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Initiation and quest in some early Canadian journals Hodgson, John Maurice Devereux 1966

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INITIATION AND QUEST IN SOME EARLY CANADIAN JOURNALS by>  JOHN MAURICE DEVEREUX HODGSON B.A.,B.A.(Ed.),Memorial University of Newfoundland,1963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the department Ofi  English We accept t h i s thesis- as conforming t o the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA APRIL,1966  In the  r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an  British  mission  for reference  be  and  granted  representatives. of  written  Department  of  by  the  study.  for  Library  5  2.3,  l^iL  the  I further  Head o f my  of  of •  make i t f r e e l y  agree for  that  Department  s h a l l not  per-  scholarly or  t h a t , c o p y i n g or  f i n a n c i a l gain  Columbia,  fulfilment  University  shall  this thesis  permission.  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Vancouver 8 Canada  P\PRlL^  the  in partial  degree at  I t i s understood  this thesis  w i t h o u t my  Date  that  f o r .extensive c o p y i n g of  p u r p o s e s may  cation  this thesis  advanced  Columbia;, I a g r e e  available  his  presenting  be  by publi-  allowed  ii ABSTRACT This thesis examines a number of Canadian Captivity and Exploration journals dating from Radisson's account of his c a p t i v i t y i n 16$2 to the investigation of the West Coast by the naturalist David Douglas i n 1826. The examination attempts to reveal these early journal writers not only as men undertaking a s p e c i f i c physical task, but as authors r e f l e c t i n g the s p i r i t of their enterprise i n their journals.  The genre of. the travel journal r e f l e c t s the l i t e r a r y s p i r i t  of the age i n which they were written;sometimes a l l i e d to i t , and at times quite a n t i t h e t i c a l to i t . Each journal exposes an individual, uniquely aware of his position i n time and place, attempting to express a novel experience i n terms familiar to himself and his readers. The result i s not always satisfying from a l i t e r a r y point erv  of view, but then the c r i t e r i a of the thesis has not been s t y l i s t i c a l l y based,but has been primarily interested i n revealing the individual i n his particular endeavour. The results are not consistent nor conclusive, but the examination of the journal, which i s the l a s t i n g testimony of physical t r i a l , uncovers a fresh l i t e r a r y genre which i s usually investigated only by the historian or the geographer. The thesis i s divided into two primary sections:chapter  two,  which deals with the Captivity journals of John Tanner, Alexander Henry, John Jewitt and Pierre Radissonj and chapter three which investigates the Exploration journals of Radisson, Henry Kelsey, William Cormack,David Douglas, Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson  iii  and Samuel Hearne. The introductory chapter gives some background to the genre of the t r a v e l journal from the period of Richard Hakluyt to the esoteric world of Science F i c t i o n . The nature of heroic endeavour and the position of the travel journal as source material for authors i s also b r i e f l y discussed. In handling a subject which refuses to be limited to any one d i s c i p l i n e , nothing conclusive can be stated. However, i t seems important to isolate the t r a v e l journal i n i t s attempt to describe the human condition. The environment and terms are not usually associated with literature,and yet the genre manages, unexpectedly, to point up those universal themes so essential to a l l creative w r i t i n g .  TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter I. II.  Page  INTRODUCTION CAPTIVITY JOURNALS  1  20  1. John Tanner (20) 2. Alexander Henry (29) 3 . John Jewitt (37) 4 . Pierre E s p i r i t Radisson (43) III.  EXPLORER'S JOURNALS  55  1 . P i e r r e E s p i r i t Radisson (55) 2. Explorer as poet and s c i e n t i s t (62) 3 . Alexander Mackenzie (71) 4 . David Thompson (77) 5»Samuel Hearne (83) IV.  CONCLUSION  92  1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Every age of man seeks heroes or -the heroic.  Usually they are not  d i f f i c u l t to f i n d : Homer drew upon a massive oral tradition of the battle of Troy, V i r g i l showed that the Greek heroes could be borrowed to shore up another culture, and this principle was copied by the Neo-Classical writers of the Eighteenth century. At times the hero might become less overt and more self-conscious as i n the work of the Romanticsj and today, except i n time of great c r i s i s , there appears l i t t l e of t r a d i t i o n a l heroics i n the modern anti-hero slanted creative a r t i s t .  However, the s p i r i t which sent  Odysseus, and which consequently gave him his heroic status, was the same which drives every explorer, whether his quest takes him across the Aegean, the A r c t i c , or alone across the Atlantic i n a tiny s k i f f .  In the age of  anti-heroes, no sophisticated reader seems ready to accept the overt histrionics of a Dumas or Walter Scott, and yet there i s lurking i n each reader an appreciation of individual endeavour.  Almost unacknowledged by  the academic world, the journals of s c i e n t i s t s , biologists and astronauts are read and their feats viewed by the public, thus feeding a need for heroism which current l i t e r a r y trends do not s a t i s f y . r  While the Cousteaus, Fuchs and Glenns of the world make history and  reap the rewards from published journals, films and television appearances, publishers continue quietly to provide the public with classic examples of the hero as explorer: the journals of S i r Richard Burton, Captain Cook, James Bruce, Charles Darwin and a host of others.  Just as contemporary  explorers* journals such as Cousteau's are studied by marine biologists  2  and Papuan j o u r n a l s are read by anthropologists, so Darwin's may be read as an i n t e g r a l part of the n i s t o r y of the E v o l u t i o n a r y theory or j u s t as a f i n e example of j o u r n a l w r i t i n g . I n d i v i d u a l endeavour continues  to  f a s c i n a t e a l a r g e segment of educated s o c i e t y , not only by e x c i t i n g wonderment, but by acknowledging the debt which science and humanity owe  to  these i n d i v i d u a l s . Canada may seem v o i d of heroes of Homer's s t a t u r e or even of the modern heroes of space e x p l o r a t i o n , but again publishers seem aware of t h i s lacuna i n popular t a s t e and they continue to o f f e r the publ i c the journals of e a r l y Canadian explorers.  These men,  i n t h e i r own  ,  f e a t s , challenge any of the t r a d i t i o n a l heroesy f o r such i s the nature of the i n d i v i d u a l p i t t e d against an adversary that each encounter cannot be assessed by comparison w i t h another; f o r though not one of F r a n k l i n ' s hundred men  l e f t a j o u r n a l to describe h i s p a r t i c u l a r encounter w i t h a h o s t i l e  f a t e , i n d i v i d u a l l y each of t h e i r b a t t l e s must have been as heroic as Odysseus' encounters i n the Aegean. Perhaps no other form of l i t e r a t u r e o f f e r s such v a r i e t y to the reading p u b l i c as these j o u r n a l s .  J . B. T y r r e l l , himself a j o u r n a l w r i t e r , speaks  of the explorations of David Thompson: Thompson was not a spasmodic explorer; w i t h him surveying was h i s chief pleasure and l i f e ' s work... he was e x p l o r i n g , surveying and d e p i c t i n g by r e g u l a r methods on the map, the features of the country i n which he was l i v i n g . . . The excellence and greatness of h i s work i s accounted f o r by t h i s systematic continuation of surveys, pract i c a l l y without a break, f o r twenty-three years.^ A j o u r n a l such as Thompson's simply recording t h i s f e a t would warrant i t s 1  David Thompson's Narrative (178U-1812), (Toronto, The Champlain Society, 1916), p.IX  3  inclusion of any l i s t of individual endeavour, but Thompson includes a faculty for description and awareness of purpose i n a remarkably readable journal.  Unfortunately, c r i t i c s of history and l i t e r a t u r e are too often  prone to ignore journal writers' a b i l i t y for consistent creativity, just as scientists are l i a b l e to study Darwin solely for h i s contribution to science. English travel journals received their f i r s t public recognition i n 1589  with Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, Voiages and Dis-  coveries of the English Nation.  The inclusion of such diverse journals  as Willoughby's describing his search for a Northwest passage to China, Drake's circumnavigation and the tragic and touching account of S i r Humphery Gilbert's l a s t voyage convinced the English of their destiny overseas.  Hakluyt's was continued i n Purchas Hakluyt Posthumous 1  which succeeded i n underlining the Elizabethan expansion schemes and firmly impressed a new l i t e r a r y genre on a marvellously l i t e r a t e society. The new society of the seventeenth century adopted the Elizabethan expansiveness as a part of i t s own developing r a t i o n a l i s t philosophy, and expressed i t s concept of a new physical world i n i t s unique application of the Elizabethan poetic conceit and continuing attempts to enforce i t s c i v i l i z a t i o n upon barbaric t r i b e s .  Journals of the Elizabethan period  are superlative i n that the explorers and colonizers were educated courtiers with some, l i k e Walter Raleigh, acknowledged poets and l i t e r a r y figures.  These journals, therefore, are i n some instances the r e f l e c t i o n  of an a r t i s t upon a physical quest, or at least the educated and sophisticated man of'leisure commenting upon the conquest of personal physical  and s p i r i t u a l p r i v i t a t i o n f o r gain and glory.  I t was not u n t i l the nine-  teenth century, with the search expeditions for John Franklin, that this extensive combination of purpose and educated sophistication was repeated, at least i n North American exploration writing, but by then England had long forgotten i t s i n i t i a l thrust into the New World and though the purpose of the nineteenth century explorers was dramatic and moving, the national s p i r i t and wonder was lacking. By Franklin's time Exploration journals were an accepted part of the English commercial publishing world, and occasionally an added impetus was given the genre by national concern such as the loss of the Erebus and Terror i n 18U5:  or exceptional journals  such as Richard Burton's; but the l a t t e r , and journals of that calibre enjoy a steady reputation and influence to the present time. Travel journals, that i s those which are not written solely to impress a reader with a certain esoteric area or anthropological curiosities, have a purpose i n which the l i t e r a r y value can only be considered as secondary. Beyond the concept of the individual as hero, the run-of-the-mill journal writer whose scope i s small i n physical endeavour and l i t e r a r y a b i l i t y , the accomplishment can r e a l l y only be of interest to the s c i e n t i s t , s o c i a l i s t , or p o l i t i c i a n .  Each can be judged by the standards of s c i e n t i f i c or sociolo-  gical writings, but l i t t l e can be gained by l i t e r a r y criticism, and l i t t l e , can be gleaned by the uninitiated reader.  Even these, though, can be judged  as a quest, however small; each i s a unique attempt to reach a goal and the written journal i s a personal triumph no matter how small the public or how slight the endeavour, But upon these small triumphs r i s e spiralingly a greater and more universal l i t e r a r y achievement acknowledged and promoted  5"  by a chauvinistic Hakluyt, and which w i l l cease only when man loses his curiosity and his a b i l i t y to express xronder. Although these journals may be easily judged as expressions of personal endeavour, in whatever category, criticism becomes more tenuous when an attempt i s made to judge them as literature. What makes John Smith's poignant account of his initiation so readable, a classic in its field?  Why are Cook's journals, though primarily of interest to  the cartographer or politician, s t i l l read and republished i n inexpensive editions?  There seems to be an intrinsic literary quality i n some  journals which finds response in the generation for which they were written but contain as well a universality of theme - adventure, quest, initiation, endeavour, privation - hence, their current popularity is easily accounted for.  Others which have enjoyed a less consistent  popularity have been immortalized by their influence on other authors. There seems to be l i t t l e doubt for instance that Shakespeare read either Sir George Summers' or Sylvester Jourdain's account of the wreck of the Sea Adventure in 1610 and incorporated many of the details of the accounts for The Tempest which was presented in 1611.  Indeed, like a l l educated  and informed Elizabethans, Shakespeare was very aware of the new s p i r i t of adventure which was i n good part due to the new discoveries made abroad by English sailors and to Hakluyt and Purchas' compilations. In the following century, some of the most famous metaphysical poems owe their success to capturing the new s p i r i t of travel and expansion of man's physical realms, and the New World loses nothing when e  reflected i n the ethjreal concept of the metaphysical conceit.  Donne s effectiv 1  6  and moving images of the expanding and contracting world and universe in "Sunne Rising", or the compass image in "Valediction: forbidding mourning", and again in perhaps the most clever and lasting images of love exaggeration in Marvell's "Coy Mistress" a l l aptly demostrate the influence of travel journals on poetry.  Although this influence waned in the eighteenth cen-  tury, i t flourished for the Romantics as i t had for the Elizabethans.  On  the continent, Rousseau must have drawn from explorers* journals for his concept of the noble savage, and Chateaubriand, in his short sojourn i n America, could not have conceived his romanticized savage Rene without recourse to French explorers  1  journals.  Lowe* in The Road to Xanadu,  investigates this facet of the creative genius in Coleridge.  He traces  minutely the influences of travel journal* upon the great Romantic poet, and though these are numerous and one admires Lowes for his sleuthing techniques, i t is his generalizations on the nature of travel journals that are more interesting. He sees the Ancient Mariner as the product of the centrifugal force of the imagination:: i t s ability, unlike the lesser power of Fancy, to reach out into new territories - the phantasmogoric world of the explorer - and draw from completely new experiences and  new  territories, ideas and adventures which are normally antithetic to the atmosphere of English literature.  Coleridge's genius, Lowes says, was to  make a fantasy world created from travel literature meaningful for the English reader, making i t avid and s t i l l suited to the poetic doctrine of Lyrical Ballads. At times, travel journals are not capable of supplying the need of authors for quest material.  Such is the case with the growing f i e l d of  7  f i c t i o n literature which, initiated by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, has burgeoned into a pot-pourri of exciting speculation and fanciful nonsense. The s p i r i t of travel journals i s there and the impetus, perhaps, of Hakluyt and Purchas has allowed Man's imagination to conceive very accurately the nature of space travel through historical knowledge of man pitted against the unknown; consequently, the accounts of today's space travellers do not surprise readers inured by nearly a century of imaginative speculation. The New World i n the sixteenth century or the moon i n the twentieth s t i l l demands the same qualities from the explorer and the records and literature which evolve from these expeditions may vary in locale and quality, but the quest and record are universal.  I t i s a curiosity of man's power of  imagination and expression that time i s of no consequence: the journal may influence literature, or literature the travel journal. Amongst the plethora of journals published i n England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from a l l parts of the expanding empires of the European powers, the North American exploration journals had an individual character and influence.  