabot 
second letters patent to undertake another voyage, but for 
some reason he did not take conmiand, but handed it over to 
Sebastian who was wnth him on the first expedition. As to 
the exact time when Cabot made his discovery, an ancient- 
map, drawn by Sebastian, has the following words w^ritten on 
it by him in Latin : " In the year of Our Lord, 1497, John 
Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian, discovered that 
country which no one before his time had ventured to 
approach, on the 24th day of June, about five o'clock in the 

In the summer of 1498, Sebastian Cabot having taken his 
father's place, sailed from England with two ships, but on 
reaching America the severity of the cold in the extreme 
north, and other reasons, principally a desire to explore the 
country, induced him to turn southward, and having procee<l- 
ed for some distance, want of provisions obliged him to return 
to England. 

Gaspard Cortereal made the next voyage to America in 1500, 
starting from Lisbon wnth two vessels and touching at Green- 
land, or, as he named it, " Terra Vertle," but the expedition 
was altogether barren of results. On the 15th May, 1501, 
Cortereal sailed a second time from Portugal, and having gone 
a distance of two thousand miles from Lisbon, he discovered 
an unknown land and coasted along its shores. The number 

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of large rivers encountered encouraged the belief that it was 
no island and Cortereal concluded that it must be connected 
with the country discovered to the north the year before, 
which at that time could not be reached on account of the ice. 
They found the land very populous and brought aw^ay a num-' 
ber of the natives to be sold as slaves in Portugal, and while 
making their explorations, they came across a broken sword 
and two silver ear-rings, evidently of Italian make, which 
were probably relics, of the visit of Cabot to the countiy three 
years earlier. Tw^o of Cortereal's ships, one having fifty slaves 
on board, reached Lisbon safely on their return voyage, but 
the vessel containing Gaspard Cortereal himself w^as never 
heard from, and must have foundered at sea. 

The next year, on the 10th May, Miguel Cortereal stai-ted 
with three ships, having obtainerl the king s permission to. go 
and search for Gaspard. The expedition reached the Ameri- 
can coast, and finding so many rivers and havens, the ships 
divided in order to pursue the search more effectually and 
agreed to meet at a certain rendezvous within a given time. 
Two ships met at the appointed place and date, but the one 
with Miguel Cortereal was never heard of, and the theory 
is that both he as well as Gaspard were killed by the 
natives while trying to kidnap them for slaves. A year later 
an expedition was sent out at the expense of the king in 
search of them, but returned without finding any trace of 
either brother, and when Vasqueanes Cortereal, the governor 
pf Terseira, proposed to undertake another expedition in per- 
son, the king refused to give the necessary pennission. 

The next «liscoverer we hear of is Amerigo Vespucci, who is 
said to have made two voyages to America by order of 
Ferdirand of Spain, one of which was in 1497, only five years 

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after Columbus* first expedition, and the other in 1499. Ves- 
pucci also claims to have made two subsequent voyages in the 
service of King Emanuel, of Portugal, in 1501 and 1503, but 
as the only accounts written of these were by Vespucci him- 
self, there is grave doubt if they ever took place. Vespucci is 
generally looked upon as an imposter. 

About this time, the fishermen of the ports of Brittany are 
known to have reached the banks of Newfoundland, and in 
1506, Jean Denys from Honfleur is said to have visited the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence and to have made a chai*t of it. In 
1508, Thomas Aubert, a Dieppe mariner, undertook a voyage 
and brought home with him to France the first specimens of 
the American natives ever seen there. 

In 1517, Henry VIII. fitted out a small squadron for the 
discovery of a North- West passage to the Indies, and Sebas- 
tian Cabot went wnth it, but unfortunately Sir Thomas Pert, 
V^ice- Admiral of England, was placed in supreme command, 
and w^hen during the voyage a mutiny of the sailors occurred 
Sir Thomas became faint-hearted, and Cabot, perceiving his 
cowardice, resolved to I'eturn home. The records of this ex- 
pedition, however, according to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, show 
very clearly that during the voyage Sebastian Cabot actu- 
ally entered Hudson's Bay ninety years before Hudson 
discovered it. In a letter written by Sebastian Cabot to 
the Pope 8 Legate in Spain, he says that it was from the con- 
sideration of the structure of the globe that he formed the 
design of sailing to the Indies by a North-West course. He 
must have had some idea afterwanls of finding a passage by 
the south, for he made a voyage to Brazil and was soon after 
drawn into the Spanish service. He then was employed to 
conduct a squadron through the straights of Magellan to the 

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East Indies, but instead of doingf this he landed and formed a 
settlement in Paraguay, and remained there live years, at 
the end of which time he left the Spanish service, and once 
more joined that of England, but he was not known after- 
wards to encourage further expeditions to find a North- West 
passage until 1553, shortly before his death. 

The next explorer of note was Giovanni da Verrazano, who, 
in 1521, begins to appear in Spanish history as a French cor- 
sair, which brought him to the notice of Francis I. His voy- 
age of discovery, which was commenced in 1523, was con- 
nected with one of those predatory cruises, because we learn 
from Spanish sources, that in that year Verrazano, or Juan 
Florin, as he was known, captured the treasure sent home by 
Cortes to the Emperor, and brought it into Rochelle. He 
started with four vessels, but three of them becoming disabled 
by storms, he proceeded in the remaining one, named the 
Dauphine, and in 1524 reached the shores of what is now 
North Carolina, where he found the land inhabited by people 
of a simple and kind disposition, who received him and his 
men in a friendly maimer. It seems certain that Verrazano 
entered the harbor of New York, but only partly explored it, 
owing to the prevalence of storms at the time, and he is said 
to have also discovered Newport, and to have sailed a distance 
of more than seven hundred leagues along the coast, exploring 
it carefully as he went. It is stated that subsequently he 
made two more voyages, and there is much doubt about his 
fate, one account being that he was killed by the natives of 
America during an expedition in 1527, and another that he 
was captured at sea by the Spanish, and hung as a pirate at a 
small village between Salamanca and Toledo. It is further 
stated that he gave a map to Henry VIII. of England, 

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although he does not appear to have been employed by that 

About the same time as Verrazano made his first voyage, 
Estevan Gomerz, a Portuguese employed by Spain, sailed 
from Corunna, and made an attempt to discover a North- 
West passage, but only reached as far as Labrador. It is said 
that on his homeward voyage going south, he landed at the 
island of Cuba, and failing to obtain the rich cargo of spices 
he expected to bring home, loaded his vessel with kid- 
napped savages of both sexes, and reached Corunna in No- 
vember, 1525. 

In 1527, Henry VIII. sent out an expedition consisting of 
two ships under command of John Rut, but this navigator, in 
his efforts to proceed westward of Labrador coast, became beset 
with ice, and, one of his ships having foundered, the voyage 
was an unsuccessful one. It was not until 1536 that the next 
expedition left England, when a number of gentlemen in Lon- 
don undertook to send one to the west, the chief promoter of 
the enterprise being an individual named Hore, who was skilled 
in cosmography. The crews of the ships on this occasion suf- 
fered great privation during the voyage, and but for the timely 
appearance of a French vessel they would have all perished, 

But the French fishermen were even then actively engaged 
on the banks of Newfoundland, and the value of their industry 
soon attracted the attention of Chabot, an admiral of France, 
who induced Francis I. to once more send an exploring expe- 
dition to America. On this occasion, Jacques Cartier was 
selected and placed in command, who, on 20th April, 1534, left 
St. Malo with two ships on his first voyage of discovery, and 
in twenty days he was upon the banks of Newfoundland, and 

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soon afterwardfl entered the great gulf of St. Lawrence, being 
the first white man to do so. He advance<l inland only a 
short distance, and while anchored in a bay, named it Baye du 
Chaleur, on account of the intense heat experienced there. 
Thus Cartier discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to 
commemorate it, he set up a large cross at Gaap(5, with a 
shield attached having the words " Vive le Roi de France " on 
it, after which he returned home on the 25th July. 

The main object of Cartier's first voyage proved a failure, 
and the route to the Indies remained undiscovered, but the 
brave navigator determined to persevere, and his represen- 
tations having the desired effect, Admiral Chabot once more 
perauaded Francis L to sign a commission in his favor. 
Three vessels, the Great Bermina, 120 tons ; the Little Her- 
mima, 60 tons, and a small galley, the Emeriloi}, were fur- 
nished by the king for the voyage, and on Easter Sun- 
day, 1535, the expedition sailed. On this voyage, Cartier 
gave the name of L'Assomption to the island which is now 
known as Anticosti ; he discovered and explored the Sague- 
nay, called the Lsland of Orleans " Bacchus Island," from 
the number of grapes growing on it, and gave names to sev- 
eral islands and points on the lower St. Lawrence. At Stada- 
cona (Quebec), Cartier met the Indian chief Donnacona, and 
was received with great rejoicing by the natives, but when he 
proposed to ascend the river, Donnacona opposed it. Cartier, 
however, persisted in going, and, leaving his ships behind, 
ascended in boats to Hochelaga, where he was welcomed by 
the Indians, who pointed with pride to their cultivated fields 
and to their town, which was composed of substantially 
built houses, and fortified, having one gate, with a gallery 
extending along the top of the wall, the ammunition consist- 

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ing of pebbles and stones. Cartier was regarded as a superior 
being by the Indians, who honored him as such, and asked him 
to heal their sick. He read to them from the gospel of St. 
John, and all the Passion of Christ word by word, after 
which he distributed presents midst a flourish of trumpets. 
He then ascended the Mount, which he named Mont Royal, 
to view the surrounding country, and was astonished at the 
evidences of thrift and prosperity which he saw among the 
Indians. Yet in less than seventy years after this, when 
Champlain reached the site of ancient Hochelaga, the forti- 
fied town and its inhabitants had disappeared — the Hoche- 
lagans were extinct. 

When Cartier returned to Stadacona finding that his 
people had erected a fort and mounted artillery, he decided 
to stay during the winter at the harbor of Holy Cross (Que- 
bec), and made his preparations accordingly. Scurvy, how- 
ever, attacked his men, causing much distress and loss of life, 
during his stay, until the natives found a remedy in a decoc- 
tion made from a tree called "Ameda." In May, 1536, he 
set up a cross and the arms of France, and having entrapped 
the chief Donnacona canned him on board ship and prepared 
to sail for France, but the natives being most unwilling to 
lose their king, protested, and were only pacified when Cartier 
promised to return the following year with Donnacona. 

The voyage home was a tempestuous one, and it was not till 
July Ist, that Cartier once more anchored in the harbor of St. 
Malo. It is said by some writers that he now discouraged fur- 
ther eflbrts to explore America, but this is not borne out, it 
being much more likely that the king and people of France 
were dissatisfied with the results of the two voyages made by 
him, especially as he had lost a number of his men and left 

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one of his ships behind him. Certainly the interest in ex- 
peditions to America appears to have ceased for a time, and 
five years elapsed before another one was fitted out. Amonj/ 
thase attracted by the reports of Cartier concerning the riches 
of the new land was Jean Francois de la Roche, lord of 
Roberval, who, in the year 1540, induced Francis I. to grant 
him a commission, creating him Lieutenant and Governor 
of Canada and Hochelaga, with Caitier as his assistant. 
The apparent object of the proposed expedition was stated as 
" undertaken to discover more than was done before in some 
voyages, and attain, if possible, to a knowledge of the country 
of the Saguenay, whereof the people brought by Cartier de- 
clared to the king that there were great riches and very good 
lands." Roberval was commissioned January 15th, 1540, but 
Cartier was not appointed until the following October, when 
he set sail with three ships on the 23rd May, 1541, Rober- 
val not having completed his arrangements to accompany 
him, and on the 22nd August the expedition arrived at the 
harbor of Holy Cross. In the meantime Donnacona had died 
in France, or such was the excuse given by Cartier for not 
bringing him back a« promised to his people, at which the 
Indians, although apparently satisfied with the explanation, 
were not pleased, and the chiefs plotted against the French 
to obtain revenge. 

Cartier now built a fort called Charlesbourg Royal, where 
he left his fleet, and ascending the St. Lawrence in boats 
passed Hochelaga and attempted to ascend the rapids, two of 
which, it is said, he actually stemmed. He then returned to 
Charlesbourg Royal where he wintered, but saw little of the 
natives, who kept aloof from him^ and in the spring, having 
collected some quartz crystals which he mistook for diamonds, 

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and some thin scales of metal supposed to be gold, he sailed 
for France. It is said that he met Roberval at St. Johns, 
Newfoundland, on his way out to Canada, but declined to re- 
turn with him, pleading his inability to stand against the 
savages with so small a number of men. It is also said that 
he stole away from his chief in the night, but this is disputed. 
Cartier, however, undoubtedly returned to France, and his 
chief proceeded to the St. Lawrence without him. It is pos- 
sible that Roberval reached his winter quarters in 1541, but it 
was not till July, 1542, that he began to fortify France Royal 
below Quebec, during which he had a great deal of trouble 
with his men, and also with the Indians, who were unfriendly 
to the French from the time that Cartier stole their king, so 
that extreme measures had to be used on several occasions to 
assert the authority of the governor. The whole expedition 
of 1541 and 1542 was a failure, and some time in 1543 Car- 
tier visited the St. Lawrence and brought Roberval home to 
France. In reviewing the expeditions of Cartier and Roberval 
it has been said that they did not bear much fruit, but if we 
may judge from the activity that prevailed in the maritime 
towns of France during 1540 and subsequent years, and the 
number of private expeditions fitted out to go to America, it 
would seem as if the work of the explorers had been produc- 
tive of good by exciting interest in the new land. From 1541 
to 1545 this ardor was sustained, and private enterprise con- 
tinued to be engaged in trading to Canada until 1597, when 
official colonization was taken up. Cartier, after bringing 
Roberval home in 1543, retired without having derived 
any material financial benefit from his great undertakings, 
flnd dwelt as Seigneur of Linoilon in his plain manor-house 
at St. Malo, where he died, greatly honored and respect- 

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ed, about the year 1555. As for Roberval, he soon passed 
from sight, although, according to Charlevoix, he made another 
attempt in 1549 to colonize Canada. The vet says he was 
murdered in Paris, while others state that he perished at sea. 

In 1553, an expedition, of which the then aged Sebastian 
Cabot was the chief promoter, sailed under command of Sir 
Hugh Willoiighby and Richard Chancellor, but it ended in dis- 
aster, as the three ships comprising the fleet in following an 
easterly course were overtaken by winter, and Willoughby and 
all his men perished by famine and cold. Three years later, 
another vessel, commanded by Stephen Burroughs, was sent 
out in a north-easterly direction, and in midsummer the ship 
was beset on all sides by masses of ice, and was in danger of 
being annihilated so that all efforts to proceed were unavailing. 

On the death of Sebastian Cabot, Martin Fi-obisher under- 
took a voyage pf discovery to the North, and sailed from 
Blackwall on June 5th, 1557, but returned in October of the 
same year without having accomplished any important results. 
He is said to have brought home some mica which he mistook 
for gold, and he evidently gave glowing accounts of the new 
land, for in May, 1577, a second expedition was fitted out 
which proved as barren of results as the first one, yet 
Queen Elizabeth was so pleased with reports of the western 
world furnished by him that she sent him out a third 
time in 1578. Nothing of much importance came of the 
voyages about this time until,* in 1585, John Davis sailed from 
Dartmouth about the month of June, and discovered the 
straits that bear his name. Subsequently he undertook two 
other expeditions, one in 1586, and the last one in 1587, when 
he reported very favorably of the possibilities of a North- West 
passage, but for eleven years after this, nothing was done 

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until the Marquis de la Roche, a Catholic nobleman of Brit- 
tany, undertook the colonization of New France under the 
auspices of Henry IV., an expedition which resulted only in 
disaster and loss of life. 

In 1599 and 1600, M. Chauvin and M. Pontegrav^ made 
voyages together to the St. Lawrence, and descended to Lake 
St. Peter, formed a post at Tadousac, but, otherwise, ac- 
complished little. Pontegrave, however, became identified 
with the fur trade of the country, and De Monts, who ac- 
companied the expedition and afterwards w^nt back to 
France, was induced by what he had seen, to return to Canada 
and take an active part in its colonization. About the same 
time that Chauvin and Pontegrav^ undertook their expedition, 
James Lancaster sailed to America, and soon after George Way- 
mouth was sent out with two ships by some patriotic mer- 
chants of London and by the Muscovy Company. He made 
for Greenland, but "after reaching a high latitude encountered 
such obstructions from ice and fogs that the crew mutinied, 
and the expedition was obliged to return without making fur- 
ther discoveries. Yet it is said that Henry Hudson was 
guided principally by the reports of Davis and Waymouth in 
making his discovery. 

In 1605, the King of Denmark despatcheil three vessels un- 
der John Cunningham, who reached latitude ee"" 30', when his 
seamen refused to go any further, and the expedition accom- 
plished nothing cf note. Thirteen years after this. Christian 
IV. sent out two well equipped ships, commanded by Jens 
Munk, who traversed Davis Strait, but, failing to find the de- 
sired opening to the west, struck southward to Hudson's 
Strait and Hudson's Bay. He wintered at Chesterfield Inlet, 
where the crew endured such hardships that on the return of 

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summer only three survived out of sixty-five souls to make a 
perilous voyage homeward. 

The account of these several expeditions to America, brings 
us down to the time when Champlain, the " father of Canada," 
made his first voyage, and as his explorations are of special 
interest in connection with the history of the North-West, we 
will devote the following chapter to them and the expeditions 
to explore the interior which were the outcome of his enter- 
prise and activity. 

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ArrER Robervars unfortunate expedition, the French appear 
to have taken no interest in Canada for a period of over half 
a century, until in 1603, Amyar de Chastes, the ^vemor of 
Dieppe, conceived the idea' of renewing the attempt to colonize 
the new world, and for this purpose invited Samuel de Cham- 
plain to accompany an expedition to America. The consent 
of Henry IV. having been obtained, Champlain agreed to go, 
and on the 15th March, 1603, set sail from Honfleur with 
two vessels, one of which was commanded by Pontgrav^, 
and the other by Sieur Prevert. The expedition reached the 
St. Lawrence in safety, and at Tadousac Champlain found 
about a thousand Algonquin Indians assembled, engaged in 
celebrating a victory over their enemies, the Iroquois, whom 
they had just succeeded in defeating, and the wars between 
these two tribes, in which he was forced to take part, were 
destined in after years to interfere greatly with Champlkin's 
efforts at colonization. 

Immediately after this, the iirst survey of the Saguenay 
was made, and then, proceeding in boats, Champlain ascended 
the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga, and endeavored to stem the 
current of the rapids, but having to abandon the attempt, the 
exploiters continued ©n foot along the shore for several miles, 

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obtaining much information about the country from the 
Indians, after which they returned to Tadousac. Champlain 
next explored the southern coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
and collected a valuable cargo of furs with which he returned 
to France, arriving at Havre de Grace on the 20th September, 
1603, and a book describing this voyage being published 
attracted so much attention that commercial enterprise in the 
direction of the new world was greatly stimulated by it. 
About two months after this, Amyar de Chastes having died, 
a commission was granted by the King to Sieur de Monts 
who had succeeded in forming an association of merchants for 
the purpose of prosecuting the fur trade. About November, 
1603, therefore, De Monts with two vessels, one commanded 
by himself and the other by Pontgrav^, set sail accompanied 
by Champlain, but on reaching the coast of America the oper- 
ations of the expedition were confined to Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick, and in the following summer, they extended their 
operations to the more southern shores of America along the 
New England coast. 

In 1607, the monopoly of De Monts in the fur trade was 
abolished owing to the remonstrances of French merchants, 
and the colony which he had established on the Island of St. 
Croix was broken up the colonists returning to France in Sep- 
tember of that year. But Henry IV. was not altogether un- 
mindful of the merits of De Monts when he heard the report 
of Champlain and the colonists, showing all that had been 
done, and he granted a renewal of the monopoly for one year. 

De Monts then fitted out another expedition, at the same 
time appointing Champlain Lieutenant-Govenior, and on 13th 
April, 1608, it left Honfleur, arriving at Tadousac on 3rd Jui e, 
where Champlain found Pontgrav^^, who had preceded him 

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in serious trouble with some traders and fishermen, a difficulty 
which required all his characteristic prudence to settle 
amicably. He succeeded, however, in bringing about peace, 
after which, having constructed a small vessel of fourteen 
tons, he proceeded up the St. Lawrence. 

On the 3rd July, 1608, Champlain laid the foundation of the 
City of Quebec, and the erection of buildings and establish- 
ment of his colony consumed so ma y months, that he and 
his men suffered much from want of supplies. As a result of 
this, a mutiny broke out among his colonists, and a plot to 
assassinate him being discovered, the ringleader, one Duval, 
was tried and hung, which had the effect of preventing any 
further insubordination on the part of his people. During the 
following winter, Champlain on learning from the India: s of 
a large lake and beautiful islands in the interior, determined, 
when the snow had melted, to explore the country thus de- 

On the 18th June, 1609, therefore, he set out on this ex- 
pedition, accompanied by about sixty warriors of the Algon- 
quin tribe, and after a battle w^ith the Iroquois, during which 
the firearms of Champlain experienced by these Indians for 
the first time did good serNnce in obtaining a victory over 
them, he proceeded on his journey, and as he parsed up the 
St. Lawrence it was observed that the Hochelagans existed 
no longer although the ruins of their town remained. Stada- 
cona was no more, and it seemed to Champlain as if the native 
populations of Cartier's day had ceased to possess the country. 
On this expedition he explored the river Richelieu and the 
lake which bears his name, after which he returned to Quebec, 
and soon afterwards set sail for France, arriving at Honfleur 
on the 13th October. 

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De Monte' monopoly had now expired, yet he continued his 
etforts in the new world, and in 1610 Champlain was again 
sent out with two vessels and a commission, authorizing him 
to seize any vessel he should find trafficking in furs between 
Quebec and the sources of the St. Lawrence. Armed with 
this arbitrary power, it was his intention to foster and 
develop the commercial affairs of the new colony. He pur- 
posed exploring the Saguenay and up the Ottawa to Lake 
Superior, and even had some idea of penetrating as far as 
Hudson's Bay, the great inland sea which he had heard some- 
thing of from the Indians, but war between his allies the 
Algonquins and the Iroquois, in which he was obliged to take 
part, prevented him. Again the firearms of the French pre- 
vailed, the Iroquois being defeated, and about this time the 
Hurons, who were then a powerful tribe, appeared upon the 
the scene, with whom Champlain made a treaty of alliance 
and trade, and having thus secured strong allies among the 
Indian tribes, he returned once more to France in the interest 
of his colony. But before his departure he inaugurated a 
plan for obtaining interpreters, which not only proved of 
great service to hiyi in his subsequent enterprises, but also led 
the way to future exploration and settlement in the North- 
West. He began the practice of placing one of his young 
men with the Indians to live with them and learn their 
language and customs, at the same time sending one of the 
latter to France to be educated, and in this way he formed a 
staff of interpreters, whose services became invaluable to him. 
The as.sassination of Henry IV. caused Champlain to again 
visit France in 1610, when, having powerful friends at court, 
he succeeded in securing a renewal of his commission, with 
which he returned to Quebec, and during 1611 gave most of 

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his attention to the management of the fur traxle. It was at 
this time that Chaiti plain established a post on the site, now 
occupied by the city of Montreal, which he named Place 
Royal, but which was afterwards changed to Pointe 6, Calliers. 
The fur trade, owing to excessive competition, now became 
so unprofitable that De Monts and his associates were com- 
pelled to abandon it, and on their retirement Champlain,. 
while in France, formed a new company with the Count de 
Soissons at its head, who, however, died soon after this,, 
and was succeeded by the Prince de Cond^. The formation 
of this company occupied the whole of 1612, and in 1613 
Champlain returned to the St. Lawrence, arriving at Quebec 
on the 7th May, when he undertook an expedition up the 
Ottawa and beyond. It was on this expedition that one 
Nicolas du Vignan asserted to him that in the winter of 1612 
he hafl visited Hudson\s Bay by an overland route from the 
sources of the Ottawa, but it was afterwards proved that 
Vignan was an impostor, and that having heard accounts of 
the great inland sea from Indians he had endeavored to im- 
pase a falsehood upon Champlain. The latter, at the time this 
story was told him, was at Isle de^ Allumettes, on the Ottawa^ 
and only about three hundred miles from Hudson's Bay. 

Champlain now paid another visit to France, where he re- 
mained during the whole of the year 1614, returning to Que- 
bec in 1615, and bringing with him three missionary priests 
and a lay brother RecoUet of the St. Franciscan order. He 
then undertook a most important expedition to explore the 
great interior of which he had heard so much. Ascending 
the Ottawa, he entered the Matawan, and by other waters 
reached Lake Nipissing, which he crossed, and following 
French river entered Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Pre- 

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ceeding on by rivers and lakes and frequent portages, he man- 
aged to reach Lake Ontario and passed over to the New York 
side, where he and his Indian allies had a battle with the 
Iroquois, in which he w^as wounded, which caused him to 
spend the winter with the Hurons, among whom, through 
the exertions of Joseph la Caron, one of the RecoUets who 
accompanied him, the foundation of Indian missionary work 
was then laid 

It will be observed that Champlain made frequent visits to 
his native land, which he did for the purpose of obtaining^ 
aid to better the condition of the colonists. In the winter of 
1616 he once more went to France accompanied by two of the 
Recollets, for the purpose of stimulating interest in the colony 
and the missions which were struggling for existence on the 
banks of the St. Lawrence. But at this time extreme indif- 
ference was shown by the French court and people regarding 
the colonizing efforts in America, and Champlain did not re- 
turn to Quebec until July, 1620, when Madame Champlain, 
then only twenty-two years of age, accompanied him and 
remained in Canada for upwards of four years. About this 
time the foundation of the first convent was laid by the Re- 
collets, who, though few in number, were active and zealous in 
the spread of Christianity. A rival fur company was also or- 
ganized, headed by William de Caeen, but its competition did 
not last long, for in 1622 it became amalgamated with the old 
association established by Pontgrav^, and the two carried on 
business under the name of the " Company of Montmorency," 
the charter granted by the King of France to this companj- 
being for twenty-two years, and with provision in it for 
securing Champlain *s authority as Governor and the main- 
tenance of missions. A treaty of pea<;e was also effected. 

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between the French, the Hurons and Algonquins on one 
side, and the Iroquois on the other, but unfortunately it only 
lasted for a short time. 

Chaniplain's path during the whole of his career in Canada, 
was beset with diflBculties against which he strove wath 
untiring zeal, the greatest obstacle to the success of the colony 
being lack of substantial support from home. For four years 
Madame Champlain labored with him, and endeared herself to 
the colonists, but the strain upon one so delicately reared, and 
the privations she necessarily had to endure, were more than she 
could bear, and on the 15th August, 1624, she returned with 
Champlain to France, carrying with her the love and esteem of 
the people by whom her absence was afterwards deeply regret- 
ted. The object of Champlain's visit to France was the usual one 
to secure more generous support for the colony, and during 
his absence in 1624 he appointed De Caeen to act as governor 
for him. 

The following year the vice-ix>yalty of the colony was 
transferred from " Montmorency " to the " Due de Ventadour," 
a nobleman who was much interested in the extension of the 
missions, and who afterwards contributed from his private 
resources for the support of the Jesuits in Canada. When, 
therefore, Le Caron and Sagard, the Recollet fathers, applied 
about this time to the Jesuits for assistance to carry on the 
missions in Canada, the Due de Ventadour approved of it, and 
in June, 1625, five Jesuit priests and one additional Recol- 
let sailed from France for Quebec. Those were the first Jesuits 
to land in Canada, and on their arrival, owing to reports 
circulated to their disadvantage, they were coolly received by 
the colonists, and if it had not been for the Recollet fathers 
who extended to them their kind offices and hospitality, they 

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would have gone back to France. The presence of the Jesuits 
and Calvinists in Quebec led afterwards to dissensions which 
gave Champlain a great deal of trouble, and led him finally to 
appeal to Richelieu to support his authority. 

From 1625 to 1627 the colonists suffered much from a 
dearth of provisions, and had to endure the rigors of winter on 
short allowance, while the company in France received con- 
siderable profits from the traffic of the St. Lawrence. This, 
however, did not induce more liberal treatment of the colon- 
ists, thus showing that the prosecution of the fur trade, the 
principal business of the country, was not conducive to colon- 
ization purposes. The progi-ess of the colony, therefore, was 
not satisfactory to Champlain or to the Council of State in 
France, and in 1627, Cardinal de Richelieu dissolved the old 
fur company and instituted a new one called " La compagnie 
de la Nouvelle France." consisting of a hundred members com- 
monly known as the " Hundred Associates." Richelieu, him- 
self, was at the head of this company, and its authority was 
to extend over the whole of New France and Florida. Its 
capital was three hundred thousand livres, and it proposed to 
send to Quebec in 1628 from two to three hundred artisans of 
all classes, and to transport within the space of fifteen years 
four thousand colonists to New France, the settlers to be 
wholly supported by the company for three years, aftei: which 
each one of them was to be assigned as much land as he could 
cultivate. Only natives of France and exclusively of the 
Roman Catholic faith were to be allowed to enter the country, 
and the company was to have exclusive control of trade, etc. 

It seemed as if a determined effort to colonize Canada was 
about to be made by the French, and in the spring of 1628 
four armed vessels, convoying a fleet of eighteen transports, 

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laden with emigrants and stores, together wnth one hundred 
and thirty-five pieces of ordnance, left France for Quebec. 
But the expe<lition was destined never to reach the St. Law- 
rence, for the English and French being then at War, a fleet of 
the former under Admiral Kirke captured the transpoi-ts and 
convoy of the ' Hundre<l Associates," and carried thcrn to 
England. Kirke then Hailed to Quebec and 8ummone<l Cham- 
plain to surrender the fort and town, which the latter refused 
to do, but the English, who were prosecuting the war wnth 
vigor, were resolved to take poasession of the French settle- 
ments in North America. Admiral Kirke, therefore, agjiin 
appeareil before Quebec and summoned Champlain a second 
time to surrender, and the latter being weakened in force and 
short of provisions finally capitulated in July, 1629, and the 
forts which he had taken so much trouble to build and 
strengthen passeil into the hands of the English. Champlain 
was taken to England and held prisoner there for about a 
month, when he was liberated. Canada, however, did not long 
remain in the possession of England, for the treaty which was 
signed in 1682 gave France all her North American possessions, 
and Emery de Caeen received a monopoly of the fur trade im- 
mediately afterwards for one year, in order to permit him to 
recover his losses, after which the company of the " Hundred 
Associates " was reinstated, with Champlain once more in com- 

With the restoration of Champlain to power, in 1683, the 
missions in the country w^ere carried on by the Jesuits alone, 
the Recollets never having resumed the work after the occu- 
pation of New France by the English, and in 1638, when Cham- 
plain returned to Quebec, he was accompanied by the Jesuit 
fathera, EnemomI Masse and Jean de Brebeuf, the latter being 

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no stranger in the country, having been a niisHionary among 
the Indians prior to the taking of Quebec by Admiral Kirke. 
It was about this time, also, that the annual reports, called the 
"Jesuit Relations," began to be regularly transmitted from 
Canada to the Order in France, and, up to 1672, they followed 
in regular succession, forming* a series of valuable documents, 
from which much that is known of the early history of Can- 
ada is derived. 

We now come to an epoch in the history of Canada, when 
an event of much importance to the North- West occurred, in 
the sending of John Nicolet on an exploring expedition into 
the interior. We have already mentioned the plan inaugurat- 
ed by Champlain for the purpase of obtaining a staff of inter- 
preters, and now we have to chronicle some of the good results 
of his efforts in that direction. John Nicolet was bom in 
Cherbourg, and at an early age went to Quebec where he was 
detailed by Champlain for work among the Indians. For two 
years he was with the Algonquins, to be trained as an inter- 
preter, and during that time suffered much hardship, but suc- 
ceeded in learning the language. He next lived with the 
Nipissings for eight or nine years, until he was recognized as 
one of that nation, and in 1628, he is said to have paid a short 
visit to the St. Lawrence, but it was not till 1633 that he 
finally returned to civilization, fully competent to act as an In- 
dian interpreter. 

It was because of his knowledge of the Algonquin, Huron 
and Iroquois tongues, and his long experience while living 
with the tribes, that Champlain recalle<l Nicolet to Quebec, for 
the purpose of sending him on a most important mission. 
-Champlain, at that time, although he had visited Lakes Huron 
and Ontario, knew comparatively little about the great inland 

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lakes. He heard reports of their magnitude, saw specimens of 
copper from Superior, and learned of great tribes of Indians 
living far in the interior, but he wished for more definite 
information. He imagined, from the descriptions given him 
of the tribes, that they came from China and Japan, and that 
the great lakes formed the waterway leading to Asia. Those 
far-off Indians were named the People of the Sea, and Cham- 
plain hoped that by gaining more information about them and 
the great inland waters he would discover a new highway to 
the East. So he chose Nicolet and sent him on a journey of 
exploration to the far west. 

In the summer of 1634, therefore, Nicolet, accompanied by 
several Jesuit priests, who were on their way to labor in the 
Huron country, left Quebec and proceeded as far as Three 
Rivers, where he built a fort. In July he resumed his 
journey to visit the Winnebagoes, and as he and his party 
travelled up the Ottawa they endured great hardships until 
they reached Isle des Allumettes, where Nicolet, parting with 
the Jesuit fathers, turned towards the Hurons, entrusted, it is 
said, with authority to make peace between them and the 
Winnebagoes, whom he was on his way to meet. From the 
Huron country he proceeded in a birch bark canoe along the 
northern shore of Lake Huron on to Sault Sainte Marie, 
thence up Green Bay toward the land of the Winnebagoes, 
and on the way several tribes of Indians were encountered 
and presents distributed among them. 

Nicolet was the first white man, so far as known, to look 
upon or traverse the waters of Lake Michigan, and from there 
he proceeded up Green Bay until he reached the Menomonee 
River, where he rested with a tribe of that name, while mes- 
sengers were sent ahead to notify the Winnebagoes of his 

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coming. They, hearing of his proposed visit, dispatched some 
of their people to meet him, and on his arrival feasted and 
honored him. He was looked upon as a Manitou, owing to his 
firearms, which he displayed by firing off, although his mis- 
sion was one of peace, and he succeeded in impressing the 
W^innebagoes so favorably that he resolved to proceed farther 
and visit other tribes. He travelled along the Fox River 
until he came to Winnebago Lake, which he passed through, 
and, once more entering the river, journeyed to the country of 
the Mascoutins. From there he turned his steps southward, 
and, leaving the course of the Fox, visite<l the pi^airies of 
Wisconsin and Illinois, after which he returned to the land of 
the Winnebagoes. 

In the spring of 1635, Nicolet set out on his return to 
Quebec by way of the Mackinaw, along the south shore of the 
Great Manitoulin Island, thence to the country of the Hurons, 
and from there to the mouth of the French River, up that 
stream to Lake Nipissing, and down the Mattawa and Ottawa 
to the St. Lawrence, thus ending an expedition which was the 
means of unlocking the door to the far west. 

At the beginning of 1634, the whole French population on 
the St. Lawrence was hardly one hundred and fifty souls, 
mostly engaged in the fur trajtle for the company of the 
"Hundred Associates," and but little was known of the interior 
of the continent. A few English and otlior strangei*s were 
also engaged in trading with the Indians, but Champlain was 
not long in power until he managed to regain the friendship 
and allegiance of all the Indian tribes, and the French then 
reigned supreme, to almost the entire exclusion of other trad- 
ing nationalities. 

Champlain, after Nicolet's return from his expedition to the 

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far west, was not permitted to follow up the work of explor- 
ing the gi'eat interior. In October, 1635, while attending to 
his duties, he was laid prostrate by a stroke of paralysis, and 
fix)ni that moment never rase from his bed. After a lingering 
illness of two and a half months duration, the great explorer 
and founder of Quebec breathed his last, thus closing a career 
of wonderful activity and enterprise, during which he laid 
the foundations of pnxsperity and happiness for future gener- 
ations. During his last illness he was attended by Charles 
Lalement, who wrote the Relations of 1626, and this worthy 
priest officiated at the funeral ceremonies. It is a strange 
fact, in connection with Champlain, that there has not been 
found in Quebec, so far as known, a single document signed by 
him, and even the resting-place of his remains — the Father of 
New France — is a mystery at the present day. 

In 1641, two Jesuit fathers, named Isaac Joques and Charles 
Raymbault, passed along the shores of Lake Huron, north- 
waixl, and reached Sault Sainte Marie, where they met an 
assemblage of 2,000 Algonquins. The missionary priests were 
among the most active explorers of early days in Canada and 
the North-West, and we only mention the case of Fathers 
Joques and Raymbault, in the present instance, as a link in 
the chain of overland explorations we are now describing, it 
being our intention to devote a whole chapter to the work of 
the missionaries. 

In 1654, a treaty of peace was eflected between the French 
and the Iro(juois, and traders penetrated the regions of the 
upper lakes, returning laden with peltries and telling wonder- 
ful stories of what they saw. No complete record is to be 
found of the journeyings of those hardy men, but stray nar- 
ratives of their exploits indicate that they were in reality the 

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forerunners of the miasionaries and the early explorers. It is 
generally admitted that the " Covreurt* des Boia" the name 
by which those traders and trappers were known, preceded all 
others in the overland exploration of the North- West. 

In 1649, Medard Chouart, known as Sieur des Groseillier, 
and Pierre d' Esprit, or Sieur Radisson, pushed their way be- 
yond Lake Superior, and while journeying with the Hurons 
heard much of the deep, wide and beautiful river (the Miss- 
issippi). So impressed were they with the accounts they 
received that they resolved to penetrate far inland with the 
idea of reaching this river and exploring the country tributary 
to it. They therefore proceeded a long distance into the in- 
terior, trading with the Sioux Indians who inhabited the 
country between the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, and 
after an absence of about a year returned to Montreal with 
three hundred Indians and sixty canoes laden with a wealth 
of skins. So successful had beert this expedition that, although 
De Groseillier only returned on the 19th August, he at once 
collected together a fresh outfit of goods for trading purposes, 
and left Montreal on the 28th of the same month on his re- 
turn to the far west. On this occasion he was accompanied 
by an aged missionary, named Ren^ Menard, and his servant 
Guerin, who, becoming discouraged at the indiflerence of the 
Indians to the cause of religion, left De Groseillier on the 
southern shore of Lake Superior, and went to live with the 
Hurons, in what is now the State of Wisconsin, where the 
worthy priest afterwards perished. 

De Groseillier and Radisson returned from this second trip 
with information, gathered from the Indians, of a great inland 
sea to the north, and a firm determination to go and explore 
it Accordingly, on the 2nd May, 1662, they set out, and be- 

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ing guided by the Indians succeeded in reaching Hudson's 
Bay. The result of this journey and subsequent expeditions 
of De Groseillier, to the north, was, as we will show hereafter, 
the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. 

In 1669, Louis Joliet and one Per^ went as far as Sault 
Sainte Marie, and from there, in company with another 
Frenchman, proceeded through the valley of the Grand River 
to Lake Ontario, where they wintered, returning to Montreal 
in the spring. In 1670, Nicholas Perrot, a leading spirit 
among the "Coureius des Boif^J' visited Quebec and was 
invited by Talon to act as guide and interpreter to his deputy, 
Simon Francois Daumont, the Sieur Sainte Lusson, who was 
commissioned to go to Lake Superior to search for copper 
minas and confer with the tribes. In October, therefore, 
Saint Luason and Perrot left Montre*il and travelled as far as 
Lakes Huron and Superior, where they took possession in the 
name of Louis XIV. 

In 1678, Daniel Greysolon du Luth started from Quebec for 
the purpose of exploring the land of the Dacotahs and Assini- 
boines, and in 1679 he visited parts of the Dacotah countrv% 
where no white man had ever been. He also succeeded in 
bringing about peace between the various tribes in that paH 
of the North-West, and, it has been claimed, extended his explor- 
ations as far as Rainy Lake, but this is a matter open to doubt. 

In 1717, Lieutenant Robei-tal de Lanoue constructed a fort 
at Kaministique, and in 1731, Verendrye arrived there on his 
way to Lake Superior. To Verendrye belongs the credit of 
being the first explorer to cross the plains of the great North - 
West, although it is claime<l by some that the CoureurM de.^ 
Bois preceded him in his great journey to the Saskatchewan, 
an account of which appears in a later chapter of this history. 

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Canada, and especially the North- West, owes much to the 
undaunted zeal, and energy of the early missionaries. Their 
trials and privations would themselves form the subject fol* 
a good-sized volume, and, therefore, in the limite<l space at 
command, although as complete a record as possible will be 
-^ven concerning their great work, many interesting details 
will have to be omitted. 

In 1614, Cham plain brought with him from France three 
-missionary priests, named Denis Jamay, Je^n D olbeau, Joseph 
Le Caron, and a lay brother, Pacifique du Plessis, all of whom 
were Recollets of the Franciscan Order. Joseph Le Caron was 
sent into the interior and travelled a distance of seven hundred 
miles to Lake Huron, and on his arrival at what is now the 
north-western part of Simcoe county, the Huron Indians built 
a wigwam for him, where he offered his first mass. For six 
months, this great Franciscan missionary, amid hardships and 
peril, continued to study the language of the tribes, and on 
the 20th May, 1616, returned to Three Rivers for tlie purpose 
of gaining helpmates in the work he had undertaken. It was 
not, however, until the spring of 1623 that he again visited 
the Huron country, and when he did, he was accompanied by 
Father Nicholas Viel and Brother Gabriel Sagard. The 
Hurons received the three missionaries with open arms, and 

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built a chapel for them, after which Le Caron returned to 
Quebec, leaving Father Viel to continue the mission alone. 
The latter, by patience and perseverance, managed to acquire 
a fair knowledge of the Huron language, but his success in 
instructing and converting the Indians wa« so disappointing 
that he wrote to Le Caron for more help, which resulted in an 
application to the Jesuits to assist in the missionary work of 
New France. 

In 1625, the Franciscans had a number of missions in the 
country, and, besides those in New Brunswick and Nova 
Scotia, had others at Tadousac, Quebec, Three Rivera, among 
the Nipissings and in the land of the Huix)ns. Finding the 
work, therefore, so promising, they were desirous of engaging 
more priests in it, but in this apparently they found some dif- 
ficulty until the Order of Recollets in Paris invited the Jesuits 
to assist them. At that time, the Due de Ventadour was vice- 
roy of New France, and, being much interested in the exten- 
sion of the missions, gave his approval to the employment of 
the Jesuits in the work. Accordingly, Enemond Masse, Charles 
Lalement, who became afterwards a gi'eat favorite with Cham- 
plain, and John de Brebeuf, came over to Quebec. At first 
their reception by the colonists was not of a friendly nature, 
and it is said that if the Recollets had not come forward and 
opened their doors to them, the Jesuits would have returned 
to France. They remained, however, and having command of 
resources from influential friends, they began to build, and 
brought over men to swell the settlement and cultivate the 

It was on the 19th June, 1G25, that Fathers Lalement, 
Masse and Brebeuf arrived at Quebec, and with them came a 
Franciscan priest of noble family, named Joseph de la Roche 

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Dallion. Lalement remained at Quebec, and in 1626 wrote the 
first letter of the now famous "Relations of the Jesuits," while 
Jean de Brebeuf, being selected for the Huron mission, passed 
several months among the Indians, to prepare for the work 
before him. Father Le Caron never returned to the Hurons, 
but about the time Brebeuf started to labor among that tribe 
he departed for France, and died there in March, 1632. 
Father Viel, while returning to Quebec, in 1625, was treacher- 
ously murdered by a Huron guide, at a spot on the bank of 
the rapids, near Montreal, which still bears the name of Sault 
au RecoUet. And thus the Franciscans gradually gave way 
to the Jesuit* 

The record of the Jesuit missionaries in North America is a 
chapter of history full of personal devotedness, energy, cour- 
age and perseverance. Men of intelligence and education, 
they gave up all that civilized life could offer, to share the 
precarious life of wandering savages, and were the first to 
reveal the character of the interior of the country, its Soils and 
products, the life and ideas of the natives, and the system of 
American languages. 

In July, 1626, Brebeuf, in company with Father de Noue, 
who had just arrived from France, and Joseph de la Roche 
Dallion, started for the shores of Lake Huron. A man of 
broad frame and giant strength, this great Jesuit priest com- 
manded the respect of the Indians with whom he travelled, by 
his tireless endurance, as stroke for stroke, with, the strongest 
of the Hurons, he dipped his paddle from morning to night, 
and, to the amazement of his savage companions, showed no 
signs of fatigue. De Noue, who was comparatively aged, was 
unable sometimes to bear the fatigues of the journey, and 
weakened under his load, exciting thus the ridicule of the 

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Indians. Then Brebeuf would hasten to his companions 
assistance, and. relieving him of his burden, would carry his 
double load for hours, much to the astonishment of all. When 
they reached the mission of St. Joseph, they found Father 
Viel's bark chapel still standing, and there Brebeuf and de 
None remained, while Father Dallion went to open a mission 
in another part of the country. 

Father Dallion remained but a short time among the Hu- 
rons, for being summoned to Quebec he went there in 1627 
and never returned to the mission, while Father De Noue, 
unable to master the Huron language, and suffering from ill 
health, departed also in the spring of 1627, and John de Bre- 
beuf was left alone with the Hurons. This wonderful man 
took up his position fearlessly and with a determination to 
fight the battle of Christianity, no matter how powerful the 
foe. Accustoming himself to the hardships of life in an 
Indian camp, he set to work to win the souls of the savages, 
and succeeded in endearing himself to them, even making 
some converts, although, on the whole, he may be said to 
have failed in creating much impression on their hardened 
hearts. When he spoke to them of the doctrines of the 
church, they would say, " Echon," you want us to love the 
Iroquois, to take only one wife and to love her for all time ; 
you say that we must not eat the flesh of our enemies, and 
ask us to give up our medicine feasts and many other things. 
We tell you, you are asking something we cannot do, unless 
your God will change us from what we are. Brebeuf replied 
that his God was all powerful. 

In 1628, he was summoned to Quebec, and a short time 
after his arrival there the city surrendered to the English, 
under Admiral Kirke, who carried the Franciscan and Jesuit 

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priests to England, from whence they sailed for France, in 
October, 1629. 

About this time the court of France seems to have consider- 
ed that both the RecoUets and Jesuits had failed to acquire the 
languages of the Indians sufficiently to suit the work of God 
and His Majesty the King. So each Order hastened to put in 
print evidences of its proticiency, the Recollets publishing a 
Huron dictionary, and the Jesuits a translation of the cate- 
chism into Huron, with the Lord s Prayer and other devotions 
into Montaguais. But Cardinal Richelieu seemed to favor 
neither Order, and when England yielded up her Canadian 
conquest to France, on the 29th March, 1632, he offered the 
mission to his favorite Order, the Capuchins, and only when 
they declined it did he permit the Jesuits to return. With 
the restoration of Canada to France by the treaty of St. Ger- 
main, the great Jesuit missions may be said to have begun, as 
the Recollets did not return to take up the work. 

On the 13th July, 1632, Emery de Caeen entered upon pos- 
session of Quebec, by right of his charter granted for the space 
of one year by the King of France, and when he sailed for 
Canada, Fathers Paul le Jeune and De None accompanied him, 
to look after the missions. In the following year. Fathers 
Brebeuf and Masse arrived with Champlain, and the hopes of 
the missionaries were once more ' directed to the Huron coun- 
try. But the Algonquins of the Ottawa refused them passage 
through their country until Champlain finally purchased the 
right of way, and in July, 1633, Fathers Daniel, Davost and 
Brebeuf embarked with a party of Hurons, and, after much 
hardship, being deserted by their Indian guides, arrived at 
their destination. WTien Brebeuf reached the spot where he 
had previously established the mission, he found his chapel 

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destroyed and the village in ruins, but, taking up a trail, he 
succeeded in finding his old Indian friends, who receiv ed him 
with every manifestation of joy. 

For nearly two y6ars, these three priests worked together, 
and in 1635 Fathers Daniel and Davost returned to Quebec. 
While on their way back, they met Fathers Garnier and 
Chastelain travelling to the northern mission, and at Three 
Rivers they found Father Joques about ready to follow, the 
latter having only arrived from France. So Fathers Daniel 
and Davost knew that Brebeuf would not be alone mar^y 

Father Joques arrived at the mission in September, 1636, 
in time to see the missionaries undergo a terrible ordeal. It 
seems that the summer being dry, the drought had extended 
far and near, and the medicine men of the tribe had blamed 
the black cross in front of the mission for it. Brebeuf painted 
the cross white, and still the drought continued. Then the 
Fathers called a council and prayed for rain, and that evening 
copious showers fell. The effect was greater than all the ser- 
mons the Fathers had preached. Next, a disease broke out 
among the Indians, carr3nng off many, and again the mission- 
aries were blamed and their lives threatened on several occa- 
sions. But Brebeuf was bold and brave, and, although he 
had a narrow escape, he and his fellow priests being marked 
for death, the Hurons, for some unaccountable reason, laid 
down the murderous hatchet, and the mission was spared. 

The missionaries, who now numbered nine persons — Fathers 
Brebeuf, Le Mercier, Chastelain, Gamier, Joques, Ragueneau, 
Duperon, Le Moyne and Jerome Lalemant, who acted as Su- 
perior, had many such escapes and suffered many sore trials 
at the hands of the fickle Hurons. They had two missions, 

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one calleil Conception, and the other St. Joseph, but they 
resolved that a permanent and central residence, isolated from 
the Huron towns, which would serve as their headquarters, 
was a necessity, and the result of this was that a chain of 
buildings, including a large chapel, was erected and naiiied 
Sainte Marie. 

In 1689, Fathers Joques and Gamier visited the Petun 
tribe without meeting with any success, although the follow- 
ing year Father Gamier was more fortunate, and established 
himself in their midst. In 1641, some of the Ottawas, repre- 
senting the great Algonquin tribe, visited the mission, and on 
their return were accompanied by Fathers Raymbault and 
Joques to Sault Sainte Marie, those two priests being the first 
Europeans that ever passed through the Sault and stood on 
the shores of the gi'eat Northern lake. 

In 1640-41, Father Brebeuf and Chaumonot paid a visit 
to a tril)e known as the Neutrals, who lived on the peninsular 
land stretching between Lakes Erie and Ontario, then, as 
now, a most delightful country. But the Neutrals would not 
receive the priests, who, disappointed but not disheartened, 
returned to Sainte Marie on 19th March, 1641. Sevei'al 
Christian Hurons afterwards went to the Neutrals on mis- 
sionary service, and in 1645 a band of the latter, numbering 
about one hundred, visited the Huron village, but before any 
good could result from the efforts of the priests and their 
Huron converts, the Neutrals were almost wiped out of exist- 
ence by the Iroquois. 

In 1642, Fathers Claude Pijart and Charles Raymbault 
opened a mission on the northern shores of Lake Nipissing, 
and again, in 1645, Fathers Pijart and Garreau labored 
amongst the tribes in that part of the country. But they 

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met with very little encouragement, and the sufferings they 
endured and the insults heaped upon them would have dis- 
heartened any other men. These unselfish, patient, enduring 
priests, however, finally succeeded in opening a mission with 
the Xipissings, making many converts among them, and if the 
tribe had not been dispersed in 1650 by the Iroquois, there is 
reason to suppose that they would have been won eventually 
to Christianity. 

And now comes a period of disaster to the brave mission- 
aries. In 1648, the Irocjuois, who were the most warlike and 
ruthless among the American Indians, attacked the Hurons 
and destroyed their villages. Father Daniel was shot dead in 
his chapel while ministering to his people, and Fathera Bre- 
beuf and Lalemant were put to death after enduring the most 
horrible toHur^^s. So complete was the destruction of the 
Huron tribe that the fathera resolved to bum their mission 
houses at Sainte Marie, and remove to an Island on Lake 
Huron, to which they gave the name of Isle St. Joseph. The 
Iroquois next attacked the Petuns, where Fatlier Garnier had 
a mission, who fell a victim to their ferocity, and about the 
saiue time Father Chabanel, left behind by his companions, the 
Hurons, who were fleeing from the Iroquois, was never seen 
again, but it afterwards transpired that a treacherous Huron, 
named Louis Honareenhax, an apostate Indian, met and killed 
him. As a result of these disasters, arising from the assaults 
of the Iroquois, the Jesuit missionaries were finally obliged, 
in 1650, to abandon the Huron country, and descended to 
Quebec with a number of Huron Indians, who afterwards 
located at Lorette. 

In 1655, the undaunted missionaries resolved to make an- 
other attempt to christianize the Iroquois, and PSre Chaumont 

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and Claude Dablon succeeded in preacliing the truths of 
Christianity to them. About the same time, Fathers Gabriel 
Druillettes.and Leonard Garreau started on a misaon to the^ 
Sioux, but on their way were captured by a band of Mohawks, 
and forced to return. In 1661, these two priests opened the 
mission of St. Francois Xavier among the Crees of the North- 
West, and this, and the missions attempted among the Sioux, 
beyond the Mississippi, mark the western limit of the old 
Jesuit efforts to convert the native tribes. 

About this time, the Jesuits resigned the parishes on the 
St. Lawrence, which they directe<l, and confined themselves to 
their college and the Indian missions, and a collision having 
taken place between them and the Governor, in regard to the 
sale of liquor to the Indians, the Government of France sent 
back the RecoUets to labor in Canada. The latter, however, 
did not undertake any important missions among the tribt\s, 
leaving that field to the Jesuits. 

In 1668, the first missionary priest visited Hudson's Bay 
in the person of Father La Couture, who went there by order 
of the Governor of Canada, and this brings us to the time 
when other orders of priests were permitted to enter the field 
of Indian missions. In 1667, in addition to the Jesuit mis- 
sionaries, two Sulpician priests began to labor among the 
savages, Bishop Laval having relaxed his rule, which con- 
fined the Indian missions, under his jurisdiction, solely to the 
Jesuit Fathers. 

In a narrative such as the present one, with the small 
amount of space at command, it is impossible to mention all 
the names of the worthy missionaries engaged during those 
early days in extending the Christian religion in the direc- 
tion of the North-West, or their many acts of devotion : but 

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sufficient has been nientione<l to show the heroism and resig- 
nation, under the most trying difficulties, of those noble men. 
We must not forget, however, the lion-heai*ted Claude Allouez, 
who gave the name of Sainte Mane to the waters dividing 
Lakes Huron and Superior, and who for thiiiy years preached 
the gospel to the Indians, and established missions among no 
less than twenty ditierent nations. 

In 1()71, Father Charles Albanel was the tirst white man 
who made the overland journey by the Saguenay to Hudson's 
Bay. Thus the missionaries gra^lually extended their sphere 
of operations in the direction of the North- West, and while 
the missions were being enlarged and extended in the region 
of the great inland lakes, and priests were known to pay 
visits to the northern seas, it was not until 1731 that a mis- 
sionary entered the vast prairie region of the north. It was 
in that year that Pere Messager accomi)anied the Sieur 
Vareinies de la Veran<lrye on his expedition w«st of Lake 
Superior, and was the tirst Christian priest who ever visited 
what AViis known as Rupert's Land. In 1736, a party of 
voyageurs, under the command of one of the sons of M. de la 
Verandrye, was jiccomj)anied by a Jesuit priest named Pere 
Arneau, and this party, while camped on an island in a lake 
named the Lac de la Croix, a short distance west of Lake 
Superior, was attacked by a band of Sioux, who massacred 
them, the priest being among the numl>er killed. From that 
time until 1818 no serious attempt was made by the Chui*ch 
of Rome to estjiblish itself in the far Noi-th-West, when 
Fathei"s Joseph Norbert Provencher and Severe Dumoulin 
arrived at Red River. 

In closing this chapter, it may Ixi well to give the following 
events connected with the early missionaries in chronological 
order : — 

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1615. Father Joseph le Carou discovered Lake Nipissing, 
and was the first European that sto^xl on the 
shores of Lake Huron. 

1636. Father John Dolbeau met the Esquiuiax. 

1640. Fathers Brebeuf and Chaunionot discovered Lake 


1641. Fathers Joques and Raymbault discovered Lake 


1642. Father Joques was the fii^t white man that ever 

saw Lake George. 
1646. Father Du Quen discovered Lake St. John. 
1()53. Father Poncet was the first white man that sailed 

down the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario. 
1660. Tlie Jesuits traced a map showing Lake Superior. 
16()3. Fatlier La Couture visited Hudson's Bay. 
1()65. Fatlier Allouez confirmed the report of the existence 

of copper on the islands of Lake Superior. 
16()7. Father Allouez discovered Liike Nipegon. 
1671. Father Charles Albanel was the first white man that 

made the overland journey by the Saguenay to 

Hudson's Bay. 
1731. Father Messager was the first missionary to enter 

the great prairie region of the North-West. 

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Although Sebastian Cabot is credited with having entered 
Hudson's Bay, the firat explorer of its shores was, undoubted- 
ly, Henry Hudson. Several attempts to find a northwest pas- 
sage in the direction of the bay were made, prior to Hudson's 
expeditions, but none of them succeeded in penetrating farther 
than Davis' Straits. In 1605, James Hall and John Knight, 
two navigators of note, the former in the employ of the Danes 
and the latter in the service of England, made voyages to the 
northern seas. In 1606, Hall undertook another voyage, and 
in the year following, he and Knight each undertook expe<li- 
tions in search of a short passage to India. In 1612, Hall 
made his fourth and last voyage, which was fitted out by mer- 
chant adventurers in London, but he was mortally wounded 
in an encounter with the Escjuimaux on the coast of Labrador, 
and the vessels returned to England without making any new 
discoveries. None of these expeditious succeede<l in reaching 
Hudson's Bay, and it was left to Henry Hudson to make the 
discovery and explore tht^ shores of that gi'eat iidand sea. 

It is a matter of regi-et that the names of the merchants of 
London, wdio employed Henry Hudson, and supported by 
their means his work of exploration, have not been preserved. 
They were actuated more by public and patriotic motives than 

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to satisfy their own private ends, and they spared no expense 
to accomplish the object they had in view, which was the dis- 
covery of a shorter passage to the East Indies, by the north, 
the north-east, or the north-west, it being said that Hudson 
searched all these directions during the time he was employed 
by them. 

The first voyage undertaken by Henry Hudson for the pur- 
pose of discovering a passage to the East Indies, was com- 
menced on 1st May," 1607, when he left Gravesend, and sailed 
directly north. On the 13th June he sighted land on the east 
coast of Greenland, and again on the 21st, and as he sailed 
northward the weather grew more temperate and pleasant^ 
but, on the 2nd July, it became very cold. On the 14th July, 
Hudson sent a boat ashore, but nothing worthy of note was 
discovered, and he continued his voyage, until in latitude 82** 
he was hindered by the ice, and found it impossible to proceed 
farther. It was his intention to have sailed round Greenland, 
by the north-west, so as to return home by Davis' Straits, but 
he was unable to do this, and made his way back to England 
without attempting any further exploration, the whole voyage 
having lasted about five months. 

On the 22nd April, 1608, Hudson started on his second ex- 
pedition, but on arriving in the northern sea, found himself 
again prevented by the ice in his sev eral attempts to force a 
way through. He endeavoured to find a North-West passage 
by entering Lumley's Inlet, but, baffled in all directions, turn- 
ed south, and finding the river, which still bears his name, he 
ascended and explored it, erecting, at the same time, a fort, 
near the present site of Albany, which he called St. George. 
In 1609, he undertook his third voyage, and landing on 
the coast of Newfoundland, traded some time with the 

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Indians. From there he saileil in a southerly ilirection to 
Virginia, and earrie<l on an extensive tra<Ie along the shores, 
for the purpose, it is thought, of lessening the losses entailed 
upon his employers by his various expeditions, as, so far, he 
ha<l gainer! nothing in the way of finding a short paxsage to 
the Indies, which was the main object of his explorationK 

On the 17th April, IfilO, he saile<l on his fourth and last 
voyage, taking his departure from Black wall, antl hL*^ employ- 
ers, on that occasion, appoint^^d a Mr. Colbume to act as his 
assistant, wliich was evidently i*esente<l by Hudson as imlicat- 
ing a lack of confidence in him. This appears to l)e the case, 
because, after leaving port, and while yet in the river, he sent 
Colbume back in a boat with a letter to the merchants, and 
procee<le<i on his voyage without him. In May, he reache<l 
Iceland, and landing there, was hospitably entertaine*! by the 
people, but his crew, even at this early stage of the exp*-<iition, 
showed signs of mutinous conduct, which he ha<l some diffi- 
culty in quelling. 

In June, he left Iceland, and about the 9th of the month, 
was off Frobishers Strait^s : on the 15th, he saw the land 
which Capt. Davis had name<l Desolation, and 80t>n after this 
enterd the Strait*! which have since borne his name. The 3nl 
August saw him in the Bay, and as he sailed along the shores 
he gave names to the various islands and capes which he 
passed. He thoroughly explored the west shore until the 
month of September, when he once more had difficulty with 
his men, which cause<l him to remove his mat-e, Robert Ivett, 
for mutinous con«luct. and although his stock of pro\nsions was 
getting low, he resolve<l upon wintering in the Bay, and in 
November found a place suitable for the purpose. During the 
winter, Hwlson and his men suffered much from hunger and 

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hardships arising from the cold, and in the spring, when 
preparations were being made to return home, the expedition 
was in a sore plight and the men ripe for open mutiny. Then 
a man named Henry Green, a protegd of Hudson's and a most 
ungrateful scamp, conspired with Robert Ivett, the deposed 
mate, and, with the assistance of a majority of the crew, 
turned Hudson adrift in a boat, with his son and six more, in- 
cluding a Mr. Woodhouse, who ha<-l accompanied the expedi- 
tion for scientific purposes. With little provisions to sustain 
life, the navigator and his companions must either have 
perished from hunger or been killed by the savages, as they 
were never heard of again, while the mutineers theniselves 
suffered greatly during the voyage home, Green being killed in 
fight with the Indians and Ivett dying during the passage. 
When the survivors reached home, one of them, named 
Albacuc Pri«kett, wrote an account of the mutiny, in which 
he endeavoured to screen himself from blame, and from some 
of the particulars he gave, the company of merchants decided 
to send out another expedition in the double hope of saving 
Hudson and finding the desired passage. 

Captain Thomas Button, an able navigator and accomplished 
in other respects, was chosen to take command, and in May, 
1612, he sailed with two vessels, the Resolution and Discovery. 
Although it is known that Capt. Button kept a carefully 
written journal of his voyage, he, for some reason, concealed 
much of the information it contained, and the public gained 
little by his explorations. It was learned, however, that he 
entered Hudson's Straits, and crossed the bay to the southern 
point of Southampton Island, which he named Carey's Swans' 
Nest. He next kept on toward the western side,, to which he 
gave the significant name of " Hope's Check," and, coasting 

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along the nhore, he discovered the important river, which he 
called Port Nelson, after the master of his ship, whom he 
buried there, but which has since been known as Nelson 
River. Here he wintered, and, according to Fox, kept three 
fires burning continually, and although supplied with great 
store of partridges and other fowl, he lost many men. On the 
breaking up of the ice he made a thorough exploitation of the 
Bay, and of Southampton Island, and finally, in the autumn 
returned to England. There is every reason to believe, as 
Button was accompanied by a number of experienced men of 
ability, that he collected a great deal of valuable information, 
but he refused to publish it, even the exact date of his return 
to England being unknown. 

Owing to the death of his master, Prince Henry, Captain 
Button did not make a second voyage, and the company of 
merchants therefore sent* out Capt. Gibbons, in 1614, who 
sailed in the ship Discofery, but, missing the Straits, and get- 
ting caught in the ice, returned to England without accomp- 
lishing anything. 

These repeated disappointments, however, did not deter the 
company of merchants from carrying on the expeditions, and 
in 1615 they again fitted out the Discovery for another voyage. 
On April 6th, Robert Bylot and William Baffin embarked on 
this vessel upon the first of the two voyagas commonly as- 
sociated with their names. They sailed from the Scilly 
Islands, and Bylot, who had served under Hudson Button and 
Gibbons, being well qualified for the position, took the com- 
mand, and, following a coui-se familiar to him, the two 
navigators passed through Hudson's Straits and ascended 
what is now known as Fox Channel. Here, and at the 
western end of Hudson's Straits, they spent about three weeks 
and then sailed for home. 

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Bylot i-etumed to England, quite discouraged from looking 
further in Hudson s Bay for a passage, and proposed to his em- 
ployers to try Davis Straits. This, they agreed to, and he ac- 
cordingly sailed once more in the Discovery early in 1616, on a 
voyage which was destined to be of far greater interest and 
importance than the previous one, and to rank among the most 
famous of the Artie voyages. Leaving Gravesend on the 26th 
March, with a company numbering in all seventeen persons, 
Bylot and Baffin coasted along Greenland, which had been 
named " Meta Incognita," and explored its shores thoroughly. 
They then passed through Davis Straits, and examined both 
shores of the great sea, which has ever since been known as 
Baffins Bay, where they discovered and named Lancaster 
Sound and Jones Sound, besides numerous smaller bodies of 
water and many Islands. The crew of the Dutcovery being 
now attacked with scurvy, the navigatora sailed for home, ar- 
riving at Dover on the 30th August, and in the report which 
Bylot wrote of the voyage, he gave most valuable information 
about the fisheries, although he was not favorable to the idea 
of being able to find a passage to the Indies. 

After this Captain Hawkridge and Captain Jones made 
voyages, and entered Hudson's Bay, but no further expeditions 
were undertaken to discover a north-west passage until 1631. 

With these two exceptions, a period of fifteen years elapsed 
after Bylot and Baffin s last voyage before explorations in Hud- 
son's Bay were renewed, when Captain Luke Fox, a Yorkshire- 
man of keen sense and great perseverance, succeeded in interest- 
ing the merchants of London once more. Fox was a skilled 
navigator, and, having given much study and attention to 
north-western explorations, was most sanguine of success. On 
the 5th of May, 1631, therefore, he sailed from Deptford, in the 

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Charles, a pinnace of seventy tons, victualled for eighteen 
months. He searched the western part of Hudson's Bay, dis- 
covered the strait and shore known aa " Sii* Thomas Roe's Wel- 
come," sailed up Fox Channel to a point within the Artie circle, 
and satisfied himself of the existence of the long sought pas- 
sage, by a careful observation of the tides, but failed to dis- 
cover it. He then sailed for England, and cast anchor in the 
Downs, on the 31st October. 

At the same time that Captain Fox succeeded in interesting 
the London merchants, the merchants of Bristol became inter- 
ested in the same direction, and the two companies came to an 
underatanding to share the honor and profit of any discovery 
made. The Bristol merchants sent out a Captain James, who, 
on the same day that Fox began his voyage, sailed in a new 
ship of seventy tons, named the Maria, manned by twenty-two 
persons, and victualled also for eighteen months. Captain 
James confined his exploitations chiefly to the waters of Hud- 
son's Bay, more particularly to its south-eastern shore, and 
wintered upon Charlton Island, where he built a house, in 
which the ship's company lived from December until June, en- 
during all the horrors of an Arctic winter on an island only a 
little north of the latitude of London. On the 2nd July, they 
again set sail, but were so hampered by ice that their progress 
was very slow, and in the latter part of August, James, with 
the unanimous concurrence of his oflScers, determined to return 
home. He arrived at Bristol, on the 22nd October, having 
added almost nothing to the knowledge gained by Fox in a 
third of the time, although a part of Hudson's Bay is named 
after him to this day. The account given by James, of the 
hardships he and his crew endured, combined with his asser- 
tion that there wb« no passage, had a dampening effect, and 

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for over thirty years, no further efforts were made by Eng- 
land at discovery in the noHh. 

In 1656, however, the French in Canada sent Jean Bour- 
don to Hudson 8 Bay, who made treaties with the Indians 
there, and found the trade in furs very profitable. It is also 
on record that about six yeai-s afterwards the New England 
colonists took up the work of exploration, and that a ship, 
commanded by Captain Shapley, was sent by them to the Bay, 
and about the same time, the bold and enterprising explorer, 
De Groseillier, pushed his way overland to its shores. It is 
said that the trading operations of the " Coureurs des Boin " in 
the interior, and the information received from those hardy 
explorei-s, led De Groseillier and Raddison, his companion, to 
push their way through Lake Superior up the Kaministiquia 
River, then through the Lake of the Woods, and along the 
Winnipeg River into Winnipeg Lake, thence by Nelson River 
to the shores of Hudson's Bay. De Groseillier and Rad- 
dison were conducted by the Assiniboine Indians on their 
journey to the north, and after they had looked upon the great 
inland sea thej' returned to Quebec, being still guided by their 
Indian friends. The sagacity of those two explorei*s pointed 
out to them the advantages of carrj'ing on the fur trade 
through the Bay, and they endeavored to interest their coun- 
trymen in Canada in the scheme, but without success. In- 
credulity, want of means, and other causes, led the French 
merchants in Quebec to turn a deaf ear to the glowing repre- 
sentations of De Groseillier and Raddison, and the two 
explorers, disgusted with their treatment, left for France, 
where, however, they met with no better success. It was 
at this time that the Duke of Montague, hearing of De 
Groseillier and Raddison's explorations, sent for them, and 

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became so favorably imprassed with their scheme that he 
gave them lettera to Prince Rupert in England, who was then 
a patron and admirer of such enterprises. 

Prince Rupert immediately took an interest in the matter, 
and, in 1668, he, with some othei-s, fitted out the Ketch " Non- 
such " or " Nonpareily' under command of Captain Zachariah 
Gillani, and sent De Groseillier in it to Hudson's Bay. One 
account says that this wajs the second voyage of De Groseilli^M* 
to the Bay, the other beint^; in a ship fitted out by the Quebec 
merchants, and it is further stated that on this occasion six 
Englishmen were discovered at Port Nelson, in a hut, almost 
starved, and in a very weak condition; their story being that 
they hailed from Boston, and had been left on shore through 
their ship being driven out of the Bay by the ice. There is 
some doubt about this expedition from Quebec, and the story 
connected with it, but there is no question about the voyage 
in the " NonjHirei/,'' as the expedition wintered in the Bay, 
and erected a small stone fort which Capt. Gillam called " Fort 

Possession of Hudson's Bay, therefore, passed into the hands 
of the English, and on the 2nd May, 1670, as a result of Capt. 
Gillam s voyage, a charter was granted to Prince Rupert and 
his associates by King Charles, the Preamble to which reads 
as follows : — 

That, whereas our dear, entirely beloved cousin, Prince 
Rupert, etc., have, at their ow^n cost and charges, undertaken 
an expedition for Hudson's Bay, in the north-west parts of 
America, for the discovery of a new passage into the South 
sea, and for the finding of some trade for furs, minerals and 
other considerable connnodities, and by such, their undertak- 
ing, have already made such discoveries a« do encourage them 

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to proceed farther in pursuance of their said design, by means 
whereof there may probably arise gieat advantage to us and 
our Kingdoms, etc., etc. 

In 1673, a Jesuit missionary, named Father Charles Albanel, 
was sent overland with letters to De Groseillier in Hudson's 
Bay, and the Governor of the company, suspecting that a plot 
was being hatched in favor of a French occupation, dismissed 
De Graseillier and Raddison from the service. The latter then 
openly tendered their services to the French, which were ac- 
cepted, and an expedition fitted out by them for the Bay ; but 
in the meantime the English resolved to possess Nelson River, 
and for that purpose built a fort at its mouth, appointing 
John Ra<ligar, Governor. About this time, De Graseillier and 
Raddison arrived with the French, and a fight ensued, which 
resulted in the defeat of the English at Nelson River, Radigar 
and Captain Gillam being taken pristmers, and conveyed to 
the St. Lawrence by De Groseillier, who left his son, Chouart, 
in charge of the FoH. 

De Groseillier, however, did not long remain in friendly 
relations with the French, and on his return handed over the 
fort at Nelson River to the English. He then, while in the 
service of the latter, established factories on Rupert, Moose 
.and Albany Rivers; but in 1678, France, having sent out M. 
Colbert to contest with the English for possession, De Groseil- 
lier, who appears to have been somewhat of a fickle tempera- 
ment, was induced to take part once more on the side of his 
countrymen, and the result was that all the foi*ts built by him 
passeil out of the hands of the English. Not long after this. 
Lord Preston, the English ambassador in Paris, pei-suaded 
Raddison, who was then in France, to go to London and there 
surrender the forts in Hudson's Bay, which, at the time, were 

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in coniiiiaiul of his nephew, Chouart De Gix)seillier. The 
French, not being aware of this action on the part of Raddison, 
sent out two ships, in command of Mont^gnie, who, on reach- 
ing St. Theresa, was surprised to find it in possession of the 
Englisli. Montegnie was obliged to winter on some small 
river in the neighborhood, and returned the following year to 
France, with a poor showing in the way of trade. It is said 
that the company who sent Montegnie out lost heavily by the 
expedition, and that Theres Conthey, the head thereof, peti- 
tioned the French King for redress, who, on the 20th May, 
1684, gave them, by charter, possession of certain portions of 
Hudson's Bay. 

In 1685, the Hudson's Bay Company possessed the five 
flourishing factories of Albany, Moose, Rupert, Nelson and 
Severn, but, in 1686, the French, under Chevalier I)e Troyes, 
cai)tured Rupert, Moose and Albany, and in 1690, under 
Monsieur D'Ilx»rville, they took Fort Severn but an attjick 
made on Fort Fiictory the sanie year having failed, it re- 
mained in the hands of the English. 

The French now remained in possession of the forts on 
James Bay for seven yeai-s, when the Hudson's Bay Company, 
with the assistance of the Crown, recovered them. The fol- 
lowing year they were captured once more by the French, and 
in 1695, they were retaken by the English, with the aid of the 
King's ships of war, Bonaventura and Seaforth. 

These constant changes in possession almost destroyed the 
trade of the Hudson's Bay Company, and they were busily 
engaged in preparing to recover it when D'Iberville, with two 
ships, the Poll ami Glinronte, a])peared u])on the scene. 
Gever, who had successfully held York Factory against the 
French, in 1690, was still in command, but less fortunate in 

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1694: he was compelled by D'Iberville to surrender on the 
14th October. The French coiinnander then remained during 
the winter, and on the following 20th July took his departure 
for France leaving one Forest in charge. 

The next year, 1696, York Factory was retaken by the 
English, who employed four ships for the purpose, and the 
garrison were carried prisoners to England. But DTberville 
inunediately returned from France with a squadron, consisting 
of five veasels, and, in Hudson^s Straits, meeting the English 
fleet, an engagement ensued. The French 8hi{>s were, the 
Pelican, 50 guns; the Pdlraier, 40 guns; with three smaller 
N'ossels, the Wasp, Profound and Violente, and the English 
fleiit consisted of the Hampshire, 56 guns, and two Hudson's 
Bay ships, the Deerimj, 'S6, and the Hiulson's Bay, 32 guns. 
The engagement resulted without success to either side, and 
immediately afterwards the Uuihons Bay and Hampshire 
were lost, none of the crew of the latter being saved. The 
Pelican, which, at the time, fought the three English ships 
alone and behaved very pluckily, was afterwards lost, D'll)er- 
ville, who was in command, escaping with part of his crew to 
the shore. The French commander then, with his three re- 
maining ships, took York Factory, and, after wintering there, 
returned to France in the Projoand, leaving M. Serigny as 
(iovernor, and M. Jerome, Lieutenant, in his absence. 

The next year, 1697, the treaty of Ryswick left the French 
in j)i)ssession of all the forts in Hudson's Bay, except Allmny, 
an<l in 1704, a party of French went overland from Canmla to 
attack it, but were repulsed by Captain Barlow, who was in 
charge. The treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, restored to the Hud- 
son's Bay Comj>any possession of the Bay, and soon after- 
wards they built a woo<len fort at Churchill, which they 
called Prince of Wales Fort. 

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During all this time, owing to the difficulties of their 
position, the Hudson's Bay Company were unable to give any 
attention to the tinding of a north-west passage, but in 1719, 
Captain Barlow and Mr. Knight, who, it was said, w^as eighty 
yeai*s of age at the time, were sent out on an expedition for 
this purpose. They never returned, and their fate somewhat 
discouraged further attempts, but, in 1722, Capt. Scroggs con- 
ducted an expedition, and about 1742 the British Government, 
having obtained from the officers of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany infoiination which w^as regarded jis furnishing decisive 
proofs of the existence of a north-west passage, despatched 
a naval expedition, in command of Captain Middleton, but 
it resulted in no impoi-tant discoveries, although the ships 
wintered in Churchill River. 

A long and warm dispute now arose between a Mr. Dobbs, 
who was a warm advocate in favor of the possibility of a 
north-west passage, and Capt. Miildleton, in regard to the 
exploitations of the latter. The result of this was that a com- 
pany of influential and public-spirited men formed a company 
for the purpose of sending out another expedition. The 
capital Avas £10,000, divided into 100 shares of £100 each, and 
the government of England offered a reward of £20,000 in 
case the discovery was made. Two ships were purchased and 
fitted out, one of which ^vas named the Dohhs-Galley , under 
conunand of Capt. William Moore, and the other, the Galifornid, 
commanded by Capt. Francis Smith. 

On the 31st May, 1746, these two vessels, in company with 
four of the Hudson's Bay Company ships, set sail from Yar- 

In the Pailianientary library, Ottawa, may be seen a map, published in London in 1770, by 
Thomas Jeffrey, Geojcrapher t(» the Kinj?, on which is enpraved this note: "In latitude h^ 'tis 
pretended that in 1740 Admiral de Fonte entered and Hailed by lakes and fixers till he found a 
ship (as is supposed in Hudson's Bay), from Boston, in New England. 

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mouth Roads, on the last expedition in search of a North- 
West passage through Hudson's Bay. The vessels were ab- 
sent over a year, returning on the 14th Oct., 1747, and an 
interesting account of the voyage was published, in which the 
probabilities of the future discovery of a passage were fully 
discussed. . The report was written in a spirit of unfriendli- 
ness to the Hudson's Bay Company, whose officers at Churc- 
hill, York, Albany and Moose River, were described as having 
shown themselves unfavorable to the success of the expedition. 
It admitted that the Company, even in those early days, had 
acquired a wonderful influence over the Indian tribes — an in- 
fluence which they have retained ever since. But the narra- 
tive of the Dobbs-Galley expedition was written in a spirit of 
prejudice, and several of the accounts published about this 
time, by persons who were engaged or interested in the 
sending of expeditions in search of a North- West passage, 
were evidently biased, so far as they related to the Company, 
simply because the officers, being mindful of their duties to 
their employers, were not likely to always fall in with the 
views of explorers. 

From 1740 to 1748, instructions of the strictest character 
were sent out by the Company to their officers at Hudson's 
Bay to be on their guard in dealing with any ship or ships 
coming near the forts. As a specimen of these, we give the 
following extract from a letter sent to the officer in charge of 

Albany fort in 1744. 

London, 10th May, 1744. 

To Mr, Joseph Isbist^ and CauncU, at Albany Fort : 

The English and French having declared war against each other, 
and the war with Spain still continuing, we do hereby strictly direct you 
to be always on your guard, and to keep a good watch, and that you keep 
aII your men as near home as possible. 


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You are to fire point blank upon any ship, sloop or vessel that shall 
come near the Factory, unless they make the true signal and answer 

This warning was repeated each year until 1848, the words, 
in each case being ahnost identical, and it was addressed to 
all the officei-s at the various forts. 

Probably Mr. Dobbs and his pai-tj^ took umbrage because 
the Hudson's Bay Company officials, in their case, carried out 
these instructions to the very letter. A pei-sual of the follow- 
ing letters, addressed to the commanded of the expedition, 
will show, however, that assistance wqb not refused, but, on the 
contrary, was offered to the expedition, although the ships 
were prevented from approaching the factories without due 


August, 27th 1746. 
To tlie commanders of tlie Uoo ships lyitiij off this river's month : 

We would advise you for your own safety not to proceed any 
further with your ships, boat8 or vessels anywhere near or about this fort, 
unless you send one man with a proper authority from the Government or 
Company trading into this Bay for so doing ; otherwise I shall do my 
utmost endeavors to hinder any ship or boat from entering this river. 
This is our firm resolution. 

Jamss Isbam. 
Dated at York Fort, 
August 27th, 1746. 

The next communication was on the 2nd September follow- 
ing, and read thus : 

The Comm^inder-in-Chief of the Dobbs-Galley and California: 


According to His iMajeaty's printed Act of Parliament, 1744, we 
observe that it is therein specified that no ship or ships that are or should 
be fitted out to go upon discoveries through Hudson's bay into Wager 
Kiver, and so into the South Seas, or otherwise, are to molest or dis- 

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turb the Hudson's Bay Company's rights and privileges in Hudson's Bay, 
so far as the said Company's charter extends in the said Bay, upon any 
account whatsoever. And the said Act also specifies, that no person or 
persons belonging to such discovery ships are to traffick or trade, directly 
or indirectly, with any natives, or any other person or persons within the 
limits of the said Company's charter. And we observe that in His 
Majesty's said printed Act of Parliament, it is our duty to hinder any 
ship or ships from entering in or near any of the Company's territories 
in Hudson's Bay, so far as their said charter extends ; therefore, accord- 
ing to the aforesaid Act of Parliament, we desire that you would not offer 
to bring your ships any higher up this river, but to lay them below what 
we call Robison's CuUey, where you may expect what assistance we are 
able to give you, so far as our orders are from the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, and desire your answer to this before you proceed any further. 

Though at same time would advise you, as before, to make the best 
of your way to Churchill River, where you are sensible the ships may 
winter without any damage. 

And rest. 
Your very humble servants, 

Ja3ies Isham. 

Charlbs Brady. 
Dated at York Fort, Richard Ford. 

Sept. 2, 1746. 

From the above it will be seen that the Company s officers 
were only cautious about performing their duty to the letter, 
without, however, refusing any assistance which it was within 
their power to give. 

Indeed, the great services rendered by the officers of the 
Hudson's Bay Company to explorations at difterent times in 
the History of the North-West, indicate that they were not 
unfriendly to such effi)rts. The various expeditions of officers 
themselves, such as Bean, Christopher, Johnston, Duncan, 
Heame, Rae and others, and the aid rendered by the Com- 
pany to the British Government in the explorations of Parry, 
Franklin, Ross, Beechey, Back, etc., is a conclusive proof of 

To return, however, to the immediate subject of this chap- 

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ter, we find that in 1742, owing to the encroaches of the 
French fur traders in the interior, who were intercepting the 
Indians, and preventing them from visiting the shores of 
Hudson's Bay, the Company built a fort about 150 miles up 
the Albany River, and called it Fort Hurley. From this time 
until 1782, the English enjoyed undisputed possession of the 
Bay, but in that year, on the 8th August, three French ships, 
the SceptrCy 74 guns ; the Astarte and the Engageavte, each 
36 guns, under the command of Monsieur la Perouse, unex- 
pectedly appeared before FoH Prince of Wales, w^hich was 
under the charge of Samuel Hearne, and the day following, al- 
though in a good state to resist a siege, it capitulated, and the 
invadei-s, to the number of four hundred, entered and took 
possession. Another account says, that although the fort was 
well mounted and furnished with plenty of ammunition, there 
was only a force of thirty-nine men to defend it. Perouse 
then went to York Factory, which was also strongly fortified, 
but short of men, there being only sixty English and twelve 
Indians to resist an attack. On the appearance of the French, 
the Governor, without firing a shot, handed over the fort, and 
some assert that from the weak state of the enemy, and 
his own strong position, he might have defied all eflforts at 

The loss to the Hudson's Bay Company through this attack 
on the part of the French, was a most serious one, the whole 
of their stoi'es, together with great quantities of provisions, 
etc., being destroyed. The French themselves, through the 
severity of the climate, and their own inexperience, lost 
heavily, and this, without gaining any corresponding advan- 
tage, for the English ever afterwaixls remained in possession 
of the Bay. 

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From the earliest settlement in Canada, the fur trade was 
considered of the first importance, and the profits derived 
from it were the main incentive for carrying on explorations in 
order to extend its operations among the various Indian tribes. 
As the country became settled, the fur-bearing animals de- 
creased in number around the settlements, and those who 
traded in peltries were obliged to seek more distant fields in 
the pursuit of their calling. It was in the prosecution of the 
fur trade that men were first induced to peneti-ate the wilds 
of the north-west, to roam over its vast prairies, ascend its 
mighty rivers, and explore its mountains. It may therefore 
be truly said that the fur traders were the forerunners of 
civilization in North America. 

The men who dealt directly with the Indians, who followed 
them in their journeyings, and visited their far-oflf camps, 
were a bold and hardy set of adventurer, who, in their 
wandering mode of life, and their constant intercoui*se with 
the savages, soon lost all relish for their fonner habits and 
native homes. These men, in the early days of Canada, when 
it was known as " New France," were called " Coureurs des 
Boia" and were accustomed to make trading excursions among 
the Indians, extending sometimes to twelve or fifteen months, 
and even longer. They were given the neceasary credit by 

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the merchants in the settlements, to permit them to proceed 
on their commercial undertakings, and, taking with them the 
goods suitable for the wants or fancy of the Indians, they 
would start on one of their long and arduous journeys. On 
their retura they would bring back the furs which they had 
been able to collect from the red men in exchange for the 
goods, and the proceeds of the sale of these furs went to pay 
the merchants, the balance, if any over, being spent in riotous 
living in the settlement, until it became necessary to start 
upon another trading trip. 

This mode of life tended to make the " Ccnireura des Boin " 
a licentious and dissipated set of men, which bi'ought them 
into disrepute, especially with the missionary priests, and 
their unscrupulous conduct reached such a pitch that the 
French Government in Canada finally decided that trading 
with the Indians should be done only by license. It was in- 
tended that the permits to trade should be gi-anted to men of 
good character, but they were frequently given to persons as 
a reward for services, with permission to sell them to the 
merchants. The latter, however, sold them to whoever chase 
to pay for them, so that the licensing system failed to be the 
protection against unscnipulous traders, which it was intended 
to be. While France was in possession of Canada, the system 
continued, and it was used in rewarding officers of the army, 
or others of gctod family connections, not likely to make use 
of the permits for trading purposes, but they sold them for 
good prices, because, whoever possessed the exclusive trade by 
license, of a district, was the only person to whom the Indians 
could apply for such articles as they required in exchange for 

That the traders abused the privileges they enjoyed by 

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license, there is no doubt, and, although the missionaries 
watched them closely, they were unable to check them. At 
last, the bad conduct of the " Goiireiirs des Boia" caused the 
establishment of military posts tojDe made at different points 
of the country for the purpose of controlling them, after 
which, a number of able and respectable men commenced to 
trade with the Indians, on a scale larger than the " Goureura 
des Bois " were able to attempt. 

About this time, Verandrye, son of the Seignior of Va- 
rennes, and who had served in the army in Europe, as well 
as in America, conceived the idea of exploring the coun- 
try to the north-west. The scheme was approved by Beau- 
hamois, the Governor, but the French ministry would not aid 
the enterprise by contributing towards the cost of the expe- 
dition, so Verandrye formed a trading company in Montreal, 
and, in 1731, set out for Lake Superior, taking with him a 
priest named P&re Messager. Although no assistance was 
rendered to him by the Government, he was expected and em- 
powered to take possession, in the name of the French king, 
of all the country he should discover. 

Verandrye, however, between the years 1731 and 1733, de- 
voted himself more to establishing trade for his company than 
making explorations on behalf of the French king, and his 
followers being bold, active, and enterpi^sintr men, carried 
their operations far into the interior. Starting from Kaminis- 
tiquia, where a fort had been established in 1717 by Lieuten- 
ant Robertal de Lanoue, they passed westward, erecting Fort 
St. Peter on the way, and, in 1732, they constructed Fort St. 
Charles at the Lake of the Woods. 

They then followed the Winnipeg river, and on its banks 
erected Fort Maurepas, from which point they continued their 

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exploration across Lake Dauphin, Swan Lake, Red Deer 
River, and then along the Saskatchewan up to the junction of 
the two branches of that mighty river. The Verandryes are 
credited with the building of Fort Dauphin at the head of 
Lake Manitoba, Fort de la Reine at its foot. Fort Bourbon at 
the head of Lake Winnipeg, and Fort Rouge at the junction 
of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. They are also said to have 
penetrated the interior as far a^ the Yellow Stone River, and 
to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In 1736, Verandrye 
lost one of his sons at the hands of the Indians, and the 
story of the massacre is pathetically related by him in 
his journal. It appears that two of his sons, with a couple 
of men, had been sent to Fort Maurepas to act as a guard, 
and to aw^ait his arrival, but returned unexpectedly on 
4th June, bringing news of the death of his nephew, La Jem- 
eraye, and of the scarcity of food. " I had," says Verandrye, 
" many people in the Fort (St. Charles), and no provisions, 
which determined me to send in haste three canoes to bring 
us assistance and some goods. The Reverend Father (Ameau) 
immediately resolved to go to Michillimackinac. He asked 
me for my eldest son, as he hoped the journey w^ould be 
speedy. I could not possibly oppose him, he being absolutely 
resolved. They embarked on the 8th June, and were all mas- 
sacred by the Sioux at seven leagues from our fort, by the 
greatest of all treasons. I lost my son, the Reverend Father, 
and all my Frenchmen ; I shall regret it all my life." 

In 1742. one of the sons of Verandrye reached the Missouri, 
but, being unable to obtain the necessary guides, returned to 
the headquarters of his father. The elder Vei*andrj^e sent him 
back with another son and two Frenchmen, and the four 
made a journey to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where 

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they made a bargain with a tribe of Indians to escort them 
to the top of the Rockies, so that they might gaze upon the 
great western ocean. But the guides, fearing that in their 
absence their enemies would attack their village, refused to 
go, and the Verandryes were obliged to abandon the idea of 
climbing the mountains. 

Until 1742, the Hudson's Bay Campany had confined their 
trading operations to the shores of Hudson's Bay, but in that 
year they made their first advance inland, by effecting a settle- 
ment, as shown in a previous chapter, about 150 miles up the 
Albany River. This was done to intercept the Indians who 
wei-e then beginning to carry their furs to the French in the 
interior, rather than to the English on the Bay. In 1749, 
Verandrye died, and the next year the work of exploration 
was taken up by Le Gardeur St. Pierre, who, by orders of the 
Marquis de Lajonqui^re, Governor of New France, penetrated 
the North- West to discover the Western Sea, and on this ex- 
pedition a Jesuit priest, named Father Lamorenerie, accom- 
panied it part of the way, but, worn out with the fatigue and 
hardships of the journey, was obliged to return. In his report 
of the expedition, this explorer testifies to the great influence 
which the Hudson's Bay Company had, at that time, over the 
Indians, and relates the following instance : " The English, an- 
noyed at not receiving a large amount of furs at Hudson's 
Bay, sent collars to the Indians, forbidding them, under penal- 
ty of dying, to carry the furs elsewhere than to them. Not 
having done so, and about eight hundred of them having died 
from cold, they were all seized with fright, and told one an- 
other that the Manitou (the devil) had wrecked vengeance on 
them, in answer to the prayer of the English." In another 
part, he says, " All combined, bring me to the conclusion that 

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it is not possible to penetrate further than I have done, on 
account of the war in which all the nations of this continent 
are engaged, in which they are encouraged by the English, an 
easy matter for them, the Indians being so greatly afraid, that 
their threats alone are able to make them undertake any- 
thing." St. Pierre's report shows, also, that French traders 
had penetrated as far as, or near to, the Rocky Mountains, long 
before his expedition took place. " He (M. de Niverville, one 
of his party "), says St. Pierre, " gave me an account of what 
he had learned at the settlement he had made near the Rocky 
Mountains, that a party of Indians, who were going to war, 
met with a nation loaded with beaver, who were going by a 
river which issues from the Rocky Mountains, to trade with 
the French, who had their first establishment on an island at 
a small distance from the land, w^here there is a large store- 
house, that, when arrived there, they made signals, and people 
came to them to trade for their beavers, in exchange for which 
they give them knives, a few lances, but no firearms ; that 
they sell also hoi^es and saddles, which shelter them from 
arrows when they go to war. These Indians positively assert- 
ed that the traders were not English." Both Verandrye and 
St. Pierre wrote interesting journals of their expeditions. 

It was not until 1767 that English traders entered the in- 
terior of the North-West. In that year, Mr. Thomas Currie, 
having procured guides and interpreters, penetrated the coun- 
try as far as Fort Bourbon, one of the French posts at the 
west end of Cedar Lake on the Saskatchewan, where he 
carried on a most successful trade with the Indians. The fol- 
lowing year, a Mr. James Finlay went as far as Nipawee, the 
last of the French settlements on the Saskatchewan, where he 
engaged successfully in the fur trade for a number of years. 

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After the British took possession, the " license " system of 
the French was done away with in the North- West, and free 
trade took its place. The adventurers in the Indian country, 
after this, made large profits, which brought about keen com- 
petition, resulting disastrously to the Indians, for, instead of 
endeavoring to secure trade by offering better or cheaper 
goods, the traders made use of a profuse supply of spirituous 
liquor as a shorter and more certain method. The ungovern- 
able propensity of the Indians for intoxicants is well known, 
and the disorders that ensued from this mode of carrying on 
trade, may be imagined. The traders were scattered over a 
country of vast extent, and so far removed from civil author- 
ity, that they believed that they could commit almost any 
crime with impunity. 

These men were not only engaged in debauching the In- 
dians, but they used the natives when under the influence 
of liquor, as the means of taking revenge upon their rivals in 
trade, and one trader having a grudge against another, instead 
of resorting to personal violence himself, would employ or 
persuade the Indians to do the deed. Mr. Henry, in his inter- 
esting account of travels and adventures, says, that on arriv- 
ing at Grand Portage, Lake Superior, in 1775, he found the 
traders in a state of extreme reciprocal hostility, each pursu- 
ing his own in such a manner as might most injure his neigh- 
bor, and the consequences were very hurtful to the morals of 
the Indians. 

At this stage, it may be interesting to note some particulars 
of the military system carried on by the French Government, 
prior to the cession of the country to the English, and which, 
although not altogether a prevention of outrages against the 
Indians, served as a check upon the traders and was certainly 

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better than the system of free trade afterwards followed, and 
to which allusion has just been made. Sir Guy Carleton, in 
a letter addressed to Lord Shelburne, in 17(58, states as 
follows : " The annexed retuiTi of the French posts of troops 
for the protection of trade, with the number of canoes sent up 
in the year 1754, shews in some measure the extent of trade 
and system pursued by the French Oovernment in Indian 
afikirs : they did not depend on the number of troops, but on 
the discretion of their officers, who learned the language of 
the natives, acted as magistrates, compelled the traders to deal 
equitably, and distributed the king's presents; by this conduct 
they avoided giving jealousy, and gained the aifections of an 
ignorant, credulous and brave people, whose ruling passions 
are independence, gratitude and revenge, with an unconquer- 
able love of strong drink, which must prove destructive to 
them and the fur trade, if permitted to l)e sent an^.ong them ; 
thus managing them by address, where force could not avail, 
they reconciled them to their troops. The country was divid- 
ed in certain districts, and the only restraints laid on traders 
were, first, not to go beyond the bounds of that district they 
obtained passes for, and secondly, not to caiTy more spirituoua 
liquora than was necessary for their own use, nor to sell any 
of that to the Indians: the king's posts, or rather the in- 
tendant's, were the only ones excepted from this general rule. 
Under these regulations, the canoes w^ent first to the post of 
the district from whence they had full liberty to go among 
the Indians and accompany them to their hunting-grounds ; 
they likewise called on their return ; if any were ill-treated, 
they complained to the commandant, who assembled the 
chiefs and procured redress. The savages also made com- 
plaints and obtained immediate satisfaction — an exact report 

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of all of which was sent to the governor. This return may be 
depended upon for so much as it contains, but as the King of 
France was greatly concerned in all this trade, a corrupt ad- 
ministration did not think it their interest that all these 
matters should appear in a full, clear and lasting manner." 

Sir Guy Carleton then suggests the sending of military men 
as explorers, and the extension of explorations to the Pacific 
Coast. He says : " I shall easily find in the troops here 
(Quebec) many officers and men very ready to explore any 
part of this continent, who require no other encouragement 
than to be told such service will be acceptable to the King, 
and if properly executed will recommend them to his favor ; 
but as they are unacquainted with the country, the Indian 
languages and manners, 'tis necessary to join with them some 
Canadians to serve as guides and interpreters. The gentlemen 
here are mostly poor and have families ; in order to induce 
them to attach themselve thoroughly to the King's interests, 
'tis necessary they should be assured of their being taken into 
his service for life, and in case they perish on these expeditions 
that their widows will enjoy their pay, to support and educate 
their children. Should His Majesty think proper to allow the 
traders to go up to the Western Lakes, as formerly, I think a 
party might winter in one of those posts, set out early in spring 
for the Pacific Ocean, find out a good port, take its latitude, 
longitude, and describe it so accurately, as to enable our ships 
from the East Indies to find it out with ease, and then return 
the year following. Your Lordship will readily perceive the 
advantages of such discoveries, and how difficult attempts to 
explore unknown parts must prove to the English, unless we 
avail ourselves of the knowledge of the Canadians, who are 
well acquainted with the country, the language and manners 
of the natives." 

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But the explorations of the North- West were to be left 
chiefly in the hands of the fur traders. In the spring of 1775, 
Mr. Joseph Frobisher with thirty or forty canoes went as far 
north as Churchill river, and, intercepting a number of Indians, 
on their way to Fort Churchill, succeeded in buying their furs. 
In the following year he returned to the same place, which 
was at a point in lat. 55|,^ long. 103 J°, and his second visit was 
equally successful with the first. He then sent his brother 
further west, who penetrated to the Lake Isle a la Croix in lat. 
55^ 26', long. 108'. 

