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(Donald A. Smith). 






Pastor of Augustine Church, Winnipeg ; Author of "'The Selkirk Settlers 
in Real Life," etc. 

itb portraits anb Illustrations. 





ENTERED according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 
one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, by WILLIAM 
BRIQOS, at the Department of Agriculture. 



WHEN the few short papers on the first 
colony in the North- West were put into book- 
form, under the title of " The Selkirk Settlers 
in Real Life," the book received a welcome far 
beyond its intrinsic deserts, because it gave 
some idea of how the early settlers lived in 
their homes rather than the ordinary history 
of contemporary events. Letters received from 
readers far and near, as well as verbal commu- 
nications, have given me to feel that people are 
anxious to get glimpses of the moving actors 
in the human drama as an aid to understanding 
the events commonly known as the history of 
the country. 

iv Preface. 

Hence, many who took deep interest in the 
simple story of the early colony on the Red 
River, were anxious that a record of the life 
succeeding those early days should be written 
by some one who was an eye-witness of the 
change from the old life to the new, as well as 
of the subsequent stirring events in the foriria- 
tive period of Western history. In answer to 
these requests, and with a desire to preserve a 
life-story of the land in which I was born and 
in which I have thus far spent my life, these 
chapters have been written. I have had neither 
the time nor the desire to write a compendium 
of all the events that have transpired in the 
country, nor to give minute details of all I have 
mentioned. I have sought rather to dwell upon 
men and events only so far as a record of them 
seemed to me to be relevant to my purpose, as 
expressed in the title of this book. I have 
simply gone back and lived through the past 
again, seeing the faces and hearing the voices 

Preface. v 

of other days, and what I have seen and heard 
I have herein written. 

It is hoped that the present work will 
give a sufficiently succinct account of the pro- 
gress of the country through its formative 
stages, and at the same time have enough of 
personal reminiscence about it to make the 
dry bones of history more palatable to the 
taste of the ordinary reader than they might 
otherwise be. 

Should it appear to some that certain things 
they deem of importance have been omitted, 
such will kindly bear in mind the scope this 
book contemplates, and they can fill out the 
incompleteness by themselves taking up the pen 
and traversing fields which this work does not 
occupy. It is in such way after all that a com- 
plete history is secured, for every man has his 
own peculiar point of view, if he has realized 
the meaning of individuality. The Canadian 
West has little more than begun a great history. 

vi Preface. 

We who have lived here always have but 
heard by anticipation, 

" . . . the tread of pioneers 

Of nations yet to be, 
The first low wash of waves where yet 
Shall roll a human sea " 

and perhaps the present writing by one who 
was at the very beginning may be of interest. 


WINNIPEG, April, 1898. 



Musings on the Old ----- - 11 

The Pathos and Peril of Change - 19 

Armed Rebellion 32 

The Plot Thickens - 40 


Some Counter- Efforts and Their Results 55 

Collapse of the Rebellion 73 


The Making of a Province - 89 

viii Contents. 


Contact with the Outside World 115 


A "Boom" and Another Rebellion - - - 134 

Campaigning on the Prairies - - - - 153 

Rebellion at an End 177 

Religious and Educational Development - - - 209 




Smith) Frontispiece. 


Louis KIEL 35 


Hox. A. G. B. BANNATYNE - 53 

JAMES Ross - - - 67 


RIEL AND His COUNCIL (1869-70) 73 


Hon. Alex. Morris, Hon. David Laird, and Sir 

John Schultz 89 



F. H. FRANCIS, M.P.P. - - 108 


REV. GEORGE McDouo.ALL - - - - - 114 


Portraits and Illustrations. 







CHIEF CROWFOOT - - - - . - - - - 157 


Middleton, Major-General Strange, Lieut. -Col. 

Otter, and Major Steele 165 


1885 - 174 







Archbishop Machray, Rev. John Black, D.D., 

and Rev. George ^oung, D.D. - - - 209 



HON. F. W. G. HAULTAIN - 223 

D. J. GOGGIN, M.A. 226 

HON. GILBERT McMiCKEN - .... 227 




IT was not to be expected that the great 
domain of British America west of the inland 
sea of Superior would remain for an indefinitely 
long period under the sway of a fur-trading 
company, however paternal and beneficent to 
those under its care that sovereignty might be. 
Nor was it likely that the westward course 
of empire would fail to extend over the vast 
area which has been aptly described as the 
very home of the wheat plant, and which has 
become in its several parts the great producer 
of the staff of life, the grazing ground for in- 
numerable herds, as well as the cynosure on 
which the eyes of the mineral-seeking world 
are now fixed. I never have had any sym- 
pathy with the somewhat generally accepted 

12 The Making of the Canadian West. 

view that the Hudson's Bay Company, who 
since the year 1670 had partially, and from 
1821 had absolutely, controlled most of this 
wide region, was the determined and active 
opponent of its settlement and progress. 

Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal (Donald A. 
Smith), in his excellent preface to my former 
book on "The Selkirk Settlers in Real Life," 
puts the matter in such capital form that I 
cannot do better than reproduce here his para- 
graph on the point : " It has been the custom," 
says His Lordship, " to describe the Hudson's 
Bay Company as an opponent of individual 
settlement and of colonization. To enter into 
a controversy upon this point is not my 
purpose, but it may be proper to state that the 
condition of affairs at the time in question in 
the country between Lake Superior and the 
Rocky Mountains does not appear to have 
been sufficiently appreciated. Owing to the 
difficulty of access and egress, colonization in 
what is now Manitoba and the North-West 
Territories could not have taken place to any 
extent. Of necessity, also, the importation 
of the commodities required in connection 
with its agricultural development would have 
been exceptionally expensive, while, on the 
other hand, the cost of transportation of its 

Musings on the Old. 13 

possible exports must have been so great as to 
render competition with countries more favor- 
ably situated at the moment difficult if not 
impossible. The justice of these contentions 
will be at once realized when it is remembered 
that the Red River valley was situated in the 
centre of the continent, one thousand miles 
away in any direction from settled districts. 
. . . Personally, it is my opinion that the 
acquisition and development of the Hudson 
Bay Territory was impossible prior to the 
confederation of the Dominion. No less a body 
than united Canada could have acquired and 
administered so large a domain, or have under- 
taken the construction of railways, without 
which its development could only have been 
slow and uncertain. It was not until 1878, 
eight years after the transfer, that Winnipeg 
first received railway communication through 
the United States. Three or four more years 
elapsed before the completion of the line to 
Lake Superior, and it was only late in 1885 
sixteen years after the Hudson's Bay Company 
relinquished their charter that the Canadian 
Pacific Railway was completed from ocean to 
ocean, and Manitoba and the North- West 
Territories were placed in direct and regular 
communication with the different parts of the 

14 The Making of the Canadian West. 

In addition to what His Lordship thus tells 
us, in a statement whose form and contents will 
commend it to every sensible person who is 
at all cognizant of the conditions referred to 
therein, it remains to be said, from the stand- 
point of the people who then lived in the country, 
that so far as my recollection and information 
go, they made no active effort to remove what 
might be called by some the " invidious bar " of 
their isolation, if we except the action of a few 
of the adventurer class a class always ready 
to exploit frontier communities for their own 
glory. Why should it be reasonably thought 
that the people of that time, along the banks of 
the Red and Assiniboine rivers and out on the 
great plains, would make any special effort to 
bring in the flood of that larger life which, from 
the older settled portions of the continent, was 
beginning to beat up against their borders ? 
The conditions under which those people lived 
were for the most part the best they knew, and, 
speaking generally, they were contented and 
happy under the regime of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, especially as that company did not 
latterly insist on monopoly in trade. The com- 
munity, before the transfer, might be roughly 
divided into two classes, if we except those who 
during the sixties had come from without into 
their midst. 

Musings on the Old. 15 

The Selkirk settlers and those of their class 
(who composed the one part) would not, so far 
at least as the older generation was concerned, 
be eager for more struggles and wrenchings. 
For years after coming to the country their 
life had been one of grim and incessant con- 
flict with all manner of difficulties. Not only 
were they met again and again by the deadly 
hostility and persecution of the North-West 
Fur Company, who were determined to destroy 
the colony brought out under the care of 
their rivals in trade ; not only had locust 
plagues and epidemics assailed them with 
ruinous force, but the very elements seemed 
so unfriendly to people unaccustomed to the 
climatic conditions, that more than ten long 
years from their first coming had passed before 
they had any means of livelihood other than 
the fish or fowl or products of the chase they 
might ofttimes with great hardship and suffering 
secure. Even following those ten years they 
had scarcely got their homes built and their 
little plots sowed, when, after the " long and 
cruel winter" of 1826, the raging Red swept 
everything they owned before its frothing cur- 
rent into Lake Winnipeg. Is it any wonder 
that when they got fairly settled, the old men 
who had come through this magnificent struggle 

16 The Making of the Canadian West. 

felt that now when their sinews had been tamed 
by age and trouble and their heads frosted with 
the unmelting snows, they were entitled to that 
decade of rest that rounds out the threescore 
years and ten ? 

And so it was that the older of them, while 
loyal to every British institution that might 
be set up in their midst, and while anxious to 
do what was best for their children, waited in 
the lengthening shadows for the sunset, and 
neither clamored for changed conditions nor 
took much active part in them when those 
conditions began to obtain. The younger people 
amongst them, it is true many of whom, as I 
have said in my former volume, had gone to 
eastern institutions of learning and had come 
back with some knowledge of life's possibilities 
under different conditions ; and others of whom 
had, in freighting expeditions, tapped the 
arteries of business and got the taste of com- 
mercial blood were not averse to the incoming 
of the new life when circumstances would be 
ripe for its advent. 

The other part of the community was com- 
posed largely of the bois-brul&s the adven- 
turous hunters and traders of the time and 
these could have no special interest in pressing 
for the opening of the country to the newer 

Musings on the Old. 17 

civilization. From their childhood these men 
had roamed over this great area with a lordly 
sense of ownership. Without any let or hind- 
rance they had followed the buffalo over the 
trackless prairie; they had trapped the fur- 
bearing animals in the forest and on the plains ; 
they had fished in the great lakes and rivers, 
and in the midst of it all had lived in the enjoy- 
ment of a satisfying, if rude, abundance. No 
one who ever saw one of these plain hunters 
come in to Fort Garry" after the season's work 
on the Saskatchewan, could fail to see that he 
was a person in exceedingly comfortable ma- 
terial circumstances. In his train he had any 
number of carts (with ponies for each and to 
spare), and these were laden with the choicest 
viands in the shape of buffalo meat, marrow fat, 
beaver-tail, etc., while he also had a goodly 
supply of furs that would bring handsome 
prices. Besides his ponies, he had several choice 
horses of the larger breed for buffalo runners ; 
and camping with his family and following in 
their cosy tents on the prairie, he was as in- 
dependent as a feudal baron in the brave days 
of old. Under such circumstances these men 
were not likely to be active in securing the 
advent of conditions that would circumscribe 
their domain ; but neither they nor any other 

18 The Making of the Canadian West. 

class of the population were predisposed to put 
obstacles in the way of any incoming system 
that would pay due regard to the rights of those 
who were in the country before its advent. 

Summing up the whole situation, then, it 
would seem that things had to take their normal 
course, and that circumstances were shaping 
so that in the fulness of time the West was 
to come to its majority and clothe itself in the 
garments of national citizenship. The number 
of people from the eastern provinces who began 
looking westward, and the increase of publica- 
tions concerning the country by those visiting 
it, directed the attention of statesmen to its 
great possibilities, and prepared the way for 
the movement that secured the " Great Lone 
Land " as a part of the Dominion of Canada. 

O s 
& $ 




THERE is always a strong element of pathos 
in the way in which the people who have been 
in undisputed and absolute possession of a 
country, realize that limitations are being put 
upon them by the incoming of new population 
and new conditions. A few years ago it was 
my privilege to be present on an island in one 
of our western lakes when the Indians of the 
district were assembled for the annual treaty 
payment and the usual supply of rations. 
Everyone knows how fairly and honorably 
the Indians of the West have been treated by 
the Government, and, for the most part, by 
their agents, and we all realize how the pro- 
gress of the world and the good of mankind 
necessitate the acquisition of the land from 
those who have not had the training or the 
opportunity required to fully develop its re- 
sources ; but, withal, the scene at one of these 

20 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Indian treaties has its sadness for the thoughtful 
onlooker. As the men who had once been lords 
of the isles and lakes sat meekly round in a circle 
to receive each his handful of flour and piece of 
bacon for the mid-day meal, one could not help 
feeling that our duty as a Christian people is 
not wholly done when we bestow a meal, pay 
a few dollars and provide a reservation. The 
children of the wild, upon whose heritage we 
have entered, must become the wards of the 
nation and the charge of the Church of Christ, 
that their declining days may be cheered and 
brightened in the noblest sense. 

As one of an armed force I have witnessed 
the surrender of princely Crees and Chip- 
pewyans beyond the banks of the North 
Saskatchewan many of them men of magnifi- 
cent mould and royal bearing who had been 
incited to rebellion by people who should have 
known better. When these misguided men laid 
down their arms and were guarded by our 
wakeful pickets, thoughts of pity for their 
unhappy predicament filled the minds of their 
guards in the watches of the night. These 
Indians must be taught by force, if need be, 
the wrong of rebellion against a rightly consti- 
tuted authority that is disposed to treat them 
fairly ; and above all, they must be taught the 

Pathos and Perils of Change. 21 

sacredness of human life. But seeing that in 
the interests of progressive civilization we have 
policed the plains over which they once roamed 
as " monarchs of all they surveyed," that we 
have placed limitations upon them to which 
they were wholly unaccustomed, and which 
were not provided for in their own dark code 
of ethics, we ought to be more ready to follow 
them with the blessings of peace than with the 
waste of the sword. 

These somewhat extreme examples will serve 
to illustrate our opening sentence as to the ele- 
ment of pathos present when people who have 
had illimitable range begin to find themselves 
circumscribed, even though this narrowing of 
the field is for their own ultimate good. They 
give us to understand how the white settlers by 
the banks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, 
though perfectly ready to acquiesce in the new 
order of things beginning to obtain amongst 
them, would feel that a great change was coming 
over the spirit of their dream. Those who know 
what the old order had been realize how com- 
pletely in many ways it was to be reversed, and 
hence how carefully and judiciously the Govern- 
ment of Canada, and those who professed to be 
its agents, should have acted in bringing the 
change to pass. For those settlers, once they 

22 The Making of the Canadian West. 

had conquered their earlier difficulties, life had 
been singularly peaceable and uneventful. Its 
central points outside the home, with all its 
guileless hospitality and simplicity, were the 
church and school, both of which bulked far 
more largely with them than some people in 
these days of complex society seem able to 

They were without the vexation and the 
heart-burning of active politics, they were 
ignorant of taxation in any form, while the 
rivalries that existed were in keeping with 
their simple life, and had nothing of that fierce 
element of competition into which the newer 
civilization was to hurl them. The contests 
that had been most in evidence were over such 
matters as the speed of horses, in regard to 
which the settlement would often be deeply 
stirred, especially if the horses were owned in 
different parts of the colony. There was some- 
times a great deal of strength put into efforts to 
be first with the seeding, harvest, hay-cutting, 
hay-hauling or freighting expeditions. It was 
the ambition of many households always to have 
breakfast by candle-light, that they might have 
a good deal done before their more tardy neigh- 
bors arose. In the matter of hay-hauling we 
used to get up in the night, and going out to the 

Pathos and Perils of Change, 23 

yard, where the oxen had been tied to the carts, 
grope round in the darkness to get them hitched 
up, now and then pausing to listen whether we 
could hear the creaking music that betokened 
the departure of our neighbor's cart-train to 
the hay swamps. Friendly contests in feats of 
physical strength were very common. The 
number of bags of wheat a man could carry on 
his back, the quantity of shot-bags he could lift 
over his head, the weight he could hang to his 
little finger and then write his name on the wall 
with a coal, the number of loads of hay he could 
cut with a scythe in a day, or the number of 
" stocks " of wheat he could handle with a 
sickle these were some of the rivalries that 
gave zest to the simple life of the early days. 
The school was another field for competition, 
and on the great days of oral examination the 
parents and friends were present as eager and 
interested spectators of the contest which decided 
who was the best reader, writer, etc., in the dis- 

In the business life of the people there was 
nothing tumultuous. There were no banks and 
no promissory notes on the latter of which 
they would have looked with contempt as on 
something implying distrust in a man's word 
of honor. The general stores, either of the 

24 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Hudson's Bay Company or of individual dealers, 
were not clamorous for business, as there was 
no compelling force of competition. Frequently 
on going to one of these stores you had to look 
up the proprietor, who, leaving the store to take 
care of itself, was out attending to his horse, 
or something of that sort. When you went into 
a store there was no modern clerk to advance 
with an alluring smile ; indeed, the proprietor 
or clerk might even say that he had not the 
article asked for, until the customer would 
wander round and find it for himself. No 
wrapping paper was used, and you had either 
to bring a bag with you, buy some cotton, or 
leave your tea and sugar on the counter. 

Think of a community like that being suddenly 
confronted with the necessity for political strife, 
with the prospect of municipal government and 
taxation, with all the keen and sometimes bitter 
rivalries of present-day business methods, and 
with, alas, some adventurers all too ready to 
take advantage of their simple-heartedness, and 
no one will wonder if it took the people some 
little time to gather themselves up and accom- 
modate their lives to such new conditions. 

But more important in its bearing upon the 
feeling of the people was the sudden realization 
of the fact that, after long years of undisputed 

Pathos and Perils of Change. 25 

possession of large privileges on the great areas 
around them, limitations were being put upon 
their operations by the incoming of strangers, 
who, driving stakes here and there, barred the 
old ways and the old fields sometimes unjustly 
against a people who could only be expected 
to learn slowly that their domain must some 
time be curtailed. There was an element of 
pathos, and yet, withal, of sound reason in all 
this, in view of which those who were bringing 
in the new conditions would have done well to 
exercise a caution and care they did not always 
manifest. Add to this the fact that ofttimes it 
was discovered that the persons who, by show of 
authority, sometimes excluded the settlers from 
places, had themselves no rightful claim, and 
one should not be surprised if the settlers under 
such circumstances were in some unrest as to 
the future. I remember, for instance, how the 
hay meadows to which the settlers had come 
for many years, with the marking out of 
a "circle" as the only condition precedent to 
holding all within it, were closed against them 
by people who, coming from the village around 
Fort Garry, desired to hold these meadows for 
their own profit. If they had just claim it 
was all right, but if they had not their action 
was resented. The settlers, however, were 

26 The Making of the Canadian West. 

not slow to seize the situation, and some in- 
cidents took place which showed, to the disgust 
of the discomfited, that they could hold their 
own. The " green knoll swamp," lying between 
the Kildonan settlers and Stony Mountain, was 
a favorite source of hay supply, and new-comers, 
finding this out, often came round with formi- 
dable papers to frighten the settlers away from 
their accustomed haunts. A friend of mine still 
relates with great relish that one day, just as 
he and the people of his immediate neighborhood 
were starting into hay-cutting there, an impor- 
tant-looking stranger with a large retinue of 
men, mowers, rakes, etc., bore down upon him, 
and with book in hand asked him in great 
wrath who the people were who dared to come 
upon this land, as he wished to have them 
arrested for trespass. The settler, standing upon 
his mower, told him that the Gunns, McDonalds, 
MacBeths, Pritchards, Harpers and Sutherlands 
were visible. All these names were taken down 
with tremendous emphasis by the irate gentle- 
man, who expected that the settler would at 
once warn his neighbors, and that he and they 
would "fold their tents like the Arabs, and 
silently steal away" from the coveted hay- 
fields. In this, however, the new-comer was 
mistaken, for the settler coolly went on to say, 

Pathos and Perils of Change. 27 

" You have not yet taken me down in your 
book. My name is Francis Murray," upon which 
the man " with curses not loud but deep," see- 
ing that his game was understood, took himself 
away and was not again heard from. 

Besides all this, some of the new arrivals, 
who had been hospitably entertained by the 
settlers with their best, wrote to eastern papers 
ridiculing the manner of life and the accommo- 
dation they found amongst them, and made 
reference to the dark-skinned people under the 
somewhat contemptuous name of " breeds." 
The number, of course, who did any of these 
things was small, but their conduct offended 
and estranged many who, ignorant of the fact 
that such people were only the excrescences on 
the better life of the older provinces, somewhat 
guardedly awaited further developments. 

In the meantime matters were shaping in the 
direction of a confederation in Canada, and 
when that movement, beginning in the Maritime 
districts, had spread westward, the great states- 
men of all parties, dropping their minor differ- 
ences, united nobly in accomplishing it, so that 
in the year 1867 the older provinces came 
together into one federation with provincial 
autonomy in regard to certain matters. This 
task once finished it would seem as if Canadian 

28 The Making of the Canadian West. 

statesmen looked round for fresh worlds to 
conquer, and as the great West was beginning 
to attract attention, steps were taken in the 
Dominion Parliament to secure through the 
Imperial Government the surrender by the 
Hudson's Bay Company of their charter in 
Rupert's Land. This charter they had held for 
some three hundred years, and they naturally 
declined to give it up without compensation 
for the loss they would sustain by relinquish- 
ing claim to the vast territory it covered. 
Instructed by the Dominion Government, Sir 
George E. Cartier and the Hon. William Mac- 
dougall proceeded to England, and arrange- 
ments were concluded for the transfer of the 
North- West to Canada. The Hudson's Bay 
Company were to receive 300,000 sterling, cer- 
tain reservations around their posts, and about 
one-twentieth of the lands in the territory as 
thereafter surveyed, and were therefor to sur- 
render their charter to the Imperial Govern- 
ment ; the latter were to transfer the territory 
to the Government of Canada, who in their turn 
undertook to respect and conserve the rights 
of the people in the area thus added to the 
Dominion. This arrangement was concluded 
in the spring of 1869, and it was then expected 
that the purchase money would be paid on 

Pathos and Perils of Change. 29 

the 1st of October following, and that probably 
on the 1st day of December the Queen's 
Proclamation would issue, setting forth these 
facts and fixing the date of the actual transfer 
of the North- West to Canada. 

So far all was well. The ideas leading to the 
acquisition of this great territory were in every 
sense statesmanlike, and if carefully carried out 
were calculated to be of the greatest benefit to 
the people in the new territory and to the 
Dominion as well. We cannot too thankfully 
pay tribute unstinted to the men whose ideals 
were for an ever- widening horizon, and who felt 
that " no pent-up Utica should confine the 
powers " of the young nation just beginning to 
stretch out and exercise its giant limbs. Once 
the older provinces were brought into a 
Confederation it was wise to look forward to a 
Canada extending from ocean to ocean, and to 
take the necessary legal steps to secure the 
West as part of the Dominion. But just there, 
after the negotiations with the Hudson's Bay 
Company through the Imperial Government 
were well in hand and were being wisely con- 
cluded, the Canadian authorities seem to have 
blundered by overlooking the fact that the new 
territory had a population of some ten thousand 
people, who ought at least to have been 

30 The Making of the Canadian West. 

informed in some official way of the bargain 
that was being made, and of the steps being 
taken to secure and guard their rights and 

Rumors of the transaction certainly reached 
the Red River through unauthoritative sources, 
only to produce uneasiness there. Before the 
transfer was completed men were sent out to 
open roads from the Lake of the Woods into the 
settlement. Surveying parties entered the new 
territory and went hither and thither, driving 
their stakes and erecting their mounds, to the 
bewilderment of the people, and, to cap all, a 
governor was despatched to the Red River 
before the old Government was in any sense 
superseded and before a Queen's Proclamation, 
which would have been instantly recognized by 
all classes of the community, was issued. The 
Selkirk settlers and other people of that class, 
however perplexed at the procedure, had the 
utmost confidence that the Canadian authorities 
would ultimately do substantial justice in the 
recognition of all just and lawful claims and 
privileges enjoyed by the inhabitants of the new 
territory, and hence awaited patiently, though 
somewhat anxiously, the developments of time. 
But the French half-breeds (commonly called 
" the French " in the Red River Colony) more 

Pathos and Perils of Change. 31 

fiery and easily excited, more turbulent of 
spirit and warlike in disposition, accustomed to 
passages at arms with any who would cross their 
path, and withal, as a class, less well-informed 
on current events than their white brethren 
were not satisfied with a course that seemed to 
them to place their rights in jeopardy, and so 
they rose up in a revolt that, alas, while possibly 
accomplishing some of the objects which should 
have been reached by constitutional means, left 
its red stream across the page of our history. 



"THE French are off to drive back the 
Governor ! " These words, somewhat excitedly 
uttered by one of my brothers, and addressed 
to my father, made up the first intimation I, a 
lad of ten summers, had that something serious 
was on foot ; yet I recall the exact words as 
distinctly as if they had been spoken yesterday, 
and most of the acts in the drama of the 
rebellion whose actual outbreak they announced 
are indelibly stamped upon my memory. It 
was in October, 1869, and my brother had just 
come home from the morning service in Kil- 
donan church, over which upon that day the 
shadow of the situation had been cast, perhaps 
to the serious detriment of devout and undi- 
vided worship. The fact that the news first 
came to us in this way throws a curious side- 
light on the primitive life of the time. The 
churchyard was the modern representative of 

Armed Rebellion. 33 

the Athenian market-place, so far as the giving 
and receiving of news was concerned. The 
settlement had no telegraphic communication 
with the outside world ; the solitary post-office 
was miles away, and mails, in any case, were 
few and far apart. A few of the people sub- 
scribed for an eastern paper, which was com- 
paratively old before it reached its destination, 
and the local paper was doubtless often greatly 
at a loss for "copy." Moreover, it must be 
remembered that in certain seasons of the year 
the settlers were away from home haying, 
wood-cutting, etc., during the whole week. 
Saturday evening, however, they were all back. 
A general brushing-up was in order, and on 
Sabbath morning, except in cases of sickness or 
some similar cause, they were all wending their 
way in good time to the church. 

" What's the latest news ? " was a question 
requently heard, and the men often gathered in 
knots in the churchyard before the service that 
they might get abreast of the times. Some 
stay-at-home man, perhaps the school-teacher, 
who was always looked upon as a species of 
encyclopaedia, or someone who was in touch 
with the inhabitants of Fort Garry, " held the 
floor," and gave what information he could as to 
current events. The Sabbatarian ideas of these 

34 The Making of the Canadian West. 

people were, for the most part, strict enough ; 
but I suppose they looked on this parliament as 
a sort of family gathering to talk over family 
affairs, and as a general thing the news imparted 
was not startling enough to disturb that air of 
devoutness which they sought to cultivate when 
they entered the portals of the place of worship. 
But on the day just mentioned the intelligence 
was of unusual moment, and, perchance, may 
have deepened the earnestness with which they 
joined in the prayer for the preservation of 
peace to Him " who breaketh the bow in sunder 
and burneth the chariot in the fire." 

"The French are off' to drive back the 
Governor ! " repeated my brother, fresh from the 
churchyard conclave, and though it was the 
first I recall hearing of active trouble, doubtless 
the announcement was not wholly unexpected 
by my father. It seemed that for some weeks 
previous to this Louis Kiel, who was to have 
the " bad eminence * of leading two rebellions, 
had been holding meetings amongst the French 
half-breeds, and, doubtless, moved by others far 
and near, had been delivering fiery orations in 
regard to the rumored changes which he claimed 
were to put in jeopardy all the rights they held 
dear. It may as well be admitted that the 
situation, as they saw it, gave him some 

Armed Rebellion. 35 

plausible ground on which to work. The diffi- 
culty of conveying reliable information from 
the outside world to the settlement must not be 
overlooked ; but we repeat that it now seems 
passing strange that the Government of Canada 
did not in some way get official word to the 

settlers before sending forward a governor, and 
letting loose in the territory some not over- 
prudent persons who claimed to be the agents 
of the Dominion. Had some man as widely 
known and respected in the country as Donald 
A. Smith, who, coining afterwards, even when 
the revolt was at white heat, did so much to 

36 The Making of the Canadian West. 

secure peace had such a man been sent at 
that stage, the face, of our history might have 
been changed. 

But these are large provisos; and, in the 
absence of any such precautions, the signal 
fires for rebellion were lit on the banks of 
the Red River, and called sympathizers from 
out on the great plains. Add to the situation 
as it was the fact that Kiel had commanding 


influence over those French half-breeds, and we 
find additional explanation for the uprising. 
His father, who lived many years in St. 
Boniface, and was sometimes called " the Miller 
of the Seine," from his having a mill on that 
little tributary to the Red, had been an idolized 
leader amongst them, and the son inherited 
much of his immense energy and eloquence. 
Moreover, it must be remembered that Riel's 
fiery speeches fell upon very inflammable 
material. These men were naturally of stormy- 
spirit daring rough-riders of the plains, who 
brooked no interference from anyone, and who 
had passed through many a conflict with their 
darker brethren on the wild wastes of the West. 
Once get men of that sort to feel that they are 
fighting for their homes and the rights of their 
families, put modern weapons into their hands, 
and in their own kind of warfare they are 

Armed Rebellion. 37 

dangerous men to attack. Being of that stamp, 
and being made to feel that they were to be 
trodden upon, they rose in armed insurrection ; 
and, as a first step, went on the errand noted in 
the opening words of this chapter. No one can 
defend an act such as theirs, even had it not 
led to some of the deplorable events which 
followed. Though many can see extenuating 
circumstances, armed rebellion is a serious busi- 
ness ; and if there is a place for it in the present 
state of the world, it is when all constitutional 
means have been exhausted, and people accom- 
plish a revolution in the face of some iniquitous 
and tyrannous government. Tubal Cain's offen- 
sive weapon is an instrument of last resort, only 
to be taken up when every other arbitrament 
has failed ; and this we say, though we agree 

' ' That while Oppression lifts its head, 

Or a tyrant would be lord, 
While we may thank him for the plough, 
We won't forget the sword. " 

But the case before us was far short of that. 
At best Kiel and his men were starting to fight 
the shadows of events which might never come, 
even though those shadows seemed to their 
kindled imaginations to be portents of dire 
disasters heading in their direction. No threat 

38 The Making of the Canadian West. 

had been made against these people, and they 
should have known that no act of robbery or of 
deprivation of rights had ever been permitted 
ultimately by the flag under whose folds they 
were to be governed. Besides, they had no 
right to assume to speak for the whole country 
before consulting with others who lived in it. 
Why did they not take counsel with the Selkirk 
settlers and men of that class who, being of less 
nomadic habits, had larger settled interests in 
the territory, and who, moreover, had always 
been better informed as to events that were 
transpiring ? Why did they not see whether 
some concerted and peaceful action on the part 
of the whole population could not be planned 
to attain the ends in view and conserve the 
rights of the inhabitants which seemed to be 
threatened '( And yet, though we ask these 
questions, we cannot be justly bitter towards the 
mass of the rebels at that stage. They were 
easily imposed upon and led by many who 
should have counselled peace, and notably by 
the ill-starred man who, twenty-five years after- 
wards, selfishly offered to give up the struggle 
for alleged popular rights in exchange for a sum 
of money for himself. Whether Louis Kiel had 
all his senses or not God only knoweth, and now 

Armed Rebellion. 39 

that he has gone beyond the bar of human judg- 
ment, we pronounce not whether in our opinion 
he was knave or lunatic, or partly both. We 
give some of the facts concerning him in the 
following pages, and let the reader bring in a 
verdict if he chooses so to do. 