The Romantics drew upon these  journals almost exclusively for their interpretation of the romantic savage l i f e , just as Shakespeare did two hundred years before when he peopled Prospero's island with 'those goodly creatures  Doubtless the  prime factor i n the North American exploration journal and, of course, the Initiation journal was the Indian. For, essentially, the success of each venture depended upon the native North American who guided, or captured the journal writer and upon whom the European was dependent. haps not only the mission was dependent upon the nomadic Indians who  Per-  8  knew the routes which interested the traveller, but the journal i t s e l f , which was usually only a by-product of the journey, often owed i t s drama and intrinsic unity to the degree that the explorer or initiate entered into the way of the Indian.  Few Exploration journals exhibit an authen-  t i c sense of unity because the author was unable to integrate with the native population; and there seems l i t t l e doubt that the success of a journal, a r t i s t i c a l l y , is directly proportionate to the author's integration into that society. The former thesis that the explorer is dependent upon the native population was proved time and again by land explorers like Lewis and Clarke in the United States, or Samuel Hearne in northern Canada. Vilhjalmar Stefansson was the f i r s t to realize this premise in arctic exploration and his popular journal, The Friendly Arctic, is his attempt to prove the theory: Sir John Ross, who, fortunately for the advancement of polar technique, was thrown in close association with the Eskimos, borrowed some Eskimo ideas but used them with the ineptitude of the novice. He employed sledges and made some use of dogs. • It seems extraordinary that no explorer thought of going directly' to the Eskimos and borrowing their system of l i f e and travel in tqto; that instead of learning native methods they found i t necessary to discover for themselves the same principles of living and travelling which the Eskimos had discovered years before.^ This concept is not hard to believe and certainly Stefansson's five years in the Arctic living as an Eskimo and his consequent arctic discoveries proved a concept which is accepted today as common sense.  S t i l l , i t was  only after two abortive attempts toreach the Coppermine river that Samuel The Friendly Arctic, (The Macmillan Company, New York, 19kk), p. 3  9  Hearne f i n a l l y put himself i n the hands of a Chipewyan Indian, Matonabbee, and completed the most daring exploratory feat i n America up to that time. The belief that this absorption into the native l i f e also affects the value of the explorer's or captive's journal i s hypothetic, but a theory which determines the success of a voyage must surely also affect the written journal. Early Canadian journals f a l l into Wo categories: the journal of exploration and the Captivity or I n i t i a t i o n journal. The former i s quite easily c l a s s i f i e d while the l a t t e r tends to overlap the exploration f i e l d as the Captivity journal writer may be crossing new t e r r i t o r y and hence, i f conscious observation of the new lands and the consequent description warrant i t , the man may be considered an explorer. This i s particularly true of Radisson who, i n his early Captivity journal, obviously i s describing new t e r r i t o r y i n the i n t e r i o r of eastern Canada, but the i n a b i l i t y of modern geographers to accurately follow his course usually discounts this f i r s t voyage as one of exploration. In his next f i v e voyages, he describes himself as an adventurer - fur trader, but for posterity he i s one of Canada's earliest explorers. The Captivity journal i s usually one of travel as the captive i s forced to become a member of a nomadic people; i f not nomadic by nature they are forced to become so i n face of the white man's revenge. Although early captives such as Radisson could not hope for a i d from the French population, since the French themselves held on only tenuously to their forts i n the seventeenth centuryj later captives, such as John Tanner and Jewitt, forced the natives to adopt more protective methods - the former covering a large area with his  10  t r i b e while the l a t t e r , being captive of a sea coast t r i b e , was simply moved a few miles to the i n t e r i o r when danger from white population seemed imjlnent. Alexander Henry the elder, who w i l l i n g l y adopted the Indian way of l i f e i n order to escape death at the hands of a r i v a l t r i b e , travelled extensively during his r e l a t i v e l y short captivity period, but only within a confined area i n the v i c i n i t y of Michilmackinac.  Only Radisson amongst  these few captives seemed r e a l l y conscious of the p o s s i b i l i t y of quest, and only his journal despite i t s inaccuracies, approaches the nature of the Exploration journal, doubtless pointing to the direction that his l a t e r writing was to take. The Captivity journal as a l i t e r a r y genre began with the account of John Smith, and i n many ways his experiences form the basic pattern of the I n i t i a t i o n journal. The archetypal pattern, such as developed, starts usually with a battle i n which the future captive manifests some t r a i t which the savage admires, usually bravery, which results i n the captive being singled out and preserved.  On other occasions, the prospective  captive exhibits some s k i l l , as i n the case of John Jewitt who was observed by the Indians of Nootka plying his trade as armourer on the ship for weeks before the massacre of the ship's crew. Though a battle i s usually the genesis of the I n i t i a t i o n journal, at times i t seems a white captive i s taken as revenge for death of a youth i n battle or to replace a chief's favourite son who has died. Only i n the case of Alexander Henry does there seem to no reason for preservation beyond some sympathetic communion between the victim and his future champion,as Henry himself says describ-  11  ing his experience during the massacre of  Michilmackinac:  One of them named Wenniway, whom I had previously known, and who was upward of six feet in height, had his entire face and body covered with charcoal and grease, only that a white spot of two inches in diameter, encircled either eye. This man, walking up to me, seized me with one hand by the collar of the coat, while in the other he held a large carving knife, as i f to plunge i t in my breast; his eyes, meanwhile were fixed steadfastly on mine. At length, after some seconds of the most anxious suspense, he dropped his arm saying, 'I won't k i l l you .3 1  Usually, i n i t i a l preservation depends upon youth, s k i l l or possibly bravery, but ultimately the captive must have the fortune of being adopted by a powerful chief, whose strength within the tribe shields the captive from the jealousies of the other savages.  The extent to which  such protection could be relied upon is shown by Radisson who murdered three of his Iroquois captors in an abortive attempt to escape and yet was forgiven; andJJewitt who was threatened innumerable times by lesser chiefs who feared the white man's retribution i f Jewitt were discovered as their captive. who,  John Tanner's protector was a female chief, Net-no-kwa  though very prone to drink, evoked in Tanner a warm sense of affection  through a narrative usually void of any feeling.  For i t was necessary for  the captive to enter into the l i f e of the Indian and to do i t willingly, just as i t was necessary for the successful explorer to integrate, though necessarily more superficially, into the savage society. The major part of the Captivity journal is concerned with the Indian way of l i f e , and i t is this aspect which must have particularly fascinated Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories, ed. James Bain (Toronto, George N. Morang, 1901), p. «6.  12  the European reader.  Much of this l i f e was nomadic, thus completely-  foreign to c i v i l i z e d nations; while the journals of Smith and Jewitt describe societies which doubtless impressed the Romantic conception of a rude, but sophisticated settled population.  The Iroquois of  Radisson's time were barbaric to the extreme and his journal reflects this barbarity to the detriment of the journal as a l i t e r a r y unity.  The  degree of success of the Captivity journal depended upon this a b i l i t y to unify experience, but to the author's contemporaries i t must also have 'depended upon the h o r r i f i c descriptions, such as abound i n Radisson's narrative and which doubtless appealed to his age; while a r e l a t i v e l y mild and sophisticated society such as that at Nootka must have impressed the then romantically inclined nineteenth century reader.  Unconcerned  with the s c i e n t i f i c aspect of their sojourn amongst the savages the capt i v e , unlike the explorer, describes the Indian way of l i f e without s c i e n t i f i c detachment or organization, but primarily as an instrument to apater l e s bourgeois and to increase the sale of their journals. ..Most .of the Indian captives long for release despite their a b i l i t y to form close attachments within the Indian society. Alexander Henry, although he was a captive for a very short period, found he enjoyed the Indian l i f e and save f o r a 'lingering hope' that he might be released, he: was  content  to remain with his captors. Henry, though, adapted himself; whereas Jewitt never seemed to be able to throw off c i v i l i z a t i o n , refusing to wear Indian clothing even two years after his capture, and he spends much of his time bemoaning the squalor of Indian l i f e and longing for a sight of white civilization.  Tanner, whose t h i r t y year period of captivity places him i n  13  a unique category of Initiation journal writers, was captured as a young boy and seems to have lost a l l vestige of his natural background and alternately.longed for and feared a release which, in fact, he could have effected almost any time after his capture. When release does come, for most i t results in mixed feelings, that of leaving a primitive society xirhich accepted and protected despite incredible differences, and returning to a white society which could never accept them without making them aware of their former way of l i f e .  Radisson, as a result, i s unable in  his later years to be content with white society, and fortunately for the history of Canadian expansion, i s only happy when exploring new close to his old captors.  territory  Henry i s accused by his countrymen of spinning  tales, arid Tanner is dubbed the 'Old Liar' and he reverts to the bush after several unhappy years trying to adapt to Sault St. Marie society. In each case, the more successful journal writer seems to be he  who  adapted into the Indian society, and. yet the more integrated he became the less successful was his re-entry into civilization after release. The actual writing of the Captivity journal creates several problems for the historian and the literary c r i t i c .  Since each captive i s alone in  his adventures, save Jewitt who managed to save one other crew member by posing him as his father, the question of authenticity is inevitable. Then, apart from this basic historical problem, the c r i t i c of the "journal w i l l also want to know whether i t was written to aggrandize the reputation of the journal writer or ii' i t is an honest account of unusual happenings. Also, the journalistic ability of the writer influences the journal, as does the length of time that elapses from the time of release to the  Ik  actual writing of the journal. Finally, the essential difference between the Captivity journal and the Exploration journal is the former's attempt to popularize the adventures of an Indian captive which is closer to the genre of the novel, or specifically fictional travel literature such as Robinson Crusoe, while the Exploration journal has as i t s purpose the extension of known lands either for commercial or p o l i t i c a l exploitation. One would expect the Initiation journal to be more popular and lasting, but curiosly this is seldom the case.  This can be accounted for in part  by the authors themselves and their educational backgrounds, their depth of association with the Indians, and the anture of the literate man  who  seeks heroic status but whose c r i t i c a l faculties demand dramatic unity over isolated adventures - a combination which is seldom found in Captivity journals because of the literary limitations of the authors. Authenticity of the Initiation journal can only be judged individually$ but in general there seems to be l i t t l e gained by the author manufacturing his  story, for he then places himself in a genre beyond his literary powers.  One could not imagine, for instance, Radisson's narrative being compared to Defoe: the subtlety of fiction is beyond Radisson. However, a consideration of the journals as literature precludes the necessity of determining their authenticity.  Of the four journals that are discussed below, Radisson is  not writing in his native language; Tanner has l i t t l e or no education, and though his narrative is written in the f i r s t person i t was dictated to an amanuensis; Henry shows considerable powers of observation and emotional response to his situation while Jewitt obviously is educated, but is rather too aware of this and other aspects of his civilized background. As education,  15  lack of i t , influences the journals so also does time lapse.  Radisson  wrote the account of his captivity probably about 1 6 6 8 , approximately fifteen years after the event and after he had completed his later important explorations.  In the interim, he had changed his national  allegiance from France to England and had also learned to express himself, though haltingly, in the language of his new a f f i l i a t i o n .  How  much this fifteen year lapse and the confusion, which must have resulted from covering some of the same territory, affected his version of the Captivity journal is impossible to judge. Like the question of authent i c i t y , the effect of time lapse upon the finished journal must be considered by inspecting the individual journal. Finally, Radisson may have had as his purpose in writing his journal an attempt to impress the English government, which he certainly succeeded in doing as his information precipitated the creation of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1 6 7 0 ; Alexander Henry wrote his journal after he had retired from the fur trade, doubtless after encouragement from those same New York burghers whom he was supposed to be hoodwinking; Tanner wrote, or dictated, in an attempt to establish himself in the place of his birth; and Jewitt because he was aware of the unique place such narratives enjoyed in the public esteem.  Certainly, few of these journals could claim to have been  written for altruistic purposes, nor for the scientific purpose of the exploration journalists; but then these men owe their fame not to purposef u l scientific or commercial training but to fate, and the permanence of their journals i s as uncertain as that i n i t i a l thrust into the unknown. The purpose of the explorer's journal i s self-evident, or so i t  16  appears until one realizes that though the outcome is the same for a l l the discovery of new territory - the genesis of each may be quite different. Henry Kelsey covered some of the same territory as Radisson, but Kelsey ventured further west almost accidently bumping into the prairies and sighting the Rockies after an effortless trip across the grasslands: This plain offers nothing but Beast and grass And over i t i n three days time we past ^ Kelsey, of course, was travelling as a fur trader and though he could not envision the future importance of the Prairies and the Beasts, that he so disparagingly mentions, to the fur trade, he is the f i r s t of the Hudson Bay pedlars to penetrate the country which in future years would prove so contentious.  As the French moved into the country that Radisson opened up  in his later voyages, the English were content to remain on the Bay trading with the few Indians who risked the long t r i p from the Northwest.  