Meantime the Hudson s Bay Company had not been idle 
since their first advance inland in 1742, for in 1770 they sent 
Mr. Hearne to make explorations in the North- West. Start- 
ing from Prince of Wales Fort on the 7th December, he follow- 
ed the course of the Churchill River, and then discovering the 
Coppermine River, followed it to its mouth where it emptied 
into the sea, and where he found the ice unbroken on the I7th 
July. Mr. Hearne was aKsent on his journey a year and seven 
months, and although the company did not receive any imme- 
diate practical benefit from his trip, it proved of advantage in 
several ways, chiefly from a scientific point of view. In 1774, 
however, Mr. Heanie, who had been appointed Governor of 
Prince of Wales Fort as a reward for his services in 1770, 
undertook another expedition to Pine Island Lake, where he 
erected a fort now known as Cumberland House. From this 
time the Hudson's Bay Company, roused from the torpid state 
in which they existed on the frozen shores of the bay, followed 
the example set by their more energetic competitors, and in 
a little over twenty years had extended their trading posts 
from Cumberland House to the Rocky Mountains. 

To return to the fur traders, we find that the success which 

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attended the Frobishera' efforts, induced others to follow in 
their footsteps, and in 1778, a number of tradera on the Sas- 
katchewan formed themselves into a company, and gave the 
management to Mr. Peter Pond. He was instructed to go as 
far as Athabasca, if possible, which was then a country un- 
known, except from Indian report, and in this he niay be said 
to have succeeded, for he reached the banks of the Elk river. 
There he passed the winter of 1778-9, and carried on a very 
successful trade with the Indians. Indeed he secured more 
furs than he could carry away, and left some behind, stored in 
one of his winter huts, where they were foimd the next season 
in the same state as he had left them. 

Mr. Charles Grant, in a letter to General Haldimand, dated 
24th April, 1780, gives some interesting particulars relating 
to the fur trade as it was carried on about that time. He 
says : " At all times the trade to the upper countries has been 
considered the staple trade of this Province, but of late years 
it has been greatly augmented, in so much that it may be 
reckoned, one year with another, to have produced an annual 
return to Great Britain, in furs, to the amount of £200,000 
sterling, which is an object deserving of all the encouragement 
and protection which Government can, with propriety, give to 
that trade. The Indian trade, by every communication, is 
carried on at gi^eat expense, labor and risk, of both men and 
property ; every year furnishes instances of the loss of men 
and goods by accident or otherwise. It is not, therefore, to 
be expected! that the tradei's in general are men of substance ; 
indeed few of them are able to purchase, with rea<ly money, 
such goods as they want for their trade. They are conse- 
quently indebted, from year to year, until a return is made 
in furs, to the merchants of Quebec and Montreal, who are 

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importers of ^ods from England, and furnish them on credit. 
In this manner the upper country tra<ie is chiefly carried on 
by men of low circumstances, destitute of every means to pay 
their debts, when their trade fails ; and if it should be under 
great restraints, or obstructed a few years, the consequence 
would prove ruinous to the commercial part of this Province, 
and very hurtful to the merchants of London, shippers of goods 
to this country, besides the loss of so valuable a branch of trade 
in Great Britain. » ♦ ♦ ♦ Last year the passes for the 
Indian goods were given out so late that it waa impossible to 
forward gooils to the places of destination, especially in the 
North -West. For that reason, those concerned in that quarter 
joined their stock together, and made one common interest of 
the w^hole (referring to the company of which Mr. Peter Pond 
had the management), as it continues at present, in the hands 
of the difterent pei*sons or companies, as mentioned at foot of 
this. The canoes for the North- West are commonly the first 
sent off', and, indeed, the earlier all the canoes, bound up the 
Grand River, go off*, the better. The North- West is divided 
into sixteen shares, all of which form but one company at 
this time, as follows : 

" Todd & McGill, 2 shares ; Ben. & Jos. Frobisher, 2 shares ; 
McGill & Paterson, 2 shares; McTavish & Co., 2 shares; 
Holmes & Grant, 2 shares ; Wadden & Co., 2 shares ; McBeath 
& Co., 2 shares ; Ross & Co., 1 share ; Oakes & Co., 1 share." 

This company, of which Mr. Peter Pond was manager, was 
the germ from which sprang the great North- West Company, 
that, in a few years, extended its discoveries and trade to 
the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It seems that the same delay 
in furnishing passes for the canoes, to which Grant refers in 
his letter, occurred again in 1780, and on the 11th May, the 

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John Stuart, Esq., 

Chief factor North-West Company. 

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fur traders presented the following memorial to General 
Haldimand. The document is here given in full, because it 
shows some of the difficulties under which fur trading was 
conducted in the North-West in those days : 

To His Excsllbncy, 

Frederick Haldimai^d, Etc., Etc., Etc. 

The Memorial of the ^^Brchants and Traders from Montreal to the 
Great Carrying Place in Lake Superior, and the interior country, com- 
monly named the North- West. 

That your memorialists have, for a number of years past, carried 
on an extensive and valuable trade into the parts from whence the annual 
returns have for some years been esteemed at fifty thousand pounds ster- 
ling in furs, which have served to remit to Great Britain in payment of 
the manufactures imported from the Mother country. 

That there is usually and actually employed in that country near to 
three hundred men, who generally arrive from the interior parts of the 
Grand Carrjdng Place from the 10th June to the 10th July, but from the 
lehgth of the voyage and barrenness of the country, added to the small- 
ness of the canoes and innumerable carrying places, are reduced from 
want of provisions to very great misery and distress, which has constantly 
laid your memorialists under the dutiful necessity of sending canoes with 
provisions very early from Michilimackinac, in order to meet the canoe 
men of the distant posts, without which precaution great part of their 
property, after being converted into furs, must have been left and lost to 
them, and a more painful circumstance might have happened in the death 
of those employed in that adventurous business. 

That they are well informed last fall from their correspcmdence at 
Detroit and Michilimackinac, that no provisions of any kind will be allow- 
ed to go from thence for supplying the Trade to the North-West, which 
heretofore was the case, and, therefore, your Memorialists have taken the 
precaution to provide Indian com, pease, flour, etc., to send from hence 
for that purpose. 

That the length of the voy«ge to the Grand Carrying Place is, at 
least, four hundred and fifty leagues, and from thence to the distant posts 
above six hundred more, which cannot be performed in less time tlian six 
month8,and sometimes it happens that winter sets in before your Memor- 
ialists can arrive at the Factories where they intend to pass the winter, 
and when that unfortunate circumstance takes place, there are instances of 
several having starved, and even so direful have the consequences been as 

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to occasion the casting of lots for au unhappy victim to serve as food for 
hiH more unhappy companions. 

That your Memorialists have been encouraged to continue in this trade 
from constantly finding a facility to carry it on, in the ready zeal of 
Government in granting passes and licenses to that effect, and they had 
reason to hope, from the notification which your Excellency was pleased 
to give Your Memorialists some time ago that no let or hindrance to , 
their departure would have taken place this spring, but, notwithstanding 
lists of the canoes, goods, and number of men, were immediately given 
into Mr. Gray's office, tu be forwarded to Your Excellency, Your 
Memorialists have heard nothing more on flie subject since that time. 

Yoiu* Memorialists, from the causes set forth, are under the m«>st 
anxious apprehensions for the lives of their peoj^ employed in the 
trade, and fear greatly that they may suffer very much in a loss of their 
property, unless Your Excellency is pleased to grant immediate per- 
mission for them to send off their canoes with the goods and provisions 
intended for the purpose of continuing that extensive and valuable 
branch of buFiness and they beg leave Ut assure Your Excellency that 
with all the industry that can be exerted in collecting the men who 
are hired, from the different parts of the country, supposing the p-tsses 
to be here at thii hour, it wou d still be the twentieth of this month 
before the canoes could be sent off, and it is against the interest, and 
of course the wish, of any North- West traders to remain here so late. 

Your Memorialists cannot have the smallest doubt of Your Excel- 
lency's good will and zeal to encourage the commercial interest of the 
Prvivince over which you preside, and particularly of (that) which lies 
at a great distance from the frontiers of the unnatural rebel States of 
America. Therefore, submitting their case to Your Excellency's con- 
sideration, they humbly, and most earnestly, request speedy relief in the 
premises, and Your Memorialists, as in duty bound shall ever pray. 

Montreal, 11th May, 1780. 

J. PoKTEouji Todd & McGill, 

Holmes & Grant, Benj. & Jos. Frobisher. 

Simon McTavish. McGill & Paterson. 

Charlbh Grant, Forrest Cakes, 

Geo. McBeath, Adam Lym burner 

Notwithstanding the success, as reported, of the Pond expe- 
dition and others, the position of the traders in the North- 
West continued to be very bad : a fact which arose in a great 
mea.sure from the evil conduct of some of them, and their 

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quarrels with the Indians, resalting in freqnent lights. About 
this time, a sad occurrence took place which will show the 
state of feeling that existed even amongst the better class of 
traders. In 1780, a number of these agreed to send out an 
expedition on joint accownt, and a Mr. Wadin and Mr. Pond 
were selected to take charge of it, — two men of opposite char- 
acters, who could not agrea One day, about the beginning of 
1781, Mr. Pond and his clerk were invited to dine with Mr. 
Wadin, and the latter, during the night following the dinner, 
was shot in the thigk, from which it is said, he bled to death, 
and it was supposed that Mr. Pond and the clerk committed 
the deed. They were afterwards tried in Montreal for the 
murder, and acquitted, but a strong feeling existed in the 
mind of the public that they were guilty. 

Little trading was done after this, owing to the continuance 
of the smallpox amongst the Indians, until the winter of 
1783-4, when, the prospects having become brighter, a number 
of merchants of Canada, engaged in the fur trade, formed a 
junction of interests imder the name of the North- West Com- 
pany. The management of this association was placed in the 
hands of Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher and Simon Mc- 
Tavish, an arrangement which was not satisfactory^ to Mr. 
Peter Pond, one of the parties to the formation of the com- 
pany. He therefore prevailed upon Mr. Peter Pangman to 
join him in forming a rival scheme, but, before this was 
accomplished, he made terms with the North- West Company. 
Mr. Pangman, however, and his associates continued their 
opposition until 1787, when the rival concerns were united in 
one, and matters went smoothly for over ten years, unt'l in 
1798, differences again occurred, and a number of the part- 
ners seceded from the parent association, and formed the XY 

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In 1801, Dominic Rousseau, of Montreal, sent a party of 
traders under one Hervier, who, on reaching Lake Superior, 
were set upon by servants of the North- West Company, and 
obliged to return, at considerable loss to the undertaking. In 
1806, Mr. Rousseau, in company with a Mr. Delorme, made 
another attempt, but was agaifi driven back, Mr. Delorme 
being forced to return to Montreal, leaving all his goods 
behind him. This was the last instance of a private merchant 
attempting to send goods from Montreal into the North- West 
for the purpose of trading. 

To the fur traders, in a large measure, belongs the honor of 
having saved Upper Canada from the grasp of the Americans. 
The aid they rendered to General Brock is a matter of his- 
tory, and, although the North-West Company obtained the 
chief credit of having assisted in the capture of Michilimac- 
kinac, the work was done principally by traders, independent 
of that Company. Among those, may be mentioned Mr. 
Robert Dickson and Mr. Jacob Franks, who brought forward 
a strong body of Sioux Indians, to assist the Canadians, and 
the voyageurs commanded by Colonel Crawford, and other 
brave officers also did good service to Canada, alternating 
their time as canoe men in the fur trade, and volunteers in the 
service of Canada. 

But from 1798 the fur trade may be said to have paased 
from the hands of private individuals into thase of companies, 
and the fur traders became the servants of the latter. 

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The first association for the carrying on of the fur trade, of 
which we have any record, was the Beaver Company, estab- 
lished in 1628 or 1630, but there is little known of its opera- 
tions. In the previous chapter we traced the history of the 
fur traders down to the year 1798, when the last attempt at 
individual trading from Montreal was made, and we will now 
take a glance at the fur companies, the outcome of that sys- 
tem. When the French lost possession of Canada in 1762, 
the " Coureura dea Boia" unaccustomed to the ways and man- 
ner of doing business of the English, were slow at fii*st to as- 
sociate with them, but it was not long until they overcame 
this feeling, and grew to be as active in fighting the battles of 
the merchant fur traders, as they had formerly been in their 
own quarrels. The Canadian merchants, however, for a long 
time experienced strong competition from those doing busi- 
ness in the United States, who induced the Indians and the 
" Coarettra dee Bois " to take service with them on the Amer- 
ican side. This, combined with the lawless doings of many of 
the fur traders themselves, the prevalence of the smallpox 
among the Indians, and the cutting off of supplies by the 
Americans, caused a few of the Canadian merchants to unite 
together, in 1779, for self protection, and the union of inter- 
ests thus brought about led to the formation, in 1782, of the 

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North- West Company. A number of merchants in Montreal 
formed an association under this title, the leading persons 
being Benj. and Jos. Frobisher, and Mr. Simon McTavish, by 
whose influence mainly the coalition was brought about, but 
in the arrangement of this co-partnership difficulties arose, 
and a few withdrew; preferring to carry on a separate trade, 
and this state of affairs continued until 1787, when all the 
parties united once more under the name of the North- West 

In the meantime, the parties who formed the company in 
1783 were active in exploring the country for the purpose of 
extending their operations, and in 1784 sent a party consist- 
ing of Mr. Edward Umfreville, Mr. Venanqe St. Germain, and 
six Canadians to the north for that purpose. In October of 
the same year the Company presented the following memorial 
to Governor Haldimand, at Quebec : 

To Hi8 Excellency Fkederick Haldimand, Etc., Etc. 

The Meinoiial of the North- West Cvn-pany humbly shi teeth : 
** That the Company from the Boundary described in the late Treaty 
** of Peace, being apprehensive the United States would avail themselves 
*' of every means in their power to di8i>o8se88 them of their trade to the 
** North- West, from being entitled to an equal, if not an exclusive, right 
"to the Grand Portage on Lake Sui)erior and the water communication 
*'to the extent of Lake du Bois : Have, at their own expense and with 
** the approbation of Your Excellency, sent off from the north side of Lake 
** Superior, two persons, on whom they can depend, accompanied by six 
*' Canadians, to attempt the discovery of another passage north of the line 
** of the Boundary, to theKiver Ouinipique, and from the information your 
** Memorialists have since received from them, they have every reason to 
** expect that this pas^iage, so much to be wished for, will be discovered 
'^and found practicable ; which will effectually secure that valuable 
** branch of the fur trade to this Province. 

** That exclusive of this great object, your Memorialists have in view 
** another discovery of greater magnitude, which is that of exploring, at 
** their own expense, between the latitudes 65 and 65, all that tract of 
** country extending west of the Hudson's Bay to the North Pacific Ocean, 

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** of which surveys shall be taken, so far as it may be practicable, and 
**8uch surveys, with remarks thereupon, respecting the nature of the 
*^ country, and the rivers which discharge their waters into that sea be- 
** tween those latitudes together with every other information that can be 
*' collected from the natives, sh^U be laid before the Kinjf's Governor for 
** this province, to be by him transmitted to His Majesty. 

'*That the Company's servants, as before mentioned, are now ac- 
*'tually employed in the first of these discoveries, and the latter which 
** must be considered as an object deserving of every encouragement from 
** the Government, they are ready to undertake by such of their servants 
^' and other persons who are qualified to carry their intentions into 
*' execution. 

** That your Memorialists request Your Excellency will be pleased to 
** represent to His Majesty's Ministers the value and importance of these 
** discoveries, and the propriety of granting to the Company an exclusive 
'* right to the passage they may discover from the north side of Lake Su- 
**perior to the River Ouinipique ; and also of the trade to the North- 
** West either by that passage or by the present communication of the 
** Grand Portage for ten years only, as a reward for their services and in 
'* consideration of their making these extensive and valuable discoveries 
** at their own expense 

** Your Memorialists would not presume to ask for this exclusive right 
**of trade to the North- West, if it could prove injurious to individuals, or 
*' hurtful to this Province in general ; but, on the contrary, they are the 
** only persons who have any interest or connection in that country ; con- 
**sequently, no one can be injured by it, while it will give them the 
** opportunity of making the discoveries they propose, and pursuing the 
"most proper measures, suggested by long experience, to ^upply the 
** natives abundantly with every necessary they require, by which only, 
**and a well regulated system in that long chain of connections, the 
** North-West business is capable of being extended. 

** Your Memorialists therefore request, that until His Majesty's 
** pleasure is known, that Your Excellency will be pleased to suspend the 
** granting of passes for the Grand Portage, or the passage thay are 
** attempting to discover from the north side of Lake Superior to the 
** River Ouinipique, should they be applied for, and that you will be 
** pleased to signify the same to the officer commanding at Michilimakinac, 
* * to the end, that no person may have cause to complain, under a i)retence 
**of having property in the country, if the Company should obtain for the 
'* considerations now laid before Your Excellency, an exclusive right to 
" the trade from Lake Superior to the North- West. 

**Your Memorialists pray Your Excellency will take the merit of 
** their memorial into your consideration, and that you will be pleased to 

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** recommend to His Majesty's Ministers to grant to the North- West 
* * Company (of which your Memorialists are directors), an exclusive 
** privilege of trade from Lake Superior to that country, for ten years 
** only, as a reward for discovering a new passage to the River Ouinipique, 
** and thereby eflfectually securing to this Province the fur trade to the 
"North- West. And in consideration also of exploring at their own ex- 
** pense, between the latitudes 55 and 65, all that tract of country west of 
** Hudson's Bay, to the North Pacific Ocean, and communicating to 
** Government such surveys and other information respecting that 
** country, as it may be in their power to obtain. 

** And your Memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc., etc.'' 

Bekj. <& JoK. Frobisher, 

Directors of the North- WeM Company. 
Montreal, 4th October, 1784. 

In a letter accompanying this Memorial, Messrs. Frobisher 
give some particulars of their trading operations, prior to the 
formation of the North- West Company, which are interesting. 
They say : — " The first adventurer went from Michilimakinac, 
in the year 1765. The Indians of Lake La Pluye, having then 
been long destitute of goods, stopped and plundered his canoes, 
and would not suffer him to proceed farther. He attempted 
it again the following year, and met with the same bad for- 
tune. Another attempt was made in the year 1767 : they left 
goods at Lake Pluye, to be traded with the natives, who per- 
mitted them to proceed with the remainder, and the canoes 
penetrated beyond Lake Ouinipique. From this period, the 
trade of that country was attempted by other adventurers, 
with various success, and we were among the number, in the 
year 1769, when we fonned a connection with Messrs. Todd 
& McGill, of Montreal, for the purpose of carrying on the 
business, but the Indians of Lake La Pluye, still ungovernable 
and rapacious, plundered our canoes, and would not sutler any 
part of our goods to be sent farther. Before we could be ac- 
(juainted with this misfortune, our goods for the year follow- 

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ing were at the Grand Portage, and we were then too far 
engaged to hesitate for a moment. A second attempt was 
made, in which we were more successful. Our canoes reached 
Lake Bourbon, and thenceforward we were determined to 
persevere. Taught, however, that separate interests were the 
bane of that trade, we lost no time to form, with those gentle- 
men and some others, a company, and having men of experience 
and abilities to conduct it in the interior country, the Indians 
were soon abundantly supplied, and, being at the same time 
well treated, new posts were discovered as early as the year 
1774, which, to the French, were totally unknown; and, had 
we not been interrupted by new adventurers, the public in a 
few years would have been well acquainted with the value 
and extent of that country, of which, even at this time, our 
knowledge is very imperfect. These adventurers, consulting 
their own interest only, without the least regard to the man- 
agement of the natives, and the general welfare of the trade, 
soon occasioned such disorder that those who had the most 
substantial prospects lost no time to withdraw their property, 
since which, this business, though not altogether neglected, 
has been carried on under great disadvantages, occasioned by 
a variety of interests, sometimes partially, and at other times 
totally unconnected with each otlier ; insomuch that, at the 
latter end of the year 1782, those who had persevered were 
no more than twelve in number, and being convinced, by long 
experience, of the advantages that would arise from a general 
connection, not only calculated to secure and promote their 
mutual interests, but also to guard against any encroachments 
of the United States on the line of boundary, as ceded to 
them by treaty, from Lake Superior to Lake du Bois, they 
entered upon and concluded articles of agreement under the 

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title of the North-West Company, of which we were named 
directors, dividing it into sixteen shares, of which each pro- 
prietor holds a certain number, proportionate to the interest 
he then had in the country." 

The Messrs. Frobisher then point out in their letter that, 
having every reason to expect from the line to be drawn, as 
explained in the late treaty of peace, that the United States 
would become possessed of the Grand Portage at the north- 
west extremity of Lake Superior, which, unless another pass- 
age was discovered, would result in the loss to Canada of the 
North-West fur trade, as the Grand Portage was the key to 
that part of the country, and, that urged by these reasons, 
their company had sent a party to discover, if possible, an- 
other route. 

In a subsequent part of the letter, the following interesting 
particulai*s were given, relating to the manner of conveying 
goods from Montreal to the North-West : — " The inland navi- 
gation from Montreal, by which the North-West business is 
carrie<l on, is perhaps the most extensive of any in the known 
world, but it is only practicable for canoes, on account of the 
great number of carrying-places. To give Your Excellency 
some idea of which, there are upwards of ninety from Mon- 
treal to Lake du Bois only, and many of them very long ones. 
Two sets of men are employed in this business, making to- 
gether upwards of 500, one-half of which are occupied in 
the transport of goods from Montreal to the Grand Portage, 
in canoes of about four tons burden, navigated by eight to 
ten men, and the other half are employed to take such goods 
forward to every post in the interior country, to the extent of 
1,000 to 2,000 miles and upwards, from Lake Superior, in 
canoes of about one ton and a half burden, made expressly 

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for the inland service, and navigated by four to five men 
only, according to the places of their destination. The large 
canoes from Montreal always set off early in May, and as the 
provisions they take with them are consumed by the time 
they reach Michilimakinac, they are necessitated to call there, 
merely to take in an additional supply, not only for them- 
selves but also for the use of the canoes intended for the in- 
terior country, and the 'consumption of their servants at the 
Grand Portage, but as these canoes are not capable of carry- 
ing the whole of such provisions, it thence becomes necessary 
to have a vessel, or boats, upon Lake Superior for that trans- 
port only, and the utmost dispatch is required, that every- 
thing may be ready in point of time to send oft* their supplies 
for the interior country, for which purpose the goods, pro- 
visions, and everything else required for the outfits of the 
year, must be at the Grand Portage early in July ; for the 
carrying-place being at least ten miles in length, fifteen days 
are commonly spent in this service, which is performed by the 
canoe men, who usually leave the west end from the 15th 
July to the 1st August, according to the distances of the 
places they are intended for. Their general loading is two- 
thirds goods, and one-third provisions, which, not being suf- 
ficient for their subsistence until they reach winter quarters, 
they must, and always do, depend on the natives they occas- 
ionally meet on the road for an additional supply; ard when 
this fails, w^hich is sometimes the case, they are exposed to 
every misery that it is possible to survive, and equally so in 
returning from the interior country, as in the spring provis- 
ions are more scanty. In winter-quarters, however, they are 
at ease, and commonly in plenty, which only can reconcile 
them to that manner of life, and make them forget their suf- 

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erings in their annual voyage to and from the Grand Portage.'^ 
The value of the North- West Company's trade in 1784 is 
shown in the following words : ** The property the Company 
have already in that country, exclusive of their houses and 
stores, and the different posts, as appears by the settlement of 
their accounts this present year, amounts to the sum of £25,- 
303, 38. 6d. currency ; and their outfits for the next spring, 
which will be sent from Montreal as soon as the navigation is 
open, will not fall much short of that sum, so that the Com- 
pany will have an interest at the Grand Portage, in July next, 
of about £50,000 original cost in furs, to be sent to Montreal 
by the return of their canoes, and in goods for the interior 
country, from which Your Excellency may judge of what may 
be expected from that trade, when in our power, by an exclu- 
sive right for ten years, to explore the country and extend it." 
Mr. Peter Pond, the following year, addressed another mem- 
orial to Lieut.-Govemor Hamilton, at Quebec, on behalf of the 
North- West Company, recapitulating in a measure and sup- 
porting the arguments of the Frobishers, adding that both 
Russia and the United States were making preparations to 
secure the fur trade on the north-west coast of North Amer- 
ica. In the same year, Benj. Frobisher suggests that a carry- 
ing-place should be established at Toronto, as the settlers from 
that vicinity, in the course of a few" years, he stated, would be 
in a situation to supply the provisions wanted by the traders 
for the northern countries. Numerous other suggestions were 
also made to the Government about this time, by members of 
the North- West Company, with the object of preserving the 
fur trade to Canada, and preventing it from falling into the 
hands of the Americans. 

One point raised by the North-West Company was the in- 

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sufficiency of the means of transport for their goods on the 
lakes by the King's ships, private vessels not being suffered to 
navigate the inland waters, and in connection with this subject, 
General Haldimand submitted the following recommendation 
to the Right Honorable Lord Sydney : 

" The navigation of these lakes by the King s vessels only, is 
an object so nearly connected with the entire preservation of 
the fur trade, that I have withstood various applications for 
building and navigating private vessels and boats upon the 
lakes; the rivers and outlets from them to the American States 
are so numerous that no precautions which could be taken, in 
that case, would be effectual in preventing a great part of the 
furs from going directly into the American States, and there 
is but little doubt that traders will carry their commodities to 
the best market, whatever may be the consequences ; indeed 
several instances have already occurred since the peace, of 
their smuggling furs even from Montreal over Lake Champlain 
into the States, notwithstanding the vigilance of the civil and 
military officers. What then would be the case upon the re- 
mote lakes may easily be conceived. I would, therefore, re- 
commend by all means that a sufficient number of King's 
vessels be kept upon the lakes, and all other craft, whatever, 
prohibited, not only for the foregoing reasons, but in all events 
to preserve a superiority upon the waters in that country." 

The North- West Company, therefore, not only failed in ob- 
taining permission to navigate their own vessels on the lakes, 
but were also unsuccessful in securing the exclusive privileges 
they sought 

In 1789, Mr. Isaac Ogden, in a letter written from Quebec to 
Mr. David Ogden, in London, when giving some account of the 
commerce in the North- West, states as follows : " From the 

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end of the Portage, at the head of Lake Strpertor, all the lakes 
and watei'8, as high up as lat. 58^, and long. 124°, set first to 
the north-west and north, and then take a south-easterly 
and south course, and empty into York Factory (Hudson's 
Bay). These lakes and rivers are almost innumerable. Some 
of them are very large, such as the Lake Winnipeg, Lake of 
the Woods, and others. The mouth of York River lays in long. 
94° west, and lat. 57°. It is an extensive, large river, setting 
nearly west, and is supplied by the above lakes and rivers, 
which fall into it from the north and south. The Hudson's 
Bay Company have posts several hundred miles west fix)m 
them, but none to the northward." 

Thus showing that the Hudson's Bay Company were then 
extending their trading operations far into the interior. Mr. 
Heame, as we have already shown, had discovered and explor- 
ed the Coppermine River, and afterwards, in 1770, established 
the post at Cumberland House. From that time the extension 
of the Hudson's Bay Company's trade in the interior seems to 
have been rapid, and their opposition to the North-West Com- 
pany strong. During this period of rivalry between the tw^o 
powerful associations, the officers of the respective companies 
were not unfriendly to each other, although there w^as keen 
competition between them in the way of tratle, but socially 
they frequently met each other in the most hospitable manner. 

While the North-W^est Company were memorializing the 
Government in regard to proposed explorations into the inter- 
ior, and offering their services for that object, the Hudson's 
Bay Company were not inactive in the same direction. Early 
in 1790, we find it stated that Mr. Wegg, the Governor of the 
Company, intimated to the Government that the directors had 
unanimously determined to send their sloop of about 90 tons 

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at their own expense, if a proper person were sent in her, to 
examine if any outlet could be found from Hudson's Bay to 
facilitate the communication with the west coast. They also 
wished that two proper persons might be sent by Government 
to travel inland to ascertain the shortest communication by 
the lakes and rivers, and offered to defray any reasonable ex- 
pense of the undertaking. 

Thus the two great fur companies were at this time in the 
van of exploration in the North- West, and to them the open- 
ing up of that vast region is chiefly due. 

In 1798, differences again occurred among the partners of 
the North- West Company, which resulted in a number of 
them seceding and forming themselves into the X.Y. Com- 
pany. The effect of this was additional competition in the 
fur trade for several yeara. In 1799, a strong contest was 
entered into by those rival companies for possession of land at 
Sault Sainte-Marie, and, from the papers relating thereto, it 
would appear that the North-West Company were the first to 
construct a canal at that point. The following abstract is 
taken from a memorial presented by them in 1802 on the sub- 
ject : — " That, contemplating the advantages of a free and un- 
obstructed passage between the Lakes Huron and Superior, 
your memorialists, in the year 1797, caused a proper survey to 
be made on the British side of the Falls of St. Mary ; the 
sixth part of the expense of which, amounting to about forty- 
five pounds, was defrayed by the house of Messrs. Forsyth, 
Richardson & Co. That in consequence of the report made of 
the said survey, your memorialists have, since that period, 
actually cut a road forty -five feet wide across the canying- 
place, and opened a canal upwaixls of three thousand feet in 
length, with a lock which raises the water nine feet, and have 

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also erected thereon a saw mill, storehouses and other neces- 
sary buildings for facilitating the navigation of said canal" 

Messrs. Phyn, Inglis & Co., the London agents of the XY 
Company, opposed the application of the North- West Com- 
pany for a grant of land at the Sault, and the Duke of Port- 
land, writing on the 13th March, 1800, to Lieut-General Hun- 
ter, agreed with them. He says : — " I am strongly inclined to 
be of opinion that it must be very much for the benefit of the 
fur trade, that about four or five leagues, or, perhaps, the 
w^hole strait in (juestion, should be forever retained in the 
hands of the Crown." 

With the formation of the XY Company, the competition 
in the fur trade became very bitter, and mattei'S between the 
contending parties began te wear a formidable appearance. 
Hostilities broke out between the agents of the respective 
companies ; alliances were formed with the Indians, and the 
whole trade was carried on in a reckless and extravagant 

In 1793, the Hudson's Bay Company's servants made their 
appearance at Red River, an expedition equipped at Albany, 
on James Bay, being conducted there by Mr. Donald McKay, 
who, on his arrival, built a post alongside of those of the 
North-West and XY Companies. About this time, according 
to Sir Alexander McKenzie, the Indian tribes in the North- 
West were divided about as follows : At Nepowe and South 
Branch, thirty tents of Bristineaux, or 90 warriors, and sixty 
tents of Stone Indians, 200 warriors, whose hunting-grounds 
extended up to the Eagle Hills ; at Forts George and Agustus, 
80 tents, and, on either side of the river, 200 tents Crees. In 
the same part of the country were 140 tents of Stone Indians, 
not quite one half inhabiting the west woody section, and 

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their whole number being not less than 450. The Surcees, on 
the north branch, 35 tents, and opposite to these, on the east- 
ward, near the head waters of the south branch, were the 
Peigans, numbering from 1,200 to 1,500 men. Next were the 
Blood Indians, to the number of 50 tents, or 200 men ; and 
the Blackf eefc, numbering about 800. Then, the Big-Bellied 
Indians had about 600 warriors, but the Crees, it is stated, 
although their numbers are not given, were the most numer- 
ous tribe of Indians in the North- West, and occupied a wider 
range of hunting-grounds than any other of the aboriginal 
nations. With these large bodies of Indians, the three fur 
companies carried on an extensive trade, and in the prosecu- 
tion of it the rivalry became so bitter that outrages on each 
other, and bloodshed, ensued. As an instance of this, in the 
winter of 1801-2, Mr. John McDonald, who managed the 
affairs of the North- West Company in Athabasca, had in his 
employ a clerk named King, and in the service of Mr. Roche- 
blanc, the agent of the XY Company, in the same district, was 
a man named Lamotte. During the course of the winter, two 
Indians arrived as deputies from a band with which both 
companies had had tranmictions, to inform the traders that 
they had furs ready at an encampment within four or five 
days' march. King and Lamotte, on learning this, set out im- 
mediately to secure the fui*s due their respective companies, 
and arrived at the Indian camp about the same time. King, 
however, having the stronger force, succeeded in getting pos- 
session of all the furs except one bale, which fell to Lamotte. 
The former, not satisfied with his success, resolved to take the 
one bundle which Lamotte had, and went for that purpose 
with an armed force to his tent. Lamotte warned King not 
to touch the bundle of furs, and, when he persisted, shot him 

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(lead. It was only the of the Indians that pre- 
vented Lainotte from being killed on the spot by King's men, 
and, although he was afterw^ards arrested, he was never tried, 
but was kept in prison until the coalition of the two com- 
panies took place, when he regained his liberty. 

This outrageous proceeding gave rise to the passing of an 
Act in 1808, 43 Geo. III., Cap. 138. commonly called the 
" Canada Jurisdiction Act." The professed object of this act 
was to remedy a defect of the law% arising from the circum- 
stance that some pai*ts of British America were not within the 
limits of any British Colony, so that offences committed there 
could not be tried by any jurisdiction whatever. In order to 
remedy this evil, the courts of law^ in Canada were allowed to 
take cognizance of any offences which might be committed 
within certain districts, termed in the act, the " Indian Terri- 
tories." The act was very vague in meaning as to the par- 
ticular territories to which it was meant to apply, but it 
show^ed that public attention was being attracted to the dis- 
turlmnces taking place between the fur companies. 

The first trial under the act in Montreal was, when one 
John Mowat, in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
was convicted of manslaughter for shooting Eaneas MacDon- 
nel, a clerk of the Xorth-West Company, in self-defence, but 
the circumstances attending this trial showed very clearly 
that the North-West Company, in those days, had too much 
influence in Canada over bench, bar and public opinion, for 
any opponent of it to obtain a fair trial. 

In 1805, a coalition of the North-West and XY Companias 
took place, and the whole conceni was divided into 100 shares, 
of which a large proportion was held in London and Monti-eal 
by mercantile houses wiiich had contributed capital, the bal- 

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ance being held by the wintering partners, some of whom pos- 
sessed one, and some two shares. A general meeting of the 
Company was held every summer, at the rendezvous at Fort 
William, on Lake Superior, where all matters were decided by 
a majority of votes^ each share giving one vote, and the 
absentees voting by proxy. At the general meeting, the 
operations to be carried on the succeeding year were arranged,^ 
and the stations to be assigned to each individual determined. 
At the same time the accounts of the year were settled, each 
partner bringing in a statement of the transactions of the 
department he had in charge. 

When a wintering partner had served a number of j^ears h^ 
was at liberty to retire from the concern, and, without doing 
any further duty, to continue to hold an interest in the capital 
of the Company, and also, for seven years, to draw one half 
the profits of the share he had held. Upon the retiring of a 
wintering partner, the vacancy was filled by the election of 
another in his place, each candidate being required to be of 
good character, and to have served the Company a certain 
number of years, his ability as a trader and manager of a post 
being well considered. In this way the clerks of the Com- 
pany, in the hope of promotion, were excited to an activity 
and zeal hardly inferior to the partners themselves. Nothing, 
Certainly, could be devised more admirably calculated than 
this system to infuse activity into every department of so 
extensive a concern, and to direct that activity in the most 
effectual manner, and in complete unity of purpose towards 
the common interest. 

The annual meeting of the Company at Fort William was 
an event of great importance to the wintering partners, who, 
like chieftains of the olden time, repaired wnth a retinue of 

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servants to the place of gathering. The leading partners from 
Montreal travelled to Fort William in sumptuous state, their 
large canoes, freighted with every convenience and luxury, 
and manned by Canadian voyageurs, who were peculiarly 
fitted to overcome the difficulties of such a trip, and make it 
pleasant. Cooks, bakers, and other servants accompanied 
these annual trips, and the supplies carried with them in- 
cluded delicacies of every kind, and choice wines for the 
banquets which attended the great convention. 

In a large wooden building at Fort William was the great 
council hall of the Company, and near it the banqueting 
chamber. The house and vicinity swarmed with traders, voy- 
ageurs, Indians, half-breeds, etc., who feasted sumptuously and 
drank deeply during the time the council was being held. 
The deliberations of the partners were, however, conducted 
with much dignity, and the business affairs of the Company 
well considered and carefully a<ljusted. But when business 
was over and the feasting began, the scene of revelry was be- 
yond description. They were a hard-living, hard-drinking set 
of men, those old Nor -Westers; keen to take advantage 
where a fur trade was in question, they were ever ready to 
extend the hand of friendship and hospitality to their guests. 
The annual meeting of the council at Fort William was, to the 
wintering partners, a grand holiday season, to which they al« 
ways looked forward, as the mariner, after a long voyage, an- 
ticipates his home-welcome, and, while the affairs of the Com- 
pany were strictly attended to at the council board, the 
balance of the time was spent in revelry and feasting. Their 
retainers, in the shape of voyageurs, half-breeds, hunters and 
traders, were not slow in following the example of their 
superiors, and the scene, therefore, around the council hall 

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was sometimes one of pandemonium. The council at an end, 
each wintering partner took his way, accompanied by his 
"people," to his far-off post, with full instructions how to 
proceed during the next twelve months ; and the leaders or 
agents living in Montreal embarked in their canoeis for their 
home on the St. Lawrence, where they lived in lordly and 
hospitable style, surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries 
of the day, while their wintering partners roughed it in the 
far-off north. 

While the North-West Company were pushing their way 
and extending their operations in the wilds of Canada, east of 
the Rockies, the Americans south of the boundary line were 
not idle, and the Mackinaw Company, American Fur Com- 
pany and South- West Company followed each other in quick 
succession, having for their object the extension of the fur 
trade along the north-west coast, and in some of these enter- 
prises, it is said, a number of the partners of the North- West 
Company were interested. 

Sir Alexander McKenzie had returned from his four years' 
journey to the north, during which he discovered and explor- 
ed the great river which bears his name, and on his return he 
proposed in 1802 (before the coalition of the North- West and 
XY Companies), the formation of a company to carry on the 
fishery and fur trade in the interior, and on the west coast of 
America. In Article 3 of his proposition the following words 
appear: — "To obtain from the Hudson's Bay Company, if it 
has legal power to grant or refuse it, a 'licence of transit,* 
irrevocable and unlimited ; for all goods, wares and merchan- 
dise, the growth, produce and manufacture of Great Britain 
and of America, in and outwards through all the seas, bays, 
ports, rivers, lakes and territories within the limits of its 

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charter," showing that the Hudsons Bay Company were 
then upholding their privileges in the interior as well as in 
the country bordering on the Bay. Sir Alexander McKenzie's 
project, however, came to naught.' 

The North-West and XY Companies having joined hands, 
a keen rivalry, accompanied by outrages and bloodshed, broke 
out between the re-organized concern and the Hudson s Bay 
Company. The following instances will give some idea of the 
extent to which this lawless conduct was sometimes carried. 
In May, 1806, William CorrigaJ, in the service of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, stationed at Bad Lake, near Fort Albany, had 
his house broken into, and, while he and his men were seized 
by a force of North-West Company servants, the furs were 
stolen. Corrigal's post was broken into and robbed on several 
subsequent occasions, and about the same time, John Crear, 
a Hudson 8 Bay Company trader, and his men, occupying a 
post called Big Fall, near Lake Winnipeg, were assaulted and 
some of them dangerously wounded, while the place was being 
robbed of fura and goods. In 1808, Mr. William Linklater, 
also in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, traded some 
valuable furs fix)m the Indians, and was bringing them to the 
post at Rein Deer Lake, when a Mr. Campbell, of the North- 
West Company, and some men, stopped and robbed him of 
all that he had. Instances of the strife that existed between 
the servants of the two companies would, of themselves, fill a 
large book, but the few we have given will show the extreme 
lengths to which they went Secluded for years from all 
society, and far removed from the restraints of law, these men 
were often guilty of acts of injustice, oppression, and even 
cruelty against their weaker neighbors, who had no means of 
obtaining redress, and the one thought uppermost in their 

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minds seemed to be the success of their respective companies 
in procuring the largest amount of furs, whether obtained 
honestly in trade, or by violence. 

The North -West Company s officers were exceedingly active 
and enterprising, even more so than those of the Hudson*s 
Bay Company. It is estimated that about this time they had 
over 2,000 employes, the average wages of each being about 
£40 per annum. But this was paid chiefly in goods supplied 
'by the company at a large profit, instead of cash, which re- 
duced the total actual amount paid out for wages each year. 

In their dealings with the Indians, the North-West Com- 
pany pursued the policy of giving credit in advance, a custom 
which prevailed also with their rivals, and which, at times, 
was advantageous to the natives, although it mostly acted to 
their disadvantage. The improvident character of the Indian 
caused him to be often in want of the necessaries of life, when 
he had nothing to offer in exchange for them and on these 
occasions the fur traders came to his rescue, very much, 
however, on the same line that the pawnbroker comes to the 
aid of the needy, and the Indians were made to pay dearly for 
their advance. The worst feature was that the North-West 
Company frequently intimidated the Indians to prevent them 
from selling to others, but on the whole, if it had not been for 
the introduction of intoxicating liquor among the tribes, the 
advent of the traders would have been beneficial. 

It was at one time suggested by some friends of humanity 
in England that an Act of Parliament should be passed to re- 
strain the sale of spirituous liquors to the Indians in British 
America, and the proposal was communicated to the directors 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, who expressed their concur- 
rence in the proposition, as, in answer to queries on the subject 

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sent out to their officers in the North- West, the opinion was 
expressed that trade would not suffer by the measure. The 
North- West Company, it seems, were not so much in favor of 
the proposition, and influence was brought by them to cause 
the matter to be dropped. 

Lord Selkirk, in his sketch of the British fur trade, was 
particularly severe upon the North- West Company, and ar- 
gued that the national interest of Great Britain would not be 
promoted by an adherence to their system of carrying on busi- 
ness. He contended that they were opposed to colonization, 
because they considere<l it would injure the fur trade. Furth- 
er than that, he held that their only object was to obtain a 
great immediate return of fui-s, without any regard to its per- 
manent continuance, and that a war of extermination was 
being carried on against all the valuable fur-bearing animals. 
Lord Selkirk, at the time, was arguing against free trade in 
the North- West, holding that it gave rise to disturbances, 
bloodshed, extermination of fur-bearing animals, and injustice 
to the Indian tribes, and cei'taiidy there was truth in his 
arguments. The North-West Company, however, had friends 
who replied to his strictures. Sir Alexander McKenzie, in 
his able reply, accused the early traders who penetrated into 
the country immediately after the conquest of Canada, of 
violence and excesses, and sliowed that the North-West Com- 
pany was formed to repress those irregularities and enormi- 
ties, and althougli subsequently scenes of violence were to a 
certain degree renewed, owing to the opposition of the fur 
companies to e«ich otlier, as soon as a junction of the two par- 
ties took place they immediatt4y ceased, and he contended 
that until Lord Selkirk appeared upon the scene, tranquillity 
and peace were universally established. Sir Alexander Mc- 

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Kenzie is not borne out, however, in this statement by facts, 
as we have shown, as there was more or less disturbance in 
the North- West until the amalgamation of the Hudson's Bay 
and North- West Companies took place. 

With regard to the proposal to restrain the liquor traffic of 
the country by legislation, the friends of the North-West 
Company held that it would be extremely difficult, if not im- 
possible, to enforce the provisions of an Act of Parliament 
which might be readily obeyed by one class of persons 
and evaded by another. They stated, too, that there were 
certain Indians, or rather mixed population of Indians and 
Canadians on the plains, on whom the traders were dependent 
for food, and with whose habits and customs it would be dan- 
gerous suddenly to interfere. In other words, the North-West 
Company looketl upon the restraint of the liquor traffic as im- 
practicable, and not desirable from a trade point of view. 
They claimed that they had endeavored to restrain the sale 
and use of intoxicants without legislation, and had so far suc- 
ceeded that in two years time the quantity introduced into 
the North-West had been reduced from 50,000 to 10,000 

About the year 1810, the North-West Company, acting 
upon the suggestion of Sir Alexander McKenzie, pushed one 
or two posts across the Rocky Mountains, into a part of the 
country which he had previously explored, but in this enter- 
prise they were at a great disadvantage, owing to the distance 
they had to carry their goods. They had no good port on the 
Pacific where they could obtain their supplies by sea, but they 
doggedly persevered in their attempt, until, about the year 
1815, they were in complete occupation of the Columbia river 
and its chief tributary streams, holding their posts and carry- 

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ing on a trade in United States territory, in detiance of the 
prohibitory law of Congress which was then in force, 

And now, having reached this stage in the affairs of the 
North- West Company, it will be well to take a glance at those 
of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

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In previous chapters we traced the different discoveries in 
Hudson's Bay, and the conflicts between the English and 
French for possession of that great inland sea. The result, as 
already shown, of the expedition under Captain Zachariah 
Gillam in 1668, was the granting of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's charter on 2nd May, 1670, to Prince Rupert and his 
associates. Prince Rupert was a most earnest and generous 
patron of all promising adventures, and, having given his 
countenance and assistance to the expedition of the Ndnsuch, 
it was a natural consequence that he should connect himself 
prominently with the enterprise of the Hudson's Bay Company 
and interest himself in obtaining the charter from King 
Charles II. 

The motive assigned for the royal gift was, " that the cor- 
porators have at their own great cost and charges imdertaken 
an expedition for Hudson's Bay, for the discovery of a new 
passage into the South Sea, and for finding some trade for furs, 
minerals, and other considerable commodities, and by such, 
their undertaking, have already made such discoveries as do 
encourage them to proceed further in pursuance of their said 
design, by means whereof there may probably arise very great 
advantage to us and our Kingdom." 

The original grantees named in the charter were Prince 

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Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and 
Cumberiand, &e., Christopher Duke of Albermarie, William 
Eari of Craven, Henry Lord Arlington, Anthony Lord Ashley, 
Sir John Robinson and Sir Robert Vyner, Knights and 
Baronets, Sir Peter Colleton, Baronet ; Sir Edward Hunger- 
ford, Knight of the Bath ; Sir Paul Neele, Knight ; Sir John 
GriflSth and Sir Philip Carteret, Knights ; James Hayes, John 
Kirk, Francis Millington, William Prettyman, John Fenn, 
Esquires ; and John Portman, citizen and goldsmith of London. 
The " Rights by Charter " were specified as follows : " We 
have given granted and confirmed, and by these presents, for 
us, our heirs and successors, do give, grant and confirm, unto 
the said governor and company, and their successors, the sole 
trade and commerce of all those seas, straits, bays, rivers, lakes, 
creeks and sounds in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that 
lie within the entrance of the straits .commonly called Hud- 
son's Straits, together with all the lands and tenntories upon 
the countries, coasts, and confines of the seas, bays, lakes, rivere, 
creeks and sounds aforesaid, that are not already actually 
possessed by or granted to any of our subjects, or possessed by 
the subjects of any other Christian Prince or state, with the 
fishing of all sorts of fish, whales and sturgeons, and other 
royal fishes, in the seas, bays, inlets and rivers within the 
premises, and the fish therein taken, together with the royalty 
of the sea upon the coasts within the limits aforesaid ; and all 
mines royal as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, sil- 
ver, gems and precious stones to be found or discovered within 
the territories, limits and places aforesaid ; and that the said 
land be from henceforth reckoned and reputed as one of our 
plantations or colonies in America, called " Rupert's Land : " 
and further, we do by these presents, for us, our heirs and 

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successoi^s, make, create, and constitute the said governor and 
company for the time being, and their successors, the true and 
absolute lords and proprietors of the same territory, limits and 
places aforesaid, and of all other, the premises, saving always 
the faith, allegiance and sovereign dominion due to us, our heirs 
and successors for the same ; to have, hold, possess and enjoy 
the said territory, limits and places, and all and singular other 
the premises hereby granted as aforesaid, with their and every 
of their rights, members, jurisdictions, prerogatives, royalties, 
and appurtenances whatsoever, to them the said governor and 
company, and their successors for ever, to be holden of us, our 
heirs and successors as of our manor of East Greenwich, in our 
County of Kent, in free and common soccage, and not in 
capite, or by Knight's service ; yielding and paying yearly to 
us, our heira and successors, for the same, two elks, and two 
black beavers, whensoever and as often as we, our heirs, suc- 
cessors, shall happen to enter into the said countries, territories 
and regions hereby granted/* 

Although the original title to the territory and trade in 
<luestion was derived under the charter, the rights of the com- 
pany have in various instances received the recognition of the 
British Legislature as < follows: 

The Act 14 Geo. 3, Cap. 83, entitled " An Act for making 
more effectual provision for the Government of Quebec in 
North America," in describing the boundaries of Canada, ex- 
pressly refers to their lying northward to the southern 
boundary of the territories granted to the Merchants adven- 
turers of England trading into Hudson's Bay. 

The Act 43 Geo. 3, cap. 138, entitled "An Act for extending 
the jurisdiction of the courts of justice in the Provinces of 
Lower and Upper Canada, to the trial and punishment of per- 

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sons guilty of crimes and offences within certain parts of 
North America, adjoining to the said provincea" 

This Act referred to crimes committed in the Indian Terri- 
tories, and, a doubt having arisen whether this provision 
extended to the territories possessed by the Hudson's Bay 
Company, an Act was passed, Lst and 2nd Geo. 4, cap. 66, 
entitled "An Act for regulating the fur trade, and establishing 
a commercial and civil jurisdiction within certain parts of 
North America," in which it was declared and enacted that the 
provisions of Act 43 Geo. 3, should be deemed and construed 
to extend to and over, and to be in full force in and thi*ough, 
all the territories theretofore granted to the Hudson's Bay 

This Act distinctly recognized the rights of the company to 
exclusive trade within their own territories. 

The charter gave the company the power to make, ordain 
and constitute reasonable laws, constitutions, orders and 
ordinances as to them seemed necessary — to put them in use, 
and execute them, and at their pleasure to revoke and alter 
them as occasion required. It provided also for the imposing 
of pains, penalties, and punishments upon all offendei-s, and 
that " all lands, islands, territories, plantations, forts, fortifica- 
tions, factories, or colonies, within the company's territories, 
were to be under the power and command of the Governor 
and company, their successors and assigns, and they were 
empowered to appoint and establish governors, and all other 
officers to govern them." 

In pui-suance of the authoritj^ thus given, the company in- 
variably exercised all the powers of government necessary for 
the a<lministration of justice in their territory, and for that 
purpose appointed proper officers who acted judiciously in all 
mattei-s arising therein. 

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Several Acts of the British Le^slature recognized the gen- 
eral rights and privileges claimed and exercised by the com- 
pany. Among these may be mentioned an Act passed in the 
sixth year of the reign of Queen Anne, c. 37, entitled " An 
Act for the encouragement of the trade to America," which 
expressly provides that nothing therein contained should 
extend or be construed to take away or prejudice any of the 
estates, rights or privileges of or belonging to the Governor 
and C!ompany of Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay. 

The same proviso was also made in an Act passed in 1745, 
18 Geo. 2, cap. 117, for granting a reward for the discovery of 
a north-west passage through Hudson's Straits ; and by 7 and 
8 Wm. III., cap. 22, the proprietary plantations, such as 
Ruperts Land, were regulated in such terms as expressly 
involved a parliamentary recognition of all royal grants of 
colonial dominion. 

The validity of the Hudson's Bay charter has been ques- 
tioned on several occ€U3ions, but the opinion of some of the 
highest authorities in England and the United States has 
been pronounced in its favor. The Hudson's Bay Company 
on the 10th June, 1814, sought an opinion respecting the Red 
River territory from the learned counsel, Samuel Romilly, G. 
S. Holroyd, William Cruse, J. Scarlet, and John Bell, who re- 
plied as follows : " We are of opinion that the grant of the 
soil contained in the charter is good, and that it will include 
all countries the waters of which flow into Hudson's Bay ; 
that an individual, holding from the Hudson's Bay Company 
a lease or grant, in fee simple, of any portion of their terri- 
tory, will be entitled to all the ordinary rights of landed pro- 
perty in England ; that the grant of civil and criminal juris- 
diction is valid, and to be exercised by the Governor and 

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Council as Judges, who are to proceed according to the laws 
of England ; that the company may appoint a Sheriff to 
execute judgments and do his duty, as in England ; that all 
persons will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court, who 
reside or are found within the territories over which it ex- 
tends, and we do not think that the Act 43 Geo. 3, c. 138, 
(commonly called the Canada Jurisdiction Act), gives jurisdic- 
tion within the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company — 
the same being within the jurisdiction of their own Govern- 
ors and Council." 

Mr. Greenhow, after reciting the Royal Charter of 1670, 
acknowledges " that from tlience it will be seen that the Hud- 
son's Bay Company possessed by its Charter almost sovereign 
powers over the vast portion of America drained by streams 
entering Hudson's Bay." 

Earl Grey, in a letter to Sir John Pelly, Governor of the 
Company, dated June 6th, 1850, concludes as follows: — "Lord 
Grey, therefore, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, 
adopted the most effectual means open to him for answering 
the requirements of the address, has been obliged, in the ab- 
sence of any parties prepared to contest the rights claimed by 
the company, to assume the opinion of the law officers of the 
Crown in their favor to be well founded." Daniel Webster 
says : "I entertain no doubt that these companies have a 
vested proprietary interest in these lands. Their title to its 
full extent is protected by treaty, and, although it is called a 
possessory title, it has been regarded as being, if not an abso- 
lute fee in the land, yet a fixed right of possession, use and 
occupation, as to prevent the soil from being alienated to 
others." John Van Buren declared : " That the occupation by 
the Hudson's Bay Company was lawful, and their charter per- 

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petual," and Edwin M. Stanton states : " For not only was the 
possession of the Hudson's Bay C!ompany recognized by its 
Government, but also their absolute right to grant and convey 
vast and unlimited portions of territory to others." 

The grounds of complaint which furnished the long-con- 
tinued and embittered opposition to the company were : 

" 1. That the charter was granted by royal prerogative 
without ratification. 

" 2. That it was illegal for the Crown to grant a monopoly 
of trade to a favored company of subjects. 

** 3. That the obligations imposed by the professed objects 
of the compfiuay, to search for a passage to the South Sea, and 
also to explore for mineral wealth, had been wholly neglected 
by the company, which sternly discountenanced and withstood 
all such enterprises when prompted by others. 

" 4. That a part at least of the territories claimed by the 
company was really exempted from the grant made to it, 
which recognized a possible possession by the subjects of some 
other * Christian Prince.' " 

It was claimed that a portion of the region had been pat- 
ented in 1598, by Henry IV. of France, to Sieur de la Roche, 
and that, on the ground of this claim, antedating Prince 
Rupert's charter, the Chevalier de Troyes, in 1684, had 
taken and destroyed the posts of the company on Hudson and 
James Bays, on the plea that the territory belonged to his 

According to the report of the commissioners appointed in 
1687 to consider the rival claims of England and France to 
Hudson's Bay, the following is the French case as presented : — 
They claimed " that in 1626 their King conveyed by charter 
to the Company of New France, the region now known as 

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Canada and the whole region of Hudson's Bay. The country 
(North- West) was also confirmed to France by the treaty of 
St. Germain-en-Laye, 38 yeara before Prince Rupert's charter. 
From the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, to the peace of Paris 
in 1763, there was no distinct boundary between the French 
in Canada and the territory' claimed by the English in the 
Bay. In 1763, in the cession of Canada by France, there was 
no western boundary assigned to Canada, although the French 
claimed to the Pacific. By the eighth article of the treaty of 
Ryswick, in 1697, the whole of Hudson's Bay was recognized 
as belonging to the Crown of France. By the treaty of 
. Utrecht, in 1713, a portion of the shores of Hudson s Bay was 
ceded to England. The French, by assaults in 1682 and 1686, 
destroyed all the forts except Albany, and held possession of 
York Factory, which they named Fort Bourbon, from 1697 to 
1714, and in 1699 the French ambassador to England asserted 
the claim of his sovereign to the whole of the Bay on the 

The English claimed : — " That the northern part of America, 
wherein Hudson's Bay is comprised, was discovered in the 
year 1497, by Sebastian Cabot, by particular commission from 
King Henry VII. In the year 1610, Henry Hudson, His 
Majesty's subject, sailed into the Straits and Bay of Hudson, 
took possession thereof, giving names to several places therein, 
by which they have been since called, and known in the maps 
of those parts, as well foreign as English. In the year 1612, 
Thomas Button, an Englishman, sailed into the said straits 
and bay, took possession of several places, particularly of the 
river of Port Nelson and teiritories thereunto belonging, in 
the name of his master, King James the First, and called the 
said river and port, wh<»rein they then wintered, by the name 

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of Port Nelson, from the commander of the ship wherein 
he sailed, whose name was Nelson. In the year 1631, Capt, 
Luke Fox, by command of King Charles the First, made a 
voyage to Hudson's Bay, and, amongst other places within the 
said bay, he entered the river of Port Nelson, and finding 
there a cross which had been erected by Sir Thomas Button, 
with an inscription defaced, he set up the said cross again 
with a new inscription, declaring His Majesty's right and pos- 
session, and then named the adjacent countries upon the said 
river, New North Wales, as it is called to this day in the maps 
of America. In the year 1667, another voyage was made to 
the said bay, by one Zachery Gillam, an Englishman, who 
sailed into a river in the bottom of the bay, calling it Rupert 
River, in honor of Prince Rupert, who was principally con- 
cerned in that expedition with other adventurers, built a fort 
there, which he called Charles Fort, in honor of his late Ma- 
jesty, and taking possession of the river and lands thereabouts, 
entered into a good correspondence and tra<Je with the natives. 
In the year 1669, Capt. Newland entered Port Nelson, and 
declared His Majesty's right thereto by setting up His Ma- 
jesty's Anns, as the ensigns of his sovereignty. In the year 
1670, His Majesty was pleased, by his Royal Charter, to in- 
corporate the said adv.enturers, gi'anting them power to trade 
exclusively to all others within the said straits and bay, and 
within all the lands and territories, rivers and islands, in and 
about the said straits and bay. In the year 1673, Charles 
Bayley was sent by the company as governor of the Factories 
within the said bay, with whom Monsieur Frontenac, then 
Governor of Canada, kept a good correspondence, without 
complaining of any injury done by the company, or their 
agents, in settling of commerce, or building of forts, in the 

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bottom of the bay. In 1680, Capt. Draper, in one of the 
company's ships, entered the river of Port Nelson. In the 
year 1682, the company's agents and factors built a fort, and 
were settling a factory in Port Nelson, when they were first 
disturbed by the French, the adventurers having expended 
near £200,000 for twenty years last past, in building forts and 
factories, within the limits of their charter. His Majesty's 
right to Hudson's Bay and territories thereunto belonging, 
being thus deduced without any interruption or dispute until 
the year 1682." 

The foregoing claims of the French and English to Hudson's 
Bay are taken almost verbatim from the papers^ connected 
with the transactions between England and France relating to 
Hudson's Bay in 1687. On that occasion, each side presented 
its view of the question, and the commissioners, the Earl of 
Sunderland, Earl of Middleton and Lord Godolphin on the 
part of England, and Barillon D'Amoncourt, the Marquis de 
Branges and Sieur Francis Dusson de Bourepaus on the part 
of the French, agreed that it should not be lawful for the ser- 
vants of either King to commit any act of hostility against or 
invade the subjects of the other in America. 

This treaty of peace between the two governments did not 
last long, as will be seen by reference to the conflicts which 
took place between the English and French in Hudson's Bay. 
In 1697 and '98, the company presented petitions to the Lords 
Commissioners of Trade asking that the French might not be 
allowed to travel or trade beyond the midway betwixt Canada 
and Albany Fort. But it was not until 1782 that the French 
flag waved for the last time over the forts in Hudson's Bay. 

It will be observed that in the grounds of complaint urged 
against the company, one was that they had wholly neglected 

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to search for a North- West passage in accordance with the 
provisions of the Charter, but the following list of expeditions 
fitted out by them will show that the complaint was un- 

Vessels fitted out by the Hudson's Bay Company on dis- 
covery of a North- West passacre : 

1719. Albany, frigate. — Capt. Geo. Berley, sailed from Eng- 
land, 5th June. Never returned. 

Discovery, — Capt. David Vaughan, sailed from England, 6th 
Juna Never returned. 

Prosperous. — Capt. Henry Kelsey, sailed from York Fort, 
June 19 th. Returned 10th August following. 

SucoesH. — ,Tohn Hancock, Master, sailed from Prince of 
Wales Fort, June 26th. Returned 2nd September. 

1721. Prosperous. — Capt. Henry Kelsey, sailed from York 
Fort, June 26th. Returned 2nd September. 

Success. — James Napper, Master, sailed from York Fort, 
June 26th. Lost on 30th June. 

Whalebone. — John Scroggs, Master, sailed from Gravesend, 
Slst May. Wintered at Prince of Wales Fort. Sailed from 
thence 21st June, 1722. Returned July 25th following. 

1737. Chv/rchilf.~ James Napper, Master, sailed from Prince 
of Wales Fort, July 7th. Napper died 8th August, and the 
vessel returned on the 18th. 

Musqubosh. — Robert Crow, Master, sailed from Prince of 
Wales Fort, July 7th. Returned 22nd August. 

The Charter, however, retained its vitality for fully two 
centuries, and the only instance where a confirmation of it 
was asked was in 1690. In 1847, there appeared for the first 
time in print, a document which was found in the Rolls of 
Chancery, and which proved to be this very same confirma- 

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tion, by Act of Parliauient, pasned nearly two hundred years 
before. The existence of this document was not even suspect- 
ed by the British Government, and is the only instance on 
record where a ratification w^as granted. Parliament strictly 
limited its confiniiation to a period of seven years, and the 
company refrained from seeking a renewal of it. 

In 1749, when Mr. Arthur Dobbs, the promoter of the 
Dobbs-Galley expedition, and his associates, presented a peti- 
tion to the English Government for incorporation with certain 
privileges, somewhat similar to those enjoyed by the Hudson's 
Bay Company, Messrs. D. Ryder and Wm. Murray being 
appointed by the Committee of the Privy Council to consider 
and report upon the said petition, made the following state- 
ment: — "As to the supposed forfeiture of the company's 
charter by non-user or abuser, the charge upon that head 
is of several sorts, viz : — That they (the Hudson's Bay Com- 
panj^) have not discovered, nor sufficiently attempted to dis- 
cover, the North-West passage into the South seas or West- 
em Ocean : That they have not extended their settlements 
through the limits of their charter; That they have design- 
edly confined their trade to a very naiTow compass, and have, 
for that purpose, abused the Indians, neglected their own forts, 
ill-treated their own servants and encouraged the Fi-ench. 
But, on consideration of all the evidence laid before us by 
many affidavits on both sides, we think these charges are 
either not sufficiently supported in point of fact, or in a great 
measure accounted for from the nature or circumstances of 
the case." 

The charter, it will be observed, constituted a very small 
body of directors, and the number required to form a quorum 
was, therefore, small. It was, indeed, a corporation of the 

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closest kind, and guarded its secrets carefully. The organiza- 
tion in London provided for the administration of its local 
business within its chartered territory, and for some years the 
company sent a superintendent to each of its posts. The ex- 
pansioii of the business, however, soon resulted in an admirably 
managed system. A local resident Governor was appointed, 
'who presided at a council which was held annually, or oftener, 
if necessary, for the pui-pose of directing all the management 
down to the minutest details for the carrying on the affairs of 
the company throughout its vast territory. This local Gover- 
nor and council was, of course, subject to the Board of Direc- 
tors in London, and, years afterwards, when the com- 
pany procured its licence for "exclusive trade" over the 
whole North- West, extending to the Pacific Ocean, the task 
of administrating' its affairs became one of great responsi- 

When Canada was ceded by the French in 1768, the Eng- 
lish, following in' the line of their predecessors, endeavored to 
push the fur trade to the far west, irrespective of any claims 
on the paH of the Hudson's Bay Company. The continued 
interest in the finding of a new passage into the South Sea, 
which prevailed in Ene:land, had also induced several parties 
to undertake expeditions to Hudson's Bay, and these com- 
plained of lack of sympathy, and even opposition, on the part 
of the company's oflScers toward their enterprises, which, in 
1749, resulted in a petition to the Lords-in-Council against 
the monopoly and policy of the company. 

This action on the part of their opponents, and the subse- 
quent competition of the fur traders in the interior, led the 
Hudson's Bay Company, in 1769, to send Samuel Hearne to 
explore the north, who, during that expedition, discovered the 

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Coppermine River, and was the first European to look into 
the Arctic circle. This was followed up by the North- West 
Company sending Alexander McKenzie out, who followed the 
river which received his name for 800 miles, and was the first 
explorer to pass the Rocky Mountains. In 1820 and 1825, Sir 
John Franklin was sent by the British Government, and ad- 
vanced the exploration of McKenzie. In 1829, the British 
Government sent Sir John Ross, and, in 1832, aided by private 
subscriptions, despatched Sir George Back to search for him. 
The Hudson's Bay Company, which had rendered aid in these 
and other expeditions, then took up the work of exploration 
at its own charges, and in 1836 sent Thomas Simpson and 
Peter William Dease, who, in 1838-9, discovered what was sup- 
posed to be the longed-for water opening. It will thus be 
seen that the Hudson's Bay Company played no inconsider- 
able part in North- Western exploration. 

At the risk of being accused of repetition in our narrative, 
we will now recapitulate the different phases of opposition 
offered to the company from the time when it obtained its 
charter. While the company had as yet planted its posts 
only on the shores of James Bay, and at the mouth of Chur- 
chill and Hayes Rivera, the French, by assaults in 1682 and 
1686, destroyed all the posts, except Alb«my, on the former 
bay, and held possession of York Fort from 1697 to 1714. 
In 1682, the company petitioned Charles II. for protection 
against De le Barre, Governor of Canada, who threatened to 
assault its posts. Again, in 1697 and 1698, it petitioned the 
Lords Commissioners of Trade to prevent the French from 
travelling or trading beyond the midway betwixt Canada and 
Albany Fort, which it reckoned to be within the bounds of 
its charter. In 1699, the French ambassador, in answer to a 

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memorial, asserted the claims of his sovereign to the whoFe 
bay on the north, which he insisted was comprehended within 
the limits of the ^^rants to his subjects, as in the previous ex* 
peditions of the French, with Indian allies, against the early 
bay posts, the assailants had crossed the height of land be- 
tween Canada and James Bay. The expedition of La Perouse 
in 1782, and his capture of the forts of the company, was a 
bold and effective blow, which there seems to have been no at* 
tempt to parry or avenge, and we have seen how the French 
penetrated the interior of the North-West in the prosecution 
of the fur trade, and were succeeded, after the cession of 
Canada in 1763, by English adventurers and traders, who be- 
came the bitter opponents of the Hudson's Bay Company in 
its efforts to establish itself in the North- West. 

The French had traded under "licenses" granted by the 
authorities, but the English declared for free trade and, as a 
result, sharp practices, jealousies, feuds, and, worse than all, 
sad demoralization among the Indians at once ensued. This 
state of affairs led to the formation of the Nortti-West and 
other companies for self -protection, and thus a powerful and 
organized opposition to the Hudson's Bay Company was 

In the meantime, the company extended its operations and 
built numerous posts throughout the North- West, the supplies 
for which came chiefly via Hudson's Bay. There were usu- 
ally two ships employed annually to make the voyage, and 
tJiey were timed to arrive there about 10th or 15th August, 
and, after changing cargo, to leave for home about Sept. 15th 
or 20th ; but owing to the difficulties of navigation through 
ice, the vessels experienced all the difference in their succes- 
sive voyages between four days and five weeks. The two 

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Vessels generally endeavored to keep together on the outward 
passage, parting after entering the Bay, the one for York Fac- 
tory, the other for Moose Factory on James Bay. Two years' 
supplies of goods were kept at York Factory to guard against 
the failure of arrival of the ships, from which it would appeal* 
that the company had not the fullest confidence in the navi- 
gation of the straits. 

- In order to facilitate the transport of gooils, the parcels im- 
ported and the bundles of fui-s exported were done up so as 
not to exceed one hundred pounds each in weight. These 
were conveyed inland in canoes, and a strong man would carry 
two of them over a portage by a strap passing either over his 
forehead or across his chest. In winter, a sled without run- 
ners, and drawn by four or eight dogs, was substituted for 
the canoe, and in this manner the supplies were transported to 
the inland posts, from thirty to sixty miles per day beilig the 
rate of speed at which they were conveyed. 

The posts of the company, being planted at the confluence 
or the pai-ting of streams, offered opportunities in long routes 
of travel, for occasional intercourse and hospitality. Often a 
travelling party might rely wholly or largely upon the game 
' — animal, bird or fish — to be found on the route, but the staple 
food at the posts and in travel was pemmican, of which the 
company gathered in its storehouses thousands of bags. 
Most usually prepared from the buffalo, pemmican might be 
made also of moose meat, deer or mountain sheep. The two 
yearly hunts of the natives were busily turned to the account 
of the manufacture of pemmican, and during the hunt, hun- 
dreds or even thousands of the animals were dropped on the 
plains, and then the squaws began their work. The carcasses 
were skinned and the hides passed through the processes of 

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drying, tanning and softening for many uses. The meat was 
torn into strips, dried by the sun or by fire, and then pounded 
into crumbs and packed in a close bag made of the hide, after 
whicli a quantity of hot fat, in proportion of four to five of 
the lean, was poured into the bag, stirred into a mixture and 
then carefully closed from the air. This food, which was the 
main-stay of the company's people when travelling, would 
keep perfectly good for years, if stored in a dry place and was 
transporte<l at wide distances for men and dogs. 

The rations of food dealt out to the voyageurs and to those 
at the posts varied according to the nature of the supplies. 
On the shoi-es of the bay, a wild goose w^as a day's ration — so 
were ten pounds of buflalo meat; at Athabasca, eight pounds 
of moose meat; on English river, three large white fish; high- 
er to the north, reindeer ; west of the Rocky Mountains, eight 
rabbits or a salmon. One of the most niggard regions for 
food was on the route between Lake Superior and Lake Win- 
nipeg. There, fish were scarce, and though rabbits were some- 
times innumerable, they were most innutritive. The most 
faithful companions of these wilderness travellers, their own 
horses and dogs, were necessarily put to the uses of the kettle 
when there was no alternative resource. The great drink of 
the north- West was Souchong tea, and traders and Indians 
alike, were very fond of this gentle stimulant. After passing 
a threatened peril, or accomplishing some extrenie eflfort of 
daring or endurance, a full solace was always found in starting 
a blaze, putting on the kettle and drinking the effusion as 
strong as it could be made, and almost at the boiling poitit. 

In the prosecution of the fur trade, the question of food was 
often a difficult one to manage, The Indians were naturally 
wasteful and improvident, and unfortunately held to the belief 

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that the more game they slaughtered the more rapidly would 
the animals multiply. Traders and hunters were scarcely less 
improvident, and the extinction of the buffalo on the plains, 
and the diminution in the supply of larger game in the woods, 
is the result to-day of this wastefulness. In the hunts, the 
plains would be strewn with carcasses far exceeding their 
needs or means of transportation, and in the w^oods, deer, 
moose and other game would be left to rot. Yet, both Indians 
and hunters often suffered terribly, in their jounieyings, from 

The goods, imported by the company having been deposited 
at the various posts, the Indians would soon appear upon the 
scene laden with furs, or the company's officers would under- 
take expeditions to distant camps, taking with them the 
necessary supplies for trading with the natives. When the 
Indians moved in companies, for a visit to a post with their 
furs, they had to bring with them their food and all their 
household goods — their lodge poles and coverings, their pans 
and kettles, and their whole families. The visitors were re- 
(juired to keep at a respectful distance from the precints of 
the post, and, while camp was being formed, the employes of 
the company would make the necessary arrangements for 
carrying out the well-prepared methods of trade. Liquor too 
often played a conspicuous part in the trading operations, 
although the company did not encourage its use as much as 
has been laid to its charge. 

In trading, the beaver skin represented the unit of value, 
and the tariff* of other skins was regulated thereby. The 
Indians would receive little sticks prepared for the purpose, 
each one representing the value of a beaver skin, and these 
sticks were the currency used and accepted by the company 

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in dealing with the Indians. When the latter had disposed 
of their furs they proceeded to purchase their supplies, trin- 
kets, etc., and paid for what they .bought in the sticks which 
they had received in exchange for their peltries. 

It has often been charged against the company that they 
supplied liquor to the Indians for the purpose of taking ad- 
vantage of them in trading. But the absence of any serious 
outbreak on the part of the Indians, or discontent, shows that 
no undue advantage was taken of them by this means. It 
may even be said that as a general thing no trading between 
the servants of the company and the Indians took place if the 
latter were under the influence of firewater. In fact, the com- 
plete control or monopoly of trade, which the Hudson's Bay 
Campany held for years, was a security for the preservation 
of the Indian tribes, because without them the trade could not 
have been carried on. 

The furs having been secured from the Indians, the packing 
of them for the English market required great skill and 
knowledge, so as to ensure their proper preservation efii route. 
The bales had to be guarded from heats and damps, etc., while 
on the voyage, as a trifling blemish would reduce their value. 
The company, therefore, ran great risk in carrying on their 
trade, and the fidelity of their employes, in the discharge of 
their duties, was of vital importance to their success. That 
the servants of the company were faithful to their trust, and 
devoted to the interests of their employers, is well known, and 
the profitable results of the business transacted in those early 
days is the best proof of this. 

From the date of the chai-ter in 1670, for twenty years, to 
1690, the returns of the company had been £118,014, and 
this, notwithstanding the losses to th^r establishments by 

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the French in 1682 and 1688. During this time, the cap- 
ital stood at £10,500. In 1684, there was a dividend of fifty 
per cent., and the same in 1688. In 1689, the dividend was 
twenty -five per cent., and in 1690, the stock was ti-ebled with- 
out any call being made on the shareholders. So the twenty- 
five per cent, dividend of that year was really seventy-five 
per cent. From 1692 to 1697, the damage done by the French 
in the capture of its establishments subjected the company to 
a loss of £97,500. This compelled the directors to borrow 
money temporarily at six per cent. Yet, notwithstanding 
this, in 1720 it again trebled its capital stock, with a call on 
its shareholdei-s of only ten per cent. Again the company 
suflFered a severe loss from the French, in 1782, through the 
destiniction of its posts by La Perouse. Then it paid, for a 
while, dividends of from five to twelve per cent., aveiuging 
nine per cent. In 1690, the capital stock of the company was 
£31,500. It was trebled again in 1720, and became £94,500. 

In 1749, the following were the posts belonging to the Hud- 
son's Bay Company : Moose, Henly, East Main House, Albany, 
York and Prince of Wales Foi-t, and in 1793, according to a 
map published at that time, the following posts and forts were 
established by the different fur companies throughout the 

Between latitude 50*^ and 60°, the following were situated. 

East Main Factory, Brunswick House, Albany Fort, Glou- 
cester House, Moose Fort, Osnaburgh, Gait Lake, Red Lake, 
Swan River, Somerset House, Brochet, Marlboro' House, Cum- 
berland, Carlton, Hudson's House, South Branch, Grant's, 
Thorburne, and Manchester House. 

Between latitudes 60° and 70°, were the following : 

York Fort, Churchill Fort, Severn House, McLeod's Fort, 

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Fort Chipewyan, on Elk River, at that time the most norther- 
ly poet established by any of the fur companies. 

It will be seen from the above list that the traders fi*om 
Montreal had extended their operations far into the interior 
before the Hudson s Bay Company began to establish posts 
there, as it was not until 1793 that the company s servants 
appeareil on the Red River for the fii*st time. 

Then succeeded a period of keen competition between the 
rival fur companies — the erection, in quick succession, of new 
trading posts throughout the country, the amalgamation of the 
North-West and XY Companies, and their united eflbrts 
against the Hudson s Bay Company. 

This continue<l until the Earl of Selkirk appeared upon the 
scene, when the conflicts between the two companies assumed 
such proportions that the attention of the Home and Colonial 
Governments was called to the scenes of bloodshed and distur- 
Imnce attending them. 

In the beginning of the present century, Lord Selkirk 
was extensively engaged in colonization projects in British 
North America, and in connection with them visited the City 
of Montreal. He then had an opportunity to enquire into the 
operations of the North- West Company through the attentions 
of the agents and partners of that corporation, in their efforts 
to entertain him, and the information he received at the time 
created a profound impression upon his mind as to the great 
possibilities of the North-West. 

On his return to England, His Lordship continued his en- 
quiries in relation to the subject which so much interested 
him, and it was not long until he recognized the superior ad- 
vantages possessed by the Hudson's Bay Company over those 
of their rivals in the prosecution of the fur trade. He saw 

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that the over-land route from Montreal to the trading stations 
in the North- West was several hundreds of miles longer than 
the one from Hudson's Bay, and that the exclusive commerce 
and navigation enjoyed by the Hudson's Bay Company in that 
inland sea made them really masters of the situation. 

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The agents and officers of the fur companies penetrated the 
country beyond the Rocky Mountains in all directions, and 
established posts in New Caledonia, now British Columbia, on 
McLeod Lake, in 1805 ; on Stuart Lake, in 1806 ; on the 
Jackanut (now the Fraser) Fort George, in 1807, and in 
1808 an expedition started to trace the Jackanut to the sea. 
If hey discovered the Thompson River in 1808, and in 1811 
traversed the Columbia from its extreme northern bend to its 

The North-West Company in fact outstripped its chartered 
rival fi*om Hudson's Bay in the establishment of trading posts 
everywhere in the interior, and its officers^ being stimulated by 
the hope of becoming partners, showed more zeal and activity 
than their opponents in extending the fur trade to all parts of 
the North-West. The Hudson's Bay Company presented no 
such inducements t5 extra exertion on the part of its officers 
each individual having a fixed salary without any prospect of 
becoming a proprietor, and so long as he did his duty he did 
not feel himself called upon to do more. This was one ailvan- 
tage the North-West Company had over its rival, and another 
was the employment by it of French Canadians as canoe-men, 
trappers and traders. These, although wild and reckless at 
times, were remarkable for obedience to their superiors, and 

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their skill in managing canoes, capability of enduring hardships 
and facility of adapting themselves to the habits and peculiar- 
ities of the various tribes, rendered them more popular in the 
eyes of the Indians than the men from Orkney, employed by 
the Hudson's Bay Company. The men from the north of 
Scotland, although hardy, were stubborn, unbending and 
matter-of fact in their intercourse with the natives, and, added 
to this, no idea of supererogation ever entered their minds. 
They were, therefore, not so popular with the Indians, or so 
successful in trade as the rollicking, reckless French Cana- 
dians ; and, as a result of this, the latter penetrated regions in 
the prosecution of trade far ahead of the fonner. 

The North- West Company, indefatigable in its efforts to 
extend its trade, after establishing posts adjoining the different 
factories of the Hudson's Bay Company wherever they were 
built, continued its progress to the northward and west- 
ward, and formed numerous trading stations at Athabasca, 
Peace River, Great and Lesser Slave Lakes, New Caledonia, 
the Columbia, etc., etc. No officer was more active or more 
successful in this«work than Mr. John Stuart, one of the 
l)artner8 of the North-West Company, who discovered and 
named the lake which beai-s his name. He and his associates 
were so active that their influence with the natives became all 
powerful, and they in fact enjoyed a monopoly of trade in the 
far west, which for a long time was left undisturbed by the 
oflScers of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

While this was going on in the north, fur companies we:e 
established south of the American boundary line, and carried 
on an active trade in peltries in that region. First, the Mac- 
kina Company was formed and held a monopoly until the 
American Fur Company was established by Mr. Astor in 180P, 

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when the two became amalgamated into one under the name 
of the South- West, in contradistinction to the North- West 

Mr. John Jacob Astor of New York, a German by birth, but 
a citizen of the United States, raised himself by his adventur- 
ous and enterprising spirit from small beginnings to be one of 
the most eminent merchants in America. Soon after his ar- 
rival in the United States in 1784, he commenced his commer- 
cial career in the traffic of furs ; at first on a narrow scale, but 
gradually expanding as his means increased. In this way he 
made visits to Canada, purchasing furs and shipping them 
direct to the London market, and it is supposed that at this 
period his buoyant and aspiring mind conceived the vast pro- 
ject of grasping in his own hands at some future day the 
whole fur trade of North America. 

Mr. Astor, when he saw himself at the head of a great fur 
company (the South- West), formed the idea of penetrating 
through the barriers of the Northern Company, so as to come 
eventually into possession of all the fur trade east of the 
Rocky Mountains. As a stepping-stone to the accomplishment 
of this grand scheme, he turned his attention to the trade on 
the coast of the Pacific, which at the time was chiefly in the 
hands of the Russians. A few American coasting vessels also 
carried on a lucrative trade, and Mr. Astor perceived that if 
such limited and desultory traffic produced large profits, a 
well regulated trade supported by capital and prosecuted with 
system, would result in immense gains. 

The first step taken by him was the formation of a branch 
of thQ fur trade, wliich he styled the " Pacific Fur Company,* 
the grand central depot of which was to be at the mouth of 
the Columbia River He thus contemplated carrying ofi* the 

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furs of all the countries west of the Rocky Mountains, and by 
forming a chain of trading posts across the continent from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, he hoped by means of his South- West 
Company in the east, and the Pacific Company on the west, to 
capture the entire trade of the country. It was a grand com- 
mercial scheme, and attracted much attention at the time, 
especially in the United States, but Mr. Astor did not suflSci- 
ently take into consideration the power, influence, and activity 
of the North- West Company when laying his plans. He did 
not calculate upon the untiring energj'' of such men as John 
Stuart, McGillivray, McTavish, and others, to upset his 
schemes, and here is where he did not show his characteristic 
foresight, for. when he made a proposition to the North- West 
Company to join him, and it was rejected, he should have ar- 
ranged for a better protection against the wiles of the Nor - 
Westers than he did. 

He was certainly warned by friends and others that the 
British would take umbrage at his attempts on the Pacific, 
and endeavor to checkmate them. Astor s reply was that he 
intended chiefly to employ British subjects in his undertaking, 
and by this means would be able to hold his own. About this 
time there happened to be some disagreement among the part- 
ners of the North- West Company, and several of them left 
that concern in disgust. These were just the men Mr. Astor 
had in view ; men of influence and experience among savages, 
and who, from their earlier days had been brought up in and 
habituated to the hardships of the Indian trade. Five of 
them, named McKay, McKenzie, McDougall, and Messrs. David 
and Robert Stuart, joined the Pacific Fur Company, and soon 
afterwards, five others, namely Measrs. Hunt, Crooks, Miller, 
MeLellan and Clarke, were added to the number, when a joint 

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stock concern was formed with a capital of $200,000, which 
Mr. Astor furnished. The shares were 100 of $2,000 each, 
with power to increase the capital to $500,000, and the asso- 
ciation was to last for a period of twenty years, with a pro 
viso, however, that at the end of five years it was to be dis- 
solved, if found to be unprofitable or impracticable. The 
allotment of shares was as follows : 

Mr. Astor 50 shares. Mr. Hunt, who was appointed chief 
manager, 5 shares. 

The other partners 4 shares each, and the remainder were 
reserved for the clerks, who joined the company as adventur- 
ers without any other renumeration than their chance of suc- 
cess at the end of the five years trial. 

The company being thus formed, a vessel called the Tonquin 
was fitted out in 1810, and Captain Thorne, a lieutenant in the 
service of the United States, placed in command. A party 
consisting of four partners, McKay, McDougall, and the two 
Stuarts, with nine clerks, and A number of voyageurs, 
mechanics, etc., embarked on this ship, the whole being in 
charge of McKay, and on the 6th September «et sail from 
New York bound for the Pacific. Previous to this, an overland 
party under command of Mr. Hunt, was partly organized at 
Lachine, near Montreal, and left there on 5th July to go across 
the continent via St. Louis and the Missouri. McKenzie, who 
was with this expedition, wanted to engage only French Cana- 
dian voyageurs for the trip, but Mr. Hunt, who was of a grave 
and steady character detested the volatile gaiety and seeming- 
ly reckless manner of these men, and declined to etnploy more 
than a few of them, preferring Americans. This, as it turned 
out, was a great mistake which Mr. Hunt afterwards. acknow- 
ledged, for the Canadians were voyageurs of the first class, and 

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hardy veterans who thought of nothing but to toil and obey, 
while the men who were engaged in their place proved to be 
broken down, unreliable, and in many eases utterly unfit for 
the hardships of the journey. At Maekina the rioting and 
carousing of the trappers and adventurers assembled there made 
it impossible for Mr. Hunt to secui'e any number of good men, 
and being joined by Mr. Crooks, another partner in the com- 
pany, the party made their way to St. Louis where they arriv- 
ed on the 3rd September. Here several Americans engaged 
with Mr. Hunt, and received their advance in money for the 
trip, but becoming dissatisfied with the rations served to them, 
deserted in a body. Not only did they leave in this manner, 
but they also gave the expedition a bad name, so that it was 
found impossible to secure men to fill their places, and Mr. 
Hunt was at a stand-still, bitterly repenting his refusal to take 
McKenzie's advice at Lachine to employ Canadians. Soon 
after this, however, Mr. Miller, another partner in the company, 
joined the expedition, and be being well known as a trader on 
the Missouri succeeded in inducing a number of men to join it. 
It may be stated here also that the opposition of the Missouri 
Fur Company to the undertaking proved a great obstacle in 
the way of Mr. Hunt, but at last after a vexatious delay of 
forty-eight days the party left St, Louis on the 21st October, 
just one month and a half later than the sailing of the Ton- 
quin from New York. 

The expedition moved slowly, and on the 16th November 
went into winter-quarters at Nodowa, about 450 miles up the 
Missouri, where they were joined by Mr. McLellan, another 
partner, who had the reputation of being one of the best shots 
in America. During the winter, numerous desertions took 
place, and when, on the 22nd April, the party made a fresh 

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start on the journey, they were sadly decreased in numbers, 
but Mr. Hunt, notwithstanding this, pressed forward, and on 
the 14th September reached the heights of the Rocky Moun** 

From tiiis time tiie real troubles of the expedition com- 
menced. The first mistake made was when they decided to 
abandon their horses, which they turned loose to the number 
of one hundred and eighty, and embarked in fifteen canoes for 
the purpose of descending the rugged and boUing channels of 
the south branch of the Columbia. They had not gone far 
however, until the impracticability of proceeding by water be- 
came apparent, and the canoes were next abandoned, and an 
attempt made to travel by land. Men were sent out to recover 
the horses, if possible, but were unsuccessful, and then most of 
the goods and baggage were placed in caches to preserve them, 
and lighten the burdens of the travellers. As they proceeded, 
provisions became scarce, the country being destitute of game, 
so that starvation stared the unfortunate party in the face, and 
several disasters, following with the loss of three or four 
of the men, placed the expedition in a deplorable condition. 
It was then that two parties were formed, one under Mr. 
Hunt, and the other in charge of McKenzie, and in this way 
they proceeded along the river, enduring every hardship it is 
possible to conceive, sometimes going without food as many 
as five days at a time. Cheered on, however, by the example 
and endurance of their leaders, the two bodies of adventurers 
managed, after untold privations, to reach the mouth of the 
Columbia, McKenzie's party arriving on the 10th January, 
1812, and Hunt's on the following 15th February, having 
been about nineteen months in making the journey from La- 

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The party on board of the T-mqiiin, although not subjected 
to such trials and privations as those who undertook the over- 
land expedition, were not altogether free from discomfort and 
hardship. Their voyage was full of adventure, and throu^ 
the arbitrary and disagreeable conduct of the captain of the 
ship, their lot was far from being a pleasant one. On one oc- 
casion, while several of the party were on land during the 
time when the ship was taking in a supply of fresh water, the 
captain sailed and left them to their fate on a desert shore, 
and if it had not been for the determineil conduct of Mr. 
Robert Stuart, one of the partners, who threatened to blow 
the captain's brains out if he did not stop, the luckless men 
would have been abandoned. The captain s conduct to both 
passengers and crew fostered a spirit of mutiny, and desertions 
from the ranks of the sailors took place on several occasions ; 
men were put in irons, and others abused, so that altogether, 
the voyage was a most disagreeable one, made so through the 
imperious and harsh disposition of the man whom Mr. Astor 
had placed in command of the ship^ 

When nearing the Columbia River, the first mate, Mr. Fox, 
was drowned while obeying the unreasonable orders of the cap- 
tain, and in a few days afterwards the third officer of the ship 
was lost in the same way. At the mouth of the Columbia, 
which is remarkable for its sand bars and high surf at nearly 
all seasons, the Tonquxn had a narrow escape from being lost, 
but on the 26th March succeeded in entering the mouth of the 
river. The foolhardiness of the captain on this occasion is re- 
ferred to in the following words by one who was on board 
the ship at the time. 

" Here are two points for consideration : first, the time of 
sounding; and, secondly, the time chosen for entering the 

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breakers. In respect to both there was an unwarrantable 
precipitation — a manifest want of sound judgment. We made 
the land in the middle of a storm, the channel and coast both 
unknown to us, and without either pilot or guide ; under such 
circumstances it was evident to all that no boat could live on 
the water at the time (to take soundings), far less reach the 
shore ; and our entering the breaker at so late an hour, the 
sun at the time not being fifty minutes above the horizon, the 
channel also being unexplored, was certainly a premature and 
forlorn undertaking ; but there existed such disunion — such a 
spirit of contradiction on board — that the only wonder is how 
we ever got so far." 

Some time was spent after this in examining the shores, 
with the view of choosing a suitable place to build on. At 
last it was settled that the new establishment should be erect- 
ed on the south side, on a small rising ground named Point 
George, distant twelve miles from the mouth of the inlet or 
bar, and here, on the 12th April, 1811, the whole party, con- 
sisting of thirty-three persons disembarked, and on the 18th 
May following, the foundation of the town of Astoria was laid, 
the place being so named in honor of Mr. Astor. 

In June, the Tunqain sailed from Astoria on a trading ex- 
pedition to the North, and not long afterwards the ship was 
lost, thus leaving Astoria without any means of protection 
against the Indians, or proper means for carrying on trade. 
With not a single gun mounted, or a palisade raised, the party 
sent out by Mr. Astor was left without the least precaution 
being taken to secure life or property, and this state of things 
and the many mishaps that befell the expedition, showed a 
lack of proper management somewhere in the organization of 
the enterprise. 

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It may be interesting at this stage, before proceeding with 
our account of Astoria, to give a few particulars relating to 
the fate of the Tonquin. That vessel sailed from the mouth 
of the Columbia on the 5th June, 1811, on a trading specula- 
tion to the northward, and on the eve of starting, the captain, 
stubborn and unreasonable as ever, discharged his second 
mate, who refused afterwards to rejoin the ship. Mr. McKay, 
one of the partners, went in charge of the expedition, and soon 
succeeded in opening a smart trade with-the natives, in which, 
however, he was seriously hampered by the harsh and unbend- 
ing manners of the captain, whom the Indians disliked very 
much. On one occasion, Capt. Thome having struck one of 
their principal men whom he had caught in a petty theft, a 
conspiracy was formed to surprise and cut off the vessel, but 
this design was discovered by the interpreter, who lost no 
time in acquainting Mr. McKay of it. The Indians then, sus- 
pecting that their conspiracy was known, endeavoured to 
throw the whites off their guard by visiting the ship unarmed. 
On the day before the ship was to leave New Whitby, the place 
where McKay was carrying on his ti'ade, a couple of large 
canoes, followed by others, came alongside offering furs for 
sale, and the occupants were allowed to come on board. The 
interpreter, however, saw signs indicating that their visit was 
with hostile intent, and again warned McKay and the Captain, 
but the latter treated the caution with contempt, until Uie 
number of Indians on board obstructed his efforts to get the 
ship ready for sailing. Then he ordered them off, and threat- 
ened if they did not go, to force their departure. This was a 
signal for the attack of the savages, who, with frightful yells, 
fell upon the unsuspecting crew with knives, bludgeons and 
short sabres which they had concealed under their robes. Mr, 

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McKay was the first one attacked, and being stunned by a 
blow from one of the bludgeons, was thrown overboard into a 
canoe. Capt. Thome made a determined stand against his as- 
sailants, but being armed only with a knife, he was finally 
overpowered and cruelly butchered on the deck, after which 
his mangled body was thrown overboard. The resistance 
made by the captain and crew maddened the savages to such 
an extent, that they then seized upon Mr. McKay and batter- 
ed his brains out. In the meantime, three of the devoted 
crew managed to gain the cabin where the firearms were 
stored, and, seeing little hope of escape, resolved upon taking a 
terrible revenge, by blowing up the vessel. They first, how- 
ever, proposed to the sav€iges who stood in awe of the firearms- 
which they now had, that if they were allowed to leave the 
ship without being molested, they would give up quiet posses-^ 
sion of it. This the Indians agreed to, and the three sailors^ 
having laid a train to the magazine, fired it and left the vessel, 
whereupon, the savc^es, eager to obtain possession, clambered 
upon the deck and the next moment the explosion took place^ 
hurling upwards of two hundred of them into eternity and 
dreadfully injuring as many more. The first impression 
among the surviving Indians was that the Evil Spirit had 
taken revenge on them for attacking the whites, but this idea 
wore oflT as their terror subsided, and they quickly discovered 
that human agency had caused the explosion. The three sail-^ 
ors were followed, and, being discovered asleep at a point not 
far distant, were ruthlessly murdered by the avenging natives. 
Thus ended the voyage of the Tonqiiln, and the melancholy 
fate of her hapless crew might have been averted if a more 
amiable and sensible man had been pla<;ed in command. The 
lass of the ship was a severe blow to Mr. Astor's enterprise 
on the Pacific. 

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When the Tmxqidn left the establishment at Astoria on her 
last and ill-fated voyage, the Indians at once began to be 
troublesome, and for a time great anxiety was felt by the set- 
tlers about the safety of their position, exposed as they were. 
About this time, too, an unexpected visitor, in the person of 
Mr. Thompson, a partner in the North-West Company, made 
his appearance, and, to the surprise of every one in Astoria, 
was received with great hospitality by McDougall, Mr. Astor's 
representative, who showed him everything there was to be 
seen about the establishment. There is no doubt that he was 
sent for the purpose of spying out the land, and of discouraging, 
if possible, the Astor people in their attempt to establish a fur 
trade on the Pacific. There is even reason to suppose that his 
intention was to take possession of an eligible spot, at the 
mouth of the Columbia, with a view of forestalling the plan 
of Mr. Astor. But on his way some of his men had deserted 
him, and this delayed him, so that on his arrival he found 
Astoria established, and the American flag hoisted as a token 
of possession. 

Previous to the coming of Mr. Thompson, two Indians ap- 
peared, who showed a letter addressed to Mr. John Stuart, 
Fort E^tekatadene, New Caledonia, and who turned out to be 
also in the service of the North-West Company. The visit of 
these Indians, and afterwaixls of Mr. Thompson, showed that 
the Nor'- Westers wei^e not asleep or unmindful of the inten- 
tions of Mr. Astor. Indeed, Mr. Thompson unburdened him- 
self to McDougall and others of the party, by saying that the 
wintering partners of his company had resolved to abandon 
their trading posts west of the mountains, and not to enter 
into competition with the Pacific Fur Company, if the latter 
would engage not to encitjach upon the trade on the east side. 

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He then gave a description of the interior of the country, not 
calculated to impress his hearers with a very favorable idea of 
it, and altogether acted a part evidently meant to deceive the 
Astorians. When he left, Mr. D. Stuart and a party of voy- 
ageurs left at the satne time and in his company, for the 
purpose of exploring that interior which Mr. Thompson had 
described so unfavorably. But, had the Astorians been wise 
they would have given Mr. Thompson the cold shoulder, or if 
Mr. Astor had foreseen the wiles of the Nor'- Westers suffi- 
ciently, his enterprise might have succeeded better. Be that 
as it may, the colony at the mouth of the Columbia encounter- 
ed many difficulties which, it would seem, a little foresight 
might have prevented. Undoubtedly Mr. Astor was to a 
great extent in the hands of his partners, but, knowing as he 
must have done and of which he was warned, that the North- 
West Company would frustrate his designs if possible, he 
should have been the more careful in the selection of some of 
the men to whom he entrusted the care of the enterprise, and 
bound them so as to have prevented the disagi^eements, jeal- 
ousies and desertions which afterwards took place. 

On the 17th October, 1811, Mr. Astor sent the Beaver, a 
vessel of four hundred and eighty tons, to the Pacific coast, in 
command of Captain Cornelius Sowles, with additional sup- 
plies for the people in Astoria, and with her went a partner of 
the company, six clerks and a number of artisans and voy- 
ageurs. The voyage was a much more pleasant one than that 
of the Tonqain the previous year, and in six months and 
three weeks the vessel arrived at the mouth of the Columbia, 
where it was met by Mr. McDougall and some of his men» 
who safely piloted it over the bar. 

From this time the Astorians made every effort to extend 

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their trading operations on the Pacific slope, but with indiffer- 
ent success. Skirmishes with the natives, and losses through 
the duplicity of Indians on whom they were frequently obliged 
to depend when travelling in the interior, caused them much 
discouragement and disappointment. A trading post with Mr. 
David Stuart in charge had been established in the Okinagan 
•country, and soon after the arrival of the Beaver, a large party 
ascended the Columbia, and from it McDonald, McKenzie, and 
a few others were detached and sent to a point on the Lewis 
River, to open a station among the Snake Indians. 