THE first overt act of rebellion was committed 
when an armed and organized force, on the 21st 
of October, 1869, took possession of the high- 
way near the Salle River, between Fort Garry 
and the international boundary. By this route 
the Hon. Wm. Macdougall and his staff would 
have entered the territory in the normal course 
of things, but the rebels put an effectual stop 
to the programme by interposing on the one 
great roadway an obstacle which the Governor's 
aide is reported as having somewhat irrever- 
ently designated "a blawsted fence." A fence 
extending only a few yards each way across a 
roadway in a prairie district that can be travelled 
in almost any direction need not necessarily pre- 
vent people from traversing the country, but 
this one erected upon that highway was in 
tangible form a declaration that the armed men 
who erected it had made up their minds to 

The Plot Thickens. 41 

oppose the entrance of the new regime into the 
territory. At this primitive barricade a large 
body of men were camped, with horses at hand 
for service at any moment, and they let down 
or put up the bars according as they viewed 
with approval or otherwise the passing of any 
who came that way. 

It was the regular travelled route of the 
freighters from the United States to Fort Garry, 
and the force at the fence examined all the cart 
and waggon trains. The commissariat had to 
be supplied, and while dry goods were allowed 
to pass without much detention, the articles of 
moister texture and of edible description were 
quite freely confiscated to the use of the camp. 
The mail-bags they also diligently examined in 
search of documents that might furnish plausible 
excuse for the uprising, and to prevent any 
communications with whose contents they were 
unacquainted reaching the friends of the new 
regime in the settlement. The new governor, of 
course, was the especial object of their search, 
and every equipage about which a governor 
could be concealed was scrutinized by them as 
keenly as the cars are explored by lynx-eyed 
trainmen in the season when tramps are steal- 
ing free rides across the country. One of the 
Kildonan settlers found this out one day, some- 

42 The Making of the Canadian West. 

what to his alarm, when he tried to play a 
harmless joke after the elephantine manner 
supposed to be characteristic of us Scotchmen. 
It appears that the settler was bringing in 
from St. Cloud a Presbyterian missionary who 
was coming out for the first time to take part 
in the church work of the West, and upon 
their arrival at the fence they were stopped 
and interrogated in the customary way. The 
missionary being a somewhat magisterial-look- 
ing man, it occurred to the settler that the 
obstructionists were eyeing him with consider- 
able suspicion, and so thinking to have some 
diversion he waited for the question, " Whom 
have you here ?" " Our governor," he replied. 
The words were scarcely out of his mouth before 
there was such a " mustering in hot haste," and 
such a threatening display of fire-arms that the 
settler thought the joke had gone about far 
enough, and so, without much loss of time, said : 
" Perhaps I had better explain for fear we mis- 
understand eacn other. If you are looking for 
the new governor of the country I haven't got 
him, but this gentleman here is a governor in 
our church." After a little parley the settler, 
who was quite well known to some of the party, 
was allowed to pass through with the man of 
peace, the latter, perhaps, more thankful than 

The Plot Thickens. 43 

ever before that he held a commission from 
higher authority than that of earthly potentates. 

Every effort short of force was being used by 
the local authorities, the Governor of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company, and his Council, to secure 
a peaceable solution of the difficulties impend- 
ing, but to all these the rebels turned a deaf ear, 
and a few days after the erection of the barricade 
a mounted troop of them, under command of 
Ambroise Lepine, rode to the place where Gov- 
ernor Macdougall had come upon British terri- 
tory, and warned him to leave before nine o'clock 
next morning. They returned the following day 
at eight to see this programme carried out, 
and the Governor, having no other recourse in 
the presence of arms than to obey, recrossed 
the boundary line to Pembina, in the State of 

A striking figure was this Ambroise Lepine, as 
I remember seeing him in Fort Garry in the 
heyday of his power (and even as I saw him at 
the market-place in Winnipeg a few days ago, 
unbroken by the weight of sixty years or more) 
a man of magnificent physique, standing fully 
six feet three and built in splendid proportion, 
straight as an arrow, with hair of raven black- 
ness, large aquiline nose and eyes of piercing 
brilliance; a man of prodigious strength, a skilled 

44 The Making of the Canadian West. 

rough rider and, withal, a dangerous subject to 
meet in conflict. He had great influence amongst 
his compatriots, and by reason, doubtless, of his 
physical prowess and striking military appear- 
ance, soon obtained control of their armed 
movements. No excuse can be made for his 


complicity in some of the events that transpired 
later, but of all the leaders of the rebellion he 
was the only one who manifested anything like 
manliness after it was over, by refusing to stay 
abroad and by submitting to arrest, saying that 
the law could take its course with him seeing 
he had only done what he thought was his duty. 
Speaking of that arrest by anticipation, it is 

The Plot Thickens. 45 

told that when the two men who were entrusted 
with the duty of executing the warrant went 
to his house in the night, Lepine took a look at 
them, and remarking that he could knock their 
heads together if he wished, nevertheless got 
ready and went unresistingly along with them.* 
To revert to the barricade again, we are not 
surprised to find that, as winter was coming on, 
the rebels began to look around for more com- 
fortable quarters, and that accordingly, on the 
3rd of November, they rode down to Fort Garry, 
and in spite of the protest of the Hudson's Bay 
officer in charge, entered upon possession of it, 
with all its stores and abundant supplies. It is 
quite well known that some (amongst them 
certain old pensioners from regiments formerly 
in the country) had expressed opinion that such 
a movement as this would take place, and had 
offered to garrison the fort, but there being 
difference of mind upon the point, nothing was 
done. Kiel accordingly entered without forcible 
opposition, and proceeded to make himself com- 
fortable by utilizing the furniture intended for 
Governor Macdougall; and as the provision of the 
fort was ample, the rebel chief and his followers 

* Lepine was tried and sentenced to death, but the sentence 
was commuted by Lord Dufferin to two years' imprisonment 
and permanent forfeiture of his civic rights. 

46 The Making of the Canadian West. 

wore fine linen, the best of cloth capots, silk- 
worked moccasins, etc., and fared sumptuously 
every day. 

It has been fashionable, in some quarters, 
to accuse the Hudson's Bay Company of con- 
niving at this seizure and at the rebellion 
generally, but the utter absurdity of assertions 
like these is apparent to anyone who thinks 
upon the subject. The company had parted 
with their control of the country, which indeed 
was, in the nature of things, getting beyond 
their domination. They had nothing to gain 
and everything to lose by having the whole 
territory in a state of unrest, to the serious 
detriment of their trade, and were certainly to 
suffer a loss, that could not well be appraised, by 
having Kiel and his following quartered upon 
them for nearly a year. Besides this, Governor 
McTavish, the head of the company in the 
country, on the 16th of November, in view of the 
fact that Kiel had called a convention from all 
parts of the settlement, issued a proclamation 
denouncing in the strongest terms the insurrec- 
tionary movement, calling upon those engaged 
in it to disperse to their homes, and with all the 
weight of his authority asking the convention 
to employ, in any movement in which they 
might engage to secure their rights, only such 

The Plot Thickens. 47 

means as were "lawful, constitutional, rational 
and safe." I remember, too, hearing my father, 
who visited Governor McTavish in his sick- 
room about this time, say that he never witnessed 
anything more pathetic than the way in which 
the Governor referred to the fact that the 
insurgents had hauled down the Union Jack 
and hoisted an ensign of their own device with 
fleur-de-lis and shamrock, and how he said, 
" As I saw, through my window, the hoisting of 
their rag on our old flagstaff, I almost choked 
with mortification and shame." Add to these 
things, also, the fact that Kiel, in the general 
convention held in February, after his entry 
into Fort Garry, made, according to the report 
in his own paper, the New Nation, a most 
bitter attack upon the Hudson's Bay Company, 
saying, amongst other things, that instead of 
having the prefix " honorable " they should have 
the title " shameful," consider all this and the 
theory as to collusion between them becomes 
exceedingly chimerical. 

One of the first acts of Kiel was to issue, 
under duress, from the Nor'- Wester office, a 
circular addressed to the people of the country, 
asking them to a convention to consider the 
situation of affairs ; but in regard to this and 
any later convention called, if we can judge 

48 The Making of the Canadian West. 

from his conduct as reported in his own organ, 
it seeins as if he wished to give the outside 
world the impression that all the people of the 
country were in sympathy with him, while at 
the same time he was determined to have his 
own way, whatever the others advised. 

If it be asked how it was that the other 
inhabitants of the country did not rise up and 
put the rebellion down at that stage or later, 
various answers might be given in the presence 
of some abortive efforts made by certain well- 
meaning people so to do. It is quite safe to say 
that the white settlers, at first, never dreamed 
that the movement would be carried as far as it 
was eventually, and we are equally safe in 
asserting that the leaders of the movement 
themselves went far beyond their original 
intention as they became the more intoxicated 
with power and success. It must be borne in 
mind that to these settlers Canada was practi- 
cally an unknown quantity, and that they 
looked upon the quarrel as riot theirs to settle 
in view of the circumstances that brought it 

In the report of Colonel Dennis, chief of the 
staff of surveyors, and Governor Macdougall's 
deputy in the new territory, the matter is put 
in concise and very intelligible shape. The 

The Plot Thickens. 49 

Colonel had gone along the Ked River to raise 
a force to escort the new Governor in, and he 
gives the following as the general expression of 
feeling : " We (the English-speaking settlers) 
feel confidence in the future administration of 
the government of this country under Canadian 
rule ; at the same time we have not been con- 
sulted in any way as a people on 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, obey the laws and become 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 seems probable by the course 
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, and think 
that the Dominion should assume the responsi- 
bility of establishing amongst us what it and it 
alone has decided upon." 

Who is there whose calm common-sense will 

not say that this position was a reasonable one 

to take ? As to the references made in the 

statement, that concerning the part taken by 


50 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the priests had ground in the fact that the 
blockading party at the Salle River were 
quartered in part at Pere Richot's house, 
that seditious meetings had been held on Sun- 
days almost, if not altogether, in connection 
with the church services, and that O'Donoghue, 
perhaps the deepest and most dangerous of 
all the rebel leaders, was studying for the 
priesthood in St. Boniface. The reference to 
the probability of Indian aid being invoked 
and obtained is shown to have been reasonable 
by the fact that such aid was invoked and 
obtained with terrible effect- under much less 
favorable circumstances, and against heavier 
odds, by practically the same parties, some 
fifteen years later, in the second rebellion. 

So much in explanation of the position taken 
by the settlers other than the French at the 
outset. Later on, when the temper and attitude 
of Kiel and his followers were such as to estrange 
from them any sympathy they might otherwise 
have had, the settlement was utterly unable to 
make any successful move against them, how- 
ever much the people may have desired so to do. 
The rebels held a stone- walled and bastion ed 
fort, built for defence ; they held all the military 
stores of the country in Enfield rifles and caji- 
non, and, as the New Nation said in one of its 

The Plot Thickens. 51 

February numbers, they had all the powder in 
the territory except a small and damaged lot at 
Lower Fort Garry. With ail the Hudson's Bay 
stores in their power, a siege against the rebels 
would have been hopeless, even though the set- 
tlers could have left their homes in the dead of 
winter and camped around the fort, while to 
have attempted an assault with shotguns and 
scant ammunition would have been absurd. 

As an example of the kind of arms some of 
the loyalist settlers were provided with, I 
myself saw more than one man at the rendez- 
vous afterwards in Kildonan armed only with 
a bludgeon weighted with lead. We give due 
credit for good intention and even for valor 
to those who carried them, but to suggest an 
attack upon a fully-garrisoned fort such as 
we remember Fort Garry to have been at 
the time, with such weapons, was certainly 
giving small evidence of possessing that dis- 
cretion which is valor's better part. And yet 
there were attempts made against the rebels, 
as we have already implied, but although 
the men who engaged in them doubtless meant 
well, it has scarcely required the after-light of 
twenty-five years to show that these attempts 
did more harm than good. They certainly 
led to the death of two excellent young men 

52 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the one of the older, the other of the newer 
settlers and to the intense suffering of many 
more; to the exasperation of the whole situa- 
tion, and to the creation of a race and creed 
cleavage from which we have not yet wholly 

There had been a time when a large portion 
of the French population did not follow Kiel 
in his resort to arms, though they, in com- 
mon with nearly all the people of the country, 
felt somewhat keenly anxious as to their rights 
under the incoming Government. On looking 
up records I find that my father, then a 
magistrate and a member of the Council of 
Assiniboia (the governing body in Hudson's 
Bay Company days), seconded, with the Hon. 
A. G. B. Bannatyne as mover, the following 
resolution : " That Messrs. Dease and Goulet 
be appointed to collect as many of the more 
respectable of the French community as pos- 
sible, and with them proceed to the camp of 
the party who intend to intercept Hon. Mr. 
Macdougall, and endeavor to procure their 
peaceable dispersion." That the men sent failed 
in their mission does not disprove the fact that 
they had large loyal support amongst their own 
people. Moreover, we find that after Kiel had 
seized Fort Garry he was at one time on the 

The Plot Thickens. 


point of consenting to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany continuing in authority till a committee 
of French and English could treat with Mr. 
Macdougall or with the Dominion direct, when a 
rumor that the Canadians around were about to 
move on Fort Garry put an end to the matter. 


Besides all this, there was a time, even after 
the rebellion had gone some length, when, 
through the intervention of Mr. Bannatyne, three 
well-known French half-breeds, Francois Nolin, 
Augustin Nolin, and one Perreault, agreed to 
have a meeting of English and French to discuss 
their rights and send a statement of these to 

54 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Mr. Macdougall, whom, if he granted them, they 
would bring into the country in spite of Kiel. 
It is said on good authority that these men with 
others were actually in council on the matter 
when a report reached them that the Canadians, 
together with the English-speaking settlers, were 
combining to attack the French. This seemed 
to the friendly half-breeds to mean that the 
French element was to be coerced without 
regard to their rights, and hence, though some of 
the French half-breeds never joined Kiel, the 
opposition offered by these movements against 
him practically solidified the great body of 
them in sympathy with his position, and led 
to serious consequences. 

These movements, however, though in some 
cases irresponsibly organized, were doubtless 
entered upon with the best intention on the part 
of those engaged in them, and we shall give 
a few reminiscent sketches of them in the next 



LARGE " ifs " always stand stiffly in the way, 
and therefore we gain little now by saying that 
if the Hon. William Macdougall had returned to 
Ottawa, instead of remaining on the frontier, 
and if his deputies and agents within the new 
territory had been more discreet, we might have 
been spared some of the deplorable scenes that 
followed. The Governor on the frontier was an 
irritant to the rebels, and the agents or alleged 
agents within were a ferment in the midst of 
the elements composing the population. Both 
parties were doubtless actuated by the very 
best motives and most loyal intentions, but the 
retirement of the one and the silence of the 
other would have left the incensed and (in 
their own view) wronged rebels without any 
excuse for openly assailing the residents of 
the community and depriving some of their 
liberty and others, alas, of their lives. The 

56 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Governor was ill-advised by friends in the 
territory, "on no account to leave Pembina," 
and by communication between them the 
unreasonable idea of some forcible effort to put 
down the rebellion was kept alive, with the 
irritating results already noticed. On the 1st 
day of December it was expected that the new 
territory would have been formally transferred 
to Canada, and so upon that day Governor Mac- 
dougall issued what purported to be a Queen's 
Proclamation appointing him as Governor of the 
territory, and another proclamation, signed by 
himself as Governor, appointing Col. Dennis his 
Deputy within the territory, with power to raise 
and equip a force wherewith to overcome the 
rebellious element. No one feels disposed to 
impugn Mr. Macdougall's good faith and good 
intention in taking this course, but it turned out 
to have been taken without due authority, and 
for the unwarrantable use made of the Queen's 
name he was severely censured by the Canadian 

When it was discovered that what was 
called the Queen's Proclamation was not so 
in reality, the situation became more chaotic 
than ever ; but in the meantime Col. Dennis 
thought he was justified in raising an armed 
force to overturn the rebel power, and with the 

Some Counter- Efforts and Their Results. 57 

aid of others proceeded so to do. One of the 
first results was the gathering of some forty- 
five men in the house of Dr. Schultz, in the 
village near Fort Garry, to protect some Gov- 
ernment supplies; but this handful was practi- 
cally nothing against the rebel force in Fort 
Garry. Accordingly, when, a few days later, 
a force of some three hundred rebels, well 
armed and with several pieces of artillery, 
came towards the flimsy building, the poorly 
equipped little garrison did the only sensible 
thing under the circumstances and surrendered 
without resistance. They were disarmed and 
imprisoned in Fort Garry, some, amongst them 
Schultz himself, being placed in solitary confine- 

Schultz was a man his captors feared with a 
wholesome dread. For a number of years he 
had been active in the affairs of the country, 
especially in connection with the agitation for 
free trade and for closer connection with the 
Empire, and was known as a man very impa- 
tient of restraint and in many ways difficult to 
handle. Physically he was of giant stature and 
possessed of almost incredible strength, as some 
who attempted his arrest in connection with 
the free-trade and other squabbles in the 
country had found to their cost. I remember 

58 The Making of the Canadian West. 

when a boy running beside him, as with power- 
ful stride he walked from our home to the river 
on an occasion when I was sent to direct him to 
a house which he was to visit on a medical con- 
sultation, and I can yet see the oars bending 
like willows in his strong hands as he propelled 
the rough boat against the waves. I recall, too, 
hearing how once at a meeting in the town a 
riot was feared, and how Schultz, who was 
seated on a great home-made oaken chair, rose, 
and putting his foot on one of the bars, wrenched 
the chair asunder as if it had been made of pipe- 
stems, after seeing which the crowd decided that 
if they were going to do any rioting they would 
leave him unmolested at any rate. A man of 
that physical stamp and, withal, of somewhat 
inflammatory cast of mind, the rebels thought 
they had better keep apart and well guarded : 
hence they placed him alone, and, as afterwards 
appeared, they fully intended to put a sudden 
end to his career. 

But they were to be baulked of their prey. 
Certain delicacies from friends were allowed 
him, and it is said that in a pudding one day a 
knife and a gimlet were concealed. With the 
knife he cut into strips the . buffalo robe he 
slept upon and such clothing as he could spare, 
and having with the aid of the gimlet fastened 

Some Counter- Efforts and Their Results. 59 

the line thus made to the wall, he let himself 
out of the window on the night of the 23rd 
of January. His ponderous weight was too 
much for the slender rope, and while yet quite 
a distance from the ground the line broke 
and the escaping prisoner came to the earth 
with great force, injuring his leg somewhat 
seriously. A less determined man would have 
given up, as there was still the high stone wall 
to scale, but in some way he managed it and in 
due time was on the outside of the fort. The 
night was dark and stormy, with cold wind and 
whirling snow, and Schultz, somewhat dazed by 
the fall, missed his bearings, only realizing his 
whereabouts when he came on landmarks which 
told him he was making for St. Boniface. That 
was not very satisfactory, so he turned and 
nearly ran up against a sentry at one of the 
fort gates ! But by this he had found his lati- 
tude and as rapidly as he could walk and run 
he made his way to my father's house in Kildo- 
nan, about six miles away from the place of his 

I have heard it said on good authority lately 
(though I have no personal knowledge of the 
fact), that up to that time the relations subsist- 
ing between Schultz and my father were not 
the most cordial, perhaps because the former 

60 The Making of the Canadian West. 

was bitterly opposed to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, while my father would not allow anything 
said against the Company in his presence. If 
any such coldness did exist between them 
previous to that night, the coming of Schultz 
for refuge to my father's house was but another 
instance of that shrewd, far-sighted knowledge 
of human nature for which he was always 
noted. Apart altogether from my father's well- 
known contempt for the alleged government of 
Kiel, he was too much of a Highlander to close 
his door against even an enemy when he was 
wearied and hard-hunted, or else he would have 
been unworthy of the name that has become 
synonymous with hospitality, and has been im- 
mortalized by Scott in the famous meeting of 
Fitz-James and Roderick Dhu. 

I remember well the arrival of Schultz at 
our house. It was in the grey dawn, and a 
cold morning at that, when a knocking came 
at the door, which my father rose and opened. 
I can recall his surprised exclamation, " Bless 
me, doctor, is this really you ? " Then I can 
see the fugitive enter, thinly clad, tall, hag- 
gard and gaunt, and as soon as he had 
assured himself that there were no servants 
in the house who might betray him, he told 
the story of his escape as we have just related 

Some Counter-Efforts and Their Results. 61 

it. My father escorted his guest upstairs, 
watched over him while he slept, and all that 
afternoon the two remained there, conversing 
only in whispers so that their voices would not 
be heard by any who might come into the 
house. Again and again that day Kiel's scouts, 
on their red-blanketed horses, passed by the 
door looking for their escaped prisoner, con- 
cerning whom Riel said to the Rev. George 
Young, " The guards are out looking for him, 
and they have orders to shoot him on sight." 

Meanwhile my brother Alexander had gone 
into town and secured from his friends a pair 
or two of pistols, which were duly brought and 
handed upstairs, where a new programme was 
made out. Schultz was determined that he 
would never be taken alive, hence he decided 
that if the scouts entered the house he would 
sell his life as dearly as possible and neither give 
nor take quarter. For two days he remained 
there, and on the second night my father's 
favorite horse, " Barney," was hitched up, and 
the brother above mentioned drove the hunted 
man, by an unfrequented road, to the Indian 
settlement near Selkirk, whence, accompanied 
by the faithful Joseph Monkman, he made 
that terrible mid-winter journey on foot to 
eastern Canada. Afterwards we heard that 

62 The Making of the Canadian West. 

some of the scouts had located him when in our 
house, but that either out of respect to my 
father, who had doubtless befriended many of 
them, or from dread of the desperate man they 
were hunting, they concluded not to enter. 

In after years when I heard Sir John Schultz 
say that he " had still the shattered remnants of 
a good constitution," I used to account for the 
" shattering " by thinking of the desperate leap 
from the prison, the running with maimed limb 
and scanty clothing six miles in an arctic atmos- 
phere, and then the fearful journey on foot 
across the rocky shores and wind-swept bays 
of Lake Superior to the cities of the East. 
Whether he and my father were warm friends 
before or not, they certainly were after that 
experience in the "City of Refuge;" and born 
orator as Sir John was, he never made a more 
graceful allusion in spoken words than he did 
when, at the unveiling of the Seven Oaks 
monument, he spoke of the man who at great 
personal risk opened the door of welcome to 
him in his extremity. 

Meanwhile, the other prisoners were detained 

in Fort Garry, Kiel was taking steps to form 

a provisional government, and Mr. Donald A. 

Smith (now Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal) 

had arrived from the East as a special com- 

Some Counter- Efforts and Their Results. 63 

missioner from the Dominion Government to 
settle the existing difficulties. By reason of his 
long experience in the country and the great 
respect in which he was held by all classes, Mr. 
Smith's arrival was hailed with pleasure. Ex- 
ercising rare skill and tact, he secured from Kiel 
the calling of an assemblage of all the settlers 
on the 19th of January, for the purpose of hear- 
ing the commission read as to the purpose and 
scope of Mr. Smith's mission. About ten days 
before this Kiel had caused to be published the 
slate of the so-called Provisional Government, 
the principal part of which consisted in the 
declaration of himself as President, O'Donoghue 
as Secretary-Treasurer, and Ambroise Lepine as 

Many racy incidents are related by those 
who were present at the Assembly on the 19th 
of January to hear Mr. Smith's commission. 
Probably a thousand or more had gathered, 
so the meeting had to be held in the open 
air. An open-air meeting with the ther- 
mometer over twenty degrees below zero 
could hardly be called a deliberative assembly, 
as the conditions were not favorable to ab- 
sorption in the subject. Mr. Smith is said 
to have refused to read his papers under the 
hybrid ensign of the rebel government, and so 

64 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the Union Jack had to be displayed. Then 
Kiel, who was becoming more and more of a 
"megalomaniac," wished to prevent the papers 
being read at all, on which a well-known settler 
caught the redoubtable President by the back of 
the collar and pulled him down the steps on 
which he was standing. Kiel immediately 
threw off his coat (which in falling struck my 
father, to whom Riel, true to his French polite- 
ness, even in his rage, said "Pardon, monsieur"), 
and called out the guard. The gates were closed 
and things generally looked ugly, but finally 
quiet was restored and the papers read. At the 
close of the reading, on motion of Riel himself, 
seconded by Mr. A. G. B. Bannatyne, it was 
resolved that a convention consisting of twenty 
men from the English and twenty from the 
French side be called for the 25th of January to 
consider the whole matter of Mr. Smith's mission, 
and to formulate such a programme as seemed 
best for the country. 

This meeting on the 19th January was the 
first direct blow given to Kiel's position; or, 
changing the figure, it was the first real under- 
mining of his authority, and Mr. Smith, 
as Commissioner from a Government which 
now showed every anxiety to do what was 
fair to all classes, scored a most decided and 

Some Counter- Efforts and Their Results. 65 

influential victory. One cannot help feeling 
now that had counter-movements against Kiel 
(which could not possibly succeed under the cir- 
cumstances) ceased, there would have been a 
bloodless settlement of the whole business ; but 
the irritation caused by military movements 
against him, coupled with the fact that his star 
was on the wane, led doubtless to the horrible 
murder he shortly afterwards committed in the 
vain hope of establishing his authority beyond 

The convention of forty French and English 
representatives met as called on the 25th of 
January, and continued from day to day 
till the llth of February. The best exist- 
ing report of that convention is found in the 
New Nation, Kiel's organ, which is in the 
possession of Mr. J. P. Robertson, in the Pro- 
vincial Library of Manitoba. The file, which 
was purchased from Mr. Wm. Coldwell, the 
ablest newspaper man of his time, tells an 
eloquent tale even in its appearance. The first 
page of it is called The Red River Pioneer, Vol. 
I., No. L; the next page is blank, and on the 
following one we read, The New Nation, Vol. 
I., No. I. The explanation is that Mr. Coldwell 
was just beginning the publication of the 
Pioneer when Kiel came down upon him, and 

66 The Making of the Canadian West. 

vi et armis nipped it in the bud and estab- 
lished with its plant the New Nation, under 
control of one of his own following. Whoever 
reported the proceedings of the Convention of 
Forty for the New Nation did it well, not only 
as wielding a facile pen, but wielding it impar- 
tially, since several things not at all flattering to 
Kiel are preserved, We have, too, the record of 
some hot passages-at-arms in which Kiel was 
distinctly worsted. 

The chairman of the convention was Judge 
Black, head of the law courts in the territory, 
a man of commanding intellect, of great forensic 
ability, and such noble bent of character that 
he had the utmost confidence of the whole com- 
munity. During the convention we find he 
made several speeches of considerable length, 
in which occur passages of lofty and impas- 
sioned eloquence. Next to Judge Black, whose 
official position gave him prominence, the most 
influential and distinctively directing spirit was 
James Ross, a man of singular ability, deep 
learning and rare fluency of utterance. He was 
a son of Sheriff Ross, who had been famous as 
a leading man and an historian in the early 
days of the country. James Ross, who was a 
native of Red River, had graduated with high 
honors from Toronto University, had been a 

Some Counter -Efforts and Their Results. 67 

leading writer on the Globe there, and was an 
able lawyer. Despite the slanders of adven- 
turers, he is remembered as one who had at heart 
the highest good of the country in which he was 
born. His legal accomplishments and intimate 
knowledge of the Canadian constitution made 


him a most indispensable member of the con- 
vention, and to his opinions the greatest defer- 
ence was paid. Amongst the other members 
were several who afterwards became prominent 
in the history of the country, and who even 
then showed remarkable acquaintance with 
public questions. 

This convention was of great importance, and 


The Making of the Canadian West. 

hence the full list of members selected for it is 
here given, with the sections of the country they 


St. Paul's 

Pierre Thibert. 
Alex. Page'. 
Magnus Birstoii. 

St. Francois Xavier 
Xavier Page 
Pierre Poitras. 

St. Charles 

Baptiste Beauchemin. 

St. Vital 

Louis Riel. 

Andre Beauchemin. 

Point Coupee 
Louis Lacerte. 
Pierre Delorme. 

St. Norbert 

Pierre Paranteau. 
Norbert Laronce. 
B. Touton. 

St. Boniface 

W. B. O'Donoghue. 
Ambroise Lepine. 
Joseph Genton. 
Louis Schmidt. 

Oak Point 

Thomas Harrison. 
Charles Nolin. 

Point a Grouette 
George Klyne. 