It was  not until the French were defeated in the Seven Years War that the English once again showed some interest i n expanding, and this took the novel form of scientific and commercial speculation over copper ore brought to the Prince of Wales Fort by some Chipewyan Indians. After two abortive attempts, Samuel Hearne reached the mouth of the Coppermine river in 1771 with the aid of Matonabbee, and Hearne's journals and maps proved him able not only to expand the trade, but also proved him competent as a surveyor, cartographer, anthropologist and an exceptionally fine journal writer.  Alexander  Mackenzie travelled f i r s t down his River of Disappointment in 1789 with no ^The Kelsey Papers, The Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, 1929.  17  purpose other than to expand the trade and to prove the theory of his mentor, Peter Pond, that there existed a western water route across the continent to the Pacific and the markets of Chinaj but Mackenzie, like Pond, was no surveyor and their estimation of the width of the continent was ingenuously inaccurate as he discovered himself in his later voyage. Undeterred, Mackenzie returned to London to prepare himself scientifically for his voyage to the Pacific which he completed with amazing speed i n 1792-3. Mackenzie's object was to expand the trade for his own company, in which he had a profitable partnership, and to find a practical western outlet for the furs.  His journal i s laconic as one might expect, though  detailed in astronomic observation and charted distance; and since he was ashamed of his lack of creative expression, he had i t edited and rewritten. For his achievements he received a knighthood and a fortune in the trade. The man who ten years later followed his t r a i l moved painfully more slowly, and his journal reflects a moody temperament and indecision, but also powers of observation and creativity.  David Thompson had no interest in the fur  trade and was proud to announce to the Indians that he encountered that his object was not trade, but rather diplomacy and discovery. Consequently, when the North West Company insisted that he move swiftly down the Columbia to establish the company at the mouth of the river, he hesitated through imagined fear of the Piegan Indians and when he did arrive in 1811 Astor s 1  men had preceded him by several months. Annoyed as the partners of the North West Company must have been, the map which Thompson presented to William McGillivray and the journal which he completed later absolved him and placed him as a journal writer equal to Hearne.  18  Charles Darwin, perhaps the greatest of naturalists, showed in his journal of the Beagle expedition that the naturalist's journal need not be unintelligible nor uninteresting to the unscientific reader.  Follow-  ing this dictum required a man as capable in his own f i e l d as was Darwin, and yet sufficiently aware of the extent of human endeavour to realize the potential i n exploration.  Cormack, in his trek across Newfoundland  in 1822, seems only vaguely aware of the creative possibilities of his endeavour. His narrative, unlike Darwin's, seldom expresses wonder but remains primarily a description of flora and fauna of the island. There seems to be in his journal l i t t l e sustained awareness of the quest until the closing passages, but by then civilization is close and the fear of being forced to remain i n unknown aboriginal country, which might have saved the journal from i t s author, is relieved by the sight of the goal. David Douglas, i n his perambulatory wanderings on the west coast of a few years later, has in many respects the fine subjectivity of observation and awareness of adventure that Darwin has.  As Darwin placed himself for  an indeterminate time on the Beagle, so Douglas allows himself to be dictated to by the land i n which he travels, and as Darwin had time to absorb and theorize for five years so Douglas remained without the destructive sense of urgency.  Just as the ultimate in explorer's journals  seems to be those written by men who allow the land and i t s inhabitants to regulate their quest, so the best scientific journals are those which reflect an absorption of the country rather than the attempt to force one's individuality upon an unrelenting wilderness. Heroism i s a d i f f i c u l t quality to assess.  Radisson apparently had  19  i t i n abundance, Cormack did not have the opportunity to test his courage, and Mackenzie probably never gave his state of mind sufficient consideration to determine attitudes.  But each of these men isaa^e faced with danger f o r  different reasons. Each reacted i n an individual way and each experience i s recorded idiosyncratically.  Therefore, i n order to assess the worth  of the experience to the individual, and consequently to the reader of i t s record, the explorer or captive must be judged as an individual i n those surroundings, and the journal as an expression of the individual i n the savage environment.  An examination of Captivity or Exploration journals,  then, becomes an investigation of the s p i r i t of expression, rather than s t y l i s t i c analysis i n an isolated sense. When extracted, the act completed i s not one of recognized heroic action, but rather conscious expression of a t r a i l , a true awareness of singular time and place which may be expressed i n a single moment of awareness, or awareness over an entire journal. The consideration of any journal of this nature must be with a view to determine i t s worth through the s p i r i t expressed, and to this end the style of the journal plays a r e l a t i v e l y small part. This s p i r i t , be i t heroic or simply the record of one man's attempt to preserve his l i f e , i s common to a l l Captive and Exploration journals. The Canadian journals are not less interesting or immediate than those preserved by Hakluyt or Purchas for the basic s p i r i t of individual endeavour i s i n t r i n s i c to the genre.  There i s no need to apologize for i l l i t e r a c y ,  ingenuousness, or even h i s t r i o n i c s ; i t i s necessary only to sympathize with the naive or deride the proud, i n either case t r y to uncover the s p i r i t of true man i n a strange and wonderful adventure.  20  CHAPTER I I The Captivity Journal 1. John Tanner - The Complete Captive Perhaps nowhere i n early Canadian journals i s there displayed such a drive f o r self-preservation as i n John Tanner's narrative.  Though each  captive and explorer suffers physical p r i v i t a t i o n , Tanner's narration of t h i r t y years with the nomadic Ojibbeway t r i b e gives i n a very r e a l sense the transience of Indian existence.  The battle for survival never eludes  the reader, and the narrative carries him from insatiable gluttony to starvation, from delirious dreams induced by hunger to miraculous intervention, which preservation allows the cycle to be repeated.  In Indian  l i f e , as recounted by Tanner, there i s no sense of unity; i t i s just an endless, repetitive cycle without sense of accomplishment or completeness. According to the thesis that a successful narrative i s dependent upon the author integrating into the Indian Society, Tanner's journal should be a superior one.  However, Tanner's narrative suffers i f anything, from too  close an association with the natives, whatever natural unity the journal might have i s destroyed by the characteristic disjointed Indian l i f e which, though i t amazes the reader, equally confuses him by the destruction of coherent time lapse and consistent action. Tanner's long c a p t i v i t y and the consequent authentic  information  which his narrative contains i s , perhaps, most useful to the anthropologist and social historian. The direction that Tanner's narrative took was determined f i r s t l y by the man who undertook the writing of Tanner's memoirs, Edwin James, a doctor i n Sault St. Marie, who was aware of the importance  21  of Tanner's experience to posterity and s p e c i f i c a l l y to the s c i e n t i s t and philologist.  Not only does the original edition contain Tanner's narrative,  but also a considerable section on the language and customs of the Indians with whom he l i v e d .  Considering James' s c i e n t i f i c bias, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t  to imagine that he influenced Tanner's narrative not only i n the careful notation of Indian customs, but James influence i s also noticeable by 1  his predilection i n including only what he considered important.  As a  r e s u l t , he, as the v i r t u a l author of the narrative, i n spite of his declarations that Tanner's **whole story was given as i t stands, without hints, suggestions, leading questions, or advice of any kind, other than to 'conceal nothing',"^ i s surely l i a b l e to c r i t i c i s m for what he consciouly omits.  Indeed, a good part of the lack of coherence i n time  and place may be due to James who admits further that he "retrenched or 2 altogether ommitted" many accounts of hunting and t r a v e l l i n g . Altogether, James' introductory essay reveals more of his own character and particular prejudices than of his relationship to the man upon whose shoulders he stands. After a brief and unconvincing panegyric to Tanner's adventure, which to James seems not to require the credulity of the reader but his sympathy and understanding for the 'barbarian , James then launches into 1  his private philosophy of Indian a f f a i r s . Apartheid i s not the answer, but rather wholesale integration of the Indian society into the white.  Otherwise, he says "as separate and  j^A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, p. x i x . loc. c i t .  22  individual t r i b e s . . . i t i s probable they cannot long continue i n existence".3 The white society, he claims, must 'overcome the habitual indolence and contempt of labour ... and the introduction of the English Language should keep equal pace ... but at the same time lay aside and forget their own, and with i t their entire system of t r a d i t i o n a l feelings and opinions on a l l subject'.^ I t i s unfortunate that a man of so obviously a n t i t h e t i c a l interests and beliefs to Tanner, who wished to maintain as much as possible his Indian training while l i v i n g i n the "Sault", should become the editor for a captive who could have given to posterity an unequalled account of Indian l i f e .  Paradoxically, James, the s c i e n t i s t ,  could not forfeear to record the dying language of the Indian; longingly regarding the passing of a complete race much as the English i n Newfoundland must have shaken their heads when the l a s t of the aborigines died: James wishing to complete p o l i t i c a l l y what the English accomplished with arms. If James succeeded, as a scientist but f a i l e d , i n his bias^ as an amanuensis, he could not altogether destroy the narrative. Tanner, obviousl y unruly and rebellious as a child, was captured by two Ojibbeway warriors i n 1789 when he was just nine years of age.  He spent the next t h i r t y years  in semi-captivity, gradually winning the confidence of the tribe and becoming an integral part of the savage l i f e .  His f i r s t two years are ones of  unmitigated p r i v i t a t i o n and horror. He was captured by Manito-o-geezik, a.troublesome old man despised equally by Indian and whiteman, as a replace3 Tanner, p. xxxiv. S.OC  cit.  23  merit f o r his son who had recently died. Although proud of his adept kidnapping of the boy, the old warrior seemed to regard Tanner's l i f e as something created for his pleasure and the shame which Tanner underwent at his hands remained with him even u n t i l his release. Tanner's narrative success seems often due to his a b i l i t y at understatement. An incident which occured i n his f i r s t year of captivity i s characteristic of the narrative, but only Jewitt could equal him for economy of words; Radisson or Henry would have given t h i s almost s u r r e a l i s t i c experience much more prominence. I t now began to be warm weather, and i t happened one day that having been l e f t alone, as I was t i r e d and t h i r s t y , I f e l l asleep. I cannot t e l l how long I slept, but when I began to wake, I thought I heard someone' crying a great way o f f . Then I t r i e d to raise my head, but could not. Being now more awake, I saw my Indian mother and s i s t e r standing by me, and perceived that my face and head were wet. The old woman and her daughter were crying b i t t e r l y , but i t was some time before I perceived that my head was badly cut and bruised. I t appeared that after I had f a l l e n asleep, Manito-o-geezik, passing that way, had perceived me, and tomahawked me', and thrown me in the bushes.3  It was not the l a s t time that Tanner was near death either through the mischief of some Indian who d i s l i k e d him or through exposure to uncompromising Nature; but the laconic description of his own blood on his face and the contrast between the helpless despair of the women and the emnity of the husband aptly describes the helplessness of the boy, and incidentally the indomitable s p i r i t which he had i n order to survive i n such a society. But survive he did. After two years of this abominable treatment he was bought by another Indian; this time the remarkable Net-no-kwa, chieftess Tanner, p. 10  2k  of the Ottawwaws, who had also l o s t a son.  I t was the very different  treatment which Tanner received at the hands of Net-no-kwa which must have prevented him from returning to his xirhite family, and i t was with her that he acquired the great s k i l l as a hunter and also the characteristic nomadic nature of the Indian.  Tanner's relationship with Net-no-kwa i s  the only one which l i f t s the narrative above the s e l f i s h concern of the author into the plane of human intercourse. I t i s only with his foster mother that he achieves any degree of sympathy or rapport with another human, and i t i s the anecdotes of his l i f e with her that supplies the most l a s t i n g impression i n the narrative. Net-no-kwa, perhaps because of her human sympathy, a t r a i t seldom shown i n Tanner's account of the uncivilized Indian, and her hereditary importance i n the t r i b e , i s distrusted by many Indians and r i d i c u l e d by not a few.  When Tanner was s t i l l a boy and had just learnt to hunt at  the insistence of Net-no-kwa, one of the many instances of near starvation occured within their lodge which occasioned the woman to self-induce a dream that might find them game. Her dream, as related the following morning, gave clear but complicated directions where a hibernating bear might be found and thus easily k i l l e d .  The other Indians being accustomed  to her claim as a clairvoyant r i d i c u l e d her and refused to comply with her directions despite their starved condition. The boy hunter, i n his confidence i n her, set out alone and after following the directions of the old woman's dream discovered the bear's hideout, shot the animal, and returned secretively to confide to his Indian mother the truth of her dream. The whole incident has the aura of magic and credulity, but i t i s a  25  credulity which Tanner must have acquired from exposure to this one person whom he loved, the only person he openly declared any depth of love for and she, apparently, half witch.  The atmosphere of mystery surrounding  this relationship i s even more marked i n Tanner's recounting of one of the episodes when Net-no-kwa was in her habitual drunken stupor.  Again,  while s t i l l a child, Tanner placed his mother in their canoe and with the rest of the children set out to s a i l across Lake Winnipeg.  As he had  been warned might happen, a storm arose and the waves threatened to swamp the canoe. The crying of the children woke the mother who, realizing the desperate nature of their situation, prayed earnestly to the Great S p i r i t . Though the waters did not become calm, they managed to make the opposite shore in an area so rocky that the Indians normally avoided i t even under ideal weather conditions. The anecdote, with i t s Christian undertone, and many others which Tanner recounts regarding this strange woman and her occult powers, demonstrates his love for her and also shows Tanner at his story-telling best. Tanner s relationship with the two Indian women whom he took as 1  wives, both of whom deserted him and l e f t him to care for their children, sharply contrasts with the relationship with his mother. Toward his children, however, he shows the usual Indian forbearance, for throughout the winter after his f i r s t wife decamped he had to supply a l l the wants of his small family even to the preparation of their clothing, through a winter with i t s usual scarcity of game for the Indian.  