The main party then continued on to the Spokane country, 
where at a junction of the river of that name, and one called 
the Pointed Heart, they established a post. Alongside of them 
was a station of the North- West Company who had several 
others in that district, and the Astorians at once set to work 
to oppose the Nor'-westers by establishing stations in different 
parts of the country, so that a lively competition ensued, 
which in one instance resulted in a duel between an officer of 
the Pacific Company and one of the Nor'- Westers. On the 
whole, however, the relations, socially, between the two sets of 
traders were amicable, although in trade they were bitter 

On their return to Astoria, on June 11th, 1813, this party of 
Pacific Fur Company traders found that a total revolution had 
taken place in the affairs at headquarters. The North- W^est 
Company ever on the alert to dispossess the Astor Company, 
bad sent two of their chief men, Messrs. John George McTavish, 
and Joseph La Rocque, to negotiate for the purchase of the 
property. They represented that as war had broken out 
between Great Britain and the United States, and the former 
power had blockaded all American ports, the Astorians could 

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expect to receive no supplies from New York, or ship any furs 
there, and that therefore they would not be able to cany- 
on the establishment Previous to the visit, of McTavish and 
La Rocque, word of this nature had been received, and also 
that the Beaver was blockaded in Canton. Much dissatisfac- 
tion also existed among the partners at the policy pui-sued by 
Mr. Astor in regard to the Columbian Colony, and a determin- 
ation to leave the Pacific Fur Company, and abandon Astoria, 
had actually been arrived at In fact, preparations were being 
made for an overland journey from the Pacific, and everything 
pointed to a dissolution of Mr. Astor*s enterprise, when the 
arrival of the Nor'-wester envoys altered the complexion of 
affairs, and after some deliberation an agreement to sell was 
entered into by McDougall, and the representatives of the 
Northern Company. 

All the furs, and such supplies as could be bought in 
from the interior, had been collected in Astoria, and some 
organized means by which the place could be abandoned, had 
been resolved upon. But the hardships which had been en- 
dured by the overland party in crossing the continent in 1810, 
were not forgotten, and when the overtures came from the 
North- West Company to buy, McDougall agreed to the trans- 
fer. He has been blamed in some quarters for sacrificing Mr. 
Astor's interests, and that gentleman is reported to have said 
that he would sooner have taken nothing than to have sold 
the furs at the prices McDougall agreed to. No doubt the 
North- West Company made the best bargain they could, but 
it would appear as if both principals to the transaction were 
dissatisfied. Mr. Astor, on the one hand, thought that he re- 
ceived too little, and Mr. John Stuart, on behalf of the Nor - 
Westers, declared that McTavish had paid too much. So on the 

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whole it may l)e concluded that McDougall made the best 
arrangement he couJd under the circumstances. The transac- 
tion was fully agi'eefl to on the 16th October, 1813, the 
whole sales including furs and merchandise, amounting, it is 
said, to J80,500, for which bills on the agents of the com- 
pany in Canada were to be given. 

But McTavish expected the arrival of an armed ship, the 
laaae Todd at any moment, and in that case Astoria would 
be captured as a prize, and his bills of exchange saved. 
So he, for one reason or another, put off completing the bar- 
gain made with McDougall, the dissatisfaction of Mr. John 
Stewart at the price agreed upon, having no doubt something 
to do with his indecision. McDougall on the other hand had a 
squadron of boats ready to convey the furs into the interior, 
should the Isaac Ttdd arrive, and matters went on in this way 
for nearly a month, when McKenzie, Mr. McDougalls colleague, 
suggested a measure likely to bring McTavish to terms. The 
latter and his pai-ty were practically without arms or pro- 
\nsions, and being camped under the guns of the fort, were 
therefore at the mercy of the Astorians. McKenzie's plan was 
to man the bastions, load and point the guns, and with the 
gates shut, give the Nor*- Westers two hours to decide either to 
sign the bills of exchange, or break off the negotiations alto- 
gether, and remove to other quarters. This suggestion was 
acted upon, and the Nor'- Westers were brought to terms — the 
bills were finally and formally signed, and Astoria passed into 
the hands of the North- West Company on the 1 2th Novem- 
ber, (another account says the 28rd October), 1813. 

A few of the Astorians joined the service of the North- 
West Company, amongst others, McDougall, and this circum- 
stance gave rise to a suspicion that he had been acting all 

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along in the interests of the British and against the Ameri- 
cans, but judging from the man s reputation for honesty, this 
is not at all likely. Mr. John Stuart, soon after the ti^ansfer, 
started in company with McKenzie for the interior to take 
over the posts of the Pacific Fur Company, which was accom- 
plished in December, and from that time the North- West 
Conipany reigned supreme west of the mountains, with Fort 
George, the name by which Astoria was re-christened as their 

The long-wished-for ship, Isaac Todd, did not arrive as ex- 
pected, and Mr. John Stuart with a party went again to the 
posts of the interior with such merchandise as he could collect 
at the fort, for the purpose of supplying goods for the winter's 
trade. On that trip a great deal of opposition was exper- 
ienced from certain tribes of Indians along the Columbia, and 
it required much firmness and courage on the part of Mr. 
Stuart and his companions to accomplish their mission. 
When goods were stolen, which they were on several occasions, 
the savages were compelled to return the articles, and until 
this was done the women and children of the tribe were seized, 
and kept as hostages. By such means, and presenting a well- 
guarded front to the enemy night and day, the Nor -Westers 
succeeded in pushing through without any bloodshed of im- 
portance. But these trips to the interior at that time were 
always fraught with much danger and hardship, so much 
so, that carrying on the fur trade on the west of the moun- 
tains was a most difficult and expensive matter. Indeed to 
judge from the following letter written by Mr. John Stuart in 
April, 1815, it would appear that the operations of the North- 
West Company oa the Pacific were not of a satisfactory char- 
acter, even after they had succeeded in getting rid of the op- 
position of the Astorians. 

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The following is the extract from Mr. Stuart's letter : — " I 
find that the affairs of the Columbia appear to be getting frpm 
bad to worse : and the many difficulties and hardships, added 
to the dangers peculiar to that unfortunate department, are hard 
to bear, and will keep me particularly anxious until I hear the 
result of the expedition of this spring to and from Fort George. 
Although the various encounters you have had with the natives 
should have taught them to respect the whites, and convince 
them that nothing is to be gained by force ; yet as the attack 
♦of last autumn was both daring and premeditated, I am afraid 
it is but the forerunner of greater aggression. You will, how- 
«ever, have one great advantage in the spring, which is, that if 
the natives be at that season numerous along the communica- 
tion, it must be with a hostile design, and, perhaps, by begin- 
ning the assault yourselves, you will be able to counteract its 
effects. Plausible, however, as this may appear in theory, it 
might probably have a very different effect in practice. I 
shall, therefore, leave off my advice, lest you might say to me 
what Hannibal did to the pedant." 

Mr. Stuart was at that time in charge of New Caledonia, a 
very extensive district, extending from 52° to 55° north, and 
communicating with the Athabasca department by Peace 
River. From his letter it would seem as if affairs in that part 
of the country were carried on more peacefully and satisfac- 
torily than on the Columbia. 

The North-West Company, however, continued to meet with 
many difficulties, and instead of trying to conciliate the In- 
dians, they adopted a high-handed course which made matters 
worse. Added to this, the Hudson's Bay Company commenced 
to use more energetic measures to extend their tra<le, and, 
taking a leaf out of the Nor'-Westers' book, they began to eiii- 

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ploy Canadians in place of their Orkney men, the result be- 
ing that they soon pushed their trade into districts hitherto 
monopolized by the North- West Company. Forts were taken 
by assault : the Indians bribed to take part in the war ; 
bloodshed and cruelty to prisoners ensued, and every species 
of barbarity used to each other by men who, in any other 
course of life, or under different circumstances, would have re- 
garded such deeds with abhorrence. Such a state of affairs 
could not last long, and in 1821 the long and violent opposi- 
tion between the North- West and Hudson's Bay Companies 
ceased by their coalition, when all the results of the Nor*- 
Westers' efforts on the Pacific passed under the management 
aijd was carried on afterwards in the name of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. In 1839 the Hudson's Bay Company entered 
into an arrangement with Russia for the lease of Alaska, and 
their trading posts were established at all eligible points from 
Behring Sea on the north to San Francisco to the south. 

Thus the Hudson's Bay Company as the inheritor and repre- 
sentative of all previous fur companies, played an important 
part in the early history of the western territory, within the 
limits of the Dominion. The adventurers and explorers in the 
service of the company undertook the most fatiguing jour- 
neys, and evinced the greatest fortitude in exposing themselves 
to hardships, privation and danger. It was they who held 
possession of the territory on both sides of the Rocky Moun- 
tains. They were for many years the only civilized occupants 
of both banks of the Columbia, from its sources to its mouth, 
and it was not their fault that this region is not now part of 
the Dominion. They held their ground in Oregon and Wash- 
ington Territory, under the British flag, until they were com- 
pelled to relinquish their hold by the treaty of 1846, and, but 

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for the discoveries made under the authority of the fur com- 
panies, New Caledonia or British Columbia would never have 
existed, and Canada would be shut out from access to the 
Pacific. It was only in 1860 that the Hudson's Bay Company 
finally abandoned its various establishments in Oregon . and 
Washington Territory, and the movable property not disposed 
of was transferred to Fort Victoria, on Vancouver Island, the 
point at which, as headquarters, the operations of the company 
west of the mountains have since been centred and earned on. 

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The youths employed by the North-West Company, chiefly 
Scotch, were articled as apprentice clerics, for seven years, re- 
ceiving their subsistence and one hundred pounds. The pros- 
pective reward of their toil and fidelity was to become partners, 
and this, as we have already shewn, induced them to work 
with a will, while the life of adventure which they led, and 
the excitement and novel scenes incident to the fur trade 
resulted in attaching them firmly to it, Indian maidens cast 
in their lot with those clerks, and with the wintering partners 
of the company, and it was the offspring of these and others, 
principally Canadians, French fathers and Indian mothers, 
that there came to be such a numerous progeny of half-breeds. 
When the Hudson's Bay Company entered the country, their 
officers and servants followed the course pursued by their pre- 
decessors of the North-West Company, in having wives from 
among the natives, and the population of mixed blood increas- 
ed in proportion. The half-breeds, of French parentage, far 
outnumbered those of the English and Scotch, the coureura 
de bois and vayageus, who were chiefly of Canadian origin, 
being largely \n excess of other nationalities, and from their 
mixed, inherited, and transmitted qualities, their abandon, 
vivacity, recklessness and ready affiliation with Indian ways, 
these French half-breeds were held to be superior for the ser- 

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vice required by the fur trade. At one time, the North-West 
Company, and later on the Hudson's Bay Company, had over 
two thousand of this unique class of employes, going and 
coming, toiling after a rollicking fashion, paddling and rowing 
the canoe or the boat, threading the reedy marshes, running 
the cascades, crossing the portage with their burdens, trailing 
along the cataracts, bearing all the stem severities of winter 
in the woods, driving dog-sleds, camping in snowdrifts, ready 
on their return for wild cai*ousals and dances, parting with 
the year's gains for finery or frolic, wild and improvident in 
their nature, but faithful to their employers. 

In the rivalry and strife between the two great fur com- 
panies these half-breeds played a prominent pai*t, and were 
often the tools of their superiors in the many lawless deeds 
committed about that time. It was not, however, until Lord 
Selkirk appeared upon the scene that any serious outrages 
were perpetrated by the companies upon each other, and it is 
about that period in the history of the North-West that we 
are now about to speak. 

When the Elarl of Selkii'k came to the conclusion that the 
Hudson's Bay Company were masters of the situation, in the 
fur trade, he set to work to purchase a controlling interest in 
its stock, and ultimately succeeded in obtaining about £40,000 
in shares, the capital of the company, at that time being less 
than £100,000. This, combined with the fact that near rela- 
tives and friends of his were placed on the Board of Directors, 
practically gave him unlimited control, and he hastened to 
take advantage of it in favor of a scheme of colonization 
which he hml in view. 

At a general court of the company, convened in May, 1811, 
the proprietors were informed that the governor and conmiit- 

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tee recommended a grant, in fee simple, of 116,000 square 
miles of territory to the Earl of Selkirk, on condition that he 
should establish a colony thereon, and furnish, on certain terms 
such laborers as were required by the company in their trade. 
This was opposed by a number of the proprietors, but, not- 
withstanding their protest. Lord Selkirk succeeded in obtain- 
ing the grant which is described as follows : — " Beginning at 
the western shores of Lake Winnipeg, at a point on 52*^ 30' 
north latitude, and thence running due west to Lake Winni- 
pegoosis, otherwise called Lake Winnipeg ; thence in a south- 
erly direction through said lake, so as to strike its western 
shore in latitude 52° ; thence due west to the place where the 
parallel 52° intersects the western branch of the Red River, 
otherwise called the Assiniboine River; thence due south 
from that point of intersection to the heights of land which 
separate the waters running into the Hudson's Bay from those 
of the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers ; thence in an east- 
erly direction along the height of land to the sources of the 
River Winnipeg, meaning by such last named river the prin- 
cipal branch of the waters which unite in the Lake Saginagas: 
thence along the main stream of those waters, and the middle 
of the several lakes through which they flow, to the mouth of 
the Winnipeg River, and thence in a northerly direction 
through the middle of Lake Winnipeg to the place of begin- 
ning, which territory is called Assiniboia." 

The grant of land having been obtained, Lord Selkirk issued 
a prospectus, which, being well calculated to quicken the spirit 
of emigration prevailing at that time, was circulated in Ire- 
land and in the highlands of Scotland. The scheme wavS to 
induce a number .of the people in those parts to join the 
colony which it was proposed to establish in the North-West, 

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and the man appointed to cany it out was Captain Miles 
Macdonell. Stomoway was the place selected for the assem- 
bling of the colonists, and there, in May, 1811, a number of 
Irish and Scotch congregated to await the coming of the ships 
in which they were to embark for Hudson's Bay. The vessels 
did not arrive until June, and by that tim,e a number of the 
emigrants had become dissatisfied with the prospect before 
them, and were prepared to desert. When, therefore, the day 
came for them to embark, a number refused to go, and others, 
after going on board, demanded to be put on shore. 

In a letter addressed by Captain Miles Macdonell to Lord 
Selkirk, on the 4th July, 1811, he complains of the high wages 
promised to some of the colonists by the captain of the ship, 
and on the 25th, writing again to his Lordship, he gives some 
a?cDunt of the dissatisfaction existing among them, and the 
c xuses that gave rise to it. He blames an article in the In- 
verness Joiirindy which was circulated in the Orkneys and 
Highlands, and which he describes in the following words: 
" If that piece originated in London, I should expect to find in 
it more candor, knowledge of the country, and regard to 
truth than it contains ; but some part is not unlike the lan- 
guage that was held out there to discourage and dissuade 
people from embarking in the enterprise." 

An attempt had evidently been made by interested paHies 
on shore to sow discontent in the minds of the emigrants, the 
result being that a number refused to go, and a certain Capt. 
McKenzie, whom Macdonell describes as a mean fellow, visited 
the ships, and endeavoured to induce others to return to shore. 
But he was not allowed on board, and, as his boat lay along- 
side one of the vessels, a sailor, it is said, dropped a nine- 
pound round shot through the bottom, causing the gallant 

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captain to return to land to avoid sinking. The irritated Mc- 
Kenzie sent a challenge to Capt. Roderick, the commander of 
the ship, who paid no attention to it, and a fair wind spring- 
ing up in the night, he set sail. Miles Macdonell, in his letter 
to Lord Selkirk, blames the customs authorities for the 
trouble that took place, but there is very little doubt that 
those opposed to the colonization scheme were at the bottom 
of it. Macdonell writes : " This, my Lord, is a most unfor- 
tunate business. I cannot now state what number we may be 
able to take along, the delay for these last two days by the 
customs house has occasioned all this, and the manifest part 
taken by the collector, his friends and adherents, against this 
business." In another letter, he says : " Mi-s. Reid, wife of the 
collector at Stornoway, is aunt to Sir Alexander McKenzie, 
and he called Captain McKenzie, is married to a daughter of 
the collector ; the^e, widi all their adherents, are in a united 
opposition to Mr. Robertson, and perhaps influenced, in some 
degree, from London to act as they did." It would seem, 
then, from this that the North-West Company had even thus 
early in the day endeavoured to put obstacles in the way of 
Lord Selkirk's enterprise. 

The expedition, however, sailed from Stornoway on the 
26th July, 1811, and arrived at York Factory on the 24th 
September, after a passage of 61 days, at that time the long- 
eat and latest ever known to Hudson's Bay. In a letter to 
Lord Selkirk, dated the 1st October, Miles Macdonell writes : 
" I forward a general return of the number of men, effective 
and non-effective-, according to the lists which have reached 
me ; by this your Lordship will see our strength at one view, 
an<l deficiency from non-appearance and desertion ; our total 
numbers on board all the ships amount onlj^ to 90 laborers 

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and 15 writers, including Mr. Bourke ; making a grand total 
of 105, exclusive of us who embarked at Gravesend." This 
band was composed of people from Ireland, Orkney and Glas- 
gow, the latter, it appears, being the most turbulent and dis- 

In November, Miles Macdonell, with a number of the emi- 
grants, moved to a point on the Nelson River, about fifty 
miles from its mouth, and wintered there and from all ac- 
counts they suflTered from many hardships, through insuffici- 
ency of provisions, disease, and other causes. Insubordination 
and discontent among the colonists appeared, and the leaders 
of the expedition had much difficulty in quieting them. It is 
evident also from letters written at the time that Macdonell 
looked forward to troublesome times ahead, and he does not 
conceal his opinion that the North-West Company would do 
all in their power to destroy the proposed settlement on the 
Red River. He thus writes on 25th December to Mr. William 
Auld, the Hudson's Bay Superintendent at York Factory : 
" Were we to form a judgment of all Indians by the present 
inoflTensive and docile state of the natives in the vicinity of 
the shores of Hudson's Bay, a full security might be reposed 
in their friendship; but the Ossineboine nation, into whose 
countiy we are going, are represented as among the most 
warlike Indians of North America. We have already been 
threatened in London with those people by a pei^on that 
knows them well (Sir Alexander McKenzie), and who has 
pledged himself in the most unequivocal and decisive manner 
to oppose tlie establishment of this colony by all means in his 
power. The London merchants connected with the North- 
West Company are inimical to it, and I have reason to expect 
that every means the N. W. Co. can attempt to thwart it will 

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be resorted to — to what extent their influence may direct the 
conduct of the nations is to me uncertain, and justifies being- 
on our guard at all points." 

The Glasgow colonists seem to have given Macdonell the 
most trouble during the winter and following spring, and he 
was obliged to resort to harsh measures with them, but on 
the 19th June, 1812, he writes to Lord Selkirk as follows: 
"I am happy to inform your Lordship that the insurgents 
have at length come to terms, acknowledged their guilt, and 
have thrown themselves entirely at the mercy of the commit- 
tee, so that none of them shall now be sent home for the affair 
of the 12th February. They crossed from here to the Fac- 
tory on 24th May, and thought the ice too unsafe to return. 
Mr. Auld turned them out of the factory, and refused them 
provisions until they surrendered their arms. By this de- 
cisive conduct towards them, having no leader, the Glasgow 
writers, Carswell, Fisher and Brown, being on this side the 
river, as likewise Mr. Fin lay, who had remained behind, find- 
themselves destitute and unsupported, they immediately came 
to a proper sense of their situation and submitted. This is so 
far well ; they are, however, lost to us, as I cannot think of 
taking any of them to Red River settlement." 

Thus ended the insubordination for the time being, and be- 
fore leaving their quarters on the Nelson River, Macdonell 
sent to Lord Selkirk, samples of stone and sand which he 
found there and which he thus describes : " Mr. Bourke, who 
may justly claim the merit of the discovery, supposes them to 
be of the most valuable kinds. Diamonds, rubies, etc., etc.,. 
and gold dust. Should they be found valuable on their analy- 
sis, immediate advantage ought to be taken of it. Your Lord- 
ship might obtain a grant of the Nelson with a mile on each 

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side of it, from the H. B. Co. I have enjoined the closest 
secrecy on Mr. Bourke, and no person here has the least idea 
of the matter. We may make further important discoveries 
in going up." Nothing however, came of this, as the dia- 
monds and rubies did not prove to be genuine. 

For several months the colonists remained at York Factory, 
having returned there from their winter-quarters, and early 
in July, the party, now much diminished in numbers from one 
cause or another, made a start for the Red River country, 
arriving there early in August. The men who composed this 
band of pioneers, were picked from the party of emigrants 
who left Stomoway, in July, 1811, on account of their good 
behaviour and faithful discharge of their duties. Tliey were 
chiefly men from the island of Lewis, who, although not in 
any way exempted from the trials and privations undergone 
by their companions, yet, throughout all these trying times, 
exhibited an unconquerable spirit of patient endurance and 
were ever ready to obey their superiors. Mr. Auld, the super- 
intendent, did not overlook this exemplary conduct, for on the 
lii'st opportunity that offered, he represented these men's good 
behaviour to the committee, and that honorable body present- 
ed, through their agents in Stonioway, each of their parents 
with the sum of five pounds sterling, as a substantial token of 
their approbation of the young men's merits. 

On the arrival of the first batch of Lord Selkirk's colonists 
at Red River, in August, 1812, they were met by a party of 
employ^ of the North-West Company, disguised in the dress 
of Indians, who warned them that they were imwelcome vis- 
itors. The appearance and manner of the Nor'- Westers seem- 
ed to be so hostile and menacing, that the settlers became 
frightened and ready to adopt any proposition made to them 

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for their safety. It was then resolved to move on to Pembina^ 
to which place the disguised Indians offered to conduct them. 
Accordingly, the Scotch colonists, already nearly worn out 
with fatigue, were obliged to undertake another journey, 
almost immediately on their arrival at the Red River, and 
after much suffering through havintr to walk the entire dis- 
tance, they arrived at Pembina, where they passed the winter 
in tents and huts, and lived on the products of the chase. In 
May, 1813, they returned to their colony on the Red River, 
and being undisturbed, commenced the labors of agriculture. 
For some time the North- West Company did not molest them, 
and they succeeded in erecting buildings and establishing a 
post, which was named Fort Douglas, but, the diflBculty in 
procuring suflScient food, dread of the winter, and a desire to 
husband their seed for another year, caused them to return 
voluntarily to Pembina, in the Autumn of 1813. 

Elarly in 1813, Lord Selkirk visited Ireland, for the purpose 
of recruiting colonists for his settlement on the Red River, and 
in June, a party of Irish emigrants for the Hudson's Bay 
Company's service, with several newly married couples and 
young men from the western islands of Scotland, left Shgo. 
No desertions took place this season, but a mutiny occurred 
during the voyage, which came near being successful. The 
mutineers intended seizing the captain and crew, and taking 
the ship and cargo to some port for the purpose of disposing of 
them, but their conspiracy being discovered, its accomplish- 
ment was prevented, the conspirators overpowered and the 
ship reached York Factory in safety, during the month of 
August. A Mr. Owen Keveny* had been placed in charge of 

* Mr. Kewmnej returned to the North-West from Ireland, in the fall of 1816, and the follow- 
ing year, was killed by an Indian, hie brutal conduct to the men under hie charge, being the 
caoae whioh led to the murder. 

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this party by Lord Selkirk, and he, it is said, was somewhat 
of a martinet in dealing with the colonists, but, judging from 
the conduct of a few of them during the voyage, it would ap- 
pear as if the strictest discipline was necessary. 

We must now refer to Mr. or rather. Father Bourke, whom 
we have already mentioned as the individual who found the 
supposed diamonds and rubies at the Nelson encampment, in 
1812. It seems that he did not accompany the first party to 
Red River, but returned to Ireland, when Miles Macdonell 
•wrote of him as follows : " To Mr. Bourke, I have granted 
leave to go home at his own desire and enclose his letter. He 
was only an encumbrance to me, irregular and eccentric in his 
conduct as a clergyman. He has no sway over his flock, and 
religion is turned to ridicule among strangers. If he can do 
any good to the colony in Ireland, it is well ; as a priest, he 
can be of no service here, particularly in the infancy of the 
settlement ; and I hope Your Lordship will not be in haste to 
send him out to us." 

But it would seem as if Father Bourke accompanied the 
second party of emigrants in 1813, and it is said married a 
couple on that occasion at York Factory. He however re- 
turned in the ship that brought him out, and never went 
further inland than the encampment on Nelson River, yet he 
had the credit of being the first minister of religion from the 
British Isles who ever set foot on the shores of Hudson Bay. 

In October, 1813, Mr. Keveney arrived at Red River with 
his party and consigned his charge to Miles McDonell. It is a 
singular coincidence that the second batch of emigrants had to 
make their way to Pembina like the first, almost immediately 
after their arrival at Fort Douglas. Provisions had been 
scarce previous to their coming, but their presence made mat- 

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ters worse, and so the whole colony proceeded south to their 
winter-quarters. The winter proved a hard one, and although 
in justice to the oflScers of the North- West Company, it must 
be said that they assisted the settlers with food, and in other 
ways the suflferings of the new comers were very great. So 
much so, that they resolved never to return to Pembina again. 

In the meantime, Lord Selkirk was busy at home securing 
fresh emigrants for his colony, and about that time the Duch- 
ess of Sutherland commenced the cruel policy of driving many 
of her tenants from their once happy homes to make room for 
extensive sheep-tracts. A number of these unhappy people 
were induced to join the Selkirk colony, and in the Summer 
of 1813, sailed from Stromness for Hudson's Bay. During the 
voyage, fever broke out among the passengers, and when 
they arrived at their destination, the party of Scotch emi* 
grants were in a dreadful condition, and utterly untit to 
undergo the overland journey to Red River, many of them 
dying before and after landing, and the remainder being so 
worn out with sickness, were obliged to j'emain at the Bay 
the whole of the following winter. From all accounts it 
would appear that these poor people were not properly cared 
for by the agents of Lord Selkirk, and that the food and shel- 
ter provided were totally inadequate for their comfort or pro- 
tection from the severities of the weather. After spending a 
most miserable winter at Churchill and York Factory, the sur- 
vivors of this third batch of emigrants started in the summer 
of 1814, for Red River, arriving there early in autumn. A 
few days after their arrival, each head of a family was put in 
possession of 100 acres of land, but there were neither imple- 
ments to till the soil, nor a sufficiency of food to be had. 

Added to this the settlement was on the eve of a series of 

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disturbances which shortly afterwards resulted in the destruc- 
tion of the colony by the servants of the North-West 

It seeu)s that a few months before the arrival of this last 
batch of emigrants, Mr. Miles McDonell, who had been appoint- 
ed Governor by Lord Selkirk, issued the following proclama- 

Whereas the Right Honorable Thomas Earl of Selkirk is 
anxious to provide for the families at present forming settle- 
ments on his lands at Red River with those on the way to it, 
passing the winter at York and Churchill Forts, in Hudson's 
Bay, as also those who are expected to arrive next autumn, 
renders it a necessary and indispensable part of my duty to 
provide for their support. In the yet uncultivated state of 
the country, the ordinary resoui-ces derived from the buffalo 
and other wild animals hunted within the territory, are not 
deemed more than adequate for the repuisite supply. 

Whereas it is hereby ordered, that no person trading furs 
or provisions within the territory for the Honorable Hudson's 
Bay Company or the North- West Company, or any individual, 
or unconnected traders, or persons whatever, shall take any 
proxnsions, either of flesh, fish, grain, or vegetable, procured or 
raised within the said territory, by water or land carnage, for 
one twelvemonth from the date hereof ; save and except what 
may be judged necessary for the trading parties at this pre- 
sent time within the territory, to carry them to their respec- 
tive destinations; and who may, on due application to me, 
obtain a license for the same. 

The provisions procured and raised as above shall be taken 
for the use of the colony ; and that no loss may accrue to the 
parties concerned, they wiU be paid for by British bills at the 

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customary ratea And be it hereby further made known, that 
whosoever shall be detected in attempting to convey out, or 
shall aid and assist in carrying out, or attempting to carry out,, 
any provisions prohibited as above, either by water or land, 
shall be taken into custody, and prosecuted as the laws in such 
cases direct, and the provisions so taken, as well as any goods 
and chattels, of what nature soever, which may be taken along 
with them, and also the craft, carriages and cattle, instrumen- 
tal in conveying away the same to any part but to the settle- 
ment on Red River, shall be forfeited. 
" Given imder my hand at Fort Daer (Pembina) 
the 8th day of January, 1814 

(Signed) Miles McDonell, Governor, 
By order of the Governor. 

(Signed) John Spencer, Secretary. 

When we take into consideration the fact that Red River 
was likely at any time to become the only base of supplies for 
the people of the North-West Company, in the prosecution of 
their fur trade, it is not surprising to hear that the foregoing 
proclamation excited the bitterest feelings on their part 
against the Scotch settlers, added to which, Mr. McDonell had 
placed arms in the hands of the colonists, and was drilling 
them regularly as soldiers. For a time after this one distur- 
bance followed another as the governor endeavoured to eur 
force the provisions of his proclamation, and although blood- 
shed was happily averted, the condition of the colony grew 
worse day by day. 

Several seizures of provisions from the North- West Com- 
pany were made by orders of McDonell, and at last, when their 
traders from the interior, on their way to Fort William, ar- 
rived at Red River there were no provisions to cany them on 

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their journey to their destination. It would not have been 
surprising if they had endeavoured to take by force the sup- 
plies which were stored in the Hudson's Bay Company's fort, 
and which properly belonged to them, as McDonell had seized 
them without, as they considered, any authority, but instead 
of this they made an arrangement with him by which they 
secured suflScient to take the brigades to Fort William. Here 
the council of the North-West Company discussed the whole 
situation, and it was learned that not only had McDonell 
seized their provisions, but he had sent out directions to the 
different Hudson's Bay Company's posts to eject the Nor'- 
Westers and destroy their buildings. 

Here is a copy of one of the notices said to have been sent 
out by McDonell : — 

" You must give them (the North-West Company), solemn 
warning that the land belongs to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
and that they must remove from it ; after this warning they 
should not be allowed to cut any timber either for building or 
fuel. What they have cut ought to be openly and forcibly 
seized, and their buildings destroyed. In like manner they 
should be warned not to fish in your waters, and if they put 
down nets seize them, as you would in England those of a 
poacher. We are so fully advised by the unimpeachable val- 
idity of the rights of property that there can be no scruple in 
enforcing them, wherever you have the physical means. If 
they make forcible resistance, they are acting illegally, and are 
responsible for the consequences of what they do, while you 
are safe, so long as you take only the reasonable and necessary 
means of enforcing that which is right." 

No stronger declaration of war could have been framed than 
the above, and the council of the North-West Company de- 

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cided to resist, to the utmost of their power, any violence or 
encroachments on the part of their opponents. ■ It was further 
agreed to cause the arrest under the Act 43, George III., of 
Miles McDonell, and his s^retary, Spencer, for what they had 
already done, and Mr. Duncan Cameron was entrusted with 
the warrant for their apprehension. 

Some idea of the feelings and intentions of the North- West 
Company about this time may be judged from a letter written 
by Mr. Alexander McDonell, who was associated with Mr. 
Cameron at the time, and who afterwards sent down the party 
of half-breeds, whose actioh at Fort Douglas caused the death 
of Governor Semple. The letter is dated August 5th, 1814, 
and is addressed to his brother-in-law, TVIr. Wm. McGillivray. 

" You see myself and our mutual friend Mr. Cameron, so far 
on our way to commence open hostilities against the enemy. 
Much is expected from us. One thing certain is that we will 
do our best to defend what we consider our righte in the inter- 
ior. Nothing but the complete downfo-ll of the colony will 
satisfy some, by fair or foul means — a most desirable object if 
it can be effected. So here is at them, with all fljiy heart and 

In the meantime the settlers became mucih dissatisfied with 
their lot, but bravely bore up against their difficulties, and in 
the spring of 1815 had resumed their agricultural labors, and 
were cherishing the hope of future peace and a prosperous 
summer. But in the midst of this calm, which cei*tainly pre- 
ceded a storm, Mr. Cameron arrived from Fort William and 
endeavoured to put his ^varrant for the arrest of M9Donell into 
force. A fight ensued, in which several were injured and a 
Mr. Warren killed, when Governor McDonell to avoid further 
bloodshed, surrendered himself as a prisoner. 

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After his arrest, Mr. James Sutherland was left in charge, 
and when that gentleman saw that the colony was utterly at 
the mercy of the Nor'- Westers, he and Surgeon James White, 
who was afterwards killed in the Semple tragedy, signed the 
following agreement on the 25th June, 1815; — 

Articles of Agreement entered into between the Half-Breed 
Indians of the Indian Territory, on one part, and the 
Honorable Hudson's Bay Company on the other, viz. : 

1. All settlers to retire immediately from this river, and no 
appearance of a colony to remain. 

2- Peace and amity to subsist between all parties, traders, 
Indians, and freemen in future throughout these two 
rivers, and on no account is any person to be molested in 
his lawful pursuits. 

3. The Honorable Hudson's Bay Company will, as customary, 

enter this river with, if they think proper, three to four 
of the former trading boats, and from four to five men 
per boat, as usual. 

4. Whatever former disturbance has taken place between 

both parties, that is to say, the Honorable Hudson's Bay 
Company and the Half-Breeds of the Indian Territory, 
to be totally forgot, and not to be recalled by either 

5. Every person retiring peaceably from the river imme- 

diately, shall not be molested in their passage out 

6. The people passing the sunmier for the Honoi*able Hud- 

son s Bay Company, shall not remain in the buildings 

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of th0 cpteny, but shall retire to some other spot where 
they will establish for the purpose of trade. 

Chiefs of the Half -Breeds. 


For Hudson's Bay Company . . . 

CuTHBERT Grant, 
Bastonnois Pangman, 
Wm. Shaw, 
BoNHOMME Montour, 

'James Sutherland, 

Chief Factor, 

James White, 


The result of Cameron's attack on Fort Douglas was the de- 
struction of the settlers' houses, and the breaking up of the 
colony. Some of the colonists entered the service of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company ; others repaired to Jack River, on Lake 
Winnipeg, one or two returned t^ York Factory, a few re- 
mained, and about fifty familiei were, at their own solicita- 
tion, conveyed to Canada by the North-West Company, and 
landed at York, now the city of Toronto, and it seemed for the 
time being as if Lord Selkirk's colony was at an end. Gov-^ 
ernor McDonell and his secretary, Spencer, were never brought 
to trial, as there appeared to be no hope of obtaining a convic- 
tion against them under the peculiar circumstances of the case, 
and the prosecution was dropped. 

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The Hudson's Bay Company now interposed, and under 
their protection, the Seotdh settlers were brought back from 
Jack River to Fort Douglas, but their trials and vicissitudes 
were not at an end. On the 5th November, 1815, a fresh batch 
of emigrants arrived, having left Stromness on the pre\nou8 
15th June, and, like their predecessors, the colonists found that 
no preparation had been made for their reception. Instead of 
a thriving settlement, they found houses in ruins, and a scene 
of desolation, where they expected to see a prosperous com- 
munity, but worse than all, there was no food to feed them, 
and in consequence, they had to continue their journey in 
company with those who had returned from Jack River, in the 
cold and snow, to Pembina. Here they set to work to erect 
rude huts to shelter themselves, but in a month or so they had to 
leave these temporary houses, and journey to the plains in the 
hope of procuring food, there being a scarcity of proNnsions at 
Pembina, and no means of procuring any near that place. 
These unfortunate people had to journey a distance of about 
one hundred and fifty miles, and as they were ill-provided 
with suitable clothes to protect their persons from the cold, 
they suffered dreadfully. Meeting with a party of hunters, 
they remained with them during the winter, performing such 

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work as they were capable of doing, in return for which they 
were fed and sheltered until the spring, when they returned 
to Pembina, and from thence descended the Red River by 
water in April to Fort Douglas. They then began to culti* 
vate the soil, and everything appeared propitious to their be- 
coming comfortably settled in their new home, when, on the 
19th June, 1816, an event happened which once more brought 
desolation to the colony. 

The high-handed proceedings of Miles McDonell, and the 
subsequent aggressive policy of the Earl of Selkirk, created 
very bitter feelings between the oflScers of the Hudson's Bay 
and North- West Companies, and several collisions took place, 
resulting in loss of life and property on both sides. Lord Sel- 
kirk's policy was to extend the trade of the Hudson's Bay 
Company into distant parts hitherto monopolized by the rival 
Canadian association, and for this purpose he, in 1814, de- 
spatched a Mr. James Sutherland to Montreal to engage 
agents there for the prosecution of this new departure in 
trading. Mr, Colin Robertson was induced to enter the ser- 
vice, and to him Lord Selkirk entrusted the chief manage- 
ment of the undertaking. French-Canadians, who had been 
employfe of the North- West Company, were engaged instead 
of Orkney men, and in May, 1815, a brigade of twenty-two 
canoes, manned by these veteran voyageurs, left Lachine, 
bound for the north. At Jack River they took on the supplies 
which had been brought from York Factory and stored there, 
and then forming into different bands, they proceeded, some to 
Athabasca district, others to the Lesser and Greater Slave 
Lakes, and a third party, under command of Mr. Clarke, who 
was one of Mr. Astor's partners in the Pacific Fur Company^ 
went up the Peace River. This first attempt to penetrate the 

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northern districts was, however, only partly successful, owing 
to the lateness of the season when the brigades reached their 
destination, and the lack of provisions, which, owing to the 
opposition of the North-West Company, the new comers had 
difficulty in obtaining from the Indiana 

In the meantime, Mr. Robert Semple was appointed Gov- 
emor-in-chief of the northern department, and was entrusted 
with powers far exceeding those conferred on any of his pre- 
decessors in office, as will be seen from the following extracts, 
taken from resolutions passed by the stockholders of the 
Hudson's Bay Company on the 19th May, 1815. 
^ These are the extracts : 

First — That there shall be appointed a 6ovemor-in-chief and Council, 
who shall have paramount authority over the whole of the territories in 
Hudson's Bay. 

Secondly — That the Governor, with any two of his Council, shall be 
competent to form a Council for the administration of justice, and the ex- 
ercise of the power vested in them by charter. 

Thirdly— That the Governor of Assiniboia, and the Governor of Moose, 
within their respective districts, and wirh any two of their respective 
Councils, shall have the same power ; but their power shall be suspended, 
while the Govemor-in -chief is actually present for judicial purposes. 

Fourthly — That a sheriff be appointed for each of the districts of As- 
siniboia and Moose, and one for the remainder of the company's terri- 
tory, for the execution of all such processes as shaU be directed to them 
according to law. 

Fifthly — Tl)at in the case of death, or absence of any Councillor or 
Sheritf, the Govemor-in-chief shall appoint a person to do the duty of the 
office till the pleasure of the company be known. 

In the spring of 1816, Governor Semple, while on a tour of 
inspection visiting the different posts of the company, placed 
Mr. Colin Robertson in charge at Fort Douglas, and that gen- 
tleman, being a thorough fur trader, at once determined to 
declare open war against the servants of the North- West Com- 
pany in his vicinity. His efforts were particularly directed 

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against Mr. Duncan Cameron, who had eaused the arrest of 
Miles McBonell, and on the 17th March ^.n attack was made 
on Fort Gibraltar, the headquarters of the Nor -Westers, where 
Mr. Cameron was stationed. That gentleman and all his clerks 
were taken prisoners and placed in confinement, much to their 
surprise, as the assault made on them was entirely unexpected. 
The North-West Company's express bearing the mail from 
Fort William was captured, the letters confiscated, and all the 
arms, goods, and furs in Fort Gibraltar taken possession of. 
Mr. Cameron protested strongly against these high-handed 
proceedings, and demanded restoration of the fort and other 
property, but he was told by Mr. Robertson that as Gibraltar 
was the key of the Red River, the Hudson's Bay Company 
was resolved to keep it at all hazards. A force of Mr. Robert- 
son s men fully armed was stationed at the spot to guard the 
prisoners and prevent the place from being re-taken, and at- 
tacks were then made on other stations belonging to the North- 
West Company, and their servants driven from their homes. 
Property belonging to the Canadians was confiscated right 
and left, and for a time the power of the Nor'- Westers seemed 
to be broken in that part of the country. An attempt was 
even made to capture the N. W. Post at Qu'Appelle, but 
without success, and Mr. Alexander McDonell, who was in 
charge, determined to resent the insult and repair the losses in- 
flicted upon his company, as he realized the importance of the 
step taken by Mr. Robertson, and the disastrous effect it would 
have on the whole inland trade of his company unless it was 
thwarted. Fort Douglas being armed with artillery, and situ- 
ated close to the river bank, commanded a position which would 
enable the Hudson s Bay Company to intercept all intercourse 
by water between Fort William and the interior posts. It was 

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therefore of the utmost importance to regain possession of Fort 
Gibraltar, and in order to accomplish this he sent messengers 
to the North- West agents on the Saskatchewan and Swan 
Rivers to send hin) a force of men for the purpose. His ap- 
peal for assistance met with a favorable response, and a num- 
ber of men, chiefly French half-breeds, were sent to him. But 
Mr. Robertson, hearing of this force collected to attack him, at 
once tore down Fort Gibraltar, and then left the Red River 
for York Factory, taking Mr. Cameron with him as prisoner, 
and Governor Semple, returning from his trip, took command 
at Fort Douglas. Mr. McDonell had learned that a brigade of 
North-West boats was expected to arrive in the Red River 
about the 20th June, and as he knew that the Hudson's Bay 
Company were in a position to intercept and probably capture 
the supplies, he undertook to send a party to open communi- 
cation by land between Lake Winnipeg and the stations on the 
Assiniboine. For this purpose a band of about sixty half- 
breeds and Indians on hoi'seback was sent with instructions to 
pass at a distance behind Fort Douglas, which no doubt was 
the programme intended by Mr. McDonell, and was the wisest 
course to pursue, because any attempt to take the stix)nghold of 
tlie Hudson's Bay Company, strongly fortified as it was, would 
have been a useless sacrifice of life. One section of McDonelFs 
men succeeded in passins^ Fort Douglas unperceived. and at 
once made an assault on the settlers' houses along the river. 
The second section, however, when passing the fort on the 
19th June, 1816, was discovered by Governor Semple and his 
men, who, supposing that it was either an attack on the settle- 
ment, or a party going to join the expected brigade from Fort 
William, left the fort with about twenty-seven of his followers 
to meet the Nor'- Westers, and on coming up to them, angrj'" 

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words passed, followed immediately by the discharge of fire- 
anus and a general fight between the two parties. Governor 
Semple was wounded, and several of his men killed at the 
very commencement, and afterwards a slaughter of nearly the 
whole of the Hudson's Bay Company, people took place* 
twenty-one of them being either slcdn outright or wounded. 
Different versions of who fired the first shot have been given, 
but the exact truth of the matter will never be known. Gov- 
ernor Semple's party was composed of raw and inexperienced 
men, mostly youths utterly unable to cope with the fierce half- 
breeds and Indians opposed to them, and this no doubt ac- 
counts for the large number killed on the side of the Hudson's 
Bay C!ompany people^ while the .Nor '-Westers only lost one 
man killed and another wounded. Governor Semple, although 
not mortally injured in the fight, was afterwards shot dead by 
an Indian, and many of the killed were barbarously treated by 
the half-breeds and savages, although Mr. Cuthbert Grants 
who commanded the party, did all in his power to preVent any 
undue cruelty on the part of his men. After the Meath of 
Semple there was a disposition on the part of the settlers, 
most of whom had crowded into the fort, to resist any further 
attack on ihe part of the Nor'- Westers, but having heard of 
a movement of armed men to reinforce Grant, and fearing 
that they could i\6t hold out against large numbers, they 
finally agreed to capitulate, and Mr. Alex. McDonell, who took 
charge on the death 6f Semple, gave up Fort Douglas to the 
North- West Companyj taking, however, an inventory of all it 
contained, for which he received a receipt from Mr. Grant. 

The settlers now looked upon their prospect of success in 
the colony as almost hopeless, and embarking on boats fur- 
nished by the Nor'- Westers, they bade adieu to the settlement 

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and proceeded to Jack River, where most of them remained 
until the following year, when they returned to Red River 
under the protection of Lord Selkirk and his company of 

t While these contests between the servants of the two com- 
panies were taking place on the Red River, the same spirit of 
antagonism was shown in carrying on the trade of the interior, 
and in the far west and north, outrages on each other were of 
frequent occurrence. The worst feature, however, was the 
employment of Indians, chiefly by the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, to attack the fui* posts of their rivals, and so bitter did 
this mode of warfare become that it finally interfered to a 
great extent with the profitable prosecution of the f\ir trade. 

During the winter of 1815- 16, Lord Selkirk paid a visit to 
Montreal, for the purpose of enlisting recruits for his service, 
and it appears that overtures were then made to him by the 
North- W^t people, for a coalition of the two companies. 
These advances w^re, however, scouted by the Earl who no 
doubt, at that time, saw his way to force his rivals to retire 
from the field. Not only did he engage a large number of 
voyageurs, but he also enlisted about 100 veterans who had 
served in de Meuron s regiment and acted as mercenaries in 
the French army during the war in Spain. They were, from 
all accounts, a reckless and licentious set of men, ready to un- 
dertake* any enterprise of doubtful character, so long as they 
were paid for it. The employment of these soldiers and the 
activity displayed by Lord Selkirk in sending oflf brigades of 
canoes to reinforce his traders in the far north, caused the 
North-West Company to become exceedingly apprehensive of 
the ruinous consequences likely to ensue to their trade, and in 
February, 1816, they addressed a letter to the Secretary of 
State on the subject. 

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In this letter they say : " We do not presume to point out 
the particular proceeding which in this case would be satis- 
factory to ourselves. Our Bole object is to put an end to 
violence and bloodshed, and we are perfectly satisfied that in 
the discussion to which such proceedings must give rise, the 
interests of His Majesty s Canadian subjects will at least 
meet with as favorable consideration as those of their op- 

On the Ist March following, they addressed another letter 
to the Secretary of State, from which the following extract is 
taken : " We do not venture to suggest the remedy it may be 
in their power, or may appear eligible to His Majesty's Gov- 
ernment, to provide in this case, but we are certain, if some 
measiires be not adopted to define, without delay, the limits, 
power and authority of the Hudson's Bay Company, a contest 
will ensue in the interior, the results of which will be dread- 
ful, with respect to the loss of lives and property." 

These appeals to the Home Government, however, went un- 
heeded as far as any action being taken, and Lord Selkirk, 
having dispatched his brigades of canoes from Lachine, soon 
after followed with his force of de Meurons, fully armed and 
equipped for service. He, himself, was appointed Justice of 
the Peace for the Indian Territories, and for Upper Canada, a 
position which added much to his power and authority. 

One of his Lordship's brigades of canoes was commanded by 
Miles McDonell, the ex-governor of Assiniboia, and this gentle- 
man on arriving at Lake Winnipeg heard for the first time of 
the unhappy event resulting in the death of Mr. Semple, which 
had taken place on the 19th June. He at once retraced his 
^teps to Lake Superior, and, meeting Lord Selkirk at Sainte 
Marie, informed him of the Circumstance, and, as might be ex- 

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pected, the information did not tend to improve his Lordship's 
feelings toward the North- West Company. At the time, he 
was waiting at Sainte Marie for an expected addition to his 
forces, and for some artillery and provisions on the way across 
Lake Huron, and it has even been hinted that his purpose then 
was to make an attack on, and capture. Fort William, the 
headquarters of his rivals. Be this as it may, the information 
conveyed to him by Miles McDonell furnished in his eyes a 
sufficient reason for adopting retaliatory measures, and as soon 
as his reinforcements arrived he proceeded at once to put them 
in force. 

Arriving in the Kaministiquia river about the middle of 
August, he at once arranged his men and artillery, so as to 
command the approaches to Fort William, the cannon being 
loaded and pointed as if for a siege and bombarbment of the 
place. On the following day, two men acting as constables 
entered the fort and arrested Mr. William McGillivray who 
was in command, soon after which Lord Selkirk arrived, and, 
placing the principal officers in confinement, took posses- 
sion. The place was then searched, and all the furs, valued at 
$60,000, and other property seized, notwithstanding the formal 
protests of the Nor'- Westers against such proceedings. It was 
next decided to take the North-West officer to Montreal for 
trial, and accordingly they were sent off in canoes under 
charge of a guard of Selkirk's men, the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's force in the meantime remaining in possession of the 
tort. The charge upon which Lord Selkirk arrested these 
officers was based on the plea that they in some way were con- 
nected with or instrumental in bringing about the outrages 
committed on the Earl's property in June, but this, it is appar- 
ent, was only a pretext to serve Lord Selkirk's purpose. 

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McGillivray and his companions on reaching Montreal being 
admitted to bail, swore out warrants fOr Lord Selkirk's arrest, 
but when the constable arrived at Fort William to execute 
them, he found himself made priscmer, his authority treated 
with contempt, and in a few days he was tumekl loose and 
ordered to return the way he came. 

Lord Selkirk now remained monarch of all he surveyed, and 
not content with taking possession of Fort William, sent out 
parties to capture other posts belonging to the rival company. 
In this way the trading stations at Fond du Lac, Michipico- 
ton, and the fort at Lac la Pluie, fell into his hands, after which 
a company of de Meurons, under command of Captain D'Orson- 
nens made their way to Red River to retake Fort Douglas. 
This was accomplished in true military style by taking advan- 
tage of a dark and stormy night, when the de Meurons 
approaching the fort, succeeded in scaling the walls before the 
garrison was even aware of their presence in the neighbor- 
hood. Taken thus by surprise, the Nor'- Westers yielded with- 
out firing a shot, and Fort Douglas once more passed into the 
hands of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Soon after this, steps w^ere taken to bring back the Scotch 
settlers from Jack River, and these poor people, after under- 
going great hardships during the winter while in exile, were 
glad of the opportunity to re-occupy the lands from which 
they had been so unceremoniously and summarily ejected. 

In the meantime the acts of robbery and bloodshed on the 
part of the two companies — the brutal massacre of the 19th 
June, and the subsequent high-handed proceedings of Lord 
Selkirk at Fort William, had at length roused the Imperial 
authorities to the necessity of taking steps to put a stop to 
further outrages of the kind. Accordingly, in February, 1817, 

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the Governor-General of Canada received a despatch from the 
Home Government containing the folloA^ang words : 

" You will also require, under similar penalties, the restitu- 
tion of all forts, buildings or trading stations, with the pro- 
perty which they contain, which may have been seized or 
taken possession of by either party, to the party who origin- 
ally established or constructed the same, and who were in 
possession of them previous to the recent disputes between the 
two companies. You will also require the removal of any 
blockade or impediment, by which any party may have 
attempted to prevent the free passage of traders, or others of 
His Majesty's subjects, or the natives of the countrj', with 
their merchandise, furs, provisions and other effects through- 
out the lakes, rivers, roads and every other usual route or 
communication heretofore used for the purpose of the fur 
trade in the interior of North America, and the full and free 
permission of all persons to pursue their usual and accustomed 
trade without hindrance or molestation. The mutual restora- 
tion of all property captured during these disputes, and the 
freedom of trade and intercourse with the Indians, until the 
trials now pending can be brought to a judicial decision, and 
the great question at issue, with respect to the rights of the 
companies, shall be definitely settled." 

The Governor-General then appointed Colonel Coltman and 
Major Fletcher, two military gentlemen of high character, to 
act as commissioners, in conformity with the above despatch. 
These gentlemen left Montreal in May, 1817, and proceeded at 
once to Fort William, which, however, had in the meantime 
been handed back to the North- West Company. It appears 
that after Lord Selkirk left for Red River, the sheriff of 
Upper Canada, by virtue of a writ of restitution, took pos- 

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Hudson's bay and North-wesT companies. 189 

session and restored it to its original ownens, and the commis- 
sioners (Coltman and Fletcher), Hnding this to be tlie cascr 
proceeded on to Red River, arriving at Fort Douglas while 
Lord Selkirk was still there. They immediately proceeded to 
execute their commission, and compelled each party to make 
restitution, as far as possible, and restore the property taken 
from their opponents. Fort Gibraltar had been destroyed, but 
the North- West Company at once went to work to erect 
buildings for carrying on their trade, and Lord Selkirk devot- 
ed himself to arranging his colony aiid making provision for 
the de Meurons, according to the contract he had made with 
them. This he did by allotting to each one a plot of land, 
around Fort Douglas and on the opposite side of the river, 
within easy call, the officei*s being stationed among them. In 
this way Lord Selkirk had his military friends placed, so that 
in case of any necessity arising for calling in their assistance, 
a signal from headquarters would enable the whole body to 
join their commanders in the fort at short notice. He then 
assembled the settlers at a public meeting, and made them 
several concessions, amongst which may be mentioned free 
grants of land for church and school purposes. Public roads, 
by-roads, bridges, mill sites, and other important matters were 
settled, and the colonists, encouraged by these marks of care 
for their welfare, set to work to erect buildings and otherwise 
improve the settlement. 

The terms on which the settlers had agreed to come out to 
Red River were as follow : — 

First — They were to enjoy the services of a minister of 
religion, who was to be of their own persuasion. 

Second — E^h settler was to receive 100 acres of land at 
five shillings per acre, payable in produce. 

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Third — They were to have a market in the colony for all 
their produce. 

Fourth — They were to enjoy all the privileges of British 

In regard to the first clause, a Mr. Sage, son of Rev. Alex- 
ander Sage, of the parish of Kildonan, north of Scotland, was 
engaged by Lord Selkirk to go out and minister to the set- 
tlers, but for some reason he did not fulfil his engagement, 
and a Mr. James Sutherland, an elder in the Presbyterian 
Church, wiis appointed to many, baptize and attend to other 
ministerial duties. The land, mentioned in the second clause, 
was given to the settlers free of charge, to compensate them 
for the many hardships and severe trials they had suffered, 
but whether the fulfilment of the third and fourth clauses 
was ever truly carried out is a cpiestion open to doubt. Lord 
Selkirk, having done all in his power, during his visit to Red 
River, in 1817, for the good of his people, next turned his 
attention to the Indians, and in so doing shewed a desire to 
protect his colonists from any chance of attack by the savages 
through disputes in regard to the ownership of the hind. 

Accordingly, he called the Indians of the neighbourhood to- 
gether within the walls of the fort, and, after giving them 
presents, concluded the following treaty with them . — 

**This Indenture, made on the 18th day of July, in the fifty-seventh 
year of the reign of our Sovereigii Lord, King George the Third, 
and in the year of our Lord 1817, between the undersigned Chiefs and 
Warriors of the Chippeway or Saulteaux Nation, and of the KilHstins or 
Cree Nation, on the one jmrt, and the Right Honorable Thomas Earl of 
Selkirk, on the other part. Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of 
the annual present or quit rent hereinafter mentioned, the said Chiefs 
have given, granted, and confirmed, and do by these presents give, grant, 
and confirm unto our Sovereign Lord, the King, all that tract of land ad- 
jacent to Red River and Assiniboine River, beginning at the mouth of the 

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Hudson's bay and north-west companies. 191 

Red River, and extending along the same as far as the great Forks at the 
mouth of Red Lake River, and along Assiniboine River as far as Musk- 
Rat River, othervrise called Riviere des Champignons, and extending to 
the distance of six miles from Fort Douglas on every side, and likewise 
from Fort Daer (Pembina), and also from the Great Forks, and in other 
parts extending in the breadth to the distance of two English statute 
miles back from the banks of the said rivers, on each side, together with 
all the appurt nances whatsoever of the said tract of land, to have and to 
hold for ever the said tract of land and appurtenances, to the use of the 
said Elarl of Selkirk, and of the settlers being established thereon, with the 
consent and permission of our Sovereign Lord, the King, or of the said 
Earl of Selkirk. Provided always, that these presents are under the ex- 
press condition that the Earl, his heirs and successors, or their agents, 
shall annually pay to the Chiefs and Warriors of the Chippeway or Saul 
teaux Nation the present, or quit rent, consisting of one hundred pounds 
weight of good merchantable tobacco, to be delivered on or before the 
tenth day of October, at the Forks of Assiniboine River ; and to the Chiefs 
and Warriors of the Kiiistineaux or Cree Nation, alike present, or quit 
rent, of one hundred pounds of tobacco, to be delivered to them on or be- 
fore the said tenth day of October, at Portage de la Prairie, on the banks of 
Assiniboine River. Provided always that the traders hitherto established 
upon any part of the above mentioned tract of land shall not be molested 
in the possession of the lands which they have already cultivated and im- 
proved, till His Majesty's pleasure shall be known. 

*' In witness whereof the Chiefs aforesaid have set their marks at the 
Forks of Red River, on the day aforesaid. 

'* Signed, Selkirk. 

** Signed in presence of Thomas Thomas, James Bird, F. Matthey, Cap- 
tain ; P. D. Orsonnens, Captain ; Miles McDonell, J. Bste Chr De Lovi- 
mier, Louis Nolin, Interpreter ; and the ^following Chiefs, each of whom 
made his mark, being a rude outline of some animal. 

*• Moche W. Keocab (Le Sonent) ; Ouckidoat (Premier alias Grande 
Oreilles); Mechudewikonaie (La Robe Noire); Kayajici^ebinoa (L'homme 
Noir) ; Pegowis." 

It may here be said that the Saulteaiix Indians who are 
nientione<l first in the alx)ve treaty, had no real claim to the 
lands on the Red River, while the (^rees, who are mentioned 
last, have l)een, since the memory of man, the rightful inhabit- 
ants of this part of the country. The Crees afterwards toijk 
tn'eat uinbrajje at this feature of the treaty, and often tlu'eat- 

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ene<l to withdraw from it and claim their lands from the set- 
tlers, a threat, however, which they never put into effect. 

Lord Selkirk, havinj^ thus arranged for his soldiers, the wel- 
fare of his colonists, and a settlement with the Indians, baile 
adieu to Red River, and, accompanied by a ^ide and a few 
gentlemen, passe<l south through Dakotah, and making his way 
to New York, embarked for England without visiting Cana<la, 
the numerous lawsuits with which he was thi-eateneil, no 
doubt, inducing him to take this course. 

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The effect produced by Messiu Coltiiian & Fletcher's mis- 
sion was not of a lasting character, for we find that in 1819 
Mr. William Williams, the superintendent of the northern de- 
partment of the Hudson's Bay Company, undertook to in- 
tercept and capture the North-West Company's canoes on 
their way to Fort William. By means of a body of armed 
de Meurons, he surprised the brigade at Big Fall, as they 
w^ere preparing to pass over the portage, and on this occjision, 
Messi's. Angus Shaw, John George McTavish, John Duncan 
Campbell, William Mcintosh, and Mr. Frobisher, oflScers of 
high rank in the North-West Company, were taken prisoners. 
The goods were confiscated, and most of the voyageurs and 
guides sent to Canada, while of the ofRcei-s, Messrs. Shaw and 
McTavish were sent to England, and Campbell and Mcintosh 
to Canada. Mr. Frobisher managed to escape from his cap- 
tors, and, in attempting to make his way to Moose Lake, per- 
ished from hardships and exposure. In the far west and 
north, the same state of bitter rivalry continued, and there 
was little prospect of it ceasing so long as Lord Selkirk re- 
mained at the head of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

The trials that took place at York (Toronto) and in Lower 
Canada must have cost both sides a great deal of money. 

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The cases relating to the Semple tragedy were not tried until 
1818, owing to Lord Selkirk's action in retaining the evi<lence 
upon which the prosecution depended to conduct them. Ap- 
plication was made to the Govemor-in-chief of Canada, in 
March, 1817, to have them removed to upper Canada, and this 
also caused delay, because His Excellency judged it expedient 
to consult the Home Government in the matter. A favorable 
reply was received on the 24th October, and great seal instini- 
ments issued to try the cases at York, but owing to the in- 
formation being in the hands of Lord Selkirk, who neglected 
to furnish it although called upon to do so, the trials could not 
be proceeded with. His Lordship, moreover, had gone to 
England without visiting Canada, and on the 19th June, 1818, 
the Attorney-General of Lower Canada, in reporting to the 
Governor-in-chief, in reply to remonstrances against the <lelay, 
says, " The private prosecutor, the Earl of Selkirk, who alone 
possessed the evidence in support of these prasecutions, had 
l)een absent from the Province, and since his return had bi^en 
very much occupied with tlie sittings of Criminal Courts both 
at Quel)ec and Montreal." 

The high-handed proceedings of His Lordship, and the out- 
rages committed by the North- West Company, resulted in a 
series of law suits, which only served to increase their ani- 
mosity toward each other, and the reports of the trials indicate 
very clearly the bitter feeling existing at the time between 
the contestants. 

The Nor'-Westers were finally brought before the court at 
York, and indictments found against them for participating in 
the affairs of 11th June and 28th June, 1815, and for larceny 
at Riviere Qu'Appelle on 12th May, and the Semple outrage 
on 19th June, 1816, but the jury in etich case brought in a 

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Hudson's bay and north-west companies. 195 

verdict of not guilty. Mr. Wni. McGillivray, who had been 
waiting two years for trial, could not get his case brought on, 
which was a great hardship to him, having a serious charge 
hanging over his head in this way. He then caused Lord Sel- 
kirk, Miles McDonell, and eighteen others, to be indicted for 
the pait they took in the Fort William affair, the accusation 
being laid in the following woixis : — " The engaging and arm- 
ing a number of disbanded soldiers (foreigners) : the entry by 
them, with force and arms, into Fort William, in August, 1816, 
retaining possession of the fort till May, 1817 : sending off as 
prisoners the partnei-s of the North- West Company found 
there ; getting rid of the clerks by subp(Fnas to appear at York 
at a period when no courts are held there, without enquiring 
whether they knew anything of the matter to w^hich the sub- 
p<pna8 related, and without ever bringing them forward after- 
wards : stopping of the outfits from going into the interior, 
and the returns from coming to Montreal : possessing them- 
selves of all the books and papers of the concern; sending 
away the principal clerk under a charge of felony, without ex- 
amination, and without having ever followed up that charge : 
the pretended sale by Daniel Mackenzie of the North-West 
property obtained by His Lordship by means of continued 
duress ; tampering with and debauching the North-West Com- 
pany s servants, and connnanding them in the King's name ; 
writing circular letters to the partners and clerks in the in- 
terior country, alleging that the North-West Company were 
ruined, and advising them to abandon their trust, and to carry 
the furs to Hudson's Bay : taking possession of Lake la Pluie 
and the property there, and stopping the navigation, etc." 

We give the above in full, to show to what extent Lord Sel- 
kirk was ready to go in his opposition to his rivals, but, as we 

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have already shewn, the North-West Company were prepared 
to go, and in fact did go, quite a« far in their attempts to in- 
jure the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Lord Selkirk had also several civil suits entered against him, 
one of which was by Wm. Smith, the constable whom he 
ejected from Fort William, and the information in this case 
was as follows : — " Mr. Siiiith got to Fort William on the 19th 
March, 1817, and produced his restitution, with which his 
Lordship i-efused to comply, and when the Earl and the others 
were an-ested by Mr. Smith upon the warrant for felony, his 
Lordship laid hold of him and pushed him out of dooi's, and he 
was afterwards kept in close custody in the fort under a mili- 
tary guard." Mr. Smith received a verdict of £500 damages 
against the Earl. 

Mr. Daniel Mackenzie also entered suit against Lord Selkirk 
in the following words : — " Civil action for false imprisonment 
of the plaintifi', a retired partner in the North-West Company, 
by the Earl, at Fort William, where he was thrown into a dun- 
geon, and kept there under military guard until he was induced 
(believing his life to be in danger) to sign various deeds pre- 
pared for the purpose, purporting to be sales of the North- West 
Company's property, a bond of arbitration, etc., under color of 
which Lord Selkirk retained possession of the fort and its con- 
tents, to the value of full one hundred thousand pounds." 

Mr. Mackenzie received a verdict against his Lordship for 

It would occupy too much space to give further particulars 
of the various trials and outcome of the contests between the 
Hudson's Bay and North-West Companies, but sufficient has 
been given to show that they were not only expensive, but 
also calculated to widen the breach between his Lordship 

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Hudson's bay and north-west companies. 197 

and liis opponents, and to make a union of the two interests 
almost impossible. 

During this state of afFaii's, the Red River colony continued 
to endure hardships, and one set-back after another occuiTed 
to the settlers. In the winter of 1817 they were forced to go 
again to Pembina, owing to scarcity of food, but on their re- 
turn to the settlement in the spring, having procured seed, 
they managed to plant a considerable area of land. The sum- 
mer was favorable, and the fields soon assumed a promising 
appeamnce. But on the 18th July, 1818, the sky suddenly 
became darkened by clouds of grasshoppei*s, and as they de- 
scended upon the earth in dense swarms, they destroyed every 
green thing before them. The colonists managed to secure a 
little grain from their spring work, but not a vegetable was 
left in their gardens. It seemed as if the hand of fate was 
against the Selkirk settlement, and once more, just as every- 
thing was looking bright for them, darkness came in a day, 
and they were forced to again turn their steps to Pembina for 
refuge. At this tinte, in the midst of the Scotch settlers' dis- 
tress, a few French families from Lower Canada, under the 
conduct of Rev. Joseph Nobert Provencher, and the Rev. 
Severe Dumoulin, amved at Red River, and accompanied the 
Scotch settlers south to their temporary home. This was the 
tirst serious attempt of the Church of Rome to establish itself 
in the North-West, and from it spread the great chain of mis- 
sions to the west and far north. Early in the spring of 1819, 
the Scotch returned to the settlement, leaving some of the Can- 
adian families to locate their homes at Pembina, but they had no 
better success with their crops that summer than they had the 
previous year, for almost before they had finished sowing, the 
young locusts began to appear, and devoured every grcvn herb 

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that grew on the cultivate<l fields and on the plains. This blow 
almost made the colonists despair of ever being able to make 
a home on the Re<l River, and, wearied and discontente<l, they 
were forced again to turn their steps south for the winter. 
Many went to the plains to hunt for a living, and in this way 
they struggled along for several years, endeavoring during the 
summer to raise a crop on the Red River, and being obligetl» 
through the ravages of the grasshoppers, to winter at Pem- 
bina, or on the plains, to obtain food. Some worked for the 
Hudson's Bay Company as voyageurs and laborers, and others 
became go<xl hunters, and it was not until 1822 that famine, 
with all the evils that follow in its train, wei"e banished from 
the land. By this time, the colony consisted of a mixture of 
nationalities, there being Scotch, Irish, French, German and 
Swiss settlers living on the Red River. 

In 1820, the Earl of Selkirk died, and from that time the 
prospect of a union of the two fur companies became possible. 
So firm had his Lordship been in the belief that he would l3e 
able to bring about the destruction of the North-West Com- 
pany, that repeated offers of a coalition had been rejected by 
him. In 1810 he distinctly refused to entertain the idea, and 
in 1814 he submitted conditions so utterly luireasonable that 
the North-West Company gave up hope of bringing about an 
amalgamation. But on his death efforts were renewed, and 
chiefly through the instrumentality of Right Hon. Edwaixl 
EUice, a union on equal terms took place in 1821. The Deed 
Poll relating to this arrangement was dated 26th March of 
that year, and was made between the Hudson's Bay Company 
on the one part, and on the other by W. and S. McGillivray 
and Edward Ellice, who represented in England the interests 
of the wintering partners in America of the North-West 

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traders — whose partnership as a company expired in 1821 — 
and who, having received little or no profits for some time, 
were desirous of merging their interests in those of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. A coalition and partnership was there- 
fore agreed to for twenty-one years, on the basis that each 
should provide an equal capital for carrying on the trade. 
There was a subsequent Deed Poll, bearing date 6th June, 
1834, " for ascei-taining the rights and prescribing the duties 
of the chief factors and the chief traders, and for conducting 
the trade." 

The expenses of establishments in England and America 
were to be paid out of trade, and no expense relating to colon- 
ization, or to any business separate from trade, was to form a 
charge on the concern. The profits w^ere to be divided into 
100 shares, of which forty were to be divided between chief 
factors and chief traders, according to pix)fit and loss, and if a 
loss should occur in one year on those forty shares, it was to 
be made good out of the profits of the following year. A 
general inventory and account was to be made out yearly on 
the Ist June, and, if profits were not paid to parties w^ithin 
fourteen days after that date, interest was to be allowed at 
the rate of five per cent. 

At the time of the union, there were twenty-five chief fac- 
tors and twenty-eight chief traders appointed, who were 
named in alternate succession from the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany and North- West Company's servants. The servants of 
both companies were placed on an equal footing, the 40 shares 
out of the 100 being subdivided into 85 shares, each of the 
25 chief factors receiving 2 or ^''^ths, and each of the chief 
traders ??\th, the remaining seven out of the eighty-five shares 
being appropriated, to old servants in certain proportions, for 
seven years. 

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The chief factoi-s sujierintended the business of the com- 
pany at the respective stations, and the chief tradei*s under 
them cfiiTied on the trade with the Indians. The clerks 
served under both, and the humblest of these, by good con- 
duct, might rise to the chief positions in the servic'3, the sal- 
aries ranging from £20 to £100 per annum. 

The chief factors and traders, who wintered in the interior, 
were allowed, in addition ^to their share of profits, certain per- 
sonal necessaries free of charge, and were not pei*mitted to 
carry on any private trade for themselves with the Indians. 
Strict accounts, etc., were required of them annually, and the 
councils at the respective posts had power to mulct, admonish, 
or suspend any of the company's servants. 

Three chief factors and two chief traders were allowed to 
leave the country annually for one year. A chief factor or a 
chief trader, after wintering three years in the service of the 
company, might retire, and hold his full share of profits for 
one year after retiring, and half the share for the four ensuing 
years, or if he wintered for five years, then half for six years. 
Three chief factors, or two chief factors and two chief traders, 
were allowed to retire annually, according to rotation, and the 
representatives of a chief factor or chief trader, who died 
after wintering five years, received all the benefit to which 
the deceased himself would have been entitled had he lived, 
or in like proportion for less duration of service. 

The accounts were re(]uired to be kept with accuracy, the 
business conducted with punctuality, and the whole machinery 
of the company worked with order and economy, under the 
watchful care of a Governor and Committee in London. 

Such is a synopsis of the plan under which the newly or- 
ganized company was to be conducted, and whatever the pro- 

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Hudson's bay and north-west companies 201 

fits mi^ht be, after paying the whole expenses at home and 
abroad, they were to be divided, according to the provisions of 
the l>eed Poll, into fifths, of which three went to the pro- 
prietiiry, and two among the chief factors and chief traders of 
the company, instead of salaries. 

Soon after the coalition of the two companies, on the 5th 
December, 1821, a Royal license was obtained from George the 
Fourth, dated at Carlton House, This was issued to the Hud- 
son s Bay Company and to W. & S. McGillivray and Edward 
Ellice, for the exclusive privilege of trading with the Indians 
in all such parts of North America as should be specified, not 
being part of the lands or territories heretofore granted to 
the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England, trad- 
ing to Hudson's Bay (a direct recognition of the charter of 
1670 by the Crown). This Royal license was expressly issued 
to prevent the admission of individual or associated bodies 
into the North American fur trade, as the competition therein 
had been found for yeai^s to be productive of great inconveni- 
ence and loss, not only to the Hudson's Bay Company associa- 
tions, and to the trade in general, but also of great injury to 
the native Indians and others. This license expired in 1842, 
but before its expiration, an extension was granted by Queen 
Victoria, on May 80th, 1838, dated at Buckingham Palace, for 
a further term of twenty-one years, and on this occasion, it 
was issued to the Hudson's Bay Company alone (Messrs. 
McGillivray and E. Ellice having surrendered their rights and 
interests under the previous license), to encourage the trade 
with the Indians of North America, and to prevent, as much 
as possible, a recurrence of the evils referred- to in the pre- 
vious grant. 

By the licenses of 1821 and 1838, the Company were author- 

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ized to tra<le over the " Indian territories," west of the Rocky 
Mountains, at that time open also to subjects of the United 
States. It was of great importance that Great Britain should 
obtain a footing and position in Oregon, and on the Columbia 
River, which Mr. Canning had expressed his determination to 
maintain as British property. We have already shown the 
efforts made by the North-West Company to establish that 
tra<le, and after the coalition, the Hudson's Bay Company in- 
curred large expenditure in establishing themselves on the 
coast of the Pacific. 

For many years previous to the grant of exclusive trade to 
the Hudson's Bay Company, the cliief trade of that coast was 
done by the Americans and Russians, the only establishment 
of any imixjrtance occupied by British traders being Fort 
George (Astoria), at the mouth of the Columbia River, wliile 
no attempt was made, by means of shipping, to obtain any 
part of the trade. So unprofitable was it in 1818, 1819, 1820, 
1821 and 1822, and so difficult of management, that several of 
the leading and most intelligent persons in the country, 
strongly recommended that the company should abandon it 
altogether. But the Governor and committee felt that the 
honor of the concern would, in a certain degree, be compro- 
mised were they to adopt that reconnnendation, holding, as 
they did, the license in question ; and, with a degi*ee of energy 
and entei'prise which reflected much credit on themselves and 
on their officers and servants, they directed themselves vigor- 
ously to the Pacific department of the business. 

As already mentioned, the supreme control of the Hudson s 
Bay Company affairs was vested in a council, or committee, 
sitting in London. This committee consisted of five members 
who were presided over by a Govenior and Deputy-Governor, 

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Hudson's bay and north-west companies. 208 

and after the coalition these functionaries delegated their 
authority to an official resident in America, who was called 
the Governor-in-Chief of Rupert's Land, and whase commis- 
sion extended over all their colonial possessions, with an un- 
limited tenure of office. The tii-st pei-son to till this high office 
was Sir George Simpson, who retained the position until he 
died, in September, 1860, a period of nearly forty years. He 
absorbed all the offices and responsibilities distributed among 
petty heads at the various posts, and during his long term of 
office he exerted an autocratic and supreme authority, it being 
impossible to overrule his final judgment or decision. 

His council, which w^as composed of "chief factors," with 
occasionally a few "chief tra<lers," met usually at Norway 
House, at the northern end of Lake Winnipeg, w^hich then be- 
came the distributing point for the whole country. Brigades 
stalled from here to the Rocky Mountains, Cumberland, Eng- 
lish River, Athabasca, Mackenzie's River, Swan River, Red 
River and Rainy Lake, supplying the various posts in the 
districts which w^ere separated by distances of from fifty to 
three hundred miles. 

The chartered teiritories and circuit of commercial relations 
were divided into vast sections, and known as the Northern, 
Southern, Montreal and Western Departments. The northern 
extended between Hudson's Bay and the Rocky Mountains, 
the southern between James' Bay and Canada, including part 
of the eastern shore of Hudson's Bay. The Montreal de|)art- 
ment represented the business of the company done in Canada, 
and the western comprised the region west of the Rocky 
Mountains. The principal depots, in these departments, for 
the reception and distribution of supplies and collection of 
furs, were York Factory in the northern department, Moose 

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Factory in the southern, the City of Montreal in Canada, and 
in the western department Victoria, on Vancouver Islan<l, was 
constituted the head depot. 

The council rarely interfered with the affairs of the Red 
River settlement, which were managed by another lx)dy, call- 
ed the "Governor and Council of Assiniboia," and up to 1848 
the presiding officer was often the one in charge of the com- 
pany's trailing interests in the colony. Up to 1822 only two 
pei-sons hml held the office, viz.: Captain Miles McDonell, from 
August, 1812, to June, 1815, when he was sent a prisoner to 
Montreal, and Mr. Alexander McDonell, from August, 1815, to 
June, 1822. Capt. A. Bulger succeeded Mr. Alex. McDonell, 
and acted as governor just one year, until June, 1823. 

In 1820, Rev. John West was appointed Chaplain to the 
company, and on the 27th May, that gentleman embarked on 
board ship at Gravesend bound for Hudson's Bay, his instruc- 
tions being to reside at Red River Settlement, and, under the 
encouragement and aid of the Church Missionary Society, to 
endeavor to meliorate the condition of the native Indians. 
This gentleman was a zealous worker, and during the year he 
I'emained in the country laid the foundation for much good to 
follow ; but as we intend later on to take up the subject of 
Church Missions, we will proceed with our i-egular narrative. 
Before doing so, however, it may be mentioned that the 
Scotch settlers remained in a state of disappointment, because 
no minister of their own faith was sent out to them, especial- 
ly as a petition sent by them to Rev. John McDonald, of the 
Parish of Uniuhart. Ross-shire, never was answered. In 1821, 
a Mr. Halket, one of the Earl of Selkirk's executors, paid a 
visit to the colony and found the settlers very much exercised 
over another matter — the exorbitant charges made in their 

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accounts, and the dishonest acts of the officers in charge of 
Fort Douglas. The colonists, it appears, were not only charged 
unreasonable prices, but were also mmle to pay for goods 
they never received, and the result was that Mr. Halket decid- 
ed that the officers of -the fur trade should take in hand the 
supplying of goods to the settlers, an arrangement which was 
found to work more satisfactorily and to the advantage of the 

The union of the two companies contributed greatly to the 
peace and prosperity of the settlement, all apprehension of 
serious strife being removed, and to this happy state of affairs 
may be added an abundant harvest, in 1822. Fort Douglas 
continued to be the residence of the governor and the seat of 
government for the colony, but Foi-t Gibraltar became the 
dep6t of the Hudson's Bay Company, where all the trading 
was done. The population on the Red River was also largely 
increased about this time, through the arrival of discharged 
servants from the fur trade. When the coalition of the two 
companies occurred, a very marked decrease immediately took 
place in the number of employes engaged in trading, there 
having been double the force of men required while they were 
in opposition to each other, as compared with the numl3er re- 
quired when the business passed under one management. The 
consequence was that many servants were discharged, and 
some of them being given grants of laud on the Red River 
by the company, became settlers, and a few commenced the 
cultivation of the soil for a living. 

About this tiuie a novel enterprise called the " Buffalo Wool 
Company," was started in the colony, which had for its object: 

1st. To provide a subsitute for wool, as it was supposed, 
from the numbers and destructive habits of the wolves, that 
sheep could not be raised in Red River, at least to any extent. 


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2ntii The substitute contemplated was the wool of the wild 
buffalo, which was to be collected on the plains, and manufac- 
tured both for the colonists and for export. 

3rd. To establish a tannery for manufacturing the buffalo 
hides for domestic use. 

The capital of the company was £2,000, and it carried on 
operations until 1825, when it was wound up, the whole of the 
money invested having been spent and a debt of £500 incur- 
l^d; but for a time this unprofitable concern gave employ- 
ment to a number of the settlers, and enabled them to better 
^heir condition from their earnings. A few domestic cattle 
were imported, and the lot of tlie colonists became much im- 
proved in several directions. 

The crops continued to be good, and the administration of 
affairs under Governor Bulger w^as most satisfactory to the 
people, who were sorry when he resigned and retmned to 
England in June, 1823. It was Captain Bulger, who, by pun- 
ishing an Indian for attempted murder, first showed to the 
natives that they would not be allowed to break the laws with 
impunity near the colony, and it was he who, by making re- 
presentations to the Governor and Committee of the Company 
in London, obtained full permission for the settlers to buy 
hoi-ses, leather, and provisions from the freemen and natives, 
a privilege which the Hudson's Bay Company oflScers attempt- 
ed to deprive them of. 

Governor Bulger was succeeded by Captain R. P. Pelly, a 
cousin of Sir John Henry Pelly, Baronet, who was at that per- 
iod Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in London ; and 
here, before dealing further with the Red River Settlement, w^e 
will turn our attention to the description of a few of the forts 
and posts belonging to the company, and of the Indian tribes 
inhabiting the country at that time. 

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In 1749, as already shown, the Hudson's Bay Company had 
six forts, namely Moose, Henly, East Main House, Albany, 
York, and Prince of Wales Fort. In 1836, according to papers 
laid before Parliament, the company had one hundred and 
thirty-six establishments, and afforded employment to twenty- 
five chief factors, twenty-seven chief traders, one hundred and 
fifty-two clerks, and about twelve hundred regular servants, 
besides the occasional labor in manning boats and other 

In 1856, the number of establishments had increased to one 
hundred and fifty-four, and of these the following were situ- 
ated between Canada and the Rocky Mountains. 


Forts Chipewyan, Dunvegan, Vermillion, Fond du Lac. 


Forts Simpson, Liards, Halkett, Youcon, Peel's River, 
Lapierre's House, Good Hope, Rae, Resolution, Big Island, 


Forts Isle a la Crosse, Rapid River, Green Lake, Deer's 
Lake, Portage la Loche. 


Forts Edmonton, Carlton, Pitt, Rocky Mountain House, Lac 

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la Biche, Lesser Slave Lake, Assiniboine, Jasper's House, La 


Cumberland House, Moose Lake, The Pas. 


Forts Pelly, EUiee, Qu'Appelle Lakes, Shoal River, Touch- 
wood Hills, Egg Lake. 


Upper Fort Garry, Lower Fort Garry, White Horse Plains. 
Pembina, Manitobah, Reed Lake. 


Forts Francis, Alexander, Rat Portage, White Dog, Lac de 
Bonnet, Lac de Bois Blanc, Shoal Lake. 


Norway House, Beren's River, Nelson's River. 


York Factory, Churchill, Severn, Front Lake, Oxford 


Albany Factory, Marten's Falls, Osnaburg, Lac Seul. 


Matawagamingue, Kuckatoosh. 


Michipicoton, Batchewana, Maurainse, Pic, Long Lake, Lake 
Nipigon, Fort William, Pigeon River, Lac d'Original. 


Lacloche, Little Current, Mississaugie, Green Lake, White- 
fish Lake. 


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Sault Ste. Marie, 


Moose Factory, Hannah Bay, Abitibi, New Brunswick. 


Great Whale River, Little Whale River, Fort George. 


Rupert's House, Mistasinny, Temiskamay, Woswonaby, 
Mechiskan, Pike Lake, Nitchequon, Kaniapiscow. 


Teiuiscamingue House, Lraud, Lac Kakabeagino, Lake Nipis- 
ingue, Hunter*s Lodge, Temagamingue. 

In addition to the above, there were twenty-two forts and 
posts in the Montreal department, fourteen in Oregon, and 
fifteen in British Columbia. 

To give an extended description of the company's forts and 
posts would occupy more space than we have at our disposal 
in a work of this kind, but a few particulars relating to them 
may be of interest. Commencing with what may be termed 
the ancient forts, we find that Fort Rouge was built by Veran- 
drye on the south bank of the Assiniboine, probably about the 
year 1735, but was given up soon after its erection. Of this 
fort, a map is to be found in the archives at Paris, containing 
the new discoveries of the west in Canada in the year 1737, 
and on it is marked a fort at the north of the Assiniboine, 
with the note "abandoned" affixed, showing that it could 
only have been occupied about one year. In the Department 
of Marine, Paris, there is a map said to have been made after 
sketches by Verandrye, dated 1740, in which Fort Rouge is 
shown at the mouth and on the south side of the Assiniboine 

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Another map given to the Dep6t of Marine, Paris, by M. de 
la Galissoniere, in 1750, shows a fort on the site of Fort Rouge 
with the mark " Ancien Fort " made in reference to it. 
Thomas Jeffreys, geographer to His Majesty of England in 
1762, states that a fort was built on Riviere Rouge, but after- 
wards deserted, owing to its proximity to Foris Maui-epas and 
de la Reine. A map in the Department of Marine, Paris, 
dated 1750, has a Fort Rouge marked on it at the mouth 
of the Assiniboine. These records establish the fact that such 
a fort was built, but not a vestige of it now remains, the very 
site having disappeared through the crumbling of the banks 
into the river. 

Fort Mauvepas — Stood near the site of the present town of 
Portage la Prairie, according to the map of 1737, in the aix^h- 
ives at Paris, but this name was afterwards given to the fort 
at the mouth of Winnipeg River. According to a map of 1750, 
the name of the fort near Portage la Prairie is given as Fort 
de la Reine. 

Fort PeiYihina — On the west side of the Red River near the 
International boundary, this fort was built in 1797-98 by 
Charles Chaboillez, a North- West trader. 

Fort G^ibraltar — Was erected in 1806 by the North- West 
Company, at a point within gun shot of where old Fort Garry 
afterwards stood. It faced towards Red River, rather than 
the Assiniboine, and the site where it once stood is now nearly 
all washed away into the river. It was surrounded by a 
stockade from twelve to fifteen feet high, made of oak trees 
split in two, and there were eight buildings altogether within 
the enclosure. This fort was the centre of much trouble be- 
tween the Hudson's Bay and North-West Companies, which is 
depicted elsewhere, and in May, 1815, it was pulled down by 

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orders of Governor Semple, in retaliation for the outrages com- 
mitted by the North-West Company. 

Fort Doaglas — Was commenced in 1812 by the Hudson's 
Bay Company as a means of protection for the Scotch settlers 
of the Selkirk Colony. W^hen Fort Gibraltar was pulled 
down, in 1815, much of its material was used in extending and 
strengthening Fort Douglas, which remained the headquarters 
of the governor of Assiniboia for a number of years, until soon 
after the union of the two companies old Fort Garrj' was 
built. When the Hudson's Bay Company re-purchased Lord 
Selkirk's rights, the property known as Fort Douglas was 
sold to Robert Logan, who occupied some of the buildings till 
1854. Not a stick or stone of the old fort remains, and, like 
most of the old establishments on the Red River, the very 
site upon which it was built has almost disappeared by being 
washed away. 

Old Fort Garry — Was built soon after the union of the two 
companies in 1821, and the stores of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany removed to it from Fort Douglas. The fort was named 
after one Nicholas Garry, an influential director of the com- 
pany, who, in 1822, took a prominent part in the affairs of the 
great corporation. 

So much for some of the ancient forts, now let us take ^ 
glance at a few of more recent date. 

Fort Pelly — A compact, well-ordered post on the route from 
Fort Garry to Carlton, sheltered on the north side by a mnge 
of woods, with the Assiniboine river in front. 

Fort Carlton — Situated on the south side of the Saskatche- 
wan, and defended by high palisades, with a gallery armed 
with wall pieces surrounding the whole s(juare. 

Fort La Or 'Ase — A neat and compact post on the lake, with 

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a low, swampy countrj^ around it, but to the north of the fort, 
at Portage la Loche, the hills are a thousand feet hi^h, and 
command a fine view of Clear Water River, and its picturesque 

Fort Chipewyav — On the shore of Athabasca Lake, sur- 
rounded by rocks and swamps, where the climate precludes all 
prospect of rearing farm produce, and the coarse grass cut in 
the swamps is the only provender obtainable for the cattle 

Fort Edmontmi — On the north branch of the Saskatche- 
\Van, of a hexagonal form, well built, with high pickets and 
bastions, and battlemented gateways on an almost perpendicu- 
lar height, commanding the river. The fort was painted inside 
and out, with devices to suit the taste of the savages who fre- 
(juented it. Over the gateway were a fantastic pair of vanes, 
and the ceilings and walls of the hall presented gaudy colors 
and (|ueer sculptures for the admiration of the Indians, the 
buildings, for the same reason, being painted red. 

Fort Churchill — On the shores of Hudson's Bay, situated in 
the midst of an extremely barren, rocky, and dry locality, with- 
out wooil, where a few garden vegetables were, with diflSculty, 

York Factory — Also on Hudson's Bay, has a country around 
it which, although elevated above the river, is one entire 
swamp, covered with low stunted pine, almost impenetrable. 
The land seems to have been thrown up by the sea, and is 
never thawed more than ten or twelve inches during the hot- 
test weather, and is then of the consistence of clammy mud : 
even in the centre of the factory it is necessary to keep on the 
platforms to avoid sinking over the ankles. It was the great 
warehousing dep6t for the company. 

Albany Fort — On James Bay ; the soil is better, and the 
climate more temperate than the two preceding forts. 

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Mof/se— Further south, also on James Bay, the same may be 
48aid of it as of Albany, and at both these forts [K)tatoe8 and 
garden produce are raised, but with difficulty. The winter at 
all these posts on Hudson's Bay and James Bay, is most severe, 
and at other seasons the temperature of the air is subject to 
the most capricious variations. 

Fo7't Garry — The principal station of the Red River settle- 
ment, and the second one of that name built, was situated at 
the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, environed by 
plains, and with a country to the north-west studded with 
copses of poplar and dwarf oak. It was one of the most im- 
portant distributing posts belonging to the company, and one 
of the strongest and best-built forts in the territory. Sur- 
rounded by a stone wall, with bastions, it contained several 
large warehouses and handsome residences. 

Fort ^i^oTUTic^r— Situated on Winnipeg River, about three 
miles above where it empties into the lake of the same name, 
has some good farming land in the vicinity. 

Lower Fort Oarry^ or Stone Fort — Near the mouth of the 
Red River, where it flows into Lake Winnipeg, built with even 
greater strength than Upper Fort Garry, but not so neatly 
arranged. It, too, was a most important post, and was used 
by Sir George Simpson as his headquarters when he visited 
that pai*t of the country. 

Norway House — At the head of Lake Winnipeg, surrounded 
by a barren country, was at one time the place of meeting, 
where the Governor and his council assembled annually, and 
was one of the principal posts of the company. 

Cumberland House — On the Saskatchewan river, at a spot 
where it is touched by Cumberland Lake. The fort is built on 
an island, and was the headquarters of the Cumberland district. 

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Fort Vermillion — The most favorably situated post iu Atha- 
baska district for a^ieultural purposes, wheat, barle\', potatoes, 
and garden vegetables being raised there. 

Dwnvegan — Built at the confluence of the Smoky and Peace 
rivers, the point of direct regular communication between the 
Northern Department and New Caledonia. 

Such were a few of the forts belonging to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, used in carrying on their extensive ti'ade with 
the Indians. Most of their establishments were more or less 
protected by palisades or walls, which were arranged with 
loop-holes, and other means for carrying on a defence should 
they be attacked. The admiration of the Indians for the 
superior skill and ingenuity of the Europeans was one great 
cause of the awe with which the Hudson's Bay Company's 
forts and officera were viewed, and in some measure explains 
the security of a handful of men, scattered in diflerent forts or 
stockaded posts, over a vast territory, inhabited by thousands 
of warlike people. 

The number of Indians in the North- West, at the time we 
refer to, can only be estimated, as it was almost impossible to 
obtain a correct census, owing to their roving habits, but there 
is reason to suppose tliat the population in the several dis- 
tricts between Canada and the Rockies, was between 47,000 
and 50,000 souls. Sir George Simpson gave the following 
estimate of the tribes in the Saskatchewan district : 

Tbstb. Soils. 

Crees 500 3,500 

Assiniboines 580 4,060 

Blackfeet. . . 300 2,100 

Peigans 350 2,450 

Blood Indians 250 1,750 

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Tent9. Souls. 

Surcees 50 350 

Gros Ventres 800 2,100 

Saulteaux 20 140 

2,350 16,450 
It is thought, however, that Sir George Simpson included in 
his figures only those Indians in the vicinity of the company s 
forts, and that his estimate is therefore under the mark. 

The following will give some idea of the tribes inhabiting 
at that time the north- westeni country east of the Rocky 
Mountains, and is a fairly correct account — as accurate at least 
as could then be ascertained. 


The Copper Indians. 

The Loucheaux or Quarrellers. 

The Hare Indians 

The Dog Rib Indians. 

The Strong-Bow Indians. 


The Chipewyans. 

The Crees (a few of this tribe). 


The Beaver Indians. 

The Saulteaux (a few of this tribe). 


The Bla<5kfeet. 
The Blood Indians. 
The Peigans. 
The Gros V^entres. 
The Surcees. 

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All these five tribes were generally termed Blackfeet, although 
they spoke different languages and had different customs and 


The Stone Indians, or Assinil^oines. 

The Crees. 

The Saulteaux or Ojibways. 

These three tribes were constantly at variance with the 
Blackfeet, and the whole eight in the Upper and Lower Sas- 
katchew^an, followed the chase as a means of subsistence. 
The Assiniboines, Crees, and Saulteaux, extended their habita- 
tions to the upper part of the Red River and to Sw^an River. 


Swampy Indians. 

These evidently sprang from the Crees, as their language is 
only a dialect of the Cree. It is also said that there is a mix- 
ture of Saulteaux in their origin. 




The Crees were the largest tribe or nation, divided into tw^o 
branches, those on the Saskatchewan, and the Swampies 
around the borders of Hudson's Bay, from Fort Churchill to 
East Main. The measles and small -pox sw^ept off many from 
1810 to 1820, but they afterwards increased in numbers and 
extended over the country, especially to the south. 

The Saulteaux were a branch of the Chipewyans, and at one 
time were the most powerful tribe in the North West, but 

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they, too, were reduced in numbers by the small-pox, and 
being indolent and proud, were, therefore, almost constant- 
ly in a state of starvation. The Crees were always at enmity 
with them, and when, in 1870, the Saulteaux found their way 
to Red River, it was bitterly resented by the former as an in- 
trusion upon their territory, an instance of which was given, 
when Lord Selkirk, in making his treaty with the Indians, 
committed the mistake of placing the Saulteaux first on the 
list. As will be remembered, the Crees were bitterly indig- 
nant at this, and threatened not only to break the treaty, but 
also to demand back the lands, thus causing the Scotch settlers 
much anxiety, lest their farms should be taken from them by 
the savages. 

- The Surcees were regarded as the boldest of the tribes, and 
horse-stealing was a favorite occupation with them. The 
Crees and Blackfeet were continually at war, and each were at 
enmity with the Assiniboines, small tribes being drawn into 
the contests of the larger, and the whole seldom at peace. 
Ambuscades, surprises by day or night, and treacherous mas- 
sacres of old and young, of women and the sick, constituted 
the moving interests of their lives. The most degrading sup- 
erstitions prevailed ; cunning was employed where force could 
not be used in plunder ; lying was systematic : women were 
treated as beasts, and the wild Indian was, in many respects, 
more savage than the animals around him. 

The Stone or Assiniboine Indians were grossly and habitu- 
ally treacherous, generally at war with the neighboring tribes, 
and never failed to take the scalps of their prisoners as tro- 
phies, and they even abused the rights of hospitality, by way- 
laying and plundering the very guest who had been apparent- 
ly received with kindness, and just departed from their tents. 

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The Swampies were rather diminutive in comparison with 
tlie Indians who inhabited the plains, and were not a warlike 
race. They often suffered from want of food, instances having 
been known of their being compelled by hunger to resort to 
cannibalism, although such instances were rare. 

The Sioux, at one time, laid claim to a part of the British 
North- West, but having made themselves unpopular with the 
otlier tribes of Indians, they were driven by them across the 
boundary line to American soil. It appears that the quarrel 
which resulted in the banishment of the Sioux was brought 
about in the first instance by the killing of a dog, a Sioux hav- 
ing shot a canine belonging to another Indian, and from this 
insignificant commencement a strife arose which ultimately 
brought about a union of the Saulteaux, Crees and Assini- 
boines to drive the Sioux out of the country. 

The plain Indians, such as the Blackfeet, Assiniboines and 
Crees, differed entirely in their mode of life from those who 
frequented the woods. Their habits were more of a roving 
character, the vast prairie being .open to them, covered as it 
was then with immense herds of buffalo. As far as the eye 
could reach, day after day, when they travelled over the plains 
they could see, as it were, one great field of luxuriant pasture, 
and as their horses trod beneath their feet the beautiful 
flowers of the prairie, the air was scented with a delicious per- 
fume. Here and there they would come across clear, running 
brooks, or picturesque lakes, with beautiful groves of trees 
dotting the landscape. Then came the exciting chase, and 
afterwards the grateful feeling that an abundance of meat and 
drink was theirs. What more could those savage children of 
nature wish for ? But sometimes disease and death would 
come among them, and at others, through their own improv- 

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idence, starvation would stalk through their midst. It was 
then that the kindly offices of the Hudson's Bay Company's 
servants would be felt — hungry mouths would be filled as far 
as the resources of the post would allow, medicines and clothes 
would be furnished, and the grateful Indians would feel them- 
selves bound to their white brothers by the greatest of all 
ties, that of gratitude. It was this fatherly care of the In- 
dians that gave the Hudson's Bay Company their great 
influence over the savage tribes of the North- West, and with 
the union of the fur companies the use of intoxicants, although 
not abolished in trading \yith the Indians, was greatly curtail- 
ed, and general drunkenness amongst the tribes became a 
thing of the past. 

During the days of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Indians 
lived a life of thorough freedom ; the tribes of the plains fol- 
lowing the chase, the wood Indians hunting and trapping, and 
when the furs were thus gathered in they were ever able to 
dispose of them at the company's posts or to their servants, 
at fair prices. Indeed it was customary to give Indians credit 
in advance of their hunt, and to their honor be it said that 
they almost invariably paid their debts with the first catch of 
furs made. This created a mutual feeling of confidence which, 
in conjunction with the kind and considerate treatment of the 
natives by the Hudson's Bay officers, caused the company to 
be looked upon by the red-man as a protector. 

But the character of the Indians was not all to be ailmired. 
They were cruel, deceitful, and complete adepts in the art of 
flattery, which they never spared as long as they found that 
it conduced to their interest, but not a moment longer. They 
difiered so much from the rest of mankind that harsh usage 
seemed to agree better with the generality of them than mild 

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treatment. Their aged parents were treated not only with 
entire neglect, but also with contempt, and it was calculated 
that at least one-half of the aged of both sexes were left to 
starve. Every species of labor and drudgery was thix)wn en- 
tirely upon the women, and when an Indian travelled on foot, 
with his family, all the load which had to be carried was con- 
signed to the back of his wife or wives, for he did not always 
content himself w^ith one. As a rule, the Indian proved him- 
self a practiced thief, whenever he had an opportunity, and so 
great was their love of gambling that they would strip them- 
selves of every article they possessed in the unsuccessful pur- 
suit of this passion. Their cruelty, when making war, the 
use of the scalping knife, the torture of their prisoners pro- 
claimed the savagery of their nature. Against all those evil 
traits of character they had, of course, others to be admired, 
as, for instance, their loyalty w^hen trusted, and their lasting 
gratitude for a favor shown or a kindness bestowed. 