St. Peters 

Rev. Henry Cochrane. 
Thomas Spence. 

St. Clement's 
Thomas Bunn. 
Alex. McKenzie. 


John Fraser. 
John Sutherland. 

St. James' 

George Flett. 
Robert Tait. 

Some Counter-Efforts and Their Results. 69 

St. Andrew's 
Judge Black. 
Donald Gunn, sen. 
Alfred Boyd. 

St. Paid's 

Dr. C. J. Bird. 

St. John's 

James Ross. 

St. Mary's 

Kenneth McKenzie. 


John Taylor. 
Wm. Londsdale. 

St. Margaret's 

Wm. Cummings. 

St. Anne's 

George Gunn. 
D. Spence. 


Alfred H. Scott. 

As there are some people even to this day 
who claim that Kiel was loyal to British inter- 
ests, though anxious about the privileges and 
rights of his countrymen, it may be worth while 
to give a few extracts from the report in his 
own paper: " For my part I would like to see 
the power of Canada limited in this country ; 
that's what I want." " England chose to neglect 
us for one or two centuries back, and I do not 
suppose we are under any very great obliga- 
tions to keep her laws." " For my part I do not 
want to be more British than I can help." 

Amongst the incidents of the convention we 
notice in the report an attempt on the part of 
Kiel to rebuke Mr. John (afterwards Senator) 
Sutherland, of Kildonan, who hotly replied that 
he had been giving his time all winter without 
fee or reward to efforts for the good of the 

70 The Making of the Canadian West. 

country, that he was there to speak for the 
people who sent him, and did not propose to be 
taught his duty by Louis Kiel. At another 
point three of the French half-breed representa- 
tives, Nolin, Klyne and Harrison, incurred the 
displeasure of Kiel by voting against a motion 


he had submitted suggesting that the Hudson's 
Bay Company be ignored in all bargains made 
as to the transfer of the country. Nolin replied 
defiantly, which so angered Kiel that he made a 
number of unaccountable arrests during the few 
following days, and even started out after Nolin, 
whose relatives, however, were so numerous, 

Some Counter-Efforts and Their Results. 71 

powerful and determined that Kiel desisted in 
time to save himself from annihilation. 

In the convention every phase of the country's 
future was discussed, and every question from 
railroad construction to a standing army was 
canvassed. A very elaborate Bill of Rights was 
framed and submitted to Commissioner Smith, 
who replied on behalf of the Dominion Govern- 
ment as far as he was able within the scope of 
his commission, after which he invited the con- 
vention to send delegates to confer with the 
authorities at Ottawa. This invitation was 
accepted, and thus an important stage of pro- 
gress was reached. One cannot study closely 
this portion of our country's history without 
feeling what a lasting debt the country owes 
to the courage, tact and patience of Mr. Donald 
A. Smith, who has been so deservedly raised to 
the peerage for his eminent services to the 

It was not within the province of the conven- 
tion, nor was it contemplated in the summons 
calling it, to take any steps towards confirming 
or approving the Provisional Government that 
Kiel had already formed, but the opportunity 
was too good a one to be lost, and so he intro- 
duced the question when the other business was 
concluded. Most of the English delegates at 

72 The Making of the Canadian West. 

once took the position that they had no instruc- 
tions from their constituents on that point, and 
that therefore they could take no action upon it 
that would bind those who sent them to the con- 
vention ; but Kiel was anxious to have the matter 
pressed so that he would seem to have the appro- 
val of the country. The representatives from 
Kildonan, John Fraser and John Sutherland, 
declined to be parties to it till it seemed in the 
interests' of present peace. They, having no 
time to consult their constituents, went to see 
Governor McTavish, and he, wearied with the 
protracted strife, said : " Form a government of 
some kind and restore peace and order in the 
settlement." And so with that end in view the 
delegates, without professing to bind their con- 
stituents, consented to the formation of a Pro- 
visional Government, whose personnel as to the 
chief officers was as stated above, though there 
was some hot feeling in the convention over 
continuing Riel in the presidency. 

= 3 



WHEN the Convention of the Forty adjourned 
they left such organization as undertook to carry 
on the government of the country, and from that 
time President Riel and his Council became the 
bodj 7 that alleged to have the right to make and 
administer law in the community. Concurrently 
with the adjournment of the convention nearly 
all the remaining prisoners were released. The 
question as to why the English-speaking mem- 
bers of the convention did not refuse to sit 
except on the condition that they would all 
be released occurs most naturally here, and the 
only possible reply that can be given is that 
they had agreed to meet with the French and 
discuss the political situation, and that if they 
had withdrawn the latter would have remained 
and given the business whatever turn seemed 
pleasing to themselves, regardless of the views 
and wishes of any other portion of the com- 
munity. But on the close of the convention 

74 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the majority of the prisoners were released, 
and in all probability there would have been 
a general gaol delivery had not some develop- 
ments taken place outside. Another warlike 
expedition began up the Assiniboine River, in 
Portage la Prairie, High Bluff, Poplar Point, 
White Horse Plains and Headingly, and a body 
of men numbering seventy-five or eighty, poorly 
enough armed, started on the march, 'intending 
to rendezvous at Kildonan and enlist the settlers 
along the Red River in the movement. The 
occasion of this was probably the delay in 
releasing the balance of the prisoners, and, on 
the part of the leaders, a certain amount of 
impatience with existing conditions. On the 
way down several of the houses were searched 
for Riel, who sometimes visited them, and though 
certain of those engaged in the search claimed 
that they only intended to hold him as a hostage 
for the release of the remaining prisoners, others 
openly said they would have made an end of 

When this was reported to Riel he was once 
more at white heat. Many of his men had gone 
to their homes, but runners were quickly sent 
out, and until the counter-movements ceased 
Fort Garry was garrisoned by between six 
and seven hundred well-armed men a force 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 75 

so great as to render attack by their poorly 
armed opponents on the stone-walled, bastioned 
and artilleried redoubt utterly futile. Never- 
theless the body of men above referred to 
came on to Kildonan, where the most of them 
bivouacked in the historic church and school. I 
remember well when they arrived at the school, 
the morning of, I think, the 14th of February. 
The younger fry amongst us thought the 
whole thing a splendid idea, on the same 
principle that actuated the boy who fiercely 
rejoiced at the burning of his school because 
he did not know the geography lesson. 

To the older people, doubtless, the situation 
was much more serious, and large numbers of 
men, not only from Kildonan, but also from 
St. Paul's, St Andrew's and St. Peter's, gath- 
ered together to discuss it. The consensus of 
opinion amongst them seems to have been 
that any movement of the kind contemplated 
would not only be futile, for the reasons 
above given, and likely to end in a useless 
shedding of blood, but that it was also inop- 
portune, inasmuch as the species of union 
effected between the opposing parties by the 
convention just held would be the most certain 
means of preserving peace until the Dominion 
Government, with whom the delegates from 

76 The Making of the Canadian West. 

that convention were treating, would take the 
whole matter in hand. In the meantime, those 
assembled at the rendezvous received every 
hospitality from the people of Kildonan, who 
entertained as many as they could in their 
homes, and provided food for those quartered 
in the church and school. 

On the second day after the arrival of the 
party a very distressing incident took place 
in the shooting of one of the most prom- 
ising young men in the parish. I remember 
as it were yesterday how one of the neighbor 
boys rushed into our house, exclaiming, 
"John Hugh Sutherland is shot!" and how 
the news fell upon us like lead. It ap- 
peared that on the night before a young 
French half-breed named Parisien, suspected 
of being one of Kiel's spies, was taken prisoner 
by the men in the school-house, and the next 
day, when out with a guard, he made a dash 
for liberty, snatching a double-barrelled gun 
from one of the sleighs as he went. He ran 
swiftly down the river-bank, and there met 
young Sutherland, who was riding on horse- 
back toward the school. Parisien either feared 
that he would be intercepted, or perhaps he 
hoped to get the horse and so escape ; but 
at any rate, he shot at Sutherland full in the 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 77 

breast. The horse swerved and the rider fell, 
but Parisien continued on. Looking back, he 
saw Sutherland rising to his feet, when, 
without stopping, he swung the gun over his 
shoulder (such was the deadly skill of these 
men) and discharged the second barrel, the 
contents entering the back of the unfortunate 
youth, who staggered and fell upon his face. 
Strong hands raised him and bore him to the 
hospitable manse of the Rev. John Black, near 
at hand, and on Sutherland's recovering con- 
sciousness and seeing the venerable face of his 
old minister, his first words were, " Pray for me." 
He lingered on into -4he night, and then one of 
the brightest lives of his time went out into the 
unseen with the prayer upon his lips, not for 
vengeance upon his murderer, but for mercy 
upon all. Meanwhile the horse, with empty 
and blood-stained saddle, had run back home 
to carry the tale to the parents; while the 
desperate spy, narrowly escaping lynching, 
lingered on to die from natural causes a few 
months afterwards. The effect of this lamen- 
table affair was sobering in the extreme, and 
revealed, as by a startling providence, what 
might be the fate of others and what untold 
sorrow might come upon many homes without 
adequate cause and without commensurate 

78 The Making of the, Canadian West. 

Some messages passed between Kiel and the 
assembled force, and it seemed to be understood 
that the latter had liberty to return to their 
homes without any let or hindrance, and that the 
prisoners still held would be released. Accord- 
ingly, those gathered at Kildonan dispersed 
quietly to different parts of the parishes north- 
ward, but those from up the Assiniboine, who 
had begun the movement, did not fare so well. 
I have heard it said that Riel was angered at 
their exhibiting distrust of his word by making 
a detour to avoid passing Fort Garry, instead of 
going home by the usual travelled highway, but 
I think the story extremely improbable. It is 
more likely that he was enraged because some 
of those in the party were for the second time 
engaged in effort against him, and because, as 
referred to above, he had a lively idea of what 
might have befallen him had he been found by 
them on the way to the rendezvous. Whatever 
the reason may have been, the upshot was that 
as this handful of men were making their way to 
their homes across the deep snow of the prairie, 
they were intercepted by a large force of Kiel's 
men, mounted and well armed. No resistance 
was made, as it was represented to them that 
Kiel wished to see them at the fort, and they 
never dreamed of imprisonment. In any case, 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 79 

neither in numbers nor equipment would they 
have been any match for the rebels ; but from 
personal acquaintance with many of those men, 
I feel sure that if they had known the indigni- 
ties they were all to suffer, and if they could 
have seen the causeless and cruel murder of one 
of their number, they would have made then 
and there a last desperate stand against the 
enemy. As it was they went quietly to the 
fort, where to their surprise they were " thrust 
into the inner prison," and several of them 
Boulton, Scott. Powers, McLeod, Alexander and 
George Parker were specially singled out and 
the sentence of death by shooting suspended 
over their heads. 

Kiel was exceedingly desirous of securing the 
recognition of the Provisional Government by 
the English-speaking settlers, and took this 
method of forcing their hand, promising to 
spare the lives of these men if all the settle- 
ment would fall into line and send repre- 
sentatives to his " parliament." This, for the 
sake of peace, Special Commissioner Smith, 
aided by the clergy of various denominations, 
persuaded the people to do, and but for this it is 
exceedingly probable that Kiel would have begun 
a series of murders whose end no one could 
foretell. Concerning Boulton (who was to do 

80 The Making of the Canadian West. 

signal service in the field against his captor 
fifteen years later), Kiel remained obdurate, and 
indeed decided that he should be shot on the 
night of the 19th of February, as having been 
the chief military director of the counter-move- 
ment. It has not been generally known, but the 
fact is that Boulton's life was finally spared at 
the intercession of Mr. (now Senator) and Mrs. 
Sutherland, of Kildonan, who had known Riel 
from his childhood, and who had come almost 
direct from the grave of their slain son to plead 
for the life of the condemned man. Riel was by 
no means without heart, and when he saw the 
earnestness as well as the grief of the parents, 
who had been so recently bereaved but who in 
their sorrow were thinking of others, he said, 
placing his hand upon the shoulder of the 
mother, " It is enough he ought to die, but I 
will give you his life for the life of the son you 
have lost through these troubles." 

And still the clouds had not all lifted. Kiel's 
"parliament" met on the 26th of February, and to 
this, in the interests of peace, the English-speak- 
ing settlers, true to the promises they had made 
Commissioner Smith, sent representatives, who 
began forthwith to enact such legislation as the 
requirements of the time demanded. But there 
was withal a sullen feeling of unrest in the 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 81 

country, and a growing, even though unex- 
pressed, discontent with the continued domin- 
ance and arbitrary methods of the so-called 
President, who played fast and loose with 
pledges and had such utterly un-British views 
as to the liberty of the subject. Doubtless 
Kiel felt this atmosphere and tried a desperate 
remedy to change it, when on the 4th of March 
he caused the wanton murder of Thomas Scott, 
one of the prisoners. 

I recall the first announcement of this tragedy 
made at a meeting in the Kildonan school by 
one who had come from Fort Garry that day 
" There's been a man shot at the fort." That 
was all, until questioning drew from him such 
information as he had been able to gather ; and 
that Kiel had taken a mistaken means of 
impressing the settlers with his absolute 
authority was evidenced by the imprecations 
invoked upon his arrogant insolence. It is 
true that no means of taking steps to put an 
end to his lease of power were at hand, and as 
the best means in their judgment of keeping 
a madman quiet, the representatives of the 
settlers continued to sit in Council with the 
Provisional Government; but from that time 
the sympathy of the English-speaking people 
was completely estranged, and many of Kiel's 

82 The Making of the Canadian West. 

own class openly repudiated complicity with 
him in the killing of Scott. 

Kiel's paper, the New Nation, styled the 
murder of the young man a "military execu- 
tion," and " regretted its necessity," which was 
said to be on account of Scott's alleged quarrel- 
some spirit which led him to insult the guard 
and even defy the President himself. There is 
no need now to canonize Scott, nor to claim 
that he possessed all the virtues and none of 
the vices of life ; but so far as we can gather 
from those who knew him well, he was a young 
man of rather quiet habits, indisposed, as most 
men of Irish blood are, to be trodden upon, but 
not given to aggressive and unprovoked offend- 
ing. Perhaps it was more by what we call 
chance than otherwise that he instead of 
Parker, or some of the others, was singled out 
for slaughter by the man who hoped through 
his death to strike terror into the community. 
It seems almost incredible now that after a 
mock trial, without any specified charges 
against the prisoner, without any opportunity 
for defence either in person or by counsel, 
against the protest and pleadings of the Rev. 
George Young, Commissioner Smith and others, 
a British subject in a British country should 
have been condemned to death and shot in the 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 83 

most brutal and bungling way at a few hours' 

However peacefully inclined one may be, he 
cannot picture the scene of the shooting and 
see this young man led out blindfolded to the 
shambles without feeling his blood move in 
fiercer thrills, and without adapting to the 
situation the sentiment of a verse written long 
ago in another connection : 

" Had I been there with sword in hand 

And fifty Camerons by, 
That day through high Dunedin's streets 
Had pealed the slogan cry. 

"Not all their troops of trampling horse 

Nor might of mailed men, 
Not all the rebels in the South 
Had borne us backward then. 

" Once more his foot on Highland heath 

Had trod as free as air, 
Or I, and all that I led on, 
Been laid around him there." 

Certain it is, as we have said, that from that 
hour the majority of people, however much 
they felt themselves obliged to remain passive, 
utterly disapproved of Kiel's course ; and some 
there were who told him to his face that for 

84 The Making of the Canadian West. 

that and other reasons they would have noth- 
ing to do with him. Of this latter number was 
my father, as I recall from an incident that took 
place on the Queen's birthday, 1870. On the 
20th of May, as appears from the files of the 
New Nation, he, with one or two others, was 
appointed by the Provisional Government a 
magistrate for the Fort Garry District. On 
May 24th the Queen's birthday was celebrated 
near Fort Garry with the usual sports, though it 
had been extensively reported that Kiel was to 
seize the horses brought there for the races that 
he might have the best mounts for his cavalry. 
In the afternoon of that day I remember stand- 
ing with my father on the roadside (now Main 
Street, Winnipeg) opposite the post-office, then 
kept by Mr. Bannatyne. It was quite custom- 
ary in those days of limited correspondence and 
primitive postal facilities for the postmaster or 
his assistant to go out with a letter after anyone 
to whom it was addressed, as otherwise it might 
remain there uncalled for during many days. 
On this occasion Mr. Dan. Devlin, the assistant, 
seeing my father across the road, came over and 
handed him a large official envelope which had 
been recently dropped in the office. My father 
opened it, read the contents, and said to me, 
" We will go up to the fort." The envelope 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 85 

contained his commission from the Provisional 
Government as magistrate. He said little to 
me about it, as I was of but few years at the 
time; but I remember that, as we drove in 
through the gateway of Fort Garry, the guards 
were very polite to him, and one was detailed 
to hold his horse. My father went straight to 
the council-room, where Kiel was found, and 
laid the commission down before the President. 

" What is wrong with that ? " asked Kiel. 
" Isn't it properly signed and sealed ? It is 
intended for you." 

"I suppose it is properly signed," said my 
father, " but I do not wish to keep it. The fact 
is, Mr. Kiel, I do not recognize your government 
as having any right or authority to make 
appointments like this. I am already a justice 
of the peace by the Queen's appointment through 
the Hudson's Bay Company, and so do not desire 
to keep this document, which has to me no 

Kiel seemed rather nettled, but brushed the 
paper aside with a " Very well, please yourself ! " 
and then began to talk on other matters. 
Amongst other things, he said : " We had a 
Council meeting last night, and were talking 
about the soldiers who are coming from Canada. 
Poor fellows ! they will have a hard time of it. 

86 The Making of the Canadian West. 

They will not reach here till the winter, and 
we were thinking of sending a party of men 
out to meet them with snowshoes." At this 
stage my father remarked that this would be 
needless trouble, as he thought they would be 
here sooner than some people wished. This did 


not seem to improve matters much, and so 
shortly afterwards a somewhat ceremonious 
good-bye was said, and we drove away, the 
guards with much civility turning the horse 
and leading him out through the gates. 

The summer wore on without much excite- 
ment, the prisoners having been all released, 
and the settlers going on with their usual work, 

Collapse of the Rebellion. 87 

while all the time looking eagerly for the 
troops. The first detachment of these, under 
Col. Wolseley (now Commander-in-Chief of the 
British army), arrived in the district on the 
24th of August, when they came up the river 
and camped near Kildonan on their way to 
the fort. Many of the settlers went down to 
see them, but once they got within the picket 
lines they stayed there, much to their surprise, 
all night. Col. Wolseley, so far as he knew, was 
in the enemy's country, and was not going to 
run any risks from possible spies ; hence every 
man that came within reach was held and ex- 
amined by him. Of course, the people who were 
satisfied as to their own loyalty and knew noth- 
ing of military rules were considerably incensed, 
and one of the older men of the Selkirk settlers 
is said to have waxed perilously near the pro- 
fane as he wrathfully assured the gallant 
Colonel that he was just as loyal as that com- 
mander himself. Wolseley, however, remained 
provokingly unmoved, and so quite a number 
of the settlers remained in " corral " till next 
morning, when he moved on to Fort Garry. I 
remember the day as one of drenching rain, when 
partly by boats on the river and partly by land 
as mounted scouts, the soldiers proceeded to the 
rebel stronghold. A goodly number of the 

88 The Making of the Canadian West. 

settlers followed in their wake, expecting to see 
a " clash at arms," but they were all doomed to 
disappointment on that score, for when Wolse- 
ley's men reached the fort they found that 
Kiel, O'Donoghue, Lepine and the rest had 
vacated in favor of the new-comers the very 
comfortable quarters they had occupied for so 
many months. 

Hon. A. G. Archibald. 
Sir John Schultz. 

Hon. Alex. Morris. 
Hon. David Laird. 




WITH the leading historical facts concerning 
the formative period immediately succeeding the 
first rebellion most of our readers will be more 
or less familiar, but they are only the centre of 
a great deal in the life that was unique and 
peculiar. On taking possession of Fort Garry 
Col. Wolseley very wisely refrained from assum- 
ing a military dictatorship, but called upon Mr. 
Donald A. Smith to act as the administrator of 
Government until the arrival and installation of 
the Hon. Adams G. Archibald, the first actual 
governor of the country under Canadian rule. 
The interregnum was not altogether devoid of 
excitement, nor were indeed many of the suc- 
ceeding days commonplace or monotonously 

For the maintenance of law and order a 
mounted police force was organized under com- 
mand of Capt. Villiers, of the Quebec Rifles, 
and as this was the first regular police force 

90 The Making of the Canadian West. 

in the West, and as some of the members in 
after years became prominent and wealthy men, 
we give the list in full : W. F. Alloway, James 
Cross, William Montgomery, Timothy Carroll, 
Edwin Doidge, Elijah Ketts, George Kerr, John 
Melanson, John Stevenson, Leon Hivet, George 
Nicol, H. Montgomery, Robert Power, Maxime 
Villebrun, W. Miller, John Paterson, Andrew 
Persy, Neil McCarthy, Michael Fox. These 
policemen had no sinecure, as may easily be 
imagined when the condition of things is 

The soldiers, released from the struggle of 
the half-military, half-voyageur life they had 
led for the past few months, were more or less 
disposed to take advantage of any opportunities 
that offered themselves for the somewhat fast 
and furious pace allowed by the codeless life of 
a frontier, and as they looked with some bitter- 
ness upon the half-breed population, as on those 
whose compatriots had imprisoned many and 
murdered one of their countrymen, conflicts 
more or less sharp were not infrequent on the 
streets of the straggling village. In one case 
a French half-breed, who had hot words with 
some of them in a saloon, was chased by an 
excited crowd to the river, and was there 
drowned in efforts to escape from them, though 

The Making of a Province. 91 

it was not likely they would have done him any 
serious injury. On another occasion a huge 
drummer had a pitched battle on the street with 
a French half-breed of colossal size and strength, 
who, however, having never been trained in the 
" manly art, " succumbed to the superior skill of 
the new-comer. 

One of the results of this latter encounter was 
that the aforesaid drummer established a noto- 
riety as a fighter, thereby coming into demand 
for the stormy political meetings of that primi- 
tive time, and more than once have I seen him 
alert and ready to ply his pugilism at the 
signal of his political leader. Meetings of the 
kind indicated were not infrequent, as nearly 
every aspirant for political leadership was 
accompanied on his stumping tours by a " bully" 
with such help as he could gather, and I 
remember once seeing a meeting pass off 
peaceably, owing to the presence of the big 
drummer on the one side and an equally 
redoubtable champion on the other, each fear- 
ing to provoke active hostilities. 

The beginnings of political life were crude 
enough. Governor Archibald simply chose a 
small " Cabinet " somewhat representative of 
the English and French elements in the com- 
munity, then a census of the new province was 

92 The Making of the Canadian West. 

rapidly taken, a distribution into constituencies 
was made, and the first election to the Local 
Legislature held. The Province was named 
Manitoba after the lake bearing that name, the 
word being derived from two Indian words, 
meaning together " the straits or narrows of the 
Great Spirit, " and though usage has placed the 
accent on the third syllable, it should properly 
be pronounced with the accent on the last. 

As "first things" are always of interest in 
later days, it might be well to say that the 
census in 1870 showed a population of 11,963 
in the new province of whom 1,565 were 
whites, 578 Indians, 5,757 French half-breeds, 
and 4.083 English half-breeds. There were 
6,247 Catholics, 5,716 Protestants, and the 
nationalities of the whites were as follows : 747 
born in the North- West, 294 in eastern Canada, 
69 in the United States, 125 in England, 240 in 
Scotland, 47 in Ireland, 15 in France, and 28 in 
other countries. The first local election was 
held on the 30th December, 1870, and the 
following is a list of the members elected to the 
first Legislative Assembly of the Province of 
Manitoba, with the constituencies they repre- 
sented : 

Baie St. Paid Joseph Dubuc. 

Headingly John Taylor. 

The Making of a Province. 93 

High Bluff John Norquay. 

Kildonan John Sutherland. 

Lake Manitoba Angus McKay. 

Poplar Point David Spence. 

Portage la Prairie F. Bird. 

St. Agathe George Klyne. 

St. Andrew's North Alfred Boyd. 

fit. Andrew's South E. H. G. G. Hay. 

St. Anne J. H. McTavish. 

St. Boniface East M. A. Girard. 

St. Boniface West Louis Schmidt. 

St. Charles Henry J. Clarke. 

St. Clement's Thomas Bunn. 

St. Francois Xavier East . Pascal Breland. 
St. Francois Xavier West. Joseph Royal. 

St. -James' E. Burke. 

St. Norbert North Joseph Lemay. 

St. Norbert South Pierre Delorme. 

St. Paul's Dr. C. J. Bird. 

St. Peter's Thomas Howard. 

St. Vital A. Beauchemin. 

Winnipeg Donald A. Smith. 

The first regularly constituted Government 
consisted of the following members : 

Hon. Henry J. Clarke, Q.C., Attorney-General. 
Hon. Marc Amable Girard, Treasurer. 
Hon. Thomas Howard, Secretary. 
Hon. Alfred Boyd, Public Works and Agri- 

Hon. James McKay, without portfolio. 

94 The Making of the Canadian West. 

It was some years before party politics could 
be developed, and hence, during the meetings 
above referred to, the questions discussed were 
of a very local character, and in the end the 
candidate who had the largest family connec- 
tion in the neighborhood was generally elected. 
For some time rebellion echoes were heard at 
all the meetings, like the war issues in United 
States politics, and in the English-speaking 
constituencies any suspected complicity in the 
misdeeds of the past and any heresy as to the 
amnesty of the rebel leaders would contribute 
powerfully to the overthrow of the suspected 
party. These meetings were not without their 
humorous side, and ofttimes somewhat peculiar 
situations arose out of the unfamiliarity of the 
settlers with the methods and expressions of 
parliamentary debate. I recollect once when a 
school-teacher had framed a motion and made a 
speech as to the leniency with which we should 
view those who, as mere dupes, had been drawn 
into the rebellion, that the reporter gave out 
that he had made a motion as to the brutes who 
had gone into the rebellion. The chagrin of the 
school-teacher may be imagined. I also recall 
seeing a man who had occupied the chair during 
a meeting leaving it in high dudgeon on a motion 
to vacate, which he was not aware was made 

The Making of a Province. 95 

preparatory to moving him a vote of thanks. 
On another occasion one embryo statesman, who 
was holding before his audience the hope of 
some change in governmental methods, and who 
sought to clinch his speech by the use of a 
proverb, got the two sayings, " Every dog has 
his day " and " It's a long lane that has no 
turning" slightly mixed, and vehemently assured 
the people that " It was a long dog that had no 

The voting was all done openly, and hence it 
was not surprising that in the older settled 
districts an election threw apples of discord into 
regions where formerly the inhabitants had lived 
in peace and quietness, while the ties which 
frequently occurred during the polling-day sent 
the pulse of the community up to fever pitch. 
Canvassing was of the most personal kind, and as 
we then had no legislation in regard to corrupt 
practices to reveal the sin, it was considered a 
sign of meanness on the part of a candidate not 
to provide a somewhat elaborate meal at every 
committee meeting, and ample refreshments 
in some house near the polling-place on elec- 
tion day. Riots were not altogether unknown 
and at the first election in Winnipeg wagon- 
spokes were freely used, the Chief of Police was 
rendered hors de combat, a printing office was 

96 The Making of the Canadian West. 

wrecked, and finally the military had to be 
called out to overawe the noisy multitude. 

When the first legislature met, it could not 
reasonably be expected that the same dignity 
and decorum, the same acquaintance with par- 
liamentary methods or the same breadth of 
statesmanship would be manifested as in older 
lands. The appearance of the early House was 
peculiar and characteristic of a transition stage. 
I recall seeing in the old legislative chamber 
men clothed in the faultless Prince Albert black 
beside men in a curious compound of the old 
and the new, having the long curled hair of 
raven hue, wearing the moccasins to which they 
had always been accustomed and which cer- 
tainly had the advantage of silence over creaky 
boots ; coats open, displaying the colored flannel 
shirt without a collar, and across the waist, 
picturesquely slashed, the French belt or sash 
commonly worn on the prairies. The literary 
education of some of these men had been of the 
scantiest, and when one day a member sent a 
note across the floor asking a member of the 
Government to move the House into a " com- 
mitty of the hole," it was taken jocularly as a 
deep-laid plot to entrap the Executive unawares. 
In a case under my own observation a newly- 
elected member, whose sudden elevation had 

The Making of a Province. 97 

induced the too free use of stimulants, was 
making himself so obnoxious that he had to 
be sharply called to order by the Speaker with 
threats of expulsion from the precincts. The 
member, unabashed, told the Speaker, in effect, 
that he ought to remember the primitive con- 
dition of things in the country ; and desiring 
to impress the Speaker with the fact that 
though he (the member) was not a finished 
statesman, he was fairly representative of, if 
not superior to, his constituents in attainments, 
said : " You may think I am a fool, Mr. Speaker, 
but I am not such a fool as the people who sent 
me here ; " in which saying the member builded 
better than he knew, and aptly described what 
has been witnessed frequently enough in political 

That early House, too, had, in the person of a 
member of great avoirdupois, an inveterate 
joker, who, being something of an artist, used to 
sketch his fellow-members in their various 
attitudes and confront them with the pictures 
that they might see themselves as others 
saw them. Notwithstanding, these peculiarities 
much solid work was done and many a thrilling 
speech made. The foundations were laid in 
much good legislation, and special attention 
was given to the religious, educational and 

98 The Making of the Canadian West. 

benevolent projects of the time. Back there 
the enactments that gave rise to the famous 
School Question were passed, though it is no 
secret now that the House had no intention of 
committing the young province to the dual 
system of schools abolished by the famous 
statutes of 1890. Proceedings were conducted 
in the Legislature, the courts, etc., in both 
English and French for many years, and one of 
the most impassioned and eloquent speeches of 
the time was made by a Frenchman on behalf 
of retaining his mother tongue in public and 
official use ; albeit that same speech was made 
in English, and the absurdity of wasting time 
and money in using two languages in a British 
country, where all who took an intelligent in- 
terest in affairs spoke English, soon became 
apparent. Moreover, it was found that while 
the appropriation was duly made, there were 
cases in which the French printing of the pro- 
ceedings was not done for years after the sessions 
of the House. There was, too, a somewhat ridi- 
culous side to the matter. Speeches from the 
throne were always read in both languages. 
Some of the governors could read in both ; 
others, who only read English, had the good 
sense to hand the speech for reading to the 
French clerk ; but when English-speaking gov- 

The Making of a Province. 99 

ernors, for fear of shattering the Constitution, 
persisted in reading the French speech with 
English pronunciation, the effect was so distress- 
ing that the French themselves were doubtless 
glad when their beautiful language could no 
longer be mangled so heartlessly before the 

Changes other than the abolition of the dual 
language system were also made at an early 
date. " Dualities " have had a hard time in the 
West, for shortly after the beginning of our his- 
tory dual representation in local and Dominion 
Houses had to succumb. Next in order the 
" Upper House " was forced to go. 