The code of  the Indian, however, and the necessity of survival forced him to waive both affection and love of children when two children under his care  26  accidently burned down his lodge i n mid-winter.  James, as editor and  o f f i c i a l apologist, t r i e s to explain away Tanner's cruelty when he sent the g i r l responsible for this accident into the cold without her blanket. Tanner's behaviour, actually, i s i n keeping with his integration into the Indian mores, and his ambivalant attitude toward his young wards i s characteristic of Indian behaviour and the gist of the whole narrative. Although most of the narrative i s taken up with the serious business of providing for his family or his jaunts into Sioux country on innumerable pointless and unrewarding war parties, the reader glimpses occasionally a b i t of humour i n a l i f e and narrative painfully void of any amusement. The occasion of one wry comment was Lord Selkirk's peace-making attempts to insure the safety of his colony at Red River, In the usual pompous fashion of the whiteman i n addressing the Indian, which must have p a r t i c u l a r l y irked Tanner, Selkirk opened with the t r a d i t i o n a l 'My children' and proceeded i n painfully metaphoric language to outline the reasons why the tribes must remain peaceful and not attack the white settlements. The Indians answered with the usual promises and professions, and being about to leave the f o r t that evening, they stole every horse belonging to Lord Selkirk and his party.6 Thus i t was that Selkirk learned that the Indians were not l i k e l y to take anymore kindly to settlers than would the North West Company, for both required the primeval land to pursue their livelihoods.  Tanner, p. 221  27  Tanner's narrative has a l l the potential for either a s c i e n t i f i c journal or a novel. In the former i t f a i l s , as l i k e a l l non-scientific captives, Tanner i s unable to be consistent i n his observations. As a novel i t might succeed as the narrative could be mostly imaginative, at least at times i t gives the impression of f i c t i o n , but i t lacks unity of purpose and action.  Like much travel l i t e r a t u r e , Tanner's narrative  i s the statement of one person's wanderings; but the c l a s s i c a l tales of wanderers had some goal to give their story a sense of completion, Tanner's hardly rises above the near f u t i l e purposes of self-preservation. There i s certainly l i t t l e sense of the heroic. In Tanner's narrative there i s involvement i n the surroundings, a necessary departure from normal and happier associations, but no feeling of deliberate s i n as with Cain or the Wandering Jew: there i s i n no way a consciousness by Tanner or the reader of expiation or forgiveness or ultimately, release. I t i s , perhaps, with a subconscious mark of Cain that Tanner returns to Sault St. Marie society and attempts to accept, and be accepted by, white society.  The mark of the wanderer i s on him,  but he i s apparently unaware of t h i s .  I f he had been aware he would  doubtless have had no less a tragic end, but consciousness of his fate would have given the narrative the impetus to raise i t into the realm of tragedy.  As i t i s , the narrative simply records the impossibility  of Tanner finding a sense of permanence i n white society. He t r i e s , for he l i v e s with his newly found relations i n Kentucky and Missouri, but his deeply i n s t i l l e d nomadic nature prevents his settling  permanently.  He cannot abide l i v i n g i n houses so he wanders back to the more primitive  28  Sault St. Marie and marries a white woman. But, s t i l l not comprehending his social stigma or his fate, he soon after disappears into the bush and from the annals of recorded history.  29  . 2 . Alexander Henry' Whereas John Tanner, by his adventures and his own admission, can be termed the 'compleat captive', Alexander Henry is really only a superf i c i a l captive, but an educated one and aware of the importance of his rare experience. Tanner i s dependent upon his editor to express his story, but Henry is avidly literate and t e l l s his story, with doubtless many embellishments, for a l l its worth.  Both::-the purpose and .the tone  of his narrative are stated i n his preface: A premature attempt to share i n the fur trade of Canada, directly on the conquest of the country, led the author of the following pages into situation of some danger and singularity.? The opening adjective premature sets the atmosphere of adventure, but also could describe the stripling' fur trader of twenty-one who set out in 1760 on the heels of'the French capitulation to harvest the fur trade areas which had been ignored since the start of the war four years earlier. In the same preface, he dismisses his obligation to science and yet at the same time attempts a narrative to interest both the layman and the scientist by refusing to separate observation of Indian custom and language from the narrative of,"events.' . The heads under which, for the most-part, they w i l l be found to range themselves, are three; f i r s t , 'the incidents or adventures in which the author was engaged; secondly, the observation, on - the geography and natural history of the countries visiSted, which he was able to make, and to preserve; and thirdly, the7  Alexander Henry, Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian , Territories, (Toronto, George N. Morang & Company Ltd., 1901) preface  30  views of society and manners among a part of the Indians of North America, which i t has belonged to the course of his narrative to develop.8 The anthropologist reading this preface would doubtless think the narrative indeed a scientific find, but i n fact he would discover that the f i n a l sentence more closely resemblesthe truthj for despite his apparent design to be methodical the narrative wins out and the observation of Indian l i f e and customs are incorporated directly into the stream of the narrative. Henry's captivity antedates that of Tanner by some thirty years, and though the former spent only one year with his Indian family, he covered much of the same area as Tanner though necessarily somewhat more confined. Henry i s aware.of the exploratory significance of his travels with the Indian Wawatam, but of course he has no way of plotting his  course; thus, though he was the f i r s t English trader i n the area, his  journal cannot be considered an important document i n English exploration. In fact, his journal was not published until 1807, and by that date a l l the territory that he covered then, and later i n trading in more western areas, was more accurately traced and recorded by Alexander Mackenzie whose journal was published i n 1801.  Henry was captured at the time of  the June, 1763 massacre at Fort Michilmackinac when the Indians were s t i l l sympathetic toward the Franch traders.  The Indian Wawatam, who  some time before the massacre had adopted Henry as a replacement for a  'loc. c i t  31  dead brother, was responsible for Henry's preservation when he was discovered by the marauding Indians.  As in Tanner's case, Henry's benefactor  was a chief, and a chief of sufficient power to assure the strong protection necessary.  Henry's preservation, then, follows the archetypal pattern,  and the year which he spent with the chief's family in the Michilmackinac area attests to Henry's a b i l i t y to accept his position as captive by hecoming as much as possible in that short period an active member of the hunting society. Henry's journal, since i t was written by the captive himself, reveals more of the man as captive and as journal writer than Tanner's could do. How much of the content of Henry's journal can be attributed to this fact, and how much is due simply to his short captivity and the consequent novelty of experience,.is conjectural. Doubtless, Tanner omits many of the horrors of Indian practice because of his involvement with them (and perhaps because his editor chose to omit them); whereas Henry's journal glories in Gothic horror which must account for some of the incredulity which greeted i t s publication. Tanner, for instance, tends to depress the relation of incidents involving cannibalism, perhaps rightly accepting them as part of any savage society, particularly the eating of enemies slain in battle.  Henry f i r s t comes into contact with this practice while  being transported away from Michilmackinac.  He is ridiculed and offered  bread over which has been spread a layer of spittle and blood and told 'to eat the blood of your countrymen'. Later he sleeps in a cave of bones which he determines was the resting place of the Indian's enemies after their flesh had been eaten.  This journalistic method to epater les  bourgeois succeeds most succinctly with the relation of an isolated incident, again described with characteristic verve and economy of expression: In one instance, I saw one of them k i l l e d , by a man who charged him with having brought his brother to death by malefic arts. The accuser, i n his rage, thrust his knife into the b e l l y of the accused, and ripped i t open. The l a t t e r caught his bowels i n his arms, and thus walked toward his lodge, gathering them up from time to time, as they escaped his hold. His lodge was at no considerable distance, and he reached i t a l i v e , and died i n i t . 9 The relation of such anecdotes seems to serve no purpose other than to please a jaded public or to shock i t .  Certainly, they created an  attitude toward the Indian which pleased the then developing Romantic s p i r i t , at least that fascination for Gothic horror; but also created an actively negative attitude toward the Indian which Tanner found only too prevalent i n Sault Ste. Marie s i x t y years l a t e r .  I t i s doubtful i f  Tanner could have realized who would read his narrative i n 1830, nor could he envision the nature of the jaundiced urban i n t e l l e c t ; but Henry knew i t , and realized that the commercial success of his book was dependent greatly upon his a b i l i t y to cater to i t . In the journal, Henry claims to have adopted the Indian way of l i f e ; f i r s t through necessity, but l a t e r quite w i l l i n g l y as a way of l i f e that he could voluntarily adopt: I enjoyed a personal freedom of which I had been long deprived, and became an expert i n the Indian pursuits, as the Indians themselves. 10  Henry, p.120. Ibid,, p.123.  33  This was a fond hope, actually, as shortly after he became lost for several days in mid-winter; had he really become an Indian he xrould n not have demonstrated so obvious a civilized fault: to be so unobservant as to allow such a misadventure, and then not to be able to find his way back. However, apart from a confession of loneliness for civilization, he did seem to adapt well from the time of his enforced savage metamorphosis. The winter he spent with his Indian brother, he became a good provider and trapper, and he even returned in the spring to Michilmackinac, which was s t i l l in the hands of the French, to trade his furs.  The paradox of  the civilized Indian was one which must have given Henry some satisfaction, a subtlety which was beyond Tanner, and shows Henry nearer in sprit to the genre of the novel than the factual journal. Indeed, the whole emphasis on horror shows that he has not really integrated with the tribe: that he could not accept this facet of the savage culture demonstrates his civilized sophistication as much as his ability to conceive and express paradox. Henry claimed to have a deep attachment to Wawatam and his family, but when Wawatam i s invited to a victory feast in which five white prisoners were eaten Henry declines to partake and tries to hidehis disgust when his Indian brother returns m  with a human hand in his bowl.  Tanner is noncomjlttal on the subject of  participation in such feasts, but they were part of the Indian celebration and Tanner rightfully accepted cannibalism as a fact only requiring passing mention. Henry, despite his desire to be, and declaration that he was, an/ integral part of the Indian l i f e , was as much as a white man in the Lake Superior woods as he had been at Michilmackinac.  Finally, the  3h  parting between Henry and his adopted family the following spring is touchingly described by Henry, but the formal expression denies sincere emotion and manifests the attitude that the civilized eighteenth  century  reader would expect: We. now exchanged farewells, with an emotion entirely reciprocal. I did not quit the lodge without the most grateful sense of the many acts of goodness which I had experienced i n i t , nor without the sincerest respect for the virtues which I had witnessed among i t s members. 11  Undeniably the greatest difference between Tanner and Henry as captives does not l i e i n a controversy over the degree of integration of each into their respective tribes, but i n the degree of literacy and sophistication of Alexander Henry. He, as the literate and educated captive, i s aware of his position in history, and following the effective recounting of the Michilmackinac massacre, he spends a chapter detailing the events which led up to the rout, and particularly his part in it;. Henry realized that there might be some suspicion that he was in league with the Indians since he was spared.  In this section, he testifies  that he did warn Major Etherington, the fort's commanding officer, when Wawatam intimated that the fort was in danger; that Etherington chose to ignore Henry's warning cleared Henry of any possible duplicity.  That  Tanner was not part of any action of historical importance i s patently obvious by his journal but, like Radisson before him, he is even unaware of the significance of his adventure. Henry, however, plays always to the gallery. His anecdotes usually give the impression of often-told tales, as is demonstrated in his narrative of his being the pawn of two  35  warring tribes. He and several other white prisoners were carried from Michilmackinac by the Chipeways who had implemented the massacre, but on the way their captors were surprised and overpowered by the Ottawas. Their new captors then told Henry that 'what they had done was f o r the purpose of saving their l i v e s , the Chipeways having been carrying us to the Isles de Castor 12 only to k i l l and devour us'. Later, after a council, the prisoners are handed back to the Chipeways, knowing, as Henry relates, that the Ottawas 13 'designed no other than to k i l l us and make broth of us'.  Henry's use of  i t a l i c s to emphasize their probable fate and the change from 'devour' to 'make broth of us' indicates a very conscious craftsman and a f a m i l i a r i t y from t e l l i n g the story many times and with many embellishments. Henry himself unconsciously notes for the reader of the journals the difference between Tanner and himself. As Tanner was i n every sense of the word an Indian and Henry at best a superficial one, and one anxious to regain his white status; i t i s natural that Tanner would manifest every characteristic of the Indian. Henry was depressed by his i n a b i l i t y to communicate with the Indians, and he recounts how he would s i t by the f i r e after the day's hunt, smoking his pipe and listening while the Indians recounted their day's adventures over and over. He realized that the Indian had no concern but the immediate physical one, that they had no a b i l i t y or desire to speculate i n things beyond their immediate comprehension, and this was Tanner's world. ?"?Henry, p. 90. ^ I b i d , p. 97.  Tanner was never able to analyse his  36  s i t u a t i o n , f o r he was  unable to consider i t from any point other than  t h i s immediate and p h y s i c a l one, and doubtless i f Tanner had been captured as a younger c h i l d the Indian l i f e may have erased completely the d e s i r e to r e t u r n to white s o c i e t y .  I t i s c l e a r , though, that the prime  d i f f e r e n c e between Tanner and Henry i s the b a r r i e r of l i t e r a c y and c i v i l i z e d speculation, and the expression which accompanies them, and t h i s same d i f f e r e n c e i s the one that delineates the two captives :• the one a temporary captive w i t h a l e s s sincere and a f f e c t e d j o u r n a l , and the other an Indian w i t h a- sincere s t o r y to t e l l r e q u i r i n g no exaggeration, but p a r a d o x i c a l l y l a c k i n g the a b i l i t y to express i t .  