To show that the Hudson's Bay Company's policy was to 
treat the Indians with kindness and consideration, we will 
now quote from some of the Standing Rules and Regulations 
of the service : — 

Standing Rules of the Fur Trade established by the Councils of the 
. Northern and Southern Departments of Rupert's Land : — 

That the Indians be treated with kindness and indulgence, and mild and 
conciliatory means, resorted to in order to encourage industry, repress 
vice, and inculcate morality ; that the use of spirituous liquors be gradual- 
ly discontinued in the very few districts in which it is yet indis|>ensable ; 
and that the Indians be liberally supplied with requisite necessaries, par- 
ticularly with articles of annnunition, whether they have the means of paying 
for it or not, and that no gentleman in charge of district or post be at lib- 
erty to alter or vary the standard or usual mode of trade with the Indians, 
except by special perniissitm of council. 

That not more than two gallons of spirituous liquor, and four gallons of 
wine, be sold at the depot to any individual in the company's service, of 
what rank soever he may be. 

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Resolved, Ist. That for the moral and religious improvement of the ser- 
vants, the more effectual civilization, and the instruction of the families 
and Indians attached to the different establishments, the Sabbath be duly 
observed as a day of rest at all the company's posts throughout the coun- 
try, and Divine Service be publicly read with becoming solemnity, at 
which all the servants and families resident be encouraged to attend, to- 
gether with any of the Indians who may be at hand, and whom it may be 
proper to invite. 

2nd, That In course of the week due attention be bestowed to furnish 
the women and children with such regular and useful occupation as is 
suited to their age and capacities, and best calculated to suppress vicious 
and promote virtuous habits. 

3rd. As a preparative to education, that the wt)men and children at the 
several posts in the country be always addressed and habituated to con- 
verse in the language (whether English or Frencli) of the father of the 
family ; and that he be encouraged to devote a portion of his leisure time 
to their instruction, as far as his own knowledge and ability will permit. 

In his testimony before a Select Committee of tlie House of 
Commons, appointed to consider the state of the British pos- 
sessions in North America, Sir George Simpson stated on the 
26th Feb., 1857, that in his opinion the Indians in the Thick- 
wood country had increased in number, while those on the 
plains had decreased, on account of the ravages of small-pox, 
and their constant wars among themselves. The following 
returns, taken from the evidence presented before the same 
committee, will give a fairly correct idea of the native popu- 
lation in 1856 : 


Athabasca District 1,660 

Mackenzie River - - ' 10,430 

English River 1,370 

Saskatchewan 2i<,060 

Cumberland 760 

Swan River 2,200 

Red River 3,000 

Lac La Pluie 2,860 


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Norway House 1,080 

York 1,600 

Albany 1,100 

Kinogumissee 400 

Lake Superior 1,330 

Lake Huron 1,100 

Sault St. Marie 150 

Moose 730 

East Main ... - ... 700 

Rupert's River 985 

Temiscaningue 1,030 

Indian population of the North- West - - - 60,305 


Montreal Department 3,105 

Oregon 5,400 

British Columbia 75,000 

Esquimaux 4,000 87,505 


The above may be classified according to races, as follows : 

Thickwood Indians, east of Rockies . - . . 35,000 

Plain Tribes, Blackfeet, Crees, etc., - - - 25,300 

Oregon and British Columbia Indians - - - 80,400 

Indians in Eastern Canada 3,100 

Esquimaux 4,000 


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When Captain Pelly became Governor of the Selkirk Colony, 
Mr. Donald McKenzie represented the interests of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company at Fort Gibraltar, and under the arrange- 
ment made by Mr. Halket, the settlers were supplied with 
goo<ls from the company's stores at the following rates on 
prime cost; first, thirty-three and one third on the original 
cost in England to cover charges, to which was added fifty- 
eight per cent, profit. This meant practically about one hun- 
dred per cent, added to the first cost of the goods in the old 
country, which was, of course, a very profitable business for the 
company, and at the same time a better arrangement for the 
settlers than had existed when the supplies were obtained at 
Fort Douglas. 

About this time also, the Hudson's Bay Company intro- 
duced a circulating medium in the shape of a paper currency, 
which proved of great serv^ice to the community at large. 
The notes were of three different values, the highest being for 
one pound sterling, the next five shillings, and the lowest, one 
shilling. They were payable in bills of exchange at York 
Factory, which was seven hundred miles away from the colony, 
but the company never refused to give a bill on London at 
Red River for their notes. The currency was accepted and 
used by the settlers with the greatest confidence, and a man 

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who had a |)Ocketful of " Hudson Bay blankets," as the notes 
were nicknamed, considered himself a very lucky individual 
indee<l, and had no fears about the stability of the bank. 

Cattle now began to be driven into the settlement in large 
droves, and offered for sale, some of the herds coming overland 
from as far south as Kentucky, and in this w ay, and from 
other causes, the condition of the settlera began steadily to im- 
prove. There w ere, however, about the same time, a number 
of improvident people"^ added to the population on the banks 
of the Red River, who did not further to any great extent the 
prosperity of the connnunity as a whole. These were the half- 
breed voyageurs and others, who, during the time of the North- 
West Company, found employment in conducting the brigades 
between Fort William and the inland posts. When the union 
of the fur companies took place, York Factory became the 
head-quarters of the fur trade, and Fort William sank into the 
condition of a mere station. The birch canoe was allowed to 
decay, and the hardy men, chiefly half-breeds, who manned it 
in former times, were throw^n out of employment, and, to sup- 
port themselves and their families, became hunters. But this 
mode of life did not suit many of them, and they gradually 
joined the colony on the Red River, and scattered themselves 
along the Assiniboine. Some of the better classes of these 
made gooil settlers and assumed the occupation of freighters 
by means of carts and horses, while the poorer half-breeds 
who came into the settlement from the Indian territories, being 
destitute of horses or the means to buy them, lived a very pre- 
carious mode of life. But as the condition of the country im- 
proved, even these poor people gradually succeeded in bettering 
their circumstances and became trip-men, fishermen, and fol- 
low ed other pursuits congenial to them, although few under- 
took the cultivation of the soil to any extent. 

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The settlers generally, however, were successful in their 
farming operations, and a considerable extent of new land was 
turned over, the possession of cattle assisting very materially 
in this respect. The crops grew luxuriantly, ripened well, and 
were gathered in in good condition, the yield being from 
twenty to thirty bushels to the acre from cultivated land, and 
from six to seven when sown upon the sod. The grasshoppers 
had disappeared, and the only drawback experienced was in 
the autumn of 1825, when the colony became infested with 
mice, which for a time threatened the settlement with a fresh 
calamity, the new enemy being exceedingly numerous and de- 
structive, but happily they came too late in the season to do 
much serious harm. 

The following year, 1826, was one of dire disaster, and the 
calamities of the former seasons seemed to have returaed with 
fourfold force. It commenced during the winter, when a sud- 
den and fearful snow storm swept the land, driving the buttalo 
beyond the hunters* reach, and killing most of their horses. 
The visitation was so unexpected that the people on the plains 
were totally unprepared for it, and being without food, starva- 
tion stared them in the face. The Hudson's Bay Company, 
and private individuals in the settlement, as soon as they 
heard of the disaster, at once sent out provisions to the afflict- 
ed hunters, and in this way saved a number of them from 
death, but others, not so fortunate, were either frozen or died 
from exhaustion, and in this way many lost their lives. It 
was a terrible winter, and in the spring was followed by fresh 
disaster, for hardly had the colonists recovered themselves 
from their exertions in relieving the plain -huntei*s and their 
families, than they themselves were visited by a gre^it calami- 
ty. The winter had been unusually severe, the snow averag- 

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ing over three feet in depth on the prairie, and fi'oni four to 
five feet in the woods, and the ice on the river meAsuring near- 
ly six feet in thickness. The result of this was, that in the 
spring, the flow of water from the melting of the snow became 
alarming, and the ice being so thick, the river on the 4th of 
May, overflow ed its banks and spread so fast, that almost be- 
fore the people were aware of the danger it had reached their 

Then ensued a scene of destruction that stinick teiTor into 
the hearts of the unfortunate settlers. The people had to fly 
from their homes, leaving all that they possessed behind them, 
and the cries of the w^omen and children, the lowing of the 
cattle, and howling of the dogs, only added to the confusion. 
The Hudson's Ba}' Company did all in their power to aid the 
distressed colonists, and by means of boats the families were 
conveyed to places of ^^afety, the cattle w^ere driven to the hills, 
and an attempt was being made to save the grain and furni- 
ture from the houses and bams, when the ice gave way and 
swept everything before it. Hardly a house or building of 
any kind was left sttmding in the settlement, some of them be- 
ing carried awa}^ whole and entire to be engulfed in Lake 
Winnipeg. The flooil continued in full force until the 21st, the 
water rising fully fifteen feet above the ordinary level of pre- 
vious yeai-s, but on the 22nd, it began to recede, until, on the 
15th June, the settlei*s were able to approach the sites of their 
former dwellings. Fortunately only one life was lost, but the 
people were almost ruined, and the coKmy which had com- 
menced to show signs of substantial prosperity, once more 
sank into a state of desolation and <listress. 

It is said that in 177G, the flood on the Red River was even 
higher than the one just described, and others in 1790, and in 

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1809, were unusually high, but the overflow of 1826, resulted 
in more hardship than any of its predecessors. One good re- 
sult, however, was that the de Meurons and other objectionable 
settlers to the number of 243 individuals decided to try their 
fortune elsewhere, and took their departure for the United 
States, to be seen no more at Red River. Their departure was 
not regreted, and was even hastened by the company furnish- 
ing them with supplies to use in their journey. 

The Scotch settlers, undaunted by their many reverses, now 
went to work to rebuild their homes, and in the year 1827, the 
colony may be said to have entered upon a new era of its exis- 
tence, until, in 1830, the dross having been purged from the 
community, the settlement was completely re-established on a 
better footing than ever, and its prospects became more promis- 
ing. It is said that every cloud has its silver lining, and thus 
it was with the settlers on Red River. The summer after the 
floo<l was a very hot one, and the little seed sown in June and 
July of 1826 all came to maturity with surprising rapidity. 
The hunters were successful in both trips, and brought in a 
plentiful supply of pemmican and dried meat, and the fishermen 
on the river and lake added considerably to the store of pro- 
visions, so that the settlers had the satisfaction of knowing 
that there was enough food to bid defiance to want until the 
following spring. 

Previous to the year 1825, the grain raised in the colony 
had to be ground on querns, or hand-mills. Although Lord 
Selkirk had sent out a windmill in the early period of the 
settlement, no one had been found capable of putting it into 
working order, until the executors of his Lordship's estate 
sent out a millwright to set it up, and, after ten years of idle- 
neas, it commenced working in 1825. Soon after this, it was 

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bought by Mr. Logan for about j^300, although it cost £1500, 
and that gentleman succeeded in running it with profit to 
himself and benefit to the conununity, and from this beginning 
windmills soon sprang up in every direction, until, in a few 
years, there were a dozen or more in the settlement. A water 
mill was also attempted about this time by Mr. Cuthl)ert 
Grant, who had settled down to be a steady-going man of 
business, but his enterprise was not rewarded with the success 
it deserved. He constructed a dam across a creek at White 
Horse Plains : built his mill only to find that it did not work 
satisfactorily, and the dam giving way soon afterwards, the 
whole investment proved to be a total loss of about £800 to 
Mr. Grant. 

In 1831, the Hudson's Bay Company built Lower Fort 
Garry, with the intention of making it 'the seat of Govern- 
ment, but this was afterwards relinquished in favor of the 
Upper Fort. The latter was at tliat time a lively and attrac- 
tive station, full of business and activity, as all the affairs of 
the colony were transacted there. Lower Fort Garry was 
more picturescjue, and its sun-oundings full of rui-al beauty, 
which made it delightful as a residence, and, probably on this 
account. Sir George Simpson always selected it as his <juartera 
when visiting the settlement. The Hudson's Bay Company 
were now lords of all they surveyed. On them the set- 
tlers had to depend for all they reijuired — they constituted 
the chief market for the fann produce raised in the colony, 
and their word was law in all matters affecting the manage- 
ment of the colony. To do them justice, the officers of the 
company did all in their power to advance the interests of the 
settlement, often at great loss, but in one respect their acts 
were arbitrary, and in some cases exceedingly harsh. This 

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was in preventing any one dealing in or possessing furs with- 
out their consent. The rule was that all furs had to be sold to 
the company, no one else being allowed to trade in them, and 
in several instances very high-handed proceedings were direct- 
ed against offenders. Men were imprisored and their habita- 
tions destroyed by the constables employed by the Hudson's 
Bay Company, who, without proper warrant, were wont to 
undertake house-searching expeditions through the settle- 
ment, to discover, if possible, traces of the traffic. On some 
occasions these men went anned with muskets and bayonets, 
to the terror of the inmates of houses visited by them, and 
whenever any furs were found, they were at once confiscated. 
Looking at events subsequent to this period, we are of opinion 
that the officers of the company adopted a short-sighted policy 
in thus attempting to suppress fur trading in so summary a 
manner. Had they pursued a more moderate course, they 
pro>)ably would have gained their object without exciting the 
determined opposition of the people, which afterwards gave 
them a great deal of trouble and ultimately resulted in the de- 
feat of the company. 

From the coalition of the two companies until 1833, the 
Hudson's Bay Company was the only source from which set- 
tlei-s were able to purchase their supplies, and the only market 
open to them for the disposal of their prcxluce. So that the 
company's officers were able, when they so desired, to ride over 
the people with a high hand, and in some cases did so, al- 
though on the whole they commanded the respect and confi- 
dence of the settlers. 

Sir George Simpson, in many ways, endeavored to promote 
the interests of the settlement, hoping thereby to benefit his 
company. Instead of importing farm produce, he purcliased 

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a« much as possible from the people on the Red River, until 
complaints, as to the (juality of the supplies funiished to the 
posts, compelled him once more to look to outside markets. 
This arase partly through the careleseness of the settlers them- 
selves, and partly from the lack of any proper means to carry 
on their farming and dairying operations, the wheat being 
badly harvested, the flour badly ground, the butter carelessly 
packed, and in this w ay the produce of the Red River Settle- 
ment came to be looked upon with disfavor, and the market 
for the sale of it injured. 

Sir George then tried an experimental farm, to show the set- 
tlers how to till the soil, but this failed, involving a serious 
loss upon the company. Then he established what he called 
the Assiniboine Wool Company, for the purpose of stimulating 
sheep farming, but, like the previous experiment, it also proved 
a failure. The next venture was called the Tallow Company, 
one of the Governor-in-Chief's pet schemes, w'hich, if it and 
the others had been properly managed, would have result- 
ed in much good to the settlers. But the men in charge of 
the cattle left them to shift for themselves, and those sent to 
bnng in the sheep undei-took to drive them overland all the 
w^ay from Kentucky, and out of a herd of about 1,500 head, 
they arrived at Red River with 251, having lost over twelve 
hundred sheep on the way, the collapse of the Wool Com- 
pany, of course, being the result, the loss, as in the other cases, 
falling chiefly upon the company. 

It was, however, a period of experiment, and certainly it 
may be said that nothing w^as left undone to bring the settle- 
ment into prominence by making it prosperous. Premiums 
were offered for the best flax grow'n, and seed w^as given out 
for the purjwse. The premiums were earned, and the flax 

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allowed to rot : the same tiling happened with an attempt to 
foster the cultivation and use of hemp, so that one experiment 
after another was undertaken only to be abandoned through 
the incompetency, carelessness, or cupidity of those engaged 
to carry them out. 

Finally, we must not forget to mention that, while all these 
experiments were taking place, the Hudson's Bay Company 
commenced to build a road east of the Red River, with the view 
of opening a winter communication between the settlement and 
York Factory, but, with the collapse of the other schemes, this, 
too, was abandoned. 

^Governor Pelly had resigned office, an<l been succeeded by 
Mr. Donald McKenzie, who proved himself, during all the 
many trials that overtook the colony while he was governor, a 
humane and {x)pular administrator of affairs. His term of 
office lasted from June, 1825, to June, 1883 — eight yeai-s, when 
he was succeeded by Mr. Alexander Christie. 

About this time the sentiment of the people toward the 
Hudson's Bay Company was undergoing a change, and a spirit 
of rebellion against the authority of the officers began to show 
itself. To lead up to the causes of this state of feeling, we 
nmst go back to the time when the settlers were supplied with 
gooils on credit, during Lord Selkirk's time. After the union, in 
1821, when the Hudson's Bay Company officers undertook the 
charge of affairs, the credit system was alxjlished, and that of 
ready-money introduced. This led to a curtailment of the 
supply of goods, and a conse(|uent rise in the prices, which 
acted against the poorer class of settlei*s and in favor of 
the wealthier people. The result was that private individ- 
uals imdertook the importation of supplies, and Governor 
Christie afforded every facility to this new class of traders, 

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until they began to take a<l vantage of the position which the 
credit system gave them to oppress the people. Then the 
Hudson's Bay Company stepped in, and by keeping a better 
and larger stock of goixls, which they sold at cheaper rates 
than the free tradens, captured the trade. This naturally in- 
censed the small dealers, who raised a hue and cry against the 
company, accusing them of wishing to monopolize all the 
tra<le in gcxxls, tis they did in furs. The next difficulty arose 
with the half-breed plain hunters, who had become verj^ 
numerous, and, as a result, the (quantity of pemmican and 
dried meat brought in from the plains exceeded the demand. 
The company, therefore, declined for a time to buy all that 
was 6ffered to them, and this, in turn, created a spirit of dis- 
satisfaction among the half-breeds, who endeavored to bully 
the company, and from demands l)egan to use threats, but up 
to 1884 they did not resoi-t to violence, as they genei-ally man- 
aged to have their way, from a desire on the part of the 
company's officers not to risk an outbreak. 

In 1834, however, the inflammable materials took fire, 
blazed out, and the fii'st hostile demonstration against the 
Hudson's Bay Company occurred. It appears that a half- 
breed named Laroecjue, having used insolent language in ad- 
dressing a Mr. Simpson,* one of the company's officers, the 
latter took up a poker, and struck his insulter over the 
head, inflicting a serious wound. The injured man, covered 

* This was the same Mr. Simpson, who, in company with Mr. Dease, was sent in 1886 on &n 
exploring expedition to the north, which occupied their time till 1889. For the valuable in- 
formation given by these two ex)>lorer8 regarding the country they traversed, the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society awarded them their gold medal, but unfortunately Mr. Simpeon did not live 
to enjoy the honors he hod earned. On his return from the north in 18S9, and while travelling 
overland from Fort (Jarry via the United States, bound for England, he committed suicide in a 
moment of insanity. With him at the time were several French halt-breeds, two of whom Mr. 
Simpson shot before he killed himself, and, owing to the difficulty he had with the French, in 
1884, above narrated, it was said that they had taken revenge by shooting him. It waA proved 
conclusively, however, on investigation, that he had commited suicide. 

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with blood, rushed among his friends, and they, in a short 
time, stirred the whole half-breed community to make com- 
mon cause against the company, in demanding redress for the 
injury done one of their number. Fort Garry was surrounded 
by an excited multitude, who decided that Mr. Simpson must 
be delivered up to them, to be dealt with according to their 
undei'standing of the law of retaliation, and for a time the af- 
fair ha<l a serious aspect, and an outbreak was only averted 
by a deputation being sent to settle the dispute. This was 
accomplished by means of presents and a payment of money 
to Laroc<iue, and thus the see<l was sown for future rebellion 
on the part of tho French. In the following spring, another 
demonsti*ation took place before the gates of Fort Garry, and 
this time a demand was made that the company should pay 
higher prices for the pemmican and meat purchased from the 
hunters, and that buffalo robes and tallow should be allowed 
export from the country, so that other markets than that of 
Fort Garry might be opened to them. They also protested 
against any import duty being levied on goods brought in 
by them from the United States. These demands, however, 
were not acceded to, and for a time the half-breeds accepted 
the situation, and ceased further demonstrations, but the feel- 
ing of discontent remained, and the authority of the company 
was on the wane, the spirit of opposition being fanned by de- 
signing demagogues, who even thus early in the day had be- 
gun to dupe the simple and excitable half-breeds for their 
own selfish purpose. 

In the meantime, the executors of Lord Selkirk's estate, 
anxious to get rid of the responsibility incurred through the 
ownership of the Red River colony, arranged to transfer it to 
its original holders, the Hudson's Bay Company. It has been 

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8aid that the settlement cost Lord Selkirk in the neighborhood 
of £200,000, but the sum his executors received for the pro- 
perty, in 1836, was £84,111, which shows, if the figures are 
correct, that the speculation was a costly one to his lordship. 
For some time after the transfer the matter was kept secret 
from the general body of settlers, a policy of deceit, the wis- 
dom of which it is difficult at this time to understand. 

Up to now, the inhabitants at Red River may be said to 
have lived without laws and without protection, depending 
solely on their own good feelings and faith toward each other. 
For several years, a few councillors to assist the governor, 
aided by a small body of constables, nominally appointed, had 
been the only machinery of government existing in the settle- 
ment. It was a system of persuasion, rather than one of force 
or authority, and, looking at the hostile demonstrations which 
had been made against the company by a section of the com- 
munity, the governor and council in London thought it time 
for the adoption of some system by which law and order 
could better be maintained. 

The first step taken, therefore, by the company, after its 
acquisition of the settlement, was to organize something like 
local regulations, courts of justice, and a code of laws for the 
colony. This they were empowered to do under their charter, 
and accordingly new councillors, selected from, among the in- 
fluential inhabitants of the colony, were nominated and com- 
missioned by the committee in London, and these, with the 
Govemor-in-Chief at their head, were to constitute a legisla- 
tive council, with power to make laws in criminal as well as 
civil matters. 

On the 12th February, 1835, this council was convened for 
the first time, the members composing it being as follows : 

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Sir George Simpson, Governor of Rupert s 

Land. . . . . . . . . President. 

Alexander Christie, Governor of Assiniboine. Councillor. 
The Right Reverend the Bishop of Juliopo- 

lis — the North-West . . . . do. 

The Reverend D. T. Jones, Chaplain to the 

Hon. Hudson's Bay Company . . do. 
The Reverend William Cochran, Assistant 

Chaplain . . . . . . do. 

James Bird, Esq., formerly Chief Factor 

Hudson's Bay Company.. . . do, 

James Sutherland, Esq. . . . . . . do. 

W. H. Cook, Esq do. 

John Pritchard, Es(| . . . . . . do. 

Robert Logan, Esq. . . Jo. 

Alexander Ross, Sheriff' of Assiniboine . . do. 

John McCullum, Coroner . . . . . , do. 

John Bums, Esq., Medical Adviser. . . . iio. 

Andrew McDermot, Esi\., Merchant. . . . do. 

Cuthbert Grant, Warden of the Plains . . do. 
The President (Sir George Simpson) delivered the following 
address at the first meeting of the council : 

**" Gbntlembn, — In order to guard as much as possible against misappre- 
hension within doors, or misrepresentation out of doors, on the subjects 
which I am now about to bring under your consideration, I shall thus^ 
briefly notice them. From their importance they cannot fail of calling 
forth due attention, and from the deep and lirely interest you all feel in 
the welfare and prosperity of the colony, I am satisfied you will afford me 
the benefit of your assistance and support towards carrying into effect 
such measures as may appear to you best calculated, under existing cir- 
cumstances, to answer every desirable object. 

'* The population of this colony is become so great, amounting to about 
5,000 souls, that the personal influence of the Governor, and the little 
more than nominal support afforded by the police, which, together with 

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the good feeling of the people, have heretofore been its principal safe- 
guard, are no longer sufiicient to maintain the tranquillity and good gov- 
ernment of the settlement ; so that although rights of property have of 
late been frecjuently invaded, and other serious offences been com- 
mitted, I am concerned to say, we are under the necessity of allowing 
them U) pass unnoticed, because we have not the means nt command of 
enforcing obedience and due respect, according to the existiug order of 

** Under such circumstances, it must be evi 'ent to one and all of you, 
that it is (juite impossible society can hold together ; that the time has at 
length arrived when it becomes necessary to put the administration of 
justice on a more firm and regular footing than heretofore, and that im- 
mediate steps ought to be taken to guard against dangers from abroad, or 
difiiculties at home, for the maintenance of good order and tranquillity, 
and for the security and protection of lives and property." 

The council then framed a number of enactments, which 
were passed into law, and most of them gave general satis- 

Here are several of them : 

Ist — That an efficient and disposable force be embodied, to be styled a 
volunteer corps, to consist of sixty officers and privates, to be at all times 
ready to act when called ujK)n ; and to be paid as follows : Commanding 
officer, £'20 per annum ; sergeants, £10 ; and privates, £6, besides extra 
pay for serving writs. When not so employed, their time to be their own. 

2nd— That the settlement be divided into four districts ; the first to ex- 
tend from the Image Plain downwards ; the second from the Image 
Plain to the Forks ; the third from the Forks upwards, on the main 
river ; and the fourth, the White Horse Plains, or Assiniboine River ; 
and that for each of the said districts, a magistrate be appointed. That 
James Bird, Esq., be Justice of the Peace for the first district ; James 
Sutherland. Esq., for the second ; Robert Logan, Esq., for the third, aiid 
Cuthbert (Jrant, Esq. , for the fourth. These magistrates to hold quar- 
terly courts of summary jurisdiction on four successive Mondays ; to be 
appointed according to the existing order of precedence in the four sec- 
tions ; beginning with the third Monday of January, of April, of July, 
and of October. 

3rd — That the said courts have power to pronounce final judgment in 
all civil cases, where the debt or damage claimed may not exceed five 
pounds ; and in all trespasses and misdemeanors, which, by the rules and 
regulations of the District of Assiniboine, not being repugnant to the 

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laws of England, may be punished by a fine not exceeding the aforesaid 
sum of five pounds. 

4th — That the siid courts be empowered to refer any case of doubt or 
difficulty to the supreme tribunal of the colony, the Court of Governor 
and Council of Assiniboine, at its next ensuing quarterly session, by 
giVinfif a viva voce intimation of the reference in open court, and a written 
intimation of the same under the hands of a majority of the three sitting 
magistrates, at least one whole week before the commencement of the said 
quarterly session, and this, without being compelled to state any reason 
for so doing. 

5th — That the Ci»urt of Governor and Council, in its judicial capacity, 
sit on the third Thurs lay of February, of May, of August, and Novem- 
ber ; and at such other times as the Govemor-in-Chief of Rupert's Land, 
or, in his absence, the Governor of Assini'^oine, may deem fit. 

6th — That in all contested civil cisei, which may involve claims of more 
than teu pounds, and in »ll criminal cases, the verdict of a jury shall 
determine the fact or facts in dispute. 

7th —That a public building, intended to answer the double purpose of 
a court-house and gaol, be erected as early as possible at the forks of the 
Red and Assiniboine Rivers. That in order to raise funds for defraying 
such expenses as it may be found necessary to incur, towards the main- 
tenance of order, and the erecting of public works, an import duty shall 
be levied on all goods and merchandise of f>reign manufacture, imported 
into Red River, either for sale or private use, at 7^ per cent, on the 
amount of invoice ; and further, that an export duty of 7^ per cent, be 
levied on all goods and stores, or supplies, the growth, produce, or manu- 
facture of Red River. 

Sir George Simpson then announced that the Hudson's Bay 
Company would make a gi^ant of £300 in aid of public works 
-in Red River, and the council, having passed a vote of thanks 
for this liberal donation, adjourned. 

There were some who thought that the personnel of the 
council was not all that could be desired, inasmuch as it 
savored too much of a representation favorable to Hudson's 
Bay Company's interests. The duties proposed to be levied 
were also considered too high, and aimed against the petty 
traders, but, on the whole, the introduction of laws and regula- 
tions, imperfect though they were deemed in some quarters, 
was received generally with favor. 

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We will now take up the record of explorations in the 
Xorth-West from the time when the Dobbs-galley expedition 
returned in 1747. In 1773, an expedition under command of 
Captain John Phillips and Captain Lutwidge left England in 
Jime, to discover a navigable channel between the eastern and 
western coasts of America, but the vessels having reached 
latitude 80' 37', were encompassed by ice, and, after escaping 
with difficulty from destruction, returned home. 

The next expedition in order of date was that of Sir Alex- 
ander Mackenzie, who was the first white man from Canada 
to reach the Arctic Ocean, the first European to pass through 
the Rocky Mountains, and the first overland traveller north of 
the Gulf of Mexico, to arrive at the shores of the Pacific. 

He was bom at Inverness, Scotland, in 1760, and was about 
twenty yeai^s of age when he arrived for the first time in Can- 
ada. In 1785, he was admitted a partner into the fur trade 
operations of the west, having been then in the office of 
McGregory for five years. When the North- West Company 
was organized in 1787, Sir Alexander Mackenzie became con- 
nected with it, and in 1789 we find him stationed at Fort 
Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca. On June 3rd of that year he 
set out on his memorable journey to the north, during which 
he discovered the river which bears his name, and explored it 

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to its mouth within the Arctic circle, returning to Fort Chipe- 
wyan on Sept. 12th, 1789. He then paid a visit to England in 
order to educate himself in the science of astronomy and navi- 
gation, and also to procure books and instruments for future use. 
On his return to Fort Chipewyan in 1792, he left there on the 
10th October, on a journey of further discovery, and, ascend- 
ing the Peace River until his progress w^as impeded by ice, he 
and his party remained there for the winter. 

In May, 1793, when the river opened, the voyage was 
resumed, and he ascended Peace River to the Forks. Fol- 
lowing one of the branches to near its source, the explorer 
cut a passage across country, through the woods to the great 
river ** Tacoutche" (now know n as the Fraser), on which 
he embarked with his followers. But on learning that the 
passage down the river was full of perils, his men mutinied, 
upon which Mackenzie resolved to reach the sea by another 
route, and in order to do this was obliged to turn back. It 
was fortunate that he did so, because the route described by 
the Indians, and which he followed, led to the sea in sixteen 
days after leaving the main river. The party had many 
adventures with different Indian tribes, were placed on short 
allowance, and underwent hardships, but at last Mackenzie at- 
tained his long-cherished object, and on July 22nd, 1793, reach- 
ed the Pacific overland from Canada. The explorer returned 
the way he came, and amved at Fort Chipewyan after an 
absence of eleven months. Sir Alexander Mackenzie had the 
unqualified satisfaction of feeling that his work of exploration 
and discovery, with all iis toils and solicitudes, had been crown- 
ed with complete success, and it was his pride to think that he 
had added new regions to the realm of British commerce. 
Mackenzie died in 1820, the same year that Lord Selkirk, his 
great opponent, breathed his last. 

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In the year 1792, Mr. Simon Fraser entered the service of 
the North- West Company, and ten yeai-s later became a part- 
ner. In 1805, when, at a conference held at Fort William, it 
was decided to extend the operations of the company beyond 
the Rocky Mountains, Mr. Fraser was sent, charged with the 
duty of carrying out the project. Tlie desire was to anticipate 
the Uniteil States explorers and traders who might establish a 
claim to the ownership of the country by right of discovery 
and occupation, and Mr. Fraser carried out the programme 
thoroughly. Leaving Foi-t W^illiam soon after the conference, 
he made his way to Lake Athabasca, and ascended the Peace 
River, where he established a post named the Rocky Mountain 
Portage. He then continued his journey to McLeod Lake, 
which he discovered, and in 1806, he portaged to Fraser River 
(named after him), and which at that time was regarded as the 
main stream of the Columbia, or one of its principal affluents. 
Leaving the Fraser, he then followed a tributary, which was 
called Stuart River, after Mr. John Stuart, who also about this 
time discovered and named Stuart Lake, where a trading post 
was established. 

Mr. Fraser gave the name of New Caledonia to the terri- 
tory, and in 1807 established another post named Fort George, 
on the main stream of the Columbia. In the Spring of 1808, 
accompanied by Mr. John Stuart .and others, and a crew of 
men in four canoes, he left Fort George to explore the un- 
known waters which were regarded as the main affluent of 
the Columbia, and for several days the expedition made good 
-progress. But at the point where, fifteen years earlier, Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie turned back to follow the trail west- 
ward to the sea, Mr. Fraser decided to continue on, and, as the 
Indians predicted to him, he encountered appalling difficulties 

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ilurin^ his journey. Rapids and frightful cascades, whirlpools 
hemmed in by huge rocks, and numerous portages, made the 
trip a most difficult and dangerous one, but Messrs. Fraser and 
Stuart were not the men to be daunted by such obstacles, and 
when they could no longer travel by water, they abandoned 
their canoes and started to travel by foot. On the 19th June, 
1808, they discovered a river flowing from the east, which 
they named the Thompson, after Mr. David Thompson, the 
friend and colleague of Mr. Fraser in the work of discovery, 
and after a couple of weeks of extreme hardship and danger, 
they reached the tide water of the Pacific on the Ist July. 
The undertaking which followed up and completed the work 
of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, fifteen yeai's earlier, was bravely 
and successfully accomplished, and to Simon Fraser, John 
Stuail and Jules Maurice Quesnel, it is due that the country 
north of the 49th parallel, is at this date British territory. 

Mr. David Thompson, already referred to, was a Welshman, 
born in 1770, and educated in London. In 1789 he entered 
the Hudson's Bay Company's service, and was engaged for 
nine years in making surveys of the rivers Nelson, Chur- 
chill, Saskatchewan and other streams, until, in 1797 he joined 
the North- West Company. In 1800, he entered the Rocky 
Mountains and descended one of the northern branches of the 
Columbia, which he named the McGillivray, but the Indians 
forced him at that time to return and recross the mountains. 
Seven yeara afterwards, he made another attempt, and this 
time was successful in making important discoveries. He 
built Fort Kootenay on the Columbia lakes, and travelled 
along the various rivers and lakes in that district, and for 
several successive yeai's crossed the mountains many times 
by different routes. It was he who, in July, 1811, visited As- 

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toria, when the Pacific Fur Company was occupying it, and he 
was the first civilized man to traverse the main stream of the 
Columbia, at least that portion of it above Fort Colville, to its 
source. Mr. Thompson lived to be eighty-seven years of age, 
and died on Feby. 16th, 1857, in poverty, at Longueil, on the 
St. Lawrence, opposite Montreal, In the Crown Lands Depart- 
ment of Ontario, is a map prepared by him in 1813-1814, for 
the North-West Company, which embraces the region between 
latitudes 45 and 56' and longitudes 84° and 124 , as they 
were from 1792 to 1812. 

Turning once more to the expeditions sent out by sea, we 
find that about 1816 the British Goverament despatched some 
vessels to the North Sea in quest of a passage, but they re- 
turned without accomplishing anything. A reward of £20,- 
000 was then oflfered to any one, or any hody of men, who 
would satisfactorily establish the existence of a north-west 
passage, and it having become a national object, two expedi- 
tions w^ere sent out in 1818, one under captain David Buehan 
and Lieutenant John Franklin, the other under the command 
of Captain John Ross and Lieutenant Edward Parry. 

These efforts, although unav^ailing, did not establish the 
non-existence of a passage, and the question excited more in- 
terest and increased the determination to solve it. New 
expeditions were therefore decided on, and in 1819 Capt. 
Parry sailed in command of two ships, and wintered in the 
North Sea, but returned in 1820, and in 1821 again command- 
ed an expedition, which, after passing two winters among the 
Eskimo, returned in 1828. 

In 1819, Lieutenant Franklin was sent by land to the nor- 
thern coast in order to survey to the west of Co] permine 
River. Hitherto the coast had only been visited at two points. 

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by Hearne in 1771, at the mouth of the Coppermine, and by 
Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1 789, at the mouth of the river 
which bears his name. Franklin was accompanied by Dr. 
Richardson, Messrs. George Back and Hood. On the return 
journey the expedition suffered much from cold and starva- 
tion, and Hood and many of the men perished. 

In 1824, a combined attempt by four expeditions was or- 
ganized under Perry and Lyon from the east ; under Beechey 
from the west, entering by Behring Sea ; and under Franklin 
by Mackenzie River. These several expeditious returned in 
1826, bearing much valuable information, and in 1827, Capt. 
Parry imdertook the last of the series of unsuccessful attempts 
made under his command. 

In the meantime the union of the fur companies had taken 
place in 1821, and immediately following this event, Mr. John 
McLeod was the first officer to cross the Rocky Mountains 
from the east. He entered the service of the Hudson's Bay 
Compani^ in 1811, and for ten years was a zealous participant 
in the contest with the North-West Company. It was he who 
accompanied and assisted Lord Selkirk's first brigade of colon- 
ists from York Factory to Red River, and on that occasion es- 
tablished several trjiding posts to intercept the trade of their 
rivals. After the union of the companies, Mr. McLeod's work 
was confined chiefly to west of the Rockies, where he did good 
service in exploration and the establishment of the fur com- 

In 1822, Sir George Simpson, after he became Govemor-in- 
Chief of the Hudson's Bay Company, made a journey across 
the continent from tide water of the Atlantic to the Pacific. 
Leaving York Factory, he ascended Hayes River along the 
boat route to Lake Winnipeg, thence up the Saskatchewan to 

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CumrierlaiKl House. From this point he went noi-thwaixl 
through the chain of lakes and streams to Cliurchill River, 
which he followed to the height of land Methye Portage. By 
Clearwater River he entered the Athabasca to the lake of that 
name, and Peace River, which he ascended, and crossing the 
Rockies arrived at Stuart Lake. From here he passed to 
Stuart River and the Fraser, which he descended to Fort Alex- 
andria, where horses were obtained, and the journey to Kam- 
loops made overland, a distance of 215 miles. At Kamloops, 
water navigation was resumed, and, passing thi-ough Lake 
Kamlooi>s, the Lower Thompson was entered, and descended 
to its junction with the Fraser, from which point the party 
reached tide water by the same route as that followed by 
Simon Fraser twenty yeai-s earlier. 

Sir George Simpson was fond of display while travelling, 
and carried with him a piper who also acted as his servant. 
He was careful to enter a fort with his men diessed in their 
best, and on his appearance it was customary to tire a" gun, the 
piper would then play and the whole party march in in state, 
the pipes in front. The whole journey which we have just 
noted, from York Factory to the Pacific, took ninety days, of 
which sixteen were passed at the trading posts, and this record 
might aj^pear to be an exaggeration if the facts were not sus- 
tained by indisputable evidence. Sir (leorgc Simpson was 
noted for his rapidity of movement. 

In 1829, Sir Felix Booth, a man of wealth, undertook to de- 
fray the cost of a private expedition, and placed it under com- 
mand of Sir John Ross and his nephew James. This expedi- 
tion passed four years in the frozen region, vbeing winter- 
bound, and were unable to return until 1888. 

The anxiety felt for the safety of Sir John Ross and his 

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party caused the authorities to send out an expedition under 
Sir George Back and Dr. Richard Kin^ to search for them. 
The latter set out in 1833 and travelled by Great Slave Lake 
and Great Fish River, returning in 1884. 

In 1836, Sir George Back was placed hi connnand of a naval 
expedition to prosecute north-western discoveries, and being 
obliged to winter in the pack-ice, returned to England in 

In 1837, Simpson and Dease were sent out at the instance 
of the Hudson s Bay Company, and reached the mouth of the 
Mackenzie River. The object of this examination was to con- 
nect by actual survey the several points on the noi-them coast 
which had been visited by previous explorera, and this work 
engaged the attention of the expedition until 1839. 

In 1845, a fresh atteujpt to discover the North-West pas- 
sago was undertaken by Sir John Franklin and Captain 
Richard Crozier, in charge of a naval expedition with 135 
officers and men. The unfortunate end of the expedition is 
well known. The ships Erebus and terror sailed on May 19, 
1845, and were last seen by a whaler on the following July 
2(ith, in Baffin's Bay. After years of anxiety and uncertainty, 
and many eftbi'ts to obtain tidings of the missing ships, all that 
could be learned regarding them was comprised in the few 
relics found by search parties, pix>ving that they hail all per- 

In 1846, Dr. John Rae was entrusted with the work of 
completing the examination of the coast. He wintered 
within the Arctic circle, and remained there until the summer 
of 1847. 

Franklin had now been away three years when the British 
Government decided to send in search of the missing ships, 

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and in 1848, three expeditions were sent out with that ob- 
ject in view. The first, consisting of two ships, commanded by 
Captains Moore and Kellett, went by way of Behring Sea; 
the second, under Sir John Richardson and Dr. John Rae, 
wa« sent overland by way of the Mackenzie and Coppermine 
rivers, and the third, un<ler Captain Sir James Ross, and Cap- 
tain E. J. Bird, with two ships well supplied with stores of 
every kind, proceeded by Davis Strait and Lancaster Sound 
westward. These relief expeditions left nothing undone to 
attain the object thej^had in view, but up to 1850 no traces of 
the lost ships were found. 

In 1850, expeditions proceeded by Behring Strait, under 
Captains Collinson and McClure : another, by Barrow Strait, 
under Captain Austin : a third, by the same route, was sent 
out by Lady Franklin, in command of Captain Penny. The 
ships which entered by Behring Strait remained in the ice for 
more than one winter, and the jE/^^erp rise, under Captain Col- 
linson, returned to England in 1854, by the Pacific, but the 
InvestifjatoTy under Captain McClure, never returned. In the 
second year she became hopelessly embedded in the ice, never 
to move again. In the third year she was abandoned, and 
Captain McClure, his oflicei-s and crew, being discovered by 
Captain Pim, in command of a sledge party, decided to abandon 
the ship, and then marched over the ice to the Resolute, of Sir 
Edward Belcher's expedition, which they reached after a jour- 
ney of two weeks. The Resolute, however, was caught in the 
pack-ice, and remained in that state during the winter of 
1858-54, when she was abandoned on May 14th, 1854, and Mc- 
Clure and his men reached England in the autumn of that 
year by means of another vessel. The Resolute, after drifting 
in the pack for nearly a thousand miles, was afterwards re- 

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Lacly Franklin sent out a ship under Captain Kennedy, with 
Lieutenant Bellot, of the French navy, as second in command* 
and this expedition wintered in the ice, and by means of long 
sledging journeys, added much to geographical knowledge, 
but did not accomplish the main object of the expedition; 
they returned in 1852. 

In 1852, another expedition was sent out by the British 
Government, consisting of a number of vessels in command of 
Sir Edward Belcher, Captains Osborne, Richards, Kellett, and 
McClintock, and among the officers were, Terry, Hamilton, 
Mecham, Nares, Pim, and other well-known names connected 
with the naval service. But this expedition, like the others, 
was unproductive of results, so far as the search for Sir John 
Franklin and pai*ty was concerned. 

In 1853, Dr. John Rae again undertook a land expedition, 
and completed the coast examination of previous years, thus 
connecting the discoveries of former travellers. Dr. Rae was 
the first to bring back the tidings of Franklin, the news of 
the fate of the expedition reaching London, October 22nd, 
1854. Dr. Rae also brought home with him relics of the 
hei"oic commander, which are now depasited in Greenwich 
Hospital, and other relics were subsequently recovered by the 
McClintock and Hall expedition. 

In the prosecution of these searches, unwearied exertions 
were made by Lady Franklin, who exhausted her own private 
means in sending out auxiliary ships, while her appeals for 
aid aroused the sympathy of the combined world. 

From the time of Cabot's voyages in 1497, under the aus- 
pices of Henry VII., up to the day when Franklin wtxs for 
ever despaired of, there have been almost ceaseless efforts to 
discover a North- West passage. The only instance of partial 

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success in the numberless attempts made is that of McClure, 
who actually travei-sed the route from the Pacific to the At- 
lantic, but in doin^ so, he clearly demonstrated the fact that 
the obstiicles to navigation around the northern extremity of 
the continent are insuperable, and that the climatic conditions 
of the Arctic Ocean render the passage of no commercial 

While these expeditions were being conducted to the Arctic 
regions, Sir George Simpson made his memorable journey 
round the world, leaving Lachine on the 4th May, and travel- 
ling by way of Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior, the Kaminis- 
ticjuia, and Lake of the Woods, arriving at Fort Garry on the 
11th June, having thus accomplished a journey of 2,000 miles 
in thirty-eight days. There was an ordinary trail to Edmon- 
ton, from which place a south-western course was taken, and 
of the whole journey as far as Colville, Sir George writes : 
" Here then terminated a long antl laborious journey of nearly 
two thousand miles on horseback, across plains, mountains, 
rivers and forests. For six weeks and five days, we hail Ixien 
constantly riding, or at least as constantly as the strength of 
our horses would allow, from early <lawn to sunset, and we 
had, on an average, been in the saildle about ele\en hours and 
a half a day. From Red Rivei* to Edmonton, one day's work 
with another amounted to about fifty miles, but from Edmon- 
ton to Colville, we, more generally than otherwise, fell short of 
forty." From Colville, Sir George proceeded down the Colum- 
bia by canoe, and after reaching the coast, and making a tour 
of inspection as far north as Sitka, he left for San Francisco 
by steamer on his way round the world. 

We will now close the list of land explorations for the 
])resent by referring to the ex])edition of Captain Palliser and 

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his associates in 1857-1860 — which was undertaken by in 
struction of the Imperial Government. He ascended the St. 
Lawrence and traversed the lakes to Fort William, where his 
examinations may be said to have commenced, and in this he 
was aided by several well-known scientific men, amoncf whom 
may be mentioneil Dr. Hector, Lieutenant Blakiston, Mr. John 
W. Sullivan, and M. Bourgeau. The examinations made by 
the expedition extended from Lake Superior to the Okana- 
gan Lakes, in British Columbia, and from the frontier of the 
United States northwanl to the sources of the chief rivers 
which flow to the Arctic Ocean. 

In the sunnner of 1857, the attention of Captain Palliser 
was directed to that portion of the country lying between 
Lake Superior and the prairies, after which the course was up 
-the Red River to Pembina, up the Assiniboine to Fort Ellice, 
and up the Qu'Appelle to the elbow of the Saskatchewan, 
thence across the country to Fort Carlton, where the party 

At the commencement of the summer of 1858, the various 
branches of the expedition set out and examined the Eagle 
Hills, Battle River, Red Deer River, and Bow River districts. 
The latter stream was followed to the mountains, along the 
route on which the Canadian Pacific Railway is to-day con- 
structed. The Vermilion and Kananaskis passes were examin- 
ed, and the sources of Kootenay River reached. Dr. Hector 
returned by Kicking Horse River, and explored in the general 
direction of the mountains to the Brazean range, and from the 
sources of the North Saskatchewan he followed the course of 
that river to Edmonton. Captain Palliser extended his jour- 
ney to the boundary of the United States, and traces of the 
wearisome journeys made by Dr. Hector are everywhere to be 

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met with by the railway traveller, in the names of the moun- 
tains and rivers between Calgary and the Columbia. 

In January, 1859, Dr. Hector left Eklmonton on a journey 
to Jaspar House, in the mountains, thence to the Athabasca 
Pass, and back to Edmonton. Capt. Palliser, in May, started 
for the forks of the South Saskatchewan and Red Deer River, 
and thence to the district near the United States boundary. 
He crossed the mountains by the Kootenay Pass, followed 
Kootenay River to Fort Shepherd and Fort Colville, and on 
reaching the latter place, he descended the Columbia to the 

The report of the Palliser expedition was presented to the 
Imperial Parliament in 1863, and contained much scientific 
and general information respecting the central prairie regions, 
which indicated the great agricultural and industrial possi- 
bilities of vast areas of the interior of British North America. 
Captain Palliser s report is also remarkable for his adverse 
recommendation to the British Government, in respect to 
opening up the country for settlement, and for the positive 
opinion given by him as to the impracticability of construct- 
ing a railway through British America to the Pacific. 

We will on these two latter points quote Capt. Palliser's 
own words : " I therefore cannot recommend, tlie Imperial 
Government to countenance or lend support to any scheme 
for constructing, or, it may be said, forcing a thoroughfare by 
this line of route, either by land or water, as there would be 
no immediate advantage commensurate with the required 
sacrifice of capital ; nor can I advise such heavy expenditure 
as would necessarily attend the construction of any exclus- 
ively British line of road between Canada and Red River 

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In another part of the report, he says : " Still the know- 
ledge of the country on the whole would never lead me to ad- 
vocate a line of communication from Canada across the con- 
tinent to the Pacific, exclusively through British territory. 
The time has now for ever gone by for effecting such an ob- 
ject, and the unfortunate choice of an astronomical boundary 
line has completely isolated the central American possessions 
of Great Britain from Canada in the east, and also almost de- 
barred them from any eligible access from the Pacific coast on 
the west." 

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In 1837, the Hudson's Bay Company, throup^li the Governor 
in London, Sir John Henry Pelly, asked for a further renewal 
of their license for twenty-one years, although at the time, the 
grant of 1821 had six years to run. The company probably 
considered the occasion opportune for making an appeal, and 
they certainly succeeded in presenting a strong case. They 
represented that peace reigned in their territory. That the 
company had kept off the Russians (Sir George Simpson hav- 
ing secured a lease of Alaska from that power), that they had 
favored explorations, established a settlement at Red River, 
and proposed extending their colonization efforts. 

The appeal was successful, and in May, 1838, a renewal 
of the territorial license was granted for twenty -one years, 
with a reservation to the Queen of a right to plant distinct 
colonies upon any portion thereof. 

No doubt the demonstrations made by the half-bi^eeds 
against their authority, and the growing discontent of the 
population generally in the North- West at the arbitrary meth- 
ods used in enforcing the claim of exclusive trade, induced the 
company to take time by the forelock, and secure an extension 
of their license in advance of any protest their opponents 
might present against it. 

It will be observed that the appeal for a renewal was made 

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immediately after the formation of a system of government at 
Red River, and it was doubtless recognized that a further ex- 
tension of their power in the country by Queen's license would 
strengthen their hands immensely. 

No doubt it did, but the constitution and working of the 
council at Fort Gariy provoked the fii-st desire of the people 
for representative government, a feeling that slumbered in the 
minds of the settler's ever afterwards, breaking out now and 
again in demonstrations against the authority of the company, 
until finally it resulted in open rebellion. 

At the very outset, the composition of the council was not 
popular, and the arbitrary decisions of the magistrates, all of 
whom were members of the government, only tended to 
heighten the discontent. The first petty jury was empanelled 
on 28th April, 1836, and the case of a man named Louis St. 
Denis, accused of theft, was tried, the prisoner being convicted. 
But the punishment to which he was sentenced created a feel- 
ing of popular excitement and indignation in the settlement, 
and destroyed much of the respect which otherwise the ad- 
ministration of justice by the new government would have en- 
joyed. St. Denis was condennied to be flogged, and on the 
day when the sentence was carried into effect, a force of police 
had to he employed to prevent a rescue, and the man who ad- 
ministered the flogging was obliged afterwards to inin for his 
life from the mob, the interference of the police only saving 
him from falling a victim to their violence. 

The trial of St. Denis, had the punishment been less severe, 
would have had a good effect, in showing that crimes and mis- 
demeanors were no longer to be permitted with impunity, but 
the extraordinary sentence inflicted upon the culprit created a 
bad impression, and tended to excite sympathy for the trans- 

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gressor of the law, rather than respect or confidence in the 
administration of justice. Matters, however, for some time 
after this, pi-ogressed smoothly, although the arbitrary and 
one-sided conduct of the magistrates, in cases where the ex- 
clusive right of the company to the fur trade was involved, 
excited a considerable amount of discontent. 

It will thus be seen that fi*om the fii-st introduction of con- 
stitutional laws into the settlement, the system worked with 
only partial success, and the seven and a-half per cent, duty 
on imports was found to be so obnoxious to the people, and so 
oppressive, that it had to be rescinded by the council, and re- 
duced first to five and then to four per cent., at which rate it 
remained until the transfer of the country to Canada. On 
the whole, how^ever, the settlement was benefited by the 
change in the conduct of its aflfaira — peace and order were 
maintained — the laws were obeyed, and life and property was 
everywhere secure. 

So far, the cases before the court had been conducted with- 
out the aid of lawyei-s, but in 1889 the company deemed it 
expedient to have a man possessed of legal knowledge, to pre- 
side over the coui-t in order to lend strength to the arm of 
justice. This was apparently a proper step to take, because 
cases were likely at any moment to arise, of a character to re- 
quire the services of a professional man. But, strange to say, 
the proi)osal raised up a formidable host of objections. The 
new" official was to act as Recorder of Rupert's Land, an ap- 
pointment to which there was no opiK)sition, but when the 
people undei-stood that he wouhl also l>e expected to act as 
judge on the tench, disapproval was expressed on all sides. 
The chief objection to his judicial functions was that he, a^i a 
salaried officer of the company, drawing £700 per annum, 

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would naturally have a special eye to his employer's interest 
above that of all others, and bearing in mind the arbitrary 
policy pursued in regard to fur-trading, this view of the case 
had an important meaning. 

In 1839, Mr. Thorn, a gentleman of talent and high at- 
tainments in his profession, was appointed to the position, 
and duly arrived at Fort Garry. But from the start he was 
unpopular with a majority of the settlers — first, because he 
was looked upon as a company's man ; secondly, because he 
could not speak French ; and thirdly, because it was reported 
that his views were inimical to the interests of the Canadians 
and half-breeds. In short, the dislike of him became a fixed 
prejudice, which time only served to strengthen, and in this 
way the administration of the law was rather weakened than 
strengthened by his presence. 

In the meantime, the Hudson's Bay Company endeavored 
to improve the material condition of the settlement, and we 
have to chronicle another attempt at experimental farming on 
their part. In this case, the scheme was dictated by the com- 
mittee in London, who sent out an expensive manager and 
inexperienced workmen, the result being that the enterprise 
came to nought, at a loss to the experimenters of £5,500. It 
had become the habit at this period, to account for every step 
taken by the company, as wholly in their own interest, and 
against that of the settles, and the heavy loss in the present 
instance was put down to a mere scheme on the part of the 
fur-trade, to injure the settlement. The absurdity of this rea- 
soning is apparent, but it will show the peculiar state of feel- 
ing toward the company that existed about this time. 

It must be borne in mind, however, that the company, hav- 
ing a license from the Imperial Government, giving them the 

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privilege of exclusive trade in furs, had the right to pro- 
tect their interests. On the other hand, many people in the 
country doubted the justice of their claim, and endeavored in 
-every way to oppose it secretly, if not openly, and in this way 
perfect unity could hardly exist between the governing power 
and the governed. The company could only use moi'al sua- 
sion, backed by the authority given them by the Imperial au- 
thorities, for they had no force at hand to compel obedience to 
their laws, and such was the state of affairs, when the French 
half-breeds began once more to be troublesome. The calling 
of these men consisted chiefly of buflalo hunting, which they 
fii-st commenced as employes of the company, but gradually 
many of them prosecuted the hunt on their own account. 
During this time, the officers at the forts sympathized and as- 
sisted them, often purchasing the produce of the hunt when it 
was not re(]uired, and for a time the hunters remaine<l on 
good terms with them. But as their numbers increased, they 
became more exacting in their demands, and less inclineil to 
respect the exclusive rights of the company in the fur-trade. 
In their vagrant mode of life, they made frecjuent visits to the 
United States, and on such occasions often carried their furs 
with them, which they sold to the American tradera, thus vio- 
lating the law (according to the Hudson's Bay Company's 
interpretation of it). 

At la*st the authorities at Fort Garry resolved to put a stop 
if possible to this illicit traffic (as it was termed), and one 
Registe Larant, on suspicion of having infringed the com- 
pany's chartered rights, had his house forced open and the 
furs it contained forcibly seized. Two more seizures were 
then made, and the result was that the whole French half- 
breed population became enrageil. The English half-breeds 

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SO far had stood aloof until one of their principal men named 
Hallet, deeming himself slighted by a company's officer, sue- 
ceeded in arousing their sympathies in his favor and against 
the fur monopoly, the result being that French and English 
joined together, and for years afterwards there existed a spirit 
of combination which gave rise to plots, plans, and meetings 
of a nature to threaten the peace and tranquillity of the set- 

The course, too, pursued by Mr. Thom seemed to justify the 
predictions made concerning him on his first arrival in the set- 
tlement, for his recommendations, although probably based up- 
on a conscientious interpretation of the law, were yet unfortu- 
nately favorable, as a rule, to the company. Even this might 
have been overlooked if he had not stretched the meaning of 
the rights, and privileges of the charter to an unnecessary 
degree, so as to inflict what was really an injustice upon the 

As an instance of this we give the following : 
In 1844 a proclamation was issued by the Governor of As- 
siniboine, stating that all business letters from importer of 
goods to their agents in England, to be forw^arded by the com- 
pany's packet, should be sent to Fort Garry open for the per- 
usal of the authorities pi*evious to being dispatched. Such 
importers as would consent to sign a declaration, the sub- 
stance of which was equivalent to a security against their en- 
gaging in any private fur-trading venture, were exempted 
from the necessity of compliance with this regulation. Mr. 
Thorn's view of this extraordinary document was that the 
chartered privileges of the company, and the fact that they 
supplied the means by which the letters were conveyed, and 
the merchandise imported, gave them the right to fix the terms 

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upon which the facilities of postage and freight were afforded. 
On the other hand, the merchants contended that the Hudson's 
Bay Company under its administration obligations were bound 
to provide postal facilities on fair terms, and in virtue of its 
omnipotence to bring the goods necessary for its dependents 
over the only available route, of which it had the indisputable 
control. Certainly the merchants had the best of the argu- 
ment, and it may be mentioned here that the governor and 
committee in London must have thought so, because they re- 
pudiated and disallowed a number of the regulations made by 
Mr. Thom. 

From the above it will be seen that individuals in the settle- 
ment were engaging in the purchase and sale of goods which 
they imported from England, and this the company assisted 
by conveying the merchandise in their ships to York Factory. 
Now these vessels were not supi)Osed or intended to be used 
as common carriers, but simply for freighting the supplies re- 
quired by the company's own trade. It appeai-s that they also 
carried, for private individuals, produce of the country from 
York Factory to be sold in England, and a merchant named 
James Sinclair having exported some tallow, a number of the 
principal half-breeds wrote to Governor Christie in 1840, 
asking for a reduction of the freight charges on that article, in 
order to stimulate its production and exportation. The com- 
pany, probably remembering the fate of the Tallow Company 
which Sir George Simpson had attempted to establish, may 
not liave had much faith in tlie success of the industry, even 
with low freights. At all events, Mr. Christie never an- 
wered the letter. 

The number of petty traders now increased, and the com- 
pany found that they were busily engaged in sowing the 

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seeds of dissatiBfaction among the people, especially the plain 
hunters. The monopoly of exclusive trade in furs was being 
assailed, and a spirit of insubordination aroused against the 
authorities. Under these circumstances it was resolved to 
keep the traders in check, and on the 10th June, 1845, the 
following minutes of council were passed at Fort Garry : — 

Resolved— That, once in every year, any British subject, if an actual 
resident and not a fur trafficker, may import, whether from London or from 
St. Peters (in the United States), stores free of any duty now about 
to be imposed, on declaring truly that he has imported them at his own 

That, once in every year any British subject, if qualified as before, may 
exempt from duty as before, imports of the local value of ten pounds, on 
declaring truly that they are intended exclusively to be used by himself 
within Red River settlement, and have been purchased with certain speci- 
fied productions or manufactures of the aforesaid settlement, exported in 
the same season, or by the latest vessel at his own risk. 

That, once in every year, any British subject, if qualified as before, 
who may have personally accompanied both his exports and imports, as 
defined in the preceding resolution, may exempt from duty, as before, 
imports of the local value of £60, on declaring truly that they are either 
to be consumed by himself, or to be sold by himself to actual consumers 
within the aforesaid settlement, and have been purchased with certain 
specified productions or manufactures of the settlement, carried away by 
himself in the same season, or by the latest vessel, at his own ri»k. 

That all other imports from the United Kingdom for the aforesaid set- 
lement. shall, before dehvery, pay at York Factory a duty of 20 per cent, 
on their prime cost ; provided, however, that the Governor of the settle- 
ment be hereby authorized to exempt from the same, all such importers 
as may, from year to year, be reasonably believed by him to have neither 
trafficked in furs themselves since the 8th day of December, 1844, nor 
enabled others to do so, by illegally or improperly supplying them with 
trading articles of any description. 

That all other inqx)rt8, from any part of the United States, shall pay 
all duties payable under the provisions of 6 and 6 Vict., cap. 49, the 
Imperial Statute for regulating the foreign trade of the British posses- 
sions in North America ; provided, however, that the Govemor-in-Chief, 
or, in his absence, the President of the Council, may so mt>dify the 
machinery of the said Act of Parliament, as to adapt the same to the 
circumstances of the country. 

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That, henceforward, no goods shall be delivered at York Factory to any 
but persons duly licensed to freight the same ; such licenses being given 
only in those cases in which no fur trafficker may have any interest, 
direct or indirect. 

That any intoxicating drink, if found in a fur trafficker's possession, 
beyond the limits of the aforesaid settlement, may be seized and destroy- 
ed by any person on the spot. 

Whereas, the intervention of middlemen is alike injurious to the Hon- 
orable Company and to the people ; it is resolved — 

That, henceforward, furs shall be purchased from none but the actual 
hunters of the same. 

Fort Gaery, July 10th, 1845. 

Copy of License referred to in foregoing Minutes : — 

** On behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company. I hereby license A. B. to 
trade, and also ratify his having traded in English goods, witliin the limits 
of Red River settlement. This ratification and this license to be null 
and void, from the beginning, in the event of his hereafter trafficking in 
furs, or generally, of his usur])ing any whatever of all the privileges of 
-the Hudson's Bay Company." 

As might be expected, the passing of these minutes by the 
council raised a storm of indignation among those likely to be 
affected by them. The company, for some time previous to 
this, had begun to employ some of the leading half-breeds as 
middlemen in the fur trade, paying them money or goods, and 
receiving furs in exchange, whilst the middlemen undertook 
the trouble of procuring the furs from the natives, of course 
with some advantage to themselves. This was no new system 
in carrying on the fur trade, and the half-breeds, seeing so 
much profit in the business, had been tempted to engage in 
the fur trade on their owm account, and as they could not ex- 
port fui*s to England, they sent them, when opportunity oc- 
curred, into the American territory. 

Having tasted the benefits of free trade, the question at 
once arose in their minds how far the privileges of the com- 
pany could restrain the natives of the country from obtaining 

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furs, and disposing of them as they deemed best. The com- 
pany declared the traffic illegal, but the half-breeds did not 
seem to consider it so, but stood upon their claims as the de- 
scendants of the native Indians, and denied that any right 
but that of might could deprive them of their hereditary pro- 
perty in the wild animals of their ancient forests and prairies. 
Accordingly, a number of them addressed tlie following let- 
ter to the Governor of Assiniboine, on the 29th August, 1845, 
a little over a month after the passing of the minutes we have 

already quoted : 

Red River Settlement, 

August 29th, 1845. 
Sir,— Having at this moment a very strong belief that we, as natives 
of this country, and as half-breeds, have the right to hunt furs in the 
Hudson's Bay Company's territories whenever we think proper, and again 
sell those furs to the highest bidder ; likewise having a doubt that natives 
of this country can be prevented from trading and trafficking with one 
another ; we would wish to have your opinion on the subject, lest we 
should commit ourselves by doing anything in opposition, either to the 
laws of England, or the honorable company s privileges, and, therefore, 
lay before you. as Governor of Red River Settlement, a few queries, 
which we beg you will answer in course. 

1. Has a half-breed, a settler the right to hunt furs in this country ? 

2. Has a native of this country (not an Indian) a right to hunt furs ^ 

3 If a half-breed has the right to hunt furs, can he hire other half- 
breeds for the purpose of hunting furs ? 

4 Can a half-breed sell his furs to any person he pleases ? 

5. Is a half-breed obliged to st-U his furs to the Hudson's Bay Company 
at whatever price the company may think proper to give him ? 

6. Can a half-breed receive any furs as a present from an Indian, a 
re ative of his ? 

7. Can a half-breed hire any of his Indian relatives to hunt furs for 

8. Can a half-breed trade fUrs from another half-breed, in or out of 
the settlement ? 

9. Can a half-breed trade furs from an Indian, in or out of the settle- 

10. With regard to trading, or hunting: furs, have the half-breeds, or 
natives of European origin, any rights or privileges over Europeans ? 

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11. A settler having purchased lands from Lord Selkirk, or even from 
the Hudson's Bay Company, without any conditions attached to them, or 
without having signed any bond, deed, or instrument whatever whereby 
he might have willed away his right to trade furs, can he be prevented 
from trading furs in the settlement with settlers, or even out of the 
settlement ^ 

12. Are the limits of the settlement defined by the municipal law, Sel- 
kirk grant, or Indian sale ? 

13 If a person cannot trade furs, either in or out of the settlement, 
can he purchase them for his own and family use, and in what quantity ? 

14. Having never seen any oiiicial statements, nor known, but by 
report, that the Hudson's Bay Company has peculiar privileges over 
British subjects, natives, and half-breeds, resident in the settlement, we 
would wish tfi know what those privileges are, and the penalties attached 
to the infringement of the same ? 

We remain your humble servants, 

Jambs Sinclair, William Bird, 

BAPTiriT La Roque, Peter Garoch, 

Thomas Logan, Henry Cook, 

John Dbase, John Spbnck, 

Albxis Gaulat, John Anderson, 
Louis Lbtbndrk de Batoche, Thomas McDermot, 

William McMillan, Adall Trottikr, 

Antoine Morran, Oharlbs Hole, 

Bat. Wilkib, Joseph Monkman, 

John Vincent, Baptist Farman. 

To Alexander Christie, Esq., 

Governor of Red River Settlement. 

Mr. Christie replied as follows : — 

Fort Garry, 

Septembers, 1846. 

Gentlemen — I received your letter of the 29th ultimo, on the evening 
of the drd insUnt, and I am sure that the solemn and important proceed- 
ings in which I was yesterday engaged will form a sufficient apology 
for my having allowed a day to pass without noticing your communica- 

However unusual it may be for the rulers of any country to answer 
legal inquiries in any other way than through the judicial tribunals which 
can alone authoritatively decide any point of law, I shall, on this particu- 
lar occasion, overlook all those considerations which might otherwise 

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prompt me to decline, with all due courtesy, the diacussion of your letter ; 
and I am the rather induced to adopt this course by your avowal, for 
which I am bound to give you full credit, that you are actuated by an un- 
willinj^ness to do anything in opposition, either to the laws of England, 
or to the Hudson's Bay Company's privileges. 

Your first nine queries, as well as the body of your letter, are ground- 
ed on the supposition that the half-breeds possess certain privileges over 
their fellow citizens, who have not been born in the country. Now, as 
British subjects, the half-breeds have clearly the same rights in Scotland, 
or in England, as any person born in Great Britain, and your own sense 
of justice will at once see how unreasonable it would be to place English- 
men and Scotchmen on a less favorable footing in Rupert's Land than 
yourselves. Your supposition, further, seems to draw a distinction be- 
tween half-breeds and persons born in the country, of European parent- 
age, and, to men of your intelligence, I need not say that this distinction 
is still more unreasonable than the other. 

Your tenth query is fully answered in these observations on your first 
nine queries. 

Your eleventh query assumes that any purchaser of lands would have 
the right to trade furs if he had not ** willed " it away by assenting to any 
restrictive condition. Such an assumption, of course, although admissi- 
ble of itself, is inconsistent with your general views ; the conditions of 
tenure which, by the bye, have always been well understood to prohibit 
any infraction of the company's privileges, are intended not to bind the 
individual who is already bound by the fundamental law of the country, 
but merely to secure his lands as a special guarantee for the due discharge 
of such, his essential obligation. 

After what has been said, your twelfth query becomes wholly unim- 

Your fourt )enth query, which comprises your thirteenth, and, in fact, 
also all the queries that you either have, or could have, proposed, requests 
me to enumerate the peculiar privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company, on 
the alleged ground that you know them only through report. Consider- 
ing that you have the means of seeing the Charter and the Land Deed, 
and such enactments of the Council of Rupert's Land as concern yourselves 
and your fellow citizens ; and considering further that, in point of fact, 
some of you have seen them, I cannot admit that you require information 
to the extent which you profess ; and even if you did recjuire it, I do not 
think that I could oflfer you anything more clear than the documents 
themselves are, on which my enumeration of the compjiny's rights must 
be based. If, however, any individual among you, or among your fellow 
citizens, should at any time feel himself embarrassed in any honest pur- 

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suit, by legal doubts, I shall have much pleasure in affording him a per- 
sonal interview. 

I am, gentlemen, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Alexander Christie, 

Gavertwr of Aimniboine. 
Messrs. James Sinclair, Bt. La Roquo, 

Thomas Logan, and others. 

The solemn and important proceedings referred to in the 
first paragraph of Mr. Christie's letter were in connection with 
the first execution that ever took place in Red River. An 
Indian — a Saulteaux — out of revenge had shot a Sioux, and 
in doing so, had also killed one of his own tribe. He was 
promptly arrested, tried, and being convicted, was hung fi-om 
the walls of Fort Garry on the 5th September, 1845, as an 
example to deter other Indians from committing murder. 

The reply of Governor Christie was not, as may be imagined, 
very satisfactory to the parties to whom it wa6 addressed, and 
it certainly did not te:.d to allay the feeling of opposition 
against the company. No opportunity to enforce respect for 
the chartered rights was at this period neglected by the au- 
thorities at Fort Garry, and even in the preparation of a land 
deed, a condition was included by which the signer bound him- 
self not to violate any of the licensed privileges of the com- 
pany. Yet the handwriting was on the wall, and the accom- 
plishment of free trade was not far off. A petition urging 
complaints against the Hudson's Bay Company was framed 
for presentation to the Imperial authorities, and numerous 
signatures were attached to it. The document was then for- 
warded to Mr. A. K. Isbister, in England, who presented it to 
the Colonial Secretary on the 17th February, 1847, and the 
government in reply proposed sending out commissioners to 
the North-West to investigate the charges. But this the com- 


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plainants would not a^ee to, on the singular ^'ound that the 
Hudson 8 Bay officials at Fort Garry would be able to un- 
duly influence them. Earl Grey, who was then Secretary of 
State for the Colonies, received testimony for and against the 
company, and then notified Mr. Isbister that he must assume 
the expense of a judicial process if he desired to have one, 
adding, however, that the validity of the charter was not to be 
questioned. Mr. Isbister declined to proceed, and although he 
continued to agitate for a cancellation of the company's 
monopoly, and succeeded in interesting a number of promi- 
nent membera of the House of Commons in the subject, he 
failed to accomplish the object he had in view. 

Mr. James Sinclair, whose name headed the list of signa- 
tures to the letter addressed to Mr. Christie, on the 29th Aug., 
1845, had busied himself in preparing the petition to the 
Home Government, and in other ways made himself conspicu- 
ous in agitating against the Hudson's Bay Company. He 
received his reward in the following letter : 

Sir, — I beg to state that in a private letter from Mr. Secre- 
tary Smith, dated the 18th April last, and received on the 
25th instant, I am requested to acquaint you that no goods 
will be shipped in your name on board the Hudson's Bay 
Company's ships for York Factory, 
I am sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Alexander Christie. 
Mr. James Sinclair. 

The meaning of which was that Mr. Sinclair's business was 
ruined for that year. 

The proceedings of the company in thus punishing those 
who were opposed to them, and forcing compliance with their 

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regulations against trading in furs, may appear harsh and un- 
just, but it must be borne in mind that they looked at the 
matter purely from a business stand-point. They had been 
granted exclusive privileges by the Imperial authorities, with 
the power to enforce respect for them, and if they had per- 
mitted infringements of their rights, the license they possessed 
would not have been worth more than waste-paper. But to 
the people of the country, who regarded the Hudson's Ba^^ 
Company as the government with power to make and unmake 
laws, it appeared in the light of oppression, and the half- 
breeds, who were of an excitable nature and easily moved for 
good or evil, became the ready tools of designing parties. 

Thus matters stood, with an under current of discontent ap- 
proaching rebellion, but no open hostility to the company, 
when in January, 1846, the influenza raged, and in May the 
measles broke out in Uie settlement. Neither of these epi- 
demics proved very fatal, but in June, the bloody flux began 
its ravages among the Indians, and soon spread with fearful 
rapidity among the whites, carr\'ing ofl* large numbers of 
them. From 18th June to the 2nd August, the deaths aver- 
aged seven a day, or 321 in all, and there was hardly a home 
that did not mourn for the loss of one or more of its mem- 
bers ; indeed, a number of houses were closed altogether, not 
one of the family, old or young, being left in them. 

This affliction for the time being overshadowed all matters 
relating to trade or business of any sort, and hardly had the 
plague ceased when a force of British troops appeared upon 
the scene, and, while they remained in the country, all opposi- 
tion to the Hudson's Bay Company ceased. 

In the month of September, Lieut. -Col. Crofton arrived at 
Fort Garry, in command of a wing of the 6th regiment of 

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foot, accompanied by detachments of Artillery and of the 
Royal Engineers. This force, consisting of eighteen officers, 
three hundred and twenty-nine men, seventeen women and 
nineteen children, or three hundred and eighty-three in all, 
left Cork, in Ireland, by orders of the Duke of Wellington,, 
under special instructions, and landed at York Factory on the 
7th August. They had twenty -eight pieces of artillery with 
them, but only conveyed nine to Red River, but their numbers 
and armament were sufficiently strong to strike awe into the 
hearts of the disaffected, and, from the moment of their ar- 
rival, lawless defiance was reduced into silence. 

The real object which the British Government had in view 
when they sent this body of troops to Red River is not 
Known, as they were despatched under secret ordei-s, but it is 
supposed that the disputes arising out of the Oregon question 
had something. to do with it. It is not to be considered for a 
moment that so strong a force was sent merely to uphold the 
rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, or that the demonstra- 
tions made in the settlement against their authority had any- 
thing to do with it. The impression created in the min<ls of 
the people was, however, highly favorable to the maintenance 
of law and order. 

Having referred to the Oregon question, it may now be as 
well to give a few particulars regarding it, and the establish- 
ment of a boundary line betw^een the British North-West and 
the United States. In 1807, the pretensions of the Americans 
to the Oregon became the subject of diplomacy between the 
two governments, but nothing definite was done. In 1814, 
pending the treaty of Ghent, the subject was renewed, and it 
was then agreed that the places seized by either party should 
be returne<l to the other. In 1818 the subject, w^as renewed, 

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and it was agreed that the country west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains should be open to both parties for ten years, without 
prejudice to their respective claim. The convention, then re- 
cognizing the fact that the north-west comer of the Lake of 
tlie Woods on the eastern side of the mountains might be dis- 
tant from the 49th parallel, provided that the line from that 
comer should run due north or south, as was re(|uired, till it 
struck that parallel, and thence westward on that parallel to 
the crests of the Rockies. The (juestion of boundary, how- 
ever, remained a matter of dispute, and the Americans did 
not conceal their desire to exclude all Europeans, especially 
British subjects, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The 49th 
degree of latitude was the extremest northern limit that the 
Americans could get to their claim in their boldest assumption 
of right, yet the President, in his formal message to Congress 
on 5th December, 1842, says : " The United States have al- 
ways contended that their rights appertained to the whole 
region of country lying on the Pacific, and embraced within 
42° and 54"^ 40' of north latitude." England had also Russia 
to deal with on the north, while the Americans were annoying 
her at the south of her possession, and it was not until 1840 
that it was agreed between the two governments that the 
Hudson's Bay Company should enjoy for ten years the ex- 
clusive use of the country extending from 54° 40' north to 
Cape Spenser, near 58 north. 

By the Ash burton Treaty, concluded August 9th, 1842, and 
which was assailed by Lord Palmerston as the " Ashburton 
Capitulation," the boundary line is described as running 
across Lake Superior, thence along several waterways, streams 
and portages to the Lake of the Woods, and across that lake 
to a point fixed at the north-west corner (49^ 23' 55"), and 

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then south to the 49° parallel, and along it westerly to the 

This decided the boundary east of the Rockies, and the 
treaty of 1846 determined the 49th parallel from the moun- 
tains to the sea as the bounds, and provided that the line on 
the 49° n. lat., having struck the water, should follow the mid- 
dle of the channel dividing Vancouver Island from the main, 
and thence proceed through the middle of .Fuca Straits to the 

The disputes over this boundary question were at times 
very warm, and it is not unlikely that they were the chief 
reason for Great Britain sending troops to Red River in 1846, 
and in support of this, is .the fact that they were recalled al- 
most immediately after the disputed question had been settled. 
The 6th foot left Red River, in July, 1848, and in the autumn 
of the same year, Major Caldwell, with fifty-six pensioners, 
non-commissioned officers and men, arrived at Fort Garry to 
take their place. Major Caldwell was also appointed Gov- 
ernor, and it may be well to state here that Mr. Christie, who 
appears prominently in this chapter, filled the gubernatorial 
chair from June, 1833, to June, 1839, and was succeeded by 
Mr. Duncan Finlayson, who remained in office till June, 1844, 
when Mr. Christie enjoyed a second term until June, 1846. 

When Colonel Crofton arrived he filled the position of 
chief-magistrate for one year, at the end of which time he re- 
turned to England and was succeeded in the command of the 
troops and in the Governorship by Major Griffiths, who held 
the office until the 6th foot left the settlement. Major Cald- 
well then became Governor, and, as will be seen from the fol- 
lowing letter of instructions handed him with his appointment, 
he was charged with very important duties. 

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Downing Steebt, 10th June, 1848. 

Sir — I am directed by Earl Grey to acquaint you that so soon as cir- 
cumstances will admit, after your arrival at Assiniboine, Her Majesty's 
Government will expect to receive from you a full and complete account 
of the condition of affairs at the Red River settlement, and particularly of 
the mixed and Indian population living there ; charges of maladministra- 
tion and harsh conduct towards the natives having been preferred against 
the Hudson's Bay Company, which it is of the utmost importance, should 
be either established or disproved. Her Majesty s Government expect 
from you, as an officer holding the Queen's commission, a candid and de- 
tailed report of the state in which you find the settlement you have been 
selected to preside over. 

I would particularly direct your attention to the allegations which liave 
been made of an insufficient and partial administration of justice ; of the 
embarrassments occasioned by want of a circulating medium, except pro- 
missory notes payable in London ; the insufficient supply of goods for 
ordinary consumption, by the company ; and the hardships said to follow 
from an interference, which is reported to be exercised in preventing half- 
breed inhabitants from dealing in furs with each other, on the ground 
that the privileges of the native Indians of the country do not extend to 
them. These are only mentioned as instances, and your own judgment 
is relied on for enquiry into other points. 

I have, &c. , 

(Signed), B. Hawes. 

Major Caldwell, however, did not prove to be a success 
either as a governor, commander, or investigator, a good deal 
of dissatisfaction being expressed by the people with his ad- 
ministration of affairs ; and the pensioners were neither re- 
spected nor feared, for hardly had the 6th foot turned their 
backs on the settlement, when signs of disaffection once more 
appeared. Mr. Isbister, in the meantime, continued at work in 
England, agitating the cause of the Red River people against 
that of the company, but with indifferent success, and to judge 
from the following extract taken from a despatch sent by 
Lord Elgin, Governor-General of Canada, to Earl Grey, there 
were men in high positions who were not disposed to place 
much faith in the righteousneas of the people's case. 

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" It is indeed," says Loixl Elgin, " possible that the progress 
of Indians towards civilization may not correspond with the 
expectations of some of those who are interested in their wel- 
fare. But disappointments of this nature are experienced, I 
fear, in other quarters as well as in the territories of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, and persons to whom the trading 
privileges of the company are obnoxious, may be tempted to 
aficribe to their rule the existence of evils which it is alto- 
gether beyond their power to remedy. There is too much rea- 
son to fear that if the trade were thrown open, and the In- 
dians left to the mercy of the adventurers who might chance 
to engage in it, their condition would be greatly deteriorated." 

While these discussions were going on abroad, and opinions 
being expressed, while committees were investigating the mat- 
ter pro and con, an event occurred in the settlement which 
turned out to be a death-blow to the exercise of their exclusive 
privileges by the Hudson's Bay Company. In the spring of 
1849, a French half-breed, William Sayers, with three others 
named McGillis, Laronde and Goull^, were accused of illicitly 
trafficking in furs, and held to bail to stand their trial, the 
charge against them being that they had accepted furs from 
Indians in exchange for goods, which was contrary to the rules 
and regulations of the company's charter. Although the au- 
thorities had made use of high-handed proceedings to enforce 
what they deemed the rights of the company, this was the 
iirst instance of a public trial for the offence, and Major Cald- 
well and Judge Thorn in bringing it to this pass, made a 
great mistake. It was throwing down the gauntlet to the na- 
tive population at a time when they had no power sufficient to 
enforce respect for their authority. The 17th of May was the 
day appointed for the trial, and before it took place, it was 

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decided by the friends of the prisoners, and indeed l>y the en- 
tire connnunity of French half-breeds, to make a demonstra- 
tion in their favor. 

Accordingly, on the morning of the 17th May, groups of 
excited people were seen hastening in the direction of the 
conrt house, and boats and canoes were passing and repassing' 
across the river, tilled with men bound for Fort Garry. The 
court-house, which was a small building outside the fort, was 
surrounded by a restless mob of people, who became the more 
threatening as a rumor spread that Major Caldwell intended 
to have his pensioners under arms to resist any attack. The 
military, however, did not make their appearance, and when 
the hour of trial came, the Major, Judge Thom, and the magis- 
trates, took their seats on the bench without any display of 
armed force to protect them. But by this time there w^ere 
about 400 armed men collected around the court-house, and 
when the case of William Sayers was called, that individual 
did not appear, being held back by a number of his friends, 
until at last, after a consultation of the bench, w^ord was sent 
out to the half-breeds that they might appoint a leader to as- 
sist Sayers in the course of his trial, and this was accepted, a 
nmn named Sinclair being cho.sen for the purpose. 

The ti'ial, however, was a farce, for after Sinclair had chal- 
lenged nine out of the twelve jurymen, Sayers coolly admitted 
that he did trade furs from an Indian, and was thereupon ad- 
judged guilty, and a verdict in accordance entered against 
him. But, on tlie prisoner stating that an officer of the com- 
pany named Harriott had given him permission to trade, he 
was released, and the case against McGillis, Laronde and 
GouUd was dropped. 

This action on tlie part of tlie court was taken to mean a 

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victory for the half-breeds, which it really was, and immedi- 
ately the cry went up from the mob, " Le commerce est libre ! 
Le commerce est libre ! Vive la liberty ! " and, shouting these 
words, midst yelling, whooping and firing of guns, the crowd 
went surging on to the river bank, where they were boated 
across, and on arriving at the opposite side they gave three 
cheers and fired three volleys in honor of " la liberty." 

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In a previous chapter we referred to the labors and trials 
of the early missionaries, and now we will give an account of 
the work and spread of the church in the North- West. To do 
so, we will be obliged to retrace our steps to the time when 
the first missionary appeared in Red River. We have already 
shown how Rev. P^re Messager accompanied Verandrye on 
his firat expedition to the North-West, and how P^re Anieau' 
was massacred by the Sioux Indians at Lac de la Croix, but 
the first serious attempt of missionaries to settle in the country 
was in 1818, when Rev. Joseph Norbert Provencher, and the 
Rev. S^v^re Dumoulin, arrived at Red River. Soon after this 
a church and mission-house were erected at St. Boniface, on 
the eastern V)ank of the Red River, opposite the mouth of the 
As8inilx)ine, and here the French -Canadians flocked to the 
services. In 1820 another priest, named Th. Destroismaisons, 
arrived in the countiy, followed by another in 1822, named 
Jean Hai-per, and in the latter year, Rev. J. N. Provencher was 
consecrated Bishop of Juliopolis, a name derived from a town 
in Galatia, under the metropolitan see of Ancyra. 

In the meantime, the Scotch settlers had been promised a 
minister of the Presbyterian faith, and indeed Lord Selkirk 
had selected a couple of lots on which a church and school- 
house were to be built for them. But a gentleman, named 

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Mr. Sage, son of Rev. Alexander Sa^, of Kildonan, Scotland 
who was appointed to the ministry at Red River, for some 
reason, never made his appearance, and a Mr. James Suther- 
land was selected by the settlers to marry and baptize, and to 
expound the Scriptures, although he was not an ordained min- 
ister. Repeated applications were made by the colonists for 
the services of a regular minister of their own denomination 
without success, and a petition was even sent to Rev. John 
McDonald, of the parish of XJrquhart, Ross-shire, stating their 
condition, and praying him to do something in their behalf, 
but Mr. McDonald never replied to this petition, and it is pre- 
sumed, therefore, that it did not reach hin^, so Mr. Sutherland 
continued in his ministrations. 

On the 14th October, 1820, Rev. John West arrived in the 
settlement, who, in his journal afterwards published, says that, 
in his appointment as chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
he was instructed to reside at the Red River settlement, and 
under the encouragement and aid of the Church Missionary 
Society, to seek the instruction, and endeavor to meliorate the 
condition of the native Indians. He sailed from Gravesend on 
board the Hudson's Bay Company's ship Eddystone, on the 
27th May, 1820, so that it took him about five months to reach 
his destination at Red River. Immediately after his arrival 
he began the work of his ministry, and, speaking of the 
churches in the settlement at that time, he says : " There was 
an unfinished building as a Catholic church, and a small house 
adjoining, the residence of the priest : but no Protestant manse, 
church, or school-house, which obliged me to take up my 
abode at the Colony Foi-t (Fort Douglas), where the * charge 
d aflaires * of the settlement resided, and who kindly afforded 
the accommodation of a room for divine worship on the Sab- 

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bath. My ministry was generally well attended by the set- 
tlers, and soon after my arrival I got a log house repaired, 
about three miles below the fort, among the Scotch popula- 
tion, where the schoolmaster (a Mr. Harbidge) took up his 
abode, and began teaching from twenty to twenty-five child- 

In December, Mr. West took up his residence on a farm be- 
longing to the estate of Lord Selkirk, which was about six 
miles distant from the school-house, and, to use his own words* 
continued to have divine service regularly on the Sabbath. In 
this way, through the ministrations of Mr. Sutherland, the 
Catholic priests, and Mr. West, the moral and social obligation 
of marriage came to be enforced upon those who were li\'ing 
with, and had families by, the Indian or half-caste women, and. 
as Mr. West says, he had the happiness to perform the cere- 
mony for several of the most respectable of the settlers, under 
the conviction " that the institution of marriage, and the 
security of property, were the fundamental laws of society." 

Mr. West's instructions were to afford, in addition to his 
work among the Indians, religious instruction and consolation 
to the servants in the active employment of the Hudson s Bay 
Company, as well as to the company's retired servants and 
other inhabitants of the settlement, upon such occasions as the 
nature of the country and other circumstances would permit. 
Accordingly, early in the winter of 1821, he visited Brandon 
House and Qu'Appelle, on the Assiniboine, on a missionary 
tour, and in the following summer paid a visit to Norway 
House and York Factory. While at the latter place, he organ- 
ized an auxiliary to the British and Foreign Bible Society, in 
the form of a Bible Society for Prince Rupert s Land and the 
Red River Settlement, the company's officers subscribing at 

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once over one hundred and twenty pounds sterling for the 
purpose, and as a result of this effort the scriptures, published 
in English, Gaelic, German, Danish, Italian, and French, were 
afterwards circulated in different parts of the country. In 
June following, a liberal donation was received from England, 
in support of the missionary work in the North-West, and 
about the same time, Mr. West opened, with divine service, a 
building which was intended as a school house and temporary 
place of worship in the settlement, on which occasion he bap- 
tized two of the boys under his charge, one of whom after- 
wards became a clergyman in the country (Rev. H. Budd). 
Soon after this, in September, 1822, while on a visit to York 
Factory, he presided at the first anniversary meeting of the 
Auxiliarj" Bible Society, at which, it maj' be mentioned, Capt. 
Franklin (afterwards Sir John Franklin) was present, being 
at the time on the return from his northern trip to the mouth 
of the Coppermine. The donations, in aid of the society, 
amounted then to £260 Os. 6d., of which sixty pounds was 
subscribed at the annivei"sary meeting. 

Thus the Christian religion was being spread, and Mr. West, 
by his zealous efforts in the settlement and during his travels 
through the country, did much to lay the foundation of the 
Protestant Church in the Xorth-West. Writing in June, 1823, 
he says, *' Our Sunday School is generally attended by nearly 
fifty scholars, including adults, independent of the Indian 
children ; and the congregation consists, upon an average, of 
from one hundred to one hundred and thirty persons. It is 
a most gratifying sight to see the colonists, in gix>ups, direct 
their steps on the Sabbath morning towards the Mission-house, 
at the ringing of the bell, which is now elevated in a spire 
that is attached to the building." 

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On the 10th June, 1823, Mr. West preached his farewell 
sermon in the church just described, and in a few days left 
for York Factory, from which place he paid a visit to the 
Esquimaux, and then returned to England. 

While the Church of England was thus progressingf in its 
work, the Catholic priests were quietly establishing themselves 
on the banks of the Red River, among the people of their 
faith, and preparing the \vay for the planting of the great 
missions which, in after years, spread themselves in almost 
every comer of the vast North- West. In addition to their 
church at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, 
they had erected one at Pembina, w-here a number of Canadi- 
an faujilies were settled, and in this way provided for their 
flock, preparatory to the arrival of more priests to assist in 
the work. 

The Scotch settlers, however, remained in a state of dissat- 
isfaction because no Presbyterian minister was sent out to 
them, and some very unjust statements have been penned in 
relation to this oversight to pix)vide for their spiritual wants. 
The question is, who w^as responsible for the neglect ? Mr. 
West has been assailed, the Church of England has been 
accused of conniving at it, and the Church Missionary Society 
rej)roached for sending out an Episcopalian, when a Presby- 
terian clergyman was needed. There is no doubt about a 
minister of the church of Scotland having been promised to 
the Scotch settlers, and the only way to account for Lord 
Selkirk's omission is, that about that time he was in the 
midst of serious trouble and complications, arising from his 
contest w^ith the North-West Company, and that his worldly 
aflairs caused him to forget, for the time being, the promises 
he hml made to his people. 

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Mr. West, it must be remembered, was appointed chaplain 
to the Hudson's Bay Company, with his field of duties extend- 
ing to various posts and not confined to the settlement, and 
no doubt the directors of the company, as well as the Earl of 
Selkirk, had something to say about his appointment. Thje 
colony was his lordship's particular charge, and the neglect of 
sending a Scotch minister must be laid at his door, or at that 
of his agent, and can only be accounted for in the way we 
have already mentioned. Was Mr. West or his successors to 
remain idle among the Scotch settlers, or was it their duty to 
preach the Gospel to all whom they could induce to listen ? 
As missionaries, their path was a very plain one, to do their 
best, under the circumstances, and this, from all we can 
learn, they did, but at the same time, it was only natural for 
the Scotch to wish for a minister of their own denomination, 
and the wonder is that the Presbyterian church of Scotland, left 
them so long without what they desired. This, we do not say 
in a spirit of reproach, because there may have been circum- 
stances perfectly justifiable to cause this seeming lack of in- in the settlers. In 1846, when a petition was sent home 
to the Free church of Scotland, to have a minister sent out, it 
remained for three years unanswered, and at the end of that 
time the reply was, that communications had been opened 
w4th two or three on the subject, but none of them felt it 
their duty to accept. Surely, then, if this apparent luke- 
warmness was displayed by the Presbyterian Church, it was 
hardly fair to lay the blame at the door of the Church of 
England. However, we are anticipating, and must return to 
the consideration of our subject in its proper order. 

In 1823, shortly after Mr. West's departure. Rev. D. T. Jones 
arrived in the settlement to take his place, and, like his prede- 

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cesser, found a good deal of opposition to his success amongst 
a certain class of the people. Some remarks of his regarding 
the different classes of settlers, published in the Missionary 
Register, and which would have been better left unwritten, 
were quoted against him, and made his path all the more diffi- 
cult. But Mr. Jones was a good and earnest man, as well as an 
eloquent preacher, and it was not long until he found his way 
into the hearts of all classes of the community, even his greatest 
opponents admitting that he possessed amiable qualities and 
was tender-hearted, kind, and liberal to a fault. Finding so 
much opposition on the part of the Scotch to certain parts of 
the Liturgy and formula of the Episcopalian church, he laid 
them aside for the time being, and also held prayer meetings 
in a manner somewhat after their own heart. This he did to 
win them, in order, as he said, to do good to their souls, and 
certainly, if we are to judge by the way he managed to gain 
the love and respect of the whole people, his efforts were suc- 

In 1824, he commenced the erection of a second church, 
about six miles farther down the Red River than the upper 
one, and being joined by Rev. William Cochran, in 1825, the 
two clergymen conducted their work conjointly for one year, 
at the end of which time Mr. Jones paid a visit to England. 
In 1827, a settlement having sprung up at a spot called Grand 
Rapids, about twenty -five miles from the mouth of the Red 
River, and fifteen from Upper Fort Garry, Mr. Cochran com- 
menced the erection of a third church, where he officiated for 
seven years. In 1831, the original building was replaced by a 
larger structure, and that in turn was torn down to give way, 
in 1849, to one of greater proportions, and more substantial 
construction, which to this day remains, and is known as St. 

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Andrew's Church. In 1836, Rev. Mr. Cochran, who was inde- 
fatigable in his efforts to promote the cause of religion, erected 
a small wooden church about twelve miles down the river from 
his parsonage, at St. Andrew's, which was afterwards known 
as the Parish of St. Peter, where he gathered around him a 
congregation composed chiefly of Indians. 

By this time the Roman Catholic priesthood in the settle- 
ment was augmented by the addition of five to their number, 
making altogether, exclusive of the Bishop, eight priests labor- 
ing in the settlement, and thus the Catholics and Episcopalians 
throve in their work, while the Scotch were still without a 
minister of their own denomination. 

The first Roman Catholic mission established in connection 
with the church at Red River, was at a place about thirty 
miles up the Asvsiniboine, named Saint Paul's, the Rev. G. 
A. Belcourt being placed in charge of it. Here the worthy 
priest succeeded in gathering around him a few Indians and 
half-breeds, by whose aid he managed to erect several houses 
and a church, where he labored for a number of yeai-s. The 
next mission was founded by Rev. Joseph E. Darveau at a 
point on the Winnipeg River called " Wabassimong," about 
200 miles south-east of Red River, where another church was 
built, and a settlement formed around it. This was followed 
about a couple of years afterwards by a third mission on the 
shores of Lake Manitoba, which for a time flourished, and a 
church, parsonage and school being built, it was hoped that it 
would continue to prosper. But the Catholic priests experi- 
enced many diflSculties, and, being poor, had not the same op- 
portunity to extend their labors as rapidly as the Protestant 
missionaries. What they lacked in means, however, they 
made up by zealous perseverance, and gradually they made 

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their way midst drawbacks and disappointments. In 1844, 
twelve priests had joined the diocese of Juliopolis, and in that 
year, some sisters of charity belonging to the order of the 
Grey Nuns, or " Filles de Madame de Youville," came to the 
settlement, and founded the first convent in the North-West. 
In that year also, Rev. Mr. Darveau met his death by drown- 
ing, while on his way to " Wabassimong," and not long after- 
wards the mission at that place had to be abandoned. 

Early in 1845, at the request of the Bishop of Juliopolis, 
Rev. P^re Aubert, an Oblat Father, was sent to assist him, 
and accompanying him was Fr&re Tach^, a novice of the Or- 
der, who, upon his arrival, was admitted into the ranks of 
priesthood by ordination of Bishop Provencher. Rev. Pere 
Aubert was then made Vicar-General of the diocese, and, 
through his agency, the young priest Tach^ was received into 
the Order of Oblats. 

Thus matters stood with the Roman Catholics in 1845, and 
now we will once more turn our attention to the Church of 
England. In 1838, Rev. Mr. Jones took his final departure 
from the settlement for England, and the entire charge of the 
parish was left in the hands of Mr. Cochran, thus imposing 
upon him more work than he could well attend to. Each 
Sunday he regularly attended service at the upper, middle 
and lower churches, at the hour arranged for his convenience, 
thus necessitating a journey of between thirty and forty 
miles, in addition to his regular clerical labors. Mr. Cochran 
was an indefatigable and earnest worker, and no doubt per- 
formed his extra duties cheerfully, but he must have experi- 
enced a feeling of relief when he welcomed the arriv^al of 
Rev. John Smethurst in 1839, who immediately took charge 
of the church at St. Peters. In 1841, Rev. Abraham Cowley 

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came to the settlement and took over the middle church, and 
in 1844 Rev. John McCallum arrived, and became incumbent 
of the upper one, thus allowing Mr. Cochran to give his whole 
attention to St. Andrew's. In 1846, he began making pre- 
parations for the erection of the second church in his parish, 
and while the work was in progress, he handed over the pas- 
torate to Rev. Robert James, and paid a visit to England, be- 
ing absent for about a year. Soon after his return, the death 
of Mr. McCallum left him the extra duty of attending to the- 
wants of the upper church, in addition to his own, and thus 
it came about that for eight years, from 1839 to 1847, Mr. 
Cochran perfonned work w hich would ha^e tried the strength 
of the strongest man. Indeed, he is regarded to this da}' as- 
having been or.e of the most active and zealous missionaries 
in the country, and not onlj^ did he labor for the salvation of 
his flock, but he assisted them w^ith money, and in other ways, 
often clothing and feeding them when in want. 