The Legislative Council (as our " Upper 
House " was called) had come into existence on 
the 10th March, 1871, and was composed of the 
following, gentlemen appointed by the Lieuten- 
ant-Go vernor in Council : Hons. Donald Gunn, 
Francois Dauphinais, Solomon Hamelin, Colin 
Inkster, Dr. J. H. O'Donnell, Francis Ogletree 
and James McKay, the latter being Speaker 
of the House. This institution, intended, I 
suppose, as " a check on hasty legislation," was 
not easily annihilated, for the members in full 
enjoyment of its titles and emoluments were 
not likely to approve any bill for their own 
decapitation ; but after some new appointments 

100 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the body finally lapsed out of existence by the 
casting vote of the Speaker. It was only by 
degrees that the party element came into 
western politics. The natives of the country 
had no hereditary tendencies in that direction, 
but gradually the presence of Federal differ- 
ences began to be felt in local circles, and under 


that pressure men were soon found arrayed in 
opposing lines of battle. Amongst the politicians 
of the early years were many who had won 
their spurs in the older provinces, and whose 
names will be in memory there ; but of those 
indigenous to the soil of Manitoba were several 
who took a prominent part in shaping the 

The Making of a Province. 101 

destinies of their native land, and around these 
more especially interest for our present purpose 

In this number by far the most prominent 
and powerful figure was that of John Norquay, 
a man who made his influence felt far beyond 
provincial bounds. He was what was called a 
Scotch half-breed, uniting in himself the strain 
of the Orkneys with a mixture of Indian blood 
which he was always proud to own. He was 
educated wholly at the Anglican school and 
college at St. John's, through the benevolence 
of the Church, became a school-teacher in early 
life, and at the first local election became a 
member of the Local Legislature, and so re- 
mained till his death in 1891. For some seven- 
teen years he was a member of the Government, 
and during nearly all that time he was First 
Minister of his native province. Physically, he 
was a man of tremendous size and strength, 
standing some six feet three in height, and 
broad and strong in proportion. As an indica- 
tion of his physique, I recall seeing him at a 
political meeting, when a fight was imminent, 
thrust himself between the combatants, who 
found themselves as much apart as if a rock 
had dropped between them. He must have 
been a diligent student to secure the complete 

102 The Making of the Canadian West. 

mastery of English he manifested in his public 
addresses, as well as the thorough acquaintance 
with public questions that gave his speeches 
authority. As a speaker he was at his best. 
He had a voice of clear and resonant force, and 
a fluency which carried everything before it 
without degenerating into wordiness, while his 
vocabulary was that of one who had gained it 
by wide reading and keen study. I heard him 
speak on almost every kind of theme, on a great 
variety of platforms, and never knew him to 
disappoint the expectations of his listeners. 
Wherever he spoke in the native parishes he 
would naturally have a specially sympathetic 
audience ; but as an example of his influence 
on other audiences, I remember hearing him 
speak with great effect in an immense hall 
in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the occasion of a 
concert given there during an ice carnival 
by the St. George's Snowshoe Club, of Win- 
nipeg. He was on his way home from 
Ottawa to Winnipeg when we secured him 
at St. Paul, knowing that his presence would 
redeem our concert from possible failure. The 
gathering of several thousands was representa- 
tive of many parts of the United States, that 
nation of public speakers, and they looked with 
somewhat critical gaze upon our burly Premier 


The Making of a Province. 103 

when he was introduced as an extra on the 
programme. He had no special text given him, 
but dwelt chiefly upon the friendly relations 
and close connection which had always subsisted 
between the Red River colonists and the cities 
of the western States, whence he passed to the 
wider questions of international fellowship, 
evoking rounds of applause by the rolling 
periods of his eloquence. 

In his home life, John Norquay was a lov- 
able man, and I have more than once seen him 
lay aside the cares of state and play like a 
school-boy with his children, who clambered 
delightedly upon his stalwart person. His 
tenure of political power closed in 1889, when, 
weakened from without by conflicts with the 
Federal authorities on questions of provincial 
rights as to railway advantages and other 
matters, and from within by the overcrowd- 
ing of government departments by men to 
whom he was too good-natured to say " no," 
he resigned the premiership into the charge 
of Dr. Harrison, who shortly afterwards 
met defeat at the hands of the Greenway- 
Martin forces. At the next session, Mr. Nor- 
quay returned to the House as leader of a 
" corporal's guard " in Opposition. His speech 
in self-defence, as he stood almost alone like 

104 The Making of the Canadian West. 

a wounded stag at bay, remains as the one 
passage of genuine and lofty eloquence that has 
echoed in the halls of our Legislature. In that 
speech he reviewed his long tenure of office, 
without claiming infallibility, but showing how, 
with abundant opportunity for enriching him- 
self, he had surrendered in comparative poverty 
the seals of office, and declaring how he was 
satisfied in being able to hand down an unsul- 
lied name to his children. During the delivery 
of his speech a member thoughtlessly taunted 
him with his Indian blood, and few will forget 
the thrillingly dramatic effect of Mr. Norquay's 
action as he threw up his hand to reveal the 
dark skin of which he said he was proud, and 
how he sent back with stunning force a rebuke 
for the unhappy sneer. 

Not many months after that Mr. Norquay 
died of a sudden inflammation. The recol- 
lection is yet vivid of how the news sped to 
the startled hearts of the people, and of the 
way in which, regardless of party, they united 
in mourning for one who had done signal 
service to the Province in which he was born. 
The Greenway Government gave him a state 
funeral, and friends all over Canada contrib- 
uted to the erection of the handsome monu- 
ment which stands over his dust in the old 

The Making of a Province. 105 

graveyard at St. John's. No claim is made by 
anyone that he was a faultless man, nor even 
that he could have taken the highest place in 
the highest sphere, but considering his oppor- 
tunities and the lateness of the hour in his life 
when he came, without any experience what- 
soever, into the new career of politics, John 
Norquay's name stands as that of one of the 
most remarkable men we have yet seen in 

Beside Mr. Norquay for some years in public 
life stood another of the native-born, the Hon. 
A. M. Sutherland, a brother of the young man 
who was shot by one of Kiel's spies during the 
first rebellion, as already recorded. One of my 
first recollections of Sutherland goes back to a 
day at the Kildonan school in 1870, when a boy 
came over to the icy play-ground and said, 
" Aleck Sutherland has come to attend school." 
When the bell rang and the school assembled 
we saw, with the admiring gaze of small boys, 
a powerfully built, broad-shouldered, athletic 
and handsome man, who had come back to 
school after years of absence with the view 
of receiving higher education and going on to 
the legal profession. And so in that school, in 
Manitoba College and in Toronto University he 
pursued his studies to graduation, and in due 

106 The Making of the Canadian West. 

time was admitted to the practice of law in 
Winnipeg. During his law studies he ran for 
the Local Legislature in Kildonan, his birth- 
place, was elected and re-elected, holding the 
seat till his death in 1884, and in the meantime 
occupying the posts of Attorney-General and 
Provincial Secretary with marked success. His 
most outstanding characteristic was a manly 
straightforwardness which made him a universal 
favorite, a fair, if forcible opponent, and a factor 
in a political contest that no one could ignore. 
His untimely death cut short what would doubt- 
less have been a notable career, and the letters 
from all quarters that poured in upon his sor- 
rowing parents, to the size of a small volume, 
were an index of the esteem in which he was 
held far and wide. 

At the time of the death of Mr. Sutherland, 
John MacBeth, an almost inseparable personal 
friend, held the position of Clerk of the Execu- 
tive Council, which he unselfishly resigned at 
the call of his leader, Mr. Norquay, to contest 
the constituency of Kildonan, he being also a 
native of that parish. He was elected for the 
unexpired term, and returned again at the 
following election, holding the seat till a redis- 
tribution took place, when he, with equal loyalty 
and unselfishness, retired in favor of Mr. 

The Making of a Province. 107 

Norquay, who contested the new division. His 
warmth of heart completely disarmed the per- 
sonal enmity of his bitterest political opponents, 
so that when the news of his death, which took 
place in October, 1897, reached Manitoba, there 
were found amongst his most sincere mourners 
many to whom he had stood diametrically 
opposed on many a hotly contested political 

In the history of every country there are 
found the names of some who have apparently 
taken but a small part in public affairs, and are 
soon forgotten in the rush of events, but who, 
nevertheless, formed an important link in the 
chain of the country's progress ; and as I look 
back over the death-roll of Manitoba, the some- 
what obscure name of F. H. Francis appears as 
one occupying this unique place. Mr. Francis 
was an Englishman by birth, an educated and 
cultured man, and a fluent speaker as far as 
delicate health permitted. When Mr. Norquay 
resigned the premiership in favor of his 
colleague, Dr. Harrison, the latter took into his 
Cabinet as representative of the French element, 
Mr. Burk, a merchant at St. Charles, who 
offered himself for re-election in the constitu- 
ency of St. Francois Xavier. To oppose him 
with all the Government prestige and patronage 

108 The Making of the Canadian West. 

at his back seemed a forlorn hope, but the then 
Opposition persuaded Mr. Francis to make the 
effort. It was in Mr. Francis' favor that he was 
equally at home in speaking English or French, 
and that as a merchant within the constituency 
he personally knew nearly all the electors. It is 


almost certain that he was the only man at that 
time who could gain sufficient support from the 
different elements to defeat Mr. Burk, as he did, 
to the great surprise of the Government. 

By that defeat the Harrison Government was 
overturned, the present Greenway administra- 
tion took office, and ere long the famous school 

The Making of a Province. 109 

question, which changed the political face of 
all Canada, came into being. I have had many 
conversations with people who took part in that 
election, but there seems to be a great diverg- 
ence of opinion as to what actually took place 
in regard to this special matter. It appears 
certain that for some reason or other the 
Harrison party assured the electors that if the 
Greenway party succeeded the French Roman 
Catholic Separate Schools would be abolished, 
and as to what the Greenway party said in reply 
there is remarkable lack of unanimity. What 
really took place during the election is matter 
of controversy, but not many days elapsed 
thereafter before Mr. Joseph Martin, the 
Attorney-General in the new administration, 
announced the intention of the Government 
to abolish Separate Schools and inaugurate 
a national system, which was accordingly done 
by the now famous Act of 1890. The St. 
Francois Xavier election, which was won by 
Mr. Francis, was the pivotal point in the whole 

Another of Mr. Francis's achievements was 
the building of the Deaf and Dumb Institute, 
now one of the best equipped institutions in 
the Province. At an early stage in the session 
he secured a commission to take a census of 

110 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the deaf and dumb in the Province, and there- 
after, even at his own expense, secured rooms 
and a teacher, but lived to see this work for 
the unfortunate on which he had set his heart 
an accomplished and successful fact. And so 
with only a few months of political life, for 


which he had no special love, Mr. Francis was 
able to bring about changes with results of 
extraordinarily far-reaching character. Other 
names of those who took part in the formative 
period of our history readily occur, but of these 
I have little personal reminiscence, while any 
detailed sketches of our living statesmen on 
both sides of politics are omitted for obvious 

The Making of a Province. Ill 

Amongst the Dominion statesmen who have 
gone from us the name of the late Sir John 
Schultz survives with the foremost by reason of 
his commanding ability and his close connection 
with the most stirring events of our history. 
What we have already written in regard to him 
will give some idea of his striking appearance, 
his loyalty, his indomitable Will and courage. 
But we would be giving an imperfect portrait 
of him did we not cause him to stand out in the 
memory of the country he loved as a man of 
culture and refinement as well as of courage and 
strength. As a public speaker he excelled by 
reason of his perfect coolness, his musical, well- 
modulated voice, his choice language and clear- 
headed statesmanship. As a member of the 
House of Commons he exerted great influence 
on all legislation affecting this country, and did 
much to direct the attention of Canada to the 
great domain now being opened up in the far 
North- West. The knighthood conferred upon 
him was a fitting recognition of the perils and 
sufferings he had undergone in the country's ser- 
vice, to the complete ruin of a once splendid 
constitution. While Lieutenant-Governor of 
Manitoba he did signal service in the way of 
inculcating lessons of patriotism amongst the 
school children of the Province, as well as by 
throwing the full weight of his influence on the 

112 The Making of the Canadian West. 

side of temperance and other moral reforms. 
In private life he was courtly and graceful, 
considerate of the comfort and feelings of those 
he met, and from an abundant store of informa- 
tion always a ready and interesting conver- 
sationalist. From intimate intercourse with him 
in the closing years of his life I was given to 
feel that he was realizing to the full the earnest- 
ness of life with all its opportunities, and the 
solemnity of being called upon to exert an 
influence on one's day and generation. 

Back somewhat farther in the history of the 
West we find the name of the late Hon. James 
McKay, of Silver Heights, as one who, in the 
interests of Canada, wielded a marked influence 
on the country when it was passing from the 
old to the new. He was what we call a Scotch 
half-breed, his father a Scotchman who had 
taken a share in one of the Sir John Franklin 
expeditions, and his mother having the blood 
of the French and the Cree in her veins. As I 
remember James McKay, in the last decade of 
his life, he was a man of immense size and 
weight, but his width of shoulder and general 
strength were so extraordinary that he seemed 
to carry himself lightly enough. From early 
custom on the plains he always wore moccasins, 
and I have seen somewhere a note by a traveller 
who met him in the corridor of a hotel, and 

The Making of a Province. 113 

who could not help contrasting the soft footfall 
of the magnificently massive man with the 
noisy step of some fussy little body who passed 
with creaking boots at the same time. McKay 
was a member of some of the early Cabinets, 
and afterwards Speaker of the Legislative 
Council in Manitoba, but his contribution to the 
national history was not made so much in legis- 
lative halls as out on his native prairies in 
connection with the treaties arranged between 
the Government and the Indians all over the 
West. He knew the Indians and they knew 
him, hence he became a medium of communica- 
tion, ensuring the conclusion of treaties wise, 
humane and lasting. The Dominion will never 
wholly realize how much of the comparative 
peace she has enjoyed on the vast plains of the 
West she owes to the statesmanship of Gov- 
ernors Morris and Laird, aided by such men as 
James McKay, the Revs. John McKay, George 
McDougall, Father Lacombe, and others whom 
the Indians loved and trusted. The last time I 
recall seeing James McKay was during Lord 
Dufferin's visit to this country in 1877, when in 
Deer Park, near his own place, McKay was 
master of ceremonies in a reception to the 
Governor-General which took the form of a 
wild- west entertainment. McKay had a buffalo 


The Making of the Canadian West. 

herd there, with broncho-breakers from the 
frontier, and as the massive man drove his 
famous cream horse here and there to regulate 
matters, the Governor-General perhaps realized 
the peculiar value of having such men to stand 
between the old life and the new a fact to 


which he made reference afterwards in many a 
public address. Through the action of a limited 
number of them, many people think of the 
name " half-breed " only in connection with 
western rebellions, whereas the real history 
shows that the presence of men with Indian 
blood in their veins has been a most important 
factor in the peaceful making of the West into 
a part of Canada. 



FROM the earliest times the question of com- 
munication with the outside world had been a 
burning problem. The first settlers, who had 
begun their isolation by failing to hear of 
Waterloo for long months after that famous 


battle took place, had become more or less 
reconciled to living " far from the madding 
crowd's ignoble strife." These pioneers grew 
content with the bi-annual trip to York Factory 
for merchandise and mail, and with the commerce 
and communication that percolated through the 
western States. They were not quite so solitary 
as the Hudson's Bay Company's officer at a 
remote point, who received his copies of the 
London Times once a year with the annual 
packet, and who began always at the farthest 
back number and read right through to get 
abreast of events, though even then he left off 
about a year behind. But while the condition 

116 The Making of the Canadian West. 

of the first settlers was, soon after their arrival, 
a little better than his, it was not wholly 
satisfactory to the growing colony on the Red 
River, and especially was it unsatisfactory to 
those who in the sixties began to come more 
rapidly into the settlement. Hence, as soon as 
the rebellion had quieted down, people began 
to look around for inlets for population and 
merchandise and outlets for produce. The old 
steamboat, flat-bottomed and stern-wheeled, was 
one of the prized institutions of the time. It 
ran from near the " head waters " in the western 
States down the Red River to Fort Garry, and 
on rare occasions down past the lower settlement 
to Lower Fort Garry. These latter occasions 
were red-letter days for the community : schools 
were dismissed while the boat was passing, and 
grown-up people gathered on the banks, greet- 
ing her with shotgun salutes, and eliciting 
responses from the boat whistle, to the half- 
terror, half-delight of the children. When 
merchants began to open stores in some num- 
bers on the present site of Winnipeg, the 
advent of " the first boat " after the long winter 
was the goal to which the hopes and the long- 
ings of people most turned. The merchant of 
to-day who has "just sold out," 'but assures the 
customer that he has some of the desired goods 

Contact with the Outside World. 117 

" on the way," is distinctly of the same genus 
as the ancient and veracious merchants of 
Winnipeg, who invariably asserted concerning 
everything that they did not have on hand, 
that " it would be in on the first boat." Some 
mathematical genius, who perhaps desired to 
keep his mind engaged in arithmetical gym- 
nastics during the long winter, made much 
inquiry for goods, keeping note of the stereo- 
typed reply, and towards spring gave in miles 
what he considered the dimensions of " the first 
boat " would be if the promises of the merchants 
had any tangible foundation. 

One of the first indications we had of swifter 
communication with the outside world was the 
erection of telegraph poles and lines across our 
farms in the early seventies. The proceedings 
were more or less shrouded with that mystery 
and occultness which provokes the inquiry of 
boys ; and like the man who, seeing the electric 
light for the first time, wondered " how they 
could get such light from a hairpin in a bottle," 
we used to wonder how men sent messages on 
those wires twisted round a " bottle " at intervals. 
We tried to examine as far as possible, and 
although warned as to the danger of meddling 
with the strange machinery, some boy of sure 
eye and hand would knock one of the " bottles " 

118 The Making of the Canadian West. 

off occasionally ; but it refused to yield up the 
secret of telegraphy, and replacing it, we would 
take our seats upon the fence and watch whether 
any of the daring birds that took their places 
on the wires would be " shot " by the passing 


By degrees railroads pushed their way west- 
ward through the States to the boundary line, 
and the Pembina branch of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway was built to connect with Winnipeg in 
1878. The first spikes in this road were driven 
in September, 1877, by the Governor -General 
and the Countess of Dufferin, whose visit in that 
year to the North- West marks a new era in the 

Contact with the Outside World. 

history of the country. They came by way of 
Toronto, Chicago and St. Paul, taking the last 
stage of the journey from Fisher's Landing to 
Fort Garry on the steamer Minnesota. They 
were received with unbounded enthusiasm in 
the new West, and there, as elsewhere, the tactful 
Governor-General did much to oil the machinery 
of Confederation and remove particles likely to 
cause friction. They had many unique experi- 
ences during their tour and their camping out, 
amongst them being shooting the Grand Rapids 
above Lake Winnipeg in a York boat, and 
riding in a Red River cart drawn by thirty 
garlanded oxen at Stony Mountain. The 
speech given by Lord Dufferin at a dinner in 
Winnipeg, before returning east, has always 
been regarded as one of the best immigration 
agencies the West has had, and we give a por- 
tion of it as bearing on the subject in hand. On 
rising Lord Dufferin said : 

" Mr. Mayor, Your Honor, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

" In rising to express my acknowledgments to the 
citizens of Winnipeg for thus crowning the friendly 
reception I have received throughout the length and 
breadth of Manitoba by so noble an entertainment, 
I am painfully impressed by the consideration of the 
many respects in which my thanks are due to you 

120 The Making of the Canadian West. 

and to so many other persons in the Province. From 
our first landing on your quays until the present 
moment, my progress through the country has been 
one continual delight, nor has the slightest hitch or 
incongruous incident marred the satisfaction of my 
visit. I have to thank you for the hospitalities I 
have enjoyed at the hands of your individual citizens, 
as well as of individual communities for the tasteful 
and ingenious decorations which adorned my route 
for the quarter of a mile of evenly-yoked oxen 
that drew our triumphal car for the universal proofs 
of your loyalty to the throne and to the Mother 
Country, and for your personal good-will to Her 
Majesty's representative. Above all, I have to thank 
you for the evidences produced on either hand along 
our march of your prosperous condition, of your per- 
fect contentment, of your confidence in your future 
homes ; for I need not tell you that to anyone in 
my situation, smiling cornfields, cosy homesteads, the 
joyful faces of prosperous men and women, and the 
laughter of healthy children are the best of all 
triumphal adornments. 

" But there are other things for which I ought to 
be obliged to you ; and first, for the beautiful weather 
you have taken the precaution to provide us with 
during some six weeks of perpetual camping out, 
for which attention I have received Lady Dufferin's 
especial orders to render you her personal thanks 
an attention which the phenomenon of a casual 
waterspout enabled us only the better to appreciate; 

Contact with the Outside World. 121 

and lastly, though certainly not least, for not having 
generated amongst you that fearful entity, ' a Pacific 
Railway question ' at all events not in those dire 
and tragic proportions in which I have encountered 
it elsewhere. Of course, I know a certain phase of 
the railway question is agitating even this com- 
munity, but it has assumed the mild character of a 
domestic rather than an inter-provincial controversy. 
Two distinguished members, moreover, of my govern- 
ment have been lately amongst you, and have doubt- 
less acquainted themselves with your views and 
wishes. It is not necessary, therefore, that I should 
mar the hilarious character of the present festival by 
any untimely allusions to so grave a matter. 

" Well, then, ladies and gentlemen, what am I to 
say and do to you in return for all the pleasure and 
satisfaction I have received at your hands ? I fear 
there is very little that I can say, and scarcely any- 
thing that I can do commensurate with my obliga- 
tions. Stay! There is one thing, I think, I have 
already done for which I am entitled to claim your 
thanks. You are doubtless aware that a great politi- 
cal controversy has for some time raged between the 
two great parties of the State as to which of them is 
responsible for the visitation of that terror of two 
continents the Colorado bug. The one side is dis- 
posed to assert that if their opponents had never 
acceded to power the Colorado bug would never 
have come to Canada. I have reason to believe, 
however, though I know not whether any substantial 

122 The Making of the Canadian West. 

evidence has been adduced in support of this asser- 
tion, that my government deny and repudiate having 
any sort of concert or understanding with that irre- 
sponsible invader. It would be highly unconstitu- 
tional if I, who am bound to hold an impartial 
balance between the contending parties of the State, 
were to pronounce an opinion upon this momentous 
question. But, however disputable a point may be 
the prime and original authorship of the Colorado 
bug, there is one fact no one will question, namely, 
that to the presence of the Governor-General in 
Manitoba is to be attributed the sudden, total, other- 
wise unaccountable, and, I trust, permanent disap- 
pearance, not only from this province, but from the 
whole North- West, of the infamous and unmention- 
able 'hopper,' whose visitations in the past have 
proved so distressing to the agricultural interests of 
the entire region. 

" But apart from being the fortunate instrument 
of conferring this benefit upon you, I fear the only 
further return in my power is to assure you of my 
great sympathy with you in your endeavors to do 
justice to the material advantages with which your 
Province has been so richly endowed by the hand of 
Providence. From its geographical position and its 
peculiar characteristics, Manitoba may be regarded 
as the keystone of that mighty arch of sister prov- 
inces which spans the continent from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific. It was here that Canada, emerging 
from her woods and forests, first gazed upon her 

Contact^with the Outside World. 123 

rolling prairies and unexplored North- West, and 
learned, as by an unexpected revelation, that her 
historical territories of the Canadas, her eastern 
seaboards of New Brunswick, Labrador and Nova 
Scotia, her Laurentian lakes and valleys, lowlands 
and pastures, though themselves more extensive than 
half a dozen European kingdoms, were but the vesti- 
bules and ante-chambers to that till then undreamed- 
of Dominion, whose illimitable dimensions confound 
the arithmetic of the surveyors and the verification 
of the explorer. It was hence that, counting her 
past achievements as but the preface and prelude to 
her future exertions and expanding destinies, she 
took a new departure, received the afflatus of a more 
important inspiration, and felt herself no longer a 
mere settler along the banks of a single river, but 
the owner of half a continent, and in the magnitude 
of her possession, in the wealth of her resources, in 
the sinews of her material might, the peer of any 
power on earth. In a recent remarkably witty speech 
the Marquis of Salisbury alluded to the geographical 
misconceptions often engendered by the smallness of 
the maps upon which the figure of the world is 
depicted. To this cause is probably to be attributed 
the inadequate opinion of well-educated persons of the 
extent of Her Majesty's North American possessions. 
Perhaps the best way of correcting such a universal 
misapprehension would be by a summary of the 
rivers which flow through them, for we know that as 
a poor man cannot afford to live in a big house, so a 

124 The Making of the Canadian West. 

small country cannot support a big river. Now, to 
an Englishman or a Frenchman, the Severn or the 
Thames, the Seine or the Rhone would appear con- 
siderable streams, but in the Ottawa, a mere affluent 
of the St. Lawrence an affluent, moreover, which 
reaches the parent stream six hundred miles from its 
mouth we have a river nearly five hundred and fifty 
miles long, and three or four times as big as any of 
them. But even after having ascended the St. Law- 
rence itself to Lake Ontario, and pursued it across 
lakes Erie, St. Glair, Huron and Superior to Thunder 
Bay, a distance of one thousand five hundred miles, 
where are we 1 In the estimation of the person who 
has made the journey, at the end of all things ; but 
to us, who know better, scarcely at the commence- 
ment of the great fluvial system of the Dominion, 
for from that spot, that is to say, from Thunder Bay, 
we are at once able to ship our astonished traveller 
on to the Kaministiquia, a river some hundred 
miles long. Thence, almost in a straight line, we 
launch him upon Lake Shebandowan and Rainy 
Lake and River, a magnificent stream three hundred 
yards broad and a couple of hundred miles long, 
down whose tranquil bosom he floats into the Lake 
of the Woods, where he finds himself on a sheet of 
water which, though diminutive as compared with 
the inland seas he has left behind him, will probably 
be found sufficiently extensive to make him fearfully 
sea-sick during his passage across it. For the last 
eighty miles, however, he will be consoled by sailing 

Contact with the Outside World. 125 

through a succession of land-locked channels, the 
beauty of whose scenery, while it resembles, certainly 
excels the far-famed Thousand Islands of the St. 
Lawrence. From this lacustrine paradise of sylvan 
beauty we are able at once to transfer our friend to 
the Winnipeg, a river whose existence in the very 
heart and centre of the continent is in itself one of 
nature's most delightful miracles, so beautiful and 
varied are its rocky banks, its tufted islands ; so 
broad, so deep, so fervid is the volume of its waters, 
the extent of their lake-like expansions, and the 
tremendous power of their rapids. At last, let us 
suppose we have landed our protege at the town of 
Winnipeg, the half-way house of the continent, the 
capital of the Prairie Province, and, I trust, the 
future ' umbilicus ' of the Dominion. Having now 
had so much of water, having now reached the home 
of the buffalo, like Falstaff he naturally ' babbles of 
green fields ' and careers in imagination over the 
primeval grasses of the prairie. Not at all. Escorted 
by Mr. Mayor and the Town Council we take him 
down to your quay, and ask him which he will 
ascend first, the Red River or the Assiniboine two 
streams, the one five hundred miles long, the other 
four hundred and eighty, which so happily mingle 
their waters within your city limits. After having 
given him a preliminary canter on these respective 
rivers, we take him off to Lake Winnipeg, an inland 
sea three hundred miles long and upwards of sixty 
broad, during the navigation of which for many a 

126 The Making of the Canadian West. 

weary hour he will find himself out of sight of land, 
and probably a good deal more indisposed than ever 
he was on the Lake of the Woods or even the 
Atlantic. At the north-west angle of Lake Winni- 
peg he hits upon the mouth of the Saskatchewan, 
the gateway to the North- West, and the starting point 
to another one thousand five hundred miles of navi- 
gable water flowing nearly due east and west between 
its alluvial banks. Having now reached the Rocky 
Mountains, our 'ancient mariner,' for by this time 
he will be quite entitled to such an appellation, 
knowing that water cannot run up hill, feels certain 
his aquatic experiences are concluded. He was never 
more mistaken. We immediately launch him upon 
the Athabasca and Mackenzie rivers, and start him 
on a longer trip than he has yet ever taken, the navi- 
gation of the Mackenzie River alone exceeding two 
thousand five hundred miles. If he survives this 
last experience, we wind up his peregrinations by 
a concluding voyage down the Fraser River, or, 
if he prefers it, the Thompson River, to the coast; 
whence, having provided him with a first-class ticket 
for that purpose, he will probably prefer getting 
home by the Canadian Pacific. 