37  3. John Jewitt - The Nootka Captive The coast Indians who in the summer of 1803  massacred the crew  of the merchant ship Boston had l i t t l e similarity in custom to those who sacked the interior fort at Michilmackinac forty years before. The Nootka Indians, unlike the nomadic tribes described in the journals of Tanner and Henry, were a settled population on the west coast of North America in a territory that had long had commerce with Spanish, English and American trading ships.  The incident which precipitated  the destruction of the Boston was an insult directed at a single chief, Maquina; for though the normally peaceful tribe would not wish to frighten away a trade which had been profitable to both sides for so long, Maquina was not a chief with only the nominal authority of the continental tribal chiefs.  His authority was more that of John Smith's  east coast captor, Powhatan, for Maquina's power extended over fifteen hundred•subjects.  Few tribes i n North America's interior, except perhaps  the Sioux on the plains, could muster such a population, and few leaders commanded such authority except under coalition.  Jewitt's journal, then,  provides a unique picture of a semi-civilized nation living in relative peace and certain security, and the journal i t s e l f i s able to escape the destructive disunity of a journal such as Tanner's recording the day to day wanderings of a hunting tribe. Only Hearne's account of his Indian mentor, Matonabbee, surpasses the portrait which Jewitt creates of Maquina in his journal of three years captivity with the Nootka Indians; and, like Matonabbee, Maquina shows monarchal foibles only too familiar to European journal writers.  38  Jewitt has l i t t l e intercourse with the common Indians except unpleasant experiences of their teasing him for his menial position in the chief's household. But there is an interdependence between the young English blacksmith who produces for his captor superlative weapons beyond the capability of Indian craftsmen, and the chief who has constantly to safeguard his captive against the murderous jealousy of lesser chiefs. It was Jewitt's trade as armourer aboard the Boston which f i r s t caught Maquina's eye days before he initiated the massacre, and i t was his k s k i l l as blacksmith w^Lth suggested to Maquina that Jewitt would be worth preserving.  The extent of this dependence upon Jewitt is manifested  a short time after the rout when Thompson, Jewitt's future fellow-captive, is discovered, and by professing that Thompson is his father, Jewitt manages to save the man's l i f e .  Again and again, Jewitt's power over  Maquina is tested as Thompson refuses to bow to his captors and twice strikes Maquina's sons in rage, an offense normally punishable by death, and only Jewitt's intervention saves his stubborn pseudo-father. As Jewitt settles down to what appears to be a lifetime of captivity, his journal gradually effaces i t s author, but reveals the Indian chief almost as a tragic figure beset alternately by the desire to emulate and impress the European and the need to maintain an image of integrity and strength to his tribe. Throughout his journal, Jewitt professes a distaste for the savage society and the need to preserve the vestige of Christianity amongst the heathen. His goal as captive, of course, is not to become l i k e the savage for this negates the necessity of escape, which desire even  39  Tanner maintained f o r t h i r t y years, a Christian land.  but to win h i s freedom and return to  This he declared over and over i n his j o u r n a l , though  during his three years of c a p t i v i t y he achieves a f i n e degree of i n t e g r a t i o n . For instance,  the time that Thompson struck the p r i n c e , Jewitt had to  ransom his own l i f e to save his comrade.  Stubborn Thompson simply doubles  his e f f o r t s to remain a l o o f , preferring death to s e r v i l i t y ; while Jewitt takes his f i r s t step towards integration i n deciding to 'adopt a c o n c i l i a t i n g conduct towards t h e m . . . I sought to gain t h e i r goodwill by always endeavouring to assume:a*-cheerful countenance...  I resolved to learn  their l a n g u a g e ' . ^ From that point he v a c i l l a t e s : he i s unable to prevent his own absorption into the t r i b e and the moves he does take to maintain his i d e n t i t y as a c i v i l i z e d i n d i v i d u a l are nominal and i n e f f e c t u a l . F i r s t , he and Thompson t r y to eat as they are accustomed, but they are often unable to procure anything but Indian food and when they t r y to cook with s a l t Maquina a r b i t r a r i l y forbids i t .  As Steffanson was to  discover a century l a t e r , the native food prepared by the Indians was more palatable than European, and i n greater abundance.  Secondly, they  i n s i s t e d on maintaining t h e i r European dress, t h i s they d i d for the f i r s t part of t h e i r c a p t i v i t y , at l e a s t u n t i l Jewitt married and Maquina i n s i s t e d that they adopt the native l i f e completely.  Perhaps the most  l a s t i n g aspect of c i v i l i z a t i o n they maintained was t h e i r r e l i g i o n , and J e w i t t ' s description of t h e i r r e l i g i o u s observances manifests  their  s i n c e r i t y although the romanticized aura of t h e i r r e t r e a t emphasizes  •^Narrative of the Adventures and Sufferings of John R. Jewitt, (New York, l b l 5 ) , p . x i x .  Uo  the unreality of Christianity, in the savage society: Our principle consolation in this gloomy state, was to go on Sundays, whenever the weather would permit, to the borders of a fresh water pond, about a mile from the village, where after bathing, and putting on clean clothes, we would seat ourselves under the shade of a beautiful pine, while I read some chapters in the Bible, and the prayers appointed by our church for the day.• .15 Again, i t was not until after Jewitt's marriage to an Indian princess of a neighbouring tribe, that he and Thompson are invited to a native religious celebration and Jewitt seems to accept without fear of jeopardizing his own religious principles.  Doubtless by this point,  as many sincere lay Christians have discovered, their religious observances had lost their poignancy without clerical sanction. The savage celebration offered both priest and communion. By the end of the second year, Jewitt at least identifies himself with the Indians, and though he recognizes their faults he is prepared to forgive them for the massacre of his shipmates:: For though they are a thievish race, yet I have no doubt that many of the melancholy disasters have principally arisen from the imprudent conduct of some of the captains and crews employed in this trade, i n exasperating them by insulting, plundering, and even k i l l i n g them on slight grounds.1° The importance of Jewitt's sympathy becomes very apparent in the closing pages of the journal when he pleads with the captain who rescues him to spare the natives' l i v e s . Jewitt,, p. 81-2. Ibid, p. 93.  kl  Jewitt's integration depended upon his good relations with Maquina's. family, and i t was completed by recognizing in Maquina characteristics above those of the common savage and confusing these natural traits with European sophistication.  This blatant piece of rationalization is  apparent i n his assessment of Maquina's favourable points: He was much neater both i n his person and eating than were the others, as was likewise the queen, owing no doubt to his intercourse with foreigners, which had given him ideas of cleanliness.  17  Just as he i s unable, to judge Maquina by standards other than those of his own civilization, he cannot express his admiration for the man as a king, as a father, or simply as an individual.  His fondness for Maquina  and his family he shows particularly in his attention to the young prince, Sat-sat-sak-sis, whom he adopts into his household following his marriage: I was also very careful to keep him free from vermin of every kind, washing him and combing his hair. These marks of attention were not only pleasing to the child... but was highly gratifying both to Maquina and his queen, who used to express much satisfaction at my care of him. 10  Considering the almost sacred position df the royal family, i t i s not l i k e l y that Maquina would allow Jewitt to have complete control over the prince unless the king realized the extent of Jewitt's acceptance of their l i f e and thus was not l i a b l e to corrupt the child.  Jewitt's only  apparent concern, again, is to mould according to his standards, when i n fact he i s being drawn into the native l i f e to a greater degree than he is aware. ^ J e w i t t , p. 116. Ibid,- p. 130. 10  h2  Two years of captivity weaken Jewitt's resolve to keep aloof from the native l i f e , and he acknowledged defeat by accepting Maquina's suggestion that he marry.  This is not a sudden change in his attitude,  but symbol/tically marks a turning point in his l i f e as captive.  The  g i r l he chooses is a princess, by his admission very beautiful, and light in complexion.  The latter quality must have been the deciding  point as he had to justify his actions i f ever he were to return to civilization.  The marriage is as satisfactory as could be expected  under the circumstances, and for his f i n a l winter in captivity he manages to achieve a degree of domesticity with his menage which could only be accomplished after the realization that by then he was essentially an Indian himself.  However, a severe illness that spring gives him an  excuse to send his wife back to her people, and in allowing this Maquina starts to lose his hold and Jewitt starts to release himself from the savage bonds as though his capitulation had only been a momentary weakness. His recollection of his parting with his wife, by the time he wrote his narrative, had become divorced from emotion and she had resumed the guise of a pathetic savage: Though I rejoiced at her departure, I was greatly affected with the simple expressions of regard for me, and could not but feel strongly interested for this poor g i r l . . . After her departure, I requested Maquina, that as I had parted with my wife, he would permit me to resume my European dress.19  Maquina does, and i t i s from this point that he seems to give up hope of 19  J e w i t t , p. 137.  U3  retaining Jewitt, and i t i s only a few months later that the brig Lydia appears and Jewitt i s released. As with Henry's journal, there i s no attempt i n this account to systematize any s c i e n t i f i c or sociological observation.  There i s l i t t l e  i n Jewitt's journal to interest even the anthropologist, but of the four Captivity journals, i t i s the one which has the greatest l i t e r a r y potential. Jewitt's narrative presents, to a large degree, a work of dramatic unity "the.  since he has^advantage of involvement i n a settled society; for i t i s the episodic adventures which the other captives undergo while t i e d to a nomadic people which i n i t i a l l y destroys any natural unity there might be i n their journals. However, Jewitt himself seems aware of the necessity of direction, plot and suspense; and i t i s one of the few adventures which he r e c a l l s prior to his capture, the destruction of the sailor's archetypal symbol of luck, which points forbodingly to the future: After passing the Cape when the sea had become calm saw great numbers of Albatrosses, a large brown and white bird of the goose kind, one of which Captain Salter shot, whose wings measured from their extremities f i f t e e n f e e t . 2 0  And i t i s Captain Salter himself who i s the direct cause of the massacre when he l a t e r insults Maquina at Nootka. Jewitt i s a conscious and capable a r t i s t working with material which provides him with the necessary dramatic unity. In s p i r i t Jewitt i s i n touch with the prevailing Romantic movement, and his descriptions of the New World are not unlike those of Chateaubriand 20  J e w i t t , p. 1 9 .  hh  who was writing at the same time.  It i s the early romanticism of Rousseau,  Chateaubriand and Goldsmith: a charming eighteenth century Nature created by God for a simple, appreciative human race.  There is nothing in the  other captivity journals, except perhaps Henry's i d y l l i c sojourn with Wawatam, to compare with Jewitt«s description of his religious retreat by the inland pond, or the Indians' winter bivouac on the coast north of Nootka: Tashees i s pleasantly situated and i n a most secure position from the winter st^omsj in a small vale or hollow on the south shore, at the foot of a mountain. The spot on which i t stands i s level, and the s o i l very fine, the country i n i t s v i c i n i t y abounding with the most romantic views, charmingly diversified, and fine streams of water f a l l i n g in beautiful cascades from the mountains. The concept of a provident and benevolent Nature, essential to the Romantic, was very much a part of Jewitt's literary philosophy no matter how embryonic that might be.  His desire to epater les bourgeois obviously  is not to do so through horrific description, but rather as Chateaubriand did with concepts novel to the reader, but pacific i n nature.  It i s the  tradition of Defoe as well, but to the English Romantic i t was a refutation of eighteenth century rationalism and a renewal of mediaeval religiosity.  Like Defoe, Jewitt likes to pose as the practical man,  aware of providential Nature and the hand behind that Nature; but the Puritan Defoe speaks also for self-sufficiency, and as Crusoe survives through ingenuity so Jewitt emulates him.  One of the f i r s t tasks that  Crusoe sets himself i s to strip the wrecked ship of a l l usable ii'emsy 21  I b i d , p. 86.  US  and Jewitt follows suit.  But, from the point that Crusoe's ship is  f i n a l l y destroyed by the sea he is l e f t to survive by his practical sense; and after a native Nootkian inadvertantly burns the ship, Jewitt, too, i s on his own.  Thus, weeks after their capture, the i l l i t e r a t e  Thompson insists that Jewitt keep a journal and that he, Thompson, would supply his blood for ink i f necessary. Crusoe-like, Jewitt experiments and finds a solution while the Romantic records his success: On the f i r s t of June I accordingly commenced a regular diary... and after making a number of trials I at length succeeded in obtaining a very tolerable ink by boiling the juice of the blackberry with a mixture of finely powdered charcoal... as for quills I found no d i f f i c u l t y i n procuring them... while a large clam furnished me with an ink stand. 22  Each writer of a Captivity journal certainly has the material to create a work of some drama, though most of them have not the native a b i l i t y to develop the material satisfyingly.  Jewitt exhibits the most literary  potential with his education and his apparent sympathy with the contemporary spirit.  Dramatically, the capture and release of the captive would supply  the most l i k e l y material: Tanner has not the a b i l i t y for expression, Henry succeeds with a tolerable, i f horrific description of his capture, but an insincere recounting of his release; while Jewitt creates a mediocre capture sequence, but concludes with a masterful description of his f i n a l deception of the natives.  The deception involves Maquina, and through  Jewitt's handling of the narrative to that point, Maquina has evolved as a sympathetic character. 22  J e w i t t , p. 101+.  The deception, therefore, appears gross as  h6  Maquina must forfeit his l i f e i n order to preserve Jewitt.  The reaction  of the tribe, despondent and powerless to aid i t s leader in the hands of the white men, is not unlike a Sophoclean chorus watching inert as the inevitable tragedy draws to a close.  As Maquina i s held on board the  brig as a hostage, Jewitt returns to the shore to collect the Boston's gear, and though greeted by spears he is certain that with their chief in the captain's hands they w i l l not harm him. In his three years of captivity, he has become accustomed to the Indian custom and psyche, and fortunately for him, unlike captives with more volatile captors, he is not harmed. As he boards the canoe to return to the ship he i s intercepted by the prince, and Jewitt records the expression of the child's divided loyalty: As I was going into the canoe, l i t t l e Sas-sas-sak-sis, who could not bear to part with me, asked me, with an affectionate simplicity, since I was going away to leave him, i f the white men would not l e t his father come on shore, and not k i l l him. I told him not to be concerned, for that no one should injure his father...23 The tragedy averted, Maquina greets Jewitt as he boards the ship. Then, after the chief is given presents by the captain and prepares to return to his people, he acknowledges Jewitt's deception, but also his own cunning when he declares that he should never take a letter of recommendation from anyone, or even trust himself on board a vessel unless I (Jewitt)' was there. Then grasping both my hands, with much emotion, while the tears trickled down his cheeks, he bade me farewell and stepped into the canoe, which immediately paddled him on shore. 