The Church of England now began to extend their missions 
beyond the Red River, for we hear of Rev. Mr. Cowley estab- 
lishing one at Lake Manitoba, and about the same time, the 
Wesley ans established themselves at Lac la Pluie. In 1839^ 
the Hudson's Bay Company invited and encouraged the Wes- 
leyan Society to extend their missions to the Noi*th-\Vest 
Territories, and shortly afterwards, six stations were establish- 
ed, namely, at Moose, Michipicoten, Lac la Pluie, Fort Alex- 
ander, Edmonton and Norway House. 

The following extract from the minutes of a council held at 
Norway House, on June 24th, 1840, will show the position 
held by the Hudson's Bay Company in regard to the Wesley- 
an efforts: — 

Resolved, — That three missions be established in the North- 

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ern department this season, say one at Norway House, under 
the charge of Rev. Mr. Evans : one at Lac la Pluie, under the 
charge of the Rev. Mr. Mason : and one at Edmonton, under 
the charge of Rev. Mr. Rundle : that every facility be afforded 
them for successfully conducting their spiritual labors: and 
that a copy of the f)th paragraph of the Governor and commit 
tee's despatch of March 4th, 1840, on this subject, be forwarded 
to each of the gentlenien in charge of the above districts, for 
purpose of giving full effect to their Honors' instructions.'* 

In a letter dated August, 1841, Rev. James Evans, General 
Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions in the Hudson's Bay 
territories, writes as follows : — " Since my arrival in the coun- 
try, I have visited York Factory, of which I made the com- 
mittee aware last autumn. On my return, I remained at 
Norway House until Deceml>er, and left it early in that 
month, to visit the posts within my reach. During the win- 
ter, I visited Moose Lake, the Pas, Cumberland House, Shoal 
River, Fort Felly, Beaver Creek, Red River, on my way to 
Fort Alexander and Behring's River : and returned to Norway 
House at the latter end of March. I was received at every 
post of the Honorable Company with the greatest kindness, 
and experienced every attention from the gentlemen in 

charge I intend, by the Divine blessing, to visit the 

following places during a journey which it is my pui'pose to 
commence, namely, Cumberland, Carlton, Fort Pitt, and Eki- 
monton, w^here I hope to meet my good brother, the Rev. Mr. 
Rundle. After spending a few weeks in that vicinity, I shall 
proceed by winter conveyance (snow shoes and dog caniages), 
to Forts Jaspar, Assiniboine, Lesser Slave Lake, Dun vegan, 
Vermilion, Chipewyan, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Green Lake, 
and back by Carlton : thence to Norway House by the Sas- 

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I '■ \ ■ t K t I 

't .■ !!, ...-, I. 

1 ,, 

' 1 ■' 

' ' i 



V . \ ' ' 

I \ 1 ,1 

U Hi. 

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His Grace Archbishop of Rupert's Land. 

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katchewan or Athabasca boats, reaching Norway House in 
June or July, 1842. The journey is undertaken with the 
decided approbation of the Governor-in-chief, Sir George 
Simpson, who kindly assured me that he would, himself, in 
passing the Saskatchewan, see that every preparation should 
be made for me to proceed-thence." 

The ministei'S engaged in the Wesleyan missions at that 
time were Rev. Messrs. Evans, Barnley, Mason, Bundle, Jacobs, 
and they received every encouragement and assistance in their 
work, but their efforts were not crowned with the success 
they desired, although the Wesleyans have continued ever 
since to work in the country. 

Turning once more to the Roman Catholics, we find that in 
1842 the Rev. Mr. Thibeault travelled westward, and was the 
first priest to visit the Saskatchewan Valley and English 
River District. In the former, he founded the mission of Ste. 
Anne, in 1843, and in the latter, the stations called Notre 
Dame des Victoires, and Isle la Crosse, at Red Deer Lake, 
and about this time the Catholic missionaries must have been 
very active, for we find in the report of the Wesleyan mis- 
sions of 1843, that Mr. Rundle's position at Eldmonton was 
particularly trying, the people around him being chiefly Ro- 
man Catholics, and the priest from Red River having that 
summer visited extensively both the company's posts and the 

The Catholic missionaries built comfortable mission stations 
in different parts of the country, which were erected after the 
expenditure of much trouble and hard labor; and not only 
this, but the enthusiastic builders of these houses were ever 
on the move, and may be described as belonging to a class of 
men who, at the first intimation or hope of permanent work, 

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were quite willing to take up their abode in the wigwams of 
the savages, until such time as they could establish themselves 
in more comfortable quarters. In this way, the Catholic mis- 
sions spread rapidly, their work becoming more important 
each year, until their labors extended to every part of the 

From 1844 to 1850, Bishop Provencher alone conducted the 
business of his diocese, but in the latter year a coadjutor and 
successor was appointed, in the person of Pere Tachd, who, as 
a young novice of the Order of Oblats, arrived in the countiy 
in 1845. In less than five years he rose from that humble 
position to become the Bishop of Arath, the title which he 
assumed as coadjutor to the Bishop of Juliopolis, and when, 
in 1853, Monseigneur Provencher died, he became the Bishop 
of St. Boniface. 

The Scotch settlers, during all this time, had continued the 
agitation for a minister of their own creed, but so far with- 
out success. It seems somewhat singular that the Hudson s 
Bay Company should have shown so much sympathy, and 
extended so much assistance to the other denominations, while 
the petitions of the Scotch for a minister were received with 
a deaf ear. There is this, however, to be said about it — the 
Church of England and the Wesley ans appeared to take an 
interest in the subject of the North-West missions, while the 
Church of Scotland, so far as can be learned, took no active 
steps in the matter. The agitators on behalf of the Scotch 
took the ground that a promise had been made by Lord Sel- 
kirk to send a Scotch minister to Red River, producing at the 
same time proof that such was the case, and held that the 
Hudson's Bay Company, in taking over the settlement, had a 
righc to carry out the obligations of their predecessor. The 

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company, on the other hand, looking at it purely in the light 
of a claim made on them, treated it from a business point of 
view, without sentiment, and declared that when the transfer 
was made to them the providing of a Scotch minister for Red 
River was not even mentioned, and on that ground they re- 
fused the claim. Had the matter been presented to them in a 
different form, it is quite possible the Scotch would have had 
their minister at a much earlier period than they did. Now, 
it must be clear to every unbiased mind, looking at the subject 
at this late day, that each side had a good case in the view 
taken of it. The Scotch, relying on the promise made to 
them, expected its fulfilment, and the Hudson's Bay Company, 
claiming to have no share in that promise, repudiated all re- 
sponsibility in regard to it, while the Presbyterians in Scot- 
land, from whom the minister was to be obtained, stood aloof 
during the time the discussion was going on. This, it appears 
to us, is a plain, unvarnished statement of the case. 

In order, however, to place the subject clearly before our 
readers, we will quote from the correspondence that took place 
between the various parties in relation to it. In a petition, 
presented by the Scotch settlers to the Governor and commit- 
tee of the company, in 1844, the following clause appears : 

"That your petitioners, before leaving Scotland, had a 
solemn promise from the late Earl of Selkirk, that a clergyman 
of their own church would either accompany them to this 
country, or join them the following year in it. * That when 
his Lordship visited the colony, in the year 1817, this promise 
was then renewed; but the troubles, or rather the lawsuits, in 
which his Lordship was engaged in Canada, detained him long 
there ; and the state of his health after going home, rendering 
it necessary for him to travel on the Continent of Europe, 

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when he unfortunately died, put an end to the hope which 
they, up to that period, hatl cherished, and which has not since 
beei^ realized." 

The letter then drew attention to the fact that the company 
were assisting other missionaries in the country, while the 
Scotch were being allowed to grope in the dark, and it con- 
cluded as follows : 

" Therefore, your petitioners would most humbly and re- 
spectfully implore your honorable board to send to this colony 
a Presbyterian clergyman, of the Kirk of Scotland, for their 
edification and instruction ; and, as their means will furnish 
him with but a small stipend, you would be pleased, according 
to your usual liberality, to contribute something towards his 
support, in like manner as you have done to all the mission- 
aries sent to your territories." 

The Governor and committee I'eplied to this letter on the 
31st March, 1845, and the following is an extract from their 
letter : 

" The reasons urged in support of the petition are the jj^i^ant- 
ing of similar indulgences to missionaries of other denomina- 
tions, and a promise made by the late Earl of Selkirk to the 
original settlers of Red River; with respect to which the 
Governor and committee have to observe, in the first place, 
that the indulgences gi*anted to missionaries can form no pre- 
cedent for maintaining the minister of a Presbyterian congre- 
gation at Red River Settlement, as these indulgences are 
allowed in consideration of the services rendered by the mis- 
sionaries in instructing and converting the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants, who are unable to provide religious instrtiction for 
themselves; and secondly, that they know of no such pix^mine 
as that stated to have been given by the late Earl of Selkirk. 

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" During the time that the settlement was under the direc- 
tion of the late Earl of Selkirk, no steps appear to have been 
taken with a view to the appointment of a Presbyterian 
clergyman." (Note — This was incorrect, aa Mr. Sage was ap- 
pointed by his Lordship, but never visited Red River.) " Nor 
when it was transferred by his Lordship to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, was any stipulation to that effect made with them. 
Nevertheless, if you and those you represent are prevented 
by conscientious scruples from availing yourselves of the re- 
ligious services of a clergyman of the Church of England, the 
Governor and committee will order a passage to be provided 
in one of their ships for any minister to be supported by 
yourselves whom you may think tit to engage." 

The representatives of the Scotch then procured affidavits 
from several of the settlers in confirmation of Lord Selkirk's 
promise, and forwarded them with another petition to London, 
and on the 6th June, 1846, the Governor and committee sent 
the following reply : 

"Gentlemen — I am directed by the Governor, Deputy-Gov- 
ernor, and Committe of the Hudson's Bay Company to ac- 
knowledge receipt of your letter of the 18th July last, with 
accompanying documents, and to acquaint you that they can 
neither recognize the claim therein advanced, nor do anything 
more towards the object you have in view than they have 
already stated their willingness to do. 

" I have the honor to be, etc., 

"(Signeil), A. Barclay, 

"Secretary " 

This reply being decisive, the settlers turned to the Free 
Church of Scotland and laid their position before that body, 
but for three years received no reply. In 1849, however. Rev. 

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John Bonar, the convener of the colonial committee of the 
Free Church of Scotland, wrote that he had not succeeded in 
finding a suitable minister, several to whom he had applied 
having declined to go, but the hope was expressed that one 
would be found. 

The Scotch settlers, or their representatives, then turned 
their attention towards gaining possession of the Upper 
Church and ground, which they held properly belonged to 
them under the gift of Lord Selkirk. This necessitated a 
good deal of correspondence w^ith the company's officials, and 
the clergy of the Church of England, who then occupied the 
property in dispute. At last, in October, 1850, a compromise 
was effected, by which the Scotch gave up their claim to the 
Upper Church, receiving, in return, a deed of Frog Plain a few 
miles farther down the river, for the i)urposes of sites for 
church, church-yard, school-house, and glebe, and a grant of 
£150 towards the erection of a suiuxble building. 

While these negotiations were going on, the case of the 
Scotch settlers had been transferred from Scotland to the 
Presbyterian Church of Canada, where the matter was taken 
up with some spirit, and the indications w^ere that a minister 
for Red River would soon be procured. The settlei^ then held 
a meeting, and, as a result of it, a manse was at once erected 
at Frog Plain in anticipation of the arrival of the expected 
clergyman, but for some reason his coming was delayed, and 
it was not until the 19th September, 1851, that the Rev. John 
Black w^as welcomed into the settlement as the first Presby- 
terian minister to the long neglected Scotch of Red River. 

And now, in order to show the interest that was awakening 
in church circles respecting the missions in the North-West, 
we w^ill refer to the visit of the Bishop of Montreal in 1844. 

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His Lordship had cherished for some years the hope of mak- 
ing a journey through the Hudson's Bay territories, but mat- 
ters connected with his diocese and long illness prevented him, 
until May of the year above mentioned. 

Leaving Lachine on the 16th May, in a large canoe manned 
by eight French Canadians, and Six Iroquois Indians, he as- 
cended the Ottawa to where the Mattawan joins it. He then 
passed from this through La Petite Rivi&re, and some small 
lakes traversing the high lands, until he reached Lake Nipiss- 
ing, and having crossed it descended the whole length of 
French River into Lake Huron. Coasting up the northern 
shore of this lake, for 190 miles, he came to Sault Ste. Marie, 
and, crossing over, passed into Lake Superior and along the 
northern shore until Fort William was reached. Here the 
large canoe was exchanged for two smaller ones, and the jour- 
ney by rivers, lakes, and portages made, until Lake Winnipeg 
was reached and the Red River entered. 

In his journal, which he published after his return to Mont- 
real, he thus writes of his treatment at the company's posts. 
"I carried," he says, *' a letter from Sir George Simpson to be 
presented at every post where I should stop ; but the kindness 
and attention which we everywhere experienced at the hands 
of the company's servants were marked by an empresseinetit, 
which showed them to proceed from spontaneous feeling, and 
gave the better zest to those comforts and refreshments de- 
manded by the body, which were tendered in a manner and 
under circumstances stamping them with a resemblance to 
the exercise of primitive hospitality towards the way-worn 

The Bishop arrived at the Indian Settlement on Sunday, 
23rd June, 1844, and thus speaks of the scene which niet his 

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eyes : " There on the morning of the Lord's own blessed day, 
WQ saw them (the Indians) gathering already around their pas- 
tor, w^ho was before his door ; their children collecting in the 
same manner, with their books in their hands, all decently 
clothed from head to foot. Around were their humble dwel- 
lings, with the commencement of farms, and cattle grazing in 
the meadow ; the neat modest parsonage or mission house, 
with its garden attached to it, and the simple but decent 
church with the school house as its appendage, etc., etc." 

During his stay at Red River, the Bishop ordained as priest 
Rev. Abraham Cowley, and as deacon and priest. Rev. John 
McAUum, besides holding several confirmations at the difierent 
churches, and it may be interesting at this time to note his 
description of the four English Churches in the settlement, as 
they appeared then. *' The Indian Church," he says, " is a 
wooden building, painted white, fifty feet or upwards in length, 
with a cupola over the entrance. It has square-topped win- 
dows, which, so far, give it an unecclesiastical appearance. 
The Lower Church is also of wood, and of the length of fifty 
feet. The Middle Church, which is not quite completed, and 
which has been built by the unaided exertions of the congre- 
gation, is an edifice of stone, sixty feet long. The Upper 
Church, which is also of stone, is ten feet longer, and will ac- 
conuiiodate 500 persons. About 400 upon one occasion, met 
me there." The Bishop also describes a boarding-school at 
the upper church, which was being conducted by Rev. Mr. 
McAllum on his own account, with the help of an allowance 
from the company, where children of the Hudson's Bay offi- 
cers and others were educated, and he gives some very inter- 
esting particulars in regard to the population, etc., of the set- 

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The whole population of the Red River Colony, according to 
his statement, was 5,143, of which number 2,798 were Roman 
Catholics, and 2,345 Protestants. The heads of families were 
870, of whom 571 were Indians or half-breeds, 152 Canadians, 
61 Orkneymen, 49 Scotchmen. 22 Englishmen, and 2 Swiss, 
Wales, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland and the 
United States, each contributed one to the list. There were 
730 dwellings, 1,219 barns or stables, 18 windmills and one 
water-mill, 821 horses, 749 mares, 107 bulls, 2,207 cows, 1,580 
calves, 1,976 pigs, and 3,599 sheep. These particulars were 
from a census taken in March, 1843. 

The Bishop, after a pleasant visit, during which he did 
much to aid and encourage the missionary work, left the In- 
dian settlement on the 10th July, and arrived at Lachine on 
the 14th August, having been absent about three months. 

In 1840, Mr. , Henry Budd (afterwards ordained as a 
priest), the boy whom Rev. Mr. West baptized in 1822, was 
sent to Cumberland House as a catechist, and met with so 
much success that Rev. John Hunter was appointed to take 
charge of the mission. We have already referred to the sta- 
tion established at Manitoba Lake, and in addition to this, 
a mission was organized at Fort Ellice, and thus matters stood 
with the Church of England about the time when the Bishop- 
ric in Rupert s Land was formed. 

In 1838, Mr. James Leith, a chief factor in the Hudson's Bay 
Company's service, bequeathed a sum of about £12,000 to be 
expended for the benefit of Indian missions in Rupert's Land, 
but on his death his family disputed the bequest with the 
executors, which resulted in a process of litigation. This was 
closed in 1849, by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Langdale, 
the decision being favorable to the missions, on the understand- 

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ing that the Hudson s Bay Company should donate the sum of 
£300 annually to be set apart for the purpose of endowing a 
bishopric in Rupert s Land, which, added to the interests of 
the £12,000, rendered the income of the see about £700. This 
arrangement was carried out by order in Chancery, and in 
1849 the Diocese of Ruperts Land was established by Lettei-s 
Patent under the Great Seal, and in the same year Rev. David 
Anderson, who was at one time tutor of St. Bee's Theological 
College, Cumberland, was consecrated Bishop of Rupert's Land, 
in the Cathedral of Canterbury. He arrived in the settlement 
during the autumn of 1849, and established his head-quarters 
at the Upper Church, which he named the Cathedral of St. 

Previous to this, the Bishop of Juliopolis had erected a 
cathedral, and a house attached to it, used as a residence 
for himself and his priests. The cathedral i^ said to have 
looked i-emarkably well when seen from a distance, its two 
spires, one hundred feet high, towering high over the prairie, 
and its chime of bells, of singular melwlj', being heard a long 
distance off. 

There were several changes made in the location of the dif- 
ferent clergymen of the Church of England, after the Bishop's 
arrival, and we cannot better close this chapter than by noting 
the number of Church of England clergymen in the North- 
West about the year 1857. There were then nineteen clergy- 
men, exclusive of the Bishop, fifteen of whom were furnished 
and paid by the Church Missionary Society, two by the 
Society for the Propagation of the (Jospel, one by the Colo- 
nial Church Society, and one was chaplain to the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

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Harmon, in his journal of voyages and travels in the inter- 
ior of North America, in 1819, thus describes the character of 
the voyageur. 

" Like their ancestors the French, the Canadian voyageurs 
possess lively and fickle dispositions, and they are rarely sub- 
ject to depression of spirits of long continuance, even when in 
circumstances the most adverse. Although what they consider 
good eating and drinking constitutes their chief good, yet, 
when necessity compels them to it, they submit to great pri- 
vation and hardship, not only without complaining, but even 
with cheerfulness and gaiety. Thej'^ are very talkative, and 
extremely thoughtless, and make many resolutions which are 
broken almost as soon as formed. They never think of pro- 
viding for future wants, and seldom laj^ up any part of their 
earnings to serve them in a day of sickness, or in the decline of 
life. Trifling provocations will often throw them into a rage, 
but they are easily appeased w^hen in anger, and they never 
harbor a revengeful purpose against those by whom they con- 
ceive that they have been injured. They are not brave, but 
when they apprehend little danger, they will often, as they say, 
play the man. They are very deceitful, are exceedingly smooth 
and polite, and are even gross flatterers to the face of a person, 
whom they will basely slander, behind his back. 

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"They pay little regard to veracity or to honesty. Their 
word is not to be trusted, and they are much addicted to pil- 
fering, and will even steal articles of considerable value, when 
a favorable opportunity offers. A secret, they cannot keep. 
They rarely feel gratitude, though they are often generous. 
They are obedient, but not faithful servants. By flattering 
their vanity, of which they have not a little, they may be per- 
suaded to undertake the most difficult enterprises, provided 
their lives are not endangered. Although they are generally 
unable to read, yet they acquire considerable knowledge of 
human nature, and some general information in regard to the 
state of the country. As they leave Canada while they are 
young, they have but little knowledge of the principles of the 
religion which their priests profess to follow, and before they 
have been long in the Indian country, they pay little more at- 
tention to the Sabbath, or the worship of God, or any other 
divine institution, than the savages themselves." 

Such is a description of the men who manned the canoes 
of the fur companies, and underwent the greatest hardships 
and privations during the long and arduous journeys they 
undertook for their masters. The picture may be overdrawn, 
but from all we can learn they were a reckless, and at times 
a dissipated lot of men, ready for the most onerous duties 
when required of them, and, when not engaged in tripping, 
idle, wasteful and dissolute. According to Sir George Simpson, 
there were 500 of them in the employ of the Hudson's Bay 
Company annually during his time, but of these many were 
Indians engaged merely for a trip in summer, and a number 
of those lived at the Indian settlement, where Mr. Cochran es- 
tablished a mission. 

In the early days, canoes, some of them being very large 

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and strong, were used, but these gradually gave way to boats, 
which were worked by nine men, eight of whom were rowers 
and the other the steersman. Brigades composed of from 
four to eight of these craft, were kept constantly going during 
the summer between the various posts, carrying supplies and 
bringing back the bales of furs collected during the season. 
When a strong rapid was encountered in river travelling, the 
boats were unloaded, and, along with their freight, were car- 
ried overland, sometimes a considerable distance, so that the 
work was often very severe. If the rapids were not suffi- 
ciently fonnidable to render a portage necessary, the crew,, 
going ashore, would pull the vessels along by means of lines. 
On the lakes, the men rowed, unless the wind was favorable, 
when a large square sail was hoisted, and they, for the time 
being, were free from toil, but this only happened occasionally 
during a long trip. 

The goods carried in the boats were usually done up in 
bales, each weighing about a hundred pounds, and as there 
were generally from seventy to eighty of these in a boat, the 
task of portaging them was not an easy one. 

This, however, at one time, was the principal mode of 
freighting the supplies and furs which the Hudson's Bay 
Company had, and sometimes when the voyageurs mutinied 
and refused to carry the goods, it entailed heavy losses. The 
custom was to make advances to the men during their period 
of idleness, and as they generally spent a large portion of the 
money in drink and dissipation, when they came to start upou 
a trip, they were in a state of destitution. They would then 
frequently make unreasonable demands, and, if not complied 
with, would strike and refuse to carry out the contract they 
had entered into. The voyageur of the boat was as reckless. 

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i in pro V if lent and unreliable, as the voyageur of the canoe in 
the early days. 

Tlie company latterly transporte<i much of their supplies by 
ox -cart over the plains, and the calling of the voyageur be- 
came of less importance to the fur trade. The carts used 
were a>n8tructe<i entirely of wood without any iron whatever, 
the axles and rims of the wheels forming no exception. If a 
break occurred, it was mended by means of a strip of dried 
buffalo hide being soaked in water and wound round the in- 
jured part, and as this dried, it contracted and hardened, thus 
binding the break firmly, and making the cart as strong as 
ever. Each cart was drawn by one ox or an Indian horse, the 
weight of the load carried being from 900 to 1,200 lbs., and 
the conmion rate of progress, about twenty miles a day. The 
numlxir of carts in a train varied, sometimes amounting to 
several hundreds, and in that case it was divided into brigades 
of ten carts each, strung out in single file along the prairie. 
To each three carts there was one man, and the whole train 
had a supply of spare animals, varying in number according 
U) the state of the tracks, in case of accident, or the giving out 
through fatigue, of oxen or horees, an event that frequently 
happened on a long trip. The rate of freight paid by the 
company from St. Paul's, Minnesota, to which place the 
freighting carts went in large numbei-s, was from sixteen to 
eighteen shillings per 100 lbs., but a large proportion of this 
was paid in goods, at Fort Garry prices, which reduced the 
actual cost of freight very considerably. Advances were 
ma<le to the freighters during the winter, to be applied on 
their spring and summer work on the same plan as carried 
out with the voyageurs, but in the case of the former, the 
ntont?y was generally spent in support of their families, while 

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in the latter it was usually spent in drink. It was estimated 
that the Hudson's Bay Company and petty traders employed 
about fifteen hundred of those carts, between St. Paul and 
Red River, and from three to five hundred more to the Sas- 
katchewan and other inland districts, so that there were from 
600 to 700 men engaged in this busineas. 

We now come to another class of men who were by far the 
most important in the North- West at the period we are writ- 
ing about. The hunters of the plains were, as a rule^ as reck- 
less, and nearly as improvident as the voyageurs, only they 
were a brave people, the nature of their calling bringing them 
face to face with danger in pursuit of the chase and in attacks 
from hostile Indians. The system of giving them almost un- 
limited credit which prevailed, at one time led these men to 
burden themselves heavily with debt, under which they strug- 
gled from one season to another. If the hunt proved success- 
ful they were generally able to pay up arrears — if it was bad 
they sank the deeper into debt, and so they went for years, 
few of them being able to accumulate wealth. 

After the union of the fur companies, the plain hunters in- 
creased in numbers rapidly, the excitement and freedom of the 
life attracting many to follow it. In 1820, the number of 
carts assembled to go to the buffalo hunt was 540. In 1825, 
the number had increased to 680 ; in 1830, to 820 ; in 1835, to 
970, and in 1840, to 1210, and to give some idea of the capital 
invested in the business, we append the following statement 
relating to the outfit of the last named year : — 

1,210 carts cost £1,815 Os. Od. 

620 hunters* wages - 1,860 

650 women's " 1,462 10 

360 boys and girls' wages - - - - 360 

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740 guns cost £1,480 Os. Od. 

150 gallons gunpowder cost - - - 120 

1,300 pounds trading balls cast - - - 65 

6,240 gun flints cost 13 

100 steel daggei-s " - 15 

100 couteaux de chasse cost - - - 15 

403 buflalo runners (horses) cost - - 6,045 

655 cart horses cost 5,240 

586 draught oxen cost - - - - 3,516 

1,210 sets of harness ------ 484 

403 riding smldles " . - - . 161 4 

403 bridles and whips cost - - - 201 10 

1,240 scalping knives " - - - 31 

448 half axes cost ------ 56 

Camp equipage, tents, culinaiy utensils, 

etc., cost 1,059 16 


or in the neighborhood or $120,000, one half at least of which 
being advanced to the huntei-s on credit. 

The paHies belonging to the summer hunt generally started 
from the settlement in June, and returned about the beginning 
of August, with their stock of pemmican and dried meat. 
The fall hunters left during August and remained away till 
the end of October or early in November, many of them, how- 
ever, remaining on the plains all winter to hunt the buflTalo 
for the robes, which they brought into the settlement for sale 
in the following spring. There were generally two parties, 
one of which proceeded in search of the buffalo in a southerly 
and the other in a south- westerley direction, each painty, how- 
ever, acting indepen<lently of each other. The custom of the 

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huntera was to leave the settlement in small bodies as soon as 
their arrangements for the trip were completed, and at a given 
spot on the plains all would assemble for the purpose of form 
ing camp. 

When all were assembled, the roll was called, a council of 
the principal men held, and a chief and staff officers selected. 
There were captains and guides appointed, the latter being the 
standard-bearers of the party, and the hoisting of the flag 
was the signal each morning for a start to be made, and when 
it was taken down it signified an order to encamp. 

Thus they travelled on, day after day, under a regular 
systemized plan, until the haunt of the buffalo was rea^ched, 
and not only were they under command of competent men 
chosen from amongst themselves, but they framed laws which 
had to be observed by all. Of these latter, the following will 
serve as an example : 

1. No buffalo to be run on the Sabbath day. 

2. No party to fork off, lag behind, or go before without 

3. No person or party to run buffalo before the general 

4. Every captain, with his men, in turn to patrol the camp, 
and keep guard. 

5. For the first trespass against these laws, the offender to 
have liis saddle and bridle cut up. 

6. For the second offence, the coat to be taken off the offen- 
der s back, and be cut up. 

7. For the third offence, the oflTender to be flogged. 

8. Any person convicted of theft, even to the value of a 
sinew, to be brought to the middle of the camp, and the 

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crier to call out his or her name three times, adding the 
word " Thief " at each time. 

Honesty was proverbial amongst the half-breeds of the 
plains, and the punishment in clause 8 was the worst form in 
which it could be administered, as the disgrace of being con- 
sidered a thief was taken much to heart by the very worst of 

The formation of the camp was circular, all the carts being 
placed side by side, the trams outward, and within this line 
the tents were placed in double and treble rows, the animals 
being kept within this circle of barricades in time of danger, 
but when none was apprehended the horses and oxen grazed 
on the outside. 

The proceeds of the hunt were pemmican, dried meat, 
sinews, tongues, robes and skins. The pemmican we have 
already described in chapter eight. The dried meat was 
simply the flesh of the buffalo cut into strips and dried in the 
sun, the robes were the winter skins, when the fur was thick, 
tanned by a process familiar to the hunters, and the skins con- 
sisted of the hide of the animal divested of hair, and tanned 
into soft leather, from which moccasins and clothing were 

When the hunters entered the country in the neighborhood 
of which the buffalo were known to be, no gun was permitted 
to be fired until in sight of -the herd, and the word of com- 
mand was spoken by the captain. At the word Ho! the 
horsemen would start in a body, loading and firing on horse- 
back, and leaving the dead animals to be identified after the 
run was over. The himters would enter the chase with their 
mouths full of bullets, and, when loading, the powder was 
poured into the barrel of the gun from the hand, a bullet 

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dropped from the mouth into the muzzle, and almost before 
the ball had time to reach the powder the piece would be fired, 
without putting it to the shoulder. In this way guns fre- 
quently exploded, and it was no uncommon thing to see a 
hunter without a thumb or some of the fingers, as a result of 
this carelessness. 

These hunts were participated in by so many, and the 
slaughter was so great, that a serious decrease in the number 
of buffalo took place, which threatened the transport business 
of the country, pemmican and dried meat being the staple 
articles of food used by the freighters. The Indians, too, 
were most wasteful, and killed the buflTalo often out of pure 
wantonness, when the carcasses would be left to rot on the 
plain, thousands of animals being sacrificed each year in this 
way, so that it is no wonder that to-day the buffalo is almost 

About the year 1834, private individuals began importing 
goods from England on their own account, and for their own 
use, and gradually the system extended, until they who com- 
menced importing for themselves soon enlarged the field of 
enterprise, and sent for goods on speculation. This for a 
time was countenanced by the Hudson's Bay Company, until 
agitation against exclusive trade in furs began, when they 
placed obstacles in the way of it, especially as the petty trad- 
ers had taken part with the agitation. But this did not des- 
troy the trade, for the petty merchants, being not altogether 
dependent on the English market, received a large portion of 
their supplies from the United States. Up to the time of the 
demonstration in favor of Sayer, in 1849, these petty traders 
confined themselves to buying and selling ordinary merchan- 
dise, the traffic in furs being forbidden, although undoubtedly 

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they did a good deal in a quiet way in the trading and smug- 
gling of peltries. After 1849, however, they became bolder 
in this respect, and gradually came to deal openly in furs, 
until they finally threw off all restraint, and openly outfitted 
men, and sent them into the interior to traffic with the In- 
dians. The company, then, instead of endeavoring to punish 
them, entered with all the force of wealth and superior ad- 
vantages into keen competition with them, in the hope of 
being able to crush them in that way. 

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In July, 1849, the British House of Commons passed an Ad- 
dress to the Crown, praying that an enquiry might be made 
into the legality of the powers claimed by the Hudson's Bay 
Company, in respect of territory, trade, taxation, and govern- 
ment. Earl Grey, accordingly, communicated with the com- 
pany on the 23rd August, asking for a statement of the rights 
to which they considered themselves entitled, and the extent 
to which they were exercised. The directors complied with 
this request, and, in September, forwarded a carefully-prepared 
document, in which they set forth their various claims very 
fully, giving the authority in each case. The several acts re- 
cognizing the claims of the company were quoted at length, 
and in regard to taxation and government, the statement sub- 
mitted by them declared that, under their charter, they were 
invested with power to make, ordain, and constitute necessary 
laws, and to levy fines, taxes, etc., and that it further provided, 
" that all lands, islands, territories, plantations, forts, fortifica- 
tions, factories, or colonies, where the company's factories and 
trade were, should be immediately under the power and com- 
mand of the Governor and company, their successors and 
assigns, and the said Governor and company were empowered 
to appoint and establish governors, and all their officers to 
govern them." In pursuance of this authority, it was claimed 

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that the company invariably exercised all the powers of gov- 
ernment necessary for the administration of justice, and ap- 
pointed proper officers, who acted judiciously. It was also 
claimed that no exact system of taxation had been exercised, 
the whole expenses of the government of their territories hav- 
ing been defrayed without the aid of any contributions from 

This statement was submitted, in 1850, to Sir John ^Jervis 
and Sir John Romilly, the law officers of the crown, to ex- 
amine and report upon it, and they expressed the opinion that 
the rights claimed by the company properly belonged to them, 
adding that, for a more formal argument and decision of the 
questions at issue, the best tribunal would be the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council. 

Earl Grey then wrote to Mr. A. R. Isbister and the parties 
who had presented the petition against the company, in 1847, 
upon which chiefly the Address to the Crown had been based, 
asking whether they would appear as complainants against the 
company in order to test the case, but this they declined 
to take the responsibility of doing, and so the matter ended 
in 1850. 

In 1857, with reference to a despatch from Canada, laying 
claim to much country claimed by the company, the Crown 
lawyers (Sir Richard Bethell and Sir Henry Keating) gave an 
elaborate opinion, in the course of which they stated that — 
" The charter could not be considered apart from its existence 
for nearly two centuries, and nothing could be more unjust 
than to try this charter as a thing of yesterday." They held 
that the Crown could not with justice question the validity of 
the charter, nor the company^s territorial ownership of the 
land granted to it ; but, subject to certain qualifications, they 

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thought that exclusive rights of government or monopoly of 
trade could not be insisted on by the company as having been 
granted by the Crown, although it did possess limited powers 
of passing ordinances and exercising civil and criminal juris- 
diction. With regard to the geogi*aphical extent of the com- 
pany's territory, the Crown lawyers recommended that it 
might properly, and with advantage, be subjected to judicial 
enquiry, which might best be effected (with the consent of both 
Canada and the company) through the Judicial Committee of 
the Privy Council. 

A Select Committee of the House of Commons was then 
ordered in the following words : " To consider the state of 
those British possessions in North America which are under 
the administration of the Hudson's Bay Company, or over 
which they possess a License of Trade." The first session of 
this committee began to take evidence on the 20th February, 
1857, and the nineteen members composing it were as follow : 
The Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, Sir John Pakington, Lord 
John Russell, Mr. Gladstone, Lord Stanley, Mr. Roebuck, Mr 
Edward Ellice, Mr. Adderley, Mr. Lowe, Viscount Sandon, 
Messrs. Grogan, Kinnaird, Gregson, Blackburn, Charles Fitz- 
william, Gordon, Gurney, Percy Herbert, and Bell. 

This committee sat until the 9th March, and on 12th and 
13th May. Its composition was somewhat changed for the 
second session, Messrs. Gordon, Bell and Adderley retiring, 
and Mr. Alexander Matheson, Viscount Goderich, and Mr. 
Christy taking their places. 

The investigation and examination of witnesses ended on 
the 23rd June, and during the two sessions of the committee 
a mass of valuable evidence was taken respecting the North- 
West from witnesses of the highest standing. The gentlemen 

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examined were Mr. John Ross, Lieut.-Col. Lefroy, Dr. Rae, Sir 
George Simpson, Mr. William Kemaghan, Hon. Charles Wil- 
liam Wentworth Fitzwilliam, Mr. Alexan<ler Isbister, Rev. G. 
O. Corbett, Sir John Richardson, Colonel Crofton, Rear-Ad- 
miral Sir George Back, Mr. James Cooper, Chief Justice 
Draper, Bishop Anderson, Mr. Joseph Maynard, Mr. Alfred 
Robert Roche, Captain David Herd, Mr. John Miles, Mr. 
John McLaughlin, Mr. Richard Blanshard, Lieut.-Col. Cald- 
well, Dr. King, Mr. James Tennant, and Right Hon. Edward 

We have given the names of the witnesses in order to show 
that the testimony taken before the committee came from the 
very best sources of information obtainable, and the personnel 
of the committee is sufficient guarantee that the evidence was 
well weighed before the final report was passed. 

Before giving that report, however, we will refer to the ac- 
tion taken by Canada previous to and during the time when 
the committee sat. It seems that in reply to their despatch, 
the Secretary of State for the Colonies had sent w^ord to the 
Canadian authorities that it was the intention of Her Ma- 
jesty's Government to propose to the House of Commons to 
appoint the committee already referred to, and on learning * 
this they selected Chief Justice Draper, and sent him to Eng- 
land to watch the investigation which was about to take 
place. As it is of some importance to know the position taken 
by Canada at this time, we will give in full a petition pre- 
sented by the Board of Trade of the city of Toronto to the 
Legislative Council of Canada, on the 20th April, 1857, which 
fairly represents the sentiments of the Canadian public on 
North-West matters at that period. 

The petition was as follows : 

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'* That an association of traders, under the title of the ** Honorable 
Hudson's Bay Company," during a long period of time, have claimed and 
exercised a sovereignity in the soil, together with the right of exclusive 
trade over a large portion of the province of Canada, and that the exer- 
cise of such .claim is subversive of all those rights and privileges which 
were guaranteed to the inhabitants of Canada by Royal proclamation im- 
mediately after the conquest of the country, and subsequently secured to 
them by those Acts of the British Parliament which gave to Canada a 
constitutional government. 

** Your petitioners further show that up to the year 17C3, when, by the 
Treaty of Fontainebleau, Canada was ceded to the Biitish Crown, the 
whole region of country, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, and 
northward to the shore i»f the Hudson's Bay, had continued in the undis- 
puted possession of the Crown of France for a period of two centuries, 
and was known as La Nouvelle France, or Canada ; 

** That during the half century succeeding the treaty above alluded to, 
an extensive trade and traffic was continued to be carried on throughout 
the country, described by commercial companies and traders, who had 
established themselves there under authority of the Crown of France, and 
that a trade was likewise, and at the same period, carried on by other 
traders of British origin, who had entered into that country and formed 
establishments there consequent upon its cession to the British Crown ; 

*■* That such trade and traffic was carried on freely and independent of 
any restrictions upon commercial freedom, either as originally enacted by 
the Crown of France, or promulgated by that of Great Britain ; 

*' That in 1783, nearly all the aforesaid traders and companies united 
and formed an association, under the name of the ** North- West Company 
of Montreal," which said company made many important discoveries, and 
extended their establishments throughout the interior of North America, 
and to within the Arctic circle and to the Pacific Ocean ; 

** That in the year 1821, the said North-West Company united with the 
so-called Hudson's Bay Company a company to all intents and purposes 
foreign to the interests of Canada, and owing no responsibility to her. 

** That under the name of the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, they 
advance claims, and assume rights in virtue of an old charter of Charles 
II. granted in 1669, (the year given here is wrong, should be 1670), that 
bearing a date nearly 100 years before that this country had ceased to be 
an appendage to the Crown of France, it pertained to that of Great 
Britain ; 

** That under such pretended authority said Hudson's Bay Company 
assume a power to grant away, and sell the lands of the Crown, acquired 
by conquest, and ceded to it by the Treaty of 1673 ; 

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''That laid company have also assumed the power to enact tariffs, col- 
lect customs dues, and levy taxes against British subjects, and have en- 
forced unjust and arbitrary laws, in defiance of every principle of right 
and justice. 

** Your petitioners more especially pray the attention of your Honorable 
House to that region of country, designated as the Chartered Territory, 
over which said company exercises a sovereignty in the soil as well as a 
monopoly in the trade, and. which said company claims as a right that in- 
sures to them in perpetuOj in contradistinction to that portion of country 
over which they claim an exclusive right of trade, but for a limited peritni 

*' Whilst your petitioners believe that this latter claim is founded upon a 
legal right, they humbly submit that a renewal <if such license of exclusive 
trade is injurious to the interests of the country so moiiopo ised. and in 
contravention of the rights of the inhabitants of Canada. 

''Y'^our petitioners therefore humbly pray that your Honorable House 
will take into consideration the subject of how far the assumption of pow- 
er on the part of the Hudson*s Bay Company interferes with Canadian 
rights, and as to the necessity of more particularly declaring the bound- 
aries of Canada on the westward, and on the northward, and of extending 
throughout the protection of Canadian laws, and the benefits of Canadian 

** And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. 

** (Signed) Thomas Clarkson, President. 

'' Charles Robertson, Secretm-^f.'' 

The instructions given to Chief Justice Draper, were as 

follow : — 

Secretary's Office, Toronto, 

20th February, 1867. 

Sir — I have the honor, by command of His Excellency the Governor- 
General, to communicate to you, hereby, his Excellency's instructions for 
your guidance, in connection with your mission to England, ns the special 
agent, appointed to represent Canadian rights and interests, before the 
proposed Committee of the House of Commons, on the subject of the 
Hudson's Bay Territory 

I am to premise, however, that as it is impossible to anticipate the 
nature of the evidence that may be taken, or the conclusion that may be 
arrived at by the Committee, or the course which Parliament or Her 
Majesty's Government may think proper to adopt on the report of the 
committee, it is not in his Excellency s power to convey to you at present, 
any instructions of a precise or definite character. 

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His Excellency has, however, entire confidence in your knowledge and 
discretion, and he has the more readily intrusted this important mission 
to you, inasmuch as your high position in the colony removes you from 
all the ordinary influences of local or party consideration. 

Immediately on your arrival in London, you will place yourself in com- 
munication with the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the 
Colonies (to whom these instructions have been communicated), and as 
soon as any purliamentary committee, on the subject of the Hudson's Bay 
Company or territory is constituted, you will take steps for offering to 
afford all information in your power relating to the interest or claims of 

You will consider it as a part of your duty to watch over those interests 
by correcting any erroneous impressions, and by bringing forward any 
claims of a legal or equitable kind, which this province may possess, on 
account of its territorial position or past history. 

^You will not consider yourself as authorized to conclude any negotia- 
tion, or to assent to any definite plan of settlement affecting Canada, 
without reporting the particulars of the same, and your own views there- 
on, to his Excellency in Council. 

His Excellency has full and complete confidence in the justice and 
consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and he is sure that the in- 
terests and feelings of Canada will be consulted so far as is consistent with 
right and justice. The people of Canada desire nothing more. 

His Excellency feels it particularly necessary that the importance of 
securing the North West territory against the sudden and unauthorized 
influx of immigration from the United States should be strongly pressed. 
He fears that the continued vacancy of this great tract, with a boundary 
not marked on the soil itself, may lead to future loss and injury both to 
England and Canada. He wishes you to i rge the expediency of making 
out the limits, and so protecting the frontier of the lands above Lake 
Superior, about the Red River , and from thence to the Pacific, as effect- 
ually to secure them against violent seizure, or irregular settlement, until 
the advancing tide of emigrants from Canada and the United Kingdom 
may fairly flow into them, and occupy them as subjects of the Queen, on 
behalf of the British Empire. 

With these objects in view, it is especially important that Her 
Majesty's Government should guard anj renewal of a license of occupa- 
tion (should such be determined on), or any recognition of rights by the 
company, by such stipulations as will cause such license, or such rights, not 
to interfere with the fair and legitimate occupation of tracts adapted for 

It is unnecessary, of course, to urge in any way the future importiince 

Vancouver's Island as the key to all British North America on the side 

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of the Pacific, situated as it is between the extensive seaboard of Russian 
America, and the vast territory in the hands of the United States. 

His Excellency cannot foresee the course which a committee of the 
House of Commons may see fit to pursue in the proposed enquiry, or de- 
termine beforehand on what points evi lence may be required. 

At any moment, however, his Excellency will be ready to attend to 
your suggestions, and supply such information, either by documentary 
evidence, or by witnesses from Canada, as you may think necessary, and 
he may be able to send over. 

You will, of course, act upon such further instructions as may from 
time to time be conveyed to you by his Excellency's directions. 

I have, etc.. 

(Signed) E. A. Meredith, 

Assistant Secretary. 

Hon. W. H. Draper had been ten years on the bench of 
Upper Canada, during one year of which he had filled the of- 
fice of Chief Justice. In 1836, he was a member of the Exe- 
cutive Council of the province, being appointed the year fol- 
lowing, Solicitor-General, and in 1840 he became Attorney- 
General, a position which he held until in 1842 he was ele- 
vated to the bench. He was therefore highly qualified to act 
as Canada's representative, and the evidence which he gave 
before the committee showed marked ability. According to 
his statement, the enquiry instituted by the British House of 
Commons particularly affected the interests of Canada from 
three points of view. First, very materially with regard to 
the true boundary of Canada. Secondly, with regard to the 
deep interest which the people of Canada had that the terri- 
tory under question should be maintained as a British posses- 
sion, and thirdly, because the people of Canada looked to it as 
a country into which they ought to be permitted to extend 
their settlements. He admitted, however, that so long as 
there was no proper means of communication between the 
])rovince and the Hudson's Bay territory, Canada would not 

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be in a position to take over the latter. He suggested, there- 
fore, that the intervening country be first settled upon, and 
that in the meantime an ad interim provision be made for the 
government of the Xorth-West He expressed the opinion, 
too, that Canada would be willing to undertake the work of 
surveys and establishing communication on the understanding 
that the territory would be eventually transferred under its 
jurisdiction. He was not in favor of disturbing the Hudson's 
Bay Company in the possession of their forts and trade. 
Here are his exact words : " My own opinion is, that for the 
purpose of preserving peace among the Indians, and prevent- 
ing diflSculties arising, it is of great importance, for some time 
at all events (I should say a limited time), that the Hudson's 
Bay Company should maintain those stations, and that trade 
which they have hitherto carried on, which have kept the 

Indians at peace I should not be speaking candidly or 

fairly to the committee if I did not say that I think a very 
large portion of those (in Canada) who are most prominent in 
the movement, are so from a desire to share in the commercial 
profits of the fur trade ; I think that that is unquestionable ; 
but I think there is another portion of them, and a very con- 
siderable portion, too, who look to future consequence more 
than to that question Looking upon the determina- 
tion of Canada as a contingent determination, to depend upon 
the result of survey and exploration, I should suggest thai 
while that state of things, namely, the contingency on the one 
side exists, on the other side, the exclusive right of trade 
should exist also; in this spirit the Imperial Government gave 
to the Hudson's Bay Company the power of settling Van- 
couver's Island for a limited period, and it is in the nature, I 
presume, of an experiments I would ask, on the part of Can- 

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ada, to have at least the same privilegfe as was ^ven to the 
Hudson's Bay Company to settle this country, and in the 
meantime I think there would be no reasonable ground to ob- 
ject to the Hudson's Bay Company, during the same time, 
having the exclusive right to trade as I have suggested it ; if 
Canada can do nothing with that country, then it is for an- 
other authority to dispose of the whole question." 

But Chief Justice Draper had a firm belief that Canada 
could do something with the country in the way of develop- 
ment, and in proof of this we quote the following remarkable 
words spoken by him before the committee : " I hope," he 
said, " you will not laugh at me as very visionary, but I hope 
to see the time, or that my children may see the time, when 
there is a railway going all across that country and ending at 
the Pacific ; and so far as individual opinion goes, I entertain 
no doubt that the time will arrive when that will be accom- 
plished." Twenty-eight years after these words were uttered, 
the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven by 
Sir Donald A. Smith, thus completing a track laid from ocean 
to ocean. 

While the committee was sitting in London, the Provincial 
House of Parliament was in session in Canada, and a com- 
mittee of that House, composed of Hon. Messrs. Terrill (chair- 
man), Robinson, Cauchon, Brown, and Solicitor-General Smith, 
was appointed to take evidence with the view of ascertaining 
whether all the representations which had been made as to 
the impossibility of approaching the North-West, and as to 
the comparatively small quantity of fertile soil capable of 
supporting an agricultural population, were well founded or 
not. The witnesses examined were, Allan, MacDonell, George 
Gladman, and William MacD. Dawson, and their testimony, 

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which was rather unfavorable to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
was sent home for the consideration of the committee in Eng- 

The voluminous evidence collected by the committee of the 
Bi'itish House of Commons embraced every subject of any im- 
portance relating to the North-West, the fur trade, and the 
administration of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the report 
of this testimony, with th« various documents pertaining to it, 
is one of the most valuable publications on the subject ever 
issued. The space at our command forbids dealing with its 
contents as we would have liked to do, but there is one point 
of which mention should be made. 

The question of the boundary between Canaila and the Hud- 
son's Bay territory was an important one, and, in submitting a 
memorandum which he had prepared on the subject. Chief 
Justice Draper thus alludes to it: "As the construction of the 
' language of the charter, and the extent of the territory pur- 
porting to be granted, are involved, it may be considered de- 
sirable that the matter should be referred to the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council. In this event, I venture to re- 
quest, that counsel on the part of the Province may be per- 
initted to attend to watch the argument, and, if it be deemed 
necessary, that they may be heard in support of those views 
which more immediately affect the interests of Canada. 

"I have suggested a reference to the Judicial Committee, be- 
cause I think its opinion would command the ready acquies- 
ence of the inhabitants of Canada as to their legal rights, and 
because I believe they entertain a very strong opinion that a 
considerable portion of the territory occupied or claimed by 
the Hudson's Bay Company will be found to lie within the 
proper limits of the Province. 

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" Whether it would be desirable to sever this from the more 
general question of the legality and validity of the charter, is 
a matter I should desire to leave for your consideration, but 
in any event I think it expedient that counsel should be per- 
mitted to attend, to watch the interests of the Province." 

The memorandum prepared by Chief Justice Draper con- 
cludes as follows: "Enough, it is hoped, has been stated lo shew 
that the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company's territory are 
as open to question now as they have ever been, and that 
when called upon to define them, in the last century, they did 
not advance the claim now set up by them ; and that even 
when they were defining the boundary which they desired to 
obtain, under the Treaty of Utrecht, at a period most favor- 
able to them, they designated one inconsistent with their 
present pretensions, and which, if it had been accepted by 
France, would have left no trifling portion of the territory as 
part of the Province of Canada. 

" So far as has been ascertained, the claim to all the country 
the waters of which ran into Hudson's Bay, was not advanced 
until the time that the company took the opinions of the late 
Sir Samuel Romilly, Messrs. Cruise, Holyroyd, Scarlett and 
Bell. Without presuming in the slightest degree to question 
the high authority of the eminent men above-named, it may 
be observed that Sir Arthur Pigott, Serjeant Spankie, Sir 
Vicary Gibbs, Mr. Bearcroft, and Mr. (now Lord) Brougham, 
took a widely different view of the legal validity of the char- 
ter, as well as regards the indefinite nature of the territorial 
grant, as in other important particulars. 

" Of the very serious bearing of this question on the inter- 
ests of Canada, there can be no doubt. By the Act of 1774, 
the Province of Quebec is to 'extend westwanl to the banks of 

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Th- Ho 1. c 

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. f 

'' ' .1 
r it 

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Ttae Hon. Chief Justice Draper. 

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the Mississippi, and northward to the southern boundary of 
the territory granted to the Merchant Adventurei^s of England 
trading to Hudson's Bay/ 

"And in the division of the Provinces, under statute of 1791, 
the line was declared to run due north from Lake Temiscam- 
ary, * to the boundary line of Hudson's Bay,' and the Upper 
Province is declared to consist * of, or include all that part of 
Canada lying to the westward and southward of the said line.' 

" The union of the Provinces has given to Canada the 
boundaries which the two separate Provinces of Upper and 
Lower Canada had ; the northern boundary being the terri- 
tory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company. 

" It is now becoming of infinite importance to the Province 
of Canada to know accurately where that boundary is. Plans 
for internal communication, connected with schemes for agri- 
cultural settlements, and for opening new fields for commer- 
cial enterprise, are all, more or less, dependent upon or affected 
by this question ; and it is to Her Majesty's Government alone 
that the people of Canada can look for a solution of it. The 
rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, whatever they may be, 
are derived from the Crown ; the Province of Canada has its 
boundaries assigned by the same authority ; and, now that it 
appears to be indispensable that those boundaries should be 
settled, and the true limits of Canada ascertained, it is to Her 
Majesty's Government that the Province appeals to take such 
steps, as in its wisdom are deemed fitting or necessary, to 
have this important question set at rest." 

On the 31st July, the committee agreed finally upon their 
report, after Mr. Christy had proposed one of his own, and 
Mr. Gladstone a set of resolutions. The following is the 
report as agreed to : — 

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1. The near approach of the period when the license of exclusive tr»dr, 
granted in 1838, for 21 years, to the Hudson's Bay Company over that 
north -western portion of British America, which goes by the name of the 
Indian Territory, must expire, would alone make it necesaaiy that the • 
condition of the whole of the vast regit »ns which are under the adminis- 
tration of the company should be carefully considered ; but there are 
other circumstances which, in the opinion of your committee, would have 
rendered snch a course the duty of the Parliament and Goremment of 
thi*! country. 

2 Among these, your committee would specially enumerate, —the 
growing desire of our Canadian fellow -subjects that the means of ext^i- 
sion and regular settlement should be afforded to them, over a portion of 
this territory : the necessity of providing suitably for the administration 
of the affairs of Vancouver Isl-ind, and the present condition of the set- 
tlement which has b,^n forme! on the Ret! River. 

3. Your ct>mmittee have received much valuable evidence on these and 
other subjects connected with the inquiry which has been entrusted to 
tbem, and especially have had the advantage of hearing the statem^its of 
Chief Justice Draper, who was commissioned by the Government of Can- 
ada to watch tHis inquiry. In addition to this, your committee have 
received the evidence taken before a committee of the Legislative As- 
aembly, appointed to investigate this subject, c<»ntainiug much valuable 
information in reference to the interests and feeliogs of that important 
cc4ony. which are entitled to the greatest weight on this occstsion. 

4 Yoar comni'.ttee have also had the opinion of the law officers of the 
Crown communicated to them, on various points connected with the 
diarter of the Hudson s Bay Com|iany. 

6. The territory over which the company now exercise righto is of 
three descriptions : — 

Ist. The land held by charter, or Ru}>ert s Land. 

2nd. The land held by license, or the Indian Territ<»rj'. 

3rd . Vancouver's Island. ^ 

6. For the miture of the tenure by which these c^»untries are severally 
connected with the company, your c(»mmittee wuuld refer to the evidence 
they hare received and the documents appended to their report. 

7, Among the various objects of imperial policy, which it is important 
to attain, your committee consider that it is essential to meet the joat 
and reasonable wishes of C:&nada, to be enabled to annex to her territory 
snch portion of the lanil in her neighborhood as may be ai~ailable to ho* 
for the purposes of settlement, with which lands she is willing to open 
and maintain communications, and for which she will provide the means 
of local administration. Your committee apprehend that the districts <■» 

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the Red River and the Saskatchewan are among those likely to be desir- 
ed for early occupation. It is of great importance that the peace and 
good order of those districts should be effectually secured. Your com* 
mittee trust that there will be no difficulty in effecting arrangements as 
between Her Majesty's Government and the Hudson's Bay Company, by 
which these districte may be ceded to Canada on equitable principles, and 
within the districts thus annexed to her, the authority of the Hudson's 
Bay Company would of course entirely cease. 

8. Your committee think it best to content themselves with indicating 
the outlines of such a scheme, leaving it to Her Majesty's Government to 
consider its details more maturely before the Act of Parliament is prepar- 
ed, which will probably be necessary to carry it into effect. 

9. In case, however, Canada should not be willing, at a very early 
period, to undertake the government of the Red River District, it may be 
proper to consider whether some temporary provision for its administra- 
tion, may not be advisable. 

10. Your committee are of opinion that it will be proper to terminate 
the connection of the Hudson's Bay Company with Vancouver's Island, 
as soon as it can conveniently be done, as the best means of favoring the 
development of the great natural advantages of that important colony; 
means should also be provided for the ultimate extension of the colony 
over any portion of the adjoining continent, to the west of the Rocky 
Mountains, on which permanent settlement may be found practicable. 

11. As to those extensive regions, whether in Rupert's Land, or in the 
Indian Territory, in which for the present, at least, there can be no pros- 
pect of permanent settlement, to any extent, by the European race, for 
the purposes of colonization, the opinion at which your committee have 
arrived is mainly founded on the following considerations : 1st, The great 
importance to the more peopled portions of British North America that 
law and order should, as far as possible, be maintained in these terri- 
tories ; 2nd, The fatal effects which they believe would infallibly result 
to the Indian population from a system of open competition in the fur 
trade, and the consequent introduction of spirits in a far greater degree 
than is the case at present ; and 3rd, The probability of the indiscriminate 
destruction of the more valuable fur-bearing auimals in the course of a 
few years. 

12. For these reasons, your committee are of opini(»n that whatever may 
be the validity, or otherwise, of the rights clnimed by the Hudson's Bay 
Company under the charter, it is desirable that they should continue t4» 
enjoy the privilege of exclusive trade, which they now possess, except bo 
far as those privileges are limited by the foregoing recommendations. 

13. Your committee have now specified the principal objects which 
they think it would be desirable to attain. How far the chartered rights 

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olaimed by the Hudson's Bay Company niay prove an obstacle to their 
attainment, they are not able, with any certainty, to say. If this diffi- 
culty is to be solved by amicable adjustment, such a course will be best 
promoted by the Government, after communication with the company, as 
well as with the Government of Canada, rather than by detailed sugges- 
tions emanating from this committee. 

14. Your committee cannot doubt but that, when such grave interests 
are at stake, all the parties concerned will approach the subject in a spirit 
of conciliation and justice, and they therefore indulge a confident hope 
that the Government will be enabled, in the next session of Parliament, 
to present a Bill which shall lay the foundation of any equitable and 
satisfactory arrangement, in the event, which they consider probable, of 
legislation being found necessary for that purpose. 

3l8t July, 1857. 

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One result of the Sayer trial, and the demonstration of the 
half-breeds caused by it, was the temporary removal of Judge 
Thom from the bench, and, for about a year afterwards. Gov- 
ernor Caldwell acted in his place, but a military officer was 
hardly a suitable dispenser of the law, and in 1850, Mr. Thom 
was again called upon to officiate. His first case was about as 
unfortunate in its results as that of Sayer, only on this occa- 
sion the dissatisfaction caused by his administration of the law 
did not rest with the half-breeds, but with the governor and 
officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. The action in question 
was that of Foss vs. Pelly, brought by an officer of pensioners 
resident in the settlement, against an officer in the company's 
service and others, and Governor Caldwell, believing that a 
gross miscarriage of justice had been perpetrated, addressed a 
statement of his views to the board of the company in Lon- 
don. The result was the permanent removal of Judge Thom 
from the bench, and his appointment as clerk of the court, 
which he held until 1854, when he left the settlement and re- 
turned to England. Colonel Caldwell presided at the sittings 
of the court while Mr. Thom acted as clerk, and on the retire- 
ment of the latter, Mr. Johnson (afterwards Sir Francis John- 
son) became Recorder, a position which he occupied until 
1858. From the time of the Foss vs. Pelly trial, down to the 

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departure of Recorder Johnson, a period of eight years, no 
events of a startling nature occurred to disturb the equanimity 
of the court, although violation of the law, so far as it referred 
to the exclusive privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company, fre- 
quently took place. Indeed from the time of the Sayer triah 
the company may be said to have almost ceased to enforce its 
claims in that direction. Recorder Johnson therefore had an 
easy and pleasant time of it, and after his departure, his office 
remained vacant till 1862, the duties pertaining to it being 
performed by Dr. Bunn, the principal medical practitioner in 
the settlement. 

From 1855 till 1857, there were no regular troops at Red 
River, but in the latter year a company of the Royal Cana- 
dian Rifles was stationed at Fort Garry, and remained there 
until 1861, when they returned to Canada by ship from York 
Factory, and from that time on no force of soldiers was em- 
ployed in the settlement during the rdgime of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

The report of the committee of 1857 became fairly well 
known at Red River, and this, combined with the knowledge 
that the license of the company would soon expire, tended to 
lesson the influence and authority of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany in the minds of most of the settlers. In May, 1859, the 
license granted in 1838 terminated, and before its expiration, 
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, who was then Secretary of State 
for the Colonies, offered to extend it first for a period of one 
year, and afterwards for two yeai^, both of which , were de- 
clined by the company, who gave the following reasons for do- 
ing so : " That the acceptance on their part of the license for 
any period of shorter duration than that which had been 
usually granted since the passing of the Act of 1st and 2nd 

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Geo. 4t)h, Cap. 66, would in their opinion only further increase 
the inconveniences resulting from the state of suspense in 
which the question had been kept for the last two years. So 
far from strengthening, it would paralyze, their authority, 
even within their own territory, from the impression it would 
create of the approaching termination of that authority." 

The Canadian Government, expecting probably that some 
immediate action would be taken on the line proposed by Chief 
Justice Draper to the Committee of the House of Commons, 
with regard to surveys and explorations, fitted out an explor- 
ing expedition, under the command of Simon J. Dawson, civil 
engineer, and Henry Youle Hind, M.A., each of whom had ' 
charge of a separate department of the work. Mr. Dawson 
and his party started from Toronto in July, and surveyed 
along the western shore of Lake Superior, commencing at Fort 
William, and during the succeeding winter he carried his 
operations to the coast of Lake Winnipeg and the Red River, be- 
tween Fort Alexander and Pembina, making Fort Garry his 
he^-quarters. In the spring he conducted a survey westward 
to the Saskatchewan, and on his return directed his attention 
particularly to that portion of the country between Rainy Lake 
and Lake Superior, completing his labors in 1859. Professor 
Hipd's work was directed to the geological nature of the coun- 
try, its natural history, general topography, and he was also 
cjxpected to report upon the character of its soil and vegeta- 
tion. He made a thorough examination of these in co-oper«|,- 
tion with the surveying party during the summer of 1857, 
3.nd returned to Canada in the autumn. In the spring of the 
fpUowing year, howevei*, he renewed his exploratory work, 
and examined the, country along the rivers Assiniboine and 
Saskatchewan, which occupied until September. Hind's book 

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relating to these expeditions, which he afterwards published, 
contains a vast amount of valuable information concerning the 
capabilities of the North-West, and served to draw attention 
to the country. As an outcome of the Dawson-Hind opera- 
tions, and also in line with Chief Draper s proposals regarding 
the opening up of communication, the Canadian Government 
made an attempt, in 1858, to establish a mail service between 
Canada and the settlement, but after a two years trial it waa 
abandoned as a failure. Previous to 1853, the postal service 
consisted only of the packets of the company twice a year, one 
via York Factory in summer, and the other overland in winter, 
from Canada. In 1853, however, a mail service was organized 
by the settlers once a month, from Fort Garry to Fort Rip- 
ley, where it connected with the United States postal system, 
and in 1862, the American Government having arranged a bi- 
weekly mail to Pembina, the authorities at Red River increased 
theii-s to once a week. 

We have already referred to the fact that traders in the set- 
tlement carried on business with the United States, which 
made them independent of the English market, and the route 
via York Factory. In 1859, the Hudson's Bay Company were 
induced to try the plan of bringing in supplies by way of St. 
Paul, and in that year brought in a large consignment of goods 
over the prairie to Pembina, and thence to Fort Garry, thus 
establishing, on a firm basis as it were, this means of com- 
munication with the settlement. The company were so well 
satisfied with their experiment in this direction that, in 1861, 
they placed a small steamer, the Pioneer, on the Red River, to 
ply between Fort Abercrombie, in Minnesota, and Fort Garry. 
The goods were then conveyed by waggon from St. Paul to 
the point where they were loaded on the boat for transport to 

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the settlement. The original name of the Pioneer was the 
Anson Northup, and the little steamer was built on the Red 
River, although her machinery at one time belonged to a Mis- 
sissippi boat, and was transported overland from St. Paul. 
The Pioneer gave way, in the spring of 1862, to a larger 
steamer, the International, which the company built at George- 
town, and which was 150 feet long, 30 feet beam, with a ton- 
nage of 133 J tons. 

The possession of a large steamer on the Red River, which 
was run almost entirely for their own use, gave the Hudson's 
Bay Company an advantage over the free traders, who con- 
tinued to utilize the cart trail over the prairie. 

Events in the march of progress took place rapidly about 
this time, for in 1859 the first newspaper at Red River made 
its appearance, and was published once a fortnight. The 
paper, which was destined to play an important part in oppos- 
ing the Hudson's Bay Company, was named the Nor*- Wester y 
and was established by Buckingham and Caldwell, two Cana- 
dian journalists, who conducted it until 1860, when Mr. James 
Ross, a writer of no mean attainments, became associated with 
it, Mr. Buckingham retiring. 

In 1852 and 1861, the Red River again overflowed its 
banks, the settlement being inundated, and the floods were 
followed in 1857 and 1864 by visitations of grasshoppers, de- 
vastating the crops throughout the country as in 1818. But 
notwithstanding these drawbacks, the settlement prospered 
each year, the settlers' buildings and farms shewing marked 
signs of improvement, and in the neighborhood of Fort Garry 
a few stores and dwellings were erected, where a good deal of 
trading was carried on with the Indians, half-breeds, and in- 
habitants generally. 

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In the meantime, the task of governing the country re- 
mained in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company, the 
revenues being derived chiefly from customs duties, which 
were levied at a uniform rate (spirituous liquors excepted) of 
four per cent, on the net invoice price of the goods. The ex- 
ceptions to this rule were articles designed for Indian mis- 
sions, stationery, bar iron, steel, scientific instruments, agricul- 
tural implements, seeds, roots, plants, tombstones, grindstones, 
etc., etc., and there was no export duty. Four stations for 
the collection of the duties were established at Point Couple, 
Upper and Lower Fort Garry, and White Horse Plains, and 
the Hudson's Bay Company paid duty, as well as the settlers, 
on all merchandise used by them in the settlement. The duty 
on spirituous liquors was one shilling sterling per gallon, and 
once a year, generally in December, the magistrates sat as a 
board, for the purpose of granting licenses to distil ai^d retail 
liquor, the limit being any quantity less than five gallons, and 
the cost of the license ten pounds. Any person convicted of 
selling without a license was fined ten pounds, and the objec- 
tion of a majority of his twelve nearest neighbors was fatal 
to any candidate for a retail license. No liquor was allowed 
to be sold before six o'clock in the morning and after ten at 
night, or on Sunday, and selling intoxicants to Indians was 
prohibited under heavy penaltiea 

The public expenditure was chiefly for the maintenance of 
roads and building of bridges, the work being in charge of 
ten superintendents in diflerent parts of the countiy, and two 
surveyors to fix boundaries, survey lots, and arbitrate in cases 
of dispute relating to land matters. 

Laws existed for the prevention of prairie fires, against 
ilamages done by cattle wandering at large, for the regulation 

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of hay-cutting, offering premiums for the killing of wolves, 
relating to debt, the sale of immovable property, and attach,- 
ment in the case of absconding debtors, etc., etc., etc. 

There were petty courts, three in number, established for 
the hearing of cases of minor importance, such as the recovery 
of a debt under five pounds, petty offences involving a fine of 
less than forty shillings, and cei'tain infractions of the liquor 
law. These courts were held in some cases once a month, and 
in others only six times a year, and they were presided over 
by a president and two petty magistrates. There were also 
justices of the peace appointed in different parts of the coun- 
try, a coroner and sheriff for the whole settlement, and a con- 
stabulary of twelve men, whose duties, however, were of a 
nominal character, as the work of maintaining order rested 
chiefly with three special constables. There was also a Gen- 
eral Quarterly Court, presided over by the Governor, or a 
judge appointed for the purpose, and a l)ench of magistrates 
to try the more important cases. 

This short outline of the progress of the settlement and the 
institutions established for the regulation of law and order, 
all indicate a more advanced state of affairs among the settlers 
on the Red River, a greater degree of confidence in themselves, 
and more independence of feeling. With the expiration of 
the company's license the question of their exclusive privileges 
was no longer to be feared, and free trading, in different parts 
of the country, increased rapidly. The imcertainty of the 
company's position as a governing power, however, tended to 
weaken its influence in that respect with the settlers, and 
there being no force at their command to enforce the laws if 
necessary, they governed a good deal by moral suasion, and, 
through the good-will and law-abiding character of a majority 

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of the people. But this was not a safe position for the 
authorities to be in, especially when intriguers and agitators 
were at work to overthrow them, and who might, at any time, 
succeed in exciting public opinion against them. 

The officers of the Hudson's Bay Company realized the un- 
satisfactory position they occupied as rulers, and events, which 
we will relate in a subsequent chapter, soon proved how 
powerless they were, and caused them to openly express a 
desire to be relieved from the responsibility. ^ 

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In 1858, the British Government decided to make Vancou- 
ver Island a Crown colony, and, in anticipation of such a deci- 
vsion, Right Hon. H. Labouchere, Secretary of State in 1856^ 
sent instructions to Governor Douglas to call together an 
assembly for the purpose of forming the machinery of future 
legislation in that part of Her Majesty's possessions. 

In clause 11 of the instructions sent at that time, the fol- 
lowing words appear : " An additional reason in favor of the 
course which I now prescribe is to be found in the circiun- 
stance that the relations of the Hudson's Bay Company with 
the Crown must necessarily undergo revision before or in the 
year 1859. The position and future government of Vancou- 
ver's Island will then unavoidably pass under review, and if 
any difficulty should be experienced in carrying into execu- 
tion any present instructions, a convenient opportunity will 
be afforded for reconsidering them." 

On the 30th May, 1859, the Hudson's Bay Company's 
license to exclusive trade in British Columbia expired, and on 
the following 3rd November, Governor Douglas, by instruc- 
tions from the British Government, proclaimed its revocation, 
thus raising it to the position of a Crown colony. Previous to 
that, the home authorities expressed a willingness to renew 

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the license of the company, so far as it related to the North - 
West, east of the mountains, for a term of 21 years, at the 
same time offering to refer the question of the Canadian 
boundar^^ to the Privy Council, if both parties consented. 
The Secretary of State, however, refused to allow the validity 
of the charter to be called in question, during the proposed 
proceedings, and the Canadian Government thereupon declin- 
ed the offer, on the ground that Canada should not be ex- 
pected to compensate the company for any portion of territory 
tinder such conditions. 

There was al>out that time a strong feeling in Canada that 
the whole of the North- West Territory ought to be under 
Canadian Government, and as early as 1856, Honorable Mr. 
Vankoughnet, then President of the Executive Council of 
Canada, at a public meeting, declared that he sought a bound- 
ary for Canada on the Pacific Ocean, and that no charter 
could give to a body of men control over half a continent, and 
that he would not rest until that charter was abolished. 

The Hudson's Bay Company at this period appear to have 
been willing to come to terms for the transfer of a portion of 
the North-W^est Territory to Canada, although they held that 
to do so would likely entaij loss upon them, through an in- 
Cl^ease of expense in conducting their trade. But the Cana- 
dian Government insisted upon testing the validity of the 
charter, asr is shown in the following clause, taken from the 
joint address of the Legislative Council and Assembly, to the 
Queen, in August, 1858 : " That Canada, whose rights stand 
affected by that charter to which she was not a party, and the 
validity of which has been questioned for more than a century 
and a half, has, in our humble opinion, a right to request from 
your Majesty's Imperial Government, a decision of this ques- 

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tion, with a view of putting an end to discussions and ques- 
tions of conflicting rights, prejudicial as well to your Majesty's 
Imperial Government, as to Canada, and which, while un- 
settled, must prevent the colonization of the country:" 

Following this, on the 4th September, a minute of the Ex- 
ecutive Council of Canada was transmitted to Sir Edward 
Bulwer Lytton, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which 
drew attention to the importance of opening a direct line of 
communication, by railway or otherwise, from Canada, through 
the Red River and Saskatchewan Territories, to Eraser's River 
and Vancouver Island. About this time, Messrs. Cartier, Ross 
and Gait, visited England, in connection with the Hudson's 
Bay Company question, and intimated to Sir Edward Bulwer 
Lytton that the Canadian Government would undertake the 
necessary legal proceedings to test the validity of the charter ; 
but when the Secretary of State wrote to the authorities in 
Canada, on the 22nd Dec, 1858, urging them to take this step, 
he received a reply from Sir Edmund Head, the Governor- 
General, dated 19th April, 1859, saying that his Executive 
Council would not advise steps to be taken for testing the 
validity of the charter by scire facias. 

Previous to the receipt of this communication, Sir Edward 
Bulwer Lytton had written, on the 9th of March, 1859, to the 
Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, urging upon him to 
come to an amicable arrangement with Canada, but, finding 
that no understanding could be effected between them, he re- 
solved to test the validity of the charter before the Judicial 
Committee of the Privy Council, without further reference to 
Canada; but, before this could be accomplished, his party went 
out of, power, and he resigned ofiice. 
.. In 1860 and 1861, a bill was contemplated in England by 

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the Duke of Newcastle, to facilitate the acquisition from the 
company, of lands required for settlement, copious minutes 
being passed on the subject, which entailed a great deal of 
correspondence between the Government and the Company, but 
the measure was never actually brought before parliament, 
because no agreement, satisfactory to both sides, could be ar- 
rived at. The principle of the bill appears to have been that 
the Crown might take, from time to time, such portions of the 
teiTitory as might be required for colonization purposes, for 
which the company was to be compensated, but the source 
from which compensation was to be derived was not stated. 

The Canadian Government next addressed a letter to Mr. 
Dallas, the resident Governor of the Hudson *8 Bay Company 
in Montreal, on the 15th April, 1862, expressing an urgent 
desire to come to some amicable arrangement, by which a road 
and telegi-aph line could be constructed through the company's 
territory, in order to unite Canada with British Columbia, and 
to opfen the fertile portions of the territory to settlement. 

To this, Mr. Dallas replied as follows : — 

While fully admitting the force of the above argiunenta, and the im- 
mediate necessity of some arrangements being come to, I am reluctantly 
compelled to admit my inability to meet the Government of Canada in 
this forward movement, for the following reasons : — 

The Red River and Saskatchewan Valleys, though not in themselves 
fur-bearing districts, are the sources from whence the main supplies of 
winter food are procured for the northern posts, from the produce of the 
bulialo hunts. A chain of settlements through these valleys would not 
only deprive the company of the above vital resources, but would indirect- 
ly, in many other ways, so interfere with their northern trade as to render 
it no longer worth prosecuting on an extended scale. It would necessari- 
ly be divided into various channels, possibly to the public benefit, but the 
company could no longer exist on its present footing. 

The above reasons, against a partial surrender of our territories, may 
not appear sufficiently obvious to parties not conversant with the trade, 
or the country, but my knowledge of both, based on personal experience, 

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and from other sources open to me, point to the conclusion that pMtrtial 
concessions of the districts, which must necessarily be alienated, would 
inevitably lead to the extinction of the company. 

Granting that the company were willing to sacrifice its trading inter- 
ests, the very act would deprive it of the means to carry out the proposed 
measures. There is no sort of revenue to meet the most ordinary ex- 
penditure ; and even under present circumstances the company has prac- 
tically no power to raise one. The cooperation proposed in calling on 
the company to perform its co-relative duties, pre-supposes it to stand on 
an equal footing with Canada. 

It is not to be supposed that the Crown would grant more extensive 
powers to the company than those conveyed by the charter. If any 
change be made it is presumed that direct administration by the Crown 
would be resorted to as the only measure likely to give public satisfaction 

Not having anticipated the present question, I am without instruc- 
tions from th^ Board of Directors in London for my guidance. 

I believe I am, however, Siife in atating my conviction that the com- 
pany will be willing to meet the wishes of the country at large, by con- 
senting to an equitable arrangement for the surrender of all the rights 
conveyed by the charter. 

Soon after this, Mr. Edward Watkin, then connected with 
the Grand Trunk Railway, interested himself in a scheme to 
provide a telegrapli service and means of travelling with re- 
gularity between Canada and the Pacific Coast, and a letter on 
the subject, dated 5th July, 1862, was addressed to the Duke 
of Newcastle, signed by Thos. Baring, Geo. Carr Glynn, and 
others. An interview was then arranged by the Duke be- 
tween the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company and the 
parties interested in this scheme, the meeting taking place 
early in 1863. 

In the meantime, the agitation in favor of opening up the 
Hudson's Bay Territory continued in Canada, and in Septem- 
ber, 1862, two members of the Canadian Government, Messrs. 
Howland and Sicotte, were deputed, by order-in council, to pro- 
ceed to England, and press upon Her Majesty's Governpient, 
its great importance. In the following December, a meeting 

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of gentlemen interested in the tele^praph service to British 
Columbia already referred to, took place at the banking house 
of Messrs. Glynn, 67 Lombard Street, London, at which Messrs. 
Rowland and Sicotte, the Canadian delegates, were present. A 
course of action was then formulated, and at a subsequent 
meeting on 21st January, 1863, for the purpose of supporting 
the scheme, Mr. Edward Watkin moved the following resolu- 
tion : " That this meeting, considering the growing import- 
ance of British North America, and the extent of British in- 
terests therein involved, is impressed with the desirability of 
more closely connecting the mother country with her American 
dependencies, and is of opinion that the completion of a line 
of communication across the British portion of the continent 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific is a necessity of the times, and 
this association pledges its support to a well-devised scheme 
for accomplishing the object in view." 

Shortly after this, Mr. Watkin became associated in a 
scheme for the purchase of the whole rights of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and the result was that the company was re- 
constructed, and its capital increased to £2,000,000 sterling, 
the directors under the reconstruction being : The Right Hon. 
Sir E>imund Head, K.C.B., Curtis Miranda Lampson, Eden 
Colville, George Lyall, Daniel Meinerthagen, James Stuart 
Hodgson, John Henry William Schroder, and Kichard Potter. 

A prospectus was then issued soliciting subscriptions to the 
new stock, and Mr. Edward Watkin was sent to Canada to 
negotiate with the Canadian Government for aid in carrying 
out the colonization, telegraphic, and postal plans of the com- 
pany across its territory to the Pacific, but apparently he did 
not mjeet a favorable reception, as will be seen from the foUow- 
extract taken from an order-in comicil passed by the Canadian 
Government, viz. : 

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A telegraph line will not accomplish these objects (mentioned in pre- 
vious clauses of the order), though it may serve an important purpose and 
lead ultimately to their attainment. But unless the ** Atlantic and Paci- 
fic Transit and Telegraph Company/* (Mr. Watkin's scheme), are prepar- 
ed to undertake the construction of a road pari passxi with the telegraph 
line, the committee cannot in the present condition of the Canadian ex- 
chequer, and with the important questions of boundary, territorial juris- 
diction and form of government in the vast territory proposed to be open- 
ed, still unsettled, recommend the acceptance of the ** Heads of Proposal " 
as submitted by them, and conditionally approved by his grace. 

The committee are of opinion that in view of the recent change in the 
• onstitution and objects of the Hudson's Bay Company, which from the 
correspK)ndence laid before the House of Lords appears to have been effect- 
ed, and the claims which the new organization have reiterated, with the 
apparent sanction of His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, to territorial rights 
over a vast region not included in their original charter, it is highly ex- 
pedient that steps be taken to settle definitely the North- Western bound- 
ary of Canada. 

The committee therefore recommend that correspondence be opened 
with the Imperial Government, with the view to the adoption of some 
speedy^ inexpensive and mutually satisfactory plan to determine the im- 
portant question, and that the claims of Canada be asserted to all that 
portion of Central British America, which can be shown to have been in 
the possession of the French at the period of the cession in 1763. 

(Certified) W. H. Leb. 

Clerk of the ExectUive Council, 

Sir Edmund Head was, however, of the opinion that a com- 
plete purchase of the company's territory by the Crown would 
be the best solution of the question, but recognizing the ob- 
stacles to this, he made the following suggestions in Novem- 
ber, 1863 :— 

" 1. An equal division of the portion of the territory fit for 
settlement between the company and the Crown, with inclu- 
sion of specified tracts in the share of the former. 

" 2. The company to construct the road and telegraph. 

" 3. and 4, The Crown to purchase such of the company's 
premises as should be wanted for military use, and to pay to 

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the company a net third of all future revenue from gold and 

The reconstruction of the conipany, however, and the in- 
crease of its capital stock, had created a feeling of distrust in 
the minds of some of the public men of Canada, and one pro- 
minent statesman declared that the capital had been inflated 
with the view of demanding an unreasonable sum in exchange 
for the North- West territory. But there is nothing of this 
shown in the several propositions presented by the company, 
and it must be remembered that the reconstruction and in- 
crease of capital took place when the company was contem- 
plating the work of constructing a road and telegraph line in 
connection with Sir Edward Watkin's scheme, which would 
require a large amount of money to carry it through. The 
capital stock of the company had been increased only five 
times in two hundred years as follows : — 

1670 it was - - - - £ 10,500 
1690 increased to - - - 31,500 
1720 '' • . . . 94,500 

1821 " • - - . 400,000 

1857 '• - - - . 500,000 

The actual capital at this tinie stood : — 

Assets - . - . £1,468,301 16 3 
Liabilities . - . - 203,233 16 11 

Capital - - . . £1,265,067 19 4 
1863 increased to - - - 2,000,000 00 00 
On the 19th February, 1864, the Governor-General of Can- 
ada, in his Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parlia- 
ment, said : 

" The condition of the vast region lying on the north-west 
of the settled portions of the province is daily becoming a 

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question of great interest. I have considered it advisable to 
open a correspondence with the Imperial Oovemment, with a 
view to arrive at a precise definition of the geographical 
boundaries of Canada in that direction. Such a defi^iition of 
boundary is a desirable prelim inar\' to further proceedings 
with respect to the vast tracts of land in that (juarter belong- 
ing to Canada, but not yet brought under the action of our 
political and municipal system." 

In the debate on the Address which followed, Hon. Wm. 
Macdougall, Minister of Crown Lands, who had charge of the 
question, said : 

" The Government of Canada soon came to the conclusion 
that the fii-st thing to be ilone was to detennine whether the 
Red River Territory belonged to Canada or to some other 
country, and tlie consecjuence was that a correspondence had 
been opened with the Imperial government on the subject, as 
stated in the Speech. He did not know that there was any 
hann in his stating his individual view of the case at the pre- 
sent time, which was that Canatla was entitled to claim as a 
portion of its soil all that part of the Xorth-West ten-itory, 
that could be proved to have been in the possession of the 
French at the time of the cession of Canada to the British." 

On the 11th March, and 5th April, 1HG4, the Duke of New- 
castle declined the suggestions of Sir Edmund Head, but 
made the following counter proposals: 

" 1. The coujpany to surrender to the Crown their terri- 
torial rights. 

" 2. To receive one shilling for every acre sold by the 
Crown, but limited to £150,000 in all, and to fifty years in 
duration, whether or not the receipts attained that amount. 

" 8. To receive one-fourth of any gold revenue, but limited 
to £100,000 in all, and to fifty yeai-s in duration. 

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" 4. To have one square mile of adjacent land for every 
lineal mile constructed of road ajid telegraph to British Col- 

On the 13th April, the company accepted the principle of 
these proposals, but said that the amount of paj^ments within 
fifty years should be either not limited, or else placed at 
£1,000,000 instead of £250.000. They added some other pro- 
posals, including a grant to them of 5,000 acres of wild land 
for every 50,000 acres sold by the Crown. Mr. Cardwell, who 
had succeeded to the office of Secretary of State, stated on the 
6th June that he could not accept the company's view of the 
proposals, and so Sir Edmund Head, in December, while not 
receding from his former position, threw out an alternative of 
which the principal feature was a payment to the company of 
£1,000,000 sterling for the territory which he defined in his 

About this time, Hon Geo. Brown, who was in England, re- 
presenting his colleagues in the Canadian ministry on this 
question, contended that the company were seeking to sell to 
Her Majesty's Government for an enormous sum, territory to 
which they had no title under their charter, and expressed the 
opinion that it was the part of the Imperial authorities to 
secure the extinction of the company's proprietary rights and 
exclusive privileges of trade, and that then Canada should un- 
dertake the duties of government. 

In the spring of 1865, a delegation, of which Mr. Brown was 
a member, visited England, and among other important topics, 
took up the question of the Hudson's Bay Territory. Mr. 
Cardwell, the Secretary of State, gives the following as the 
result of his meeting with the delegates : " On the fourth 
point, the subject of the North-Western Territory, the Cana- 

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dian ministers desired that that territory should be made over 
to Canada, and undertook to negotiate with the Hudson's Bay- 
Company for the termination of their rights, on condition that 
the indemnity, if any should be paid, would be raised by 
Canada, by means of a loan under Imperial guarantee. With 
the sanction of the Cabinet, we assented to the proposal, un- 
dertaking that if the negotiations should be successful, we, on 
the part of the Crown, being satisfied that the amount of the 
indemnity was reasonable and the security sufficient, would 
apply to the Imperial Parliament to sanction the arrangement 
and guarantee the amount. 

No immediate results followed the visit of the delegation of 
1865, and in February, 1866, Sir Edmund Head communicat- 
ed to Mr. Cardwell, a proposal made to the company (through 
Mr. McEwen) by certain Anglo-American capitalists, to buy 
its cultivable territory in order to settle it on American prin- 
ciples of organization, upon which Mr. Cardwell, in reply, re- 
minded Sir Edmund Head of the understanding existing 
between the Canadian delegates and Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment. Sir Edmund answered that the company had never 
lost sight of it, but begged to know how long the option on 
the part of Canada was to be supposed to remain open, and 
pointed out the consequences to the pecuniary interests of the 
company, if they were to be considered bound to lose favor- 
able opportunities of sale, and were restrained by a very inde- 
finite understanding between two other parties, from dealing 
to the best advantage with their own property. 

These views were communicated to the Canadian Govern- 
ment, who, in a minute of council, dated 22nd June, 1866, 
replied to the following effect : " The Executive Council, while 
contesting in many respects the pretentions of the company, 

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at the same time expressed a strong conviction of the import- 
ance of establishing at an early date, a regular government in 
the territories intervening between Canada and British Col- 
umbia, and said that they would have opened negotiations 
with the company for the extinction of their claims, were it 
not for the prospect of a speedy confederation of the Pro- 
vinces. The Canadian ministei-s had thought it improper to 
enter upon negotiations which could only be completed and 
fulfilled by the confederate Govenmient and Legislature, but 
had no doubt that these would feel it to be one of their fii-st 
duties to open negotiations with the Hudson's Bay Company, 
for the transfer of their claims to the territory. The minute 
of council then invited the aid of Her Majesty's Government, 
in discountenancing and preventing any such sales of any 
portion of the territory, as contemplated by the company. 
The reply of the Canadian ministei*s was communicated to the 
company in July, 1866. 

In the following January, Lord Carnarvon suggested to the 
Hudson's Bay Company, that whilst doubtless they were free 
to consult their own interests, yet, with reference to what had 
passed w^ith the Canadian Government, it would not be advis- 
able to take any step which would embarrass the expected 

The following year the delegates from British North Amer- 
ica on Confederation, while in session, deprecated the forma- 
tion of a Crown Colony in the Hudson's Bay Territory, and 
added the following resolution : '* Resolved, that this confer- 
ence having had communication of an order in council of the 
Canadian Government, Ijearing date 22nd June, 1866, on the 
subject of the claims of the Hudson's Bay Company, and a 
proposition of certain parties to purchase such portions of the 

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North- West Territory as may be capable of cultivation, are of 
opinion that the views expressed by the Canadian Govern- 
ment on both points are well-founded, and will be confirmed 
by the Parliament of Canada.'* 

The scheme of Confederation, ori^nating as it did in the 
Maritime Provinces, with such men as Howe, Tupper, Tilley, 
Archibald, Gray and Johnson, leading the way, was taken up 
by the Government of Old Canada, and amongst those who 
took a prominent part in the great work are to be found the 
names of Sir John A. Macdonald, Hon. George Brown, Sir 
George E. Cartier, Sir Etienne P. ThcU, Sir A. T. Gait, Hon. 
John Ross, and othei-s, who, sinking personal and political dif- 
ferences for the time being, united to carry out the grand pro- 
ject of Union in British North America. 

The result of the meeting of delegates already referred to 
was the framing of the British North America Act, which was 
passed in 1867, and on the 1st July of that year. Lord Monck 
issued a proclamation announcing his appointment as Gov- 
ernor-General of Canada. 

The distinguished statesmen who laid the foundation of 
Confederation, foresaw that in the near future, the older Pro- 
vinces of the Dominion would recjuire room to extend their 
efforts in the march of progress. They realized that at an 
early day fields for enteiprise would be necessary, and that to 
encourage and sustain the great manufacturing and shipping 
interest of Canada, a large increase of farming population 
would be required. The example of the United States was 
before them, and they could not shut their eyes to the fact 
that the rapid development and settlement of the Western 
States constituted one of the great secrets of the success of 
the American Union. With this example before them, our 

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statesmen were equal to the occasion, for, in brining about 
the union of the Provinces, they held to the principle that 
until Confederation extended from the Atlantic across the 
continent to the Pacific, it would not be complete, and, with 
that great idea in view, they provided for the extension of the 
Dominion accordingly. 

In the terms of the British North America Act of 1867, 
Article XI., sec. 146, provided as follows : "It shall be lawful 
for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Most 
Honorable Privy Council, etc., on addresses from the Houses 
of the Parliament of Canada, to admit Rupert's Land and the 
North- West Territory, or either of them, into the Union, on 
such terms and conditions in each case as are in the addresses 
expressed, and as the Queen thinks fit to approve, subject to 
the provisions of this Act." 

On the 4th December, 1867, Hon. Wm. McDougall, then 
Minister of Public Works, introduced at the first session of 
the Dominion Parliament a series of resolutions, on which the 
addresses provided for in the British North America Act were 
to be based. 

The resolutions were as follow : 

1. That it would promote the prosperity of the Canadian people, and 
conduce to the advantage of the whole Empire, if the Dominion of Canada, 
constituted under the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867, 
were extended westward to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. 

2. That colonization of the lands of the Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and 
Red River settlements, and the development of the mineral wealth which 
abounds in the rei^ions of the North-West, and the extension of commer- 
mercial intercourse through the British possessions in America from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, are alike dependent upon the establishment of a 
stable government, for maintenance of law an I order in the North -West 

3. That the welfare of the sparse and widely scattered population of Brit- 
ish subjects of European origin, already inhabiting these remote and un- 

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organized territories, would be materiftlly enhanced by the formation 
therein of political institutions bearing analogy, as far as circumstances 
will admit, to those which exist in the several Provinces of this Do- 

4. That the 146th section of the British North America Act, 1867, pro- 
vides for the admission of Rupert's Land and the North-West Territory, 
or either of them, into union with Canada, upon tentis and conditions to 
be expressed in addresses from the Houses of Parliament of this Do- 
minion to Her Majesty, and which shall be approved of by the Queen in 

5. That it is accordingly expedient to address Her Majesty, that she 
would be graciously pleased, by and with the advice of Her Most Honor- 
able Privy Council, to unite Rupert's Land and the North- West Territory 
with the Dominion of Canada, and to grant to the Parliament of Canada 
authority to legislate for their future welfare and good government. 

6. That in the event of the Imperial Govenmient agreeing to transfer to 
Canada the jurisdiction and control over this region, it would be expedient 
to provide that the legal rights of any corporation, company, or individual, 
within the same, will be respected; and that in case of difference of opinion 
as to the extent, nature, or value of these rights, the Simie shall be sub- 
mitted to judicial decision, or be determined by mutual agreement be- 
tween the Government of Canada and the parties interested. Such agree- 
ment to ha^•e no etfect or validity until first sanctioned by the Parliament 
of Canada. 

7. That up(m the transference of the territories in question to the Cana- 
dian Govenmient, the claims of the Indian tribes to compensation for lands 
re<iuired for purpose of settlement, would be considered and settled in 
ccmformity with the equitable principles which uniformly governed the 
Crown in its dealings with the Aborigines. 

8. That a select committee be appointed to draft an humble Address to 
Her Majesty on the subject of the foregoing resolutions. 

Hon. Will. MeDouf]faIl, in his speech supporting these Resolu- 
tions, concluded with the following words : " First, it is desir- 
able that this country (the North-West) should be transferred 
from Imperial to Cana<lian authority. Second, that the con- 
trol of that country ought to be in the hands of this Parlia- 
ment, and under the direction of this Legislature. Then, if 
the company make any claim to any portion of the soil occu- 

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pied by our servants, they will come into the courts to make 
good their claim, and they will have the right, if the decision 
is adverse to them, to appeal to the Privy Council." 

This sunnning up was contrary in spirit to the minute of 
council passed on the 22nd June, 186G, which said "that the 
Legislature would, no <loubt, feel it to be one of their lirst 
duties to open negotiations with the Hudson's Bay Company 
for the transfer of their claims to the territory," a statement 
w^hich, as we have seen, was afterwards endorsed by the dele- 
gates to Kngland on confederation. But to make it more clear 
that the Canadian Ministers wished to repudiate the position 
which they held in 18()(), Hon. Mr. McDougall further said in 
the coui-se of tlie debate, " that, in n^gard to the (juestion of 
terms, the honorable gentleman had pretended that the Gov- 
ernment was prepared to n^cognize the right of the Hudson's 
Bay Company to demand a large sum of money from the 
peoj)le of this country. He denie<l there was such intention. 
They proposed to claim this country as being part of New 
France, as having been cede<l to the English (Jovernment in 
17()(), and as having remained in that position from that time 
down to the prestMit." 

An amendment to the Resolutions was moved by Mr. Hol- 
ton in these words: ' Tliat it is, therefore, inexpedient to 
adopt an address umler the 14()th clause of the British North 
America Act of 18()7, until the nature, extent, and value 
of the claims with which the territories in (juestion are bur- 
dened shall be asc(»rtained. ' This amendment was lost, and 
the Resolutions, slightly amended, were carried by a large 

But the Hudson's Bay Company would not consent to a 
transfer of the t(*rritorv until terms wtq*e first settled, and the 

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auiouut to be paid to them stipulated beforehand, and seeing 
that Canada had practically agreed to this, it was not surpris- 
ing to hear that the British Government undertook to have 
the undertaking carried out. The Duke of Buckingham, Sec- 
retary of State for the Colonies, sent a despatch to Lord 
Monck, the Governor-General of Canada, stating that the 
claims of the company would have to be first settled before 
any transfer could be effected, adding that a bill, based on the 
propositions of the Hudson's Bay Company, would be pre- 
sented to the Imi)erial Parliament. 

The result of this was that Sir George E. Cartier and Hon. 
Wm. McDougall were appointed, by order-in-council, a delega- 
tion to proceed to England and settle the terms of the trans- 
fer, and on the 3rd October, 1868, they sailed on their mission. 
On their aiTival they at once proceeded to enter into negotia- 
tions with the Hudson's Bay Company, through the medium 
of the Duke of Buckingham, and were in the midst of them 
when the Government in Britain was defeated, and Earl 
Granville became Secretary of State. At first the company 
proposed to relinquish its rights of government and claims to 
the territory, reserving a royalty interest in the lands and 
mines, with certain reservations for hunting and trading pur- 
poses, but after the accession of Earl Granville to office, an 
agi-eement was finally reached, and arrangements for the 
transfer conclu<led on the 9th March, 1869. By this agree- 
ment the Hudson's Bay Company were to receive £300,000 
sterling on the surrender of their rights to the Imperial Gov- 
ernment, who should, within One month from such transfer, 
re-transfer the same to Canada. The company also retained 
certain reservations of land in the vicinity of their forts and 
trading posts, and were to have two sections in each surveyed 

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township, or about one- twentieth. The Imperial Government 
agreed to guarantee a loan of £300,000 sterling to pay the 
Hudson's Bay Company, and the Dominion Government un- 
dertook to respect the rights of the Indians and Half- Breeds 
in the territory transferred. 

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The effect, on the Red River settlement, of the negotiations 
between Britain, Canada, and the Hudson's Bay Company, 
was to create a feeling of unrest in the minds of the people. 
The oflScers of the fur trade were not wholly satisfied with 
the change in the policy of the company, brought about by 
the plan of reconstruction which had taken place in London. 
The future of the grand old concern appeared to them to be 
very uncertain, and their own prospects far from satisfactory^ 
The settlers and half-breeds, on the other hand, seeing that 
some great change was at hand which might seriously affect 
their welfare, began to grow uneasy and restless^under the 
unsettled state of affairs, especially, as in the negotiations 
which were going on, their feelings or desires appeared to be 
ignored altogether. 

Sir George Simpson died in September, 1860, and was suc- 
ceeded by Alexander Grant Dallas, who had for some years 
been a director and extraordinary agent for the company, on 
the Pacific Coast. He, however, only held office for about 
four years, and in 1864 William Mactavish was appointed 
Governor, and filled the position until the transfer of the 
country to Canada took place, when he went home to England, 
where he died soon after his arrival. 

The population of Red River had by this time increased to 

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• .. \ 

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The Rlffht Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B. 

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between 12,000 and 18,000 souls, of whom about one half 
were French half-breeds, engaged chiefly in hunting, trading, 
trapping and freighting. They were the most restless of the 
people under the proposed change of administration, and, 
strange to say, although they had been the strongest oppon- 
ents of the Hudson's Bay Company throughout, they were 
more inclined now to remain under the sway of the company 
than to be transferred to the care of Canadians, whom they 
looked upon very much in the light of strangers. 

We must not anticipate, however, but will take up the 
threatl of affairs in the settlement where we left off. In the 
spring of 1862, owing to the flood of the previous year, there 
was much distress at Red River, and the offices of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company at Fort Garry were besieged by numbers 
of the poorer people asking for food to tide them over until 
summer. Seed wheat was furnished by the company to those 
who required it, and the sufferers among the settlers were pro- 
vided for by the Governor and Council of Assiniboia until the 
crops were in, and matters improved. On May 18th, Governor 
Dallas an-ived at Fort Garry, and, contrary to the usual cus- 
tom of Sir George Simpson, who kept himself aloof as much 
as possible from mixing in the affairs of the settlement, he en- 
deavored to gain a practical acquaintance with it and its 
inhabitants, and at first was popular with the people. But, 
when, soon after his arrival, he issued orders to his subordin- 
ate officers to discontinue the system of paying cash for 
*' country produce," it changed the sentiment of a large claas 
of settlers toward him. The Hudson's Bay Company pur- 
chased most of the products of the farm, for which they had 
been in the habit of paying out their notes in exchange, and, 
as these were redeemed by bills of exchange on London, they 

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'.*u"i'v t1 1. Sir 

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*' ' ' t * ■ . ■ i.'i« I-; '■"! ij ! 
.!' \ 'i r :.,■♦.. .-. 