" Now, in this enumeration, those who are 
acquainted with the country know that, for the sake 
of brevity, I have omitted thousands of miles of 
other lakes and rivers which water various regions 
of the North-West, the Qu' Appelle River, Belly River, 
Lake Manitoba, the Winnipegosis, Shoal Lake, etc., 

Contact with the Outside World. 127 

along which I might have dragged, and finally exter- 
minated, our way-worn guest. But the sketch I have 
given is more than sufficient for my purpose ; and 
when it is further remembered that the most of these 
streams flow for their entire length through alluvial 
plains of the richest description, where year after 
year wheat can be raised without manure, or any 
sensible diminution in its yield, and where the soil 
everywhere presents the appearance of a highly 
cultivated suburban kitchen-garden in England, 
enough has been said to display the agricultural 
richness of the territories I have referred to, and the 
capabilities they possess of affording happy and pros- 
perous homes to millions of the human race." 

After referring to the many different nation- 
alities composing the population of the West, to 
the problems yet to arise, and dwelling elo- 
quently upon the future destiny of the Dominion, 
Lord Dufferin closed a great speech by express- 
ing the hope that the finances of the country 
would soon provide for the West a railway to 
carry out the surplus produce, " which," said he, 
"my own eyes have seen imprisoned in your 
storehouses for want of the means of transport." 
The Governor-General's hope in this regard soon 
found fruition. 

This was the decade when efforts were made 
to construct a transcontinental line through 

1 28 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Canadian territory by utilizing " the magnificent 
water stretches," of which the Governor-General 
had spoken so eloquently, and hence eastward 
from Winnipeg beginnings were made somewhat 
to the bewilderment of the old settlers, through 
whose growing crops the roadway of the iron 
horse was relentlessly pushed. The Federal 
Government of the day felt inclined to cross the 
Red River about twenty-two miles north of 
Winnipeg, where the picturesque town of Selkirk 
now stands at the head of Lake Winnipeg navi- 
gation, but to that course it was objected that 
crossing at Selkirk would ignore the growing 
centre at Winnipeg, would miss the fertile plains 
just west of that city, as well as necessitate the 
great expense of construction over certain dis- 
tricts north-west of Selkirk, where morasses 
alleged to be bottomless existed. However that 
might be, the fact is that Winnipeg eventually 
drew the main line of the great railway through 
her borders. Not many of us have found common 
ground on all points with Mr. Debs, but most 
of us will agree with him in preferring Govern- 
ment ownership of railroads to railroad owner- 
ship of Governments; and yet in the light of the 
history of the time we know that it was not 
till the Canadian Pacific Railway had passed 
out of the immediate control of the Government 

Contact with the Outside World. 129 

into the hands of a company that its construction 
and operation became a success. That may be to 
the discredit of the Government and to the credit 
of the company, as the case may be, but I am 
now simply stating the fact. It is true that the 
company received from the country an enormous 
bonus in money and lands, but it should not be 
forgotten that they faced enormous difficulty in 
attempting to build a road, offering the most 
amazing engineering problems, across a vast 
area of country at that time only partially 
settled, and a great part of which will, so far 
as we see, remain unsettled and non-producing 
for all time. It was, perhaps, fortunate that 
most of the Canadian directorate hailed from 
the land of the saying, " a stout heart to a stey 
brae," and few who know the way in which 
these men pledged their private fortunes and 
hazarded their business reputations will grudge 
the joy that must have been theirs when one of 
the most distinguished o their number, Sir 
Donald A. Smith, at Craig Ellachie, in 1885, 
drove the last spike in the band uniting oceans 
which lave the opposite shores of Canada. In 
fact, one cannot read the name of the place 
amidst the great mountain ranges where that 
notable act was done without thinking of the 
legends of Highland seers concerning the " grey 

130 The Making of the Canadian West. 

frontlet of rock" which stood in the glen of 
Strathspey, and from whose summit the scat- 
tered firs and wind-swept heather in war time 
whispered to the clansmen, "Stand fast," for 
only by the most determined steadfastness could 
men have completed the task of which we have 
just spoken. 

It was for some time' quite fashionable to 
denounce the rapid construction of the C.P.R. as 
conducing to the scattering of population west- 
ward, and to say that the road should have been 
built by easy stages, and settlement consolidated 
in lateral directions. Apart from the fact that 
such a process would have been oblivious of the 
conditions upon which British Columbia entered 
Confederation, there was only a modicum of 
truth in the assertion that slower construction 
of the railway would have consolidated settle- 
ment, as early settlers who witnessed the move- 
ment of population can testify. There seems 
always to have been a westward moving 
instinct in humanity, and under its influence 
men have, from the beginning, been crowding 
towards the setting sun. In the West, long 
before a railway was dreamed of, I saw my 
own kith and kin leave the Red River colony 
to travel, amidst great difficulty, with cart- 
trains, five hundred miles north-westward and 

Contact with the Outside World. 131 

form a settlement there. Those who were in 
the country at the time know that during the 
construction of the C. P. R. emigrants left its 
trains at the various termini, and, loading their 
effects on " prairie schooners," pushed on, leaving 
good land unoccupied to the right hand and to 
the left. 

For several years the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way was the only railroad traversing the 
prairies west of Winnipeg. Then the Port- 
age, Westbourne and North- Western (now the 

o x 

Manitoba and North-Western) Railway branched 
off from the Canadian Pacific Railway at Port- 
age la Prairie, and took its way over the north- 
western part of the Province, heading for Prince 
Albert on the North Saskatchewan. From this 
road, in turn, there was built last year, begin- 
ning at Gladstone, the Lake Dauphin Railway, 
which strikes northward to the fertile areas in 
the direction of Lake Dauphin and Lake Win- 
nipegosis, and which may become a route to the 
northern seaboard. Down through the beauti- 
ful districts of south-western Manitoba two 
lines of railway run from Winnipeg, tapping 
one of the richest grain districts of the West, 
also the soft coal deposits of the Estevan region; 
while north and north-westward short branches 
run to Stonewall and Selkirk. From the south 

132 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the Northern Pacific Railway (the first to enter 
the field as a rival of the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way) and the Great Northern Railway enter 
through the States, and over the road of the 
former the Grand Trunk Railway, eager for 
its share of western trade, is now running 
special colonist trains into Winnipeg. The 
Northern Pacific has also pushed westward, 
by two branches from Winnipeg, to Brandon 
and Portage la Prairie respectively. From 
Chater, on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the 
North- West Central Railway goes northward 
to Harniota. Away out on its line towards the 
coast the Canadian Pacific Railway sends out 
offshoots in many directions. From Brandon 
a line runs south into the Souris district ; from 
Regina a line goes to Prince Albert ; from 
Calgary one strikes north-westward through 
the Red Deer country to Edmonton. Southward 
from the great transcontinental road a branch 
runs from Medicine Hat to the coal mines at 
Lethbridge, and from Calgary through the vast 
ranching country to Fort Macleod ; while out in 
the rich mining districts of British Columbia 
branches tap every centre of any importance. 
For a long time the question of railway com- 
munication from the west to the east and south 
was a burning one in our politics, and as one 

Contact with the Outside World. 133 

charter after another passed by the Local 
Legislature in Manitoba was disallowed by the 
Dominion authorities, on the ground that the 
Canadian Pacific Railway, while still struggling, 
would suffer, feeling in the West rose some- 
times to fever pitch. It was largely through a 
fruitless fighting on behalf of Provincial rights 
in this matter that the Norquay Government 
fell, but since the time when, shortly after 
the Green way Administration took office, the 
Northern Pacific Railway entered the Province, 
we have had, as I have shown, railroads numer- 
ous enough. There are more to follow, and the 
change wrought in the course of a few years 
makes a marvellous contrast between the isola- 
tion of the early days and our present closeness 
of contact with all the great centres on the 



ONCE communication with the outside world 
was established, the growth of the country's life 
in all lines was comparatively rapid. We say 
" comparatively " in view of its former isolation, 
but there has never been what in western 
phrase would be called " a stampede " of immi- 
gration towards this country as compared with 
the influx of population other new lands have 
sometimes received. - For that reason it is 
claimed that the conditions of life and work 
which now obtain in the West are much more 
solid and substantial than might be expected 
from the age of its history, inasmuch as the 
population came in so gradually that it has 
been readily assimilated and made part and 
parcel of the institutions of the land. 

But though there has never been for any 
protracted period a rush into this country, our 
history is not altogether destitute of that 

Premier of Manitoba. 

A "Boom" and Another Rebellion. 135 

adjunct to the progress of all young territories 
known as a " boom " time. That" particular 
epoch came upon the West in the fall and winter 
of 1882-83. Just what began it we cannot say, 
except that there was general prosperity at that 
time in many parts of the world, and that 
capital looking for investment found its way 
to the new land whose resources were beginning 
to compel attention from without. 

The " boom " opened in the fall of 1882, with 
the turning over of a few lots in Winnipeg, but 
as they went on turning over at considerable 
advance in price, men plunged wildly in, and 
the young city became in a few weeks a seeth- 
ing sea of real estate brokers, speculators and 
auctioneers. The auctioneers' rooms were a 
sight to see, as some man with " the dangerous 
gift of fluency " flourished a pointer with which 
he indicated the choice lots on a map, and ex- 
patiated on the merits of some coming Chicago 
to the men who clambered over each other in 
haste to buy. Fortunes were made and lost in 
a few days' time, figures became meaningless of 
real value, and we have known men without 
any available money make ten thousand dollars 
in a single evening. Fabulous prices were paid 
for all sorts of real estate, and " towns " with 
the slightest possible chance for the future 

136 The Making of the Canadian West. 

commanded for their corner lots large figures, 
while places long leagues from railway com- 
munication were readily sold on the off chance 
of some railroad heading that way. 

Great harm was done to the country by all 
this " wild-cat " speculation. The people them- 
selves got inflated ideas and extravagant habits 
which they afterwards tried with disastrous 
results to maintain after the means to do so 
had been exhausted. The effect outside told 
terribly against the country. The many in 
different parts of the world who were " bitten " 
turned against the West, and denounced every- 
thing connected with it as a swindle and fraud. 
They themselves were to blame for the haste to 
be rich that impelled them to make investments 
ignorantly, but the specious accounts given 
them by the " land sharks " were set down 
against the country. When on a mission field 
in southern Manitoba, in 1890, one of my people 
received from a lady school-teacher in Ireland 
a sum of money to pay her taxes on town lots 
in a place called Pomeroy, and she asked on 
what street a certain family lived, and would he 
kindly send her a copy of the Pomeroy paper. 
At that date, Pomeroy consisted (as it still does) 
of a farm-house and a lot of surveyors' stakes on 
the virgin prairie, and there was no newspaper 

A "Boom" and Another Rebellion. 137 

published within fifteen miles of it. This state 
of matters was gently hinted to the Irish school- 
teacher, with the result that she, like many 
others similarly situated, became the reverse of 
an emigration agent for Manitoba. But the 
" boom " drew widespread attention to the coun- 
try, and scattered people far and wide over it 
westward towards the Rocky Mountains, and 
north-westward along the valleys of the great 
Saskatchewan. New territories with ever- 
growing autonomy were carved out on the 
prairies, with central points such as Regina, 
Calgary, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Battleford 
and other now thriving communities. 

When Canada first took over the great North- 
West Territory, only a corner out of its vast 
area had been organized into a province, and 
called Manitoba; but in 1872 an Act was passed 
in Ottawa providing for the government of 
the unorganized territory by the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Manitoba and a council appointed 
by the federal authorities. 

The members of this first Council, gazetted in 
January, 1873, are herewith given : Hons. M. A. 
Girard, Donald A. Smith, Henry J. Clarke, 
Patrice Breland, Alfred Boyd, John Schultz, 
Joseph Dubuc, A. G. B. Bannatyne, William 
Fraser, Robert Hamilton and William Christie. 

138 The Making of the Canadian West. 

To these were afterwards added : Hons. James 
McKay, Joseph Royal, Pierre Delorme, W. R. 
Bown, W. N. Kennedy, John H. McTavish and 
William Tait. This Council, presided over by 
Lieutenant-Governor Morris, of Manitoba, did 
exceedingly important service in trying times, 
and paved the way for fuller organization. 

Acts were shortly afterwards passed by the 
Dominion Parliament, establishing the Mounted 
Police force and making rules for the regulation 
of trade, notably for the suppression of liquor 
selling, the Territories being put practically 
under prohibition, in order to keep liquor out of 
the reach of the inflammable and easily excited 
Indian population. Treaties had been made 
with the Indians far and wide, and such was 
the fairness with which the Government treated 
them, and such was the influence of the Mounted 
Police, that when the Ouster massacre and similar 
events were taking place south of the boundary, 
on the north all was peace and comparative 

In 1875 an Act for the fuller organization 
and government of the North- West Territories 
was introduced by the Hon. Alex. Mackenzie, 
and came into force in October, 1876, the Hon. 
David Laird being appointed the first lieutenant- 
governor, aided by a small Oouncil consisting 

A "Boom" and Another Rebellion. 


of Stipendiary Magistrates McLeod, Ryan, Rich- 
ardson and Major Irvine (N.-W. M. P.), A. E. 
Forget, Secretary of the Council ; M. St. John, 
Sheriff. The position of Governor Laird and 
his Council was not an easy one, as the chang- 
ing conditions, the disappearance of the buffalo 


and other means of support, were throwing 
upon the Governor the burden of caring for and 
arranging about the future of almost the entire 
native population of Indians and half-breeds. 

Gov. Laird was succeeded in the governorship 
by Hon. Edgar Dewdney, in 1881. The Terri- 
tories were divided into local electoral districts, 

140 The Making of the Canadian West. 

with a legislative assembly meeting at Regina, 
and into Dominion constituences, with the privi- 
lege of sending four members to the House of 
Commons. The whole territory was divided 
into judicial districts, with experienced and able 
jurists at the head of each ; and the vast domain 
was becoming the prosperous home of thousands 
when a second rebellion broke out in 1885, and 
for a time checked the progress by disturbing 
the peace of the land. 

Just what gave rise to the North-West rebel- 
lion is perhaps more than anyone can definitely 
say. Political gladiators have fought the ques- 
tion over and over again to no definite end, 
and probably the great parties have their own 
opinion in the matter to this day, though they 
may be chary about telling all they know. It 
appears certain that the French half-breeds who 
were settled on the south branch of the Saskat- 
chewan River (many of them being the same, 
or of the same, families as those concerned in 
the Riel rebellion of '69) were determined to 
hold to the old system of long narrow farms 
fronting on the river, as against the rec- 
tangular, or "square," survey proposed by the 
Government, which threatened to break up the 
homes they had built and overturn the old 
social life fostered by contiguous residence ; and 

A "Boom" and Another Rebellion. 141 

it seems also tolerably clear that many of the 
settlers had been waiting an extraordinarily 
long time for their land patents and scrip. 
These things were sufficient to unsettle the 
easily ruffled and somewhat turbulent half- 
breed element, and once anything like rebellion 
was contemplated, the aid of their duskier breth- 
ren all over the great plains was confidently 

The local authorities seem to have been singu- 
larly oblivious of the excitement that was afoot, 
and of the meetings that were being held for 
the redress of the wrongs alleged. They do not 
seem to have kept those at the seat of federal 
government properly informed as to the true 
state of matters at the scene of the discontent, 
nor of the important fact that many of the 
white settlers in the region sympathized with 
the malcontents at the outset, though depre- 
cating the use of any but constitutional means 
for redress. But it is doubtful whether the 
discontent that seethed under the surface would 
ever have burst into active rebellion had not 
the agitators sent for Louis Kiel, who since his 
first escapade had been living in the United 
States, and who at the time he was sent for 
was engaged in the quiet work of school-teach- 
ing in Montana. The malcontents felt that, 

142 The Making of the Canadian West. 

with his energetic personality at their head, 
they could secure all the rights they claimed, 
and so despatched a deputation asking him to 
come and lead them in their struggle. The 
reply of Kiel was exceedingly characteristic of 
the man, being a mixture of the egotist, the 
mercenary and the patriot, and in June, 1884, 
he accompanied the deputation back to the 
North-West. The very presence of the man on 
the ground should have put the local authorities 
on the alert. But either the local powers were 
making light of the situation, or else the pigeon- 
holes at Ottawa were receiving unread petitions, 
and so far as we can gather, we incline to the 
former as the more correct opinion. Then as 
anyone who knew Kiel should have expected, 
the inevitable sequel came. He was a man easily 
excited and inordinately vain ; hence, as he felt 
the wine of a new movement in his system, and 
became intoxicated with the success of his fiery 
appeals to the meetings that assembled, he broke 
out into amazing and extravagant pretensions. 
He openly separated from the Church of Rome, 
and such was his influence over the French half- 
breeds that he drew them from allegiance to 
their priests. He added David to his name, 
and called himself " Louis David Kiel exovede," 
in allusion to both his kingly and his priestly 

A " Boom " and Another Rebellion. 143 

claims ; he established a Government with 
headquarters at Batoche, arrested whom he 
pleased, plundered the stores around, and sent 
word to Major Crozier, who commanded the 
Mounted Police at Fort Carlton, the nearest 
post, to surrender at once. This was rushing 
matters with a vengeance, and it is not sur- 
prising that, on the 19th of March, Major 
Crozier, hearing of these things, sent word to 
Prince Albert for help, and shortly afterwards 
despatched Thomas McKay, one of the Prince 
Albert volunteers, to remonstrate with Kiel. 

The McKay family did signal service for the 
country during the rebellion, there being no less 
than five brothers of them engaged in its sup- 
pression. Being natives of the country they 
were thoroughly at home in camp or in saddle, 
were deadly shots, had immense endurance and 
unmistakable courage. One of them, George, a 
canon in the Anglican Church, accompanied our 
column as chaplain and scout, and I can vouch 
for it that he could fight as well as pray. 

When Thomas McKay reached Kiel's Council 
at Batoche, he found things at white heat, and 
was told by Kiel that there was to be a war of 
extermination during which " the two curses, the 
Government and the Hudson's Bay Company," 
and all who sympathized with them, were to be 

144 The Making of the Canadian West. 

driven out of the country. " You don't know 
what we are after," said Kiel to McKay. " We 
want blood, blood it's blood we want." McKay, 
barely escaping with his life from such a gory 
atmosphere, returned to Carlton, and the next 
day, in company with Mitchell, of Duck Lake, 
met Nolin and Maxime Lepine (brother of 
Ambroise Lepine, Kiel s adjutant in '69-70), from 
Kiel, demanding the surrender of Fort Carlton. 
This, of course, was refused, and in a few days 
rebellion was rampant with a madman at its 

For many weeks previous Kiel had been 
sending his runners amongst the Indians, and 
counted on a general uprising of the tribes, 
assuring them that the Government could easily 
be overthrown and that the whole country 
would be theirs again. We can forgive Kiel for 
a good many things, but to justify his incite- 
ment of the Indians to murder and rapine is 
more than any reasonable person cares to 
undertake. As a rule the Indians were perfectly 
satisfied on the splendid reserves the Govern- 
ment had provided for them, were well cared 
for and taught, but the savage instinct was still 
strong in them, and to let them loose on defence- 
less homes with all the horrors of the scalping- 
knife and the torture, seems to take the man 

A "Boom" and Another Rebellion. 145 

who is responsible for it out of the reach of 
ordinary consideration, and puts a tongue in 
every wound of the massacred calling for 
justice on the foul compasser of their death. 

The first actual collision took place near Duck 
Lake, on March 26th, when Crozier, in an effort 
to secure stores from that point, met Gabriel 
Dumont, the redoubtable fighter, in command of 
a large force of half-breeds and Indians. A flag 
of truce was displayed by Dumont's party, but 
while parleying with the leaders Crozier saw 
that the rebels were surrounding his force of 
police and Prince Albert volunteers, and he im- 
mediately gave the order to fire. He, however, 
was directly in front, and his men held the fire 
of their 9-pounder on that account, though the 
gallant officer told them afterwards that they 
should have obeyed orders and shot him, if need 
be, with the enemy. 

Firing became general, and after an hour 
Crozier and his men, who had acted throughout 
with the utmost coolness, were forced to retire 
before superior numbers, leaving twelve dead 
on the field and taking with them twenty -five 
wounded. They arrived at Fort Carlton, where 
they were joined two days afterwards by Col. 
Irvine, with eighty police and thirty more 
volunteers from plucky Prince Albert, and as 

146 The Making of the Canadian West. 

there was no advantage in holding Fort Carl- 
ton, they retired from it to Prince Albert, 
where the greater portion of them remained 
till the close of the rebellion. 

For this inaction the Mounted Police, than 
whom no more gallant force exists in the world, 
have been much criticised by ignorant people ; 
but those who know that without them the 
most populous community in that part of the 
West would have been at the mercy of the now 
savage and excited enemy, honor the brave men 
who repressed their desire to be at the front, 
and loyally did less brilliant but not less 
important duty in defending the otherwise 
defenceless homes of the district. 

Gabriel Dumont was certainly the most 
striking figure amongst the rebels in all the 
fighting which followed the battle at Duck 
Lake. He was living quietly enough upon his 
farm on the South Saskatchewan when the 
agitation began, but from his noted prowess and 
activity in the conflicts and hunts on the great 
plains in former years, became at once the 
acknowledged military leader of the rebel force. 
He was a man of magnificent physique and 
vast strength, a daring rider, a deadly shot, 
and, withal, possessed of undoubted dash and 
courage. It is not generally known that he 


Leader of rebel forces in second Kiel Rebellion, 1885. 

A " Boom" and Another Rebellion. 147 

was wounded at Duck Lake by a bullet which 
plowed along his scalp and felled him, stunned 
and bleeding, to the ground. There are some 
who say that after that experience he was more 
cautious about exposing himself. The incident, 
however, could not have materially affected his 
nerve, for it is well known to some that but for 
the interference of Kiel he would, on a night of 
cold and rain, have led a " forlorn hope " in a 
midnight raid on Middleton's camp just before 
the fight at Fish Creek. How that raid would 
have eventuated it is useless to conjecture, but 
one who has passed nights in such a camp on 
such a night could easily see what confusion 
would be caused by a rush that would stampede 
the horses and produce a momentary panic. 
From their bearing in all situations during the 
campaign, we know that our boys would have 
been equal to the occasion ; but from the rebel 
standpoint Dumont's proposition stamps him as 
a man of courage as well as of considerable 
strategic ability.* 

The news of the disaster at Duck Lake sped 
like a flash to the hearts of the Canadian people, 
and the one thing of value that resulted from 

* No proceedings were ever taken against Dumont. He 
left the country for a time after the rebellion, but is now a 
peaceful resident. 

148 The Making of the Canadian West. 

this wretched rebellion was the manner in which 
the spontaneous rush to arms manifested the 
spirit of the nation. Procrastinating officialdom 
had had its day. A Commission, consisting of 
Messrs. W. P. R. Street, A. E. Forget and Roger 
Goulet, was appointed, on the 30th March, to 
investigate the claims of the half-breeds, and 
when the Government, who never before seemed 
to be fully seized of the situation, started in 
vigorously to suppress the uprising, they found 
the people of all parties more than ready to 
second their efforts. The alertness with which 
the people answered the bugle's call to arms 
reminds one of the incident related by Scott in 
" The Lady of the Lake," when in answer to the 
shrill whistle of Roderick Dhu the sides of Ben 
Ledi swarmed with Highland clansmen, as 

" Every tuft of broom gave life 
To plaided warrior armed for strife." 

Scarcely had the story of Duck Lake reached 
the seat of Government at Ottawa, when from 
the frowning fortress of old Quebec to Halifax 
away down by the sea, from the populous cities 
and backwoods farms of Ontario to the scattered 
ranches at the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains, 
hosts of armed men sprang up to defend the 
laws and liberties of the land they loved. As 

A " Boom " and Another Rebellion. 149 

we look into the situation we do not wonder at 
this swift response to the country's call. There 
was something peculiarly touching and pathetic 
about the death on that ill-fated field of the 
young men from Prince Albert who had gone 
outside the ordinary routine of their life to help 
the authorities maintain order in the country. 
A friend in Prince Albert said to me, on the way 
back after the rebellion was over, " If one had 
picked out the men we could least afford to 
spare from the community, he would certainly 
have included the nine who were killed at 
Duck Lake." And so as the people of Canada 
heard of those who fell in the prime and 
glory of their young manhood, and thought 
that far away from their homes and the peace- 
ful graves of their fathers they were sleeping 
their last long sleep, wrapped in the snow- 
shroud of the western prairies, and that, in- 
stead of the accents of those they loved, the 
last sounds that had fallen upon their ears were 
the rnad rattle of the rifle and the fierce yellings 
of a treacherous foe, we are not surprised that 
a great wave of mingled sorrow and wrath 
swept over the country. 

To these feelings that humanity would dic- 
tate add those of patriotism and national pride, 
and it is little marvel that when the uniform 

150 The Making of the Canadian West. 

of the Queen was fired upon there was a mighty 
and immediate answer to the country's call. 
For sixty long years now the Queen has swayed 
a gracious and commanding sceptre over an 
empire so vast " that the beat of her morning 
drum, following the sun and keeping company 
with the hours, encircles the globe with one 
continuous strain of the martial airs of Eng- 
land." Over all this vast domain the story of 
the Queen's life has become one of the prized 
possessions of her subjects. Her career, so 
strangely chequered with joy and sorrow, has 
brought out perfect types of girlhood, wifehood 
and motherhood, while her strong common-sense 
has so linked her to the love and esteem of her 
people, that we can say in truth of her what 
Edmund Burke so vainly hoped for Marie 
Antoinette when he said : "I thought ten thou- 
sand swords must have leaped from their scab- 
bards to avenge even a look that threatened her 
with insult." 

Hence we find the most strenuous action at 
once taken by the Government, who without 
delay sent forward General Middleton, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Canadian forces, to take 
swift measures for the suppression of the 

General Middleton was a man of many battle- 

A "Boom" and Another ^Rebellion. 151 

fields, and though the North- West Rebellion 
provided new experience in a peculiar warfare, 
he bore himself throughout as a man of the 
utmost coolness and courage in short, a true 
British soldier of the best type. 

He arrived in Winnipeg on the 27th of 


March, and left that same night for the scene 
with the 90th Rifles and the Winnipeg Field 
Battery. Troops from all parts of Canada, 
to the number of five or six thousand, were 
hurrying to the front, and in the West every 
district was furnishing a ready quota to the 
various bodies being raised for the occasion. 
Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba, besides 

152 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the battery, cavalry and Boulton's scouts, fur- 
nished three infantry regiments, two of them, the 
91st, under Col. Scott, and the 92nd (Winnipeg 
Light Infantry), under Col. Osborne Smith, 
being specially enlisted in a few days for the 
suppression of the rebellion. With the latter 
regiment I had the honor to serve, and I purpose 
giving some personal recollections of the cam- 
paign such as have apparently been interesting 
to Canadian audiences at many points. 

As indicated in the preface to this book, no 
attempt is made to give a complete record of the 
military operations of the whole force in the 
field. One can only be in one place at a time, 
and this volume is chiefly one of personal remin- 
iscence; but it is hoped that the account here 
given, as written out from notes made nightly 
at the camp-fire, will be in some measure typical 
of the experience of all who went to the front. 


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THE regiment known as the Winnipeg Light 
Infantry may be spoken of as one recruited out 
of almost every nation under heaven. The main 
body of it was made up of men enlisted in the 
city of Winnipeg, to which the noise of tumult 
had brought adventurers from every point of 
the compass, many of whom hailed the rebellion 
as a great windfall. Numbers of men just back 
from the Gordon Relief Expedition up the Nile 
fell readily into the ranks. Some of Indian, Irish, 
Scotch, English, Icelandic, German, French, and 
I know not what other extraction, were on hand, 
and I remember two men who followed our com- 
pany to quarters one day and forswore their 
allegiance to the United States till the close of 
the campaign, when, with four months' pay in 
their pockets, they shook the dust of Canada off 
their feet and returned to Chicago. One com- 
pany, however, was enlisted in the old pioneer 

154 The Making of the Canadian West. 

parish of Kildonan and contiguous points, from 
the farmers there, and another was enrolled from 
Minnedosa, a point some 150 miles distant to 
the north-west of the city. To the Kildonan 
company (afterwards No. 1 in the regiment) I, 
who was a native of the parish and at that 
time a student-at-law in Winnipeg, attached 
myself as a full private, though in the process of 
unaccountable events, and to my own great sur- 
prise, I became shortly afterwards second lieu- 

It was significant of the times that our com- 
pany had its barracks in a deserted " boom " 
house, whose hardwood floors made an excellent 
place for drill. After some scant preliminary 
training we left Kildonan, suitably farewelled, 
on the 13th of April, to join our regiment in the 
city. As we marched up, one of those incidents 
common in the experience of amateur soldiers 
occurred in passing the camp of the 9th Volti- 
geurs of Quebec. The guard turned out and 
presented arms, but we did not know how to 
return the compliment, and so kept on steadily 
as if they had not attracted our attention. 
Fortunately, however, we happened to be march- 
ing " at the shoulder," and I suppose that to this 
day the 9th have no idea that it was only by 
the merest chance in the world we did the right 
thing at the right time. 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 155 

On Wednesday, the loth, after being addressed 
by Lieutenant- Governor Aikins, our regiment 
marched to the C. P. R. station, and it was then 
known that we were under orders for the ex- 
treme north-west of the Territories, where the 
Frog Lake massacre had just taken place, and 
where the posts and settlements on the North 
Saskatchewan were in danger from the sur- 
rounding Indians. Soon the final farewells 
were said for how long we knew not and 
with many a last word and handclasp the severest 
ordeal of all was over, and the train moved out 
amidst the answering cheers of those going away 
and those left behind. 

Doubtless many a stalwart uniformed figure 
was held in more than necessary military erect- 
ness, and many a voice firm enough in command 
was hushed lest a tell-tale tremor should reveal 
to others the sorrow felt at seeing lost in the 
heaving throng some dear and well-known face. 
But such feelings, however deep and constant, 
must be kept in check soldiers, we thought, 
must be made of sterner stuff and so before 
we had travelled many miles the usual gaiety of 
spirits, the amusing story and the patriotic song 
were in evidence, and no grim forebodings were 
allowed to displace the enjoyment of the hour. 