2k 23jewitt, p. 153.  2kjewitt, p. 159.  hi  To the l a s t , Maquina acts i n the style of the eighteenth century concept of the 'noble savage and he remains to the end more European 1  than Indian, just as the young prince i s pictured with his archly c i v i l i z e d 'affectionate simplicity'.  Doubtless the feeling that lingered  with Jewitt as he sailed from Nootka was a touching parting with his foster family, but the integration did not pass beyond this admirable 'European' family to the natives i n toto or to the savage way of l i f e .  he  U. Pierre E s p i r i t Radisson - The Apprenticed Explorer I t would be d i f f i c u l t to conceive a narrative more brutal and immediate than that of Radisson. Brutal not only because of the adventures i t describes, but because Radisson's i n a b i l i t y to express himself f l u e n t l y i n English allows no incidental commentary, but only the essential facts of his c a p t i v i t y . As a consequence, the Captivity journal, which comprises the f i r s t book of his voyage journals, commences with the discovery of his murdered hunting companions, and the h o r r i f i c tone of the opening scene i s hardly allowed to wane through;.the short narrative of his two-year c a p t i v i t y . The Iroquois were doubtless the most brutal of the Indian tribes encountered by settlers i n Canada, and possibly no tribe i n North America matched their malevolence. That Radisson's narrative largely consists of descriptions of the tortures of these Indians attests to their macabre a b i l i t y , and since he was the object of much of this torture one expects, and finds, that the Captivity journal consists of l i t t l e else. Reading the narrative demands a suspension of c r i t i c a l f a c u l t i e s , f o r unless read solely for interest i n superlative methods i n the degradation of human beings, Radisson's journal i s a disappointment whem compared to the other captives' journals. I t has been suggested that Radisson's journals were written to impress Charles I I with the importance of the beaver trade i n Canada, so that he might look with favour upon an application for a charter to trade out of Hudson Bay. writings.  This purpose was accomplished by Radisson's  I n i t i a l l y , , the purpose of the Captivity journal was probably  h9  w r i t t e n to s a t i s f y an autobiographical whim, as he wintered on the shores of Hudson Bay i n 1668,  years a f t e r his l a s t voyage of exploration*  It  has proven to be the most widely known of C a p t i v i t y journals, probably for  the same reason that Brebeuf i s the best known of Catholic martyrs  i n Canada: both adventures s a t i s f y the popular taste f o r carnage and confirm the popular notion of the early, u n c i v i l i z e d savage.  Radisson's  account appeals i n i t s description and economy of expression,  but  unfortunately lacks coherence, unity, and possibly authenticity. According  to his narrative, Radisson x*as captured while hunting by  Lake St. Peter, just a few miles from his home at Trois R i v i e r e s j and though h i s two friends were apparently murdered outright, he was served because of his a b i l i t y to defend himself.  pre-  This i s t y p i c a l of  the c a p t i v i t y pattern, and though he wounds some Iroquois warriors, t h i s was  not held against him  later:  In the same cabin that I was, there had been a wildman wounded with small shot. I thought I have seen him the day of my taking which made me fear l e s t I was the one that wounded him. He, knowing i t to be so, had showed me much c h a r i t y as a C h r i s t i a n might have given. Another of his fellows, (whom) I also wounded came to me at my f i r s t coming there, whom I thought to have come for revenge, contrariwise showed me cheerful countenance. He gave me a box f u l l of red paintings, c a l l i n g me his brother. ^ 2  The t r a n s i t i o n to Indian l i f e seems very easy f o r Radisson who, for  the preservation of h i s l i f e , was  anxious to please h i s captors.  i s adopted into the family of the man who  2  grateful  captured him,  He  and they recognize  ^The Exploration of P i e r r e E s p i r i t Radisson, ed. A.'T. Adams, (Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ross & Haines, Inc., 1961), p. 9.  50  his potential as a hunter and fighter, and accept him as a suitable replacement for a son who had recently died. He quickly learns their language, and realizing the necessity of obtaining their confidence, he denounced his own birthright when asked by his foster mother i f he is French: 'I answered no, saying I was Ganugaga, that i s , of their nation, for which she was pleased'. ^ Then follows the ceremonial 2  painting of his face and adoption of Indian dress, and soon after he is given the freedom to roam, hunt and fight for the tribe.  The whole  process, as recounted by Radisson, took less than six weeks which shows an incredible ability to forget, or at least subdue, his own chauvinistic tendencies. Not long after his formal adoption into the tribe, he i s enticed by an "Algonquin warrior to murder three of his Iroquois hunting companions, and then escape back to Trois Rivieres.  He agrees, but soon after the  traitorous act the Algonquin is k i l l e d and Radisson recaptured.  This  gives Radisson the opportunity to observe first-hand the savage tortures, and to eloquently describe the tortures meted out to his fellow prisoners captured en route to the Indian encampment. Once again he is preserved, this time not solely through his mysterious communion with the Indians, but through the petitions of his foster parents. When released, i t requires a month for him to recover from the wounds received from the tortures, but he is soon free once again to hunt for his family. The nomadic nature of Indian l i f e converged with an already adventurous s p i r i t , which later produced the seventeenth century Canadian explorer without peer.  He himself  realized at this time how easily he assimilated to Indian l i f e , and what i t 2t)  Radisson, p. 11.  51  would mean to him later as an explorer: . and being that i t was my destiny to discover many wild nations, I would, not strive against destiny. I remitted myself to fortune and the adventure i f time as a thing ordained by God for His greatest glory, as I hope i t w i l l prove. 27  The captivity journey was just a' start. • He knew that his sojourn with the Iroquois was just a prelude/ a means to the end by which posterity would remember him; not to be ..remembered just as another 'captive writing a journal, but as- an explorer with purpose and a writer of exploration narratives which could erase the lack .of purpose and unity of his f i r s t journal. There, is l i t t l e in Radisson's journal to arouse the enthusiasm of the'scientist; and •.equally there, is l i t t l e to interest..the l i t e r a r y , c r i t i c . •'Radisson's hesitant command o f English and his consequentinability to express himself, particulary on the level of personal involvement, precludes any artistic success for the,narrative.  There i s  l i t t l e sense of unity or consistent action, the reader is carried from isolated incident to-.isplated' incident seemingly without conscious purpose .other than to. shock the reader.  There is no conscious sense of time lapse,  which'gives Jewitt's journal much of i t s unity, nor is there detailed observation of place which might save the narrative for the' historian and show Radisson consciously moving toward his acclaimed destiny.  But any real  success in the narrative i s achieved.only incidentally to his purpose:, he succeeds unconsciously now and then in manifesting the a r t i s t i c merit of 27  I b i d . , p . 38.  52  the later' captives; but with his inability to express himself easily in English, he cannot be judged by the sa.me standards that one might use for the later journal writers. Like- Jewitt, Radisson i s able to appreciate' individual worth i n . the savages, and like the later captive he describes his foster father in terms which he reserves for him only. His Iroquois father seems • the epitome of the self-sacrificing commander who 'by his example shows to the young.men that he. has the power as much as the honor': the description i s quite unlike the other journal writers for their interest . is in the pacific aspect of the Indian l i f e , not the warlike.  Radisson,  then, does show appreciation, but also the degree of integration when he can celebrate the warlike qualities of his Indian father. Further, Henry displays contempt of Indian indelicacy when he is offered the blood of his countrymen to eat; while Radisson, though.under more peaceful conditions, is amused by the quaint eating customs of the Indians: A dozen more-or-less old women meets together alike, of whom the greatest part want teeth, and see-th not a jot, and their cheeks hangs down like an old'hunting'dog, their eyes f u l l of water and bloodshot.-. Each takes an ear of .corn and puts i t in. their mouths, which i s properly as milk, chaws i t , and when their mouths are f u l l spits i t out in their hands, which possibly they have not washed once (in) one year. Their hands are white inside by reason of the grease that they put to their hair, and the rubbing of i t with the inside of their hands, which keeps them pretty clean, but the outside in the rinkness of their wrinkled'hands there is a quarter of an ounce "of f i l t h and stinking grease. So, their hands being f u l l of that mince meat minced with their gums, (they) f i l l a dish. So, they chaw chestnuts.: then they mingle this with bear's grease or o i l of flower...., ° ;  2  Radisson, p. 3 7 .  53  This,type of writing i s designed to turn'the strongest stomach, and i t is the type of sensationalism which fortunately the other captives do' not indulge in too often. Finally, i t must be noted that Radisson, in his integration with the tribe, Is able to look back at.his more painful experiences with a high degree of objectivity.  Tanner often feels that a l l his association  with the Indians was a personal affront, and, for instance, when his face i s rubbed in excrement during his f i r s t year of captivity, the hurt remains for thirty years when at last he seeks redress for that shame. Radisson, however, with quiet humour'looks back on one example ',of p i t i f u l degradation, and in his narrative expresses his sympathy for savage ignorance.  It is the type of understanding which came to Jewitt only in  his f i n a l year of captivity:: They tied me to a post... A woman came there with her boy, enticed him to cut off one of my fingers with a f l i n t stone. The boy was . not four years old. This child takes my finger and begins to work, but i n vain because he had not the strength to break my fingers; so the poor finger escaped'... .29 There i s not Jewitt's early righteous indignation over the unChristian-like treatment here, but'simply Radisson's realization of the impossibility to impart to these people even the most basic civilized man's humanitarian L  concepts. Radisson does not judge, he observes and describes; and as a consequence his narrative lacks purpose as i t lacks unity, but occasionally one glimpses the strength of the future explorer. His inability to express  2  %adisson, p. 21.  Sk  himself i n the language of his adopted country,- however, must always prevent a true assessment of his ability as a journal writer, and con-' sequently also as an explorer.  55 CHAPTER III , THE EXPLORER'S JOURNAL 1. Radisson as Explorer Radisson's journals have survived i n three sections: the short • Captivity journal, the journals of the famous voyages to the western Indian country and, f i n a l l y , the two. journals which describe his enigmatic activities at Hudson Bay when he vacillated in his allegiance toward England and France.  The f i r s t five voyages which comprise his  significant explorations - including the Captivity journal - are written in his newly acquired English; whereas the two latter voyages are written by an amanuensis. The Captivity journal with i t s quaint and inaccurate recollections of youthful adventure gives away, to the mature explorer, young in years but nurtured by rough experience ingenuous, people.  vrlth  a hostile, though  His voyage to the Onandaga, Mississippi and Superior  areas were undertaken within six years, the f i n a l voyage completed when he was not yet thirty"years of age.  Despite his youth, his journals show  a man quite antithetical to the boy who perambulated as. a captive-warrior, of the Iroquois a few years before.  The young man Radisson had a completely  developed economic sense for the fur trade and this, coupled with the early communication with the land and the people, produced a temperament without equal for exploration-an ideal combination of.experience and purpose which was not paralleled by a Canadian ixploEer until Samuel Hearne, and probably never repeated. When he i s amongst the Indians he appears content; certain of the success of his voyage and of his unique position in the Indian community.  56  At  such-times his usual erratic style .softens as the quiet and certain  emotion of well-being-attends his pen: I took this man for my father and the woman for my mother, so the children, consequently brothers and sisters. .They adopted me, I gave .everyone a. g i f t , and they to me... In a word, we lead a good' life/. He i s constantly reminded of the Indians' goodwill toward him and of the  simplicity of their code. 'Throughout the beginning of the Onandtaga  -voyage, the f i r s t after his escape from his Iroquois captors to'NewAmsterdam in-1653, he fears meeting his foster tribe expecting, rightly, punishment at their hands.  However, when he does encounter some Iroquois  warriors they treat him with the same respect as before, regarding him again as a prodigal rather than a criminal: Some of them knowed me and made much of me. They gave me a garland of porcelain and a girdle of goat's hair. They asked me when should 1 v i s i t my friends. I promised to come there as soon as I could arrive at the upper village. I gave them my hatchet to give to my father, and two dozen of brass rings and two shooting knives for my sisters, promising to bring a cover for my mother. They inquired what i t was i t that made me go away, and how I told them (I escaped) through the woods and arrived at Three -Rivers in twelve days and that I suffered much hunger-by-the way. I would not t e l l that I escaped by reason of the Dutch. . They called me often devil to have undertaken such a task. , With the two later voyages- to the Mississippi and Lake Superior, Radisson's determination to explore becomes almost fanatical, and though he couches his purpose in terms of the common good, there i s l i t t l e doubt that he i s out to ameliorate his own position; and thanks to his unique -•-Radisson, p.. 130. I b i d , p. 63. 2  57  experiences he is able to do so.  The Superior voyage did not start  auspiciously, for the governor, D'avangor, realized the potential of the fur trade and insisted, as strongly as Radisson objected, that he take along two of the governor's servants and to give them a 'moiety' of the profits.  Perhaps a distaste for regimentation or officialdom affected  Radisson, for though he was willing to 'venture our lives for the good of the country',3 he was not willing to share his personal gain.  The  object of the voyage was definite - unlike the Captivity voyage - and was notably successful: (to find a way how they might get down the castors from the Bay of the North by the Saguenay'.^  The route which Radisson  and Groseillers followed was not v i a the Saguenay, but by way of Lake Superior to James Bay, and the information which Radisson acquired about the northern country, and'which he later gave to the London merchants, initiated the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company. With purpose attends concern for the future: for the captive, wilderness l i f e is comprised simply of a desperate hope for survival in a series of disconnected adventures.  