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'• . ''■:•>] s--y\ </,',>.' r 'I ; ; ^■, < 1 , 

' I '•' i ' \' ''\ ; M •• ■ • . . \\ ; • ' .'..':< .1 - 

I • *'•■ - > ■ . • A\ ' .. ' ^ r t'- -';;■; .1 :. ir ■ ■ 

• .< . I. t \"' ; n :;.>• -Mi *^ ,."' i ,c -,'.'- i, i M ij •;« 

* ■ .■ -t -•! r '1 •■ ii'j '.- »:.'- i . . ( 'Ti.T .<l^• ^^. - 

' ' ** 1'^'''';,"' K tti--ir Mn'^^ .1 . ■' --^ ;i. ^' ■.'.'. 

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The Rlffht Hon. Sir John A. JVUcdonald, K.C.B. 

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virtually meant cash payment. The notes, as we have already 
shewn, were used as the currency of the country, and when 
Governor Dallas found that the money paid out by his officers 
for produce found its way into the hands of rival parties, who 
were strong opponents of the company in the fur trade, he, 
very naturally, decided not to play any longer into their hands 
in this way — hence the order. Of course the action of the 
Governor lessened very considerably the amount of money in 
circulation, and, in consequence, there was a general outcry 
against his measure, but his order remained, and at the com- 
pany's posts " country produce " continued to be paid for in 

The only newspaper in the settlement, the Nor -Wester, 
to which we alluded in a previous chapter, was edited by Mr. 
James Ross, who at the same time acted as sheriff, and on the 
occasion of Governor Dallas's order in re^ai*d to " country pro- 
duce," it published a scathing denunciation of the action taken 
by the company — and from then on, the Nor- Wester may 
be said to have been a thorn in the side of the government 
officials at Red River. 

About this time two parties of distinguished travellers 
visited the settlerhent, one in August, 1862, composed of Lord 
Milton, Doctor Cheadle, and their attendants, on their way 
across the continent to the Pacific ; and the other in October, 
consisting of the Earl of Dunmore, and a party of officers, who 
were returning from an extended hunting expedition on the 
plains. Doctor Cheadle afterwards published an interesting 
account of the trip, which did a great deal towards drawing 
attention in England to the great North-West and its re- 
sources. When Lord Dunmore and his party arrived, the 
Sioux outbreak was in progress in Minnesota, and they were 


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obliged to take a somewhat round-about journey, by what was 
called the " Wood Road," in order to reach St. Paul, without 
coming into contact with the hostile Indians. The rising of 
the Sioux at the south of the settlement caused a good deal of 
uneasiness to the people of Red River, aa at one time it looked 
as if their supplies coming via the ITnited States would be cut 
off. This, however, did not happen, although the Hudson's 
Bay Company met with a heavy loss in the pillage of one of 
their trains by a band of Chippeways. 

The isolated ix)8ition of most of the settlers, should the 
hostile Indians come north, was such as to leave them at the 
mercy of the savages in case of an attack, and it was felt that 
some means of protection ought to be pix>vided. Accordingly, 
a meeting of the Council of Assiuiboia was held, presided 
over by Governor Dallas, at which a petition was drawn up, 
jisking the Colonial office in England for troops, and to this 
document 1183 signatures were attached. The Nor^'Wester, 
however, saw in this an opj)ortunity to make an attack on the 
government, and at once drew up a counter petition, which, 
while asking for troops, commented disparagingly on the 
manner in which the company's jurisdiction wa« exercised. 
Both petitions found their way to the Colonial office, and at 
the same time into the waste basket of that department. 

Meanwhile the action of Mr. James Ross, in thus attacking, 
through the columns of the Nor-Wester, the government of 
which he was a paid official, could not remain unnoticed, and 
at a full meeting of the council he was deprived of the posts 
he held as sheriff-governor of the gaol and postmaster, Mr. 
Henry McKenny being appointed sheriff, and Mr. A. G. B. 
Bannatyne becoming postmaster. Mr. Ross, freed from the 
trammels of office, now became a strong agitator against the 

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company, and by means of his paper and the holding of public 
meetings, he made matters lively in the settlement. At one 
time it was proposed to send him to England to plead the 
cause oi the settlers, but, the funds for the trip not being 
forthcoming, Mr. Ross abandoned the idea, and Mr. Sandford 
Fleming, who afterwards became prominent in connection 
with the Canadian Pacific Eailway, was selected in his stead. 

Soon after this, Rev. Q. O. Corbett, who, it will be remem- 
bered, was one of the witnesses before the committee of 1867, 
when he gave evidence disparaging to the company, and who 
had all along been one of the chief agitators against the gov- 
ernment at Fort Garry, was arrested on the charge of attempt- 
ed abortion on the person of a young girl in his employ. The 
trial of this case excited a good deal of feeling in the settle- 
ment, owing to the fact that Corbett appealed to public sym- 
pathy on the ground that he was being persecuted. The Nor'- 
Wester took up his cause strongly, and columns of matter 
were published in an effort to make the reverend gentlemen a 
martyr ; but, notwithstanding all this, he was convicted and 
sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months. Incar- 
ceration in prison, however, did not prevent Mr. Corbett from 
continuing to appeal to his friends outside, and, as a result, 
petitions asking for his release were forwarded to the author- 
ities. But Governor Dallas, and Judge Black, who tried the 
case, declined to set the prisoner at liberty, although the peti- 
tions contained the names of several of the leading clergymen, 
and others of prominence in the settlement, on the ground 
that the verdict was in accordance with the evidence, and the 
punishment justly deserved. 

Agitation in favor of Corbett, however, continued, until, on 
the 20th of April, a few determined characters surrounded the 

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jail, broke in the door, and liberated him. Mr. James Stewart, 
one of the ringleaders on this occasion, was then arrested, but 
he hail been confined only a few days when a party of men 
led by Mr. William Hallett and John Bourke, both men of in- 
fluence among the English half-breeds, bi^oke into the prison, 
and released him. Neither Corbett nor Stewart w^ere re- 
arrested, and shortly after their liberation the justices of the 
peace addressed a letter to the governor, advising that until a 
regular force could be obtained to support the authorities, no 
further proceedings should be taken against the rioters, and 
pointed out that, except as regarded suits having no public in- 
terest, without a force acting under the Queen's direct author- 
ity, justice could no longer be administered. 

It was soon after this that the Hudson's Bay officers of the 
fur trade heard for the first time of the reconstruction of the 
company in England, and the retirement of most of the old 
board, a piece of intelligence that was not received with favor 
by any of them. Indeed this, combined with the troubles and 
excitement existing in the settlement, seemed to foreshadow 
the downfall of the whole fabric, which for so many years had 
held sway in the North-West. The administration of affairs 
in Red River, however, went on smoothly after the Corbet- 
Stewart incident, but no attempt was made to try any crimii- 
al cases which might tend to excite public feeling, the author- 
ity of the Hudson's Bay Company, unsupported as it was by 
any force, being practically dead. 

In 18(34, just before his retirement from the governorship. 
Governor Dallas succeeded in arranging with the American 
authorities for a through mail-bag from St. Paul to the settle- 
ment, which was a gi'eat improvement upon the previous pos- 
tal facilities. 

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In the ineantiine, the settlement was troubled by occasional 
visits fi-oin the Sioux, and it was with some satisfaction that 
the settlers heard of the establishment at Pembina of a force 
of American troops under command of Major Hatch. The 
Sioux, however, continued to visit the British side of the 
boundary line, and made several attempts to permanently 
take up their quarters in the territory, but the Saulteaux, 
Crees, and Chippeways would give them no peace, and the 
Hudson's Bay Company and settlers, refusing to provide them 
with ammunition, they were finally forced, with the exception 
of a small band, to return to American soil. 

In 1864, Mr. James Ross retired from the editorship of the 
Nor' -Wester, and Dr. John Schultz, in company with Mr. Cold- 
well, carried on the paper, and the doctor, on behalf of himself 
and partner, issued the following introductory address : 

We need hardly assure our readers that the theory of the circulation 
will be attended to in future, and all bad humors will be eliminated from 
our columns. Diseases in our social system will be vigorously attended to, 
and our best exertions used to keej) the body politic in sound health and 
good working order. Persons in low spirits and of a desjMmding turn of 
mind, will only have to read the Nor^-Weder to be cured in an instant. 
Patients will be waited on (by our Devil), at their own residences, with a 
copy of the [wiper, if they will only bleed to the extent of four-pence for 
each number, or they will be compounded with and kept in good spirits 
for the whole year, at the rate of ten shillings per annum. 

Whether the promises in the above notice were not fulfilled, 
or the paper having become a government organ, its editorials 
were without their usual spice and vigor, we cannot tell, but 
the Nor'-Wester languished until, on the 28rd February, 18(35, 
the office and all its contents were destroyed, and in the fol- 
lowing July, after starting the journal afresh, Mr. Coldwell 
dissolved partnership with Dr. Schultz, who carried on the en- 
terprise alone. 

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In May, 1864, (lovemor Dallas left the settlement, on his. 
return to England, Mr. Wni. Mactavish succeeding him, and 
on the 3l8t of the month Bishop Anderson took his departure, 
deeply regretted by many of the settlers. 

The company now gave signs that they were in earnest 
al)Out building a telegraph line, and in 1805 sent out Dr. John 
Rae, the Arctic explorer, to ascertain the practicability of es- 
tablishing communication in this way across the continent. 
Dr. Rae was accompanied by an engineer named Schwieger, 
and the two made a careful examination of the route to Brit- 
ish Columbia, and afterwards submitted an exhaustive report 
on the subject, but, with the exce})tion of transporting a large 
(juantity of wire to the North- West, the company never pro- 
ceeded further w^ith the work. 

In 1804, the grasslioppers again visited the settlement and 
entirely destroyed the crops, but, owing to the extreme shal- 
lowness of the river that season, the steamer Intemationul 
made oidy one trip, and the company were obliged to employ 
a large numljer of freighters, which enabled the settlers to 
buy their sui)plies. The hunt that year was also exception- 
ally good, so that there was plenty of food and no destitution. 

We now come to an incident which, at a subsequent stage 
in the histor}' of the settlement, wtis destined to play an im- 
portant part and to create further trouble for the authorities 
at Fort Oarry. I)r Schultz, whom we have already mention- 
ed in connection with the Nor'-WeHtei\ had entered into part- 
nership with Mr. Henry McKenney, and with him carried on a 
general trading business, which in 1804 was dissolved, and in 
closing up the accounts, the doctor claimed a sum of £800, as 
being due him. The matter finally came before the court, and 
in the course of the trial Dr. Schultz made certain remarks 

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derogatory to the bench, which he declined to retract. Upon 
this he was refused the right to appear in his own behalf in 
the case in question, and several others which he had pending, 
and being still proprietor of the Nor'- WesteVy he made use of 
that sheet to denounce the authorities for their attitude to- 
wards him. From this time the paper became a much more 
bitter opponent of the company than it ever was during the * 
editorship of Mr. James Ross. 

In 1866 the remnant of the Sioux that remained in the set- 
tlement were attacked by a band of Red Lake Indians, four of 
the former being killed, and the authorities, fearing lest it 
might lead to hostilities between the two tribes, decided to 
call out a force of from 50 to 100 of the settlers to defend the 
settlement, but fortunately the Sioux never sought to retali- 
ate. Shortly after this, a half-breed named Desmarais killed 
a Saulteaux in a quarrel, and was tried, convicted, and sen- 
tenced to be hanged. The prisoner's friends petitioned for a 
commutation of the sentence, and the Indians in the neigh- 
borhood threatened to take the law into their own hands un- 
less Desmarais was hanged, so the authorities adopted a 
middle course, by secretly conveying him from the settlement 
and banishing him for life. 

It will thus be seen that the conduct of court business at 
Red River about this time was attended with no small diffi- 
culty. Indeed, it came as near being a farce as it well could 

It was, however, a period of ridiculous proceedings in the 
settlement, and probably the most absurd was a meeting 
which took place in the Court House at Fort Garry, on the 
8th December, 1866. At this meeting there were just five 
persons present, who proceeded to draw up a memorial to the 

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Imperial Government, praying to be received into, and to form 
part of, the Grand Confederation of British North America, 
in consort with Vancouver and British Columbia, in order to 
further British interests and confederation from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific. The Nor'- Wester described the assemblage of 
five as a representative and important move to get rid of the 
yoke of the Hudson's Bay Company, and so it was accepted 
in Canada, while in reality it was the joke of the settlement. 

Another absurdity was a so-called invitation from the In- 
dians, addressed to the Prince of Wales, asking him to visit 
the North-West, a document emanating from the fertile brain 
of a white man, who wished to distinguish himself before his 
fellows as a man of resource. The original draft of the me- 
morial was written in Ens^lish, and translated into Indian by 
a young half-breed at school in the settlen\ent, and no Indian, 
so far as known, had anything to do with its production. 

This extraordinary document read as follows : — 

To the First-born of our Great Mother, across the Great Waters. 

Great Chief, whom we call Royal Chief, — We and our people hear 
that our relations, the half-breeds and pale-faces at Red River, have asked 
you to come and see them next summer. We and our people also wish 
you to come and visit us. Every lodge will give you royal welcome.- We 
have the bear and the buffalo, and our hunting grounds are free to you ; 
our horses will carry you, and our dogs hunt for you, and we and our 
people will guard and attend you ; our old men will show you their 
medals, which they received for being faithful to the Father of our Great 
Mother. Great Royal Chief ! if you will come, send word to our Guiding 
Chief at Fort Garry, so that we may have time to meet and receive you as 
becoming our Great Royal Chief. 

In June following, a letter was received by Mr. Thomas 
Spence, the author of the memorial, from the Secretary of the 
Governor-General of Canada, enclosing a copy of a despatch 
from the Duke of Buckingham, acknowledging receipt of his 
communication, and stating that it had been presented to the 

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Prince of Wales, This acknowledgment of the worst fraud 
ever j;erpetrated on Royalty is, we believe, deposited in the 
archives of the Dominion at Ottawa, and ought to be carefully 

Dr. Schultz now proposed to secure for himself a seat at the 
council board of Assiniboia, a vacancy having occurred, and a 
petition to that effect was presented, but the powers at Fort 
Garry would have none of him, and again the Nor'- Wester 
thundered forth its anathema against the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany authorities, for their usurpation of the rights of the 

In 1867, the first regular attempt was made to establish a 
trade between the Dominion of Canada and the North- West, 
the goods used in Indian trading and in the settlement having 
been imported altogether up to that time from Britain and 
the United States. In the summer of 1867, Mr. W. E. San- 
ford (now Senator Sanford), being in St. Paul on a visit, met 
Mr. Begg, the writer of this book, and induced him to under- 
take at Red River, the opening up of a trade with Canada. 
Mr. Sanford on his return home induced several prominent 
houses in Hamilton and Toronto to take part in the scheme, 
and Mr. Begg proceeded to Fort Garry with a company of 
traders who had been in St. Paul disposing of their furs and 
purchasing supplies. At first the merchants in the settlement 
would have nothing to do with Mr. Begg and his Canadian 
goods, believing, as they said, that there was nothing to com- 
pare with the British and American manufactures. But time 
and perseverance overcame these obstacles, and a set of excel- 
lent samples of Canadian-made articles served to convince the 
sceptics that Canada, after all, could furnish supplies equal in 
quality and much cheaper in price than those they had been 

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358 HisTORr OF the north-west. 

in the habit of buying. The result was that in January, 1868, 
Mr. Be^ returned to Canada with orders amounting to nearly 
$90,000, which he had received from the free traders of the 
North- West. Senator Sanford was the moving spirit in this 
new enterprise, and to him more than anyone else belongs the 
honor of having first established trade relations between the 
Dominion of Canada and the North- West Territories. The 
outcome of this first eflfort waa that from that day Canadian 
goods each year found their way in large quantities into the 
settlement. Canadian merchants, other than those in Hamil- 
ton and Toronto, became interested, and bid for the trade, un- 
til gradually the British and American made articles were 
forced out of the way, and Canada held the trade almost 
alone. But to the City of Hamilton, Ont., belongs the credit 
of having taken the initiative, and to the pluck and energy of 
her merchants is due the fact that the Dominion trade thus 
early secured a foothold in the North- West. 

And now we will refer to the closing scene in the McKen- 
ney-Schultz disputes, which not only caused a great deal of 
trouble to the court at Red River, but served the purpose of 
agitators to brand the Hudson's Bay Company with much 
undeserved obliquity. When Messrs. McKenney and Schultz 
dissolved partnership, there was a considerable suin due a Mr. 
F. E. Kew, of London, England, for which the parties gave a 
joint promissary note. The indebtedness was afterwards re- 
duced to about £600, which Mr. McKenney, it appears, was 
forced to pay Mr. Kew, while he was on a visit to England, 
and on his return to the settlement he instituted proceedings 
against Schultz to recover from that gentleman his share in 
the transaction. 

Mr. McKenney obtained judgment by default against his 

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old partner, and, there being apparently no other way to re- 
cover the debt, he, as sheriff, proceeded to levy on the goods 
and chattels belonging to the doctor. But the latter resisted 
the attempt to deprive him of his possessions, and after a scuf- 
fle with the sheriff an(i his satellites, he was bound with cords 
and cast into prison, on a charge of paving assaulted an officer 
of the law in the discharge of his duty. The doctor was 
brought before a magistrate, who committed him to stand his 
trial at the next Quarterly Court, and he was once more in- 
carcerated in the jail. But that night a number of Schultz's 
friends forcibly entered the prison, overpowered the constables 
on duty, and, breaking in the door of his cell, released him. 

No attempt was made to re-capture the dpctor, or any of 
those who had been instrumental in liberating him, but at a 
meeting of the Council of Assiniboia, convened for the purpose 
of considering the condition of aflairs, it was resolved to call 
out a body of special constables to preserve order. A number 
of men were afterwards sworn in, but their services were never 
required, and so ended what may be termed the final blow to 
the authority of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Red 

While the events just related were agitating the minds of 
the people in the vicinity of Fort Garry, the man of resource, 
Mr. Thomas Spence, of Indian memorial fame, having moved 
to Portage la Prairie, undertook to create a little excitement 
among the inhabitants there, and at the same time gain a little 
notoriety for himself. By persuading a few of the people to 
join him, he organized a new and separate form of govern- 
ment, to be altogether distinct from that of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and named it the Republic of Manitoba. He was 
duly elected President, and had a council of the free and inde- 

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pendent to a<lvise him, the first step taken by him bein^ to 
provide for the levying of taxes, because, as they soon found 
out, no government, no matter how good, can succeed without 
funds. But there were rebels in the republic from the very 
start, who refused to contribute to the support ot the Presi- 
dent and his council, and one of these, name<l Macpherson, was 
duly indicted for treason, and arrested, but his friends, going 
at once to his aid, rescued him, and then turned the govern- 
ment of the republic out of doors. 

Mr. Spence, however, did not mean to allow the opportunity 
to slip of again bringing himself before the notice of the Im- 
perial authorities, and so, in February, 1868, he addressed the 
following letter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies : — 

La Prairie, Manitoba, 

Via Red River Settlement, 

February 19, 1808 

My Lord — As President elect, by the people of the newly- organized 
Government and Council of Manitoba, in British territory, I have the 
dutiful honor of laying before your Lordship, for the consideration of Her 
Most Gracious Majesty, our beloved Queen, the circumstances attending 
the creation of this self-supporting petty government in this isolated por- 
tion of Her Majesty's dominions, and, as loyal British subjects, we hum- 
bly and sincerely trust that Her Most Gracious Majesty, and her ad- 
visers, will be pleased forthwith to give this government favorable recog- 
nition, it being simply our aim to develop our resources, improve the con- 
dition of the people, and generally advance and preserve British interests 
in this rising Far West. 

An humble address from the people of this settlement to Her 
Majesty the Queen, was forwarded through the Governor-General of 
Canada, in June last, briefly setting forth the superior attractions of this 
portion of the British Dominions, the growing population, and the gradual 
influx of immigrants, and humbly praying for recognition, law, and protec- 
tion, to which no reply or acknowledgment has yet rejiched this people. 

E«rly in .January last, at a public meeting of settlers, who number 
over four hundred, it was unanimously decided to at once proceed to the 
election and construction of a government — which has accordingly been 
carried out —a revenue imposed, public buildings commenced, to carry out 

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the laws, provisions made for Indian treaties, the construction of roads, 
and other public works, tending to promote the interests and welfare of 
the people, the boundar es of the jurisdiction being, for the time, pro- 
claimed as follows : — 

N<yrth — From a point running due north from the boundary line of 
Assiniboia till it strikes Lake Manitoba, thence, from the point struck, a 
straight line across the said lake to Manitoba Port ; thence by longitud- 
inal line 51, till it intersects line of latitude 100. 

West — By line of latitude 100 to the boundary line of the United 
States and British America. 

East — The boundary line of the jurisdiction of the Council of issin- 

So^Uh — The boundary line between British North America and the 
United States. 

I have the honor to remain, my Lord, 

Your Lordship's obedient servant, 

T. Sprnce, 

Fres. of the Council, 
To the Secretary of State for Colonial affairs, London, England. 

To this letter Mr. Spence received the following reply : — 

Downing STREtT, 

May 30th, 1868. 

Sift — I am directed by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos to in- 
form you that your letter of the 19th February last, addressed to the 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has been forwarded to this depart- 
ment, and that His Grace has alpo received a copy of a letter addressed 
by you to Mr. Angus Morrison, a member of the Canadian Parliament, 
dat.d the 17th February last. 

In these communications you explain the n-easures that have been 
taken for creating a so-called self-supporting government in Manitoba, 
within the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

The people of Manitoba are probably not aware that the creation of 
a separate government, in the manner set forth in these papers, has no 
force in law, and that they have no authority to create or organize a gov- 
ernment, or even to set up municipal institutions (properly so-called) for 
themselves, without reference to the Hudson's Bay Company or to the 

Her Majesty's Government are advised that there is no objection to 
the people of Manitoba voluntarily submitting themselves to rules and 
regulations, which they may agree to observe for the greater protection 
and improvement of the territory in which they live, but which will have 

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362 HISTORY OF THE NOllTH-Wi:: /: . 

no force A8 regards others than those who may have submitted themselves. 
As it is inferred that the intention is to exercise juiisdiotion over 
offenders in criminal cases, to levy taxes compuls<irily, and to attempt to 
put in force other powers, which can only be exercised J)y a properly con- 
stituted government I am desired to warn you that you and your 
coadjutors are acting illegally in this matter, and that, by the course you 
are adopthig, you are incurring grave responsibilities. 

I am Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


The receipt of this official document caused the immedi- 
ate collapse of the Republic of Manitoba, because Mr. Spence, 
while quite willing to make himself notorious, was not pre- 
pared at the same time to incur the grave responsibilities men- 
tioned in the letter of His Grace the Duke of Buckingham. 

The news of the proceedings at Portage la Prairie, which we 
have described, and ihe disturbances arising out of the Mc- 
Kenney- Schultz affair, reached Canada in a distorted manner, 
and had the effect of producing an impression that they were 
caused by the misgovernment and tyranny of the Hudson's 
Bay Company ; but we have now come to a period when a divi- 
sion of the people took place on this very subject, and it will 
be seen that a very small majority held the opinion that the 
actions of the company were oppressive. In point of fact, the 
settlement was never more contented than at the time we are 
writing about, and although the government of the country 
was acknowledged to be weak, if not altogether powerless, the 
settlers, as a rule, were law-abiding, and the condition of the 
community, on the whole, satisfactory. 

The majority of the settlers were not, therefore, in accord 
Avith the few disturbers of the peace, and agitators who had 
reached the point where there was " method in their mad- 
ness," the purpose being to play into the hands of Canada, by 
showing the weakness of the company's government. 

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The Nor' 'Wester had now become the mouthpiece of the 
malcontents in the settlement, and each issue contained its full 
quota of abuse of the company. Its remarks, however, be- 
came so offensive that the majority of the people became dis- 
gusted with it, and its editor, Mr. Walter R. Bown, who had 
been placed in charge by Dr. Schultz, during his absence on a 
visit to Canada, was not what may be called generally popu- 
lar. The influence of the paper at the time may be gauged by 
an incident that took place soon after the McKenny-Schulta 
disturbance. Taking advantage of the popular excitement 
occasioned by the breaking open of the jail, the Nor' -Wester 
advocated an edteration in the system of government, to allow 
of representative councillors being elected by the people. For 
this purpose a petition to the Government was prepared, and a 
number of signatures attached, but immediately a counter- 
petition was drawn up by another party of settlers, stating^ 
among other things, that the unlawful liberation of Dr. 
Schultz had not the countenance of the majority of the Red 
River population, and this document received no less than 804 

The Nor'- Wester neglected to publish the counter-petition^ 
upon which a party of settlers called upon the editor to de- 
mand its insertion, but without success. This so annoyed a 

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number of thase who had signed the document, that they 
started out with the intention of demolishing the office. They 
were, however, restrained by the Governor, upon Bown under- 
taking to publish a certain numl>er of copies of the petition 
for which the aggrieved settlers agreed to pay. The outcome 
of this little fracas was a suit for defamation of character, 
brought by two of the men against Bown, who was condemned 
to pay a sum of five pounds, which he refused to do. He was 
then clapped into jail, but in al>out an hour a friend paid the 
amount, and the wrathy editor was released. This incident 
was heralded in Canada as an attempt on the part of the com- 
pany to muzzle the press of the country, and of course created 
the usual amount of indignation in places where the circum- 
stances of the case were not known. 

In July, 1868, Mr. Bown became sole proprietor of the 
paper. Dr. Schultz retinng, and the issue became weekly it- 
stead of fortnightly. With the change of ownership, how- 
ever, the tone of the journal did not improve, but, on the con- 
trary, virulent abuse of the authorities became even worse 
than ever. In August, however, the Nor' -Wester did good 
service to the settlement in calling attention to the distreas 
that prevailed, owing to the ravages of the grasshoppers. In 
the autumn of 1867, the whole country was invaded by 
swarms of locusts, and these having deposited their eggs, the 
young insects in the following spring devoured every green 
thing on the face of the land. The result was that actual 
starvation stared the settlers in the face, and the Nor* -Wester 
published an earnest appeal for aid, addressed to the inhabi- 
tants of Canada and the United States. 

The Elarl of Kimberley, Governor of the Hudson^s Bay 
Company, and others, published letters on the subject in the 

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London Times, and, as a result of these efforts, generous dona- 
tions poured in from all sources. It was the darkest season 
for the settlement in many years, for not only were the crops 
destroyed, but the buffalo hunt and the fisheries proved to l)e 
complete failures, and even the rabbits and pheasants in the 
country had disappeared. There was, therefore, no food for 
the people, except what could be obtained from the liberal 
donations of outside friends. 

The much abused council of Assiniboia was the first to come 
to the rescue of the settlers, by voting a sum of £1,600, to be 
immediately spent in the following manner : £600 were appro- 
priated to purchase seed wheat : £500 for flour, and £500 for 
twine, hooks, and ammunition, to be distributed among such 
sett!ei*s as desired to use them in procuring fish and game. 
The donation of the Council of Assiniboia was quickly fol- 
lowed by a liberal amount (£2,000) from the Hudson's Bay 
Company, which made a total of £3000 in all received from 
Britain; then came *Canada with a generous sum, followed 
by the United States with ?5,000. 

A central organization, named the " Red River Relief Com- 
mittee," composed of some of the principal residents, including 
the Governor and the Bishops, was then formed for the pur- 
pose of regulating the distribution of the supplies. The flour 
and provisions had to be brought from St. Paul, and in order 
to give the distressed settlers an opportunity to earn food for 
their families, a large number of them were employed to con- 
vey the supplies over the prairie, the freight being paid in 
provisions, and as the work of freighting relief stores, owing 

^ *The Ontario Ooverament Toted $6,000 for the relief of the Red River settlers, but Hon John 
Sandfleld Maodonald, for some reason, oppoeed it« payment. The private contributions from 
the province, especially Hamilton, were most libera). 


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to the lateness of the season, had to be carried into the winter 
months, it enabled many to tide over the season. 

In the autumn there arrived in the settlement, a party of 
Canadian Government employes, in charge of Mr. John A. 
Snow, for the purpose of constructing a road between the Red 
River and the Lake of the Woods, the idea being to prosecute 
a public work, and at the same time afford relief to the settlers 
by employing them on it. With Mr. Snow came Mr. Charles 
Mair, as his assistant, and this gentleman, being of a literary 
turn of mind, occupied his spare moments in writing letters to 
friends, which, unfortunately for him, were afterwards pub- 
lished in a number of Canadian papers, the Toronto Globe 
among the number. The contents of these letters were, to say 
the least, injudicious, and Mr. Mair's criticisms not only 
brought him into disrepute with the settlers whom he had 
ridiculed, but they also created a bad feeling towards the ex- 
pedition of which he was a member. 

The French half-breeds, of whom Mr. Mair wrote disparag- 
ingly, were particularly offended at the tone of his letters, and 
resented the calumnies which he had endeavored to cast upon 
them as a class. We would not, however, have mentioned this 
circumstance, if it were not that these letters, from the pen of 
Mr. Snow's assistant, aroused a very unfriendly feeling on the 
part of the half-breeds against Canadian new-comers gener- 
ally, which, later on, had much to do with the difficulties that 
arose between the two. 

We will have occasion to deal with Mr. Snow's work on the 
Lake of the Woods road, in a later chapter, and will therefore 
proceed to give our readei^s a short description of the settle- 
ment as it was immediately prior to the transfer of the coun- 
try to Canada. 

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Before doing so, however, we would like to remind our 
readers that for nearly two centuries the Hudson*8 Bay Com- 
pany had occupied Rupert's Land and turned its resources to 
the best advantage, considering the barbarous nature of the 
region and the great di£Sculties they had to contend against. 
For nearly fifty years of this time, they had been instrumen- 
tal in establishing and supporting a civilized settlement, which 
formed the nucleus, in after years, of a chain of civilized com- 
munities throughout the country. Much has been said and 
written for and against the rule of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, but it must be remembered that in spite of all the many 
difficulties that surrounded their path, and the frequent at- 
tempts to dislodge them, they held the country as British ter- 
ritory, when, in default of such occupancy, it would probably, 
if not surely, have passed into possesssion of the United 
States. And above all, it is to the wise and considerate course 
adopted by the company in their dealing with the Indians, 
that Canada has been able to enjoy possession of the land 
with so little trouble from the native tribes. 

The number of settlers along the Red and Assiniboine 
rivers, including the French and English half-breeds, was es- 
timated to be from 12,000 to 13,000 souls. In the vicinity of 
Upper Fort Garry, the town of Winnipeg had grown to some 
dimensions, containing, as it did then, over thirty buildings. 
Of these, eight were stores, doing business with the settlers 
and outfitting half-breeds for the Indian trade, two saloons, 
two hotels, one mill, a church, and the balance chiefly resid- 
ences. The town could boast of an engine-house, post office, 
and a small hall for entertainments, and at times, especially 
when the fur traders and hunters arrived from the interior, 
the vicinity presented a very lively appearance, indeed. Along 

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the banks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers settlements had 
spread, and everywhere could be seen signs of comfort and 
pix>sperity. The settlers, as a rule, were peaceful and law- 
abiding, and the disturbances, which we have noted from time 
to time, arose generally from the acts of a few men, and were 
not participated in by the conmmnity as a whole. 

The French half-breeds, who had on several occasions given 
the Hudson's Bay Company a gi'eat deal of trouble, were, at 
the time we are \vriting about, among the most peaceful and 
loyal of the settlers to the government of the day. The Scotch 
and English had always been law-abiding, and, except in the 
case of a few won over by agitators, they had invariably sup- 
ported the authorities. But the company, knowing its w^eak- 
ness, unsupported by any force of soldiers or constabulary, 
was unable to give that prott^ction, through its courts, which a 
well-ordered community has a right to expect, and for this 
reason there was an undefined lack of confidence among all 
classes in its administration of affairs. The company's officers 
realized this, and were looking forward eagerly for some 
change to relieve them of the responsibility. The Council, al- 
though appointed by the Hudson's Bay Company, was really 
composed of representative men of the settlement, because, 
before an appointment was made, the views of the settlers on 
the subject were first ascertained, and if the councillors had 
been elected by popular vote the same men would probably 
have been chosen in most cases, and, what is more, the author- 
ity of the Hudson's Bay Company would have been maintain- 
ed, as it was not only the chief source of revenue but also 
possessed of most power to do good to the settlement. 

The court-house w^as situated outside, but close to the walls 
of Fort Garry, and although we need not repeat the particulars 

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relating to the administration of the law, we may say that the 
process, though well adapted for purposes of fair arbitration 
in simple cases, was liable to abuse, owing to its summary 
character, and absence of preliminary and other necessary 
arrangements customary with regular courts of law. The 
agitation against the authorities and against the courts pro- 
ceeded, as already shown, not so much from natives of the 
colony as from new comers, and a few others who had an 
object in wishing to upset the government of the day. 

The cultivated portions of tlie farms along the rivers were 
small, but immediately back of them could be seen great herds 
of domestic cattle, feeding on the plains, unherded and left to 
roam at will, grazing freely on tlie rich grass of the prairie. 
Just before the harvest it was customary for the settlera to go 
" hay cutting," which they did by travelling over the prairie 
until they came to a desirable spot, when they would cut in a 
circle, and all the grass thus enclosed belonged to the pai*ty 
hay-making, no one, by the acknowledged law of the land, 
being allowed to disturb him within that charmed circle. 
Then a busy scene commenced, the mowers (for the settlers 
had learned already to make use of agricultural machinery) 
were kept busy, and men, women and children might be seen 
•actively engaged in stacking the hay. During hay time the 
people lived in tents on the hay gi-ound, and only returned to 
their houses when the work was finished. 

Almost immediately after haying, harvcvsting commenced, 
and any one, to have looked at the splendid fields of wheat, 
would have been impressed with the great fertility of the soil. 
At that time there was no settler away from the river, the line 
of settlement skirting the river with tidy farm houses, com- 
fortable barns and well -fenced fields of waving, golden grain, 
like a beautiful fringe to the great fertile prairies l>eyond. 

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Socially there was much good feeling existing between all 
classes of the community, and a more hospitable or happier 
people could hardly be found on the face of the earth than 
the settlers of Red River in 1868-69. Such was the state of 
the settlement when 'arrangements ffor the transfer of the 
country to Canada were completed. 

And now, in closing this chapter, we will take a glance at 
the progress of the Church from 1849 to 1869, a period of 
twenty years. 

The cathedral erected by the Bishop of Juliopolis, which we 
described in a former page of this volume, was destroyed by 
fire in 1860, and in 1861 Bishop Tachd visited Europe, partly 
for the purpose of raising money for the restoration of his 
chui-ch, the result of which was the erection of the handsome 
cathedral still standing in St. Boniface. About this time the 
enonnous extent of territory included within the limits of the 
diocese of St. Boniface, rendered its supervision extremely 
difficult under one head, and it was decided, with the sanction 
of the Sovereign Pontiff, to divide it into three, the Athabasca 
and Mackenzie River district as one ; the country draining 
into Hudson's Bay another, and the third consisting of the 
southern territory, with its headquarters at Red River. The 
first-named diocese was placed under charge of Bishop Farand, 
the second under Bishop Grandin, and Bishop Tachd remained 
at Red River. Seven parishes were organized in the latter 
diocese, with about three thousand regular communicants, and 
the Roman Catholic clergy succeeded in extending their mis- 
sions in almost every direction throughout the North- West, 
and in May, 1864, Rev. P^re Vandenberghe, a member of the 
general council of the order of Oblats, in France, and visiting 
inspector of missions, arrived at Red River, and visited a num- 
ber of the outlying missions. 

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In 1862, the present Episcopal cathedral at St. Johns waa 
opened by Bishop Anderson, on the site of the old church built 
in 1834, and in 1864 the bishop took his ultimate departure 
from the settlement, when Rev. T. T. Smith oflSciated until 
Bishop Machray arrived in 1865 and took charge of the dio- 
cese. In the meantime, Rev. Mr. Hunter, who had been at 
the Cumberland Mission, came to Red River, and, as Arch- 
deacon, was appointed to St. Andrew's, which he retained 
until 1866, when he returned to England and was succeeded 
by Rev. Archdeacon Cowley. St. PauFs, which had no regular 
clergyman until 1849, waa in that year placed in charge of 
Rev. Mr. Chapman, and in 1861 a substantial stone church 
having been erected at St. Clements between the Indian settle- 
ment and St. Andrew's, Rev. Henry Cochran was appointed to 
it. On the river Assiniboine were the parishes of St. James, 
Headingly, St. Margaret, St. Ann, and St. Mary; the first 
being in charge of Rev. Wm. H. Taylor until 1868, when 
Rev. W. C. Pinkham was appointed. Headingly at one time 
was under the Rev. G. O. Corbett, to whom we referred in a 
former part of this book, but in 1866 Rev. James Carrie took 
charge. The parish of St. Mary was formed in 1857, by Rev. 
Archdeacon Cochran, who officiated there until 1865, when 
Rev. Henry George succeeded him. St. Margaret and St. 
Ann were also founded by Archdeacon Cochran, and in 1864 a 
regular resident clergyman was appointed to them in the per- 
son of Rev. John Chapman, who gave way in 1868 to Rev. 
Gilbert Cook. 

In all there were twenty-four clergymen in the whole Dio- 
cese of Rupert's Land, nine of whom were engaged in regular 
parochial duty in the settlement, while the other fifteen were 
laboring in the interior missions, some of them lying as far 

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north as Athabasca. On the 30th May, 1866, the first *' Con- 
ference for clergy and lay delegates from parishes" in the 
Diocese of Rupert's Land was held at 8t. Johns, by Bishop 
Ma<;hray, thus inaugurating the work of organization in the 
Church of England, and in the follo\ving October the Vener- 
able Archdeacon McLean (afterwards Bishop of Saskatche- 
wan), arrived in th^ settlement, who, by his great energy and 
untiring zeal, gave a decided impetus to church mattei-s in 
Red River. In 1867, he commenced holding services in the 
town of Winnipeg, having obtained the use of a hall for the 
purpose, and in 1868, a small wooden church, " Holy Trinity," 
.the fii-st edifice of the kind, was erected in the town. 

When Rev. John Black arrived in Red River, about 800 of 
the Scotch settlers separated from the Church of England and 
attached themselves to him. In 1853, a second Presbyterian 
church was erected at Little Britain, about fourteen miles 
down the river from Frog Plain ; and in 1862, Rev. James 
Nisbet took charge of it until 186(), when he went to thie Sas- 
katchewan to form a mission there, and was succeeded by 
Rev. Alexander Matheson, who, in 1868, was replaced by Rev. 
William Fletcher. In 1866, a Presbyterian church was built 
at Headingly, and in 1868, another was opened in Winnipeg. 
There w^ere then three regular churches namely, Kildonan 
(Frog Plain), Little Britain, and Headingly, and four preach- 
ing stations at Winnipeg, Poplar Point, High Bluff, and 
Portage La Prairie, respectively. 

In 1868, the Wesley ans sent the Rev. George Young, a 
worthy and zealous clergyman, to Winnipeg, to establish a 
church there, and the Hudson's Bay Company, having donated 
a lot of land for the purpose, he, soon after his arrival, com- 
menced the erection of '* Grace Church," and in this way the 
Methodists gained a foothold in the settlement. 

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On the 18th September, 1868, Mr. John A. Snow, received 
instructions from Honorable Wm. McDougall, then Minister of 
Public Works, to proceed to the Red River Settlement, and 
commence the opening of a road from Fort Garry to the Lake 
of the Woods, on the route recommended by Mr. S. J. Dawson. 
At that time, Canada had no right or title in the territory, 
negotiations being then in progress for acquiring the same. 

Messrs. Dawson and Hind, it is true, had explored and sur- 
veyed certain districts in behalf of Canada, but this was done 
with the knowledge and consent of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, but Mr. Snow was put to work without so much as say- 
ing " by your leave " to the chartered proprietors. It was 
done with the ostensible object of affording relief to the dis- 
tressed settlers, but, as a matter of fact, there is nothing to 
show in the oflScial correspondence that this feature of the un- 
dertaking was ever carried out. Mr. Snow says, that on his 
arrival in the settlement, he received the verbal consent of 
Governor McTavish to carry on the work, but in opposition to 
this, there appears the following paragraph in the report of 
Hon. Messrs. McDougall and Cartier, the delegates to England 
in 1868-9 : " During the progress of negotiations, a formal 
complaint was made to the Colonial Secretary by the repre- 
sentatives of the company, against the Canadian Government, 

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for undertaking the construction of a road between Lake of 
the Woods and the Red River Settlement, without having first 
obtained the consent of the company." 

It was, to say the least of it, somewhat premature on the 
part of Canada to take the step it did in face of the fact that 
negotiations for the purchase of the country were then pend- 
ing. Only a few settlers were employed, the greater number 
being Canadians and Americans, and these latter it seems 
gave Mr. Snow a fifood deal of trouble on account of the 
lowness of the wages paid. On one occasion they seized and 
threatened to drown him unless he settled their demands, 
and referring to this matter in his report, Mr. Snow thus eu- 
logizes the natives of the country : " I must, however, state, 
that the conduct of the French half-breeds employed, was, with 
very few exceptions, respectful, and their labor honestly per- 
formed, and that the disafection that occurred during the sum- 
mer among the men employed, was almost entirely confined to 
Canadians, and deserters from the American army." 

In another report, he hits his assistant, Mr. Mair, rather 
hard, although he does not specially single him out by name. 
He says: " That letters written by Canadians here, which 
have appeared from time to time in the newspapers in Canada, 
have done harm I must admit, but I have had no hand in their 
production, they have been published in opposition to my 
wishes." There is no doubt Mr. Snow meant well, and tried 
to do his duty, but he unfortunately allowed himself to become 
allied to men who simply used him as a tool in the furtherance 
of their own ends. In February, 1869, a disturbance arose at 
Oak Point, the headquarters of the Lake of the Woods road, 
owing to a scheme having been entered into for the purpose of 
buying from the Indians their title to the lands, irrespective 

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of the claims of the half-breed settlers. Messrs. Snow and 
Mair were supposed to be implicated in this matter, and the 
latter being seized by a party of excited men, was brought by 
force to Fort Garry, and only released by the interference of 
Governor McTavish in his behalf. Mr. Snow, however, was 
arrested and condemned to pay a fine of ten pounds for hav- 
ing sold liquor to the Indians in the course of, and in connec- 
tion with, the land transaction. 

The whole conduct of the undertaking was marked from 
first to last by a series of injudicious acts on the part of the 
men in charge, and the results were most unfortunate at that 
particular time. Governor McTavish felt it incumbent on him 
to write a letter on the subject to Hon. Wm. McDougall, who, in 
reply, made the following singular statement : " that the money 
appropriated towards the work on the Lake of the Woods 
road was intended for the relief of the settlers, as the Hud- 
son's Bay Company had dorie nothing for the starving people 
of Red River" We have seen how much truth there was in 
the latter part of this assertion, and, as for the first, a very 
small amount of the money expended passed into the hands of 
the starving people. The whole amount paid out on this 
work was about $30,000, and it might just as well have been 
dumped into the Red River for all the good it did to Canada, 
or to the settlement. It was the cause of the first of the dis- 
turbances that broke out among the half-breeds in opposition 
to the transfer of the country to Canada, and, immediately 
following it, Hon. Wm. McDougall took another premature 
and unwise step, which only tended to increase the bad feeling 
already existing. 

On the 10th July, 1869, he directed Colonel J. S. Dennis, 
D.L.S., to repair to Red River and prepare a plan for laying 

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out townships, and otherwise making a general survey of the 
country. Col. Dennis at once proceeded with his work, and, 
after consulting with the Crown Lands Department, submit- 
ted a memorandum on the subject, in which he intimated that 
there would probably be objection on the part of the half- 
breeds to any survey until their claims had been investigated 
and settled by the Dominion Government. Mr. McDougall, 
however, paid no attention to this warning, but, with the 
assent of the Privy Council, issued an order, in October, for 
the surveys to proceed. Col. Dennis accordingly went to work 
to carry out his instructions, and put men in the tield for that 
purpose, but had hardly commenced operations when, on the 
11th of October, a party of men, headed by Louis Riel, in- 
terrupted the survey, and threatened violence if it was not 
stopped. Dr. Cowan, the officer in charge of Fort Garry, then 
made every effort to induce Riel and his party to withdraw 
their opposition, but without success, and the Catholic ciergy 
were even solicited to use their influence in the same direc- 
tion. But the spirit of rebellion had l)een aroused, and could 
not be allayed by reasoning with the analcontents, and so the 
surveys and work on the Lake of the Woods road had to be 

The opposition on the part of the French half-breeds was 
caused through distrust of the intentions of Canadians to- 
ward them, and this was brought about in a great measure by 
the acts of a few men in the settlement who, professing to 
have the cause of Canada at heart, were really more con- 
cerned in filling their own pockets. These men, as soon as the 
work of survey had commenced, staked out large claims of 
land for themselves, which they openly boasted would be 
theirs as soon as the Canadian Government secured possession. 

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This, in conjunction with the proceedings at Oak Point, on the 
Lake of the Woods road, produced the impression in the minds 
of the simple half-breeds that their homes and their lands 
would be confiscated as soon as the transfer took place. 

The people of the settlement had been gradually worked up 
to a state of unrest, and the Hudson s Bay Company had been 
misrepresented and maligned to such an extent that the set- 
tlers were in serious doubt as to the real position the authori- 
ties occupied in the changes which were rumored as about to 
take place. The French portion of the community, from this 
feeling of restlessness and uncertainty, began at last to sus- 
pect that the company was playing into the hands of Canada, 
to hand them over without any regard for their interests. 
Until this feeling took root, they were loyal to the company, 
and really had no desire for a change, but their suspicions, 
once aroused, had an effect on their excitable temperaments, 
which it was impossible to control. 

In the meantime, as we have already shewn, arrangements 
for the transfer of the country had been made, and 1st Octo- 
ber, 1869, set as the date on which the purchase money was to 
be handed over. It was then expected that, on or about the 
Ist December following, a Queen's Proclamation would be 
issued, fixing a day for the union of the North-West with 

On the 28th September, 1869, Honorable William McDou- 
gall was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the North- West 
Territories, to take effect from and after the day on which 
such territories were transfeiTed by Her Majesty to the Do- 
minion, the salary of the oflSce being placed at seven thou- 
sand dollars per annum. On the same day as this appoint- 
ment was made, the Secretary of State for the Provinces 

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addressed a letter to Mr. McDougall, instructing him to pro- 
ceed with all convenient speed to Fort Garry, to superintend 
the preliminary arrangements for the organization of the ter- 
ritories, and report to the Government at Ottawa on the 
following subjects : — Suitable names of persons to act on his 
council — the state of the laws — system of taxation in force — 
state of the Indian tribes — nature and amount of the currency 
— system of education — lands desirable to open at once for 
settlement — relations existing between the Hudson's Bay 
Company and the different religious bodies in the territories — 
oflBcers employed by the Hudson *s Bay Company, salaries, etc., 
and the names of those who should be retained ; and, finally, 
Mr. McDougall was instructed to take steps for the extension 
of the telegraph system to the North- West. 

Soon after his appointment, Hon. Mr. McDougall left for 
the North- West, via the United States, and on the 11th Octo- 
ber, the Secretary of State for the Provinces transmitted, by 
the hands of Mr. J. A. N. Provencher, the following docu- 
ments : — 

1st. A commission appointing him as Lieutenant-Governor. 

2nd. A commission to Wm. McTavish and others, to ad- 
minister the oaths of allegiance and oflSce to Mr. McDougall. 

3rd. A commission to same parties to administer oaths of 
oflBce to all persons appointed to office in the North- West Ter- 

4th. A commission appointing Mr. McDougall Deputy-Gov- 
ernor for signing marriage licenses in the North-West Terri- 

All these commissions were to take effect from and after the 
day to Ik? named by Her Majesty, in pursuance of the British 
North America Act of 1867, for the admission of Ruperts 

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Land and the North-West Territories into the Dominion of 

On the 30th October, Hon. Wm. McDougall arrived at the 
H. B. post at Pembina, but in the meantime certain events 
had taken place at Red River, which it will be necessary to 

In the fall of 1869, previous to the arrival of Mr. McDougall 
at Pembina, Hon. Joseph Howe, then Secretary of State for 
the Provinces, in company with Messrs. Turner and Sandford, 
of Hamilton, Ontario, paid a visit to the settlement, and on 
its becoming known that so distinguished a party had arrived, 
a few Canadians undertook to hoist a flag in honor of the oc- 
casion. There would not have been much harm in this, but 
the individuals in question had taken a British ensign, and 
tacked on the words " Canada " across its face. There was no 
sense in this proceeding, which, in point of fact, was a pure 
mutilation of the national emblem, and if the flag had been 
hoisted, under the existing state of feeling among the French 
half-breeds, there would probably have been a serious disturb- 
ance. Hon. Mr. Howe, however, was too experienced a man 
to countenance any such demonstration in his behalf, and in- 
timated his wish, as soon as he heard of it, that the flag would 
not be hoisted, a circumstance, however, which turned his 
would-be friends into actual enemies. 

Mr. Howe's reason for visiting the country was to see for 
himself what it was like, so that he might be the better able 
to judge when dealing afterwards with matters connected 
with it. He did not \nsit Red River to take part in any party 
feeling then existing, or to propound the policy of the ex- 
pected Governor. He came to see the people generally, and 
gather facts about the country, the same as any private indi- 

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vidual mi^ht wish to do. Refusing all invitations of hospital- 
ity, he kept himself a good deal in his quarters at the hotel, 
receiving visits, but paying none. In company with Mr. W. 
E. Sandford (now Senator Sandford), he made a couple of 
trips up and down the Red and Assiniboia Rivers, in the 
coui-se of which he became conversant, no doubt, with a good 
deal of the feeling then existing amongst the settlers in re- 
gard to the proposed change of government. But at that 
time there were only grumblings, and acts of hostility toward 
Mr. McDougall were not even suspected. Mr. Howe's well- 
known fighting qualities as a statesmen, and the attitude he 
took in defence of the rights of his native province, no doubt 
gave the impression to some that his instincts were somewhat 
of a rebellious nature, and that, therefore, he sympathized 
with the French half-breeds in their complaints, but whatever 
may have been his inner feelings, his words to the people of 
Red River were those of assurance that Canada would do 
justice in all cases. 

Soon after his departure, however, the troubles commenced 
by Riel, with six or eight followers, erecting a barrier across 
the road at RiviSre Sale, for the purpose of preventing the en- 
trance of the new Governor. Public and private meetings 
were then held among the French, in which Riel took a pro- 
minent part, the result being that three or four hundred men 
assembled at the barrier with the avowed object of keeping 
Mr. McDougall out at all ha^^-rds. A council was fonned, of 
which John Bruce was made President, and Louis Riel, Secre- 
tary, the council chamber being at Rivifere Sale, in the house 
of Rev. Mr. Richot. 

The next step was the sending of a messenger to intercept 
Mr. McDougall, with the following missive, warning him not 
to attempt to enter the settlement : — 

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' Monsieur — Le Comity National des Metis de la Riviere 
Rouge, intime k Monsieur W. McDougall Fordre de ne pas 
entrer sur le Territoire du Nord-Ouest sans une permission 
speciale de ce comitd. 

" Par ordre du President, 

''John Bruce. 
"Louis Riel. Secritaire. 
" Date k St. Norbert, Riviere Rouge, 

" Ce 21e jour d'Oetobre, 1869." 

The following day an affidavit was sworn to by W. Hyiuan 
before Dr. Cowan, at Fort Garry, which we will give in full 
as it fairly represents the action of the French at the time :— 

Red River Settlement.! ^ jj^^^^ ^^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^.^j^ ,_ 
To wit : j 

During the afternoon of yesterday, some twenty men, or thereabouts, 
fully armed, made their api>earance at the crossing of the Riviere Sale, 
on the road between here and Pembina ; and other and smaller parties of 
men, also armed, kept coming in during the afternoon and evening, till as 
many as forty men were in the party. 

Tliat the said party of fony men are now billeted (or were when the 
deponent left home this a.m., at which time they had sent off some more 
men for more provisions) round in the adjacent houses. 

That the men composing the said i)arty, deponent believes, all belong 
to the parishes of St. Norl)ei-t, above mentioned, and St. Vital ; and tha 
the avowed object of their meeting in arms, and waiting at the said point, 
was to turn back the new Governor, Mr. McDougall, and not allow him 
to enter into the colony— one of the men, in conversation with the depon- 
ent, who was naturally anxious to find out the meaning of such an assem- 
blage, with arms in their hands, told the deponent the above was their ob- 
ject ; and further said, that if the Governor persisted in attempting to 
come farther than that i>oint, i.e., the crossing of the Rividre Sale, they 
would shoot him. 

That he was informed by this party, and believes the same (inasmuch 
as he saw a number of horsemen passing previously), that another party, 
mounted, supposed to consist of twenty men or more, are now in advance 
somewhere about Scratching River, accompanied by a man named Riel, 
whose intention is \/o stop the Governor, and to submit to him several 

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questions, or rather demands, in the event of refusing which he is warned 
not to proceed. There is a further and third party between the two points 
mentioned, which this deponent, from information received, believes to 
number forty men. Should the Governor persist in coming forward, not- 
withstanding repeated warnings, these parties will full back on the reserve 
at the Rividre Sale ; and then final actitm will be taken, as above men- 
tioned, should he still further endeavor to force his way on to the settle- 

That, among other houses in the vicinity, where certain of the forty 
men at Riviere Sale are billeted, ten of the armed party find quarters at 
the house of the Curfe Rev. P6re Richot. 

Finally, that the dejwnent seriously believes that the said men are 
truly in earnest ; and that without prompt action being taken by the au- 
thorities, to avert the same, a serious calamity is about to ensue— in an 
outrage, which may be of a fatal character on the person of the honor- 
able gentleman now about entering the colony to assume the charge of 


(Signed), W. Hyman. 
Sworn before me at Fort Garry,) 
this 22nd day of October 1869. / 


William Cowan, J. P. 

Mr. McDougall, while on his way across the plains, had met 
Mr. Howe, who told him that there was a certain amount of 
uneasiness among the Red River people, which would require 
delicate handling, but that he did not anticipate any armed 
insurrection, and therefore the newly appointed Governor was 
partly prepared for opposition, but not for the form which it 
assumed. After parting with Mr. Howe, he soon after met 
Mr. W. E. Sandford, who had defen-ed his departure a few 
days after Mr. Howe left, and he it was who first informed 
Mr. McDougall of the erection of the barrier at Riviere Sale. 
It appeal's that when Mr. Sanford was ready to leave the set- 
tlement, the barrier had been raised and he could not get 
through without a pass. He thereupon consulted with Mr. A, 
G. B. Bannatyne, a prominent resident, who sent for Riel, and, 
in a few words well chosen for the purpose, intix)duced Mr. 

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Sanilford, and that gentleman, at the expense of a couple of 
bottles of champagne, succeeded in obtaining from the Secre- 
tary of the insurgents, the necessary authority to enable him 
to pass the obstruction at Rivi&re Sale. He gave Mr. McDou- 
gall a very clear idea of the troubles he might expect ahead of 
him, a subject upon which he could speak from personal ex- 
perience. At the solicitation of Governor Mactavish, he had 
delayed his departure from the settlement a few days, for the 
purpose of hearing the decision of the Council of Assinboia, 
about the French uprising, which they were theti considering, 
so that word might be sent to Mr. McDougall, whom Mr. 
Sand ford expected to meet on the way. 

In the meantime, Col. Dennis had gone down the Red River 
to see what could be done with the Scotch and English set- 
tlers, to raise a 'force to escort the new Governor in, and the 
following, taken from his report, will show the state of feeling 
in the settlement outside the French. He thus describes the 
sentiments of the settlers: "We (the English settlers) feel 
confidence in the future administration of the government of 
this country, under Canadian rule ; at the same time, we have 
not been consulted in any w^ay, as a people, in entering into 
the Dominion. The character of the new government has 
been settled in Canada, without our being consulted. We are 
prepared to accept it respectfully, to obey the laws and to be- 
come good subjects : but when you present to us the issue of a 
conflict with the French party, with whom we have hitherto 
lived in friendship, backed up, as they would be, by the Roman 
Catholic church, which appears probable, by the course at pre- 
sent being taken by the priests, in which conflict, it is almost 
certain the aid of the Indians would be invoked, and perhaps 
obtained by that party, we feel disinclined to enter upon it, 

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and think that the Dominion should assume the responsibility 
of establishing amongst us, what it, and it alone, has decided 

On the 30th October, Governor Mactavish addressed the 
following letter to Mr. McDougall, at Pembina : — 

Hon. William McDou(iALL, C.B. 

My Dear Sir— It is with much concern I have to say, that among a 
certain portion of the half-breed population here, there prevails a degree 
of excitement at the prospect of your arrival in the country, which seems 
to make it necessary that in cominp; into the settlement, you should use 
great circumspection ; and it is for the purjKwe of ))ointing attention to 
that apparent necessity that I send you this communicution. 

For some weeks past, rumors have been reaching me through more or 
less reliable channels, of dissatisfaction among the French half-breeds, 
with the recent arrangements ; but believing, as I then did, that these 
feelings had no very deep root, T indulged the hope that they might pass 
away. But in this respect I am deeply pained to say I have been dlsap- 
])ointed, and that within the lust few days the feeling of discontent has 
manifested itself in such a manner as to create serious apprehensions for 
the result. After interfering with the surveying operations of Colonel 
Dennis, these people, in considerable numbers, have combined for the 
avowed purpose of stoppmg your entrance into the settlement, and with 
that view they have actually taken up permanent positions on the road by 
which, in the usual course of travel, you would advance. 

Ever since matters began to assume a serious aspect, the conduct of 
these people has been, I may s^iy, constantly engaging the e*imest deliber- 
ations of the local authorities, but although every eflbrt has been made 
which the Council deemed jirudent or practicable for bringing these mis- 
guided people to reason, and for procuring their peaceable dispersion, yet 
I am sorry to say that hitherto all has been without effect, and that the 
difficulty, the serious and now somewhat alarming ditticulty. still remains 
unsolved, as to how you are to be effectunlly protected from molestation 
in approaching the settlement. 

From Colonel Dennis I learn that, by different hands he has lately been 
sending you reports upon the state of matters here, and that in his last 
communication he has advised you to remain in Pembina until you should 
ascertain, through reliable intelligence from this, by some means or other, 
the course has been cleared so as to make it prudent for you to come on. 
It appears to me that, under the circumstances, the advice so tendered by 
Colonel Dennis was sound and judicious, and it relieved my mind from 

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much anxiety to hear that officer so express a belief that you would be 
inclined to act upon it ; although I cannot but add that I fully share in 
his feeling of mortification at being so circumstanced as to be constrained 
to counsel such a course. 

I have not myself seen Colonel Dennis's communications to you on the 
subject of these unfortunate occurrences, but he has been kind enough to 
read tfiem to some members of the Council, for the purpose of enabling 
them to judge of the accuracy and completeness of his information, and 
upon their assurance I liave no hesitation in sayim; that the contents of 
the Coloners communications to you, may be relied upon as conveying in 
the main a correct narrative of the occurrence to which they refer, and a 
fair representation of the popular sentiment throughout the settlement. 

The question which now presses itself upon every mind is, what is to be 
done to secure your peaceable entrance into the settlement { So far, all 
our expedients have failed ; and unless the efforts of a temporizing char- 
acter, which are still being earnestly used for the dispersion of the mal- 
contents, succeed, it is to be feared that your coming into the settlement, 
at the present moment, would not be free from considerable danger. 

From Col. Denis's despatches and this letter, you will derive as full and 
accurate knowledge of the position of the affairs here, as I believe can 
very well be given in writing ; and having satisfied myself that you are 
acquainted with all the material circumstances of the case, I think that 
you are now in possession of the principal data for enabling you to deter- 
mine the imjwrtant questicm of your movements ; and I need not say that 
I shall most anxiously await your decision. 

But without, of course, in any way meaning to prescribe the line to be 
pursued, I may be permitted to add that, to those who with myself have 
been deliberating upon the most advisable steps to be taken in circum- 
stances of so embarrassing and so critical a nature, there have been sug- 
gested three courses for meeting the difficulty as it now htands. 

The first is, that, there happily being among even the French half- 
breeds a considerable element of well-disposed persons, there should be 
carefully selected, from that secticm. a lx)dy of from twenty to thirty men, 
who, mounted and armed, should proceed to Pembina and escort you 
entirely clear from the roads on wliich the malcontents are known to have 
taken up their positions. 

The second is, that of making a public call upon the whole loyal jM)rtion 
of the settlement to turn out in the cause of order, and to the number of 
say J*00 unarmed, able-bodied men, if such a force could be mustereil, 
proceed to Pembina and escort you into the settlement, by the usual 
route, whether the malcontents remain upon it or not. 

And the third is, that you should remain at Pembina and await the 
issue of conciliatory negotiations, with the view of procuring a peaceable 
dispersion of the malcontents. 

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Now, with respect to the first of these courses, it is, in my opinion, 
open to the grave objection that evan if it were to issue in your safe 
arrival amongst us, it would obviously involve a virtual acknowledgment 
of the ascendancy of these lawless people, and would have a direct ten- 
dency to inspire them with fresh courage in the prosecution of their 
designs ; and besides, I am strongiy of opinion that under present cir- 
cumstances your personal safety could not be sufficiently provided for by 
the attendance of so small a body of men as that proposed — a body large 
eTiough to provoke a collision, but probably far from strong enough to 
meet it. 

The second is one which, all along, the local authorities have been pon- 
dering, but one which, as in somewhat similar emergencies on former 
occasions, they have hitherto shrunk from adopting, partly from a mis- 
giving as to the extent and the spirit of the response to such a call as that 
proposed, and ])Hrtly also, but principally, from an apprehension of pre- 
cipitating a collision between different sections of the people, which might 
plunge, not only the settlement, but the whole territory into all the dis- 
asters of a war of races and religions — a war in which the legitimate 
object, for which it had been begun, would probably soon be lost sight of, 
and passion and prejudice alone animate the minds of those engaged in 

To the council and myself it appears that under the present circum- 
stances the third proposal is the only one that can be regarded as prudent 
or practicable ; and it is, therefore, our opinion that you should remain 
at Pembina, and await the issue of conciliatory negotiations, in the hope of 
procuring a i>eaceable dispersion of the malcontents. 

I have only to add that although this letter proceeds ostensibly from 
myself, it embodies the views of the Council of Assiniboine, and that, at 
a meeting of the council to-day, held for the express puqioso, it was un- 
animously adopted as the communication which I should immediately 
mVce to you. 

Earnestly hoping that ere long some peaceable solution of all these 
difficulties may be arrived at, 

I am, my d^ar sir, 

Y^ours faithfully, 

W. Mactavish. 

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Mr. J. A. N. Provencher, whom we mentioned in the last 
chapter as having been sent by Mr. McDougall to Fort Garry, 
with a message to Governor Mactavish, was promptly stopped 
at the barrier, by the French, and turned back to Pembina. 
Capt. Cameron, who came with Mr. McDougall's party, also 
attempted, about the same time, to gain entrance to the settle- 
ment, but he, too, was sent to the right-about, a guard of 25 
or 30 men accompanying him and Provencher to the boundary 
line, and this same guard, under command of a French half- 
breed, named Lepine, conducted Mr. McDougall and party from 
the H. B. Post into the United States territory, and warned 
them not to enter the settlement again. Col. Dennis, who had 
joined Mr. McDougall, then went to work with energy, and 
arranged comfortable quarters for his chief and his followers, 
close to the American Customs House. 

Col. Dennis, however, before leaving the settlement, com- 
mitted an act which might have led to very serious conse- 
quences. Under cover of continuing the surveys in the direc- 
tion of Portage la Prairie, he sent a number of his men in that 
direction, with instructions to raise, if possible, a force to bring 
in Mr. McDougall, but fortunately the attempt did not succeed, 
and bloodshed was avoided. 

On the 19th November, Mr. McDougall received a despatch 

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from the Secretary of State at Ottawa, approving of the course 
he had pureued in remaining at Pembina, and stating expli- 
citly as follows : — " As matters stand, you can claim or assert 
no authority in the Hudson's Bay territory until the Queen's 
Proclamation, annexing the country to Canada, reaches you. 
* * * * If Governor Mactavish either declines to admit 
3''ou, or is powerless to give you safe conduct, stay where you 
are until further advised. You had better inform Governor 
Mactavish that you are only proceeding to Fort Garry on the 
assumed consent of the Company." In the meantime, how- 
ever, Mr. Mactavish had written Mr. McDougall, advising him, 
in the interest of peace, to return to Canada, as his presence 
at Pembina was likely to cause the perpetuation, and possibly 
aggravation, of the disturbances, at the same time adding, that 
he might postpone his departure for a few days, in the hope of 
a turn of affairs for the better. Had Mr. McDougall then acted 
upon the advice of Mr. Mactavish, we might not have had to 
chronicle the series of unfortunate events that followed, and 
he would probably have iilled the position of Governor. But 
he chose to follow the counsels of supposed friends in the set- 
tlement, and remained at Pembina only to beat an ignomini- 
ous retreat in the end. In fact, there was no enthusiasm on 
the part of the Red River people in regard to his entry into 
the country, and in making him believe the contrary, his 
friends misled him. 

On the 2nd November, Mr. McDougall wrote a singular let- 
ter to Governor Mactavish, reminding him that he was re- 
sponsible for the preservation of the public peace, acknowledg- 
ing at the same time that he (McDougall) had no power to 
assume or exercise the powers of government until Her 
Majesty's Royal Proclamation permitted him to do so, and 

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this fact should be remembered in the light of after events. 
About the same time, however, a number of Canadians resid- 
ing in the settlement, sent an address to Col. Dennis, oflfering 
at his call to proceed to Pembina, and escort Hon. Mr. Mc- 
Dougall into the country. Shortly after this, the Secretary of 
State at Ottawa wrote to Mr. McDougall, that Her Majesty's 
Government had been made acquainted with the facts relating 
to the opposition of the French half-breeds, and at the same 
time instructing him to avoid all collision with the insurgents, 
and any violation of the neutrality laws of the United States, 
and thus, with his explicit instructions on' the one hand, and 
the officious offers of his friends on the other, Mr. McDougall 
may truly be said to have been on the horns of a dilemma. 

The French, during this time were carrying things with a 
high hand, which was not conducive to the success of their 
cause. Parties were stopped at the barrier, and the mails de- 
tained, thus inconveniencing all classes of the community, and 
on the 2nd Noveml)er, it was decided by Riel (who was actual- 
ly the head of the uprising, Bruce being only nominally so), 
that Fort Garry should be tajcen possession of. Accordingly 
on that day, he, with a party of his followers, made their ap- 
pearance before the gate of the fort, and on being asked their 
mission, said that they had come to guard the place. Dr. 
Cowan, the officer in charge, protested strongly against the 
proceeding, but Riel paid no attention to his remonstrances, 
and, setting his guards, took command of the fort. He next 
paid a visit to the Nor-WeMer office, and recjuested Mr. Bown, 
the editor, to print off some copies of a notice to the people of 
Red River, which that gentleman flatly refused to do. There- 
ujKjn Bown was made a prisoner in his own office, while a 
couple of compositors, engaged for the purpose, printed ofl* the 
following document : — 

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The President and Representatives of the French-speaking population 
of Rupert's Land, in council, (the invaders of our rights being now expel- 
led), already aware of your sympathy, do extend the hand of friendship to 
you, our friendly fellow-inhabitants, and in doing so invite you to send 
twelve representntives from the following places, viz. : — 

St. Johns ... 1 

Headingly - ... 1 

St. Marys . . . i 

St. Pauls .... 1 

St. Andrews - - - 1 

St Clements - - - 1 

St. Margarets - 1 

St James - - - - 1 

Rildonan . . . - 1 

St. Peters- - - - 1 

Town of Winnipeg - - 2 
in order to form one body with the above council, consisting of twelve 
members, to consider the present political state of this country, and to 
adopt such measures as may be deemed best for the future welfare of the 

A meeting of the above council will be held in the Court House, at Fort 
Garry, on Tuesday, the 16th day of November, at which the invited re- 
presentatives will attend. 

By order of the President, 

Winnipeg, Nov. 6th, 1869. Louis Riel, /Secretary. 

A ruuior now reached the ears of the insurgents, that Mr. 
McDougall, having brought with him a quantity of arms from 
Canada, intended running them into the settlement to be used 
by the Canadian party, and this was seized upon as a pretext 
by Riel to examine every cart at the barrier before allowing 
them to pass in, a proceeding that annoyed and inconvenienced 
all the traders in the country, and caused a good deal of ill- 
feeling toward the French. It was also an unfortunate cir- 
cumstance that arms should be allowed to form part of Mr. 
McDougall's baggage. 

Soon after the taking of Fort Garry, Governor Mactavish 
wrote to Mr. McDougall, informing him of what had taken 
place, and received a reply from which the following extract 
is taken : — 

" I wrote you two letters, both in one envelope, detailing the 

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proceedings and position of things here, and suggesting a 
proclamation from your government, explaining the nature, of 
the change in government, and warning the malcontents of the 
consequences of their acts. I was disappointed to hear from 
those who met me, that they had not been informed by any 
in authority that the change of government was an Imperial 
Act, and had the sanction of the Queen." 

It will be observed from the foregoing extract that Mr. Mc- 
Dougall advised Governor Mactavish to issue a document 
which would have been misleading, inasmuch as no change of 
government had then taken place, a fact of which he was 
aware, judging from the following, taken from the same letter : 
" I also reminded you and your council, that, until the actual 
transfer and proclamation, you are the legal rulers, and re- 
sponsible for the preservation of the public peace." 

The whole tone of Mr. McDougalls official correspondence 
about this time was marked with irritability, and, instead of 
writing to Mr. Mactavish in a friendly manner, his letters were 
almost of an insulting character. He even insinuated that 
there was no desire on the part of the authorities in Red River 
to put down the rebellion, taking his cue, no doubt, from the 
letters of his so-called friends in the settlement, who were con- 
stantly sending him misleading statements about affairs. As 
an instance of this, we will give a few extracts from letters 
sent to Mr. McDougall by parties who styled themselves 
" Friends of Canada : " 

" The Hudson's Bay Company are evidently with the rebels, 
and their present rdle is to prevent your having any official 
intercourse with them." 

" Issue proclamation, and then you may come fearlessly 
down. Hudson's Bay Company evidently shaking. By no 
means leave Pembina." 

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" The company, beyond all question, are deeply concerned in 
the matter. Half-breeds themselves declare that they have 
received assistance. * ♦ ♦ Issue your proclamation, and it will 
• be responded to by 500 men." 

Mr. McDougall mit/ht well have exclaimed, " Preserve me 
from, my friends," but it would seem that he was in active cor- 
respondence with these parties, through Colonel Dennis, for we 
find, in a letter addressed to that gentleman the following 
remark : — " We will have a strong protest in to the authorities 
here at once against their inaction, and embodying the sugges- 
tions made in the letter." The fact of Colonel Dennis having 
acted with the authority of Mr. McDougall, and intrigued with 
parties in the settlement to interfere with Mr. Mactavish in 
the discharge of his duties, was, to say the least of it, undigni- 
fied on the part of an in-coming governor. 

The protest mentioned in the letter to Col. Dennis was put 
in, and the Nor -Wester made known the fact in the most of- 
fensive manner, under the following heading : — " The Crisis ! " 
** Loyalty Triumphant!" " The Governor's Proclamation !" The 
protest was then given, at the end of which appeared the fol- 
fowing words : — " Here is the Proclamation drawn from 
Governor Ma^tarish on the present state of affairs.'' 

Governor Mactavish, however, did not view matters fi"om 
the same stand-point as Mr. McDougall, for, in a letter to the 
latter, he says : — " It appears that you are under the belief 
that a Proclamation from this government, explaining the late 
Imperial Act regarding tlie territory, and warning the people 
of the consequences of steps tending to impede any action that 
might be taken under its provisions, would have a salutary 
eflfect in checking the present unlawful movement on the part 
of the French population. It is difficult, if not impossible, to 

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say with any degree of certainty, how far that measure might 
have produced such a result; but if due consideration be given 
to the peculiar circumstances in which the local authorities 
here stood, there will, perhaps, appear to be but little ground 
for surprise at a measure of that kind not having been a- 
dopted. The Act in question referred to the prospective trans- 
fer of the territory ; but up to this moment we have no offi- 
cial intimation from Britain, or the Dominion of Canada, of 
the fact of the transfer or of its conditions, or of the date at 
which they were to take practical effect upon the government 
of this country." 

Governor Mactavish, however, knowing that a convention 
of delegates from all parts of the settlement had been called 
to meet on the 16th November, decided to issue a Proclama- 
tion, and entrusted it to his secretary, Mr. Hargrave, to be 
read at that meeting. On the day appointed, twenty-four 
delegates appeared, and as they entered the Court House at 
Fort Garry a feu-de-joie was fired by the French half-breeds, 
and a salute of 24 guns from the walls of the fort. The con- 
vention consisted of the following members : 


Town of Winnipeg, Heury McKen- 

ny, H. F. OLone. 
Kildonan, Jamoa Ross. 
St. Johns, Maurice Lowman. 
St. Pauls, Dr. Bird. 
St. Andrews, Donald Gunn. 
St. Clements, Thos. Bunn. 
St. Peters, Henry Prince, (Indian 

Chief of the s ttlemeut). 
St. James, Robert Tait. 
Headingly, William Tait. 
St. Anns, Geo. Gunn. 
Portage La Prairie, John Garrioch. 


St. Francois Xavier, Francois Dau- 

phinais, Pierre Poitras, Pierre 

St. Boniface, W. B. O'Donohue. 
St. Vital, Andre Beaucheman, Pierre 

Paranteau, sr. 
St. Norbert, Louis La Serte, Bap- 

tiste Tournon. 
St. Anns, Charles Nolin, John Bap- 

tiste Pejrrault. 

John Bruce, President, 
L'jUIS Ribl, Secretary, 

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At the opening, Mr. Hargrave presented the Governor's Pro- 
clamation to Mr. Henry McKenney and requested him to read 
it aloud to the members present. The following is the docu- 
ment in full : — 

Whereas I, William Mactavibh, Governor of Assinibnia, have been in- 
formed that a meeting is to be held to-day of persons from the different 
districts of the settlement, for the ostensible purpose of takins^ into con- 
sideration the present political condition of the colony, and for suggesting 
such measures as may appear to be best adapted for meeting the difficul- 
ties and dangers connected with the existing state of public affairs. And 
whereas I de m it advisable at this conjuncture to place before that meet- 
ing, as well as before the whole body of the people, what it appears neces- 
sary for me to declare in tl e interests of public order, and of the safety 
and welfare of the settlement. 

Therefore, I notify all whom it concerns, that during the last few 
weeks large bodies of armed men have taken up positions on the public 
high road to Pembina, and, contrary to the remonstrances and protests of 
the public authorities, have committed the following unlawful acts : First, 
they have forcibly obstructed the movements of various persona travelling 
on the public highway, in the peaceful prosecution of their lawful busi- 
ness, and have thus violated that personal liberty which is the undoubted 
right of all Her Majesty's subjects. Seccmdly, they have unlawfully 
seized and detained on the road at La Riviere Sale, in the parish of St. 
Norbert, goods and merchandise of various descriptions, and of very con- 
siderable value, belonging as well to persons coming into the colony as to 
citizens already settled here, and carrying on their business in the settle- 
ment, thereby causing great loss and inconvenience, not only to the 
owners of those goods, but, as has formally been complained of, also to the 
carriers of the same, and possibly involving the whole colony in a ruinous 
responsibility. Thirdly, they have unlawfully interfered with the public 
mails, both outgoing and incoming, and by thus tampering with the estab- 
lished means of communication between the settlement and the outride 
world have sliaken public confidence in the security of the mails, and 
given a shock to the trade and commerce of the colony, of which the mis- 
chievous effects cannot now be fully estimated. Fourthly, not only with- 
out permission, but in the face of repeated remonstrances on the prfrt of 
the Hudson's Bay Company's officer in immediate charge of Fort Garry, 
they have, in numbers varying from about sixty to one hundred and twenty, 
billeted themselves upon that establishment, under the plea of protecting 
it from a danger wliich they allege was known by themselves to be im- 
minent, but of which they have never yet disclosed the particular nature ; 

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they have placed armed guards at the gates of an establishment, which, 
every stick and stone of it, is private property, in spite of the most dis- 
tinct protestations against such a disregard of the rights of property ; they 
have taken possession of rooms within the Fort, and although they have 
there as yet committed no direct act of violence to person or property, be- 
yond what has been enumerated, yet by their presence in such numbers, 
with arms, for no legitimate purpose that can be assigned, they have cre- 
ated a state of excitement and alarm within and around the Fort, which 
seriously interferes with the regular business of the establishment. 
Fifthly, a body of armed men have entered the Hudson's Bay Company's 
post at Pembina, where certain gentlemen from Canada with their fami- 
lies were peaceably living, and under threats of violence have compelled 
them to quit the establishment at a season of the year when the rigors of 
winter were at hand, and forced them to retire within American territory ; 
and in the last place, they have avowed it as their intention, in all those 
unlawful proceedings, to resist arrangements for the transfer of the gov- 
ernment of this country, which have been made under the sanction of the 
Imperial Parliament, and thus virtually set at defiance the Royal author- 
ity. Instead of adopting those lawful and constitutional means, which^ 
under the enlightened rule of Her Most Gracious Majesty our Queen, are 
sufficient for the ultimate attainment of every object tjiat rests uptm rea- 
son and justice, the persons who have been engaged in committing these 
unlawful deeds have resorted to acts which directly tend to involve them- 
selves in consequences of the gravest nature, and to bring upon the colony 
and the country at large the evils of anarchy, and the horrors of war. 
Tlierefore, in the interests of law and order, in behalf of all the securities 
you have for life and property, and, in a word, for the sake of the present 
and the future welfare of the settlement and its inhabitants, I again earn- 
estly and emphatically protest against each and all of these unlawful acts 
and intents. I charge those engaged in them, before they are irretriev- 
ably and hopelessly involved, immediately to disperse themselves, and 
peaceably depart to their habitations, t>r to their lawful business, under 
the pains and penalties of the law ; and whatever in other respects may 
be the conclusions of those who meet to deliberate upon the present criti- 
cal and distracted state of public affairs, I adjure you as citizens, having the 
interests of your country at heart, to ratify and proclaim, with all the 
might of your united voices, this public notice, and protest and so avert 
from the country a succession of evils, of which those who see the begin- 
ning may never see the end. You are dealing with a crisis, out of which 
may come incalculable good or immeasurable evil ; and with all the weight 
of my official authority, and all the influence of my individual position, 
let me finally charge you to adopt only such means as are lawful and con- 
stitutional, rational and safe. 

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Given under ray hand and seal, at Fort Garry, this sixteenth day of 
November, 1869. 

W. Mactavish, 

Governor of Assiniboia, 

In referring to the above Proclamation, Mr. McDougall 
thus wrote to the Secretary of State at Ottawa, on the 25th 
November : — " I have received a private note from Governor 
Mactavish, informing me of his having issued a Proclamation, 
more, he observes, in deference to my opinion than from any 
expectation of a favorable result." This, indeed, was the fact 
of the case ; both Governor Mactavish and Judge Black being 
of the opinion that no good would ensue from issuing the 
document, but having been importuned by Mr. McDougall so 
often on the subject, they determined to follow his suggestion. 
As it turned out, Governor Mactavish and Judge Black un- 
derstood the character of the people they had to deal with 
better than the man who set himself up as their adviser. 

When the Proclamation was handed to Mr. McKenney. the 
French delegates at the convention at once objected to its 
being read, while the English members insisted upon hearing 
it. This caused a wrangle, and, from the very outset of the 
meeting, a feeling of antagonism between the two parties was 
thus created. Had no Proclamation been presented to disturb 
the deliberations of the assembly, there is no saying how much 
good might have resulted from the convention. But as it was, 
all chance of a union of the two parties was broken before 
even their deliberations commenced. 

The Not' -Wester was not alone in the newspaper field of the 
settlement, at this time, Mr. Wm. Coldwell, whom we had oc- 
casion to refer to in a previous chapter, having brought in a 
plant, and started the Pioneer. To this paper, Governor Mac- 
tavish sent his Proclamation for publication, but the Nor'- 

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,'.■1.1' . ' \ "\ ! 

' -. .J . .' • ' 

f ' , . V t 

I t - -J • ,• ! 

' ■! . • •' a- 


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Sir John Youns:. 


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Wester, having surreptitiously procured a copy, printed it in a 
mutilated form, under the head-lines we have already men- 

The " Friends of Canada," however, were not even satisfied 
when the Proclamation was issued, for we find them writing 
to Mr. McDougall, after its appearance, as follows : — 

" We have no faith in the sincerity of that Proclamation, 
but believe that the pressure brought to bear upon them here, 
by the loyal party, was such that they could no longer resist, 
and their own conviction of the utter helplessness and impos- 
sibility of further resistance compelled them to issue it, as 
much for their own safety, as for the continuance of their 
authority, if any portion remains." 

Mr. McDougall, taking his cue from this letter, wrote as 
follows to Mr. Joseph Howe, the Secretary of State, on the 
20th November : — '* The confirmed belief of every pei^on I 
have seen, or whose testimony has reached me, is that the 
Hudson's Bay Company's employ^, with scarcely an excep- 
tion, are either actively or tacitly encouraging the insurrec- 
tion. It was the prevalence of this belief that determined me 
to force the authorities into a public declaration of some kind, 
that would dispel this illusion — if such it should prove to be — 
or compel them to show their hand as abettors of the insur- 
rection. The * appeal 'of the loyal inhabitants, ivho had pre- 
viously opened correspondence with me, was the last screw 
applied, and seems to have accomplished the purpose." Mr 
McDougall, at the same time, insisted that, based upon infor- 
mation received by him, the company being aware beforehand 
of the insurgents' intention to take possession of the fort, 
did not take steps to prevent it. The absurdity of this state- 
ment should have occurred to him before he made it, as there 

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was nothing to shew that the company would gain anything 
by such action. 

The Hudson's Bay authorities were in a decidedly peculiar 
position. On the one side, they w ere accused by the Canadian 
party of playing into the hands of the French, and on the 
other, the half-breeds suspected them of being in collusion 
with the Canadians, so that Mr. Mactavish occupied a very 
trying position, especially as the English and Scotch settlers 
were inclined to stand altogether aloof in the matter. 

The next step taken by Riel was to seize the furniture, in- 
tended for the use of Mr. McDougall, at Government House, 
while it was in transit from Pembina to the settlement, and he 
afterwards appropriated it to his own use, and that of his fol- 
lowers, in furnishing their quarters gorgeously in Fort Garry. 

The convention of the 16th sat until the evening of the 
I7th, and then adjourned till the 22nd, without having made 
any headway, and it then appeared as if the English and 
French would be unable to come to any mutual understanding. 
On the 18th, the last General Quarterly Court, under the 
Hudson's Bay Company's government, sat, Judge Black pre- 
siding, and the most important case was that of Mr. John A. 
Snow against his men (Canadians) for assault. Two of the 
accused were fined four pounds each, and one of them, Scott, 
who was afterwards shot by Riel, is said to have exclaimed, 
on hearing the verdict, that " it was a pity they had not 
ducked Snow, for then they would have got their money's 

Riel now placed guards in the town of Winnipeg, who 
patrolled the streets with arms, evidently on the look-out for 
any rising among the few Canadians residing there, and this 
action was brought about by the numerous secret meetinga 
held by the so-called loyal party at that time. 

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We have referred to the repeated assertions on the part of 
Mr. McDougall and his friends, that the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany were in sympathy with the insurgents, but the following^ 
letter, addressed to the Secretary of State at Ottawa, will 
show how much truth there was in these statements : 

" Hudson's Bay Company's Office, 

Montreal, 24th Nov., 186P. 
" The Honorable the Secretary of State for Canada. 

" Sir — I have to-day received, from the Hudson's Bay 
House, -London, an extract of a letter from Governor Mac- 
tavish, dated Fort Garry, 12th October, and have now the 
honor of transmitting it to you. In doing so, I am directed 
by the Governor and committee to state that the company are 
anxious to afford all the assistance in their power in inducing 
the Red River people to allow the surveys to be proceeded 
with, and to use their influence in any other manner, with the 
view of assisting the authorities at Red River to make their 
arrangements for the government of the country. 

"And in view of the more serious aspect which affairs at Red 
River have recently assumed, I beg further, on behalf of the 
company, to offer the assurance that their Governor, factors 
and oflScers generally, will use their influence and best efforts 
to restore and maintain order throughout the territory. 

" I have, etc., etc., 

"Donald A. Smith." 

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During the excifceinent and annoyance attending the action 
of the French half-breeds. Governor Mactavish was very ill 
most of the time, so much so that he was unable to. attend 
several meeting of the council. Had his health been better, 
however, it is doubtful, whether, unsupported as he was by 
any force, he could have effected more than he did. The 
council of Assiniboia, at the various meetings which they held 
to consider the state of the country, and the best way to over- 
come the difficulties of the situation, were forced to admit 
that among the English and Scotch settlers there was no de- 
sire to support them against the French, even if they had 
thought proper to call out one class of the people against the 
other, as Mr. McDougall wished. 

On the 25th October, 1869, the council had sent a party of 
French half-breeds to endeavor to reason with their country- 
men, and prevail upon them, if possible, to forego the attempt 
to keep out Mr. McDougall, and the following is the resolution 
passed by them on that occasion. " It was moved by A, G. B. 
Bannatyne, and seconded by Mr. McBeath, that Messrs. Dease 
and Goulet be appointid immediately, to collect as many of 
the more respectable of the French community as they could, 
and with them proceed to the camp of the party who intend 
to intercept Hon. Mr. McDougall, and endeavor, if possible, to 

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procure their peaceable dispersion, and that Mr. Dease report 
to Mr. Mactavish, on or before Thursday next, as to their suc- 
cess or otherwise." Messrs. Dease and Goulet were unsuccess- 
ful in their mission. All classes held that they had not been 
treated fairly in the negotiations for the transfer, in not hav- 
ing been consulted, and that they had been sold as mere 
chattels in the bargain. If Riel had adopted more moderate 
measures, and had refrained from interfering with the liber- 
ties of the settles, there is reason to believe that he would 
eventually have carried the whole settlement with him in his 
opposition to the mode of government proposed for the coun- 
try under Mr. McDougall. 

But unfortunately for him and his cause, he had under- 
taken a task for which he was unfitted. Young, headstrong, 
impetuous and inexperienced, he adopted measures which an- 
tagonized the English-speaking part of the settlement toward 
him, and he was, therefore, obliged to fight the battle by the 
aid of his own people, an exceedingly difficult and dangerous 

Before any rising took place, Riel had gone about, visiting 
the English settlers, asking them to take some united action, 
in company with the French, to protest against the policy of 
the Canadian goverament, but he had met with no success. 
Then, taunted by the vain boastings of irresponsible Canadian 
residents, as to what Canada would do to keep down the na- 
tives, and excited by the actions of these same men, in claim- 
ing, beforehand, large tracts of land, he and his followers took 
the initiative in rebellion. The fact, too, that Mr. McDougall 
was known to be in sympathy with the irresponsible Cana- 
dian element in the country, and on close terms of intimacy 
with some of the leaders, led the French to commence by vis- 

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iting on his head their first marks of displeasure. They 
were deterjnined to prevent his acquiring the least semblance 
of authority in the settlement, as the surest means of ob- 
structing arrangements for a change of government, until such 
time as they were secured in their rights. 

While matters were in this condition, and every effort being 
made to keep him out of the settlement, Mr. McDougall, 
among other things, engaged actively in a correspondence 
with Mr. Ta. G. Simmons, the President of the North- Western 
Telegraph Company, with the view of preparing for the con- 
struction of a line from Fort Garry to connect with the tele- 
graph systems of the United States and Canada, and a pro- 
position to go on with the work was accepted by the Ameri- 
can company, as will be seen from the following extract, from 
a letter written by Mr. Simmons, on 27th October, 1869 : 

" I have assumed that it (the proposition) would be satisfac- 
tory, and immediately ordered the purchase of poles, and have 
now to report the contracting of all that may be necessary to 
complete the line to Pembina. For the balance of the dis- 
tance, we will depend on getting the timber nearer. I trust 
we shall reach you at Fort Garry, by telegraph, in the fall of 
1870, and if the railroad should be completed as soon as con- 
templated, it will be early in the fall." 

On the 22nd November, Mr. Bown had a petition prepared 
and handed round, for the purpose of upsetting the appoint- 
ments of Messrs. H. McKenney and H. F. O'Lone, as delegates 
to the convention, and Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne, the postmaster 
of the town, wrote the following letter, giving his reason for 
refusing to sign the document. 

A petition, written apparently by Dr. Schultz, signed principally by a 
number of strangers and others in the settlement, and headed by James 

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Stewart, has just been brought me by Mr. Bown, with a request I should 
sign it. I have refused to sign this document, because those engaged in 
getting it up have been to a very great extent the cause of all our troubles. 
The course they have adopted in their relations with the Canadian Gov- 
ernment and its officials is well-known to all here ; and their connection 
with the latter has not been fruitful of good to the country . The petition 
has been written by one who has broken our laws, headed by one who 
has broken our laws, and handed me by one who has broken oul* 
laws. I could not consent to mix myself with such people, and have 
on these grounds refused to sign it. Reports have of late been indus- 
triously circulated, reflecting both on my private and public character 
as postmaster. It has been said I have assisted to raise the French 
half-breeds to resist Mr. McDougall, and assisted by providing provi- 
sions, and otherwise, to maintain the prevailing excitement among them. 
The truth of these slanderous rumors I totally deny I coincide with 
the party of action so far at they endeavor to obtain their and our 
rights —that I ever advised or encouraged them in any way to take up 
arms, or to perform any illegal act, is false, and the man who utters such 
statements is false too. With regard to my character as postmaster, the 
statements made against me are groundlesa, and any man who professes 
to have proof to the contrary should now come forward and produce it. I 
can solemnly swear that no letters have been tampered with so far as my 
post office is concerned ; and although the mail bags were detained a 
couple of times for an hour or two, no man's letters were tampered with. 
My earnest wish is that the Canadian government should be established 
as early as possible ; only let us have our elective and other acknowledged 
rights. I have tried for this from the first, and will continue to do so. 
My own desire is that the French portion of the settlement should now 
speak out their minds on what they deem justly due them in the new 
order of the government. This once obtained by the settlement generally, 
and found to be what every free people has a right to expect, my belief is 
that those who have, as it were, fought our battles (although in a different 
way than we have done), will have the thanks hereafter of the people in 
the settlement and their posterity ; and that their wishes will be the 
wishes of the rest of the settlement ; and that all will combine in de- 
manding our rights — the unassailable rights of a free people, worthy of 
having a thorough and complete voice in the management of their own 

A. G. B. Bannatynk. 
Winnipeg, Nov. 22, 1869. 

The above letter, and another, prepared, it is said, by Mr. D. 
A. Grant, on CoL Dennis's staff, on being presented to the Con- 

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vention, were suppressed, as calculated to inflame rather than 
to soothe the excitement prevailing. 

The adjourned meeting of delegates took place on the day 
appointed (22nd November), but, as was expected, there wa« 
no unanimity among them. A proposal was made by some of 
the English to admit Mr. McDougall, in order to place their 
grievances before him, whereupon Riel excitedly declared that 
Mr. McDougall would never enter into the settlement, either 
as a private individual, or as Governor of the country. This 
declaration created a wider breach than ever in the conven- 
tion, and when, on the next day, it was discovered that Riel 
had taken the extraordinary step of placing Governor Mac- 
tavish, Dr. Cowan, and others, under arrest, and holding full 
possession of Fort Garry, the English delegates hesitated about 
attending the meeting. They finally decided to do so, how- 
ever, and then Riel showed his hand by proposing to form a 
Provisional Government to treat with Canada, and asked the 
English and Scotch to join him. This, the delegates repre- 
senting the latter could not agree to do without first consult- 
ing the people who elected them, and the convention was, 
therefore, further adjourned until the 1st December. 

In the meantime, the French allowed themselves to be ad- 
vised and directed to a certain degree by a Col. Stutzman, an 
American subject living at Pembina, which had a bad effect on 
their cause in the eyes of the rest of the settlenient. This in- 
dividual had the hardihood to draw up an address on behalf 
of the Indians living near the international boundary line, 
and endeavored to persuade them to present it to Mr. Mc- 
McDougall, but the Indians w^ere better advised, and declined 
to do so. 

Riel has been credited with wishing to form a union with 

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the English-speaking settlers, and there is little doubt that 
at first he was sincere in his desire, but he now committed one 
act after another calculated to drive them away instead of at- 
taching them to his cause. He and his followers undertook to 
overthrow the Hudson's Bay Government at one sweep by 
seizing all the books relating to the affairs of the settlement, 
and taking possession of the office of the collector of customs. 
These acts decided the people in the English and Scotch settle- 
ments not to send back their delegates to the convention on 
Ist December, and for a time all hope of a union of the two 
sides was at an end. 

Kiel next seized a lot of Canadian Government stores, ware- 
housed with Dr. Schultz. and, on the strength of this, an 
attempt was made to raise a force of men to resist the 
seizure, a scheme, which we regret to have to say, Mr. McDou- 
gall was concerned in, although his instructions were explicit 
not to bring about a collision among the people. Writing to 
Hon. Joseph Howe about that time, he says : " They cannot 
eat them up at once, and if measures I have taken to organize 
an armed force to seize Kiel and his colleagues, and disperse 
the rank and file of his followers, should prove successful, the 
provisions will soon again be in our possession." 

Fortunately, however, for the peace of the settlement, the 
armed force did not materialize at that time, although it came 
near doing so, and an effort was made by some friends of 
order to induce the French to consent to a medium course, viz., 
" That the Hudson's Bay Company should continue on in its 
government of the country until the settlers came to some ar- 
rangements with Canada, and that a committee should then be 
formed of members chosen from amongst the people to treat 
with Mr. McDougall, on behalf of the Canadian Government^ 

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or with the Dominion direct." This proposition, on being 
made to the French, was at first favorably entertained by 
them, and Riel, in the presence of three residents of Winni- 
peg, Messrs. A. G. B. Bannatyne, H. S. Donaldson, and Oscar 
Malmaros (the American Consul), gave an assurance that the 
French would meet the English on equal terms in forming an 
executive council to lay the claims of the people before 
Canada, the Hudson's Bay Company to remain the Govern- 
ment of the country, in the meantime. Messengers were then 
dispatched to the various English parishes to sound them on 
the new turn aflairs had taken, and when it was discovered 
that they also favored the proposition, efforts were made to 
<5all the delegates together again on the 1st. December. 

But in the meantime, dame rumor was busy, and all sorts 
of reports were flying about, one of which was to the effect 
that the Canadians in Winnipeg were pre{)aring to make a 
dash upon Fort Garry, and capture it from the French. 
Although there was no truth in this, and other rumors going 
the rounds, they served to unsettle public feeling, until finally 
Riel changed his mind, and would not agree to allow the 
Hudson's Bay Company to continue the government. 

This changed the whole aspect of affairs, as the English peo- 
ple were sending their delegates to the convention on the un- 
derstanding that the Company should remain in power, until 
such time as an agreement was reached between the people of 
the settlement and the Dominion. But at a public meeting in 
Winnipeg, about this time, Riel, who attended it, said that the 
idea of having a Provisional Govenmient was simply because 
the Hudson's Bay Company was too weak, and that there was 
no desire on the part of the French to coerce the rest of the 
settlement into their views. The English delegates then as- 

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sembled together, and were in the midst of discussing whether 
to attend the convention, when word was brought in that Col- 
onel Dennis had arrived in the settlement from Pembina with 
the Queen s Proclamation in his pocket, and Mr. Robert Tait 
soon after appeared with the startling intelligence that he had 
a copy of the document in his possession. At that time only 
one man, Mr. Henry McKeimey, doubted the authenticity of 
the Proclamation, and as the French council was then in ses- 
sion, it was resolved to send Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne for the 
purpose of placing the document before them. This was done, 
and the greater part of the French seemed inclined to regard 
the event in a favorable light, so much so that Mr. Bannatyne 
sent the following note to the English delegates, who were 
waiting to hear the result of His mission. 

To Dr. Bird, Mr. Bowii, W. aad R. Tait, Mr. Gunn. and all the Eng- 
lish delegates — I have shown the Proclamation to all the French delegates 
who are here now ; they will be glad if you come up ; all are quiet and 
pleased, and I believe much good can be done by coming here at once. 

Yours sincerely, 

A. G. B. Bannatyne. 

Thereupon the English delegates in accordance with the 
above note, proceeded immediately to Fort Garry, and re- 
mained in council with the French until 4 p.m., when the 
meeting adjourned till 6 p.m. In the meantime, copies of the 
Proclamation (which will be found in the appendix), written 
out hastily by zealous volunteers, were displayed in various 
parts of the town of Winnipeg, and throughout the settlement. 

At 6 p.m. the convention again assembled, and the French 
presented the following ** Bill of Rights," which was practically 
agreed to by both sides as the basis of a joint claim to be pre- 
sented to Canada : — 

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1. The ri'^ht to elect our own Legislature. 