The car in which No. 1 (Kildonan) Company 

156 The Making of the Canadian West. 

travelled was certainly a jovial one, and a good 
deal of the mirth was at the expense of the 
guard at the door, a man who had been enlisted 
at the last moment from some outside point, 
when he was barely recovered from a prolonged 
spree, and who made grotesque efforts to spring 
to sober attention whenever the officer of the 
night passed through to see that all was well. 
The judgment of our color-sergeant, at whose 
request the man was enrolled, was amply vindi- 
cated during the campaign, for the wild-looking 
soldier of that first night, once beyond the reach 
of liquor, became one of the finest marchers in 
the regiment, and the head navigator for our 
flat-boat flotilla on the North Saskatchewan. 

Our flying special "halted" at 11 a.m. of the 
next day at the town of Moose Jaw for break- 
fast, and the fast from the previous afternoon, 
together with the knowledge that we would 
soon be beyond the reach of what is ordinarily 
called a " square meal," led to such display of 
appetite that, when the regiment boarded the 
train, Moose Jaw must have somewhat resembled 
a country just traversed by an army of locusts. 

Our next stop was at Gleichen, or Crowfoot 
Crossing, near the home of Crowfoot, the 
redoubtable chief of the Blackfoot Indians, 
whose reserve was near at hand. Crowfoot 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 157 

promised to be loyal, and he kept his word ; but 
as the spirit of rebellion was abroad at the time, 
and young braves are easily roused, the Minne- 
dosa Company was left here to repress any undue 
exuberance. We saw Crowfoot several times 
going to and from Calgary, a stern, stoical man, 


(From photograph by Prof. Buell.J 

whose will was law for his tribe, and whose 
consistent loyalty was of great value to Canada 
during that troublous time. 

To Calgary we came on the 17th of April, 
amid a drizzling rain and snow, but after the 
first night the weather, which Calgarians assured 
us was exceptional, cleared and was beautiful 
during the remainder of our stay. Some of the 

158 The Making of the Canadian West. 

prophecies made concerning Calgary have not 
yet come true, but it is, nevertheless, one of the 
most perfect sites for a city in the west. We 
shall not soon forget the view from the great 
mound across the Elbow River in those spring 
evenings. The town, on its picturesque upland, 
lay peacefully quiet at the close of the day. 
Around it twined the glistening coils of the Bow 
and the Elbow rivers, which pour their united 
waters into the great Saskatchewan, while away 
to the west the Rockies, mighty monuments of 
the Creator's power, reared their snowy peaks 
against the purpling sky, resembling the vast 
tents of some giant host rising majestically 
above the plain. 

Calgary, on its more material side, seemed 
that year the very paradise of cowboys, horse- 
men and scouts, for the place was full of the 
great rough, good-hearted fellows, fairly bristling 
with arms. Belts of cartridges round the waist 
and slashed across the chest held supplies for 
the Winchester rifle and Colt's revolver ; great 
leather leggings, called "schaps," bowie-knives 
here and there about the person, huge jingling 
spurs, immense grey hats turned up at one side, 
" the cavalry swagger," and somewhat ferocious 
language were the prevailing characteristics. 
These men were magnificent riders, more at 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 159 

home in the saddle than on carpets, and as they 
had the run of the town, the sight of a number 
of them, with their wild horses at full speed 
along the principal streets, was quite common. 

Most of us who had been brought up in the 
West knew something by experience of broncho- 
breaking, but it was worth while going to the 
corrals to see the broncho broken for use in our 
column. The horse, perhaps five or six years old, 
had never been handled except to be branded 
when a foal. He was dexterously lassoed, and (as 
the whole process is one of breaking rather than 
training) if necessary choked into submission. 
Sometimes the headstall was fastened with a 
blindfold, the great saddle was thrown on and 
tightly " cinched," then a cowboy leaped into 
the seat, locked his spurs and yelled " Let her 
loose !" There was a scattering of those holding 
the broncho, and a retrograde movement quickly 
executed on the part of the spectators as the 
trouble began. Sometimes the broncho, dazed 
for a few moments, stood with hunched-up back 
or walked quietly away for a few yards, then 
suddenly " exploded " into the air with terrific 
violence, and came down facing the opposite 
direction, with a continuation of such "bucking" 
as only a well-regulated broncho understands. 
The rider, however, was generally what west- 

160 The Making of the Canadian West. 

erners call a " stayer," and after a half-hour 
or so the broncho gave up and was pronounced 
" broken" ; but we would not advise any of our 
tender-foot friends to mount the " hurricane 
deck" of a broncho, even though he may be 
broken enough for a cowboy's use. 

Orders shortly came that our column was to 
march northward to the relief of Edmonton 
and the districts on. the North Saskatchewan, 
which were being ilrrorized by Big Bear and 
his tribe, a portioqfcpf whom had massacred 
nine men at Frog ake on the 2nd of April. 
Word, too, had just -'reached us of the fight at 
Fish Creek between: Middleton and Kiel, with 
heavy loss to our comrades. 

The Fish Creek fight was evidently planned 
by Gabriel Dumontf as a surprise for our troops, 
and it certainly md come upon them with 
unexpected suddefiaess. It would be utterly 
wrong to say, as some have said, that Middleton 
walked into a trap, for he had his mounted 
infantry and Boulton's scouts well spread out 
in front in proper form. But men who were in 
the advance guard of the 90th have told me 
that the first indication of the enemy's pres- 
ence they had was in seeing several of the 
scouts in front fall from their saddles under the 
deadly fire of the half-breeds concealed in the 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 161 

bluffs. The main body of the volunteers was 
soon brought up to support the scouts, and the 
fighting became general. A ravine near by 
afforded almost perfect cover to the enemy, and 
from it a hot fusilade was poured upon the 
advancing troops. Dumont's men also set the 
prairie on fire so that the smoke would confuse 
the volunteers, but they put out the fire and 
advanced steadily, adopting the enemy's tactics 
and taking cover as much as possible. After 
some hours the half-breeds, except a few in the 
ravine, were dislodged from their position, and 
as a heavy thunderstorm was beginning Middle- 
ton decided to form camp for the night. In 
this fight eleven of our men were killed or died 
subsequently of wounds, and a large number 
were wounded more or less seriously. When this 
news reached us at Calgary, just as we were 
under orders for the north, our letters home 
probably took on a final farewell flavor, and, 
withal, contained bequests of our worldly goods 
as holograph wills. 

When we marched out towards Edmonton on 
the afternoon of the 27th we had but 165 
men of our own regiment, the rest being on 
detachment duty, but we had two small 
bodies of Mounted Police and scouts under 
command of Major Steele, Major Hatton and 

162 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Capt. Oswald. About six miles out we crossed 
the Bow River by fording, and this was one of 
the first of many picturesque scenes on our 
route. The river was wide and swift-flowing, 
the water where we crossed on the stony 
bottom being from two to four feet deep. The 
loaded wagons, with four and six horses or 
mules driven by skilful though somewhat 
profane teamsters, the red-coated soldiers, the 
Mounted Police in scarlet and gold, and the 
picturesque corps of scouts, all passing through 
the water together, made a view worthy of 
being placed on canvas. Occasionally the 
scene would be spoiled by a mule throwing 
himself down in the water, but the free use of 
the black-snake whip, with the freer use of 
language not to be repeated here, overcame 
the obstinacy of the animal. A few miles 
farther out we camped for the night. A mar- 
vellously beautiful night it was, and I shall not 
soon forget how still and white the encampment 
looked under the splendor of the moon as it 
shone upon the tents grouped together on the 
wide prairie. It was probably on such a night 
that the young shepherd watching his flocks 
on the uplands of Canaan saw the infinite 
stairways of stardust that " sloped through 
darkness up to God," and exclaimed, " When I 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 163 

consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, 
the moon and the stars which thou hast 
ordained, what is man that thou art mindful 
of him, or the son of man that thou visitest 
him ?" Few men remain wholly unmoved under 
a study of the starry heavens, and doubtless 
many a sentry beneath those eloquent skies 
night after night drank in new messages as to 
the sublimity and goodness of God. 

The next morning the strident notes of the 
bugle-band sounded reveille at half -past four, and 
breaking camp early we marched twenty-five 
miles our first day. On we went with the usual 
round of marching by day and guard by night 
till we came to the Red Deer River, where, it 
being high-water time, we were stopped by 
what Adjutant Constantine (now in command 
of the Mounted Police in the Yukon country) 
called " a wide, swift-flowing and treacherous 
stream." After many futile attempts a rude 
ferry was constructed, upon which, under the 
pilotage of Sergt. Pritchard, of No. 1 Company, 
we all crossed in safety, and set out on our 
march of 110 miles to Edmonton. 

On May 7th we came upon the first bands of 
Indians, numerous enough and of the Cree tribe, 
under chiefs bearing the not very classical 
names of Ermine-Skin, Cay etc 7 , and Bobtail. 

164 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Whether these were disposed to be hostile or 
not we did not know, but our Colonel held the 
men in readiness for any event ; and then, with 
bayonets fixed and rifles at the slope, with band 
playing and every weapon exposed to view, we 
marched through, while the Indians gathered in 


the woods by the roadside and gazed wonder- 
ingly at the spectacle. 

We reached Edmonton on May 8th, and 
encamped south of the town in the midst of 
wigwams. The Indians were loyal enough now, 
with flags displayed from the tepees, in the 
presence of an armed force ; but the Edmonton 
people gratefully assured us that only the 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 165 

timely arrival of our column had prevented 
repetitions of the Frog Lake massacre at many 
points along the North Saskatchewan. At 
Edmonton we met the commander of our 
brigade, General Strange, who with part of that 
plucky regiment, the 65th of Montreal, and a 
detachment of Mounted Police under Major 
Perry, had preceded us a few days. General 
Strange was a retired British army officer, who 
was living on a ranch near Calgary when the 
rebellion broke out, and was given command of 
our column. He had done signal and distin- 
guished service as an officer of artillery in the 
Indian mutiny and elsewhere, and in every 
respect was a splendid type of the British 
soldier. Somewhat eccentric in certain ways, 
he was, withal, as kindly of heart as he was 
brusque of manner, and so cool and courageous 
that by the end of the campaign every man in 
the column had personal affection for him, and 
would have gone at his command wherever 
men could go. On this occasion, at Edmonton, 
General Strange made a speech complimenting 
the men highly on the swift march they had 
made. The speech was delivered in charac- 
teristic soldier style, with few words, and these 
shot out with quick emphasis, like the firing of 
bullets. As we crossed the ferry and marched 

166 The Making of the Canadian rfest. 

into Edmonton, we saw the picturesque town, 
with its Hudson's Bay post, the great distribut- 
ing point for the Company's fur-trade, rising 
hio-h on the north bank of the North Sas- 


katchewan, and stretching out .over considerable 
territory. Edmonton had borne its part in the 
" boom," and was mainly responsible for the 
breaking of it, as some men, coming to them- 
selves, realized how foolish they had been to 
buy lots at an enormous figure in a place, at 
that date, 210 miles from even a prospective 
railway station (though it is now connected 
by rail with the C.P.R. from Calgary). 

We remained at Edmonton a few days while 
flat-boats were being made to take us down the 
river, and I especially remember that with the 
lavish hand of the soldier of Epicurean philos- 
ophy, we spent our scanty cash in buying up the 
ancient stock of delicacies (?) from the Hudson's 
Bay store. Dried apples and prunes, ginger 
bread of rocky firmness, canned fruit, and such 
like, found their way to our tents, and on these 
unaccustomed delicacies we fared sumptuously 
for several days. On the 14th of May we 
embarked in open flat-boats to go down the 
river, greatly to the dismay of our Edmonton 
friends, who asserted that the Indians would 
enjoy the sport of standing on the high banks 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 167 

and "potting" us as we went by. Well do. I 
remember the first night out, when our flat- 
boats were tied to trees and we encamped in 
a storm, half rain, half snow, for the night, for 
I was officer in command of the picket. The 
twenty-five men fell in as best they could to 
be inspected in the darkness and on the sliding 
mud of the bank. Then we groped our way 
through the wet bush some distance to the rear 
of the camp, where we posted our line of sentries, 
while the rest of the picket huddled together 
under the dripping trees. The work of relieving 
sentries was made difficult by the very darkness 
of the forest ; but the slightest movement drew 
out the hoarse challenge, and the sentry thus 
found always gladly welcomed the relief. At 
four o'clock we came in, roused the camp, got 
on board breakfastless, and moved down the 
river in a driving snow-storm, with our clothes 
standing upon us like icy coats of mail. On 
the 16th we landed at Fort Victoria, which had 
been recently looted by Big Bear and his band, 
who were now sullenly retreating before us with 
all the prisoners and their ill-gotten plunder. 

On Sunday, the 17th, we had three church 
services. In the morning Col. Smith, assisted 
by Adjt. Constantine and Surgeon Penny father, 
read the Church of England service, with the 

168 The Making of the Canadian West. 

big drum for a pulpit; in the afternoon the 
well-known Methodist minister, the Rev. John 
McDougall, of Morley, who was with our 
column, preached in a long building near by ; 
while Mr. Mackenzie, the Presbyterian chap- 
lain to the Mounted Police, became a " field 
preacher," and conducted service in the woods 
in the evening. 

Reference already has been made to the 
amateur drill witnessed on such an expedition 
as this, and an incident that occurred at the 
close of the morning service was, I fear, more 
discussed and made more impression than the 
service itself. It being the official church 
parade, the whole regiment was formed up in 
three sides of a square, facing in to the "pulpit." 
When service was over the Colonel turned the 
parade over for dismissal to another member of 
the staff. This officer faced the situation, and 
knew just enough about drill to know that he 
should get the men back into line before giving 
the "dismiss," but how to get them there in 
military order was more than he could tell for 
the life of him. But he was a man of resource, 
and boldly went at it. " Regiment ! 'Tion ! Men 
on the sides, backwards wheel." They, however, 
had never heard such an order before and had 
never practised circus drill, so they remained 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 169 

motionless till Sergt.-Major (now Capt.) Lawlor, 
a Crimean veteran, who often had to unravel 
tangles during our campaign, came to the rescue 
and dismissed the parade in the orthodox way. 

While at Fort Victoria, in " the enemy's coun- 
try," orders had been issued that no man should 
leave the camp; but failing to understand the 
full purport of this, a soldier who was an ardent 
disciple of Izaak Walton got an old punt and 
pushed across the river to a likely-looking creek 
to do some fishing. His return was witnessed 
by the Colonel, who happened to be on the 
bank, and that officer immediately sent the ser- 
geant of the guard (Sutherland, of No. 1 Com- 
pany) to arrest and bring the man before him. 
To Sutherland's surprise the " outlaw " proved 
to be Pritchard, one of his fellow-sergeants in 
No. 1, who submitted good-hurnoredly to the 
arrest, but insisted on bringing his string of fish 
with him. The Colonel was equally surprised, 
Pritchard being a favorite all round, and the 
very opposite of a wilful offender; but as the 
sergeant had been of prime service to the column 
in crossing the Red Deer River, and as he more- 
over gravely avowed that he had been intending 
the best fish for the Colonel's dinner, that officer, 
keeping his face straight with great difficulty, 
administered a reprimand and set the offender 
at liberty. 

170 The Making of the Canadian West. 

On May the 20th we left Fort Victoria on 
our march overland after Big Bear, who had 
" looted " all the posts between Edmonton and 
Battleford, and at Fort Pitt, near the scene of 
the Frog Lake massacre, had received the sur- 
render of Mr. W. J. McLean, the Hudson's Bay 
officer in charge, together with all his family 
and employees, whom he now held as prisoners. 
To secure the release of these prisoners and to 
break up the armed force of the Indians became 
now the objects of our expedition, and as the 
sequel showed, both these objects were accom- 
plished, happily without much immediate loss 
of life. 

Various points northward were passed, such 
as Saddle Lake (where some of the atrocities 
had been committed, the leader in which, a giant 
Indian named Mamanook, was shot with some 
others by Steele's scouts a few days after this), 
Egg Lake and Dog Rump Creek, not far from 
Frog Lake. During these days the rain fell 
almost incessantly ; it was a case of march- 
ing in the mud by day and sleeping in our wet 
clothes by night. To make matters worse, our 
commissariat was not well supplied, and until 
further supplies, which were being brought from 
Edmonton, would reach us, we were on half 
rations. It was an uncomfortable predicament 

Campaigning on the Prairies. \1\ 

to be in, and I remember standing by a camp- 
fire which the rain was like to extinguish, and 
distinctly envying two scouts who were enjoy- 
ing a repast of "hard tack" and black" tea after 
a day of hard riding. 

On May 23rd, after a long day's march, we 
had orders to camp on the low ground beneath 
a ridge to avoid advertising our presence to the 
Indians, but the place was a shaking bog, and 
after a few vain attempts to prevent the tent- 
poles and pegs from going through towards the 
antipodes, Surgeon Pennyfather refused to risk 
the health of the men by asking them to sleep 
there, and preferred rightly to have them risk 
their lives as targets on the ridge, where we 
accordingly encamped. 

On the following morning reveille sounded as 
usual at 4.30, and we rose from our cheerless 
bivouacs on the muddy ground. At 5.10 we fell 
in amidst drenching rain and driving wind, and 
were addressed by General Strange as follows : 

" Col. Osborne Smith, officers and men of the 
Winnipeg Light Infantry, you have marched 
well. I know that you will stick to me, and we 
will stick to Big Bear's trail as long as our grub 
lasts. This is the Queen's birthday ; we have no 
time to celebrate and can't have fireworks, but 
let us hope we soon will have fireworks with 

172 The Making of the Canadian West. 

the enemy. Boys, three cheers for the Queen ; 
God bless her ! " 

To my mind no incident during the campaign 
more amply demonstrated the loyal hearts of 
our boys. It is easy to make a fair showing 
and to feel enthusiasm on the parade ground 
amidst a cheering throng of spectators, but 
the environment of our boys was different that 
morning. They were away out on the hillside 
in the solitary wilderness, rain-drenched in the 
driving storm, but at the name of the Queen 
they stood in the ranks with heads uncovered, 
and when the old General called for cheers the 
shout that went? up might well have rent the 
concave of the low-hanging clouds. Then the 
General, who with all his bluff exterior was an 
earnest Christian, said : 

" Boys, this is also Sunday, but we have no 
time for service to-day ; we must push on the 
march. I am reminded of an old soldier, who 
on going into battle prayed, ' O God, I often 
forget thee. I will be very busy to-day. I am 
sure to forget thee, but do not forget me.' Boys, 
we will sing together, ' Praise God from whom 
all blessings flow,' " and this old doxology was 
sung by the regiment ere we began another 
day's forced march. 

That evening we reached Frog Lake, the scene 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 173 

of the terrible massacre some weeks before, and 
by special order slept every man on his arms, as 
we were reported by the scouts to be surrounded 
by Indians who might attack us during the 
night. Next morning Sergt.-Major Lawlor, 
with a fatigue party, buried the bodies of those 
who had been massacred there some weeks 
before. The charred remains of the heroic 
priests, Fathers Marchand and Fafard, who 
had thrown themselves between the" savage 
Indians and the whites, were recognized by 
the beads and crosses they wore, but all the 
others were little more than indistinguishable 
ashes. A look around the reserve showed how 
inexcusable was the rising of the Indians, who 
were treated so well by a paternal Government, 
and caused one to feel how utterly devilish was 
the action of those who by plausible messages 
had caused these easily excited and merciless 
savages to bite and destroy the hands that fed 
them. The reserve, as it lay before us that 
morning, was one of the most beautiful spots in 
all the wide country we traversed that year. 
" Fair as a garden of the Lord," it stretched 
afar, a flower-flecked prairie, diversified by 
shady groves and sparkling lakes; but the 
houses were all burned or wrecked, all imple- 
ments were destroyed, murder and rapine had 

174 The Making of the Canadian West. 

made their horrid havoc, and war flags of 
hideous colors on every side mocked the pure 
breeze of heaven. Sun-dance lodges were stand- 
ing there and at several points along our route 
thenceforward, to overawe the soldiers with 
evidences of the bravery of those who had taken 
part in the wild orgies these lodges represented. 
From their rafters still dangled the cords on 
which the young braves had hung by hooks in 
their lacerated flesh till, as they danced wildly 
around, the portion was torn out, and their reck- 
lessness of pain was admitted beyond a doubt. 
It was a mingled scene that met our gaze as we 
stood on the shores of Frog Lake that day a 
mingled scene of beauty and desolation, remind- 
ing us again of the world, still untouched by 
the Gospel, " where every prospect pleases and 
only man is vile." 

We left Frog Lake and pushed on by a forced 
march of forty-one miles to Fort Pitt, which our 
scouts reported the Indians were burning, and 
which we reached late in the evening only to 
find the fort (except two buildings) a heap of 
smoking ruins and the Indians vanished in 


retreat. As we came down over the brow of 
the river bank to the fort we found the body 
of young Cowan, the mounted policeman, who 
had been killed by the Indians some weeks 

. 3 


g . 

5 a? 

Campaigning on the Prairies. 175 

before. His body lay naked with face up- 
turned to the open sky. The scalping-knife 
had not touched his fair hair, but from wounds 
in the breast it appeared that the Indians, who 
believe that if they eat a brave man's heart 
they will get his spirit and courage, had followed 
that course in the case of the young trooper. 
They certainly had cause to know of his 
bravery. He and Constable Loasby had been 
out from the fort scouting towards Frog Lake, 
and on their return found the Indians in force 
along the slope towards the place where their 
comrades were standing siege. Putting spurs 
to their horses they made a desperate effort to 
cut their way through to the fort, but the 
odds were too great. They were both shot 
Cowan dead ; but Loasby, whose roan charger 
we found nearer the fort, was only wounded, 
and after simulating death awhile to deceive 
the enemy, he escaped into the stockaded 

As soon as possible after finding the body of 
Cowan, his comrades of the Mounted Police dug 
a grave and reverently buried it, the rattle of 
their musketry his only funeral requiem, but 
nothing could more vividly tell the record of a 
man who worthily wore the uniform of his 
Queen and died a soldier's death. A few years 

176 The Making of the Canadian West. 

since, when relating the story of the rebellion, 
I was glad to hear, from one who stated that he 
was young Cowan's cousin, that the body thus 
buried on that lonely bank was exhumed the 
next winter by order of the young soldier's 
mother, and taken down to be laid in the place 
of his father's sepulchre hard by the city of 

We hurriedly put in defensible shape the 
two buildings which remained, left a company 
of the 65th to hold them, and after a swift 
march of about eight miles, to a point where 
two Indians had been shot in a skirmish by 
Steele's scouts the night before, came within 
reach of the enemy, as we soon learned definitely 
by hearing the bullets whistling over our heads. 
It had been a long chase from the point of start- 
ing, but despite all Indian expectations to the 
contrary, our General had fully made up his 
mind to " stick to Big Bear's trail " and accom- 
plish the breaking up of his band, if it should 
take all summer. Hence there was great satis- 
faction when the routine of the long march was 
varied on that 27th of May by our coming into 
contact with the wily and light-footed foe. 



THE place in which we now met the enemy 
was full of ravines and heavily wooded. The 
Indians were seen along the top of the hill 
in front of us, seemingly holding the position. 
Our little force was thrown into line, with 
Hatton's scouts to the right and Steele's to 
the left. On our side the old 9-pounder, which 
Perry's rnen had brought from Fort McLeod, 
opened by sending a shell screaming into the 
thicket on the hill-top, in a way that must have 
been extremely unsettling to the nerves of the 
braves who occupied the place. Then the order 
came to us to advance, and we rushed forward in 
skirmishing order, the Indians meanwhile keep - 
ing up a scattering fire. We halted for breath, 
and I remember feeling rather amused at Major 
Steele, who warned me to take cover, saying, 
" If you don't, they will pot you sure," while at 
the same time he seemed to forget about his 
12 177 

178 The Making of the Canadian West. 

own colossal figure seated on a horse seventeen 
hands high. Once more the bugle broke in 
with the " Advance," and the line rushed up the 
hill and over the summit only to find the Indians 
retreating and leaving us in possession. For 
some hours we skirmished through the woods, 
and then our wagon train having come up we 
camped in the forest for the night. 

Humanly speaking, I have never been able to 
make out why the enemy, who were in force 
outnumbering us three to one, did not make 
short work of us in the darkness. The clearing 
in which we encamped was small and surrounded 
by dense forest, the wagons were in zareba 
form with all the men and horses inside, and 
the night was intensely dark. The Indians must 
have been already in panic, or, with their know- 
ledge of the situation, they might have rushed 
in, stampeded our horses, and in the confusion 
done serious execution. With the sunrise we 
moved on again, and soon encountered the enemy 
in a position which a glance showed to the 
merest amateur to be impregnable to our handful 
if held~by any considerable force. The Indians 
occupied a steep conical-shaped hill, moated by 
a deep valley and marshy stream, topped with 
forest and fortified with rifle-pits, there being, 
as we afterwards found, no less than five rows 

Rebellion at an End. 179 

of rifle-pits along the ravine by which they 
expected to be assailed. For some hours the 
fight was kept up sharply. Our men were in 
the open, but, strangely enough, only four were 
wounded, though afterwards many proudly 
exhibited caps shot through, etc., as evidence of 
close-enough calls. The enemy were practically 
invisible, and little could be seen to indicate 
their presence but the puffs of smoke from their 
rifles and the " ping " or thud of the bullets 
around us. About ten o'clock their firing had 
practically ceased, except for scattering shots 
from the pits. We afterwards learned the 
Indians were then in retreat ; but the scouts 
were of opinion that the retreat was a ruse, and 
that the enemy were coming round behind us (as 
some of them actually did) to cut off our wagon 
train and hem us down in the valley. 

In a letter I received from General Strange 
some years afterwards, he said in reference to 
this engagement : " My force would have gone 
in to a man, if I had allowed them, but I had 
the lessons of Fish Creek and Cut Knife before 
me," implying that he did not feel warranted in 
risking the lives of his men in a possible trap, 
against the opinion and advice of the column's 
" tentacles." So the men were slowly retired by 
companies till the wagon zareba was reached, 

180 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Avhen a camp was formed and the wounded men 
looked after. Word was then sent down the 
river to General Middleton, at Battleford, for 
ammunition and reinforcements. 

On the day following Major Steele offered to 
take a flying column and follow the Indian 
trail, and accordingly, with about fifty picked 
men out of the Police, the Alberta Rifles and 
Oswald's scouts, he left camp, accompanied by 
the " grey team " and wagon with ammunition 
and supplies. I remember how these fellows 
magnificent riders, every one of them \vheeled 
out on the gallop, and followed where the tracks 
showed that most of the Indians had gone. We 
saw no more of them for days, but they kept to 
the trail and came upon the main body of the 
Indians at Loon Lake, where a brilliant dash 
was made upon the enemy, who retired across 
an almost impassable morass. In this hot, if 
brief, engagement several Indians bit the dust, 
and Steele's sergeant-major (Fury by name), 
and two of the scouts (Fisk and West), were 
wounded. Fury was very seriously hurt, being 
shot through the breast and rendered per- 
fectly helpless. Steele's only course, with these 
wounded men on his hands and no transport or 
ambulance, was to retire toward the main body, 
leaving the Indians continuing their journey to 
the north. 

Rebellion at an" End. 181 

Another of our own companies having come 
down from Edmonton with much -needed sup- 
plies just as Steele left us, we marched back to 
the scene of our encounter at Frenchman's Butte, 
only to find that the enemy had vanished, leaving 
every evidence that they had fled in the wildest 
panic. The encampment was nearly intact, with 
the wigwams standing. Great heaps of furs 
(which went quickly we know not whither), 
wagons, carts, flour, bacon, cooking utensils, 
etc., lay around in the greatest disorder, as if 
they had become of very secondary importance 
in the race for life. Concerning the furs a good 
deal has been said even in the sober debates of 
our Houses of Parliament, but there is not much 
certainty as to where they were finally bestowed. 
The staff officers in all the brigades were 
mightily blamed by those who were themselves 
angry at not getting a haul, but it is quite likely, 
according to my observation, that the teamsters, 
who had the great advantage of receptacles in 
which to carry parcels, could unfold tales that 
would exonerate the poor officers from at least 
a part of the blame. 

Standing that day in a pelting rain-storm, we 
surveyed the position recently held by the enemy 
and wondered why they had not kept on holding 
it, so excellently was it suited for standing a 

182 The Making of the Canadian West. 

long siege. Then going out to the plain beyond 
we encamped to wait for orders from Middleton, 
while our scouts tried to locate the scattering 
trails of the fleeing Indians. While we remained 
there, several of the white prisoners who had 
escaped during the fight and confused retreat 
were brought into camp by the scouts, rejoicing 
at having regained once more a freedom which 
they doubtless at times had despaired of ever 
obtaining, as from day to day hope deferred had 
made their hearts sick. 

Here, too, I remember seeing one of those 
touches of nature which make the whole world 
kin. One of the roughest riders and apparently 
one of the most reckless of the cowboy scouts 
was seen coming into camp, leading his rougher 
horse and carrying carefully upon his arm a 
small wooden box, such as originally might have 
contained groceries of some kind. At once 
curious men gathered in a knot at the edge of 
the camp, and wondered what find Jack (as we 
will call him) had made. As he approached, one 
of the men stepped in his way and lifted the cover 
of leaves, unveiling the wan dead face of a white 
child some few months old, whose body had 
thus been reverently coffined and covered by 
the hand of the mother and left in the woods as 
the prisoners were dragged along. The man 

Rebellion at an End. 183 

whose curiosity had tempted him to discover the 
nature of Jack's "find" started to make some 
contemptuous remark to the crowd, but the 
scout's eyes flashed such a dangerous fire that 
the remark stopped short, and the rest made way 
for that strange funeral procession. Picketing 
his wild broncho, the scout dug a grave with his 
own hands, and with a gentleness that would 
have done that mother's heart good, committed 
the little body to the ground. After all, we are 
every one of us under the influence of an unseen 
world. Perhaps the quiet sympathy Jack had 
with the unknown mother's grief, or perhaps 
the tender recollections of child-life as he re- 
membered it, made that rough scout for the time 
being as gentle as a woman, or it may have been 
that sometime in an older land he had laid his 
own dead under the sod, and his heart went back 
to that God's-acre where a mother was sleeping 
with their infant child upon her breast. 