Radisson well expresses the less  strange, but no less terrifying prospect of exploration. The analogies are quaint and the experience very real, 'the breech in the water, the fear in the buttocks, to have the belly empty, the weariness in the bones, t and the drowsiness of the body....'^  Radisson's new purpose includes  vision: a realization that expansion of the fur trade is necessary for the survival of France's colony in the New.World, and also a grander concept of a basic European need for new concepts, beliefs and purposes; and ^Radisson, p. 1 1 1 . ZLoc. c i t . I b i d , p. 8 0 . 5  58  America, for Radisson, offers a Utopian vista for the jaded Europeans, We embarked ourselves on the delightsomest lake of the world (Michigan). I took notice of their cottages and of the journeys of our navigation because the country was so pleasant, so beautiful, and f r u i t f u l that i t grieved me to see that the world could not - discover such enticing countries to live i n . This I say because 'the Europeans fight for a rock i n the sea against one another, or for a sterile land and horrid country... these kingdoms are so delicious and under so temperate a climate, plentiful of a l l things, the earth bringing forth i t s f r u i t twice a year, the people l i v e long and lusty and wise in their way. Paradoxical that Radisson should write such a passage i n a narrative designed to encourage the fur trade.  Strange that he should not realize  that such descriptions could only encourage later colonizers like Lord Selkirk who inhibited the fur trade by driving away the buffalo, the trade's food supply.' But Radisson is more than a mercenary trader as is attested by his particular•communion with the Indians and' their land; he sees an essential quality i n the savage l i f e , beyond i t s brutality, which he f e l t could sublimate .the European penchant for conquest, and expansion. Perhaps he divined the ephemeral nature of the fur trade, and thus.forsaw the necessity of the fur trade pushing to the extremities of Canada, opened by explorers like himself, and •followed by the merchants and f i n a l l y the colonizers purged of their aggrandizing passions by the beauty of the countryside and living 'long and lusty and wise'. Radisson's prophetic eloquence s t i l l tends to descend to the banal and the horrific as i t did i n the Captivity journal. Sometimes, inured by experience and acceptance of the Indian personality, his descriptions ^Radisson, p. 9 1 .  .• '  59  w i l l be surprisingly factual, but no less frightening since i t suggests the frequency of the incident.  'The prisoner was brought, who soon was  dispatched, burned, roasted and eaten'. There is s t i l l something savage • 7  and insensitive in Radisson's makeup, an insensitivity which allows him to record the most brutal murders in an apparent unaffected and disinterested manner. This lack of sensitivity in not so prevalent in the later explorers who achieve a similar degree of communion with the Indians, but i t doubtless derives from Radisson's period of captivity coupled with the constant uncertainty of l i f e which plagued the early French colonists. Fewer though these macabre descriptions may be in Radisson's Exploration journals, the same base emotion is appealed to: So said he turned to the other-side, and gave a sign to some soldiers (warriors) that they brought for that purpose to knock those beasts in the head, who executed their office and murdered the women. One took the child, set foot on his head, taking his legs in his hands, wrought the head by often turning from off the body. Another soldier took the other child'from his' mother's breast, that was not yet quite dead, by the feet and knocks his head against the trunk of a tree. In the later journals he develops the characteristic ironic style which he displayed only occasionally in the Captivity journal. Although writing in.a foreign language, he does, not remove his own personality,' particularly not. this aspect of his sense of humcjr, Sometimes this humour is displayed coupled with grim descriptions of death and torture;.at other times i t sparkles childishly in.idiosyncratic puns and.epigrams.  Such is  the case in one instance of the Superior voyage when he lapses into, snow increased daily. IRadisson, p. 8 3 . °Ibid., p. 69.  'The  There we make raquets, not to play at b a l l but to .  -  60  exercise ourselves in a game harder and more necessary'.' Or, again, seemingly to avoid dull- description or from appearing too didactic: There was a good pool where were a good store of bustards. I began to creep (as) though I might come near. The poor creatures seeing me f l a t on the ground thought that I was. a beast as well •; as they, so they came near me whistling like goslings, thinking to frighten me. The whistling I made them hear was anotherr-music from theirs. . The white man, from the f i r s t contact, i n s t i l l e d in the Indians a respect for his ultimate symbols of mystery and power. This i s the mystery which attended the f i r s t landings i n America; the Indians amazement of the white man's ability to s a i l across seas that were inaccessible to themselves.  The essential symbolism which this i n s t i l l e d -  the land beyond the sea, the great white father, and the religious symbolism inherant in Christianity as taught by the Jesuits - was reinforced by less significant, but equally powerful and attendant symbols.  Such symbols acted  almost magically for the white man in-territories where, unlike the Iroquois, the white man was s t i l l a mystery, awesome and powerful.  It was this fear  ,and respect which preserved Radisson. and which allowed him to pass unharmed through the new Indian territories.  And, aware of his power and the res-  pect which the Indians naturally, through their own social and religious lives, gave to symbols, Radisson-was hot adverse to calling, upon this tradition to cloak his gestures: The f i r s t present was a kettle, two 'hatchets, and six knives, and a blade for a sword. The kettle was to call a l l nations that were their friends to the feast... The hatchets were to encourage the young people to strengthen themselves... the knives to show the ^ Radisson, p. 130. Ibid., p. 126.  1 0  '  61  French were great and mighty... the sword to signify that we would be master of both peace and wars... The second g i f t was two and twenty awls (which) signifieth to take good courage that Me should keep their lives... the third g i f t was of brass rings, of small bells, and rasades (mugs) of divers colours... that they should always be under our protection, giving them wherewithal to make them merry and remember us... At this point, Radisson shows great courage considering he and Groseilliers have travelled further into the savage country.than any white man to that date, and with only their ingenuity to preserve them. But at this early point i n the relationship between white man and Indian such symbolic gifts could be expected to preserve them. Not until later, when the western Indians, like the Iroquois, have the opportunity to observe the white man's weakness, his symbolic powers negated by his own lack of unity, that the Indians are satisfied no longer with his symbolic gifts of slight value, but only with guns for protection and warfare, or liquor with i t s strange and debilitating effects. Hence, the very real fear of later explorers like Thompson, alone i n the hostile Indian country of the West whose inhabitants can only be impressed with a show of force.  The days of Radisson's kettles, awls, and rings passed  with the advent of the English fur trader.  '^Radisson, p. 1 2 8 - 9 .  62  2. The Explorer as Poet and Scientist Kelsey - the explorer - poet Henry Kelsey, was for some two hundred years, a curious myth  1 2  in  the history of Canadian exploration. He was born the year of the Hudson's Bay Company charter, and his voyages were to be the Hudson's Bay Company's vindication of the charges that the company had done nothing to explore its vast territories or to find the North-west Passage to the South Seas. Kelsey was apprenticed to the company at the age of fourteen, and four years later, in 1688, was sent north of York Factory to Governor Geyer 'to discover and endeavour to bring to a Commerce ye northern Indians Inhabiting to ye Northward of Churchill River'.13 The voyage, i f i t could be so called, was a failure for the youth had only one travelling companion, a Thomas Savage, who defected claiming that Kelsey 'was not sensible of ye dangers'. ^ The voyage comprised only six weeks and upon his return 1  Kelsey was hardly acknowledged, being told that the governor did not require any account of his failure to contact the northern tribes. However, pressure from, opponents of the Hudson's Bay Company charter forced the governor to send Kelsey once again and Kelsey, who was described as 'a very active lad, delighting much i n Indians Company', ^ was not 1  adverse to a new exploratory effort.  This second voyage, designed with  a purpose similar to the f i r s t , took him south and west of the Hudson Bay, and though no formal journal has survived, the verse account which he 12Journals not discovered until 1926 i n Ireland. 13Kelsey Papers, p. 2$. Iklbid. p. 28 l ^ l b i d . p. x i i i  63  composed giv.es the s p i r i t and.sense of his accomplishment, though i t s ambiguous information confuses the geographer and historian. The ninety lines which comprise Kelsey's journal-poem are irregular and immature dabblings in the poetic discipline, but since they are probably the f i r s t lines of poetry xre-itten in English in Canada that alone commands some attention. Apart from s t y l i s t i c or aesthetic considerations, Kelsey s lines follow.the traditional guest pattern -- purpose, doubt, 1  involvement, and achievement. 'There i s an appealing directness about Kelsey which shows not only in.the drive that every explorer exhibits, but in the informal and solely informative material in his verse. Prose, doubtless, would have been more accurate and pleasing to posterity than to express his purpose as •.  •  . '  Through God's assistance for to understand The natives language and to see their land " 1  but i t is so individual, almost a perverse insist&nce upon his own choice of metier.  There seems a super abundance of ego in these men which refuses  to be tied down to company, or social convention, and their individuality shines in their•perversity: Kelsey writing poetry, the Canadien Radisson writing in English or Thompson awestruck"and immobile in the Rockies. Then, as though visualizing the havoc he w i l l create for future geographers, he riddles: This neck of land I deerings point did c a l l . Distance from hence by Judgement at ye least From ye house six hundred miles southwest ". Through rivers which run' strong with f a l l s . thirty three Carriages five lakes in a l l .  Ibid,,,<. p. 1 .  l6  .  6k  or later, in the same mood, he describes the bear 'He is men's food and he makes food of- man'.  The riddle of the location of Deering's point  w i l l never be solved.with so l i t t l e accurate information,-'- which is 7  particularly annoying as i t is from this point that he moves on and describes country which indicates he was the f i r s t explorer to see the prairies, The plan affords nothing but Beast and grass And over i t in three days time we past It being about forty six miles wide. Kelsey's later explorations into the north country are factual to the extreme, very nearly extracting the man's personality and even the sense of adventure and. achievement.  Like Alexander Mackenzie, his prose journals  are primarily diaries of distance travelled and he seldom alloxirs himself to reflect on the danger or uniqueness of his adventure.  And,perhaps, only  once -in his writing, either in prose or verse, does he attempt to rise t  into the ethjreal atmosphere of true poetic consideration of the human situation: • For many, times I have been opprest •With fears and Cares yet I could not take my rest' Because I was alone & no friend could find And once yet in my.travels I was l e f t behind . Which struck fear and terror into me But s t i l l I was resolved this same country for to see The area of endeavour and the experience is unique, but the expression of human terror, the fear of being alone in a strange country amongst various conjectures: Cedar Lake (Dr. C.N. Bell); the Pas (Hugh Conn), and doubtless many others. „  savage peoples, i s common to a l l explorers; and i n their attempt to strengthen themselves they reflect the heroic desire of a l l man.  66  The s c i e n t i s t as explorer  Based s o l i d l y upon eighteenth century rationalism, science exploded into the f i e l d of exploration with an energy reminiscent of the e a r l i e s t Elizabethan voyagers.. The impetus f o r this.new breed of explorers i n part the lure of natural resources, but there was  was  a strong a l t r u i s t i c  c u r i o s i t y about the lands r e c e n t l y discovered and colonized.  I t was  such  s c i e n t i f i c c u r i o s i t y which persuaded Darwin to undertake, a five-year circumnavigation  i n the 2lj.2 ton Beagle.  Darwin's p o s i t i o n as n a t u r a l i s t  aboard a survey vessel hardly, q u a l i f i e s him to be termed explorer, but at several points i n the voyages, notably i n South America, he struck out across the country arranging to meet the Beagle at her next port of c a l l . Although Darwin traversed r e l a t i v e l y unknown country infested, evidently, 1 R  by savage Indians  and an equally savage Spanish army; what i s remark-  able i s the number of n a t u r a l i s t s who  had v i s i t e d the country'before  him.  Darwin had available an i n c r e d i b l e number of botanist's, geologist:'s and n a t u r a l i s t ' s reports of South American expeditions, and some of them so d e t a i l e d that he comments upon these reports as i n his examination of the banks of the Parana: M. A. d'Orbigny found on the banks of the Parana, at the height of a hundred f e e t , great beds of estuary s h e l l , now l i v i n g a hundred miles lower down near the sea.^^  E n t r y f o r September l $ t h , 1832; "Rose very e a r l y i n the morning, and s h o r t l y a f t e r passed the posta where the Indians had murdered the f i v e s o l i d e r s . The o f f i c e r had eighteen chuzo wounds i n his body". The Voyage of the Beagle, , e d . Leonard Engel, (New York, Doubleday & Company Inc., 1962), p. 111;. I b i d , p. 130. l 8  Q  x y  67  BaEwira's Voyage of the Beagle i s not only one of the most readable of exploration journals, but he manages, within his demanding discipline, to express his awareness of the totality of the country he explores and thus he is not adverse to.making p o l i t i c a l or social comments, or. just generally to express his concern for humanity. Among these early naturalists who preceded Darwin"to America were two Englishmen and their explorations nearly coincided with the fervent exploratory activity. on -the west 'coast at the close of the eighteenth century. W. E. Corjnack traversed Newfoundland in. 1822,  and the follow-  ing year David Douglas arrived in New York to start his specimen collection for,the Royal Horticultural Society.  Each of these men, as in the case  of Darwin, are remembered for.specific achievements,in their own discipline but this same, awareness of place and purpose gives their journals a quality which i s seldom achieved within the s t r i c t expression of a scientific undertaking. This can only be accounted for by the individual's ability to absorb and understand the country he moves in beyond the immediate interest of his scientific purpose. Cormack i s less successful i n the description of his Newfoundland traverse, though the d i f f i c u l t i e s and fears which he experienced were no less than those of Douglas on the West Coast.  The influence which,  worked upon both these men must have been similar, both having grown up in Scotland, having the same interests, and similar.destinies.  