2. The Legislature to have power to pass all laws local to the terri- 

tory, over a veto of the Executive, by a two-thirds vote. 

3. No Act of the Dominion Parliament (local to this territory) to be 

binding on the people until sanctioned by their representatives. 

4. All sheriffs, magistrates, constables, etc., etc., to be elected by the 

people— A free homestead pre-emption law. 

5. A portion of the public lands to be appropriate to the benefit of 

schools, the building of roads, bridges, and parish buildings. 
G. A guarantee to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of 
railroad — the land grant for such road or roads to be subject to 
the Legislature of the territory. 

7. For four years the public expenses of the territory, civil, military, 

and municipal, to be paid out of the Dominion treasury. 

8. The military to be composed of the people now existing in the 


9. The French and English language to be common in the Legislature 

and Council, and all public documents and Acts of the Legisla- 
ture to be published in both languages. 

10. That the Judge of the Superior Court speak French and English. 

11. Treaties to be concluded and ratified between the Government and 

the several tribes of Indians of this territory, calculated to in- 
sure peace in the future. 

12. That all privileges, customs, and usages existing at the time of the 

transfer be respected. 

13. That these rights be guaranteed by Mr. McDougall before he be 

admitted into this territory. 

14. If he have not the power himself to grant them, he must get an 

Act of Parliament passed, expressly securing us these rights ; 
and until such Act be obtained, he must stay outside the ter- 

15. That we have a full and fair representation in the Dominion Par- 


It was then proposed to send delegates from the convention, 
consisting of two from the French side and two from the Eng- 
lish, to confer with Mr. McDougall at Pembina, but Riel arose 
and said the bill of rights would have to be secured to the 
people, and that until Mr. McDougall could produce such an 
act, he would not be allowed to enter, as no written or verbal 

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promise from him on the subject would be satisfactory. This 
put an end to the delegation to Pembina, and the meeting 
soon after broke up, without accomplishing any practical 

It may be well now to ascertain how the so-called Queen's 
Proclamation of the Ist December came to be issued. It will 
be remembered that the " Friends of Canada" were continually 
urging upon Mr. McDougall to issue his proclamation, while 
his instinictions were to await the actual transfer of the 
country. On the 29th November, he appears to have given 
way to the importunities of his adherents in the settlement, 
for we find him writing to Hon. Jos. Howe as follows : 

I have the honor to report that I am still at Pembina, in the territory 
of the United States, and unable, in consequence of the continued occupa- 
tion of the road by armed men, to proceed to Fort Garry. I have further 
to report that I have not received any instructions for my guidance on 
and after the day of the transfer of the territory to Canada, nor any 
notice of the order in council, which has no doubt been passed to effect 
it. In these circumstances, I am compelled to* act upon the general 
powers and directions of my commission, and of the Acts of Parliament, 
Canadian and Imperial, which seem to bear upon the case. I have accord- 
iiuj-y prepared a Frodamatimi^ to be issued on the first day of December, 
reciting so much of the several Acts of Parliament as seemed necessary to 
disclose the requisite authority ; and stating, by way of recital, the fact of 
surreiider by the Hudson* 8 Bay Company, acceptance by Her Majesty, atid 
transfer to Canada, from and after the 1st December, A D. 1869 These 
facts r gather from the iiewspuper.^, from a private letter to me of the 
Deputy-Governor of the company's, and my own knowledge before J left 
Ottawa, that the Ist December had been agreed upon as the date of the 
transfer. In the present state of afinirs in ihe settlement, it is of the ut- 
most importanoe to announce the transfer in the most autheiUic and 
solemn manner possible, in order to give confidence, and the protection of 
legality, to the act of the loyal and well-disposed, and to put the malcon- 
tents and their American advisers and sympathisers publicly and techni- 
cally in the wrong, etc., etc. 

Mr. McDougall therefore concocted his Proclamation, but, 
not content with going thus far, he issued a second one, cut- 

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ting off Governor Mactavish's head, and a third, appointing- 
Colonel Dennis Deputy -Governor, both of which are to be 
found pubhshed in full in the Appendix to this volume. In 
his letter to Mr. Howe, Mr. McDougall expresses a doubt as to 
the propriety of the course he was pursuing, for he says : — " I 
hope I am right in using the name of Her Majesty as promin- 
ently as I have done." 

Innnediately before the appearance of the bogus Proclama- 
tion, an attempt was made to excite the English and Scotch 
settlers to resist the French, which was so far successful that 
arming and drilling of small bodies of men took place in dif- 
ferent parts of the settlement, and matters were in this con- 
dition when Mr. McDougall issued his famous documents. 

Immediately after the second Proclamation, three French 
half-breeds, named Fran9ois and Augustin Nolin, and one 
Perrault, met Mr. Bannatyne, who persuaded them that Riela 
stubborn attitude was likely to get the whole settlement into 
trouble, and they proposed to have fifty English and fifty 
French assemble and discuss the rights, and then send dele- 
gates to Mr. McDougall, and if he promised them, or even 
promised to do all in his power to obtain them, they would 
take a force of men and bring in the new Governor in spite of 
Kiel's opposition. These three men were in earnest, and went 
to work to carry out their understanding with Mr. Bannatyne 
with good prospect of success, as Kiel and his council were 
being won over, when the action of the Canadian party in the 
settlement once more threw everything into chaos, thus play- 
ing right into the hands of Kiel. 

It appears that a party of Canadians went to join Col. 
Dennis and form a military force, and this at once drew all 
the French together, some who had until then kept aloof join- 

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ing Riers standard. The French council was even in session^ 
deliberating over the question of sending delegates to Mr. Mc- 
Dougall, and a communication to that gentleman was actually 
in course of preparation, when word was brought in that the 
Canadian party, assisted by English settlers, were about to 
attack Fort Garry. Like a flash, the French rose to a man, 
negotiations were at an end, and all the good that had been 
done went for naught. 

In the meantime, Governor Mactavish, lying sick at Fort 
Ciarry, had not even been shown a copy of the Proclamation^ 
none havingr been sent to him until a friend placed one in his 
hands; but this treatment was only in keeping with the whole 
conduct of Mr. McDougall in his attitude toward the man 
whom he expected to succeed, and who was the first one with 
whom he should have endeavored to communicate in so im- 
portant a matter. 

The newspapers Nor' -Wester and Pioneer were now both 
seized by Riel, who also made a search of several private 
houses for suspected persons and arms, and all was excitement 
once more in the neighborhood of Fort Garry. From the re- 
port of Colonel Dennis, it seems that it was at his instance 
that the Canadians in Winnipeg were enrolled, and that his 
instructions were to organize a force in the settlement to put 
down the French if there was any hope of such a step being 
successful. Thus another fatal blunder was committed at a 
time when everything appeared to be auspicious for a peace- 
ful ending of the troubles. On the 5th December, the Lists of 
Rights were issued in printed form, and distributed among the 
settlers, the 13th and 14th clauses being omitted. 

In the meantime, the excitement in the settlement, especi- 
ally in the vicinity of Fort Garry, continued, and was rather 

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intensified, when a rumor reached Winnipeg that the Sioux 
Indians, to the number of eleven hundred, were on the way to 
Red River, headed by a desperate character named George 
Racette, alias " Shawman/' The worst feature about the 
rumor was, that this man " Shawman," a French half-breed, 
known to be disreputable and unreliable, had been employed 
by Colonel Dennis. There is not, however, the slightest rea- 
son to suspect that the latter in any way encouraged his em- 
ployed to tamper with the Indians, but the fact of "Shawman" 
having been adopted by the Canadian party, was sufficient to 
create a very bad feeling, especially among the French. There 
is every reason to think that Racette actually endeavored to 
excite the Indians, because, not only did word to that effect 
reach the settlement, but the man himself had boasted that he 
would bring back a large enough band to wipe out the whole 

The next serious matter was the return to Winnipeg of the 
Canadians who had enrolled themselves under Colonel Dennis, 
and their collecting together in the house of Dr. Schultz for 
the ostensible purpose of defending the government pork 
stored there. This, however, was looked upon as only an ex- 
cuse for the step taken, and a strong suspicion was created 
in the minds of the French that they had gathered together 
for the purpose of forming a nucleus of attack on Fort Garry, 
should the opportunity arise. 

Colonel Dennis thus refers to the subject in his report: 
" Received a note from Dr. Schultz this morning, in which he 
states that a number of the enrolled Canadians and others 
collected at his house last evening — it is presumed on his 
request — anticipating a possible attack on his property, and 
the government provisions in his charge." The gathering of 

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these men at this time was a most unfortunate affair for 
which, however, Colonel Dennis was in no way responsible, as 
he distinctly ordered the men to stay in their lodgings until 
further orders w^ere received from him. Indeed, when he 
heard what had taken place, he at once sent an order to have 
the men withdrawn, and to Dr. Schultz he said, ** Shut up 
your premises and let the property take its chance." But un- 
fortimately his instructions were disobeyed, and the Canadian 
party in Winnipeg decided to remain where they were, cooped 
up in a shell of a building, where, if hostilities had com- 
menced, they could have had no hope of being able to defend 

While Colonel Dennis was thus busy enrolling men, and the 
Canadians in Winnipeg were keeping up the excitement, Mr. 
McDougall at Pembina was not idle. In a letter to Hon. Jos. 
Howe, dated 2nd Dec, he says : " Yesterday evening, after 
finding that the road w,as clear, I took with me Messrs. Rich- 
ards and Provencher, and four others of my party, and pro- 
ceeded to the Hudson's Bay Company's post near Pembina, 
in order to execute on British soil, and so far in a public 
manner, the Proclamation and other documents which are to 
take effect within the territory, I have resolved to do no offi- 
cial act on American soil, and have made arrangements to 
occupy the Hudson's Bay Company's post, and, if necessary, 
repel by force the attack of any such party as the one that 
drove us from it on the 3rd November. ♦ ♦ ♦ j shall not 
openly take this position an(i attitude unless I hear from 
Colonel Dennis that he has a force in the field, and is thus 
giving Riel and his party something to do at Fort Garry." 

The printing and circulating of the List of Rights, to which 
we have already referred, produced a good effect on the Eng- 

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lish-speaking settlers, as there seemed to them nothing un- 
reasonable in the demand, and in consefjuence of this, Colonel 
Dennis found great <lifficulty in exciting any enthusiasm about 
raising a force. On the 8th December, he gave vent to his 
feelings of disappointment in the following extraordinary lan- 
guage, contained in a letter to his chief, Mr. itcDougall : 
*' However, if the people w^ere willing, they could muster arms 
enough to put down the half-breeds, but they won't do it 
The fact of the matter is, they are cowards one and all of 
them. Although they are my countrymen, I must speak the 
truth about them." 

On the 7th December, a few of the principal residents in 
Winnipeg and vicinity met together, and decided to go to Dr. 
Schultz, and point out to him how^ he was endangering the 
whole settlement, by keeping a force of men in his house, 
offering at the same time to become responsible for any dam- 
age done to his property or the Government supplies. While 
these gentlemen, however, were on their way to carry out 
this nnssion of peace, Riel, at the head of about three hun- 
dred men, with pieces of artillery, appeared on the road from 
Fort Garry, for the purpose of dislodging the Canadians. It 
was a critical moment, and the party of peacemakers at once 
went to Riel, and asked to be allowed to see Schultz fii-st 
liefore anything further was done, to which Riel consented, 
but declared that only an unconditional surrender of the 
Canadian party would satisfy him. 

The result was, that after some time was taken up in nego- 
tiating, the following order was sent in by Riel : 

Communication received this 7th day of December, 1869, Dr. Schultz 
and men are hereby ordered to give up their arms and surrender them- 
selves. Their lives will be spared should they comply. In case of refusal. 

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all the English half-breeds and other natives, women and children, are at 
liberty to depart unmolested. 

Louis Riel. 
Fort Gakry, 7th December, 1869. 

The surrender will be accepted at or fifteen minutes after the order. 

Dr. O'Donnell, who was then staying with Dr. Schultz, set 
the example, which the rest of the party followed, by signing 
the document, and two who were not in the house at the time 
(Chas. Garret and James Mulligan), were sent for by Riel and 
included in the number. 

The signatures to the surrender were : — 

Joseph Lynch, M.D. 
John Schultz, M.D. 
Arthur Hamilton, 
G. D. Mc Vicar, 
R. P. Meade, 
He;iry VVoodington, 
W. J. Allen, 
Thomas Langman, 
D. U. Campbell, 
JohnODonnell, M.D., 
W. F. Hyman, 
J rimes Dawson. 
W. J. Davis, 
J. B. Haines, 
George Fortney, 
41 parsons in all. 

Wm. Graham, 
VVm. Niramons, 
Wm. Kitson, 
John Ferguson, 
Wm. Spice, 
Thos. Lusted, 
James Stewart, 
H. Werghtman, 
L. W. Archibald, 
C. E. Palmer, 
Geo. Bubar, 
Matthew Davis, 
A. Wright, 
P. Mc Arthur, 
Robert R. Smith, 

James C. Kent, 
J. M. Coombs, 
A. R. Chisholm, 
John Eccles, 
John Ivy, 
F. C. Mugridge, 
F. Franklin, 
Geo. Nicol, 
Geo. Millar, 
James H. Ashdown, 
A W. Graham, 
D. Cameron, 
J. H. Stocks, 
James Mulligan, 
Charles Garret. 

There were also three ladies in the party, Mrs. Schultz, Mrs. 
Mair, and Mrs. O'Donnell, who, of their own accord, accom- 
panied the prisoners to Fort GaiTy, whither Riel marched 
them, and Mr. J. H. McTavish, of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
placed his apartments at the service, of the ladies, who were 
thus made comfortable. But the balance of the party found 
themselves locked up in quarters very much too small for their 
accommodation, and without sufficient food or covering. 

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On the 8th December, Riel issued the following declaratioB^ 
printed in English and French, and copies were freely circu- 
lated throughout the settlement : — 


Whereas it is admitted by all men, as a fundamental principle, that the 
pablio authority commands the obedience and respect of . its subjects. It 
it also admitted that a people, when it has no government, is free to 
adopt one form of government in preference to another, to cive or refuse 
allegiance to that which is proposed. In accordance with the above first 
principle, the j^eople of this country had obeyed and respected that 
authority to which the circumstances surrounding its infancy compelled it 
to be subject. 

A company of adventurers known as the Hudson's Bay Company, and 
invested with certain powers grantei by His Majesty (Charles II.), estab- 
lished itself in Ruperts Land, and in the North- West Territory, for trad> 
ing purposes only. This company, consisting of many persons, required 
a certain constitution ; but as theirs was a question of commerce only, 
their constitution was framed in reference thereto. Yet, since there 
was at that time no government to see to the interests of a people already 
existing in the country, it became necessary for judicial affikirs to have 
recourse to the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. This inaugurated 
that species of government which, slightly modified by subsequent cir- 
cumstances, ruled this country up to a recent dite. 

Whereas that government thus accepted was far from answering to the 
wants of the people, and became more and more so as the population in- 
creased in numbers, and as the country was developed, a d commerce ex- 
tended until the present day. when it commands a place amongst the colo- 
nies ; and this people, ever actuated by the above mentioned principles, 
had generally supported the aforesaid government, and gave it a faithful 
allegiance ; when, contrary to the law of nations, in March, 1869, th«t 
said government surrendered, and transferred to Canada, all the rights 
which it had pretended to have in this territory, by transactions with 
which the people were considered unworthy to be made acquainted ; and, 
whereas it is also generally admitted that a ])eople is at liberty to e«>tab- 
lish any form of government it may consider suitable to its wants, as soon 
as the power to which it was subject abandons it or attempts to subjugate 
it without its consent, to a foreign power, and maintained that no right 
cAn be transferred to such foreign power. Now, therefore — 

1st. We, the representatives of the people in council, assembled at 
I' pper Fort Garry, on the 24th November, 18*{9, after having invoked the 

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God of Nations, relying on these fundamental moral principles, solemnly 
declare, in the names of our constituents, and in our own names, before 
God and man, that from the day on which the Government we had always 
respected abandoned us, by transferring to a strange power the sacred 
authority coniided to it, the people of Rupert's Land and the North- 
West became free and exempt from all allegiance to the said Grovem- 

2nd. That we refuse to recognize the authority of Canada, which pre- 
tends to have a right to coerce us, and impose upon us a despotic form of 
government, still more contrary to our rights and interests as British sub- 
jects than was that Government to which we had subjected ourselves 
through necessity up to a certain date. 

3rd. That by sending an expedition on the 1st November ult., charged 
to drive back Mr. William McDougall and his companions, coming in the 
name of Canada to rule us with the rod of despotism, without a previous 
notification to that eflfect, we have acted conformably to that sacred right 
which commands every citizen to offer energetic opposition to prevent his 
country being enslaved. 

4th. That we continue, and shall continue, to oppose, with all our 
strength, the establishing of the Canadian authority in our country under 
the announced form. And in case of persistence on the part of the Cana- 
dian Government to enforce its obnoxious policy upon us by force of 
arms, we protest beforiehand against such an unjust and unlawful course ; 
and we declare the said Canadian Government responsible before God and 
men for the innumerable evUs which may be caused by so unwarrantable 
a course. Be it known, therefore, to the world in general, and to the 
Canadian Government in particular, that as we have always heretofore 
successfully defended our country in frequent wars with the neighboring 
tribes of Indians, who are now on friendly relations with us, we are 
firmly resolved in future, not less than in the past, to repel all invasions 
from whatsoever quarters they may come. 

And, furthermore, we do declare and proclaim, in the name of the people 
of Rupert's Land and the North -West, that we have, on the said 24th of 
November, 1869, above mentioned, established a provisional government, 
and hold it to be the only and lawful authority now in existence in 
Rupert's Land and the North-West which claims the obedience and respect 
of the people. 

That meanwhile we hold ourselves in readiness to enter into such nego- 
tiations with the Canadian Government as may be favorable for the good 
government and prosperity of this people. 

In support of this declaration, relying on the j)rotection of Divine Pro- 
vidence, we mutually pledge ourselves on oath, our lives, our fortunes, and 
our sacred honor to each other. 

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Issued at Fort Garry, tliifl 8tli day of December, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundrM and sixty-nine. 

John Bruce, Frtsidmxi. 
LouLS RiEL, Secretary. 

Riel then sent a guard of forty men to occupy the Hudson's 
Bay post at Pembina, to prevent Mr. McDougall from entering 
it, and he notified Mr. J. A. Snow, the superintendent of the 
Lake of the Woods road, to arrange his affairs and depart from 
the settlement within a fortnight. Mr. Bown, the editor of 
the Nor- Wester, thinking discretion the better part of valour, 
had left the settlement, it is said, in <lisguise, and was staying 
at a post in the interior, called Eagle 8 Nest, which belonged 
to the Hudson's Bay Company. 

It seems that Col. Dennis, at the time when Schultz and his 
men were besieged by Riel, attempted to raise a force in the 
Lower Settlement to rescue them, but did not succeed, and on 
the ()th December, the day before the surrender, he received 
the following letter from the Bishop of Rupert's Land, which 
throws much light on the state of affairs in the settlement. 

Bishop's Court, Dec. 6th, 1869. 

Dear Colonel Dennis — I grieve to say that the state of things is as- 
suming daily a graver aspect, I am greatly disappointed at the manifesta- 
tions of loyalty and a determination to support the government of Mr. 
McDougall, on the part of the English population. Instead of a breaking 
down of the force of the insurgents, I feel certain from my observations 
at Fort Garry to-day, and from information from Mr. Mactavish and 
others I can rely on, that over 600 men are now in arms, and they are 
well armed. I see no reason to deptnd on want of courage or determina- 
tion on the part of these men. In addition to this strong exhibition of 
force, there is a belief, apparently on good authority, of a detennination 
to avenge loss of life, if they are attacked by house to house massacring^ 
or, at any rate, by individual ass*issination. 

I feel, therefore, that success in an attack with such forces as you can 
bring together, with nothing of the common action the insurgents have, is 
problematical, and that the warfare is likely to be such that a victory will 
only be less fatiil to the settlement and the interest of the Canadian Gov- 
ernment, than a defeat. 

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You must not suppose that this comes from one who is timorous 
Though I never said it before, I went to the first meeting of the Council 
of Assiniboia, prepared to recommend a forcible putting down of the in- 
surrection, and when you came in, 1 hoped that the exhibition of force 
would be sufficient ; but the force of the insurgents has only grown with 
opposition and is now, I believe, quite a match for all that can be brought 
together against them. I would earnestly advise, therefore, the giving up 
of any idea of attacking the French position at Fort Garry at present, and 
also any idea of seizing by stealth on any rebel. Put away such counsel 
for a time at least. I feel that the result to be anticipated would be very 
disastrous I see everything to be gained by delay ; at any rate there 
would be some opportunity, perhaps, of bringing about some direct com- 
munication between Governor INTcDougall and the disaffected people I 
think you should on every account, bring that al)out. Further, it would 
be well not to act till you ascertain clearly the mind of the Canadian M n- 
istry and people, on the way of settling tins affair, and I think somethii g 
is due to the people from Governor McDougall. I for one am at this 
moment perfectly ignorant of any detail of the character or policy of this 
government. Personally I do not care for this. I am not only fervently 
loyal to the Queen, but I have uncpiestioning confidence in the manage- 
ment of Canada. I know all will be right ; still, there is not less a great 
want, a very conciliatory attitude is what is -wanted from Governor iVc- 
Dougall, and a plain setting forth of how the government is to be con- 
ducted, meeting, as far as possible, any of the wishes expressed by the dis- 
affected persons, and perhaps referring others to Canada, but j)romi8ing a 
generous consideration of the whole grievances. 

This may not be altogether palatable, but the crisis is a grave one for 
Canada, and much wisdom is needed. I would not so write, did I not 
feel certain, that if the present numbers of insurgents keej) up, an attjick 
is not feasible, and did I not also feel that some attempt should be made 
by those having authority and knowledge, to enter into explanations with 
them before making any attack. The late government of Assiniboia, 
could not do this, for it had no information ; all th-^t could be done was to 
counsel loyal ol)edience, but at this time, something more is called for 
than that. 

With kindest regards, 

I am, &c., 

R Rupert's Land. 

Colonel Dennis evidently concluded to take His Lordship's 
advice, for, on the 9th December, he sent the following letter 
^o Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne : 

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420 history of the north-west. 

Lower Fort Garry, 

December, 9th, 1869. 
A. G. P. Bannatyne, Es(^, 


Dear Mr. Bannatyne — I Hope the enclosed will satisfy 
the French party of my desire not to see the country made 
desolate upon a question which I am convinced admits of a 
peaceful solution. 

Be good enough to make it known to the parties in arms, 
if I can contribute in any way to bring about a settlement, I 
shall be glad to to so. The paper will be printed and distri- 
buted to-day. 

Believe me. Dear Sir, 

Youi-s, &c., 

J. S. Dennis. 

The enclosure referred to w as the following : 

Peace Proclamation. 

Lower Fort Garry, 

Red River Settlement, 

December 9th, 1869. 

To all whom it nmy conceiti. 

By certain printed papers, of late put in circulation by the French 
party, communication with the Lieutenant-Governor is indicated with a 
view to laying before him alleged rights on the part of those now in arms. 
I think that course very desirable, and that it would lead to good results. 
Under the belief that the i>arty in arms are sincere in their desire for 
peace, and feeling that to abandon for the present, the call on the loyal to 
arms, would, in view of such communication, relieve the situation of much 
embarrassment, and so contribute to bring about peace, and save the 
country from what will otherwise end in ruin and desolation I now call on 
and order the loyal party in the North -West Territories to cease further 
action under the appeal to arms made by me. and I call on the French 
party to satisfy the people of their sincerity in wishing for a peaceful end- 
ing of all these troubU s l)y sending a deputation to the Lieutenant-Gover- 
or at Pembina without any unnecessary delay. 

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Given under my hand at Lower Fort Garry, this 9th day of December, 

J. S. Dennis, 
Lieutefiant atid Conservafor of the Peace in arid 
for the North-West TerriioHes. 

Two days after issuing the above proclamation, Colonel 
Dennis left Lower Fort Garry to rejoin Mr. McDougall at Pem- 
bina, and the latter, finding that all eflforts to gain admission 
into the settlement had failed, packed up his baggage and took 
his departure on the 18th December for Canada. 

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The only attempt (as far as we know) made by Mr. Mc- 
Dougall to communicate with the insurgents and find out the 
true cause of their grievances, was when five days before his 
departure for Canada he addressed the following letter to 
Kiel : 


Pkmbina, December 1?, 18(>9. 
Louis Riel, Esq., 

Sir — I hear from the Hudson Bay Post that you are expected to arrive 
there from Fort Garry to-night. I send this note to inform you that I 
am anxious to have a conversation with you before answering despatches 
which I have recently received from the Dominion Government. I have 
not yet had any communication from you or from anyone else on behalf 
of the French half-breeda, who have prevented me from proceeding to 
Fort Garry, stating their complaintA or wishes in reference to the new 
government. As the representative of the Sovereign to whom you and 
they owe, and as I am told, do not wish to deny, allegiance, it is proper 
that some such communication should reach me. It will be a great mis- 
fortune to us all, I think, if I am obliged to return to Canada and hand 
over the powers of government here to a military ruler. This will be the 
inevitable result, unless we find some solution of the present difficulty 
very soon. 

I have full powers from the Government, as well as the strongest desire 
personally, to meet all just claims of every class and section of the people. 
Why should you not come to me and discuss the matter ? 

I beg you to believe that what occurred will not affect my mind against 
you or those for whom you may be authorized to speak. The interview 
proposed must be without the knowledge or privity of certain American 
citizens here, who pretend to be en rapport with you. I trust to your 
honor on this point. 

Very faithfully yours, 

William McDouoall. 

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The above invitation was sent too late in the day, and Riel 
never responded, remembering probably the fact that it had 
been preceded by too many unmistakable proofs that the man 
who wrote it was not imbued with friendly feelings toward 
the French population. 

Mr. McDougall being thus disappointed in his effort to con- 
ciliate the leader of the insurgents, took up his pen and ad- 
dressed Governor Mactavish in the following extraordinary 

" If, in consequence of the action of the Dominion Govern- 
ment (withholding payment to the Hudson's Bay Company of 
the purchase money), the surrender and transfer of the coun- 
try did not take place on the first day of December, as pre- 
viously agreed upon, then you are the chief executive officer 
as before, and responsible for the preservation of the peace, 
and the enforcement of the law. If, on the other hand, the 
transfer did take place on the first day of December, then, I 
take it, my commission came into force, and the notice in the 
form of a proclamation, issued by my authority on that day, 
correctly recited the facts and disclosed the legal status of the 
respective parties." 

At this time Governor Mactavish was lying seriously ill at 
Fort Garry, a fact which must have been known to Mr. Mc- 
Dougall, and yet, with what may be almost looked upon as a 
species of cruelty, he indited the above insulting document. 

But we will now see what the Canadian authorities thought 
of Mr. McDougall's action while at Pembina. 

The Secretary of State at Ottawa, writing to him on the 
24th December, says : 

As it would appear from these documents that you have uFed the 
Queen's name without her authority — attributed to Her Majesty acts 

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which phe h«is not yet performed— and organized an armed force within 
the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company without warrant or instruc- 
tions, I am commanded to assure you that the grave occurrences which 
you report have occasioned here great anxiety. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ But as the 
organization and use of such a force hy you was, under the circumstances, 
, entirely illegal, the Governor-General and council cannot disguise from 
you the weight of responsibility you have incurred. 

Acting on the belief that the country would be quietly transferred, 
with the general assent of the inhabitants, ali the preparatory arrange- 
ments were made, as you were awaro, in anticipation that on or about the 
Ist December, the territory would be surrendered by the company to the 
Queen, and that thereupon Her Majesty would issue Her Proclamation, 
fixing a day for the union of the country with Canada. 

The Proclamation, when officially communicated, to you would enable 
you , under the commission and authority given in anticipation of that 
event, to enter legally upon the appointed day on the discharge of your 
official duties as Governor of the North- West. 

In the commission issued on the 28th September, you were empower- 
ed to enter upon the duties of government only ** on, from and after the 
day to be named *' in the Queen s Proclamation ; and in the instructions 
handed to you with the commission you are directed to proceed to Fort 
G^rry and be ready to assume the government of the territories on their 
actual transfer to Canada. 

I wish I could inform you that this report had entirely relieved the 
Governor-General and council from the anxiety already expressed. It is 
true that no blood had been shed up to the 6tb, and you had not carried 
out your intention of occupying the stockade near Pembina with an armed 
party ; but the proceedint^ of Col. Dennis, as reported by himself, are 
so reckless and extraordinary that there can be no relief from solicitude 
here while an officer so imprudent is acting under your authority. 

Had the inhabitants of Rupert's L%nd, on the breaking out of the 
disturbances, risen and put an end to them, or had Governor Mactavish 
organized a force to occupy his forts, and maintain his authority, all 
would have been well, and Riel and his people would have been respon- 
sible for any bloodshed or property destroyed. But Col. Dennis, with no 
legal authority, proceeds to seize the fort not in possession of the insur- 
gents, but of the Hudson's Bay Company, and to garrison it with a mixed 
force of whites and Indians, and proposes to give battle to the insurgents 
should a junction be formed with some forces which he has ordered to be 
drilled on the Assiniboine. He appears never to have thought that the 
moment war commenced all the white inhabitants would be at the meroy 
of the Indians by whom they are largely outnumbered, and, divided as 
they would be, might be easily overpowered. 

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It is impossible to read the Colonel's acooutit of his attempt to per- 
suade Judge Black to aiii h m in proclaiming martial law, without strong 
feelings of regret that you should have been represented in the settlement 
by a person of so little discretion. It is no wonder that Judge Black was 
frightened at the proposal as he must have known that Col. Dennis 
would have to answer at the bar of justice for every life lost by such an 
assumption of authority, and that the illegal seizure of an American 
citizen would at once pruvoke interference in the quarrel, and lead to very 
serious complications. 

I have the honor to be, etc. , 

Joseph Howe, 
Secretary of State for the Provinces. 

Col. Dennis, afterwards, in a letter addressed to the Honor- 
able the Minister of Public Works, on the 12th February, 
1870, made use of the following words in regard to his actions 
in the North-West, under the couimission iasued to him by 
Mr. McDougall : — 

" I acted in good faith throughout, not being aware, till I 
met Col. DeSalaberry, on the 23rd December, on the plains, 
while on my way to Canada, that the Proclamation and Com- 
mission had been issued by Mr. McDougall under a misappre- 
hension of the facts (the transfer of the territory not having 
taken place on the 1st December as supposed), and were worth 
no mot^ than waste paper. 

" I may be permitted to say here that, although I had pre- 
viously felt mortified at not having been able to bring about 
peace by means of an}'^ kind, on hearing the statement of 
Colonel De Salaberry, that feeling changed at once to one of 
heartfelt thankfulness that my proceedings hfiwl not been 
the cause (even to the extent of a drop) of bloodshed among 
the people." 

I/i justice to Col. Dennis, it must be said that he, undoubt- 
edly, considered himself fully empowered to act as he did, and 
although he went the wrong way about bringing peace to the 

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settlement, his actions were in line with the whole policy 
adopted by his chief, Mr. McDougall, after his expulsion from 
the settlement, on the 3rd November. As for Mr. McDougall, 
his misfortune, if not his fault, lay in his placing too much 
confidence in the statements and advice of supposed friends 
in the settlement — men who at the time had made themselves 
wholly objectionable to a large class of settlers. The diffi- 
culty with Mr. McDougall was the absence of any conciliatory 
spirit in dealing with the difficulties that confronted him, and 
this, combined with his overbearing manner, and the injudici- 
ous language attributed to him, and which, unfortunately, 
characterized nearly all the letters and documents emanating 
from him, only served to widen the breach between him and 
the French. Even had his acts proved perfectly legal, and the 
transfer taken place, it is doubtful w^hether the French section 
of the settlement would have been willing to accept him as 
their governor. His whole course, from the day of his arrival 
at Pembina until he took his departure, was hast3% and con- 
trary to the instructions he had received, and the only excuse 
that can be shown in his favor is the distance from the seat of 
government at Ottawa, and the difficulty and delay in com- 
municating therewith. Had he remained passive, awaiting 
full advices from Ottawa, all might have been well, but, un- 
fortunately, he gave way to the importunities of irresponsible 
parties, was guided by their unwise counsels, and adopted ex- 
treme measures without the necessary authority, and by this 
means ruined himself, politically, ever afterwards. 

After his departure from Pembina, matters in the settle- 
ment quieted down somewhat, and most of the French dis- 
persed to their homes, leaving about sixty men in Fort Garry 
to guard it. On the 10th December, Riel hoisted the flag of 

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the provisional government, the design being a combination of 
the Jleurs de lis and shamrock, the latter being, it was said, 
in honor of W. B. O'Donohue, who had left the college of St. 
Boniface, where he was studying for the priesthood, and 
joined the insurgents. Dr. Tupper (now Sir Charles Tupper) 
about this time paid a flying visit tQ the settlement for the 
purpose of obtaining possession of some luggage belonging to 
his daughter, Mrs. Cameron, which had been seized with Mr. 
McDougall's furniture, but he in no way took part in the poli- 
tical differences existing. 

It now became known in the settlement that the prolama- 
tions issued by Mr. McDougall were withoiit authority of the 
Queen, and valueless, and the revulsion of feeling that took 
place in the minds of the settlers generally, only served to fur- 
ther strengthen the hands of Riel. The unfortunate prisoners 
in Fort Garry, who no doubt had acted from a spirit of loyalty 
to Canada, felt themselves sold, especially as both Mr. McDou- 
ijall and Colonel Dennis had taken their departure, thus leav- 
ing them to their fate. Steps were taken, however, by parties 
in the settlement to procure, if possible, their release, but Riel 
would not agree to any proposition of the kind, and in this he 
made a great mistake, for had he given the men their liberty, 
it would have prevented in a great measure, the bitter feeling 
that sprang up against him among the English settlers. 

The fact is, that from the time of the collapse of Mr. McDou- 
gall's illegal plans and his subsequent departure for Canada, 
Riel became abitrary and inflated by the temporary power 
which he held. His first high-handed proceeding was to cause 
the safe of the Hudson's Bay Company to be carried oflf from 
their office, and to abstract several thousands of pounds ster- 
ling from it, it even being said that part of this money was 

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used in paying Mr, Coldwell for the plant of the Pioneer 
newspaper, which was afterwards used in publishing the New 
NatioVy Riel's organ. Dr. Sehultz about the same time was 
taken from the quarters, where he had been allowed to remain 
with his wife, and confined with the rest of the prisoners, and 
in fact the leader of the French began in every way possible to 
make himself obnoxious to the English-speaking people of the 
settlement. About this time also, rumors were afloat that 
Fenians and Americans were in collusion with Riel, which we 
believe had no foundation in fact, although it was well known 
that W. B. O'Donohue, high in the councils of the French, had 
a tendency in that direction. Riel, on being approached by 
parties upon the subject, stated that there was no truth in the 
rumors, and that all he wished was the formation of a Provi- 
sional Government in which all classes would be represented, 
and that then he would be glad if either Governor Mactavish 
or Judge Black would become head of it. 

Riel now continued to make arrests of parties supposed to 
be in sympathy with the Canadian party, and so quietly was 
this done on some occasions, that it was really unknown how 
many prisoners he had confined in Fort Garry. He and his 
followers also helped themselves to whatever they wanted 
from the Hudson's Bay Company's establishment, and in some 
cases from the stores of private merchant^. 

On the 25th December, 1869, John Bruce resigned the posi- 
tion of President of the Provisional Government, a position 
which he had only held nominally, and Louis Riel, the real 
head of the insurrection, succeeded him, and about the same 
time word was received of the expected arrival of Grand 
Vicar Thibault and Colonel de Salaberry, two commissioners 
appointed by the Dominion Government for the purpose of 

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- i: • .' ■ * 



■ -t 

I \ 



,1 ..i 

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Hjn. William McDou^all 

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enquiring into the grievances of the people, and pacifying 
them, if possible, so as to gain the admission of Mr. McDou- 
gall into the territory. On the way over the plains, these 
two commissioners met Mr. McDougall and his party bound 
for St. Paul, and communicated to that gentleman the fact 
that the transfer had not been made, and that, therefore, he 
had acted illegally in all that he had done at Pembina. They 
then proceeded toward the settlement, and, on arriving at the 
boundary line, it was decided that the Grand Vicar should go 
on alone to St. Boniface, as there was some doubt whether De 
Salaberry would be admitted. The latter, as a matter of pre- 
caution, retained all the papers connected with their mission, 
and it was not until the 6th January that he was enabled to 
join his colleague in the settlement. The Grand Vicar and De 
Salaberry then permitted their papers to pass into the hands 
of Riel, who being thus made aware beforehand of their con- 
tents, and of the fact that they were invested with no author- 
ity, was not inclined to pay much respect to their mission of 
peace. Indeed, at his request, the two commissioners remained 
quietly at the Bishop's Palace, and did not visit to any extent 
among the people for some time after their arrival. Their 
presence in the settlement had no effect upon the general state 
of affairs in bringing about a better understanding among the 
people. Matters went on as usual, and Riel carried things in 
the same high-handed manner, prisoners being arrested and 
kept in confinement — guards being posted as usual at Fort 
Garry, and sometimes patrolling the streets of Winnipeg, and a 
general feeling of uneasiness pervaded the whole settlement. 

About this time, too, another Sioux scare occurred, and 
a party of these Indians actually came down from Portage la 
Prairie to within a few miles of Fort Garry, and were only in- 


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duced to return by giving them presents. Other Indians 
broke into and stole some of the Government provisions at 
Oak Point, and, in addition to these causes for disquietude, 
threats began to be used by some of the English settlers, that 
unless Riel released the Canadian prisoners, an attack would 
be made on the fort to liberate them. 

In the midst of this state of public feeling, the New Nation 
made its appearance, edited by Major Robinson, and brimful 
of Annexation ideas, of which the following headlines, taken 
from its first issue, will give some idea : 



Proposed Annexation to the United Stately Etc., Etc, 


Annexation our Manifest Destiny ! 

The publication of this paper, with such sentiments ex- 
pressed in its columns, did much to widen the breach between 
the English and French, as the New Nation was the acknow- 
ledged organ of Riel, although the latter repudiated altogether 
the annexation doctrine preached by it. 

Grand Vicar Thibault and Colonel de Salaberry now had an 
interview with the French council, and, on receiving them, 
Riel said : — " I am sorry to see that your papers give you no 
authority to treat with us, but we will be very glad to hear 
you, trusting that you have only good news to tell us." Noth- 
ing, however, came of this interview, and in order that our 
readers may see how powerless the commissioners were to ac- 
complish any practical good, we will give in full the letter of 

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instructions which Grand Vicar Thibault received from Hon. 
Jos. Howe, the Secretary of State for Canada. 

Ottawa, December 4, 1869, 
The Very Reverend Grand Vicar, M. Thibault. 

Sir — Referring to the conversation l^pld with a comniittee of the Piivy 
Council yesterday, and to your kind consent to undertake the delicate 
task of representuig, in conjunction with Colonel de Salaberry, the views 
and policy of this government to the people of the Hudson's Bay Ter- 
ritory. I am commanded by His Excellency the Governor-General to 
convey to you in the form of instructions for your guidance, the grounds of 
hope entertained here that your mission of peace and conciliation will be 
entirely successful. 

You will not fail to direct the attention of the mixed society inhabiting 
the cultivated borders of the Red River and Assiniboine, to the fact 
which comes within your daily knowledge and observation, and is patent 
to all the world, that in the four provinces of this Dominion, men of all 
origins, creeds and complexions stand upon one broad footing of perfect 
equality in the eye of the government and the law ; and that no admin- 
istration could confront the enlightened public sentiment of this country 
which attempted to act in the North- West upon principles more re- 
stricted and less liberal than those which are firmly established here. 

So far as you may have intercourse with the Indian chiefs and people, 
you will be good enough to remind them that while bloody and costly 
Indian wars have raged often for long periods in different sections of 
the United States, there has been no war with the Indians in any of 
the Provinces of British America since the conquest. For more than a 
century the Micmacs of Nova Scotia have lived in peace ; while the rights 
of the Milicetes of New Brunswick have been respected. Everywhere 
within the Canadas, the progress of settlement, while it furnished new 
employments to the Indians, was rendered practicable by treaties and 
arrangements mutually satisfactory, that have formed the secure basis of 
the sympathy and co-operation which have distinguished the Canadians 
and Indians, not only since the Treaty of Paris, but from the earliest ex- 
ploration of the country. 

It may fairly be assumed that the' just and judicious treatment of the 
Indian tribes forms the brightest page in the history of British America. 
Canadians cannot afford to sully it by any ungenerous treatment of the 
Indians in the North- West. That the disturbances which have taken 
place at and around Winnipeg and Fort Garry, ftave grown out of vague 
apprehensions of danger incident to the transitory state of things, which 
the action of the Imperial Government and Parliament rendered inevitable 

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there is no reason to doubt ; but it is quite apparent that, underlying what 
is natural and pardonable in this movement, there have been agencies at 
work, which loyal subjects cannot countenance, and that artful attempts 
have been made to mislead the people by the most flagrant and absurd 
misrepresentations. Had the Queen s Government or the Crovemment of 
the Dominion imitated the rash and reckless conduct of some of those who 
have taken part in this disturbance, there would ere this have been blood- 
shed and civil war in Rupert's Land, with the prospect of the flame 
spreadinfi; along the frontier as the fire spreads over the prairie. Fortun- 
ately calmer counsels have prevailed both in England and at Ottawa. The 
Proclamation of the Queen's representative,* with copies of which you 
will be furnished in French and English, will convey to Her people, the 
solemn words of their Sovereign, who, possessed of ample power to enforce 
Her authority, yet confided in their loyalty and afiectionate attachment to 
Her throne. 

The instructions issued to Mr. McDougall, on the 28th September, long 
before there was any reason to apprehend serious opposition on the Red 
River, will show how utterly groundless were the suspicions and appre- 
hensions of unfair treatment which have been widely circulated in the 
North- West, and to which unfortumitely some of the Canadian newspapers, 
for party purposes, at times gave the mischievous color of their authority. 

You will perceive that at no time was the absurd idea entertained of 
ignoring the municipal and political rights of the people of the North- 
West, that the only two persons that Mr. McDougall was formerly in- 
structed to call to his aid, were Governor Mactavish and Judge Black, who 
were known to be universally respected, and that any subsequent selec- 
tions were to ba first reported here, with grounds of his belief that they 
stood equally high in the confidence and affections of the people. 

All the Provinces of the British Empire which now enjoy represen 
tative institutions and responsible government, ha^ e passed through a 
probationary period, till the growth of the population and some political 
training' prepared them for self-govermuent. 

In the United States, the territories are ruled from Washington, till 
the time arrives when they can prove their fitness to be included in the 
family of states, and, in the halls of Congress, challenge the full measure 
of power and free development which American citizenship includes. 

It is fair to assume that some such training as human society requires in 
all free countries, may be useful, if not indispensable, at Rod River ; but 
of this, you may be assured, that the Governor-General and his council 
will gladly welcome the period when the Queen can c<mfer, with their en- 

*The Proclamation of the Governor-General of Canada, which will be found in theAppendis^ 
This document was placed in the hands of Riel by Commissioners Thibault and De SaUtbaTy^ 
and was therefore never made public at Red River. 

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tire approbation, the largest measure of self-government on her subjects 
in that region, compatible with the preservation of British interests on 
this continent, and the integrity of the Empire. 

I think it unnecessary to make more than a passing reference to the 
acts of folly and indiscretion attributed to persons who have assumed to 
represent the Dominion and to speak in its name, but who have acted on 
their own responsibility and without the knowledge or the sanction of 
this Government. 

In undertaking, at this season of the year, po long a journey in the pub- 
lic service, you display, venerable sir, a spirit of patriotism which I am 
commanded to assure you, is fully appreciated by the Queen's Representa- 
tive and by the Privy Council 

I have the honor to be 

Your most obedient servant, 

Joseph Howe, 

Secretary of State. 

The following was included in a letter sent by Hon. Jos. 
Howe, on 7th December, to Mr. McDougall, but received by 
him after he had left Pembina, and was, therefore, not made 
public at Red River until the 20th January following, when 
Mr. Donald A. Smith, at a mass meeting in Fort Garry, read 
from a copy of the letter with which he had been furnished: — 

"You will now be in a position, in your communications 
with the residents of the North-West, to assure them : 

1. That all their civil and religious liberties and privileges 
will be sacredly respected. 

2. That all their properties, rights and equities of every 
kind, as enjoyed under the government of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, will be continued to them. 

3. That in granting titles to land now occupied by the 
settlers, the most liberal policy will be pursued. 

4. That the present tariff of customs duties will be contin- 
ued for two years from the Ist January next, except in the 
case of spirituous liquora, as specified in the order-in-council 
above alluded to. 

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5. That in formin<,^ your council the Governor-General will 
see that not only the Hudson's Bay Company but the other 
claivses of the residents are fully and fairly represented. 

(). That your council will have the power of establishing 
municipal self-government at once, and in such manner as 
they think most Ijeneficial to the country. 

7. That the country will be governed, as in the past, by 
British law% and according to the spirit of British justice. 

8. That the present gov(uniment is to l>e considered as mere- 
ly provisional and temporary, and that the Government of 
Canada will l)e prepared to submit a measure to parliament, 
granting a liberal constitution, so soon as you, as Governor, 
and your council, have had an opportunity of reporting fully 
on the w^ants and requirements of the territory. 

You had, of course, instructions on all the above-men tione<l 
points, excepting as regards the tariff, l)efore you left Ottawa, 
but it has been thought well that I should repeat them to you 
in this authoritative form." 

But it will be observed that the intentions of the Canadian 
Government w^ere never made known to the people of the 
settlement by Mr. McDougall, or anybody else in his behalf, 
and now that he had taken his departure, the commissioners 
sent by the Dominion had neither instructions nor authority 
to make known the purpose of Canada, in regard to the pro- 
posed change of government. But, on the 27th December, 
18GJ), a gentleman arrived in the settlement, who was not only 
vested with authority to act, but who also, by his experience, 
ability and cool judgment, understood how to bring matters 
properly before the people, and his impoi*tant mission to a 
successful issue. 

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On the 27th December, 1869, Mr. Donald A. Smith, accom- 
panied by Mr. Hardisty, of the Hudson's Bay Company's ser- 
vice, arrived quietly at Foi"t Garry, and before being admitted, 
were met by Riel, who demanded their business. Mr. Smith 
thereupon stated that he was connected with the company, 
but held a commission from the Canadian Government, which 
he would present, with other documents, at the proper time, 
and on this he and his companion were allowed to visit Gov- 
ernor Mactavish. Riel, however, was not then informed tha 
Mr. Smith was clothed with authority of an exceptional cha 
racter, or that the documents with which he had been en- 
trusted, and which he had left behind him at Pembina for safe 
keeping, were very important indeed. Indeed, the true cha- 
racter of Mr. Smith's mission did not become publicly known 
for some time afterwards, while plans were maturing to en- 
sure its success. 

It may be well then to know how Mr. Smith came to pay 
a visit to Red River at such an inclement season of the year, 
and the nature of the business he had in hand. 

On the 10th December, while in Montreal, he received the 
following letter, appointing him a Special Commissioner to 
proceed to the Red River Settlement, where, after enquir- 
ing into the causes of the discontent and dissatisfaction ex- 

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isting among the people, he was empowered to act according 
to the best of his judgment in bringing about a solution of 
the difficulties : — 

'* Office of the Secretary of State 
" for the Provinces, 
"Ottawa, December 10th, 1869. 

"Donald A. Smith, Esq., 

" Montreal, 

" Sir — I have the honor to inform you that His Excellency 
the Governor-General has been pleased to appoint you Special 
Commissioner, to inquire into and report upon the causes and 
extent of the armed obstruction offered at the Red River, in 
the North- West Territories, to ^ the peaceful ingress of the 
Hon. Wm. McDougall, the gentleman selected to be the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of that country on its union with Canada. 

" Also, to enquire into and report upon the causes of the 
discontent and dissatisfaction at the proposed change that 
now exists there. 

" Also, to explain to the inhabitants the principles on which 
the Government of Canada intends to govern the country, and 
to remove any misapprehension that may exist on the subject. 
And also to take such steps, in concert with Mr. McDougall 
and Governor Mactavish, as may seem most proper for effect- 
ing the peaceable transfer of the country and the government 
from the Hudson's Bay authorities to the Government of the 
Dominion. You will consider this communication as your 
letter of appointment as Government Commissioner. 

" With this letter you will receive : 

" A copy of the letter of instructions given to Mr. McDou- 
gall on leaving Ottawa, dated 28th September last ; 

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" Copy of further letter of instructions to Mr. McDougall, 
dated 7th instant ; 

" Copy of the Proclamation issued by His Excellency the 
Governor-General, addressed to the inhabitants of the North - 
West Territories, by the express desire of Her Majesty. 

" These will enable you to speak authoritatively on the sub- 
ject of your mission. 

"You will proceed with all dispatch to Pembina, and ar- 
range with Mr. McDougall as to your future course of action ; 
and then go on to Fort Garry, and take such steps as, after 
such consultation, may seem most expedient. You will, of 
course, consult Governor Mactavish, and endeavor to arrange 
one system of concerted action in the pacification of the coun- 
try, with Mr. McDougall, the Hudson's Bay authorities, and 

" As the information received by the Government here is 
necessarily imperfect, and as the circumstances at the Ked 
River are continually changing, it is not considered expedient 
to hamper you with more specific instructions. You will, 
therefore, act according to the best of your judgment in con- 
cert with Mr. McDougall, and you will keep me fully in- 
formed by every mail of the progress of events. 

" In addition to the more immediate object of your mission, 
you are requested to report on the best mode of dealing with 
the Indian Tribes in the country, and generally to make such 
suggestions as may occur to you as to the requirements of the 
country for the future. 

" I have the honor to be, etc., 

"Joseph Howe, 
" Secretary of State for the Provinces,*" 

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Mr. Donald A. Smith was then furnished with other docu- 
ments l)earing upon his mission, and at once left for Fort Garrj', 
arriv ing there, as we have seen, on the 27th December. On 
reaching the boundary line, he, however, took the precaution 
to leave his papei^s in charge of Mr. Provencher, at Pembina, as 
he suspected that Kiel would endeavor to take pos.session of 
them, should they be found with him, on his arrival in the 
settlement. This, as it 8ul>sequently transpired, was a wise 
forethought on the part of the Commissioner, and enabled him 
to check-mate Riel in an attempt to discredit him before the 

For nearly two months, Commissioner Smith remained in 
Fort Oany, practically a prisoner, but during all this time he 
was by no means idle, as Riel soon discovered to his cost. He 
allowed no opportunity to slip to impress upon leading men 
on both the French and English sides, the liberal intentions of 
the Canadian government, and his influence began to shew 
itself, more esj^ecially among some of Kiel's principal followers. 

It was reported al)out this time, that offere of assistance had 
been offered to Riel, by parties in the United States, and also, 
that overtures had come from Canada to settle the difficulty 
with him, for a pecuniary consideration. There is reason to 
think that the first rumor was correct, although the oflers did 
not come from any official source, but, as to the latter, there 
was no semblance of truth in it. The Americans, inside and 
outside the settlement, were at this time close in the councils 
of the French, and chief among them was the man Stutsman, 
to whom we have already referred. The very day on which 
Commissioner Smith arrived, the following letter, enclosed 
open in a newspaper, and addressed to Riel, was intercepn 

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Pembina, Dec. 25th, 1869. 

Dear General — I wish you and your friends a happy Christmas, I 
herewith send you a St. Paul paper, containing a communication from 
Mr. Nelson, of this place. Tuesday's mail will bring us St. Paul jxapers 
containing mattera of interest on Red River aflfairs. I have not seen Col. 
De Salaberry yet. Dr. Tupper called on me a few moments since. He 
came to take home his daughter, who is the wife of Captain Cameron. 
Dr. Tupper is a member of the Dominion Parliament, from Nova Scotia. 
If it be deemed necessary to confer with the Canadian Commissioners, 
would it not l>e advisable that such conference should take place on this 
frontier ? I am afraid that if De Salaberry and Father Thibault (who I 
see by recent Canadian papers, is just as much of a Commissioner as Col. 
De Salaberry) are permitted to have free communicat ion with your people 
they will give you trouble. Inasmuch as Father Thibault comes in an 
official capacity, he should be regarded as an official, and not as a minister 
of Christ. If he, being an official agent of the Canadian government, be 
admitted, why reject McDougall or De Salaberry? 

Regards to friend Donohue. 

Ever yours, 


The paper referred to was the St. Paul Press, of 17th De- 
cember, 1869, and this newspaper, each week, contained false 
and exaggerated accounts of the doings at Red River, written 
purposely by Stutsman and others of Riels American sym- 

On the 9th January, a number of prisoners escaped in the 
ni^j^ht, through a window of the court-house, but, as the 
weather was cold, they were unable to travel fast and some of 
them were re-captured by a guard sent after them, as soon as 
their absence was discovered. Riel, previous to this, had re- 
leased a few of the men, but there were still about sixty 
remaining in confinement at Fort Garry. 

On the 8th January, the following orders were printed at 
the oflSce of the New Nation, and circulated : — 

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Orders of TdE Provisional Govbrnment of Rupert's Land. 
The people of Rupert's Land are notified by these presents : — 

That at a meeting of the Reprebentatives of the People, held at Fort 
€rarry, on the 27th day of December, 1869, the following resolutions were 
adopted : — 

Ist.— Mr. John Bruce having, on account of ill health, resigned his 
position as president, Mr. Louis Riel was chosen to replace him. 

The new president takes this opportunity, in conjunction with the Rep- 
resentatives of the People, to express their high sense of the qualities 
which distinguish the ex-president. Among others, his modesty, the 
natural moderation of his character, and the justness of his judgment. 
These qualities, which were of such great assistance to the people, deserve 
public recognition, and the Representatives accepted his resignation only 
in the hope thereby to preserve the health of one dear to them. 

2nd. — Mr Fran9oi8 Xavier Dauphinais has been chosen Vice-Presi- 

3rd — Mr. Louis Schmidt has been appointed Secretary of the council. 

4th. — Mr. W. B. O'Donohue has been appointed Secretary -Treasurer. 

5th. — Mr. Ambroise Lepine has been appointed Adjutant-General. 

6th.- It has been decided that Mr. A. 6. B. Bannatyne should be 
continued in his position as Postmaster. 

7th. — All the officers or employes of the old government who might 
pretend to exercise that old authority shall be punished for high treason. 

8th — Justice shall be administered by the Adjutant-General, whose 
council shall be composed of Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne, F. X. Dauphinais 
and Pierre Poitras. This council will sit on the first and third Monday 
of each month 

9th — All licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquors must be given 
by the Adjutant's council, and all those who took this kind of license on 
the 1st December last, must have them renewed by the said council. 

In publishing these orders the President and Representatives of the 
People, anxious to draw upon the exercise of Iheir authority the blessing 
of Heaven and the approbation of all, announce to the people of Rupert 'r 
Land that they have pardoned twelve political prisoners, shewing there- 
by that clemency and forgiveness are as familiar to them as severity. 

Louis RiEL, President. 
Louis Schmidt, Secretary, 

Mr. Bfiuinatyne consented to join RieVs council on the un- 
derstanding that a union of the whole settlement would take 
place for the purpose of treating with Canada, and from a de- 

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sire to do good, and keep in check the French party, but the 
publication of the orders was, it appears, not authorized, and 
all copies possible to be obtained were called in and destroyed. 
Matters were not going altogether smoothly in the ranks of the 
French about this time, and jealousy and distrust were known 
to exist among the leaders. W. B. O'Donohue was caught tam- 
pering with Kiel's letters, and efforts were made to secure ap- 
pointments in the government for Americans, which so dis- 
gusted several of the French councillors that they threatened 
to withdraw. This had the effect of checking W. B. OT)onohue 
who was the moving spirit in the council in favor of annexa- 
tion, and Stutsman, who had come to take up his residence in 
the settlement, returned to Pembina in disgust, while Oscar 
Malmoras, the United States consul, who had, it appears, been 
mixing himself up in the affairs of the country more than his 
official position warranted, became aware that his effoiis were 
being thrown away. 

Affairs were in this condition, when, on the 15th January, 
Kiel demanded again from Commissioner Smith to see his 
papers, who replied that they were not in his possession. Kiel 
then proposed sending for them, and demanded an order for 
their delivery, which was decidedly refused, but on Mr. 
Smith s being aasured that the documents would not be inter- 
fered with, he at last consented to send a messenger (Mr. 
Hardisty) for them. Kiel, however, despatched one of his 
guards with Hardisty, in order, no doubt, to seize the papers 
before they reached the Commissioner's hands, but certain 
prominent individuals among the French, who were not alto- 
gether satisfied with Kiel's doings, Tieard about this, and on 
having an interview with Governor Mactavish, with whom 
Mr. Smith was in communication, a suspicion arose that every- 

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thing was not all right, and a small party of French and Eng- 
lish settlers set off towards Pembina to intercept Mr. Hardisty 
and his guard, and so quietly and quickly was this done, that 
no one in the fort, except the Commissioner and Governor 
Mactavish, was aware of what had taken place. About this 
time, however, when Mr. Smithes messenger was expected to 
return, Riel went out to meet him, and, at the house of one 
Laboucan Dauphinais, he found his guard a prisoner in the 
hands of a party of men, and Hardisty being conducted back 
to Fort Garry with the papers all safe. Riel, on perceiving 
this, attempted to interfere, but a French half-breed named 
PieiTe Laveiller, placing a loaded pistol to his head, threatened 
to blow his brains out if he did not fall into line with the rest 
of the men. The whole party, now numbering between sixty 
and seventy, gathered from the surrounding settlement in 
sympathy with the movement, then drove on to Fort Garr\% 
and the papers were safely delivered into the hands of the 

We will now refer our readers to the report of Mr. Smith, 
which is published in Chapter xxxi., for a full account of 
what took place immediately after the delivery of the papers, 
and proceed to describe the subsequent events. 

Judge Black, who was present when the papers arrived, 
opened them while Commissioner Smith was having an inter- 
view with Riel, and it was then decided by the party who had 
effected the rescue, that a public meeting should be held the 
following day to hear them read. Messengers were at once 
dispatched to call the settlers together, and on the 19th 
January, 1870, fully one thousand persons assembled in the 
court-yard of the fort, representing all classes of the commun- 
ity. This was a great triumph for the Commissioner, and was 

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what he had waited and worked for, as he was determined to 
deal only with the settlers as a whole, and not with any par- 
ticular class of them. 

The day was bitterly cold, it being over 20° below zero, 
yet the people, without exception, remained close listeners 
throughout the whole proceedings. 

Mr. Thomas Bunn was elected chairman ; Riel, interpreter ; 
and Judge Black, Secretary ; Colonel DeSalaberry being also 

Commissioner Smith was then introduced to the meeting, 
and after a short address, in which he expressed his desire to 
bring about a solution of the troubles, at the same time assur- 
ing the people of the good intentions of Canada towards them, 
he read his letter of appointment, which will be found at the 
commencement of this chapter. He then read the following 
letter from the Governor-General of Canada, during which he 
was repeatedly interrupted by Riel and others : 

Ottawa, 12th Dec, 1869. 

My Dear Mr. Smfth— I learn with satisfaction that you have placed 
your services at the disposal of the Canadian Government, and that you 
are proceeding to Red River to give the parties that are at variance the 
benefit of your experience, influence and mediation. 

In my capacity as Her Majesty's representative in the British North 
American possessions, I have addressed letters to Governor Mactavish, 
the Protestant Bishop of Rupert's Land, and the Vicar-General, who acta 
in lieu of the Roman Catholic Bishop during his presence in Rome. I 
have sent them copies of the message received by telegraph from Her 
Majesty's Secretary of State, which forms the staple of the proclamation 
addressed to her subjects in the North-West Territory. You will observe 
that it calls upon all who have any complaints to make, or wishes to ex- 
press, to address themselves to me as Her Majesty's representative. 
And you may state with the utmost confidence that the Imperial Govern- 
ment has no intention of acting otherwise — or permitting others to act 
otherwise — than in perfect good faith towards the inhabitants of the Red 
River district of the North-West. 

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The people may rely upon it that respect and protection will be extend- 
ed to the different religious persuasions — that titles to every description of 
property will be perfectly guarded, and that all the franchises which have 
existed, or which the people may prove themselves qualified to exercise, 
shall be duly continued or liberally conferred. 

In declaring the desire and determination of Her Majesty's Cabinet, 
you may very safely use the terms of the ancient formula, that ** Right 
ahall be done in all cases." 

Wishing you a prosperous journey, and all success in your mission of 
peace and good will, 

I remain faithfully yours, 

John Young. 

The Commissioner now demanded the production of certain 
documents which had been entrusted to Grand Vicar Thibault, 
and seized from that gentleman by Kiel's orders, and this gave 
rise to a good deal of confusion, during which abusive and 
even threatening language was made use of toward Mr. Smith. 
But he remained firm, and was supported by several of the 
most influential residents, and by the majority of the people 
present. The documents were then produced, being found in 
the desk of the Secretary of the Provisional Government, and 
in the meantime Mr. Smith read the*Queen*s message. 

It was dated November 26th, and had been sent in the form 
of a telegram from Earl Granville to Sir John Young, as 
follows : 

" The Queen has heard with surprise and regret, that certain 
misguided persons have banded together to oppose, by force, 
the entry of the future Lieutenant-Governor into our territory 
in Red River. Her Majesty does not distrust the loyalty of 
her subjects in that settlement, and can only ascribe to mis- 
understanding or misrepresentation their opposition to a 
change planned for their advantage. 

"She relies on your Government to use every eflbrt to ex- 
plain whatever misunderstandings may have arisen — to ascer- 

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tain their wants, and conciliate the good will of the people of 
Red River Settlement. But in the meantime, she authorizes 
you to signify to them the sorrow and displeasure with which 
she views the unreasonable and lawless proceedings which 
have taken place, and her expectation, that if any parties have 
desires to express, or complaints to make respecting their con- 
dition and prospects, they will address themselves to the Gov- 
ernor-General of Canada. 

*' The Queen expects from her representative that as he will 
be always ready to receive well-founded grievances, so will he 
exercise all the power and authority she entrusted to him in 
the support of order and the suppression of unlawful distur- 

It was then decided to adjouni the meeting till the follow- 
ing day. and on this a settler named John Burke made a de- 
mand for the release of the prisoners, but Riel replied, " Not 
just now ! " whereupon there were cries of "Yes ! Yes !" and on 
this a number of the French flew to their arms, and some con- 
fusion ensued, which fortunately soon subsided, and the assem- 
blage dispersed. 

When the people re-assembled the next day, on Judge Black 
declining to act as secretary, Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne was 
appointed in his place, and several settlers were selected to 
keep order in the crowd. Commissioner Smith then came for- 
ward and continued the reading of his papers, the first one be- 
ing the following letter from the Governor-General to Gover- 
nor Mactavish. 

Government House, 

Ottawa, December, 6th, 1869. 
W. Mactavish, Esq., Governor of Assiniboia. 

Sir— I had the honor to address you in my capacity as representative 
of the Queen and Governor-General of Her Majesty's British North- 


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American possessionH, and enclosed for your information, a copy of a Mes- 
sage received from Earl Granville in reply U> the account which I sent 
officially of the events occurring in Red River Settlement. The Message 
conveys the mature opinicm of the Imperial Cabinet. The proclamation I 
have issued is based on it, and you will observe that it refers all who 
hare desires to express, or complaints to make, to refer to me as invested 
with auth()rity on behalf of the British Government. And the inhabit- 
ants of Rupert's Land of all classes and persuasions may rest assured that 
Her Majesty's Government has no intention of interfering with, or setting 
aside, or allowing others to interfere with the religions, the rights or the 
franchise hitherto enjoyed, or to which they may prove themselves e<]ual. 
Make what use you think best of this communication, and of the en- 

I have the honor to be, 

Your most obedient and humble servant, 

John YouNa. 

The Commissioner then read a copy of the letter written by 
Hon. Joseph Howe to Mr. McDougall, on the 7th December, 
containing the assurances to the people of Red River, as quot- 
ed by us in the last chapter, after which he read the letter of 
instructions given to Mr. McDougall on 28th September, 1869. 
This closed the reading of the papers entrusted to the Special 
Commissioner, but the Proclamation of the Governor-General 
having evidently been concealed or destroyed was never made 
public at Red River, either on that occasion or afterwards, a 
circumstance which shews the extent to which Riel and his 
immediate followers would have gone had they obtained pos- 
session of Mr. Smith's papers. 

When the reading of the several documents had been fin- 
ished, the meeting adjourned for half an hour, and on re- 
assembling it was moved by Riel, seconded by Mr. A. G. B. 
Bannatyne, and carried, that twenty representatives from the 
English side, and twenty from the French, should meet on the 
25th January to consider the subject of Mr. Smith s commis- 
sion, and to decide what would be best for the welfare of the 

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As the motion was being put, a settler objected that the re- 
solution seemed to cast a doubt on Mr. Smith's conmiission, 
whereupon Riel and O'Donohue both exclaimed : — " We accept 
the commission as genuine, and are merely to consider what is • 
to be done under it." A committee was then appointed to 
apportion the English representatives for the different par- 
ishes in the settlement, and to determine the mode of election, 
after which short speeches were made by the Bishop of 
Rupert's Land, Father Richot, and the meeting was closed by 
Riel addressing the crowd in the following words: — 

" Before this assembly breaks up, I cannot but express my 
feelings, however briefly — I came here with fear — We are not 
yet enemies — but we came very near being so. As soon as we 
understood each other we joined in demanding what our Eng- 
lish fellow subjects, in common with us, believe to be our just 
rights. I am not afraid to say our rights : for we all have 
rights. We claim no half rights, mind you, but all the rights 
we are entitled to. Those rights will be set forth by our re- 
presentatives, and, what is more, gentlemen, we will get them." 

Immediately after the meeting, the utmost good feeling 
prevailed — cheei^s were given and caps thrown in the air — 
French and English shook hands, and, for the first time in 
many months, a spirit of unity between the two classes of 
settlers appeared. Thus the Special Commissioner scored a 
second triumph in uniting the people together for the purpose 
of conjointly placing their grievances l>efore him. 

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On the 2l8t December, 1869, the committee appointed to 
apportion the English representatives, met at the residence of 
the Bishop of Rupert's Land, and made the following allot- 
ments : — 

. 2 

- 2 

- 2 

- 1 

- 1 


The choice of delegates then occupied the attention of the 
people, English and French, throughout the whole settlement, 
and a good deal of feeling was evinced by rival parties, in 
their efforts to secure the election of favorite candidates. In 
Winnipeg, especially, there was much rivalry between the 
American and British elements,. Mr. Alfred H. Scott being the 
standard-bearer of the former, and ilr. A. G. B. Bannatyne of 
the latter. The responsible men of the town mostly supported 
Mr. Bannatyne, but Mr. Scott had the largest number of votes 
and was elected, much to the disappointment of the residents, 
who had the most at stake in the place. The Ncfuo Nation 
continue! to preach annexation, but the doctrine found no re- 

Winnipeg - - - 

- 1 

St. James - 

St. John - - 

- 1 


Kildonan - - - 

- 2 

St. Anns - - 

St. Pauls - - - 

- 1 

St. Margarets 

St. Andrews - - 

- - 3 

St. Marys - 

St. Clements - 

. - 2 

St. Peters - - 

- . 2 

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sponse in the settlement, and copies of the paper were " return- 
ed " to the oflSce of publication, in large numbers, marked 
refused. It may be imagined, therefore, that the election of 
Alfred H. Scott, a young man of no responsibility in the com- 
munity, and the mouth-piece of the American party, was not 
verj^ acceptable to the English-speaking settlers, and, as it 
turned out. the selection of this young man was a most unfor- 
tunate blunder. 

While the English side was busy in choosing their repre- 
sentatives, the French were no less actively employed, and 
Riel spared no effort to bring about the election of men favor- 
able to him, in opposition to those who had been instrumental 
in bringing in Commissioner Smith's papers, and supporting 
that gentleman in the stand he took. Riel, however, was only 
partly successful, as, after the elections, it was found that a 
good sprinkling of French half-breeds were chosen representa- 
tives, who were not altogether subservient to RieFs will. 

As a matter of record, it may be well to give the full list of 
members selected : — 


St Pauls :— St. Vital ;— 

Pierre Thibert. Louis Riel. 

Alex. Pag^. Andrfe Beauchemin. 

Magnus Birston. St. Norhert : — 

Pierre Parranteau. 

Norbert Caronce. 
Xavier Pag^. g ^^^^^ 

Pierre Poitras. 

Pointe Coupee : — 

St. Charles : — Louis Lascerte. 

Baptiste Beauchemin. Pierre Delorme. 

St. Francois Xavier :- 

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St. Bonifuve : — 

W. B. O'Doiiohue. 
Auibroise Lepine. 
Jos. Genton. 
Louis Schmidt. 

St. refers: — 

Rev. Henry Cochrane 
Thos. Spence. 

St. CI erne at fi: — 

Thos. Bunn. 
Alex. McKenzie. 

St. Andrews : — 

Judge Black. 
Donald (lunn, Senr. 
Alfre<l Boyd. 

St. Pauls :— 

Dr. Bird. 
Kildonan : — 

John Fntser. 

John Sutherland. 


Oak Point:— 

Thomas Harrison. 

Charles Nolin. 
Pointe d Orouelte: — 

George Klyne. 


St. Johns: — 

James Ross. 
St. James: — 

Geo. Flett. 

Robert Tait. 
Headingly : 

John Taylor. 

Wm. Lonsdale. 
St. Marys : — 

Kenneth Mckenzie. 
St. Margarets : — 

Wm. Cummin^.; 
St. Annes : — 

Geo. Gunn. 

D. S. Spence. 
Winnipeg : — 

Alfred H. Scott. 

On the 28rd Dr. Schultz escaped from Fort Garry, and as 
he was reported to have gone in the direction of Lower Fort 
Garry, Riel stmt a party of his men to recapture him, but they 
ilid not succeed in finding him. 

On the 25th, the re})resentatives of the settlers met, but as 
several of the French delegates had not arrived, the meeting 

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was adjourned until the next day. On the 26th, however, the 
convention assembled, and proceeded to business, by electing 
Judge Black, chairman, Wm. Coldwell, secretary, on the Eng- 
lish side, and Louis Schmidt on that of the French. The con- 
tested election cases were then taken up, and decided against 
Messrs. A. G. B. Baimatyne, Angus McKay and Jol^n F. Gi'ant. 
Riel, being particularly anxious that the latter gentlemen 
should not sit. The Commissioner s papei-s were next sent for 
and handed to Mr. Schmidt, to be translated into French, after 
which the convention adjourned for the day. 

On the 27th, upon the re-assembling of the delegates, Mr. 
James Ross called for the Proclamation of the Governor-Gen- 
eral, which had not been read at the mass meeting. But the 
document could not be found, and the matter was allowed to 
drop, although there was a strong feeling on the part of the 
English that it had been designedly done away with. The 
Proclamation will be found published in the Appendix to this 
volume, and it may be well to explain that the reason the 
English did not press for its production, was because they did 
not wish to break the harmony of the convention at the out- 

Commissioner Smith then attended the convention by re- 
quest, and in course of his address stated that Canada was 
prepared to respect the people of the country, and grant them 
everything that was fair. Thereupon, Riel desired to ask his 
opinion on the List of Rights prepared by the French party in 
December, but Mr. Smith decidedly declined to do anything of 
the sort, as he was there to deal with all classes of the settle- 
ment, and not one portion of it. Anything coming from the 
convention then in session, he said, would receive his most 
careful consideration. 

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This position taken by the Commissioner was so palpably 
correct, that Riel could not object to it, and so it was resolved 
to form a committee to frame a list of rights to be submitted 
to Mr. Smith, and the following were the delegates appointed 
to act: 

Fraick — Louis Riel, Louis Schmidt, Charles Nolin. 

English — James Ross, Dr. Bird, Thomas Bunn. 

All these gentlemen were natives of the country. 

The convention then adjourned to permit the committee to 
proceed with their labors, and did not meet again until the 
29th, and in the meantime Riel took it upon himself to call 
upon Commissioner Smith and propound a question whether 
the Dominion would be willing to create the Red River Terri- 
tory into a province, but he did not succeed in obtaining any 
satisfaction on the subject, as will be seen by reference to Mr. 
Smith's report contained in Chapter XXXL 

The committee having finished their repoi*t, the delegates 
commenced on the 29th January, to consider it clause by 
clause, and, without going into the details of the debates that 
took place, we will give the " Bill of Rights," as presented and 


Ist. — That in view of the present exceptional position of the North- 
West, duties upon goods imported into the country shall continue as at 
present (except in the case of spirituous liquors), for three years, and for 
such further time as may elapse until there be uninterrupted railroad com- 
munication between Red River Settlement and St. Paul, and also steam 
navigation between Red River Settlement and Lake Sui)erior. 

2nd. — As long as this country remains a territory in the Dominion of 
Canada, there shall be no direct taxation except such as may be imposed 
by the local legislature for municipal or other local purposes. 

3rd. — That during the time this country shall remain in the position of 
a territory in the Dominion of Canada, all military, civil, and other public 
expenses in connection with the general government of the country or 
that have hitherto been borne by the public funds of the settlement, be- 

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yond the receipt of the above mentioned duties, shall be met by the 
Dominion of Canada. 

4th.— That while the burden of public expense in this territory is 
borne by Canada, the country be governed under a Lieutenant-Governor 
from Canada, and a Legislature, three members of whom being heads of 
departments of the government, shall be nominated by the Governor- 
General of Canada. 

6th. — That after the expiration of this exceptional period, the country 
shall be governed, as regards its local affitirs, as the Provinces of Ontario 
and Quebec are now governed by a Legislature by the people, and a Min- 
istry responsible to it under a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by the 
Governor-General of Canada. 

6th. — That there shall be no interference by the Dominion Parliament 
in the local affairs of this territory, other than is allowed in the provinces, 
and that this territory shall have and enjoy in all respects the same privi- 
leges, advantages and aids in meeting the public expenses of this terri- 
tory, as the provinces have and enjoy. 

7th. — That while the North- West remains a territory, the legislature 
have a right to pass all laws, local to the territory, over the veto of the 
Lieutenant-Governor by a two-thirds vot6. 

8th — A homestead and pre-emption law. 

9th.— That while the North-West remains a territory, the sum of 
^6,000 a year be appropriated for schools, roads and bridges. 

10th. — That all the public buildings be at the expense of the Dominion 

11th. — That there shall be guaranteed uninterrupted steam communica- 
tion to Lake Superior, within five years, and also the establishment by 
rail of a coimection with the American railway as soon as it reaches the 
international line. 

12th. — That the military force require<l in this country be composed of 
the natives of the country, during four years. 

(The above was lost by a vote of 16 yeas to 23 nays, and consequently 
struck out of the list.) 

12th. — That the English and French languages be common in the leg- 
islature and courts, and that all public documents and Acts of the legisla- 
ture be published in both languages. 

13th. — Thai, the Judge of the Supreme Court spe^ik the French and 
English languages. 

14th. — That treaties be concluded between the Dominion and the several 
Indian tribes of the country, as soon as possible. 

15th. —That, until the population of the country entitles us to more, 
we have three representatives in the Canadian Parliament ; one in the 
Senate, and two in the Legislative Assembly. 

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16th. — That all the properties, rights and privileges, as hitherto enjoyed 
by us. bo respected, and that the recognition and arrangement of local 
customs, usages and privileges be made under the control of the Local 

17th. — That the Local Legislature of this territory have full control of 
all the lands inside a circumference having I'pper Fort Garry as a centre, 
and that the radius of tliis circumference be the number of miles that 
the American line is dist^ant from Fort Garry. 

18th —That every man in the country (except uncivilized and unsettled 
Indians), who has attained the age of 21 years, and every British subject 
a stranger to this country, who has resided three years in this country, 
and is a householder, shall have a right to vote at the election of a mem- 
ber to serve in the legislature of the country, and in the Dominion Par- 
liament ; and every foreign subject, other than a British subject, who has 
resided the same length of time in the country, and is a householder, 
shall have the same right to vote, on condition of his taking the oath of 
allegiance, it being understoo i that this article be subject to amendment 
exclusively by the Local Legislature. 

19th. —That the North- West Territory shall never be held liable for any 
portion of the £3 )0,000 paid to the Hudson's Bay Company, or for any 
portion of the public debt of Canada, as it stands at the time of our enter- 
ing the Confederation ; and if thereafter we be called upon to assume our 
share of s »id public debt, we consent only on condition that we first be 
allowed the amount for which we shall be held liable. 

As soon as the last article had been carried, Riel proposed 
that, as they had fully discussed the terms upon which they 
would become a territory in the Dominion of Canada, the 
delegates should now consider the advantage of entering Con- 
federation as a province. This question was accordingly fully 
debated upon during February 4th, and resulted in the opinion 
of the convention being in favor of becoming a territory. 

It was then proposed that Commissioner Smith should be 
requested to attend the meeting on the following day, when 
Riel rose and said that he had still another clause to propose, 
namely : — 

" That all bargains with the Hudson's Bay Company for 
the transfer of this territory be considered null and void : and 

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that any arrangements with reference to the transfer of this 
country shall he carried on only with the people of this 

The next day this proposal was discussed, and, when put in 
fonn of a motion, was defeated by a vote of 17 yeas and 22 
nays, upon which Riel arose in excitement, exclaiming, " The 
devil take it ; we must win. The vote may go as it likes, but 
the measure must be carried.*' He then abused, in very strong 
language, three of the French half-breed delegates, Nolin, Klyne, 
and Harrison, who had voted against his motion, but Nolin 
resented the attack vigorously. ** Let me tell you, Mr. Riel," 
he said, " that I was sent here by my parish. I never sought 
the position, and if, as you say, I am lost to public affairs, I 
would be rather glad of it. You, Mr. Riel, did what you could 
to prevent my coming here, and failed ; and if it suited my 
purpose to come back again, I would come at the call of my 
parish in spite of you." The convention then broke up in 
some confusion, but not until it was arranged that Commis- 
sioner Smith's views on the " List of Rights " should be heard 
the next day. 

In the meantime Riel, who seemed to have lost his head 
over the defeat which he had suffered in the convention, went 
in a cowardly manner to the sick-bed of Governor Mactavish . 
and abused him, even, it is said, threatening to have him shot 
that night. He then took Dr. Cowan prisoner, and confined 
him with the rest of the prisoners, and behaved altogether 
like a madman. He next took Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne 
prisoner, for having visited the fort against his ordera, and 
stai'ted out to capture Chas. Nolin, but the latter and his 
friends showed such a bold front that Riel abandoned the at- 
tempt. If he had persisted, there is no doubt the Nolins 
would have killed him. 

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A guard was then sent to capture the mails, but did not suc- 
ceed, and matters generally were being carried by Riel in such 
a high-handed manner that the English delegates hesitated 
for a time about attending the convention. They, however, 
finally resolved to attend, and on the 7th February, at 11 
a.m., Commissioner Smith, who was present by invitation, re- 
ceived the List of Rights for consideration, one p.m. being the 
hour arranged for hearing his answers, and references to his 
report will show the arbitrary and discourteous treatment ac- 
corded to him by Riel while he was engaged in this most 
important work. 

At one o'clock, however, the Commissioner met the dele- 
gates, as agreed upon, and addressed them as follows : — 

" With regard to the first article in the Bill of Rights, the 
convention has already had a communication to the eflfect that 
the Dominion Government had provided, by Order-in-Council, 
for the continuance of the present tariff of duties in the ter- 
ritory for at least two years ; and I feel convinced that the 
Government will be prepared to recommend to Parliament 
such measures as will meet the views of the convention, as ex- 
pressed in this article. 

As to the second and third, I believe the Canadian Gov- 
ernment will ask the Dominion Parliament to meet the views 
of the convention and their constituents in respect to these ar- 

Fourth — The Canadian Government assured me of their de- 
sire to consult the wishes of the people of the territory in 
respect to mattei*s connected with the composition of the Local 
Legislature, and of their intention to select at least two-thirds 
of the council from among the residents. This council would 
have reported as to the best mode of proceeding in introduc- 

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ing the elective principle, and Parliament would then have 
been asked to pass an Act on the subject, the Government 
having no power to settle such a matter without an Act. 
Bearing this in mind, I do not hesitate to give it as my opin- 
ion that the Dominion Government will ask Parliament to 
provide a liberal government for the country while it remains 
a territory. 

Fifth — I have the mast explicit assurance from the Cana- 
dian Government that such will be the case. 

Sixth — For this, the Dominion Government will provide in 
a liberal spirit. 

Seventh — This article brings up some constitutional consid- 
erations, with which it would be presumption on my part 
were I to deal summarily. But I will repeat most distinctly 
that the Dominion Government will pay the utmost deference 
to the wishes of the convention as regards this and all other 
matters in connection with the government of the country, 
and I have full confidence that the decision arrived at will be 
acceptable to the people. 

Eighth — I have been instructed by the Canadian Govern- 
ment to make known to the people of this settlement that all 
property held by residents in peaceable possession will be se- 
cured to them, and that a most liberal land policy in regard to 
the future settlement of the country will be adopted — every 
privilege in this respect enjoyed in Ontario or Quebec being 
extended to the territory. 

Ninth — I feel certain that an amount even exceeding that 
here mentioned will be appropriated for the purposes referred 

Tenth — I can safely promise that the Dominion Govern- 
ment will defray the cost of all the public buildings required 
for the general business of the territory. 

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Eleventh — I do not hesitate to give this assurance, as the 
works on Lake Superior route, which have been progressing 
actively since the early part of last summer, will doubtless be 
completed much within the time specified. As to the railway 
to Pembina, shortly after the American line reaches that 
point, it will certainly be carried out. 

Twelfth — This will unquestionably he provided for. 

Thirteenth — The answer given to No. 12 will apply equally 

Fourteenth — Fully alive to the necessity of this, the Do- 
minion Parliament will not fail to take an early opportunity 
of dealing with the matter, in order to extinguish, in an equit- 
able manner, the claims of the Indians, so that settles may 
obtain clear and indisputable titles. 

Fifteenth — The convention will not expect me to speak 
definitely as to the number of representatives to be allotted to 
the territory, but I can promise that the circumstances and 
requirements of the country will be fully and liberally con- 
sidered in dealing with this matter. 

Sixteenth — On the part of the Canadian Government, as 
well as of Her Majesty s representative in British North 
America, and also as coming immediately from the Sovereign, 
assurances have been given to all, that the properties, rights 
and privileges hitherto enjoyed by the people of the territory 
would be respected, and I feel sure that the Dominion Govern- 
ment will confide to the Local Legislature the recognition and 
arrangement of local customs, usages and privileges. 

Seventeenth — My knowledge of the country, and of the 
extent to which the concessions here desired might affect pub- 
lic works, etc., is too limited to permit me to give any decided 
opinion on the subject, further than that full and substantial 
justice will be done in the matter. 

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Eighteenth — Without entering into the details of the article, 
I would say that the franchise will be so adjusted as to be 
satisfactory to the public, both native and immigrant, and in 
a manner conducive to the general welfare. 

Nineteenth — My belief is that the Canadian Government 
has no intention of imposing on the North -West Territory the 
payment of any portion of the £300,000, and I have much 
confidence that they will be so actuated in every respect by 
wise and just motives, that in arranging for the distribution 
of the public debt of Canada the North- West Territory will 
not be held liable for anything it ought not to bear ; in short, 
that here, as in every other particular, substantial justice will 
be done." 

Having gone through the articles, the Commissioner then 
spoke as follows : — " I would beg to say that although author- 
ized, as Commissioner, to act generally as might appear best in 
the state of affairs here, it was thought probable some points 
might arise with which I could not deal personally, and to 
meet this I was instructed by the Dominion Government to 
invite a delegation of two or more of the residents of Red 
River to meet and confer with them at Ottawa. This I now 
do, and on the part of the government promise that the 
gentlemen sent to Canada will be cordially received." 

The invitation to send delegates to Canada, thus opportunely 
extended to the convention, was unanimously accepted, and a 
resolution to that effect, signed by Mr. Wm. Cold well and 
Louis Schmidt, the secretaries, was handed to Commissioner 
Smith on the 8th February. 

Thus the third important step toward the solution of the 
diflSculties in the North- West was brought about by the skill 
and judgment of Commissioner Smith, but his labors were 

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Hi5 Grace ^Archbishop Tacbe. 

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not over as we will soon see, although matters were now in 
such shape that the way was prepared for an understanding 
to be arrived at between the Dominion and the people of the 

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IMs (Jraci* ,\ . ■- ' ! 'U j' I vhc. 

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•V 1 - ; 

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Hi5 Qnice ^Archbishop Tache. 

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During the sitting of the convention, the delegates on the 
English side were unfortunately hampered by the limited 
powers invested in them by their constituents, while the 
French, having a free hand, worked unitedly, and in such a 
way as to give Riel more power than he should have had, and 
before the representatives took their departure for home, he 
again brought up the subject of the Provisional Government, 
for the purpose of getting the English pledged to it until 
such time as their delegates to Ottawa could be heard from 
The English, however, before coming to any conclusion on the 
matter deemed it advisable to consult Governor Mactavish, 
and, on a committee, consisting of Messrs. Sutherland and 
Fraser, visiting him for that purpose, he exclaimed on the 
question being put to him, " Form a government for God's 
sake, and restore peace and order in the settlement." But on 
being asked whether he would delegate his authority to an- 
other, he replied, " I am dying, and will not delegate my power 
to anyone," whereupon Riel asked whether Mr. Mactavish de- 
clared himself the Governor, and on being answered in the 
negative, remarked brutally, " It is well he did not, as out of 
this convention I would have formed a council of war, and we 
would have seen the consequences." 

For peace sake, the English at last consented to the forma- 

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tion of the Provisional Government, and the following motion 
was carried: "That the committee previously appointed to 
draw up the List of Rights be re-appointed to discuss, and de- 
cide on the basis and details of the Provisional Government, 
which we have agreed is to be formed for Rupert s Land and 
the North- West Territory." Mr, W. B. O'Donohue took the 
place of Mr. Schmidt, who was absent, and the following was 
the result of the committee's labors : 

Ist. That the council consist of twenty-four members, twelve from the 
English, and twelve from the French-speaking population. 

2nd. Each side decide as to the appointment of its own members of 

3rd. That Mr. James Ross be Judge of the Supreme Court. 

4th. That all the Justices of the Peace, Petty Magistrates, Constables, 
etc., retain their places, with the exception of Mr. Dease, J. P., whose 
place shall be taken by Norbert Laronce. 

5th. That Henry McKenney, Esq., be sheriff, as before. 

6th. That Dr. Bird be coroner, as bofore. 

7tb. That the General Court be held at the same times and places a» 
formerly, and that the Petty Court be held in five districts : Lower Mid- 
dle, Upper, St. Anns, (Point de Chene), and St. Margarets, (Laprairie). 

8th. That Mr. Bannatyne be continued Postmaster. 

9tb. That John Sutherland and Roger Goulet be Collectors of Customs. 

10th. That the President of the Provisional Government be not one of 
the twenty-four members. 

11th. A two-thirds vote to override the veto of President of the Provi- 
sional Government. 

12th. That Mr. Thos. Bunn be Secretary to Provisional Government, and 
Louis Schmidt Under Secretary. 

13th. That Mr. W. B. O'Donohue be Treasurer. 

It will be pbserv^ed that nearly all the persons appointed to 
office were English, but the most important position of all^ 
that of President, had still to be filled, and although it was late 
in the evening when this question came up, the convention 
took it in hand, and a stormy discussion ensued. Riel and his 
friends, however, carried their point, and he was elected. By 

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this time it was midnight, and when the news went out that, 
the Provisional Government was formed, and w^ould be fol- 
lowed immediately by the release of the prisoners, there was 
j^eat rejoicing, bon-fires being lighted, and fireworks set off*,^ 
the latter being the property of Dr. Sehultz, which he had 
imported for the purpose of celebrating the in-coming of 
Hon. Wm. McDougall. 

Governor Mactavish, Dr. Cowan, and Mr. Bannatyne were 
at once released, but Commissioner Smith was detained in the 
fort, practically a prisoner, owing to fears that his influence 
among the settlers might interfere with certain plans, which 
Riel had in view. 

The 11th February, 1870, was the last day of the conven- 
tion, and was taken up in apportioning the settlement for 
election purposes. Riel then stated, as the first act of the 
New Provisional Government, that Dr. Schultz*s property was 
confiscated, and also the ofiice of the Nor' -Wester, most of the 
type belonging to the latter being afterwards, it is said, run 
into bar lead and bullets. 

The following delegates for the mission to Ottawa were 
then appointed : — Judge Black, Rev. M. Richot, and Alfred H. 
Scott, the selection of the latter gentleman being universally 
denounced by the English settlers as soon as it became 

On the 12th, sixteen prisoners were released, namely, Wm. 
Hallett, Charles Gaf rett, Wm. Drever, jr., Jas. Mulligan, Chas. 
Stodgall, T. Franklin Murray, D. U. Campbell, Jas. Stewart, 
A. R. Chisholm, Dr. O'Donnell, Langman H. Werghtman, A 
Wright, and two half-breeds (names unknown), and at the 
same time M. Davis, another prisoner, escaped while the 
others were being liberated. There w^as, however, a good deal 

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of dissatisfaction throughout the English parishes at the non- 
release of the whole of the men confined in Fort Garry, and 
Riel, if he had released them, would not only have strengthen- 
ed his position, but he would have prevented the unfortunate 
occurrences that afterwards took place. A movement was 
now commenced at Portage la Prairie, to raise a body of men 
to liberate the prisoners, and a party numbering between 60 
and 100 came down as far as Headingly, where they camped, 
and after a short stay proceeded to the Lower Settlement. 
On their way they stopped at a house where Riel had been in 
the habit of staying at night, in the hope of capturing him, 
but fortunately for himself, he happened to be absent at the 
time. An effort was then made to raise a force for the pur- 
pose of attacking Fort Garry, which to a certain extent was 
successful, and at once had the effect of gathering the French 
in numbei-s around Riel, and for a time it looked as if the two 
sides of the settlement would go to war with each other. A 
large band of English and Scotch settlers indeed collected in 
Kildonan, and rumors were plentiful as to their proposed 

The rising, however, was ill-timed and unfortunately pro- 
ductive of consequences, which nearly set the whole settlement 
in a blaze. The party at Kildonan, it appears, took a couple 
of men prisoners on suspicion of being RieFs spies, and one of 
these [named Parisian, in his efforts to escape, shot a youn^ 
Scotch settler, the son of Mr. John Sutherland, who after- 
wards became one of the senators from Manitoba. Young 
Sutherland died from his wounds, which only increased the 
bitterness of feeling existing, and Parisian, who was also 
badly wounded by his captors, was kept a prisoner at the 
Stone Fort, and ultimately succumbed to his injuries on being 
removed to his home. 

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In the midst of these troubles, Riel resolved to release the 
prisoners in Fort Garry, and, on their taking an oath to keep 
the peace, all were liberated, which had the effect of tempor- 
arily checking the excitement among the English, until the 
affair of young Sutherland once more created a feeling hostile 
to the French, who on this continued to make preparations to 
receive an attack. Wiser counsels, however, prevailed at last, 
and on the 16th and I7th February, the English party dis- 
persed to their homes. The men from Portage la Prairie, also 
started to return, but, unfortunately, instead of taking a road 
some distance from Fort Garry, they chose one which led 
quite near to it, and, as they were discovered by the French, 
a party rode out to intercept them. The Portage party being 
on foot and in sleds, were at a disadvantage, as compared with 
their opponents, who were on horseback and fully armed, and 
when the Canadians were called upon to surrender, their lead- 
er. Captain Bolton, in order to prevent bloodshed, decided to 
comply. The whole party, numbering forty-eight, were then 
marched to Fort Garry and confined as prisoners, Captain 
Bolton, it is said, being placed in irons. 

The following are the names of the men captured, most, if 
not all, of whom had no idea when they submitted, that they 
would be confined as prisoners of war : — 

Capt. Bolton. 
John McLean. 
Robt. McBain. 
wader Bartlett. 
James McBain. 
Dan Sissons. 
A. Murray. 
Wm. Farmer. 
Lawrence Smith. 
Chas. McDonald. 
John Switzer. 

Geo. Sandison. 
Wm. Paquin. 
J. Dillworth. 
Wm. Dillworth. 
R. Adams. 
M. McLeod. 
Arch. McDonald. 
James Jock. 
Thos. Scott. 
James Sanderson. 
Geo. Wylds. 

Wm. Salter. 
Magnus Brown. 
N. Morrison. 
W. Sutherland. 
Robt. Dennison. 
.Jos. Smith. 
Chas. Millan. 
Thos Baxter. 
John Taylor. 
John McKay. 
Alex. Parker. 

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H. Williams. D. Taylor. Sergeant Powere. 

Alex. McPhersor. A. Taylor. John Ivy. 

W. G. Bird. Geo. Newcombe. G. Parker. 

Alex. McLean. H. Taylor. And two unknown. 

Jos. Paquin. J. B. Morrison. 

Thus, hardly had one set of prisoners been released, when 
their places were filled by others, and the menace to the peace 
of the settlement continued. On the one hand, Riel was too 
dilatory in releasing the first prisoners, and on the other, the 
Portage party, although prompted by a w^orthy desire to res- 
cue their comrades in prison, were ill-advised in the step they 
took, at a time when there was every prospect of a union of 
English and French, for the purpose of ending the diflSculties, 
by treating with Canada. 

The capture of the Portage party now served to keep up 
the excitement in the settlement, especially as rumors began 
to float about that some of the prisoners had been condenmed 
to be shot. A court martial, as Riel termed it, was indeed 
held, and four men had sentence of death passed upon them, 
Captain Bolton being of the number, and when Mr. and Mrs. 
Sutherland (whose son was shot by Parisian) heard this, they 
went and pleaded for their lives. Riel granted the lives of 
three, but Captain Bolton, he declared, would be shot. 

Several prominent residents then interceded for the con- 
demned man, but without success, and the people living in the 
vicinity of Fort Garry felt the most gloomy forebodings of 
what would likely happen should the execution take place. 
Midnight of the 19th February was the hour set for the 
shooting of Bolton, and on the evening of that day groups of 
men were seen conversing (juietly, but gloomily, over the pros- 
pect before the country, should blood once be shed. Numbers 
of the English parishes had expressed a determination not to 

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send members to the Provisional council, and Jud^e Black had 
declined to act as a delegate to Ottawa, so that the hope of 
cementing a union of English and French was not promising. 
Added to this, the rising of the English settlers and the action 
of the Portage party, had exasperated Riel so, that he was not 
in an amiable mood. 

Commissioner Smith, on hearing of Bolton's danger, lost no 
time in seeing Riel, and used every argument to turn him 
from his purpose. He pointed out the impossibility of being 
able to unite the two sides of the settlement, if blood was shed 
in the way Riel contemplated, and at last undertook to go and 
visit the English parishes, and induce them to send members 
to the council, if he would agree to spare Bolton's life. Riel 
finally agreed to do so, and stated further, that on the first 
meeting of the Provisional Government he would release all 
the prisoners. 

There was a deep feeling of relief throughout the settle- 
ment when it became known that Bolton would not be shot, 
and Commissioner Smith, true to his word, visited the English 
parishes, and by his influence and advice prevailed upon them 
to select and send their delegates to Fort Garry, a work in 
which he was assisted by the clergy and other prominent 
men. On the 26th February, the elections were over and the 
English had practically joined under Riel, but still matters 
looked gloomy. Rumors of all sorts were afloat — of Indians 
on the war path — of risings among the settlers, and, added to 
this, periodical raids of the French upon diflerent parts of the 
settlement, for the ostensible purpose of capturing Dr. Schultz, 
whom they declared they would take dead or alive if they 
found him. No word was heard of the delegates leaving for 
Canada. No council was called, and Bishop Tach^, who was 

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daily expected, did not arrive, it being hoped that he would 
influence Riel to adopt a more moderate courae than he was 
doing. Reports were constantly being heard regarding the 
hardships of the prisoners, and the common exclamation was, 
" God knows where all this is going to end ! " Was it a fore- 
runner of the terrible crime which was soon to be perpe- 
trated ? On the 4th March, a deed was committed that struck 
horror into the minds of all classes in the settlement — an act 
of cruelty that can offer no palliation for its committal, and 
one which suddenly plunged the whole community into 
mourning. Nothing transpired to prepare the minds of the 
people for what was going to take place. Rumor, generally 
so ready to make use of her pliant tongue, was in this instance 
silent ; the deed was as sudden as it was horrible. No time 
was given to allow of any steps being taken to prevent it. A 
human being was tried at night, told to prepare for death the 
next morning, and shot at twelve o'clock that day. Oh! shame 
on the spirit that prompted such an act ! 

Commissioner Smith only learned of the contemplated mur- 
der about an hour before it actually took place. We say 
murder, for it is the only word that can express its true char- 
acter. Hurrying to Riel, he reasoned fervently with him, and 
implored him not to stain and burden the cause of his country- 
men and the settlement at large with blood, when everything 
tended to a favorable termination of the difficulties. But 
Riel was obdurate, and the strong appeal made by Mr. Donald 
A. Smith for the life of a fellow Ijeing failed, because the man 
to whom he addressed his words was at the time a madman, 
whom circumstances had placed in a position he was utterly 
unfitted to occupy. 