On the 21st of May, General Strange, feeling 
that we were close on the enemy, had thought it 
well to send despatches to Col. Otter at Battle- 
ford, acquainting him with the situation, so that, 
if necessary, a junction could be effected between 
his force and ours for the hemming in of the 
Indians and the disposal of the whole question. 
Two scouts, George Borradaile (now Crofter 

184 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Commissioner in Winnipeg) and William Scott 
(whose present whereabouts I do not know), 
were selected for the difficult and dangerous 
enterprise. It was an undertaking requiring 
both courage and resource, to go down by the 
river through the enemy's country. A some- 
what clumsy boat was the means of travel, 
and the two scouts made a perilous run in the 
shadows of night past Fort Pitt, which the 
Indians were even then setting on fire. When 
the scouts reached Battleford, General Middleton 
had arrived there from Batoche. The despatch 
was delivered, and when next morning the 
scouts were to return on the south side of the 
river, Borradaile asked for a revolver, as he had 
lost his in a mishap by the upsetting of the 
boat on the way down. The General, much to 
Borradaile's disgust, said that he himself would 
go through that country with a stick ; but when 
he did come, as General Strange said, " he 
brought two infantry regiments, a troop of 
cavalry, and artillery." The scouts made the 
return trip safely, though under considerable 
strain, and reached Fort Pitt again on the, 29th 
of May, the day after our fight at Frenchman's 
Butte, but in time to take a hand in the Loon 
Lake expedition. 

At this point in our campaign some of our 

Rebellion at an End. 185 

officers Capt. Wade, Lieut. Mills and Sergt.- 
Major Lawlor left us, being called back to 
Winnipeg by their duties as government officials. 
Perhaps there was no man in our regiment so 
deservedly popular as the sergeant-major, and 
before he went, though not a man given to 
speech-making, he responded to the demand of 
the boys, and bade them farewell in a few 
words. I can still see the scene before me. It 
is a dark weird night, with here and there a 
glimpse of the moon through the rifts of the 
flying clouds. Near the camp-fire is the wagon 
which is to carry the officers homeward, and 
around it the group of red-coats, which includes 
nearly every man off duty. Beside the wagon, 
with one hand resting lightly on a wheel, 
stands the sergeant-major, his tall, powerful 
figure erect as ever, his grey beard sweeping 
the broad breast on which glisten, in the flick- 
ering light of the camp-fire, three medals, the 
rewards of his sovereign for services in the 
Crimea and China. After referring to the long 
weary marching, and then to the fight which 
followed, he said that " he was glad that this, 
probably the last of his many campaigns, had 
been undertaken with men who had proven 
themselves of such good stuff as the men of the 
Winnipeg Light Infantry." It was warm praise 

186 The Making of the Canadian West. 

from a man who was in the habit of saying 
only what he meant, and as the wagon drove 
out and was lost in the darkness, many a poor 
fellow who had done his best felt his heart swell 
at the words of the veteran soldier. 

While we had been pushing on to this point, 


our comrades nearer to the centre of the re- 
bellion had been doing some very active service. 
A brigade under Col. Otter had, after an ex- 
ceptionally swift march from Swift Current, 
relieved Battleford, which had been in a state of 
siege for months, and then, not without severe 
loss to themselves, inflicted deserved chastise- 
ment on Chief Poundmaker and his marauding 

Rebellion at an End. 187 

band at Cut Knife. Farther eastward, at the 
fiery heart of the trouble, General Middleton 
had captured Batoche, the stronghold of Kiel. 

The advance from Fish Creek had been care- 
fully made. Batoche was Kiel's "last ditch," 
and after the battle General Middleton himself 
expressed wonder at the splendid use the rebels 
had made of the means at their disposal to hold 
the position. The fight continued for four days, 
when, the volunteers seemingly growing restive 
under the protracted manoeuvring, made a bril- 
liant charge and carried the position with a 
rush. The gallantry of all the troops engaged 
is undisputed, and the list of nine killed and 
forty-six wounded evidences the keenness of 
the struggle. 

The day after Batoche Kiel was found by 
Scouts Hourie and Armstrong. Hourie took 
him up on the saddle and brought him into 
camp, whence he was sent to Regina, with a 
special guard under Capt. Gjeorge H. Young, 
of the Winnipeg Field Battery. There Kiel 
remained through the eventful trial, during 
which the plea of insanity was raised in vain, 
and there he was executed on the 16th of 
November, 1885, meeting his death manfully. 
His body was given to his friends, and now 
rests in the graveyard at St. Boniface beneath 

188 The Making of the Canadian West. 

a granite pillar on which is engraved the single 
word " KIEL." I was present at the funeral ser- 
vice in the old cathedral, and was deeply 
impressed by the evident sorrow of the people 
whose cause he had, with many mistakes, 


Returning to the field, we find Middleton mov- 
ing with his column, by way of Prince Albert, 
to Battleford, where he demanded and received 
the unconditional surrender of Poundmaker on 
the 26th of May, the day before our first skir- 
mish with Big Bear. This left the Commander- 
in-Chief free to move in our direction and effect 
such a concert with the force under General 

Rebellion at an End. 189 

Strange as would secure the hemming in and 
capture of the retreating Indians. Accordingly, 
Middleton with a strong force came on to Fort 
Pitt, and leaving his infantry there in camp, 
reached the point where we were with his 
mounted men and artillery. There a new 
plan of campaign was decided on. General 
Strange's column of infantry was to march 
northward to the one (as was then supposed) 
crossing of the Beaver River, while General 
Middleton, with all the mounted men, was 
to follow after the main trail of Big Bear 
and force him up to us at the crossing, where 
between two fires the matter could soon be 
settled. Accordingly, we started out next 
morning to perform our part of the contract, 
and that night camped at Onion Lake in one 
of the most terrific thunderstorms I ever wit- 
nessed an amazing and overwhelmingly grand 
spectacle. The continuous flashing of lightning 
transformed the prairie with its waving grass 
into a heaving, tossing sea of flame, while the 
incessant boom and crash of the thunder, awe- 
inspiring in the extreme, reminded us of the 
feeble strength of all earthly force, the puny 
power of boasted arms before the flash and roar 
of the artillery of heaven. 

All the next day our forced marching was 

190 The Making of the Canadian West. 

continued through roads almost impassable and 
innumerable places where the wagons had to 
be pulled out by the men, and towards evening 
Indians were reported ahead near the Beaver 
River crossing. It was decided to make what 
became known in the rebellion annals as " the 
silent march," and so leaving our wagon train, 
the horses being completely tired out, we started 
marching again about eight o'clock in the even- 
ing. For quite a distance our way was through 
water knee-deep, and through this swamp I 
remember how the Frenchmen of the 65th, 
almost shoeless and half- clad though they were, 
more than once helped the horses on Perry's 
gun, next to which they were marching. It was 
night when we struck the heavy and practically 
trackless forest, for there was scarcely any trail 
to be found. The darkness grew denser as we 
advanced, and the great trees meeting above us 
shut out the sky. Sometimes in rank, and 
sometimes in Indian file, we kept on marching 
in dead silence, with our arms ready for in- 
stant use, until about two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, when a halt was ordered, and by little twig 
fires larger were not allowed we tried to dry 
our wet and well-nigh frozen garments. 

As the day began to dawn we moved on 
again, and by sunrise arrived at the point near 

Rebellion at an End. 191 

the Beaver River where the Indians had been 
seen, but found they had vanished. Evidences 
of their recent presence, however, were at hand, 
for we found about one hundred bags of flour 
cached in the woods. This was a " windfall," as 
by this time bread was little more than a distant 
memory, and even "hard tack" was scarce enough 
to be appreciated. The brigade supply officer, 
however, took formal possession of the cache of 
flour, lest the men should get enough to eat for 
once ; but by various devices known to soldiers, 
such as putting two " kits " in one rubber sheet, 
and a bag of flour in the other, they rescued 
a good deal of it from his rapacious clutches, 
and fared sumptuously, if somewhat secretly, 
for several days. 

Next morning we marched to the Beaver 
River, where we had orders to wait until Gen- 
eral Middleton, whom we left starting out after 
Big Bear from the scene of our fight, should 
force him up to us. However, had we done so, 
we should have had a weary waiting. 

The General, following on Steele's trail, met 
that officer with his command returning from 
Loon Lake. The wounded were sent back 
to the main column, and Steele, although his 
horses and men were much spent, turned back 
with the General to the scene of the Loon Lake 

192 The Making of the Canadian West. 

fight. After careful investigation of the ground, 
Middleton decided that with his guns and heavy 
horses he could not cross the shaking bog over 
which the light-footed Indians with their nimble 
ponies had made their way. He accordingly 
concluded to turn back, on finding which the 
Indians also deflected their course, instead of 
running up to receive our welcome. 

In the afternoon of the day we arrived at the 
Beaver River, No. 1 Company was ordered out 
under arms to accompany Colonel Smith to the 
river, about a mile and a half away, to find a 
suitable crossing should we have to go farther. 
Here we found another cache made by the 
Chippewyan Indians, filled with articles for 
priests' wear and church services, w T hich they 
probably thought they could dispense with 
while on the war-path. The scenery at this 
point is very fine. The river, flowing swiftly 
eastward, is joined by a small stream from 
the south ; the banks are very high and so 
densely wooded from top to bottom that the 
foliage seems to be piled in green luxuriance 
to the very summit. I got permission from the 
Colonel to take the men down to see the river, 
and away we went rushing down the steep 
to the water's edge. There the place is a 
magnificent natural park. Grand trees, perfectly 

Rebellion at an End. 193 

straight and with few boughs, tower aloft; 
there is no undergrowth, and the whole place is 
a perfect picnic-ground. In fact, it so struck 
one of our fellows, who remarked, " Boys, this 
would be a great place for the people at home 
to hold their Sunday-school picnics " ; but as 
we were then nearly two thousand miles from 
home by the route we had followed, we did 
not think it necessary to discuss the question 

On coming again to the top and turning 
eastward, the view that met our eyes was mar- 
vellously beautiful. The sun, which was slowly 
sinking, struck his shafts across the river and 
lit the tree-tops beyond. The sunbeams glow- 
ing and glinting in mellow radiance on the great 
clouds of foliage on the towering banks, the 
river flashing and twining in and out through 
the forest like some serpent-fish with silvery 
scales, the sparkling of the little tributary 
stream, of which one could catch glimpses away 
down through a veil of green boughs, all 
together made up a scene rarely surpassed even 
in the great picture gallery of nature. A few 
moments we stood gazing on the wondrous view, 
and then the word to fall in being given, we 
reluctantly left the scene and marched back 
to camp. 

194 The Making of the Canadian West. 

That night our outlying picket was fired 
upon, but in the deep darkness and fog nothing 
could be done except arouse the camp, keep the 
whole picket under arms, and wait for the day. 
On that day a band of Chippewyan Indians, 
with a Roman Catholic priest at their head, 
came in, and surrendering unconditionally, laid 
down their arms in a heap at the feet of the 
General. One could not help feeling sorry for 
the poor fellows. They did not appear to be a 
bad lot, but seemed to have been dragged by 
threats, rather than their own inclination, into 
rebellion. From the day they surrendered they 
certainly became a great help to us in many 
ways, and did their utmost to discover the 
whereabouts of the bands who still held certain 
of the white prisoners. 

On the next day, Sunday, June 14th, we had 
service by the Rev. John McDougall inside the 
zareba. What a motley congregation was there 
assembled ! some on the wagons, some on the 
prairie, and some seated on their saddles on the 
ground. Here a mounted policeman in faded 
scarlet and gold stood beside a scout with his 
wide slouch-hat and general air of carelessness ; 
there an infantry man with coat, once red, now 
like Joseph's of many colors sprawled on the 
grass beside some rough western teamster, 

Rebellion at an End. 195 

whose respect for the minister's cloth kept him 
quiet, but who, if personally interviewed, 
might not hesitate to avow heterodoxy in his 
favorite terse expression, "Difference here, 
pardner." To the credit of these rough men be 
it said, I never saw amongst them anything 
but the most respectful attention to these ser- 
vices, and often one could see their bronze faces 
light up with a surprising tenderness as they, 
perchance, recalled the days when they had 
heard from a mother's lips the same old, but 
ever new, story of the Cross. 

Next day General Strange accepted the offer 
made by Colonel Smith a few days previously, 
to take one hundred picked men from the 
Winnipeg Light Infantry, cross the river and 
strike northward to a chain of lakes, where he 
shrewdly, and, as the sequel proved, correctly, 
thought some of Big Bear's band might have 
gone with the remaining prisoners. Regimental 
orders quickly required Companies 1, 2 and 3 to 
furnish the men, and perhaps the " picking " 
consisted largely in a selection of those who had 
some remnants of boots left, and whose uniforms 
could be counted on as likely to hold together a 
little while longer. 

We (for the writer was fortunate enough to 
be one of the hundred) were ordered to leave all 

196 The Making of the Canadian West. 

transport except the Indians' pack-horses, and 
each man was to carry his own outfit strapped 
upon his back, as the country through which 
we were about to travel was impassable to all 
but foot-soldiers and the nimble pony of the 
plains. We crossed the river by sections, in 
two birch canoes, and there left Color-Sergt. 
Sutherland with a party of five men to build 
a boat on which to cross the rest of the force if 
required. We then struck north, and made 
about five miles that night. Having no tents 
or other covering, we lay down under the starry 
canopy of heaven to sleep upon delightful couches 
of pea- vine on a grassy ridge beside a lake. 

Next morning we started at 4.30 without 
breakfast, as, according to the map, Cold Lake, 
for which we were striking, was only a few miles 
distant; but the man who made that map or 
arranged its scale would have fared ill if he 
had fallen into the hands of our hungry pack 
when some hours later Cold Lake was not yet 
reached. The men marched for the most part 
in Indian file, threading their way over fallen 
trees and through mossy swamps, while the 
Chippewyan Indians (formerly enemies, now 
our scouts and guides) followed in the rear 
with the pack-ponies. While passing through 
a clearing there occurred one of those amusing 

Rebellion at an End. 197 

incidents which always seemed to come in the 
nick of time to relieve the pressure of weariness 
and restore the equilibrium of the men. An 
Indian pony behind took fright at a tea-kettle 
which fell off his back, and which, being tied, 
as everything on a pack-horse is, kept hitting 
him on the heels. The pony, after having first 
kicked vigorously without being able to break 
the tough " shagganappi " line, finally came 
tearing along our column like a hurricane, 
upsetting a captain who had done his best to 
get out of the way, and then bowling over a 
color-sergeant, who was taken wholly by sur- 
prise. The sergeant, who was a middle-aged 
and grizzled man, wore his hair very long and 
very thick, the military crop not being insisted 
on during prairie campaigning, and he was, 
moreover, a man of great dignity, polite address, 
independent opinions and high-toned bearing. 
He was not seriously hurt by the cavalry 
onslaught, but in taking his involuntary somer- 
sault the pack which he carried on his back 
was thrown over his head, to the serious detri- 
ment of his toilet, and I can still hear the roar 
of laughter that made the woods ring as the 
wild tangles of his hair appeared above the 
long grass, his face wearing the appearance of 
a man caught in a cyclone. 

198 The Making of the Canadian West. 

On we plodded, hungry and weary, through 
the forest, and at length arrived at the lake, 
which we had almost begun to think was, like 
the enemy, retiring before us. We hailed with 
joy the sparkle of water through the trees, and 
as we neared it the grand repose and the vast- 
ness of this lake, so far remote from the haunts 
of men, struck us with a feeling akin to awe. 
It stretches away far almost as the eye can 
reach, the water pure, clear, cold and deeply 
blue; the beach, stone, gravel and sand, the 
latter resembling small diamonds ; the woods 
by the shore grand, umbrageous, reflected in 
the glassy surface. In the stillness of that 
sunny June day the lake lay before us like 
some gigantic and marvellous mirror, reflecting 
the glorious beauty of its Creator's works. 

All day long the men were kept busy build- 
ing willow huts in the woods, as we were to 
remain here for some time to scout and explore 
in the surrounding country. I felt, as doubtless 
did many others, amply repaid for many a weary 
march by coming to this lovely spot. The even- 
ing came down in quiet splendor, the lake lying 
peaceful and miraged over with the golden, 
dusky haze of the sunset coolness. Everything 
seemed as hushed and still as the holy calm of 
a Sabbath. It was as though conscious Nature, 

Rebellion at an End. 199 

which had shuddered at the deeds of bloodshed 
and crime enacted on her bosom, was thus pro- 
phetically manifesting forth their speedy close 
arid exhibiting in sublime silence the tranquil- 
izing power of that Gospel whose spread in those 
lonely wilds will put an end to all savagery and 
woe that Gospel whose heralding still rings to 
us across the centuries, " Glory to God in the 
highest and on earth peace, good-will toward 

On the 20th of June Indian scouts from our 
column found the portion of the band that 
held the McLeans and other prisoners, and on 
the 23rd, word being conveyed to them to bring 
these prisoners in, they were sent in all safe and 
sound to Fort Pitt, being met on the way by 
Major Bedson and a detachment of the 90th. We 
now felt that our campaign was practically over, 
and that we could return with the conscious- 
ness of having at least tried to do our duty. 
We received orders to return to the brigade, our 
hundred having penetrated farther than any 
armed force of that time, and accordingly 
marched back to the Beaver River. There we 
found that our boat party had completed a 
large boat, made without a nail and capable of 
carrying some sixty men. The patriotic souls 
of the boys had found vent in the launching, 

200 The Making of the Canadian West. 

for with some compound of axle-grease they 
had " writ large " across the side the name 
of their birth-place, the old historic name of 
Kildonan. There on the Beaver River the 
' Kildonan " was left, and there for aught I 
know it may still remain, a souvenir for the 
Chippewyan Indians of the sudden and unso- 
licited visit of the white soldiers to their far- 
distant fastnesses. 

We rejoined our regiment and marched toward 
the Frog Lake landing of the Saskatchewan, 
reaching there about midnight, and amidst 
falling rain crowded aboard the steamer, which 
passed down the swift-rushing stream to Fort 
Pitt, where we were warmly welcomed by the 
90th of Winnipeg, the Grenadiers of Toronto, 
and the Midland Battalion. There we ascer- 
tained that our regiment, partly for lack of 
transport, though principally to gather in the 
outlaw Indians, was to remain behind for a 
time, but some fifty of us (the campaign being 
over) got leave of absence, and on the 4th of 
July, in company with the 65th, the 90th, the 
Grenadiers and the Midland Battalion, left Fort 
Pitt for home in three steamers, the Marquis, 
the Northwest and the Baroness. That day 
Col. Williams, of the Midland Battalion, who 
was in the forefront of the charge at Batoche, 

Rebellion at an End. 


died on board the steamer Northwest, and a 
private of the 65th, who had been wounded at 
Frenchman's Butte, died on board the Baroness. 
Only a few days before this I had met Col. 
Williams at Fort Pitt, being introduced to him 


by Capt. Hugh John Macdonald, and was much 
impressed with his manly appearance and 
soldierly bearing. He took some kind of fever, 
and, the facilities for nursing not being of the 
best, he went down under it with startling 

The next day we landed at Battleford, a 

202 The Making of the Canadian West. 

picturesque though somewhat straggling town 
on high upland near the river, and at this point 
we were joined by the Queen's Own Rifles and 
Ottawa Foot Guards, with the Quebec Battery. 
Preparations were here made for the funeral of 


Col. Williams, whose body was to be sent home 
overland. It was one of the most impressively 
affecting and imposing sights I had ever wit- 
nessed. The plain board coffin, wrapped in the 
folds of the old flag under whose shadow he had 
fought so honorably and well, was lifted on a 
gun-carriage, behind which a soldier led his 

Rebellion at an End. 203 

riderless horse. His own fine regiment, now 
going home without a leader, followed as chief 
mourners, with arms reversed, and the cortege 
numbered fully fifteen hundred armed men. Brass 
bands were there with muffled drums, and the 
wild lonely upland echoed the wail of the " Dead 
March in Saul," as slowly and sadly we con- 
ducted the gallant dead to the once beleaguered 
fort, where within the stockaded inclosure the 
Revs. D. M. Gordon and Whitcombe held a most 
impressive service. Many a stern soldier who 
had stood unmoved amidst dangers gave way to 
his feelings, many a stalwart form heaved with 
emotion, and on many a sun-bronzed cheek the 
tear was seen as we consigned to his last journey 
one of the heroes in the charge that crushed 
the centre of rebellion, a man who had passed 
gloriously through the battle, and who, with a 
name that will live enshrined in the memory of 
his country, was returning to his home where 
loved ones looked for his coming, but had fallen 
here so suddenly before the grim King of 
Terrors. Escaping the shot that had ploughed 
the ranks, he, by a death reached through the 
gateway of duty, had passed into the unseen, 
and had added his name to the bead-roll of the 
slain whose lives were yielded up in sacrifice on 
the altar of their country. 

204 The Making of the Canadian West. 

' ' The muffled drum's sad roll has beat 

Our soldier's last tattoo, 
No more on life's parade shall meet 

That brave and fallen few. 
On Fame's eternal camping ground 

Their silent tents are spread, 
And glory guards with solemn round 

The bivouac of the dead. 
Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead, 

Dear as the blood ye gave ; 
No impious footstep here shall tread 

The herbage of your grave ! 
Nor shall your glory be forgot 

While Fame her record keeps, 
Or Honor points the hallowed spot 

Where Valor proudly sleeps." 

The solemn service over, we boarded our 
steamers again and moved down the broad 
stream, passing the ashes of Fort Carlton (burned 
just after the Duck Lake fight), and stopping a 
few hours at Prince Albert. Here we saw the 
place where the people had garrisoned them- 
selves, and also the place where our active 
enemy, Big Bear, who had been captured a few 
days before, was held in durance.* There, too, 

* The old chief after the Loon Lake affair had separated 
from the band with one companion, and being found by the 
Mounted Police near the site of Fort Carlton, was taken to 
Prince Albert. Personally he was rather a harmless old 
man, and but for two of his band, Wandering Spirit and 
Little Poplar, would never have been found on the war-path. 

Rebellion at an End. 205 

we met many old friends of former days, and 
as our bands enlivened the day with music 
and uniforms were everywhere, the scene was a 
brilliant one, broken only by the sadness all 
felt as here and there we saw emblems of 
mourning worn for the gallant men who from 
that place had volunteered to maintain the law 
and had laid their bodies on the fatal field of 
Duck Lake. In the afternoon we swung out 
from our moorings and moved down the river, 
the bands playing " Auld Lang Syne " amidst 
the cheering of our men, returned by the waving 
of innumerable handkerchiefs in the hands of 
ladies fair. We made a swift run to the Forks, 
where the north and south branches of the 
Saskatchewan unite in one gigantic stream, and 
at this point we found the hospital barge with 
the wounded from Fish Creek and Batoche. 
The barge, from which the wounded were then 
transferred to one of the steamers, was a model 
of cleanliness and comfort, a great credit to the 
medical staff and to Nurse Miller, the " Florence 
Nightingale " of the rebellion time. The trip 
thence was uneventful (save for a storm on 
Cedar Lake, which nearly swamped our river 
boats), and as we came down the broad bosom of 
the magnificent stream we enjoyed the rest, the 
meeting with old friends and the telling one 

206 The Making of the Canadian West. 

another of "the dangers we had passed," and 
the story of " how fields were won." 

At Grand Rapids, where a horse tramway 
connects the river with Lake Winnipeg, we left 
our boats and, passing over to the lake, packed 
into every corner of the boats and barges there, 
and reached Selkirk in the early morning of 
July 15th. There we found many friends 
awaiting us, and these, notwithstanding our 
bronzed and bearded faces, recognized us without 
difficulty and bade us a hearty welcome. After 
a lunch, provided by the citizens, we boarded 
our train and reached Winnipeg in the after- 
noon, exactly three months from the time our 
regiment had departed for the west. 

A magnificent reception awaited the returning 
troops. The train seemed to push its way 
through a living mass of men, women and 
children at the station, and it had scarcely 
stopped when the cars were besieged by such a 
throng that the disembarking soldiers could 
scarcely find room enough to form up. But at 
length the lines got into some semblance of order, 
with "Fours, right, quick march " we swung 
out to Main Street, and as we passed up towards 
the City Hall beneath arches and banners, and 
amidst the intense enthusiasm of cheering 
crowds we saw the genuineness of the welcome 

Rebellion at an End. 207 

and felt amply repaid for all the hardships and 
dangers of the campaign. 

Our own regiment, the Winnipeg Light 
Infantry, arrived a few weeks later, being the 
last to leave the field, after receiving the 
surrender of enemies to five times their own 
number, amongst them some of the worst 
Indians in the West, several of whom came 
under capital sentence at the hands of the 
country. The regiment had a fitting reception 
accorded it by the city of Winnipeg, where the 
equal readiness with which these volunteers had 
marched through swamps or fought the enemy, 
as called upon, was duly appreciated, and when 
No. 1 Company marched down to their former 
barracks at Kildonan, we were received with 
Highland hospitality by the kind friends whose 
goodness had cheered us on the weary campaign, 
and whose kindness will long be remembered 
by the boys who went to the front. 

The scars left by the rebellion are slowly 
disappearing, and little else remains but the 
memory of the manner in which a young nation 
showed itself ready and able to cope with 
serious difficulties within her borders. That 
memory is enough to effectually prevent any 
such unfortunate movement ever again taking 

208 The Making of the Canadian West. 

place, and, perhaps, in view of the fact that the 
pressure of difficulties compacts and solidifies 
character, it was well that, before sweeping out 
into the great possibilities that lie before this 
once "great lone land," it had to pass through 
such wrestlings as produce a strength never 
reached on the dead level of uninterrupted ease. 

Archbishop Tach. 
Archbishop Machray. 

Rev. George Young, D.D. 
Rev. John Black, MX 




WITHOUT religion an individual or a nation is 
a comparative failure, and without education the 
means of making the most of our native resources 
must be largely lacking. Hence it is matter for 
thankfulness on the part of all who are inter- 
ested in the West, that the religious and edu- 
cational work of the country has always had a 
foremost place in the thought and life of the 
people. It is a lamentable fact that this has not 
always been the case in new countries, where 
the ease with which material prosperity can be 
attained has often led to more or less serious 
disregard of the higher life and the institutions 
which are the hope of humanity. The better 
state of things in the Canadian West is due 
principally to two causes. The first is, that the 
early colonists were of a character and a race 
always disposed to pay special attention to these 
14 209 

210 The Making of the, Canadian West. 

things ; and the second, that missionaries being 
early on the ground were able to keep the work 
of Church and school so well abreast of the 
country's progress that few. if any, communities 
to-day are out of touch with these advantages. 
In the matter of church work, the Roman 
Catholics, following the early French ex- 
plorers, were first on the ground, though their 
people were not of the colonist but the more 
nomadic class. Across the Red River from 
where the city of Winnipeg now stands, this 
denomination established its headquarters for 
church and school, near the opening of this 
century, and named the place St. Boniface. 
Amongst the early settlers of all creeds their 
leading men were well known, and often have 
we heard special mention of Bishop Provencher, 
a man of magnificent physical mould and states- 
manlike ability. It was of his cathedral, with 
its turrets twain, that Whittier, the Quaker 
poet, wrote his famous and exceedingly beauti- 
ful poem, " The Red River Voyageur," in which 
he describes the hard voyage of the oarsman 
in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
and of the joy that lit up his swarthy counten- 
ance as he heard the " bells of St. Boniface " 
that spoke the message of his home-coming. 
That cathedral was burned down many years 

Religious and Educational Development. 211 

ago, and on its site was reared the present one, 
from whose tower the bells still ring out their 
musical chimes. 

Some years ago Sir John Schultz (then Lieut.- 
Governor of Manitoba) reminded the authorities 
of the cathedral of the birthday of the poet, 
and asked that the bells be rung in honor of 
the day. This being done, the Hon. J. W. Taylor, 
the United States consul at Winnipeg, wrote 
informing Whittier of the fact. The aged poet, 
on recovering from an illness with which he was 
suffering at the time, wrote to Archbishop Tache', 
at St. Boniface, acknowledging the thoughtful 
courtesy of the act, and in his letter the follow- 
ing sentences of great beauty occur : " I have 
reached an age when literary success and 
manifestations of popular favor have ceased to 
satisfy one upon whom the solemnity of life's 
sunset is resting; but such a delicate and 
beautiful tribute has deeply moved me. I shall 
never forget it. I shall hear the bells of St. 
Boniface sounding across the continent and 
awakening a feeling of gratitude for thy gen- 
erous act." The letter was scarcely less beauti- 
ful than the poem itself, and adds to the halo 
of romance which the pleasing incident threw 
around the old cathedral. 