At twelve o'clock noon, Thomas Scott, blindfolded, was led 

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out, attended by the Rev. Geo. Young, to a spot a few yards 
distant from the postern gate, and, while the clergyman prayed, 
the unfortunate man knelt on the snow. Then a volley was 
fired which did not kill him, when one of the French half- 
breeds shot him through the head, and all was over. The body 
was refused burial outside of the fort, and to this day it is not 
known where the grave of the murdered man is located. 

Thus ended this dreadful tragedy, and with it all hope of a 
sincere union between the French and English ; from that day 
also, Riels power amongst his own people decreased, until at 
last he was left almost alone, and he could not have taken a 
surer step to give his enemies a victory over him, than when 
he committed this vile deed. The feeling of horror at the 
crime was as strong amongst a large portion of the French 
as it was with the English, and it must not be thought that it 
was the desire of the French people that Scott should suffer, 
for such was not the case. One can hardly imagine the degree 
of indignation which swept over the settlement when news of 
the shooting of Scott spread abroad. The feeling, to a great 
extent, was subdued, but not the less strong on that account, 
and if representatives had not been elected by the English to 
attend the council of the Provisional Government, it is doubt- 
ful whether any further steps to join with the French would 
have been taken. 

Commissioner Smith, having now practically brought his 
mission to a successful termination, resolved to return to Can- 
ada, but it was not until the 18th March that he was able to 
get away. He had succeeded, in the first place, in protecting 
his credentials from RieFs clutches, and afterwards in present- 
ing them to a meeting of settlers representing all classes of 
the community. He had then brought about a convention of 

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deleorates from all parts of the settlement who had presented 
their grievances before him, and appointed a delegation, on his 
invitation, to go to Ottawa, and treat direct with the Cana- 
dian Government, and, by his influence, he had induced the 
English and French to work together for the preservation of 
peace until such time as the transfer of the country could be 
effected. He had, in fact, brought the people of Red River 
and Canada together to settle their disputes, and it only re- 
mained for these two to complete a settlement. Wliat more 
was there to be done ? The North-West was virtually saved 
to Canada without the bloodshed and desolation which a civil 
or Indian war would have caused. A delicate and exceedingly 
difficult mission had been fulfilled, and we refer our readers to 
the able report of the Commissioner, which will l)e found in 
the next chapter, for the particulars regarding the many try- 
ing obstacles which he had to overcome before success crowned 
his efforts. 

On the 9th March, the following notice appeared in the New 
Nation, which, by this time, had dropped its annexation sen- 
timents : — 

A meeting of the Council of the Provisional Government of Rupert's 
Land is hereby ordered to be held at Fort Garry, on Wednesday, 9th 

By order of the President, 

Louis Schmidt, 


But as there were very few of the English present, a num- 
ber of them not having seen the notice, the meeting, after 
Kiel had addressed it, adjourned until the 15th. The follow- 
ing notice was then sent out to each of the representatives 
elected : — 

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You aro hereby snmmoned to attend a meeting of the Council 
■of the Provisional Government, to be held at Fort Garry, on Tuesday, 
15th instant, at 10 o'clock a.m. 

By order of the President, 

Thos. Bunn, 

Secretai y. 
Headquarters of Provisional Government, 
Fort Garry, 9th March, 1870. 

In the meantime, Bishop Tach^, who had been expected for 
some time, arrived in the settlement, on the 8th March. He 
had been absent in Rome during all the troubles at Red River, 
and, on hearing of them, had at once placed his services at the 
disposal of the Canadian Government, and undertook a winter 
voyage across the Atlantic to go to Red River. On the 16th 
February, 1870, Hon. Joseph Howe, Secretary of State, ad- 
dressed the following letter to him : — 

Department op Secrktaky of State 

FOR the Provinces, 

February 16th, 1870. 
The Very Reverend the Bishop of St. Boniface : — 

My Lord — I am commanded by His Excellency the Governor-Gen- 
eral to acknowledge and thank you for the promptitude with which you 
placed your services at the disposal of this Government, and undertook a 
winter voyage and journey that you might, by your presence and influ- 
ence, aid in the repression of the unlooked-for disturbances which had 
broken out in the North-West. 

I have the honor to enclose for your information : — 

1 — A copy of the instructions given to the Honorable Wm. McDougall, 
on the 28th September last. 

2 — A copy of a further le'ter of instructions addressed to Mr. Mc- 
Dougall, on the 7th November. 

3 — Copy of a letter of instructions to the Very Reverend Vicar-General 
Thibault, on the 4th December. 

4— Copy of a Proclamation issued by His Excellency the Governor- 
General, addressed to the inhabitants of the North-West Territories, by 
the express desire of the Queen. 

5 — Copy of a letter addressed to the Secretary of State by Donald A. 
Smith, Estj., of Montreal, on 24th November. 

6— Copy of a letter of instructions addressed by me to Mr. Smith, on 
December last. 

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7 — A semi-official letter addressed by the Minister of Justice, on the 
3rd January, 1870, to Mr. Smith. 

8 — Copy of the commission issued to Mr. Smith on 17th January, 1870. 

Copies of the Proclamation issued by Mr. McDougall, at or near Pem- 
bina, and the commission issued to Colonel Dennis, having been print-ed 
in the Canadian papers, and widely circulated at the Red River, are it is 
assumed, quite within your reach, and are not furnished ; but it is im- 
portant that you should know the proceedings by which the lives and 
properties of the people of Rupert's L md were jeopardized for a tiuic\ 
were at once disavowed and condemned by the Government of this Dom- 
inion, as you will readily discover in the despatch addressed by me to Mr. 
McDougall, on the 24th December, a copy of which is enclosed. 

Your Lordship will perceive, in these papers, the policy which it was 
and is the desire of the Canadian Government to establish in the North - 
West. The people of Canada have no interest in the erection of institu- 
tions in Rupert's Land, which public opinion condemns ; nor would they 
wish to see a fine race of people trained to discontent and insubordina- 
tion, by the pressure of an unwise system of government, to which British 
subjects are unaccustomed or averse. They look hopefuUy forward to the 
period when institutions, moulded upon those which the other provinces 
enjoy, may be established, and in the meantime would deeply regret if 
the civil and religious liberties of the whole population were not adeijuate- 
ly protected by such temporary arrangements as it may he i>rudent at 
present to make. 

A convention has ^been called, and is now sitting at Fort Garry, to 
collect the views of the people as to the powers which they may consider 
it wise for parliament to confer, and Local Legislature to assume. When 
the proceedings of that conference have been received by the Pri\'j' 
Council you may expect to hear from me again, and, in the meantime, 
should they be conmmnicated to you on the way, His Excellency will be 
glad to be favored with any observation that you may have leisure to 

You are aware that the Very Reverend the Vicar General Thibault and 
Messrs. Donald A. Smith and Charles de Salaberryare already in Rupert's 
L^nd, charged with a commission from Government. Enclosed are letters 
to those gentlemen, of which you will oblige me by taking charge, and I 
am commanded to express the desire of His ExceUency that you will co- 
operate with them in their well-directed efforts to secure a peaceful solu- 
tion of the difficulties in the North- West Territories, which have caused 
His Excellency much anxiety, but which, by y«)ur joint endeavors, it is 
hoped may be speedily removed. 

I have the honor to be 

Your obedient servant, 

Joseph Howe. 

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On the Sunday following his arrival (13th March, 1870), 
Bishop Tach(^» preached an eloquent sermon, in which he ex- 
pressed his sorrow at the disturbances which had taken place, 
and counselled imited action on the part of Catholics and Pro- 
testants for the common good, as Canada wished only to do 
what was fair for the people of the North- West. 

On the 15th, the Council of the Provisional Government 
held its meeting, the English members being punctual in their 
attendance, and the following motions were carried : — 

Ist. That we, the representatives of the inhabitants of the North- West, 
consider that the Imperial Government, the Hudson^s Bay Company, and 
tlie Canadian Government, in stipulating for the transfer of the govern 
ment to the Dominion Government, without first consulting, or even noti- 
fying, the people of such transfer, have entirely ignored our rights as 
people of the North -West Territory. 

2nd. That notwithstanding the insults and sufferings borne by the 
people of the North-West heretofore ; which sufferings they still endure — 
the loyalty of the people of the North- West towards the Crown of Eng- 
land remains the same, provided the rights, properties, usages and cus- 
toms of the people be respected ; and we feel assuied that as British sub- 
jects such rights, properties, usages and customs will undoubtedly be 

In the meantime. Bishop Tach6 had entered the chamber, 
and, on being introduced to the members of the council, ad- 
dressed them, referring to his trip from Rome, on hearing of 
the troubles, the good intentions of Canada to the people of 
the North- West, and the satisfaction of the Dominion Govern- 
ment at the prospect of meeting their delegates in Ottawa. 
He stated that his mission was one of good-will to the people 
of Red River, and alluded to the actions of the Canadian oflS- 
cials while at Pembina, quoting from a speech made in the 
Canadian Parliament by Mr. How^e, to shew that the course 
pursued by Mr. McDougall was condemned by the Dominion 
authoritiea At the close of his speech. His Lordship asked 

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for the release of half the prisoners, but why the whole num- 
ber was Hot included in the request does not appear, as Riel 
had given a solemn promise to Commissioner Smith that all 
the men confineil in Fort Gany would be liberated immedi- 
ately after the first meeting of the council. The next day, 
liowever, seventeen were set at liberty, and affairs in the set- 
tlement began to quiet down. The New Nation now fell 
under the displeasure of Riel, and Major Robinson, probably 
finding that his annexation principles were not popular, re- 
tired from the management of the paper. Oscar Malmoras, 
the United States consul at Winnipeg, left about the same 
time for American territory, and shortly after his departure, 
some rather compromising letters of his, which he had written 
during the troubles, appeared in print, which would have 
made his stay in the settlement rather unpleasant, and no 
doubt hastened his going away. Mr. Thomas Spence, of In- 
dian memorial fame, and ex-president of the republic of Por- 
tage la Prairie, now undertook the editorship of the Ntw 
Nation, BJiA from that time " Annexation " never darkened its 
pages. Colonel Rankin, who arrived in the settlement on the 
5th March, next appears on the scene as the promoter of a 
railway scheme, and was busy going about the settlement 
with a petition addressed to the Dominion Government, ask- 
ing a grant of land for the purpose, when Riel pounced upon 
him, and gave him six hours notice to quit the country. 

Everything tended toward a peaceful solution of the diffi- 
culties, but only two of the delegates on the Ottawa mission 
had consented to go, namely, Rev. PSre Richot, and Alfred H. 
Scott, and as they did not represent the voice of the whole 
people of Red River, it was most important that Judge Black 
should be prevailed upon to accompany them. On the 16th 

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March, therefore, Commissioner Smith went to see him, and, 
as a result of this visit, Judge Black consented to go as repre- 
sentative of the English-speaking population, a decision which 
was hailed with pleasure by the settlers. 

On the 18th March, Commissioner Smith left Fort Garry 
on his return to Canada, and on the 23rd, the two delegates. 
Rev. Pfere Richot and Alfred H. Scott, took their departure 
for Ottawa, followed the next day by Judge Black, who was 
accompanied by Captain Bolton, the latter gentleman having 
been liberated from prison on the 16th. Each day now saw 
several of the prisoners released, until all were at libeiiy, and 
so far Riel kept his promise given to Commissioner Smith. 

The following is the commission and letter of instructions 

handed to the delegates : 

Government HorsE, 

Winnipeg, Assiniboia. 


Sir — The President of the Provisional Government of Assiniboia, 
(formerly Rupert's L »^id and the North-West), in council, do hereby au- 
thorize and delegate you to proceed to the City of Ottawa, and lay before 
the Dominion Government the accompanying list of propositions and con- 
ditions as the terms upon which the people of Assiniboia will consent to 
enter into Confederation with the other provinces of the Dominion. You 
will also herewith receive a letter of instructions, which will be your 
guide in the execution of this commission. 

Signed this twenty-second day of March, in the year of our Lord on© 
thousand eight hundred and seventy . 

By order, 

Thomas Bunn, 

Secretary of State. 


Sir— Enclosed with this letter you will receive your commission and 
also a copy of the conditions and terms upon which the people of this 
country will consent to enter into the Confederation of Canada. You 
will please proceed with convenient speed to the City of Ottawa, Canada, 
and on arriving there you will, in company with the other delegates, put 
yourself immediateiy in communication with the Dominion Government^ 
on the subject of your commission. You will please observe that with 

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regard to the articles uumbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 15, 17, 10, and 20, you 
are left at liberty, in concert with your fellow commissioners, to exercise 
your discretion ; but bear in mind, that as you carry with you the full 
confidence of this people, it is expected that in the exercise of this 
liberty, you will do your utmost to secure their rights and privileges 
which have hitherto been ignored. 

With reference to the remaining articles, I am directed to inform you 
that they sre perempt.ory. I have further to inform you that you are not 
empowered to conclude finally any arrangements with the Canadian Gov- 
ernment, but that any negotiations entered into between you and the said 
government must first have the approval of and be ratified by the Pro- 
visional Governmeiit, before As8inilK>ia will become a province of Con- 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

Thos. Bunn, 

Secrttary of State. 

The following is the List of Rights, in the form handed to 
the delegates. 

1st. That the Territories, heretofore known as Rupert's Land and 
North- West, shall not enter into Confederation of the Dominion, except 
as a province, to be styled and known as the Provii^ce of Assitiboia, and 
with all the rights and privileges common to the different provinces of 
the Dominion. 

2nd. That we have two representatives in the Senate, and four in the 
House of Commons of Canada, until such time as an increase of {)opula- 
tion entitles the province to a greater representation. 

3rd. That the Province of Assiniboia shall not be held liable, at any 
time, for any portion of the public debt of the Dominion, contracted be- 
fore the date the said province shall have entered the Confederation un- 
less the said province shall have first received from the Dominion the full 
amount for which the said province is to be held liable. 

4th. That the sum of eighty thousand dollars be paid annually by the 
Dominion Government, to the Local Legislature of this province. 

5th. That all properties, rights and privileges enjoyed by the people of 
this province, up to the date of our entering into the Confederation, be 
respected, and that the arrangement and confirmation of all customs, 
usages and privileges be left exclusively to the Local Legislature. 

6th. That during the term of five years the Province of Assiniboia shall 
not be subjected to any direct taxation, except such as may be imposed 
by the Local Legislature for municipal or local puri)o8es. 

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ft ' - ' 

* • ' \ r 

,, . f 


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Hon Joseph Howe. 

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7th. That a sum of money, equal to eighty cents per head of the popu- 
lation of this province, be jiaid annually by the Canadian Government to 
the Local Legislature of the said province, until such time as the said 
population shall have increased to six hundred thousand. 

8th. That the Local Legislature shall have the right to determine the 
qualifications of members to represent this province in the Parliament of 
Canada and in the Local Legislature. 

9th. That in this province, with the exception of uncivilized and unset- 
tled Indians, every male native citizen who has attained the age of 
twenty-one years ; and every foreigner, being a British subject, who has 
attained the same, and has resided three years in the province, and is a 
householder ; and every foreigner other than a British subject, who has 
resided here during the same period, being a hou.seholder, and having 
taken the oath of allegiance, shall be entitled to vote at the election of 
members for the Local Legislature and for the Cana lian Parliament. It 
being understood that this article be subject to amendment, exclusively 
by the Local Legislature. 

10th. That the bargain of the Hudson's Bay Company, in the respect to 
the ti-ansfor of the government of this country to the Dominion of Canada, 
be annulled so far as it interferes with the rights of the people of Assini- 
boia. and so far as it would affect our future relations with Canada. 

11th. That the Local Legislature of the Province of Assiniboia shall 
have full control over all the public lands of the province, and the right to 
annul all act« or arrangements made or entered into with reference to the 
public lands of Rupert's Land and the North- West, now called the Pro- 
vince of Assiniboia. 

12th . That the Government of Canada appoint a Commissioner of En- 
gineers to explore the various districts of the Province of Assiniboia, and 
to lay before the Local Legislature a report of the mineral wealth of the 
province, within five years from the date of our entering into Con- 

13th. That treaties be concluded between Canada and the different In- 
dian tribes of the Province of Assiniboia, by and with the advice and co- 
operation of the Ijocal Legislature of this province. 

14th. That an uninterrupted steam communication from Lake Superior 
to Fort Garry be guaranteed to be completed within the space of five 

15th. That all public buildings, bridges, roads, and other public works 
be at the cost of the Dominion Treasury. 

16th. That the English and French languages be common in the Legis- 
lature, and in the Courts, and that all public documents as well as Acts of 
the Legislature, be published in both languages. 

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17th. That whereas the French and English -Breaking people of Assini- 
boia are so equally divided as to numbers yet so united in their interests, 
and so connected by commerce, family connections, and other political and 
social relations, that it has happily been found impossible to bring them 
into hostile collision, although repeated attempts have bevn made by de- 
signing strangers for reasons known to themselves to bring about so ruin- 
ous and disastrous an event. 

And whereas, after all the troubles and apparent dissensions of the past, 
the result of misunderstanding amoni;; themselves they have, as soon aa 
the evil agencies referred to above were removed, become as united and 
friendly as ever ; therefore, as a means to strengthen this union and friend- 
ly feeling among all classes we deem it expedient and advisable : 

That the Lieutenant-Governor who may be appointed for the Province 
of Assiniboia should be familiar with both the French and English lan- 

18th. That the Judges of the Superior Court speak the English and 
French languages. 

19th. That all debts contracted by the Provisional Government of the 
Territory of the North- West, now called Assiniboia, in consequence of the 
illegal and inconsiderate measures adopted by Canadian officials to bring 
about a civil war in our midst, be paid out of the Dominion Treasury, and 
that none of the members of the Provisional Government or any ot those 
acting under them be in any way held liable or responsible with regard to 
the movement, or any of the actions which led to the i)resent negotiations. 

20th. That in view of the present exceptional position of Assiniboia 
duties upon goods imported into the province shall, except in the case of 
spirituous liquors, continue as at present for at least three years from the 
date of our entering the Confederation, and for such further time as may- 
elapse, until there be uninterrupted railroad communication between 
Winnipeg and St. Paul, and also steam communication between Winnipeg^ 
and Lake Superior. 

The delegates, having taken their departure, for Ottawa, 
the council of the Provisional Government ended their first 
session on the 26th March, and adjourned until the 26th 
April, and the following were some of the principal resolu- 
tions adopted : 

1st, Tliat we, the people of Assiniboia, without disregard to the Crown 
of England, under whose authority we live, have deemed it necessary for 
the protection of life and property, and the securing of those rights and 

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privileges which we are entitled to enjoy as British subjects, and which 
rights »nd privileges we have seen in danger, to form a Provisional Gov- 
ernment, which is the only acting authority in this country ; and we do 
hereby ordain and establish the following constitution : — 

2nd. That the country hitherto known as Rupert's Land and the North 
West, be henceforth known and styled ** Assiniboia." 

3rd. That our assembly of representatives be henceforth styled *'The^ 
Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia." 

4th . That all legislative authority be vested in a l^resident and Legis- 
lative Assembly, composed of members elected by the people ; and that 
at any future time another house called a Senate shall be established, when 
deemed necessary, by the President and the Legislature. 

6th. That the only qualification necessary for a member of the Legisla- 
tive Assembly be, that he shall have attained the age of twenty- three 
years ; that he shall have been a resident of Assiniboia for a term of at 
least ^Ye years ; that he shall be a householder, and have ratable pro- 
perty to the amount of £200 sterling, and that, if an alien, he shall have 
first taken the oath of allegiance. 

Riel then took the following oath as President : — " I, Louis 
Kiel, do hereby solemnly swear that I will faithfully fulfil, to 
the best of my ability, my duties as President of the Provis- 
ional Government, proclaimed on the 24th November, 1869, 
and also all the duties which may become connected with the 
oflSce of President of the Provisional Government of Assini- 
boia, as they may hereafter be defined by the voice of the 

The effect of closing the stores of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany at Fort Garry was now being felt by the whole settle- 
ment, and business was more or less paralyzed by it. There 
was little money in circulation, and only a limited market for 
the produce of the settlers, who were much inconvenienced by 
the general stagnation of affairs. Negotiations were there- 
fore opened for a resumption of business by the company, 
and the following letter was addressed by Riel to Governor 
Mactavish : — 

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To William Mactavish, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in the 
North- West :— 

Sir— In reference to our interviews regarding the afiairs of the Hud- 
son's Bay Coniimny in this country, I have the honor to assure you that 
my grwit desire is to open, as soon as possible, in the interests of the peo- 
ple, free and undisturbed, the commerce of th-a country. 

The people, in mllying themselves to the Provisional Government with 
unanimity, prescribe to each of us our respective conduct. 

The Provisional (Tovemment, established upon the principle of justice 
and reason, will fulfil its work. 

By the action of the Hudson's Bay Company, its commercial interests 
may be s ived to a certain extent, but th it is entirely for your considera • 
tion, and depends upon the company itself. T have had the honor to tell 
you that arrangements were possible, and the following are the con- 
ditions : — 

Ist. That the whole of the company in the North-West shall recognize 
the Provisional Government. 

2nd. That you, in the name of the Hudson's Bay Company, do agree 
to loan the Provisional Government the sum of three thousand pounds 

3rd. That o i demand, by the Provisional Government, in case arrange- 
ments with Canada should be opposed, you do guarantee a supplement of 
two thousand pounds sterling to the above-mentioned sum. 

4th. That there shall be granted by the- Hudson's Bay Company, for 
the support of the present military force, goods and provisions to the value 
of four thousand pounds sterling, at current prices. 

5th. That the Hudson's Bay Company do immediately put into circu- 
lation their bills. 

Gth. That the Provisional Government shall also retain an additional 
specified quantity of goods in the store of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

In accepting the above conditions, the Hudson's Bay Company will be 
allowed to rasuin3 its business under the protection of the Provisional 

Fort Garry will be open ; but, in the meanwhile, it being the seat of 
government, a small guard of fifty men will be retained. 

Only the buildings at present occupied by the government will be re- 
served for government purposes. 

Such, Sir, are the conditions which the situation imposes upon us. 
I have a duty to perform from which I shall not retreat. I am aware 
that you fully possess the knowledge of your duty, and I trust that your 
decision will be favorable. 

Allow me here to express my deep feeling of sympathy for you in your 

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continued illness, and to sincerely trust that your health may be speedily 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant. 

Louis Ribl, 

Government House, Fort Garry. 
March 28th, 1870. 

An agreement was arrived at on the 2nd April, between 
Governor Mactavish and Riel, and terms agreed upon by which 
the keys of the several warehouses in Fort Garry were hand- 
ed over to the company, who, however, only opened their 
stores for business on the 27th, as it required the intermediate 
time to regulate their affairs after the shock they had sustain- 
ed. On the 9th April, the company granted bills of exchange 
on London, but the supply of notes for the purposes of cur- 
rency being small, they afterwards issued a number, printed 
on a very inferior quality of paper, the following being the 
wording : — 

No. One Pound Sterling. No 

On demand, I promise to pay the bearer, at Fort Garry, the sum of 
One Pound Sterling, in a Bill of Exchange on the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, London. 
Dated at Fort Garry, this day of 1870. 

J. II. Mactavish. 
For Hudson's Bay Company. 

Thus business affairs in the settlement began to move more 
satisfactorily than they had done for many months, and, with 
the exception of a few unimportant incidents, the feeling 
among the people generally quieted down. 

Early in April, Kiel had issued, in printed form, the follow- 
ing proclamations. 

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Government House, 

Fort Garry, April 7th, 3870. 
To the inhabitants of the North and the North- West. 

Fellow-Countrymbn— You are aware, doubtless, both of the series of 
events which have taken place at Red River, and become accomplished 
facts, and of the causes which have brought them about. 

You know how we stopped and conducted back to the frontier a Gover- 
nor whom Canada — an English colony like ourselves — iynoring our aspi- 
rations, and our existence as a people, forgetting the rights of nations, 
and our rights as British subjects — sought to impose upon us without 
consulting or even notifying us. 

You know also, that having been abandoned by our own government, 
which had sold its title to this country, we saw the necessity of meeting 
in council and recognizing the authority of a Provisional Government, 
which was proclaimed on the 8th December, 1869. 

After many difficulties raised against it by the partisans of Canada, and 
the Hudson's Bay Company, this ^'rovi8ional Government is to-day master 
of the situation— because the whole people of the colony have felt the 
necessity of union and concord— because we have always professed our 
nationality as British subjects, and because our army, though small, has 
always sufficed to hold high ihe noble standard of liberty and of country. 

Not only has the Provisional Govenmient succeeded in restoring order 
and pacifying the country, but it has inaugurated very advantageous 
negotiations with the Canadian Government, and with the Hudson's Bay 
Com{)any. You will be duly informed of the results of these negotia- 

People of the North and of the North- West I You have not been strang- 
ers either to the cause for which we have fought or to our affections. Dis- 
tance not indifference lias separated us. 

Your brethren at Red River, in working out the mission which God 
assigned them, feel that they are not acting for themselves alone, and 
that if their position has given them the glory of triutiiph, the victory 
will be valued only in so far as you share their joy and their liberty. 
The winning of their rights will possess value in their eyes only if you 
claim those rights with them. 

^N'e possess to-day, without partition, almost the half of a continent. 
The expulsion or aimihilation of the invaders has rendered our land natal 
to its children scattered throughout this vast and rich country, but 
united to a man— what matters distance to us since we are all brethren, 
and are acting for the common good ! 

Recognized by all classes of the people, the government reposes upon 
the good will and union of the inhabitants. 

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Its duty in officially informing you of the political changes efiected 
among us, is to reassure you for the future. Its hope is that the people 
of the North will show themselves worthy of their brethren in Red 

Still the government fears that from a misapprehension of its views^ 
the people of the North and of the North- West, influenced by evil-in- 
teutioned strangers may commit excesses fitted to compromise the public 
safety. Hence it is that the President of the Provisional Government 
deems it his duty to urge upon all those who desire the public good, and 
the prosperity of their country, to make the fact known and understood by 
all those half-breeds or Indians who might wish to take advantage of this 
so-called time of disorder to foment trouble, that the true state of public 
affairs is order and peace. 

The government established on justice and reason will never permit 
disorder, and those who are guilty of it shall not go unpunished. It 
must not be that a few mischievous individuals should compromise the 
interests of the whole people. 

People of the North and of the North-West ! This message is a mes- 
sage of peace. War has long enough threatened the colony. Long 
enough have we been in arms to protect the country and restore order, 
disturbed by evil-doers and scoundrels. 

Our country, so happily surrounded by Providence with natural and 
almost insuperable barriers, invites us to unite. 

After the crisis through which we have passed, all feel more than over 
that they seek the same interests — that they aspire to the same rights — 
that they are members of the same family. 

We hope that you also will feel the need of rallying round the Provis- 
ional Government to support and sustain it in its work. 

By order of the President, 

Louis Schmidt, 

Asst, 8ee*y of iState. 

The above proclamation was widely circulated among the 
half-breed traders and hunters, and Indian tribes throughout 
the interior, and on the 9th, Riel issued the following to the 
people of Red River : — 



Let the Assembly of twenty-eight representatives, which met on the 
^h March, be dear to the people of Red River I That assembly has 

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shown itself worthy of great confidence. It has worked in union. The 
members devoted themselves to the public interests, and yielded only to 
sentiments of good- will, duty and generosity. Thanks to that noble con- 
duct, public authority is now strong. That strength will be employed to 
sustain and protect the people of the country. 

To-day the Government pardons all those whom political differences led 
astray only for a time. Amnesty will be generously accorded to all those 
who will submit to the Government ; who will discountenance or inform 
against dangerous gatherings. 

From this day forth, the public highways are open. 

The Hudson's Bay Comjmny can now resume business. Themselves 
contributing to the public j^ood, they circulate their money as of old. 
They pledge themselves to that course. 

The attention of the Government is also directed very specially to the 
northern part of the country, in order that trade there may not receive 
any serious check, and peace in the Indian districts may thereby be all 
the more securely maintained. 

The disastrous war, which at one time threatened us, has left among us 
fears and various deplorable results. But let the people feel reassured. 

Elevated by the grace of Providence, and the suffi^ages of my fellow- 
citizens to the highest position in the government of my country, I pro- 
claim that peace reigns in our midst this day. The Government will take 
every precaution to prevent this peace from being disturbed. 

While internally all is thus returning to order, externally also matters 
are looking favorable. Canada invites the Red River people to an amic- 
able arrangement. 8he offers to guarantee us our rights, and to give us 
a place in the Confederation equal to that of any other province. 

Identified with the Provisional Government, our national will, based 
upon justice, shall be respected. 

Happy country, to have escaped many misfortunes that were prepared 
for her ! In seeing her children on the point of war, she recollects the 
old friendships which used to bind them, and by the ties of the same 
l>atriotism, she has re-united them again for the sake of preserving their 
lives, their liberties, and their happiness. 

Let us remain united, and we shall be happy. With strength of unity 
we shall retain prosperity. 

O my fellow-countrymen, without distinction of language, or without 
distinction of creed — keep my words in your heart ! If .ever the time 
should unhappily come, when another division should take place amongst 
us, such as foreigners heretofore sought to create, that will be the signal 
for all the disasters which we have had the happiness to avoid. 

In order to prevent similar calamities, the Government will treat with 
all the severity of the la\i those who will dare again to compromise the 

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public security. It is ready to act against the disorder of parties, as 
well as against that of individuals. But let us hope rather that extreme 
measures will be unknown, and that the lessons of the past will guide 
us in the future. 

Louis Riel. 
Government House, 
Fort Garry, April 9th, 1870. 

On the 20th April, Riel ordered the Union Jack to be hoist- 
ed at Fort Garry in place of the emblem of the Provisional 
Government. When Commissioner Smith addressed the mass 
meeting on the 19th January, one of the first things he called 
attention to was the floating of the flag (Fleur-de-lis and 
Shamrock) over his head, and asked that it be taken down. 
There was strenuous objection at the time by Riel and his fol- 
lowers, and not wishing to cause any interruption to the meet- 
ing, the Commissioner simply entered his protest. But a 
change had now come over the spirit of the President, and 
no doubt thinking that his loyalty should be made apparent 
to the eyes of the people, he had the British flag hoisted. 
O'Douohue however and a few of his immediate followers 
hauled down the Union Jack, and ran up the Fleur-de-lis 
and Shamrock in its stead. This caused a row between the 
two leaders, the result being, that Riel won the day, and then 
as if to please 0*Donohue, he sent and had the pole taken from 
Schultz's premises, and erected in front of Government house, 
and there the Provisional flag was displayed while the British 
emblem floated from the centre stafl* of Fort Garry. 

The second session of the Provisional Government ended on 
the 9th May, after passing a number of laws, a synopsis of 
which will be found in the Appendix to this volume. 

On the 17th May, the steamboat International started on 
her second trip up the Red River, and on board were Gov- 
ernor Mactavish and his family, on their way to England, in 

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the hope that his health might be restored by a change of 
climate. A number of people went to the landing^, to see them 
off, and a short time before the hour of starting the Governor 
drove down to the bank of the river, and there alighted, being 
assisted by Mr. Hargrave, his Secretary, and Mr. J. H. Mc- 
Tavish, the accountant of the Fort. All were shocked at the 
feeble appearance of the good old man, reduced as he was 
almost to a skeleton. Resting on his walking stick, he totter- 
ed slowly toward the steamer, every now and again casting 
his eyes around as if bidding farewell to the scenes of so many 
years of labor. All were deeply touched at the sight, and it was 
not many days until they were called upon to mourn his loss, 
for Governor Mactavish only lived two days after his arrival 
in Liverpool. 

On the 17th June, Rev. Mr. Richot, one of the delegates 
from Ottawa, arrived at Fort Garry, and on the 24th met a 
special session of the Legislative Assembly of the Provisional 
GoveiTiment, and on presenting the Manitoba Act, as passed by 
the Parliament of Canada, it was formally accepted by the re- 
presentatives on behalf of the people of Red River. 

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On the 8th July, Mr. Alfred H. Scott returned to the settle- 
ment, but no notice was taken of his arrival, further than a 
short paragraph in the hew h'ation, announcing the fact. 
Judge Black did not return to Red River, and Dr. Cowan, who 
was the H. B. officer in charge of Fort Garry during the 
troubles, took his departure for Scotland, on the 31st of May, 
via York Factory. 

Matters now progressed without excitement, and the French 
half-breeds returning to their homes and usual avocations, 
Riel and a few of his immediate followers were left almost 
alone at Fort Garry. 

On the 20th July, Captain Butler arrived in the settlement, 
being the bearer of the following Proclamation, the printing 
and circulation of which was superintended by Riel : — 

To THB Loyal Inhabitants of Manitoba : — 

Her Majesty's Government, having determined upon stationing some 
troops amongst you, I have been instructed by the Lieutenant-General < 
commanding in British North America, to proceed to Fort Garry with the 
force under my- command. 

Our mission is one of peace, and the sole object of the expedition is to 
secure Her Majesty's Sovereign authority. 

Courts of Law, such hs are common to every portion of Her Majesty's 
Empire, will be duly established and justice will be impartially adminis- 
tered to all races and to all classes— the loyal Indians or half-breeds being 
as dear to our Queen as any others of Her loyal subjects. 

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The force which I have the honor of commanding will enter your pro- 
vince, representing no party, either in religion or pjolitics, and will afford 
equal protection to the lives and property of all races and of all creeds. 

The strictest order and discipline will be maintained, and private pro- 
perty will be carefully respected. All supplies furnished by the inhabit- 
ants to the troops, will be duly paid for. Should any one consider him- 
self injured by any individual attached to the force, his grievances shall 
be promptly inquired into. 

All loyal people are earnestly invited to aid me in carrying out the 
above mentioned objects. 

E. J. WotSKLKY, 

Colonel Commaiuiing Red Biver Force. 

Lieutenant-General Lindsay, however, wished to alter the 
above, but his letter did not arrive till after the document was 
issued. The following is the Generals letter on the subject. 

Clifton House, Clifton, 

July 11th, 1870. 
My Lord — Colonel Wolseley, commanding the expeditionary force en 
route to Fort Garry, had transmitted to you a Military Proclamation ad- 
dressed to the inhabitants of Manitoba, which will be forwarde J to you via 

I have the honor to retjuest that before issuing it you will have the 
goodness to erase the imragraph in which the English translation com- 
mences with the words, ** Courts of Law," — and terminates with those of 
** Her loyal subjects," — legal affairs being altogether within the functions 
of the civil authorities. 

I have the honor to be. 

Your Lordship's obedient servant, 

Jas. Lindsay, 

Commandhig H.M. Forces in British North America. 
Right Rev. Bishop Tache, 
Fort Garry. 

The issuing of the Proclamation by Riel, was done, it ap- 
pears, without consulting Mr. W. B. O'Donohue, whose Fenian- 
American proclivities were not in sympathy wnth the near 
approach of British rule in the country, so he indited the fol- 
lowing characteristic letter to the Neiv Nation : — 

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Editor New Nation :— 

Sir — Having noticed the tranquillity of affairs considerably disturbed 
for the past two days, would it be amiss to enquire into the cause. We 
have remarked, immediately after the landing of the Intemitional 
(steamer) guards flying in all directions, and found out, on enquiry, that 
some mysterious person (Captain Butler), a passenger thereon, had made a 
leap from the boat as al^ turned the point to enter the Assiniboia. Now, 
who can this bold, daring adventurer be '/ Are we always to be disturbed 
by foreigners making their way into this country in disguise. 

Again, this momina: the curiosity of the public was aroused by a Pro- 
clamation supposed to be from Colonel VV(»lseley, to the ** loyal inhabit- 
ants of Manitoba," the issuing of which from your office this morning, 
explains the curiosity we h%d about your office being lighted up all last 
night, and the presence of President Riel there, superintending the work. 
Many people seem to doubt the authenticity of this Proclamation and 
want to know if certified to by any person, but this is impossible, as it 
came by mail. We are afraid the whole thing is another Colonel Dennis 

Please answer the queries and oblige the public. 


A Subscriber. 

The following note to the editor was attached to the above 
document: "As you have not required correspondents' names, 
it is not necessary to have the writer's ; let the President come 

out with the explanation. 

" Yours, 

" O'D." 

This was about the last attempt made by W. B. O'Donohue 
to stir up trouble in the settlement during the days of the 
Provisional Government. 

And now, as a fitting termination of this period in the His- 
tory of the North-West, we will ask our readers to carefully 
peruse the following able and faithful report of Special Com- 
missioner Smith, w^hich will give them a much clearer idea 
than anything we could write of the difficulties he had to en- 
counter in bringing about the accomplishment of his most im- 

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portant mission, the successful fulfilment of which secured 
the transfer of the North-West to Canada, not only without 
bloodshed, but also with the concurrence and friendly feeling 
of the whole people. 

"Ottawa, 12th April, 1870. 
" The Hon. Joseph Howe : — 

" Secretary of State for the Provinces, 
'* Ottawa. 

" Sir — In pursuance of the commission confided to me by 
His Excellency the Governor General, in relation to the affaii's 
of the North-West Territories, I addressed you from time to 
time during my residence within Fort Garry, a correspondence 
carried on under very unfavorable circumstances, as will ap- 
pear from the report I have now the honor to submit. 

" Leaving Ottawa on the 13th December last, I reached St. 
Cloud, the terminus of railway communication, on the 17th, 
continuing on the same day by stage, and arriving at Aber- 
crombie on the evening of the 19th. Here we had to abandon 
wheeled carriages, and procuring a sleigh, after a couple of 
hours rest, we resumed the journey, and on the afternoon of 
the 21st met Hon. Mr. McDougall and pai-ty, about thirty 
miles beyond Georgetown. From him I learned how serious 
the aspect of affairs had latterly become at Red River ; and 
pushing on, we got to Pembina about 11 p.m. of the 24th, 
and to Fort Garry on the 27 th. 

" The gate of the fort we found open, but guarded by several 
armed men who, on my desiring to be shown to Governor 
Mactavish s house, requested me to wait till they could com- 
municate with their chief. In a short time Mr. Louis Riel 
appeared. I announced my name ; he said he had heard of 
my arrival at Pembina, and was about to send off a party to 

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bring me in. I then accompanied him to a room occupied by 
ten or a dozen men, whom he introduced to me as members of 
the " Provisional Government." He requested to know the 
purport of my visit, to which I replied in substance, that I 
was connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, but also held 
a commission from the Canadian Government to the people of 
Red River, and would be prepared to show my credentials so 
soon as they, the people, were willing to receive me. I was 
then asked to take an oath not to attempt to leave the fort 
that night, nor to upset their government, legally established. 
This request I peremptorily refused to comply with, but said 
that, being very tired, I had no desire to go outside the gate 
that night, and promised to take no immediate steps forcibly 
to upset the so-called "Provisional Government," "legal or 
illegal, as it might be, without first announcing my intention 
to do so," Mr. Riel taking exception to the word illegal, while 
I insisted on retaining it. Mr. O'Donohue, to get over the 
difficulty, remarked : " That is as he," (meaning myself,) " un- 
derstands it," to which I replied, " Precisely so." The above 
explanation I am the more particular in giving, as it has been 
reported that I at once acknowledged the Provisional Govern- 
ment to be legal. Neither then nor afterwards did I do so. 

" I took up my quarters in one of the houses occupied by the 
Hudson's Bay Company's oflScers, and from that date until to- 
wards the close of February, was virtually a prisoner within 
the fort, although with pennission to go outside the walls, for 
exercise, accompanied by two armed guards, a privilege of 
which I never availed myself. 

" All my oflScial papers had been left in charge of Mr. Pro- 
vencher, at Pembina, as I had been warned that, if found in 
my possession, they would unquestionably be seized, as were 

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those brought into the settlement shortly after by the Rev. 
Mr. Thibault and Colonel de Salaberry. 

" The state of matters at this time, in and around Fort Gairy, 
was most unsatisfactory, and truly humiliating. Upwaixis of 
sixty British subjects were held in close confinement as " poli- 
tical prisoner's ; " security for persons or property, there was 
none; the fort, with its large supplies of ammunition, pro- 
visions, and stores of all kinds, was in the possession of a few 
hundred French half-breeds, whose leaders had declared their 
determination to use every effort for the purpose of annexing 
the Territory to the United States ; and the Governor and 
Council of Assiniboia were powerless^ to enforce the law. 

" On the 6th January, I saw Mr. Riel, and soon came to the 
conclusion that no good could arise from entering into any 
negotiations with his " Council," even were we to admit their 
authority, which I was not prepared to do. We learnt that 
on the 13th, the Grand- Vicar Thibault and Colonel de Sala- 
berry appeared before the " President and Council of the 
People," when some explanations and compliments were ex- 
changed, after which the Very Rev. gentleman and his associ- 
ate were politely bowed out and lost sight of. 

*' Meantime we had frequent visits in the Fort from some of 
the most influential and most reliable men in the settlement, 
who gladly made known to the people generally the liberal 
intentions of the Canadian Government, and, in consequence, 
one after another of Riel's councillors seceded from him, and 
being joined by their friends, and by many of their compariots 
and co-religionists, who had throughout held aloof from the 
insurgents, they determined no longer to submit to his dicta- 
tion. This change evidently had a marked effect on Riel, 
causing him to alter his tactics and to profess a desire for an 

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accommodation with Canada ; accordingly, on the 14th Janu- 
ary, he called on me, informed me that he had seen Messrs. 
Thibault and De Salaberry, whose instructions did not author- 
ize them to give assurances that the people would be secured 
in possession of their rights on entering into the Confedera- 
tion, their errand being merely *to calm the French half- 
breeds.' He then asked to see my Commission, and on my 
explaining that, owing entirely to the action taken by him- 
self, it was not in my possession, in an excited, yet falter- 
ing manner he said, 'Yes I know, 'tis a great pity, but how 
soon could you have it?' 'Probably in five or six days,' I 
replied. ' That is too long, far too long,' he responded, and 
then asked where the documents were deposited, requesting 
at the same time, a written order for their delivery to his 
messenger. To this I would not accede, but on his assuring 
me that they would be delivered into my hands, and that I 
should be afforded an opportunity of communicating their 
contents to the people, I consented to send a friend for them. 
It was 80 decided, and immediately after the messenger had 
received his instructions from me, I was placed under strict 
aiTCst, a captain's guard being assigned me, whose instruc- 
tions were, not to lose sight of me for one moment day or 
night, and to prevent me from communicating either verbally 
or in writing with any individual. I protested, saying, 'Am 
I to consider myself a prisoner ? ' He replied, 'Certainly not, 
I have the utmost confidence in your honor, but circumstances 
demand this.' 

" It was now about 10 o'clock and my messenger having 
been marched out, I retired to bed, but only to be awakened 
'twixt two and three o'clock in the morning of the 15th, by 
Mr. Riel, who, with a guard, stood by the bedside and again 


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demanded a written order for the delivery of my Official 
Papers, which I again peremptorily refused to give. 

" The well-affected French party became aware of what had 
happened, and, not believing in Riels good faith, determined 
to prevent the papers from falling into his hands. They got 
together some sixty or eighty men, who met my friend on his 
way back and were escorting him, when on the 18th, about 
ten miles from the Fort, they were accosted by Riel and some 
of his party, and by the Rev. Mr. Ritchot. An altercation 
took place, Riel attempted to use his pistol, saying, *He 
would not be taken alive in his own country,' on which a re- 
volver was levelled at his head, and Mr. Richot, having inter- 
posed, he was unceremoniously told to stand aside and *not to 
interfere any further with matters unconnected with his 
spiritual duties.' It may be well to note that all those who 
took part in this affair were Catholics, and, with one or two 
exceptions, French half-breeds. Nothing more serious hap- 
pened at this time, and the party proceeded together to Fort 
Garry, where they arrived in the forenoon. A few minutes 
before they entered the house, the Very Rev. Mr. Thibault, 
P^re Lestanc and Colonel De Salaberry, called upon me and, 
with the exception of my guard, they were the firat indi- 
viduals with whom I was permitted to converse since the 
14th. They appeared to be much concerned, and said it was 
currently reported I had been endeavoring to incite the dif- 
ferent parties to hostile collisions. I repudiated any such 
charge, explaining that I had acted only in the cause of peace 
and order, and with the desire of making the people, both 
French and English, fully acquainted with the liberal views of 
the Canadian Government, so that a peaceful transfer of the 
territory might be effected, adding that I was pleased to think 

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there \va« now every likelihood this would speedily be accom- 
plished. In the meantime, the party in possession of my 
papers entered the adjoining room, in which Pere Lestanc 
joined them, while Messrs. Thibault and De Salaberry went 
outside. Immediately after they retired, Mr. Riel came to me, 
saying : — * Your Commission is here ; but in the hands of men 
who had no right to have it.' I expressed satisfaction that it 
had been brought in, and said, being now in possession of it, I 
must be relieved from all restraint, and be permitted freely to 
communicate with the people. He at once removed the guard 
and we went up to the party who had just arrived. Messrs. 
Riel and O'Donoghue, with a few of their friends, were pres- 
ent, and vehemently protested against the action now being 
taken, while the ex-councillors accused them of treason to the 
Imperial Crown, and of using every effort to bring about the 
annexation of the country to the United States. Riel replied, 
* that was only supposing the people desired it, but that he 
was wnl!iug the question should be submitted to them.' Pere 
Lestanc spoke w^amdy in favor of the ' President,' who, he 
said, had acted so as to merit the gratitude of his countrymen, 
and begged them still to place confidence in him. This evi- 
dently had no eflfect, and ultimatelyj after a good deal of 
recrimination, it was arranged that a meeting of the inhabit- 
ants from all parts of the settlement should be called for the 
morrow, the 19th, at which the papers bearing on the subject 
should be read, a guard of forty men remaining in the house 
to ensure the safe-keeping of the documents. 

" Riel's men were now falling away from him, while the loy- 
al party expressed their determination no longer to be guided 
in the matter either by him or by P^re Lestanc and his associ- 
ates. They were full of hope, and confident that the follow- 

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ing day would bring with it complete success to the cause of 

'* Late that night, Pere Lestanc paid them another visit, 
which was prolonged for several hours beyond midnight, and 
next morning it was found that a majority of those who had 
seceded from Riel, were again on friendly terms with him. 
The hour for the meeting having arrived, upwards of a thou- 
sand people attended, and, deeming it of great importance that 
the explanations to be made on behalf of the Canadian Gov- 
ernment should l)e faithfully rendered to the French-speaking 
portion of the settlers, whose leaders had studiously withheld 
from them all knowledge of the true state of matters in con- 
nection with the proposed transfer of the country, I request- 
ed Colonel De Salaberry to act as interpreter, but the Colonel, 
diffident of his own ability as a translator, proposed Mr. Riel 
as interpreter, and the latter was ap{)ointed accordingly. 

"At this meeting, and that held the following day, the read- 
ing of the Commission, the Queen's Letter, and every other 
document, was contested with much obstinacy, but ultimately 
carried ; and threats were used to myself in the presence and 
hearing of the Chairman, of the Secretary, Judge Black, and 
others, more especially by Mr. Riel and Rev. Mr. Lestanc. At 
the conunencement of the meeting, I requested the Chairman 
and those near him to begin by insisting that all arms should 
be laid down, and that the flag then flying (fleur de lis and 
shamrock), should be replaced by the British ensign ; this they 
thought, would come better at an after-stage ; but the oppor- 
tunity of doing so, now lost, never recurred. 

" As is generally known, the result of the meeting was the 
appointment of forty delegates, twenty from either side, to 
meet on 25th January, * With the object of considering the 

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subject of Mr. Smith's Commission, and to decide what would 
be best for the welfare of the country.* the English, as a body, 
and a large number of the French, declaring their entire satis- 
faction with the explanations given, and their earnest desire 
for union with Canada. 

" On the 22nd, Riel had several conferences with the well- 
afFected French within the fort : he was melted even to tears, 
told them how earnestly he desired an arrangement with 
Canada, and assured them that he would lay down his authoi- 
ity immediately on the meeting of the Convention. They be- 
lieved him sincere, and although I considered that their guard 
in the fort should not be decreased, they held that ten men 
would be amply sufficient to leave while they went to secure 
their elections: the consequence was, that they had hardly 
gone when repressive measures were resorted to, and the 
Hudson's Bay Company's stores, which had hitherto been only 
partially in their hands, were now taken complete possession 
of by Riel. 

" Efforts were made to have the prisoners released, but with- 
out eflfect. 

" The delegates met on the 25th, and continued in session till 
the 10th February. On the 26th, I handed to their chairman, 
Judge Black, the documents read at the meetings of the 19th 
and 20th January, and, on the 27th, attended the Convention 
by appointment. I was received with much cordiality by all 
the delegates, explained to them the views of the Canadian 
Government, and gave assurances that on entering confedera- 
tion, they would be secured in the possession of all rights, 
privileges, and immunities enjoyed by British subjects in other 
parts of the Dominion : but on being requested by Mr. Riel to 
give an opinion regarding a certain * List of Rights,' prepared 

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by his party in December last, I declined to do so, thinking it 
better that the present Convention should place in iny hands a 
paper stating their wishes, to which I should ' be happy to give 
such assurances as I believed would be in accordance with the 
views of the Canadian Government/ The Convention then set 
about the task of preparing a ' List of Rights,' embodying the 
conditions on which they would be willing to enter the con- 
federation. While the discussion regarding this list w^as going 
on, Mr. Riel called on me, and asked if the Canadian Govern- 
ment w^ould consent to receive them as a province. My reply 
was, that I could not speak with any degree of certainty on the 
subject, as it had not been referred to when I was at Ottawa, 
the intention then being that the North- West should, in the 
first instance, be incorporated under the Dominion as a terri- 
tory ; but I added that no doubt it would become a province 
within two or three years. On this, Mr. Riel, with much em- 
phasis, exclaimed, ' then the Hudson's Bay Company is not 
safe yet,' to which I answered, ' Mr. Riel, that cannot in- 
fluence me in the slightest degree, and I am quite prepared to 
act as may be required of me in my capacity as Canadian 
Commissioner.' This was on the evening of the 3rd of Feb- 
ruary ; on the following day, the proposition to enter as a 
province was negatived by the Convention, and on the 5th, 
another motion directed against the Hudson's Bay Company, 
also failed ; the language used by Mr. Riel on the latter occa- 
sion, having been violent in the extreme. The same evening, 
Riel proceeded to Governor Mactavish, who had been danger- 
ously ill for many weeks back, and was then barely able to sit 
up, placed a guard over him, and heaping reproaches and in- 
sult on him, declared that he would have him shot before 
midnight. Riel then sought out Dr. Cowan, the officer in im- 

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mediate charge of Red River District, upbraided him for his 
persistent opposition to * the people/ the insurgents, and de- 
claring that his name would go down with infamy to poster- 
ity, for the part he had taken, demanded that he would 
immediately swear allegiance to the Provisional Government, 
or prepare for death within three hours, giving him a quarter 
of an hour for consideration. The Doctor immediately re- 
plied that he knew no legal authority in the country but that 
of Great Britain, to which his allegiance was due, and that he 
would not take the oath required of him. He was then seized 
and put in confinement, along with the prisoners taken in 
December last. I was also put under strict guard, but not 
removed from the house. Notwithstanding this, and the pain- 
ful doubt created in the minds of the English members of the 
Convention, as to the course they should pursue, after these 
arrests, the delegates again met on the 7th. On the 5th, they 
had resolved to place in my hands, the List of Rights they had 
drawn up, which was done at 11 o'clock, on the 7th, with an 
intimation that the Convention would be glad to meet me at 1 
o'clock p.m., the intervening two hours being allowed me to 
frame my answers. In drawing up these, I was allowed no 
reference to any document, either written or printed, except 
the List of Rights, and a guard stood over me to see that I 
should write nothing else jbhan that to be presented to the 
Convention. I had just finished writing, when Mr. Riel and 
his ' Adjutant-General ' Lupine, who was also a member of 
the Convention, came in, and Riel, looking at the latter in a 
significant manner, said, ' The answers to the List of Rights, 
must be simply yes or no.' On this, I remarked that I 
thought otherwise, and would act as circumstances might ap- 
pear to me to require. I then retired, and on returning to 

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the room a few minutes later, found there Mr. Kiel, the Rev. 
Mr. Thibault, and Colonel De Salaberry. We proceeded to- 
gether to the Convention, and in course of conversation, Col. 
De Salaberry said, he would gladly have come to see me be- 
fore, but could not, as he * had been a prisoner throughout.' 

" The proceedings of the Convention, as reported in the JS'e^r 
Nation newspaper of the 11th and 18th February, copies of 
which I have had the honor of addressing to you, are suffi- 
ciently exact, and render it unnecessary for me here to enter 
into details. Suffice it to say, that a large majority of the 
delegates expressed entire satisfaction with the answers to 
their List of Rights, and professed confidence in the Canadian 
Government, to which I invited them to send delegates, with 
the view of effecting a speedy transfer of the territory to the 
Dominion, an invitation received with acclamation, and unani- 
mously accepted, as will appear by resolution hereto annexed, 
along with the List of Rights, and my answer to the scane. 
The delegates named were John Black, Es(i., Recorder : the 
Rev. Mr. Richot, and Mr. Alfred H. Scott, a good deal of op- 
position having been offered to the election of the last-named 
of the three. 

" The proceedings of the Convention came to a close on the 
10th February, by the nomination of a Provisional Govern- 
ment, in the formation of which several delegates declined to 
take any part. Governor Mactavish, Dr. Cowan, and two or 
three other persons, were then released, and the Hudson's Bay 
Company's officers again allowed to come and go at pleasure, 
but I was still confined to the fort ; Riel, as he expressly 
stated to Judge Black, being apprehensive of my influence 
with the people in the approaching election. Riel promised 
that all the prisoners should soon l)e released. On the 11th 

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and 12th, six or eight of them were set at liberty, and Dr. Cow- 
an was informed in my presence, that as they were all to be 
discharged without delay, the rooms they had occupied would 
be placed at his disposal in a day or two ; Riel remarking at 
the same time that he would have them thoroughly cleaned out. 
*' Rumors now began to circulate of a rising at the Portage, 
and, on the nights of the 14th and 15th of February, some 
eighty or one hundred men from that district passed down 
close to Fort Garry, and proceeded to Kildonan, where they 
were joined by from 300 to 350 men, principally English half- 
breeds from the lower parts of the settlement. Had these 
men, properly armed and organized, been prepared to support 
the well-affected French party, when the latter took action 
about the middle of January, or even in the beginning of 
February, during the sitting of the Convention, order might 
have been restored, and the transfer to Canada provided for 
without the necessity of tiring a single shot ; but now, the 
rising was not only rash, but purposeless, as, without its in- 
tervention, the prisoners would unquestionably have been re- 
leased. The party was entirely unorganized, indifferently 
armed, unprovided with food, even for one meal, and wholly 
incapable of coping with the French, now re-united, who, to 
the number of at least 700, were prepared to offer the most 
determined resistance, which, as they were in possession of a 
number of guns (six and three-pounders), ample stores of am- 
munition, provisions, and every other requisite, they could 
have done most effectually. My sympathies were, in a great 
measure, with the Portage men, whom I believe to have been 
actuated by the best of motives, but, under the circumstances, 
it was not difficult to foresee that the issue could not be other- 
wise than disastrous to their cause. The attempt was there- 

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fore to be deplore<l, as it resulted in placing the whole settle- 
ment at the feet of Riel. The great majority of settlers, Eng- 
lish and Scotch, discountenanced the movement, and bitterly 
complained of those who had set it on foot. Forty -seven of 
the party were captured on their way home, while pa^ssing 
within a few hundred yards of the fort; the explanation I 
have heard given for their otherwise inexplicable conduct in 
having taken this route, instead of making a detour, which 
would have ensured safety, being a supposed promise by Riel 
that they would be permitted to pass unmolested. Their mes- 
senger, a young man named McLean, on being questioned by 
Archdeacon McT^'an and myself, in presence of the Rev. Mr. 
Gardner, and one or two other gentlemen, admitted that Riel, 
on being asked ' if the party would be permitted to pass,* w^as 
silent, and only, on being informed that they intended next 
day to use the route just outside the town, remarked * Ah ! 
that is good,' and for his purpose it no doubt was so. Cap- 
tain Bolton led the party, and he and his friends at the Por- 
tage assured me that he exerted himself to the utmost to keep 
them from rising, and only joined them at the last moment, 
when he saw they were determined to go forward. He 
was captured on the 17th, tried by * court martial,' and con- 
demned to be shot at noon on the following day, but at the in- 
tercession of the Lord Bishop of Rupert's Land, Archdeacon 
McLean, and, in short, every influential man among the Eng- 
lish ; and, I have been told also, at the earnest entreaty of the 
Catholic clergy, the execution was delayed till midnight of 
Saturday, the 1 9th. Further than this, Riel declared he could 
not, would not, yield, except, indeed. Dr. Schultz should be cap- 
tured in the meantime, in which case he w^ould be shot instead 
of Bolton. Archdeacon McLean had been in close attendance 

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on Captain Bolton for twenty -four hours, had administered 
to him the Sacrament, received his last comniands, and had 
promised to be present with him at the last moment, and when 
I met the Archdeacon on my way to see Riel, about 8 o'clock 
on the evening of the 19th, he was deeply affected, and had 
given up all hope. I found with Riel Mr. H. N. Robinson, of 
the New Nation newspaper, and shortly afterwards, Mr. James 
Ross, * Chief Justice,' entered, followed in a few minutes by 
Mr. Bannatyne, postmaster, who had been ordered to bring 
the key of the mail bag, which Riel opened, and examining 
the letters, pei'used and retained one or more. Mr. Ross 
pleaded for Bolton, but was repulsed in the most contemptu- 
ous manner. I had already been speaking to Riel on the sub- 
ject, when interrupted by Mr. Ross's entrance, and now re- 
sumed the converaation. Riel was obdurate, and said that the 
English settlers and Canadians, but more especially the latter, 
had laughed at and despised the French half-breeds, believing 
that they would not dare to take the life of any one, and that, 
under these circumstances, it would be impossible to have 
peace, and establish order in the country ; an example must, 
therefore, be made, and he had firmly resolved that Bolton's 
execution should be carried out, bitterly as he deplored the 
necessity for doing so. I reasoned with him long and ear- 
nestly, until at length, about 10 o'clock, he yielded, and ad- 
dressing me, apparently with much feeling, said : ' Hitherto I 
have been deaf to all entreaties, and, in now granting you 
this man's life,' or words to that effect, ' may I ask you a 
favor ? ' * Anything,' I replied, * that in honor I can do.' 
He continued : * Canada has disunited us ; will you use your 
influence to unite us ? You can do so, and without this, it 
must be war — bloody civil war ! ' I answered that, as I had 

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on first coming to the country, I would now repeat, that ' 1 
would give my whole heart to eflfect a peaceable union of the 
country with Canada/ 

" * We want only our just rights as British subjects/ he said, 

* and we want the English to join us, simply to obtain these.' 

* Then,' I remarked, * I shall at once see them and induce them 
to go on with the election of delegates for that purpose/ and 
he replied, ' if you can do this, war will be avoided, not only 
the lives, but the liberty of all the prisoners will be secureil, 
for on your success depend the lives of all the Canadians in 
the country/ He immediately proceeded to the prison, and in- 
timated to Archdeacon McLean that he had been induced by 
me to spare Captain Bolton's life, and had further promised to 
me, that immediately on the meeting of the council shortly to 
be elected, the whole of the prisoners should l)e released, re- 
questing the Archdeacon, at the same time, to explain these 
circumstances to Captain Bolton and the other prisoners. The 
moment was a fearful one for the settlement, every man's life 
was in the hands of Riel, and, fully appreciating the signifi- 
cance of this, the Bishop of Rupert's Land, and the Protestant 
clergy, generally, now^ earnestly counselled the people to elect 
their delegates without loss of time, as bj^ this means they 
might to some extent control the course of events, while other- 
wise they were utterly powerless. I entirely concurred in 
this view of the case, and Archdeacon McLean having kindly 
offered to accompany me, we visited the different parts of the 
settlement, and found that in several parishes the people, and 
those the most loyal to the British Crown, and most desirous 
for union with Canada, had already chosen their councillors. 
I explained to all, that the council was to be provisional, in the 
strictest sense of the word, intended expressly for effecting the 

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transference of the country to Canada, and for ensuring safety 
of life and property in the meantime. In some instances, I 
found they had drawn up petitions to Mr. Riel a * President,' 
expressing submission, etc., these I requested them to destroy, 
advising that nothing more should be done than under the 
circumstances was absolutely necessary, namely, that hav- 
ing made their election, you should simply intimate the 
fact in foraial terms to Mr. Bunn, who had been named Secre- 
tary of the Council, and not to Mr. Riel. The elections in the 
English parishes having taken place on the 26th February, I 
again saw Riel, who re-assured me, that all the prisoners 
w^ould be released within a day or two after the first meeting 
of the council. On the 28th, he again sent for me, and in pre- 
sence of Mr. Fraser, delegate from the Scotch parish, Kildonan, 
repeated his promise, that the lives of the prisoners were se- 
cured, and that their release would shortly follow. 

" I had no further communication with Riel until Monday, 
the 4th March, when about 10 o'clock in the morning P&re 
Lestanc called on me. He informed me of Bishop Tach'5's ex- 
pected arrival, not later certainly than the 8th, and probably 
some days earlier, adding that his Lordship had telegraphed to 
request that, if about to leave for Canada, I should defer my 
departure till he could communicate personally with me. He 
then said that the * conduct of the prisoners was very unsatis- 
factory, that they were very unruly, insolent to the * soldiers,* 
and their behaviour altogether so very bad that he was afraid 
the guards might be forced to retaliate in self-defence. I ex- 
pressed much surprise at the information he gave, as the pris- 
oners, without exception, had promised to Archdeacon McLean 
and myself, that seeing their helpless condition, they would en- 
deavour to act so as to avoid giving offence to their guards, and 

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we encouraged them to look forward to be speedily released in 
fulfiluient of the promise made by Mr. Riel. One man, Parker, 
was mentioned as having made himself particularly obnoxious 
by his violent conduct, but not one word was said on this occa- 
sion regarding Scott, or the slightest intimation given that he 
or any other person had been condemned to be shot. About 
11 o'clock, Pere Lestanc left me and went up stairs to com- 
municate to Ciovemor Mactavish, as he said, * the good news 
that Bishop Tach^ was expected so soon.' The Reverend Mr. 
Young, Methodist clergyman, had just entered the house, and 
meeting the P^re in the hall, convei-sed with him a few min- 
utes. Mr. Young then came up to me, and from him I had 
the first intimation that it was intended to shoot Thomas 
Scott, and that the sentence was to be carried into effect at 12 
o'clock noon, that day. We agreed in believing that the thing 
was too monstrous to be possible, and Mr. Young mentioned 
that poor Scott himself was equally incredulous on the subject, 
thinking they merely intended to frighten him. However, 
even to keep him in suspense w^as of itself a horrible cruelt3\ 
and it was arranged that, as Mr. Young had been sent for trO at- 
tend the man, he should see Riel, ascertain exactly how the mat- 
ter stood, and, if really serious, to let me know at once. Mr. 
Young accordingly called on Riel, was informed that Scott 
had been condennied, that the sentence was irrevocable, and 
would not be delayed one minute beyond noon. Mr. Young 
begged for delay, saying, * the man is not prepared to die,' but 
all without avail. He w^as paralyzed with horror, returned to 
the prisoner, and immediately sent a messenger to inform me 
of the result of his visit. I determined to find out Riel imme- 
diately, but recollecting that PSre Lestanc was still upstairs 
with Mr. Mactavish, went to him, related what I had heard. 

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and asked him if he knew anything about the matter. His 
answer I cannot give in precise words, but it was to the effect 
that they had seen Mr. Kiel on the other side (St. Boniface), 
and had all spoken to him about it, by which I understood 
that they had interceded for Scott. Governor Mactavish was 
greatly shocked on being informed of Kiel's purpose, and 
joined in reprobating it. P^re Lestanc consented to accom- 
pany me, and we called on Kiel. When we entered, he 
asked me *what news from Canada.' The mail had amv- 
ed the preceding day, and I replied, * only the intelligence 
that Bishop Tach^ will be here very soon.' I then men- 
tioned what I had heard regarding Scott, and before Kiel 
answered, Pere Lestanc interposed in French words, meaning, 
* Is there no way of escape ^ ' Kiel replied to him. *My Rever- 
end P^re, you know exactly how the matter stands,' * then 
turning to me, he said, 'I will explain to you,' speaking at first 
in English, but shortly after using the French, remarking to me, 
' you understand that language. ' He said in substance that 
Scott had throughout been a most troublesome charactor, had 
l>een the ringleader in a rising against Mr. Snow, who had 
charge of the party employed by the Canadian Government 
during the preceding summer in road-making ; that he had 
risen against the ' Provisional Government ' in December last, 
that his life was then spared ; that he escaped, had again been 
taken in arms, and once more pardoned, — referring, no doubt, 
to the promise he had made to me that the lives and liberty of 
all the prisoners was secured — but that he was incorrigible, 
and quite incapable of appreciating the clemency with which 
he had been treated ; that he was rough and abusive to the 
guards, and insulting to him, Mr. Kiel ; that his example had 
been productive of the very worst effects on the other prison- 

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ers, who had become insubordinate to such an extent that it 
was difficult to withliold the guards from retaliating. He 
further said, * I sat down with Scott, as we are doing now, 
and asked him truthfully to tell me, as I would not use his 
statement against him, what he and the Poi-tage party intend- 
ed to have done with me, had they succeeded in capturing me, 
when they surrounded Couture's house,' to which he replied, 
' We intended to keep you as a hostage for the safety of the 
prisoners.' I argued with Kiel, and endeavored to show that 
some of the circumstances he had mentioned, and especially the 
last, were very strong reasons to urge why Scott's life should 
not be sacrificed, and that, if, as he represented, Scott was a 
rash, thoughtless man, whom none cared to have anything to 
do with, no evil need be apprehended from his example. I 
pointed out that the one great merit claimed for the insurrec- 
tion was that, so far, it had been bloodless, except in one sad 
instance, w^hich all were willing to look upon as an accident, 
and implored him not now to stain it, to burden it with what 
would be considered a horrible crime. He exclaimed, * We 
must make Canada respect us!' I replied, ' She has every 
proper respect for the people of Red River, and this is shown 
in her having sent Commissioners to treat with them.' I told 
him I had seen the prisoners some time back, when they com- 
missioned me to say to their friends at Portage that they 
desired peace, and I offered to go to them again and reason 
with them, should that be necessary. On this he said, * Look 
here, Mr. Smith, Mr. Scott, the representative, went to see the 
prisoner's at my desire, and on asking them whom they would 
vote for as councillors, if they were permitted a choice outside 
of their own body ? ' Thos. Scott came forward and said, ' My 
boys have nothing to do with those Americans.' And when 

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I remarked, 'This is reall}'' a most trifling affair, and ought not 
to have been repeated,' he said, * Do not attempt to prejudice 
us against the Americans, for although we have not been with 
them, they are with us, and have been better friends to us 
than the Canadians/ Much more was said on both sides, but 
argument, entreaty, and protest alike failed to draw him from 
his purpose, and he closed by saying, ' I have done three good 
things since I have commenced, I have spared Bolton's life at 
your instance, and I do not regret it, for he is a fine fellow ; I 
pardoned Gaddy, and he showed his gratitude by escaping out 
of the bastion, but I don't grudge him his miserable life, and 
now I shall shoot Scott.' Lepine, the Adjutant-General, who 
WHS President of the Council of Seven, which tried Scott, — and 
five of whom, Riel told me, * with tears streaming from their 
eyes, condemned him as worthy of death,' a sentence which 
he had confirmed — now entered, and, in answer to Riel, said, 

* he must die,' Riel then requested the Rev. Pere Lestanc to 
put the people on their knees for prayer, as it might do good 
to the condemned man's soul. Referring to P^re Lestanc, and 
making a final appeal unnecessary here to repeat, I retired. It 
was now within a few minutes of one o'clock, and on entering 
the Governor's house, Rev. Mr. Young joined me, and said, * It 
is now considerably past the hour, I trust you have succeeded.' 

* No,' I said, * for God's sake go back at once to the poor 
man, for I fear the worst.' He left inunediately, and a few 
minutes after he entered the room in which the prisoner was 
confined ; some guards marched in and told Scott his hour 
was come. Not until then did the reality of his position flash 

. upon poor Scott. He said good-bye to the other prisoners, 
was led outside the gate of the fort, with a white handker- 
chief covering his head ; his coffin, having a piece of white cot- 


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ton thrown over it, was carried out ; his eyes were bandaged ; 
he continued in prayer, in which he had been engaged on the 
way, for a few minutes ; he asked Mr. Young how he should 
place himself, whether standing or kneeling, then knelt in the 
snow, said farewell, and immediately fell back, pierced by three 
bullets which had passed through his body. The firing party 
consisted of six men, all of whom, it is said, were more or less 
intoxicated. It has been further stated that only three of the 
muskets were loaded with ball cartridge, and that one man 
did not discharge his piece. Mr. Young turned aside when 
the first shots were fired, then went back to the body and 
again retired for a moment, while a man discharged his revol- 
ver at the sufferer, the ball, it is said, entering the eye and 
passing round the head. 

"The wounded man groaned between the time of receiving 
the musket shots and the discharge of the rev^olver. Mr. 
Young a^sked to have the remains for interment in the bury- 
ing ground of the Presbyterian Church, but this was not 
acceded to, and a similar request, preferred by the Bishop of 
Rupert's Land, was also refused. He was buried within the 
walls of the fort. On descending the steps, leading from the 
prison, poor Scott, addressing Mr. Young, said, ' This is a cold- 
blooded murder,' then engaged in prayer, and was so occupied 
until he wa« shot. 

" After this date I held no communication whatsoever with 
Riel, except in reference to getting away from the country, 
which I was not allowed to leave without a pass. I felt that 
under the circumstances it was not desirable I should remain 
longer at Red River, but it was not until late in the night of 
the 18th inst., Riel gave permission for my departure. Al- 
though not accomplishing all that could have been desired. 

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the mission to Red River, as I shall endeavor to show in a few 
words, has been productive of some good, and that it was not 
entirely successful, may fairly be attributed to the circum-^ 
stances above referred to, in connection with the action taker, 
and meetings held in January last. Success, although in a 
lesser degree, might also have been gained at a later period 
but for the rising in February, which, though rash and pro- 
ductive of results the most unfortunate, I can hardly blame, 
knowing, as already stated, that those who took part in it 
were actuated and impelled by generous motives. 

" On reaching Red River, in December last, I found the Eng- 
lish-speaking portion of the inhabitants greatl^^ divided in 
opinion as to the comparative advantages of union with Can- 
ada, and the formation of a Crown Colony, while a few, a 
very small number, favored annexation to the United States. 
The explanations offered on the part of Canada they received 
as satisfactory, and, with hardly a dissentient voice, they 
would now vote for the immediate ti-ansfer to the Dominion. 
They earnestly requested me to assure His Excellency the 
Governor-General of their warm loyalty to the British Crown. 

" The case is difficult as regards the French half-breeds. A 
not inconsiderable number of them remained true to their alle- 
giance during all the troubles through which they have had to 
pass, and with these will now be found associated many others 
whose minds had for a time been poisoned by gross misrepre- 
sentations made by designing men for their own selfish ends. 
A knowledge of the true state of the case, and of the advan- 
tages they would derive from . union with Canada, had been 
carefully kept from them, and they were told to judge of Can- 
adians generally by the acts and bearing of some of the less 
•reflective immigrants, who had denounced them as * cumberers 

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of the ground,' who must speedily make way for the * superior 
ra<ie ' about to pour in upon them. 

" It is also too true that, in the unauthorised proceedings of 
some of the recent Canadian arrivals, some plausible ground 
had been given for the feeling of jealousy and alarm with 
which the contemplated change of government was regarded 
by the native population. In various localities these adven- 
turers had been industriously marking off for themselves con- 
siderable, and in some cases very extensive and exceptionally 
valuable, tracts of land, thereby impressing the minds of the 
people with the belief that the time had come when, in their 
own country, they were to be entirely supplanted by the 
stranger, a belief, however, which I have no doubt might have 
been completely precluded by the prevention of all such opera- 
tions until Canada had fully uafolded her policy, and shown 
the groundlessness of these fears. 

" Let us further bear in mind that many of the Catholic 
clergymen in the country are not French Canadians, but 
Frenchmen, and consequently, it may be presumed, not very 
conversant with British law^s and institutions, and with the 
liberty and privileges enjoyed under them. Warmly attaches! 
to their flocks, they deemed it necessary to exact some guaran- 
tee that in their new political condition they would not be 
treated with injustice. It is unnecessary here to point out 
how the breach widened, until at length it attained a magni- 
tude and significance little dreamt of in the commencement, 
even by those who joined most heartily in the movement 
It is far more pleasing to be able to state, w^hich I do with 
much confidence, that a large majority of the French parly 
liave no misgivings as to union with Canada, and that joined 
by and under the guidance of his Lordship, Bishop Tach^, 
a id other menibers of the clergy who enjoy their confidence, 

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they will very shortly prove themselves to be staunch sup- 
porters of the Dominion, firm in their allegiance to England. 

" In course of the Insurrection, one deplorable crime, and 
ma,ny grossly illegal acts, have unquestionably been commit- 
ted, but it would be alike unpolitic and unjust to charge them 
on the French population generally. 

" Much obloquy has been heaped on the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany and their Governor and officers in the North- West, 
which I consider it unnecessary at this moment even to at- 
tempt to answer or refute, although not doubting that both 
could be readily and satisfactorily done. Errors, many and 
grave, have, it cannot be denied, been committed on all sides, 
but wilful and intentional neglect of duty cannot, I feel con- 
vinced, be laid to the charge either of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany or their representatives in the country. Personally, I 
have been entirely unconnected with the administration of 
affairs in that departm'ent. 

" I would respectfully submit that it is of the utmost impor- 
tance there should be a strong military force in the North- 
West as early as practicable. The minds' of the Indians, 
especially the tribes in the Saskatchewan country, have been 
so perplexed and confused by the occurrences of the past six 
months, that it would ba very unsafe to trust to their forbear- 
ance ; and, indeed, until the question of Indian claims has been 
finally settled, it would not, in my opinion, be prudent to 
leave the country unprotected by military. The adjustment 
of those claims will require early attention, and some mem- 
oranda and evidence in my hands on the subject, I shall, if 
desired, be prepared to lay before the Government. 
" I have the honor to be, Sir, 

** Your obedient servant, 

" Donald A, Smith." 

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Services so valuable and of such importance to the Do- 
minion, should have been recognized without delay, but it wa« 
not until February, 1872, two years after they were rendered, 
that Mr. Donald A. Smith received any official i-ecognition of 
the great and loyal work performed by him. On the 22nd 
February, 1872, the following letter was received by him from 
the Secretary of State, Hon. Joseph Howe : — 

Ottawa, 22nd February, 1872. 
Donald A. Smith, Esq., M.P., 

Fort Garry. 

Sir — The events which led to your appointment in Decem- 
ber, 1869, as a Special Commissioner to the North- West, are 
now matter of history. But the Governor-General feels that 
the important services which in that capacity you rendered to 
the country have not yet received that official recognition to 
which they are justly entitled. 

His Excellency, therefore, now commands me to convey to 
you the expression of his appreciation of the patriotism with 
which, on that occasion, you placed your services at the dis- 
posal of the Government, and at an inclement season of the 
year cheerfully undertook a long and fatiguing journey to 
Fort Garry to aid, by your presence and influence, in the re- 
pression of the unlooked for disturbance which had unhappily 
broken out in the North- West. 

In selecting you for the delicate and important mission thus 
confided to you, His Excellency was influenced by the convic- 
tion that your thorough knowledge of the people, and the high 
estimation in which you were held by all classes there, emin- 
ently qualified you to act with effect in disabusing the minds 
of the misguided people of the settlement of the erroneous 

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opinions they had been led to form of the feelings and inten- 
tions of the Government of the Dominion in reference to their 

Subsequent events have, in His Excellency's opinion, fully 
justified the wisdom of his selection of a Commissioner. For 
if the serious dangers which then threatened the settlement 
were happily averted, and law and order peacefully re-estab- 
lished at Fort Garry, His Excellency feels that the result was 
in no small degree due to the ability, discretion, and firmness 
with which you executed your commission, and to the judici- 
ous use of the influence which your character and standing 
enabled you to exercise over all classes of the community at 

Red River. 

I have the hionor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 

Joseph Howe, 

Secretary of State for the Provinces, 

When this tardy recognition of Commissioner Smith's ser- 
vices was written, the people of the North-West had already 
shown their appreciation of the great work he had performed 
for them and for the whole of Canada, by electing him as one 
of their representatives in the Dominion House of Commons. 

Her Majesty the Queen, too, mindful of the services he had 
rendered to the State while acting in the capacity of Special 
Commissioner, and in acknowledgment of them, conferred on 
him the honor of knighthood, as Sir Donald A, Smith, 

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1. Royal Charter of 1670. 

2. Crown Grant of Exclusive Trade, 1821. 

3. Crown Grant of Exclusive Trade, 1838. 

4. Commission appointing Hon. Wm. McDougall Lieutenant- 


5. Proclamation issued by Hon. Wm. McDougall on Ist December, 


6. Commission issued by Hon. Wm. McDobgall. appointing Col. 

Dennis Conservator of the Peace. 

7. Proclamation issued by Hon. Wm. McDougall on 2n(l December, 


8. Proclamation issued by Sir John Young, Govenior-CTeneral of 

Canada, on 6th December, 1869. 

9. Commission issued to Donald A. Smith, Esq., appointing him 

Special Commissioner. 

10. Laws of Assiniboia passed by the Provisional Government, 7th 

May, 1870. 

11. The Manitoba Act. 

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No. I. 
Royal Charter for incorporating the Hudson's Bay Company, 

22nd year ok HIS REIGN, A.D. 1670. 

Charles the Second, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, 
France and Ireland, defender of the faith, Ac, to all to whom these 
presents shall come, greeting : 

Whereas our dear and entirely beloved cousin. Prince Rupert, Count 
Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and Cumberland, &c. ; Chris- 
topher, Duke of Albemarle; W lliam. Earl of Craven; Henry, Lord 
Arlington ; Anthony, Lord Ashley ; Sir John Robinson, and Sir Robert 
Vyner, Knights and Baronets ; Sir Peter Colleton, Baronet ; Sir Edward 
Hungerford, Knight of the Ba»h ; Sir Paul Neele, Knight ; Sir John 
Griffith and Sir Phillip Carteret, Knights ; James Hayes, John Kirke, 
Francis Millington, William Prettyman, John Fenn, Esquires ; and John 
Portman, Citizen and Goldsmith of London ; have, at their own great 
cost and charges, undertaken an expedition for Hudson's Bay, in the 
north-west part of America, for the discovery of a new passage into the 
South Sea, and for the finding some trade for furs, minerals and other 
considerable commodities, and by such, their undertaking, have already 
made such discoveries as do encourage them to proceed further in pur- 
suance of their said design, by means whereof there may probably arise 
very great advantage to us and our kingdom : And, whereas the said 
undertakers for their further encouragement in the said design, have 
humbly besought us to incorporate them, and grant unto them and their 
successors the sole trade and commerce of all those seas, straits, bays, 
rivers, lakes, creeks and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that 
lie within the entrance of the sti-aits, commonly called Hudson's Straits, 
together with all the lands, countries and territories upon the coasts and 
confines of the seas, straits, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and sounds, afore- 

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said, which are not now actually possessed by any of our subjects, or by 
the subjects of any ♦»ther Christian Prince or State Now Know Ye, that 
we, being desirous to promote all endeavors tending to the public good of 
our people, and to encourage the said undertaking, have of our special 
grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, given, granted, ratified and 
confirmed, and by these presents, for u^, our heirs and successors do give 
grant, ratify and confirm unto our said cousin, Prince Rupert, Chris- 
topher, DuWe of Albemarle ; William, Elarl of Craven ; Henry, Lord 
Arlington; Anthony, Lord Ashley; Sir John Ro inson. Sir Robert 
Vyner, >ir Peter Colleton. Sir Edward Hungerford, Sir Paul Neele, Sir 
John Griffith and Sir Phillip Carteret, James Hayes, John Kirke, Fraiicii 
Millington, William Prettyman, lohn Fenn and John Portmnn, that they, 
and such others as shall be admitted into the said society as is here:ifter 
expressed, shall be one body, corporate and politic, in deed and in name, 
by the name of * The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England^ 
trading into Hudson's Bay," and them by the name of the ''Gov- 
ernor and Company of Adventurers of England, trading into Hud- 
son's Bay " one body corporate and politic, in deed and in name, 
really and fully forever, for us, our heirs and successors, we do 
m ike, ordain, constitute, establish confirm and declare by these presents, 
and that by the same name of ** Governor and Company of Adventurers 
of England, trading into Hudson's Bay," they shall have perpetujvl succes- 
sion, and that they and their successors, by the name of *' The Governor 
and Company of Adventurers of England, trading into Hudson's Bay." 
be, and at all times hereafter shall be. personable and capable in law. to 
have, purchase, receive, possess, enjoy and retain lands, rents privileges, 
liberties, jurisdictions, franchises and heredit'iments, of what kind, nature 
or quality soever they may be, to them and their successors ; and also to 
give, grant, demise, alien, assign and dispose lands, tenements and here- 
ditaments, and to do and execute all and singular other things by the 
simo name that to them shall or may appertain to do ; and that they and 
their successors, by the name of **The Governor and Company of Adven- 
turers of England, trading into Hudson's Bay," may plead a d be impleaded, 
answer and be answered, defend and be defended, in whatsoever courts 
and places, before whatsoever judges and justices, and other persons and 
officers, in all and singular actions pleas, suits, quarrels, causes and de- 
mands whatsoever, of whatsoever kind, nature or sort, in such manner :md 
form as any other our liege people of this our realm of England, being 
persons able and capable in law, may or can have, purchase, receive, 
possess, enjoy, retain, give, grant, demise, alien, sssign, dis|>ose, plead, 
defend and be defended, do permit and execute ; and that tho s;iid 
'* Governor and Company of Adventurers of England, trading into Hud 
son*s Bay," and their successors may have a common seal to serve for all 

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the causes and businesses of them and their successors, and that it shall 
aud may be lawful to the said Governor and Company and their success- 
ors, the same seal, from time to time, at their will and pleasure, to break, 
change, and to make anew or alter, as to them »hall seem expedient: 
And further, we will, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and suc- 
cessors, we do ordain that there shall be from henceforth one of the same 
Company, to be elected and appointed in such form as hereafter in these 
})reseuts is expressed, which shall be called the Governor of the said 
Company ; and that the said Governor and Company, shall or may elect 
seven of their number, in such form as hereafter in these presents is 
expressed, which shall be called the Committee of the said Company, 
which Committee of seven, or any three of them, together with the Gov- 
ernor or Deputy Governor of the said Company for the time being, shall 
have the direction of the voyages of and for the said Company, and the 
provision of the shipping and merchandizes thereunto belonging, and 
also the sale of all merchandizes, goods and other things returned, 
in all or any of the voyages or ships of or for the said Company, 
and the managing and handling of all other business, affairs and things 
belonging to the said Company : And we will, ordain, and grant by these 
presents, for us, our heirs and successors, unto the said Governor and 
Company, and their successors, that they the said Governor and Com- 
|>any and their successors shall from henceforth, forever be ruled, order- 
ed and governed, according to such manner and form as in hereafter in 
these presents expressed, and not otherwise ; and that they shall have, 
hold, retain and enjoy the grants liberties, privileges, jurisdictions, and 
immunities only hereafter in these presents granted and expressed, and 
no other : And for the better execution of our will and grant in this be- 
half, we have assigned nominated constituted and made, and by these 
presents, for us, our heirs and successors, we do assign, nominate, consti- 
tute and make our said cousin. Prince Rupert, to be the first and present 
Governor of the said Company, and to continue in the said office, from the 
date of these presents until the 10th November then next following, if he, 
the said Prince Rupert, shall so long live, and so until a new Governor be 
chosen by the said Company, in form hereafter expressed : And also we 
have assigned, nominated and appointed, and by these presents, for us, 
our heirs and successors, we do assign, nominate and constitute, the said 
Sir John Robinson. Sir Robert Vyner, Sir Peter Colleton, James Hayej--, 
John Kirke, Francis Milliugton and John Portman, to be the seven first 
and present Committees of the said Company, from the date of these 
presents until the said 10th day of November then also next following, 
and so until new Conmiittees shall be chosen in form hereafter expressed : 
And further we will and grant by these presehts, for us, our heirs and 
successors, unto the faid Governor aud Company, a:.d their succej^sor.^-. 

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that it shall and may be lawful tc> and for the said Governor and Company 
for the time being, or the greater part of them present at any public as- 
sembly, commonly called the Court General, to be hoi en for the said 
Comjiany, the Governor of the said Company being always one, from 
time to time to elect, nominate and appoint one of the said Company to 
be Deputy to the said Governor, which Deputy shall talte a corporal oath, 
before the Governor and three or more of the Committee of the said Com- 
pany for the time being, well, truly and faithfully to execute his said 
office of Deputy to the Governor of the said Company, and after his oath so 
taken shall and may from time to time in the absence of the said Governor, 
exercise and execute the office of Governor of the said Company, in such 
sort as the said Governor ought to do : And further we will and grant by 
these presents, for us. our heirs and successors, unto the said Governor 
and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay, and 
their successors, that they, or the greater part of them, whereof the Gov- 
ernor for the time being or his Deputy to be one, from time to time, and 
at all times hereafter, shall and may have authority and power, yearly and 
every year, between the first and last day of November, to assemble and 
meet together in some convenient place, to be appointed frtim time to 
time by the Governor, or in his absence by the Deputy of the said Gover- 
nor for the time being and that they being so assembled, it shall and may 
be lawful to and for the said Governor or Deputy of the said Governor, 
and the said Company for the time being, or the greater part of them 
which then shall happen to be present, whereof the Governor of the said 
Company or his Deputy for the time being to be one, to elect and nomi- 
nate one of the said Company, which shall be Governor of the said Com- 
pany for one wht>le year then next following, which person being so 
elected and nominated to be Governor of the said Company as is aforesaid, 
before he be admitted to the execution of the said office, shall take a cor- 
poral oath before the last Governor, being his predecessor or his Deputy, 
and any three or more of the Committee of the said Company for the time 
being, that he shall from time to time well and truly execute the office of 
Governor of the said Company in all things concerning the same ; and 
that immediately after the same oath so taken, he shall and may execute 
and use the said office of Governor of the said Company for one whole 
year from thence next following ; And in like sort we will and grant, that 
as well, every one of the above-named to be of the said Company, or Fel- 
lowship, as all others hereafter to be admitted or free of the said Com- 
pany, shall take a corporal oath before the Governor of the said Company 
or his Deputy for the "time being, to such effect as by the said Governor 
and Company, or the greater part of them, in any public Court to be held 
for the said Company, shall be in reasonable or legal manner set down 
and devised, before they shall be allowed or admitted to trade or traffic as 

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a freeman of the said Company : And further we will and grant by these 
presents, for us, our heirs and successors, unto the said Governor and 
Company, and tlieir successors, that the said Governor or Deputy-Gover- 
nor, and the rest of the said Company, and their successors for the time 
being, or the greater part of them, whereof the Governor or Deputy- 
Governor from time to time to be one, shall and may from time to time, 
and at all times hereafter, have power and authority, yearly and every 
year, between the first and last day of November, to assemble and meet 
together in some convenient place, from time to time to be appointed by 
the said Governor of the said Company, or in his absence, by his Deputy ; 
and that they being so assembled, it shall and may be lawful to and for 
the said Governor or his Deputy, and the Company for the time being, or 
the greater part of them, which then shall happen to be present, whereof 
the Governor of the said Company or his Deputy for the time being to be 
one, to elect and nominate seven of the said Company, which shall be a 
Committee of the said Company for one whole year from the next ensuing, 
which persons being so elected and nominated to be a Committee of the 
said Company as aforesaid, before they be admitted to the execution of 
their oflSce, shall take a corporal oath before the Governor or his Deputy, 
and any three or more of the said Committee of the said Company, being 
their last predecessors, that they and every of them shall well and faithfully 
perform their said office of Committees in all things concerning the same, 
and that immediately after the said oath so taken, they shall and may ex- 
ecute and use their said office of Committees of the said Company, for one 
»vhole year from thence next following : And moreover our will and pleasure 
is, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successers, we do grant unto 
the said Governor and Company, and their successors, that when and as 
often as it shall happen the Governor or Deputy-Governor of the said Com- 
pany, for the time being, at any time within one year after that he shall 
be nominated, elected and sworn to the office of the Governor of the said 
Company, as is aforesaid, to die or to be removed from the said office, 
which Governor or Deputy-Governor, not demeaning himself well in his 
said office, we will to be removable at the pleasure of the rest of the said 
Company, or the greater part of them which shall be present at their 
public assemblies, commonly called their general courts, holden for the 
said Company, that then and so often, it shall and may be lawful to and 
lor the residue of the said Company, for the time being^ or the greater 
part of them, within a convenient time after the death or removing of 
any such Governor or Deputy-Governor, to assemble themselves in such 
convenient place as they shall think fit, for the election of the Governor 
or Deputy-Governor, of the said Company ; and that the said Company, or 
the greater part of them, being then and there present, shall and may, 
then and there, before their departure from the said place, elect and nom* 

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inate one other of the said ComiMitiy to be Governor or Deputy-Governor 
for the said Company, in the place and stead of him that so died or was 
removed ; which person, being so elected and nominated to the office of 
Governor or Deputy Governor of the said Company, shall have and exer- 
cise the said office for and during the residue of the said year, taking 
first a corporal oath, as is aforesaid, for the due execution thereof ; and 
this to be done from time to time so often as the case shall so require : 
And also, our will and pleasure is, and by these presents for us, our heirs 
and successors, we do grant unto the said Governor and Company, that 
when, and as often as it shall happen, any person or persons of the Com- 
mittee of the said Company, for the time being, at any time within one 
year next after that they or any of them shall be nominated, elected and 
sworn to the office of Committee of the said Company, as is aforesaid, to 
die or be removed from the said office, which Committees not demeaning 
themselves well in their said office, we will to be removable at the pleasure 
of the said Governor and Company, or the greater part of them, whereof 
the Governor of the said Company, for the time being, or his Deputy, to 
be one, that then and so often, it shall and may be lawful to and for the 
said Governor, and the rest of the Company for the time being, or the 
greater part of them, whereof the Governor, for the time being, or his 
Deputy to be one, within convenient time after the death or removing of 
any of the said Committee, to assemble themselves in such convenient 
place as is or shall be usual and accustomed for the election of the Gover- 
nor of the said Company, or where else the Governor of the said Com- 
pany, for the time being, or his Deputy shall appoint : And that the said 
Governor and Comimny, or the greater part of them, whereof the Gov- 
ernor, for the time leing, or his Deputy to be one, being then and there 
present, shall and may, then and there, before their departure from the 
said place, elect and nominate one or more of the said Company to be of 
the Committee of the said Company in the plnce and stead of him or them 
that so died, or were or was so removed, which person or persons so nom- 
inated and elected to the office of Committee of the said Ci mpmy, shall 
have and exercise the taid office for and during the residue of the said 
year, taking first a corporal oath, as is aforesaid, for the due execution 
thereof, and this to be done from time to time, so often as the case shall 
require : And to the end the said Governor and Comi>any of Adventurers 
of England, trading into Hudson's Bay, may be encouraged to undertake 
and effectually to prosecute the said design, of our more especial grace, 
certain knowledge, and mere motion, we have given, granted, and con- 
finned, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, do give, 
grant and confirm, unto the said Governor and Company, and their suc- 
cessors, the sole trade and commerce of all those seas, straits, bays, rivers, 
flakes, creeks and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that lie 

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within the entrance of the straits commonly called Hudson's Straits, to- 
gether with all the lands and territories upon the countries, coasts, and 
confines of the seas, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks, and sounds aforesaid, that 
are not already actually possessed by or granted to any of our subjects, or 
possessed by the subjects of any other Christian Prince or State, with the 
Hshing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons, and all other royal fishes in 
the seas, bays, inlets, and rivers within the premises, and the fish therein 
taken, together with the royalty of the sea upon the coasts within the 
limits aforesaid, and all mines roy^l, as well discovered as not discovered, 
of gold, silver, gems, and precious stones, to be found or discovered with- 
in the territories, limits and places aforesaid, and that the said land be 
from henceforth reckoned and reputed as one of our plantations or colon- 
ies in America, called '* Rupert's Land : " And further, we do, by these 
presents for us, our heirs and successors, make, create and constitute the 
said Governor and Company, for the time being, and their successors, the 
true and absolute lords and proprietors of the same territory, limits and 
places aforesaid, and of all other the premises, saving always the faith, 
allegiance and sovereign dominion due to us, our heirs and successors, for 
the same, to have, hold, possess and enjoy the said territory, limits and 
places, and all and singular other the premises, hereby granted as afore- 
said, with their and every of their rights, members, jurisdictions, pre- 
rogatives, royalties and appurtenances whatsoever, to them, the said Gov- 
ernor and Company, and their successors for ever, to be holden of us, our 
heirs and successors, as of our manor of East Greenwich, in our county 
of Kent, in free and common soccage, and not in capite or by knight's 
service ; yielding and paying yearly to us, our heirs and successors, for 
the same, two elks and two black beavers, whensoever and as often as we, 
our heirs and successors, shall happen to enter into the said countries, 
territories and regions hereby granted : And further, our will and plea- 
sure is, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, we do grant 
unto the said Governor and Company, and to their successors, that it 
shall and may be lawful to and for the said Governor and Company, and 
their successors, from time to time, to assemble themselves, for or about 
any the matters, causes, affairs or businesses of the said trade, in any place 
or places for the same convenient, within our dominions or elsewhere, ard 
there to hold court for the said Company, and the affairs thereof ; ard 
that also, it shall and may be lawful to and for them, and the greatc r 
part of them, being so assembled, and that shall then and there be pre- 
sent, in any such place or places, whereof the Governor or his Deputy, 
for the time being, to be one, to make, ordain and constitute such and so 
many reasonable laws, constitutions, orders and ordinances as to them, 
or the greater part of them, being then and there present, shall seem 
necessary and convenient for the good government of the said company, 

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and of all governors of colonies, forts and plantations, factors, maHterB» 
mariners, and other oflScers employed, or to be employed, in any of the 
territories and Ian (is aforesaid, and in any of their voyages ; and for the 
better advancement and continuance of the said trade or traffic, and plan- 
tations, and the same laws, constitutions, orders and ordinances so made, 
to put in, use and execute accordin^^ly. and at their pleasure to revoke 
and alter the same, or any of them, as the occasion shall require ; ajid 
that the said Governor and Company, so often as they shall make, ordain, 
or establish any such laws, constitutions, orders and ordinances, in such 
form as aforesaid, shall and may lawfully impose, ordain, limit, and pro- 
vide such pains, penalties, and punishments upon all offenders, contrary 
to such laws, constitutions, orders and ordinances, or any of them, as tt> 
the said Governor and Company, for the time being, or the greater part 
of them, then and there being present, the said Governor or his Deputy 
being always one. shall seem necessary, reijuisite, or convenient for the 
observation of the same laws, constitutions, orders, and ordinances ; and 
the same tines and amerciaments shall and may, by their officers and ser- 
vants, from time to time to l>e appointed for that purpose, levy, take and 
have, to the use of the said Govemtr and Company, and their successors^ 
without the impediment of us, our heirs, or successor, or of any the 
officers or ministers of us, our heirs, or successors, and without any ac- 
count therefor to us, our heirs, or successors, to be made : All and singu- 
lar which laws, c(mstitutions, orders and ordinances, so as aforesaid to 
be made, we will to be duly observed and kept under the jmius and 
penalties therein to be contained ; so always as the said laws, constitu- 
tions, orders and ordinances, tines and amerciaments, be reasonable, and 
not contrary or repugnant, but as near as may be agreeable to the laws, 
statutes or customs of this our realm : And furthermore, of our ample 
and abundant grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, we have granted, 
and by these presents, for us, our heira and successors, do grant unto the 
:iaid Governor and Company, and their successoi-s, that they and their 
successors, and their factoi-s, servants, and agents, for them and on their 
behalf, and not otherwise, shall forever hereafter have, use and enjoy, not 
only the whole, entire and only trade and traffic, and the whole, entire 
and only liberty, use and privilege of trading and trafficking to and fn»ui 
the territory, limits, and places aforesaid ; but also the whole and entire 
trade and traffic to and from all havens, bays, creeks, rivei*8, lakes and 
seas, into which they shall find entrance or passage by water or hind nut 
of the territories, limits or places aforesaid ; and to and with all the 
natives and people inhabiting, or which shall inhabit within the terri- 
tories, liurtta and places aforesaid : and to and with all other nations in- 
habiting any of the coasts adjacent t-o the said territories, limits and 
places which are not already jwjssessed as aforesaid, or whereof the s<»le 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


liberty or privilege of trade and traftic is not granted to any other of our 
subjects : And we, of our further royal favor, and of our more especial 
grace, certain knowledt^eand mere motion, have granted, and by these pre- 
sents, for us, our heirs and successors, do grant to the said (Governor and 
Company, and to their successors, that neither the said territories, limits 
and places, hereby granted as aforesaid, nor any part thereof, nor the 
islands, havens, ports, cities, towns, or places thereof, or therein con- 
tained, shall be visited, fre^iuented, or haunted by any of the subjects of 
us, our heirs, or successors, contrary to the true meaning of these pre- 
sents, and by virtue of our prerogative royal, wliich we will not have in 
that behalf argued or brought into question : Wo strictly charge, com- 
mand and prohibit for us, our heirs and successors, all the subjects of us, 
our heirs and successors, of what degree or quality soever they bu, that 
none of them, directly or in