As already indicated, Bishop (afterwards 

212 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Archbishop) Tache came next in the succession 
at St. Boniface. He was a man of gentle, lovable 
disposition, and yet of indomitable will and 
untiring energy. No man could have exerted 
a larger control over his own people, and few 
had wider influence in the country at large. 
Under his direction missions were extended 
widely over the whole West, and at St. Boniface 
the College, which is the principal educational 
institution of the Roman Catholic Church in the 
West, was built, so that when the present Arch- 
bishop Langevin came into office he found a 
fully organized and well administered diocese. 
Next in the order of their coming into the 
country is the Episcopal Church, which, partly 
through the influence of Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany officials, but mainly by their own enter- 
prise, had a missionary, Rev. John West, on the 
banks of the Red River in 1820, and this 
Church continued to be the sole representative 
of Protestantism in that part of the West until 
the year 1851, when the Presbyterian Church 
sent a missionary to the field. This was the 
more remarkable by reason of the fact that the 
colony on the Red River brought out by Lord 
Selkirk was exclusively Presbyterian, and the 
great majority of that colony remained so, while, 
to the credit of both missionaries and people, 

Religious and Educational Development. 213 

fully availing themselves of and supporting the 
services of the Anglican Church for more than 
thirty years The Episcopalians, under Bishop 
Anderson, early established a school for boys, 
which came to be one of the leading factors in 
the life of the country, and which under the 
present regime of Archbishop Machray, a distin- 
guished educationist, grew into St. John's Col- 
lege, now the principal seat of learning in con- 
nection with the Anglican body in the West. 
Archbishop Machray deserves more than passing 
mention in connection with any reminiscences 
of Western history. He is a man of exceedingly 
striking appearance, being of gigantic stature 
and build, with a strongly- marked and leonine 
face. An Aberdonian by birth, he was educated 
in his native land and in Cambridge, and it is 
generally believed by the students under his 
care that what he does not know, especially 
about mathematics, is not worth knowing. But 
it would be a mistake to suppose that he is only 
fitted for residence " within the studious cloisters 
pale." He is a man of affairs, who had much to 
do with maintaining the equilibrium of the 
country in the stormy days of the '69 Rebellion, 
and who proved himself so efficient an adminis- 
trator of church matters in his immense diocese 
that he has been honored by the Church with 

214 The Making of the Canadian West. 

first place as Primate of all Canada. His influ- 
ence has been widely felt in educational matters, 
and especially in connection with the Provincial 
University, of which he has been Chancellor 
since its foundation. The missions of the Church 
of England extend all over the West, and ap- 
proach about as near to the North Pole as it is 
possible to do and live. Great dioceses bearing 
such names as Moosonee, Athabasca and Mac- 
kenzie River, give an idea of the far-extended 
character of this Church's work, and it may be 
safely said that no denomination has striven 
more faithfully or more effectively to raise the 
standard of true living amongst the aboriginal 
tribes of the North-West. 

The third Church to enter this part of the 
country, as already intimated, is the Presby- 
terian, whose first missionary, the Rev. John 
Black, came to the Selkirk colony on the Red 
River in 1851. For many years he alone up- 
held the banner of his denomination in the West; 
then he was joined by the Rev. James Nisbet 
(who in 1866 founded Prince Albert, on the 
Saskatchewan), the Rev. Alexander Matheson, 
William Fletcher, John McNabb and others, till 
to-day the Presbyterian is the most powerful 
church organization west of Lake Superior. 
Its pre-eminent place is due largely to the 

Religious and Educational Development. 215 

character of its early missionaries and mem- 
bers, to its educational institutions, and to the 
splendid organization of its missionary efforts 
in the newer districts. John Black was a man 
of great energy, as well as of ripe scholarship, 
and his people in Kildonan became the pioneers 
in church extension and also the founders of 
the educational institutions which have done so 
much for the Presbyterians, and in which have 
been trained for various walks in life many 
from other churches, Protestant and Roman 
Catholic alike. The parish school at Kildonan 
fed the demand of the early Scotch settlers for 
education, and from it Mr. Black outgathered 
those who sought for higher instruction, until 
the people's needs demanded a college, and Mani- 
toba College was founded by the Presbyterian 
Church in 1871. The first professors were the 
Revs. George (now Dr.) Bryce and Thomas Hart. 
Dr. Bryce has taken an exceedingly active and 
vigorous part in all the affairs of the country, 
and has by voluminous writings contributed 
much to the diffusion of information as to the 
West. Prof. Hart is a specialist in classical 
study, a cultured, gentle and lovable man, who 
has always exerted marked influence for good 
on his students. Later on, when the Theological 
Department of the College was to be strength- 

216 The Making of the Canadian West. 

ened, Revs. Dr. King, the present Principal, and 
A. B. Baird, men of strong personality and ripe 
scholarship, were added to the staff. With this 
staff, assisted by several lecturers in certain 
branches, Manitoba College has made abundant 
progress, and has become a strong force in the 


upbuilding of the new West. This college alone, 
of all educational institutions of its class, has a 
summer session in theology in order to provide 
opportunity for summer study to the students 
who man the mission fields through the long 

Speaking of mission fields brings us to the 

Religious and Educational Development. 217 

work that has been done in the way of keeping 
abreast with the needs of a growing country in 
the matter of religious services; and while many 
men have done much in this regard, the man who, 
next to the pioneer, deserves to have his name 
honored, is the Rev. Dr. Robertson, Superin- 
tendent of Presbyterian Missions in the North- 
West. A man of Highland blood, full of intense 
energy, equally at home in the abode of the 
millionaire and in the ranch of the pioneer, an 
indefatigable worker and a powerful pleader in 
public and private, Dr. Robertson has made an 
ideal superintendent. He was the first regularly 
settled pastor of Knox Church, Winnipeg, where 
he was in charge from 1874 to 1881, when the 
General Assembly, recognizing the importance 
of the work and his peculiar fitness for it, ap- 
pointed him to direct the Home Missionary work 
of the Church west of Lake Superior. The 
growth of the Church from three preaching 
places in 1870 to 840 in 1897 attests the earnest- 
ness of the people, and speaks forcibly as to the 
work done by the Superintendent. As immi- 
gration flowed westward over the great plains 
and through the mountains, the heralds of the 
Cross were sent onward, the last achievement 
being the despatching of three missionaries to 
the Klondike. What has been done in the 

218 The Making of the Canadian West. 

Presbyterian Church has been done also in 
others, though no other man, so far as we 
know, has been so long in special touch with 
this particular work as Dr. Robertson. 

Where work is to be done one can safely 
count on finding the Methodist Church in active 
operation, and so it has proved in the Canadian 
West. From about 1840 and onward, mission- 
aries of that denomination, Rundle, Evans, 
Woolsey, George McDougall and others, had 
been at work farther west, and just before the 
Rebellion of '69 the Methodist Church in Canada 
sent the Rev. George Young to begin work in 
the Red River country. Mr. Young quickly 
found his way to the heart of affairs, and was 
eminently successful in laying the foundations 
of prosperity in a new domain. In the stirring 
days of the first rebellion, no minister of any 
denomination exhibited more courage and none 
had more intimate connection with the unfor- 
tunate men who fell under the imprisoning 
power of Louis Riel. Mr. Young will be especi- 
ally remembered in the West, not only as the 
founder of Methodism in Manitoba, but as the 
man who, after all efforts to secure his pardon 
were unavailing, was the spiritual adviser of the 
unfortunate Thomas Scott in his last hours. 
Since the days of Mr. Young, the missions of 

Religious and Educational Development. 219 

the Church have made giant strides, and few 
places can be found where some of their workers 
have not gone at some time or other. With 
the Anglican and Presbyterian churches the 
Methodists have done much missionary work 
amongst the Indians, and each of these bodies 
has charge of Indian Industrial Schools at dif- 
ferent points in the country. Under the prin- 
cipalship of Rev. Dr. Sparling, a Methodist 
college was begun in Winnipeg a few years ago, 
and now Wesley College, as it is named, possesses 
one of the most strikingly handsome buildings 
in the city, and has upon its staff able and 
influential men. 

Other Protestant bodies in the West are the 
Baptists, who have shown great energy in the 
extension of their church work, and the Con- 
gregationalists, the latter Church only working 
thus far in the larger centres. Neither of these 
churches has, as yet, any educational institu- 
tions, and hence they are somewhat at a dis- 
advantage in having to draw their trained 
workers from distant centres. 

When we turn to consider the educational 
system of the country we find remarkable ex- 
cellence, considering the newness of things. The 
Province of Manitoba started out with a separate 
"school system, Protestant and Roman Catholic, 

220 The Making of the Canadian West. 

and this state of affairs continued until 1890, 
when the famous Greenway-Martin Act was 
passed, abolishing the separate and establishing 
a national unsectarian public school system. 
To recount the controversy that raged around 
this Act for the six years following would be 
beyond the purpose of the present writing, 
and would, in fact, make a literature to the 
extent of a library. The Roman Catholics 
claimed that, by a clause in the Manitoba Act 
providing for the perpetuation of any rights 
existent, by law or practice, as to denomina- 
tional schools amongst the people of the country 
at the time of the transfer, they were entitled 
to separate schools for all time. Against this 
people who were familiar with the state of 
matters when Manitoba entered Confederation 
could say that if the clause was valid the 
Episcopalians and Presbyterians had the same 
rights as the Roman Catholics, and if all pressed 
their claims a remarkable confusion would 
soon ensue. It was also said by Mr. Martin, 
who was the father of the Act of 1890, that 
if the constitution required the separate school 
system (which he denied), it would be better in 
the interests of moulding the people of a new 
country into one homogeneous mass, to seek 
amendment to the Constitution rather than 

Religious and Educational Development. 221 

perpetuate the double system. Finally, it is 
now very generally conceded as discovered 
during the progress of the controversy (if 
not known for certain before), that the real 
Bill of Rights as presented by the people of 

Minister of the Interior ; formerly Attorney-General of Manitoba. 

the country did not ask for the enactment of 
the clause above referred to in the form in 
which it was, after some doctoring, enacted. In 
any case the Act of 1890 gave great offence to 
the Roman Catholics, who for the most part 
persisted in maintaining their own schools out 

222 The Making of the Canadian West. 

of private subscriptions while paying their 
taxes like others, and at the same time carrying 
the case without success through every court in 
the land, and then to the Imperial Privy Council. 
In the process of a few years the Manitoba 
school question became a public nuisance, inas- 
much as it monopolized the attention of poli- 
ticians and electors all over Canada, to the 
almost total exclusion of trade and other 
weighty issues. Hence there was very general 
relief when the Governments of the Hon. (now 
Sir) Wilfrid Laurier and of Hon. Thomas 
Greenway came to a basis of settlement shortly 
after Mr. Laurier came into power at Ottawa in 
1896. The settlement perpetuated the national 
system of schools, and has been accordingly 
resisted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, 
though many of the people of that Church 
seem disposed to accept it and come under the 
operation of the Act and the settlement, which 
are intended to be enforced in a considerate and 
conciliatory spirit. The latest development is 
the somewhat irenic encyclical of the Pope, 
who adheres to the justice of the claim made 
by Roman Catholics, and advises continued 
effort in the course they have been pursuing, 
but after all practically tells them to take what 
they can get. Whatever be the intent of the 

Religious and Educational Development. 223 

encyclical it is highly probable that with 
possible slight modifications to render the 
acceptance of it more agreeable to the Roman 
Catholics, the system will continue for all time 
to be in essence a national system of public 

Premier of the North-West Territories. 

In the North- West Territories the educational 
system is under the control of a Council of 
Public Instruction, consisting of the four mem- 
bers of the Executive Committee, ex-officio, and 
four appointed members (two Protestants and 
two Roman Catholics) without votes. The 

224 The Making of the Canadian West. 

provisions of the School Ordinance, 1896, in this 
respect are : 

The members of the Executive Committee of 
the Territories, and four persons, two of whom 
shall be Protestants and two Roman Catholics, 
appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Coun- 
cil, shall constitute a Council of Public Instruc- 
tion, and one of the said Executive Committee, 
to be nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor in 
Council, shall be Chairman of the said Council 
of Public Instruction. The appointed members 
shall have no vote, and shall receive such 
remuneration as the Lieutenant-Governor in 
Council shall provide. 

(1) The Executive Committee, or any sub- 
committee thereof appointed for that purpose, 
shall constitute a quorum of the Council of 
Public Instruction, but no general regulations 
respecting : 

(a) The management and discipline of schools; 

(b) The examination, grading and licensing of 

teachers ; 

(c) The selection of books ; 

(d) The inspection of schools ; 

(e) Normal training ; 

shall be adopted or amended except at a general 
meeting of the Council of Public Instruction 
duly convened for that purpose. 

Religious and Educational Development. 225 

The following paragraphs from the last report 
of the Council of Instruction will give further 
insight into the system : 

" The classes of schools established are Public 
Schools and Separate Schools. The minority of 
the ratepayers in any organized public school 
district, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, 
may establish a separate school therein, and in 
such case the ratepayers establishing such Pro- 
testant or Roman Catholic separate school shall 
be liable only to assessments of such rates as 
they impose upon themselves in respect thereof. 
Any person who is legally assessed or assessable 
for a public school shall not be liable to assess- 
ment for any separate school established therein. 
Provision is made for Night Schools for pupils 
over fourteen years of age who are unable to 
attend school during the day. 

" Inspectors are appointed by the Lieutenant- 
Governor in Council, and report to the Council 
of Public Instruction and the trustees of each 
district on the scholarship, behaviour and pro- 
gress of the children, teaching and governing 
power of the teacher, condition of the buildings, 
grounds and apparatus, and state of the treasur- 
er's books. They are expected to give any 
advice and instruction necessary for the success- 
ful conduct of the schools. They have nothing 
to do with religious instruction," 

226 The Making of the Canadian West. 

From this it will be seen that the system is a 
somewhat complex one as compared with that of 
the Province of Manitoba, where, as indicated 
already, there is a national unsectarian public 
school system established, and w T here an Advis- 
ory Board has control under the Government. 


The Superintendent of Education in the Terri- 
tories is Mr. D. J. Goggin, M.A., a gentleman 
of large experience and special talents for the 
work. The comparative smoothness with which 
the educational machinery of the Territories has 
been working is due largely to his wisdom and 
abundant labors. 

Religious and Educational Development. 227 

In the matter of higher education the Univer- 
sity of Manitoba, the only degree-conferring body 
in Arts, is a somewhat unique institution in the 
educational world. It is constituted by an 
affiliation of all the denominational colleges in 


First Agent of Dominion Lands in Manitoba, and one time 
Speaker of the Local Legislature. 

the West, Protestant and Roman Catholic, as 
well as the Medical College. It is still without 
buildings, an examining body principally, the 
teaching except in one or two departments 
being done in the colleges maintained by the 
several churches. Notwithstanding this com- 

228 The Making of the Canadian West. 

posite character of the institution, the manner 
of its administration has evidenced such an 
admirable spirit of mutual good- will, and such 
an earnest desire to advance the common cause 
of higher education, that the University has 
been a signal and unbroken success. All the 
colleges and the graduates elect representatives, 
who form the Council, which is the governing 
body of the University. Altogether we can 
say, in closing this brief chapter on the religious 
and educational life of the country, that in an 
eminent degree for a new land the West furnishes 
advantages in these directions to all who come 
within her borders. 

As we close this volume and pause a moment 
to take another look back over the way by 
which we have come, we are impressed with the 
marvellously rapid strides that have been taken 
in the march of the country's progress. Prairies 
over which not many years ago we have ridden 
for days in succession without meeting a human 
being except the roving Indian, or seeing a 
dwelling other than his wigwam, now are trans- 
formed into thriving farms, where in autumn 
the wheat fields wave and toss like a golden sea. 
Verily the wilderness has been made glad, and 
the desert has rejoiced and blossomed like the 

Religious and Educational Development. 229 

rose. Railways now run like a network over 
the once virgin plains, and along the various 
lines towns have risen from the level sod as if 
by magic. At these towns, which are growing 
with a rapidity surprising to anyone who visits 
them frequently, huge elevators in large num- 
bers receive the finest wheat in the world and 
send it abroad into ready markets. On the wide 
plains, once the home of roaming herds of 
buffaloes, vast numbers of their tamer species 
feed on the richest grasses, and from every 
station these cattle are shipped by the hundred 
to the great food -devouring centres of the world. 
Away on our Pacific shore the Orient and the 
Occident stand face to face, apd great ships 
from every quarter of the globe drop anchor 
in the harbors of our coast cities ; while rush- 
ing on to the wondrous gold fields, thronging 
multitudes pass with eager tread. Thus from 
the isolation of a few years ago has the Cana- 
dian West come into touch with the busy haunts 
of men, and instead of the feeble throbbings of 
a primitive trade, the blood of a world's com- 
merce, that "calm health of nations," now flows 
steadily through the giant arteries of a new 
nation. From what has been related in the 
closing chapter of this book, it may justly be 
inferred that those who believe that without 

230 The Making of the Canadian West. 

religion and education the material greatness of 
a country is but dust and ashes, are doing their 
utmost to keep all the nobler ideals of life before 
the people and uplift the truest standards of 
success in the presence of all who come into our 
midst. If Canada knows her opportunity and 
the day of her visitation, if she holds this vast 
domain for God and home and truth and purity, 
there are limitless possibilities of noble endeavor 
and high achievement before us. 

Cbe Selkirk Settlers in Real 




(Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal). 

PRICE, - - - 75 Cents, Postpaid 

Press Comments 

" In every instance Mr. MacBeth tells his story in happy terms, and 
supplies many details of the life of the settlers." Royal Colonial 
Institute Journal. 

" The author is a descendant of one of the hardy Scots who were in 
the Red River Valley a life-time before Riel was born. His story is the 
more romantic for its very simplicity." St. John Sun. 

" Not a dry collection of details, but an interesting account of the 
Settlement. . . . These experiences are unique. . . . Mr. 
MacBeth is to be congratulated on his book." Canadian. Magazine. 

" A fascinating little volume, telling a tale that redounds to the honor 
of the Scottish race. . . . Mr. MacBeth's sketch gives a pleasing 
impression of the sterling worth and industry of the settlers." Review of 
H&torical Publications, Vol. II. 

" A small but useful contribution to the history of the North- West. 
. . . Mr. MacBeth was brought up in the colony, and recalls some of 
its primitive laws, methods of agriculture and social customs, with a 
flavor of personal reminiscence." Montreal Witness. 

"The story of the Red River Settlement is one of unique interest. 
Its early days were a perfect Iliad of disaster. Flood, famine and hostile 
Indians sorely tried the faith and patience of the brave pioneers. A de- 
scendant of one of these tells in these pages the stirring story." Onward. 

Rev. Robert Murray, Editor of the Presbyterian Witness (Halifax, 
N.S.), writes the author : " Accept of my thanks for your most readable 
and refreshing book. I am delighted with it. Brought up among the 
Highlander's I appreciate some of the chapters more than others ; but 
the book as a whole is excellent. I only wish it were ampler in its 

" As the title indicates, the aim of the writer is to give to the people 
of to-day an idea of how the settlers lived in their homes, as apart from 
their struggles as a community for political and commercial rights. In 
this he has been eminently successful, and a valuable picture of the 
social life as it then was has been preserved for future generations." 
Winnipeg Tribune. 


29-33 Richmond Street West, - - TORONTO, ONT. 







Founder of Methodist Missions in the " Red River Settlement." 


General Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church. 

In Extra English Cloth Boards, with 15 Portraits and Illustrations. 

Personal and Press Comments 

11 The book is of fascinating interest, and gives authentic information not else- 
where to be obtained on the stirring events of the early history of Manitoba. It 
is handsomely printed, with numerous portraits and other engravings." Onward. 

" The reader will readily perceive that < ne who has lived so long in such 
varied scenes as have fallen to the lot of Dr. .Young must have witnessed many 
things worthy of record, and will rejoice with the present writer that the vener- 
able author, notwithstanding his characteristic modesty, was prevailed upon, after 
much entreaty, to send forth this charming volume." Mail and Empire. 

" An interesting chapter is devoted to the Fenian Raid of 1871 ; another to 
Dr. Lachlan Taylor's tour among the missions in the 'Great Lone Land,' taken 
from Dr. Taylor's own report and journal ; and still another chapter recounts the 
history of the early educational movement in the West. On the whole the book is 
a very interesting and indeed valuable one, not only to members of the author's 
Church, but also to the general reader." Ottawa Citizen. 

S. R. PARSONS, Esq., writes: 

"Only one who has lived in that land of 'illimitable possibilities,' and 
experienced the brightness of its winter and summer sunshine, and tasted of the 
water of the Red River, that ever after leaves an unquenchable thirst, and sniffed 
the ozone of the prairies, and mingled with the heartiest and most friendly people 
on earth, can fully appreciate this book. The high respect in which the author is 
deservedly held will, no doubt, ensure a large sale for the work. In the North- 
West, particularly, it should be in every home and Sunday School library." 


29-33 Richmond St. West, TORONTO, ONT. 

Forest, Me m Prairie 

WESTERN CANADA, 1842-1862. 



Bead the following: 
comments : 

" This is a true boy's book, and 
equals in stirring interest any- 
thing written by Kingston or 
Ballantyne. It ought to sell by 
the thousand." Mrs. S. A. Cur- 
zon, in Orillia Packet. 

" Possessed of an intimate ac- 
quaintance with all the varied 
aspects of frontier life, Mr. Mc- 
Dougall has produced a book that 
will delight the heart of every 
boy reader." Endeavor herald. 

" There are many graphic des- 
criptions of scenes in that vast 
fertile region in those early days 
when travelling was difficult and 
dangerous, but most fascinating 
to a youth of John McDougall's 
temperament and training. He 
lives those stirring times over 
again in his lively narrative, and 
relates his personal experiences 
with all the glow and vividness 
of an ardent, youthful hunter." 
Canadian Baptist. 

WILLIAM BRIGGS, Publisher, Toronto. 



Author of "F02EST, LAZE AND PEAIBIE." 


". . . If it be their good fortune to obtain it, 'SADDLB, SLED AND S.VOWSHOH' 
will not disappoint their most sanguine expectations. . . . While hard work, hard- 

ship, and plucky endurance 
characterize and give vim and 
go to the story, the incidents in 
which the love of fun, inherent 
in every boy's nature, finds 
opportunity of play, add much 
to the brightness and realistic 
value of the book. The book is 
well illustrate'!, the drawings 
being faithful to the reality, and 
the scenes well chosen." Th( 

Press Comments on "Forest 
Lake and Prairie." 

" Mr. McDougall is a true child 
of nature. He has passed through 
scenes that would stir the pulses 
of less impulsive men, and he 
writes with the keinest enthu- 
siasm: and this spirit possesses 
the reader of his thrilling pages." 
Christian Guardian. 

"I have read no book better 
fitted to inspire our Canadian 
boys with a healthy interest in 
their own undiscovered country : 
nor any more calculated to put 
into our growing youth the 
strong, sturdy, self-reliant s) irit 
of a real manhood, an heroic. 
muscular Christianity." Cana- 
dian Home Journal. 

WILLIAM BRIGGS, Publisher, Toronto. 

The Warden of the Plains 



Author of " Canadian Saraf/e Foil'" etc. 

Illustrated by J. E. LAUGHLIN. 


CONTENTS: The Warden of the Plains Asokoa, the Chiefs Daughter The 
Sky Pilot The Lone Pine The Writing Stone Akspine Old Glad The 
Spirit Guide Alahcasla The Hidden Treasure The White Man's Bride 
The Coming of Apauakas. 


" Dr. Maclean's familiarity with 
western life is evident in this col- 
lection of stories. All are well told." 
The Westminster. 

"Dr. Maclean has rendered a distinct 
service to Canadian literature by 
photographing in this series of pictures 
a type; of Canadian life which is last 
passing away." Rev. W. H. Withrow, 

"These stories are admirably written. 
They present the life and legends of 
the great North-West in a manner cal- 
culated to excite a sincere and useful 
interest among strangers." Mail and 

"A collection of short stories, some 
dramatic, some pathetic, all Sfrous. 
. . . The Indian tales are very pa- 
thetic and most interesting from an 
ethnological standpoint. . . . The 
stories are accurate pictures of North- 
West life." Victoria Times. 

29-33 Richmond St West, TORONTO, ONT. 

Canadian Savage Tolk 




M.A., PH.D. 

Author of " The Indians of 

Canada," " The. Warden 

of the Plains," etc. 

64J pages, more than 100 illus- 
trations, complete index, 
well annotated, beau- 
tifully bound. 

Cloth, $2.50 ; Half- 
Morocco, $3.50. 

personal anfc press IRotices. 

" The book is full of romance from beginning to end." Canadian Magazine. 

" The most complete work on the Indian races in Canada jet issued. No 
more entertaining book has been published." Canadian Bookseller. 

"This book will be a permanent authority on this subject." Methodist 

" ' Canadian Savage Folk ' will be a standard work for all time in the history 
of Canada." The Week, Toronto. 

" A useful and entertaining book." Montreal Witness. 

" It is the best volume that has been written upon the subject of the Cana- 
dian Indians." American Antiquarian. 

" It is well put together, and will be a standard work." Rev. Dr. Feet, Editor 
of American Antiquarian. 

"The work, which is copiously illustrated, is a most able and interesting one, 
not only for the specialist, but for the general reader also." Journal of Royal 
Colonial Institute. 

" This is, we believe, the largest and most important book on the native races 
of Canada that has yet been published. It is the result of a careful and thorough 
study of many years." Rev. W. H. Withrow, D.D., in Onward. 


29-33 Richmond St. West, - - TORONTO, ONT. 

Across the Sub-Arctics of 


By J. W. TYRRELL, C.E., D.L.S. 

Illustrated by Engravings from Photographs and from Drawings 



" A story of immense scientific value." 
Toronto Globe. 

"A most valuable contribution to 
the literature of the great North-West. 
. . . Mr. Tyrrell's touches of descrip- 
tion are delightful." Victoria Times. 
"As a mere record of adventure, of 
imminent peril and hair-breadth 
escapes, of hunting polar bears, and 
taking a winter tramp of a thousand 
miles, we know no narrative of more 
absorbing character. "-Methodist Maga- 

" Upon the whole, no book of travel 
and exploration in Canada has ap- 
peared since Butler's 'Great Lone 
Land' was published, that combined 
the interest and value of Mr. Tyrrell's 
book." Hamilton Herald. 

" A remarkable trip of exploration, 
one of the most important of recent 
years." Buffalo Illustrated Express. 

"The tale is a marvellous one; the 
only wonder is the party ever suc- 
ceeded in returning to civilization." 
Christian Guardian. 

" The record of their journey will 

be found delightful reading by those who feel the peculiar fascination of the vast 
melancholy Northland. . . . Altogether the volume is one of solid merit." 
Christian Advocate (New York). 

"There is a variety in this narrative which those of strictly Arctic expeditions 
lack. It leads through wonderful lakes and rivers hitherto unvisited by white 
men, with thrilling adventures in running unknown and perilous rapids." The 
Bookman (New York). 

"The illustrations have the double virtue of illustrating the subject and of 
being trustworthy ; and this final remark applies to the whole book." .V. Y. 

29-33 Richmond St. West, TORONTO, ONT. 

Overland to Cariboo 

An Eventful Journey of Canadian Pioneers to the Gold- 
Fields of British Columbia in 1862. 


With Portraits and .^ Price, $1.00, 

Illustrations. \V Postpaid. 


" A timely contribution to the literature of the farthest West." 
Montreal Witness. 

" Gives a broad idea of this western part of our young country as 
it was before civilization pushed westward." Canadian Magazine. 

" A story of unflagging and often thrilling interest, told in a sim- 
ple, pleasing and vivid style." New Westminster Daily Columbian. 

"The narrative teems with interesting details of travel thirty 
years ago. . . . The work is highly entertaining and well worth 
perusal." Journal of the Royal Colonial Institute. 

"This modest expedition, untrumpeted, unboomed, did more 
for the progress of humanity than all the Arc',ic exploring expedi- 
tions ever did or ever could accomplish." Dundee Advertiser. 

" The journey described was an historic event in the development 
of the West, and as such is worthy of the perusal of everyone 
interested in the progress of the country." Edmonton Bulletin. 

" Such books as these throw a clearer light on the rapidity of 
the advancement which Canada is making, besides paying a just 
tribute to the memory of those intrepid individuals who laid the 
foundations of a new Western Canada." Canadian Magazine. 

"It is not only a graphic account of hazardous enterprises suc- 
cessfully accomplished, but also purposes to show the resources of 
a region whose vast territory and practically limitless possibilities 
are even yet hardly appieciated by people at home or abroad." 
's Magazine. 


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Some Notable 

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Canadian Men and Women of the Time. By Henry J. Morgan. 

Cloth 3 00 

Haliburton : A Centenary Chaplet. A Series of Biographical and 

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Life and Times of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. By D. B. Read, 

Q.C., with Portrait and Illustrations 1 50 

Life and Work of D. J. Macdonnell. Edited by Prof. J. F. McCurdy, 

LL.D. With Portraits, etc 1 50 

Popular History cf Canada. By w. H. Withrow, D.D. Illustrated .. 3 oo 

History of Canada. By W. H. P. Clement, LL.B. With Maps and 

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History of British Columbia. By Alex. Begg, C.C. With Portrait 

and Illustrations 3 00 

In the Days of the Canada Company. By Robina and Kathleen M. 

Lizars. Illustrated 2 00 

Humours of \->7, Grave, Gay and Grim. Rebellion Times in the 

Canadas. By Robina and Kathleen M. Lizars 1 25 

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Ten Yeirs of Upper Canada in Peace and War 1803-15. By Mrs. 

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The Selkirk Settlers in Real Life. By R. G. MacBeth, M.A o 75 

The Makin? of the Canadian West. By R. G. MacBeth, M.A. With 

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Acadia. By Judge Savary. With Portraits 3 25 

The History of Lunenburg County. By Judge DesBrisay. With 

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Canadian Savage Folk. By John Maclean, Ph.D. Illustrated 250 

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G. D. Roberts. Illustrated 1 25 

Postpaid to any Address. 

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Books on the Canadian North-West 



By Canoe and Dog=Train among the Cree and 

Salteaux Indians. Illustrated $1 00 

Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Camp- 

Fires. Illustrated 1 25 

Oowikapun ; or, How the Gospel Reached the Nel= 

son River Indians. Illustrated 1 00 

Three Boys in the Wild North Land. Illustrated . . 1 25 
On the Indian Trail. Illustrated 1 25 



Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba. 

The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of 
Manitoba and the North-West Territories. 

Including the negotiations on which they are based, 
and other information relating thereto. 

CLOTH, $1.00. 

Nova Britannia; or, Our New Canadian Dominion 

Being a series of Lectures, Speeches and Addresses. 


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