That Douglas  journal presents more consistently a high level of expression is due partly to a more patient and optimistic nature and a relaxed pace, as opposed to Cormacks fear of being trapped by winter i n the interior of the island. r  At times both men manifest the literary s p i r i t of their age: i n Cormack  68  i t takes the form of the early romantic poets, the awe of nature coupled with a rationalistic.need for control of passion;'in Douglas the romantic element seems more pronounced: It i s impossible to describe the grandeur and richness of the" scenery, which w i l l probably remain long undefaced by the hand of man. . In vain were associations:: in vain did the eye wander for the cattle, the cottage and the flocks. ^ 2  The view from the summit is of that cast too awful to afford pleasure-nothing as far as the eye can reach i n every direction but mountains towering above each other, rugged beyond a l l description; the. dazzling reflection from the snow, the heavenly arena of the solid glacier, and the rainbow-like tints of i t s shattered fragments, together with the enormous icicles suspended from the perpendicular rocks; the majestic but terrible avalanche hurtling down from the southerly exposed rocks producing a crash, and groans through,the distant valleys only equalled by an earthquake. Such gives us a sense of the stupendous: and wbnderous works of the Almighty, (near Mt. Brown and Hooker i n the Rockies). 21 Both men demonstrate an a b i l i t y to integrate into the country and its people.  Douglas three year perambulation of the west coast area 1  gave him greater opportunity to.absorb and understand the wilderness; though Cormack's particular concern for the disappearing B^ethuck Indians of Newfoundland shows his anthropological interest and his preconceived sympathy for a people whom he viewed only at a distance during his traverse. When contacted, the Indians of the west coast found i n Douglas a man of s p i r i t who was able to meet cunning with o  .  W.. E. Cormack, Narrative of a Journey Across the Island of Newfoundland in 1022, (Longman, Green & Co. Ltd., London, 1 9 2 8 ) , p. l l * 0 . Journal kept by David Douglas during his travels i n North America, '(London, William Wesley & Son, 191U), p. 7 2 . '  20  2 1  69  cunning and force with force: At l a s t I commanded a search and found i t secreted under the belt of one of the knaves. When detected he claimed the premium, but as he d i d not give i t on f i r s t application, I paid him, and paid him so w e l l , with my f i s t s that he w i l l , I daresay, not forget the 'Man of Grass f o r some days to come. 1  22  Cormack contacts only one family of Indians, and those were Micmacs, native to Nova Scotia rather than Newfoundland. Although his companion, Joseph Sylvester, was a Micmac and numerous times threatened to desert his employer, Cormack was s t i l l able to appreciate the i d y l l i c aspect of the natural Micmac encampment and to express his joy i n discovering this 'sylvan happiness : 1  Abundance and neatness pervaded the encampment. On horizontal poles over the f i r e hung quantities of venison steaks, being smoked dry. The hostess was cheerful, and a supper, the best the chase could furnish, was soon set before us on sheets of birch r i n d . They t o l d me to 'make their camp my own, and use everything i n i t as such'. Kindness so elegantly tendered by these people of nature i n their solitude commenced to soften those feelings which has been f o r t i f i e d against receiving any comfort except that of my own administering. The excellence of the venison, and of the flesh of young beavers, could not be surpassed. A cake of hard deer's fat, with scraps of suet, toasted brown, intermixed, was eaten with the meat; soup was the drink. Our hostess, after supper, sang several songs at my request. They were plaintive, and sung i n a high key. The song of a female, and her contentment i n this remote and secluded spot, exhibited the strange diversity there i s i n human nature. 3 2  However, both Cormack's and Douglas' contacts with the Indians are superf i c i a l i n comparison to the captives, or even the explorers who opened the land to the s c i e n t i s t s . Ibid, p. 199. Cormack, p. 60.  The l a t t e r , perhaps, bring a degree of  70  sophistication and learning to the new country, but their civilized sensitivity is offset by the explorer's dependence upon the unique,ness of experience and submission to the land.  Cormack is f i r s t an  anthropologist and naturalist and Douglas i s naturalist of the f i r s t order, but their particular disciplines narrow their f i e l d of perception and their journals reflect their scientific genius rather than an awareness of place.  71  3 . Alexander Mackenzie - The Commercial Explorer There i s primarily i n Alexander Mackenzie a highly-developed commercial s p i r i t ; the same which i n i t i a l l y drove the f i r s t English trader, Alexander Henry, to penetrate the vacated French trading area.* The s p i r i t which later gave impetus to the North West Company, and which gave Montreal i t s commercial ascendancy i n Canada, second only to New York i n America. From Mackenzie and his type, there was established in Montreal the hierarchy of commercial interests - Simon McTavish, the McGillivrays, Mackenzies and, indirectly, the Molsons.  Their base  was s o l i d Scotch Presbyterianism, their concern, the fur trade, and their strength, ambition resulting from poverty and the realization of a unique opportunity i n history - a continent to be explored and explotted.  In considering the achievements of Mackenzie, i t i s essential  to keep the l a t t e r two concepts together - he was neither trader nor explorer but a synthesis of these two drives: a man who would not be crossed i n his design and who had the power,and determination to f u l f i l l a conscious destiny. As a r e s u l t , Mackenzie as a journal writer i s a disappointment. His sense of purpose i s keenly developed, probably more than any other Canadian explorer, and his determination i s undaunted.  But where Radisson appreciate  the value of 'common good' and i n s t i n c t i v e l y believes i n the therapeutic value of the new American v i s t a to the jaded European, Mackenzie strides over the West l i k e a l a t t e r day Cortez, conquering the land with his Scot's acumen and formidable prose. Pushed more by a precipitate sense of destiny  72  than danger of lingering i n strange and hostile t e r r i t o r i e s , Mackenzie pushes himself and his men to incredible feats: from Athabaska to the Arctic i n f o r t y days, across the Rockies to the Pacific by water and land i n barely two months. The effect of such speed i s d i s a s t r o u s beyond the completion of the feats themselves: the country he admits i n his preface^ " was dreary and monotonous, the Indians generally 4  rebellious and indolent, and his effort one of constant t r i a l s , disappointments and l i t t l e sense .of accomplishment.  Never does he exhibit  a desire to integrate into - the savage manner of l i v i n g or t r a v e l l i n g . If he converses with Indians i t i s with an eye to later trading; when he records their speech, i t . i s a desire to t r a i n his partners who w i l l follow, to relieve them of the burden of expensive and undependable interpreters.  I f the rivers are too slow he portages over impossible  terrain carrying h i s canoe -' , i f the river favourable, he drives his 2  men from one i n the morning ° u n t i l late evening. But such i s his sense of involvement and responsibility that he partakes himself of .the labour, and assumes the duty of nocturnal guard many times when the situation warrants i t . The journals of these two voyages r e f l e c t the haste and superficial nature of his experience. There i s a highly developed degree of heroic purpose and fortitude, but his detachment suggests that whatever excitement he experienced.is sublimated to his design, and that design so related ^Alexander Mackenzie, Voyages from Montreal on the River S t . ^Laurence, through the Continent of North America, etc., p. v i . i d , p. 226. ^°Ibid, p. 71. '  Sib  73  to his commercial ambitions as to negate the possibility of any aesthetic or truly significant awareness' of his accomplishment*  Through the pages  of his journal, replete with calculations, bearings, distance reckonings and astronomic observations, the explorer's personality, other than his preconceived persona, remains buried. However, his letters to his cousin Roderick, stationed at Fort Chipewyan, demonstrate the ambitions, fears, and cautious certainty of the worth of his voyages to the trade: I beg you not to reveal them (his 'distant intentions') to any person, as i t might be prejudicial to me... 2 7  Theny later at the company's annual meeting at Grand Portage, after the Arctic voyage: oft  My expedition was hardly spoken of, but that i s what I expected. And, prior to the Pacific voyage:  I never was so undecided i n my intentions as this year regarding my going to the Portage or remaining inland, I weighed everything in my mind over and over again, and cannot find that my opponents there can do me any injury.... Should I be successful I shall return with great advantage... T send you a couple of guineas, the rest I take with me to traffic with the Russians. ™ These reflect incredible certainty, years of contemplation since his f i r s t contact with Peter Pond's 'incomprehensively extr av a g e n t i d e a s , 2 7  L . R. Masson, Les Bourgeois de l a Compagnie due Nord-Ouest, p. 23.  28ibid, p. 35. 2  ?Ibid, p. U'2-3  30lbid, p. 25  71;  but also they reflect not a sense of adventure, but expediency and business acumen. Even at times of extreme personal danger, the style of the journal remains static and unemotional. Had the experience been in any sense real to Mackenzie at the time, not even a time lapse of seven or eight years between the action and the recollection or the pen of an amanuensis could erase the feeling of the man i n danger.  Emotional.involvement or  expression of uncertainty,"so characteristic of other explorers, is so successfully erased that i t appears not to have been experienced: The rest now approached so near, that one of them contrived to get behind me, and grasped me in his arms. I soon disengaged myself from him; and, that he did not avail himself of the opportunity which he had of plunging his dagger into me, I cannot conjecture. They certainly might have overpowered me, and though I should probably have killed one or two of them, I must have fallen at l a s t . Curiously, David Thompson, one of the most sensitive and observant of western explorers, met Mackenzie shortly after Mackenzie's short and eminently successful period of exploration, but in his journal Thompson made no observation on the man, but only his achievement.  Considering  their similar interests, i t is an eloquent comment on Mackenzie's retractable nature. Then, some time after the voyages, Mackenzie wrote to Roderick who was s t i l l .an the Athabaska region, to check on another explorer: I wish you would give instructions to collect from the English chief and other Chipeweans the fullest account they can possibly ^Mackenzie, Voyages, p. 353.  75  give of Hearne's journey with them to the North Sea, where, to what I learn he never went. ^ 2  There could hardly be any r i v a l r y between Mackenzie and Thompson for the l a t t e r was a latecomer to the West - a surveyor, hardly even an explorer, and certainly not with any commercial ambitions.  Hearne's  feat, however, antedated Mackenzie*a voyage to the A r c t i c , and he thus appears unwilling to accept a r i v a l , though he tolerates a nouveau venu. Hearne i s a r i v a l i n more than accomplishment of design, for where Mackenzie's personality did not allow him to trust his guides, but alternately guarded and cajoled them, Hearne placed his l i f e and venture i n the Indians's hands. Mackenzie's 'English C h i e f presents an interesting p a r a l l e l to Hearne's Matonabbee, and the former's treatment of his chief guide i s a model for the powerful and independent explorers who f a i l e d to materialize after him: The English chief was very much displeased at my reproaches, and expressed himself to me i n person to that effect. This was the very opportunity which I wanted, to make him acquainted with my dissatisfaction f o r some time past... he accused me of speaking i l l words to him...(and) concluded by informing me that he would not accompany me further... (later) I sent for the English chief to sup with me, and a dram or two dispelled a l l his heart burning and discontent.... I took care that he should carry some l i q u i d consolation to his lodge, to prevent the return of his chagrin . 3 3 3 J . B. T y r r e l l , Thompson's Narrative of his Explorations i n Western America, 1 7 8 U - l o l 2 . , (The Champlain Society, Toronto, 1916), p. 297. 33Mackenzie, p. 1 0 5 - 7* 2  76  U n l i k e H e a r n e , Mackenzie r e g a r d e d t h e I n d i a n s as weak and i n f e r i o r b e i n g s ; and whereas Hearne s y m p a t h i z e d w i t h h i s c h i e f and h i s  highly  d e v e l o p e d s e n s i t i v i t y , M a c k e n z i e saw o n l y t h e weakness and produced the e x p e d i e n t of t h e M o n t r e a l t r a d e r s - r u m . Though M a c k e n z i e ' s j o u r n a l w r i t i n g d e v e l o p s somewhat c a u t i o u s l y from t h e f a c t u a l day t o day r e c o r d i n g s o f t h e A r c t i c voyage t o a sometimes e x c i t e d , though o b j e c t i v e r e l a t i o n o f n a t u r a l h a z a r d s on t h e western traverse to the P a c i f i c , h i s w r i t i n g  i s as b a r r e n and f a c t u a l  as the i n s c r i p t i o n he chose t o mark i n grease and Vermillion a t t h e s u c c e s s f u l t e r m i n a t i o n of h i s dreams: A l e x a n d e r M a c k e n z i e , f r o m Canada, by l a n d , the t w e n t y - s e c o n d day of J u l y , one thousand seven hundred and n i n e t y - t h r e e . 3 U And t h a t dream, though p h y s i c a l l y a c h i e v e d , never m a t e r i a l i z e d i n the more c a p r i c i o u s r e a l m of the w r i t t e n w o r d : D i d I s i t down t o w r i t e , I was s u r e t h a t the v e r y t h i n g s , , t h a t I ought not t o have been t h i n k i n g w o u l d o c c u r t o me i n s t e a d of what I had t o d o . . I n s h o r t , my mind was never a t e a s e , nor c o u l d I bend i t t o my w i s h e s . 3 5 0  ^ I b i d , p. 3k9. ''Masson, p . U5»  77  k» David Thompson Had Alexander Mackenzie been given the task that f e l l to David' Thompson there would not be the.controversy there is today over the Canadian'failure to establish a trading .post at the-mouth of the Columbia River before the Americans.  With Mackenzie there would not have been  the questions of cowardice, ineptitude of indecision which surround Thompson, but then neither would there be Thompson's maps or narrative. The latter was written about 181+0 when Thompson was seventy years of age, and though becoming old and forgetful he was s t i l l able to recall the spirit of his- adventure. With his meticulous diaries .to help him, he recreated the country and inhabitants of early western Canada hoping, perhaps, by the publications of the narrative to alleviate the poverty which stalked his old age..  That hope never materialized i n his lifetime,  but the manuscript remains as a superior account of human endeavourj but even more as.the private testimony of a man beset by fears and doubt, and whose sensitivity forced a close association with the land and people he contacted. Thompson, unlike Mackenzie, had a long career as explorer and surveyor in America, from 1781+ when he was apprenticed at age fourteen to the Hudson Bay.Company> until his f i n a l retirement i n 1826.  His travels  were exhaustive, covering much of the territory from Hudson Bay northward and westward to the Pacific, and the' area along the United States Canada border which he surveyed from 1816 - 1826. ' Thompson's narrative, therefore, has not the strong sense of quest and purpose that Mackenzieis has, but rather i t i s diffused i n time and space, and consequently absorbs  78  and reacts as Mackenzie's never does.  Strongly religious, abstemious,  and inclined to melancholy and doubt, there is l i t t l e in Thompson's character that could relate to his predecessor in western exploration. But his character, and i n part his weaknesses, produced the narrative with which neither Mackenzie, nor even Hearne, could compete.. His mapping was, of course, an outstanding achievement and can in no wise be belittled; ...Only Thompson, on the other hand, could have produced the Narrative. No other early Canadian writer had seen so much country, from Hudson Bay to the Pacific; ... Mackenzie and Hearne, especially the latter, had also made great journeys, about which they wrote great books. Mackenzie, however, had only the story of a.couple of summers to t e l l , and the bulk of Hearne's book deals with the events of rather less than three years. Thompson, on the other hand,had the experience of over a quarter of a century for his subject, and he put posterity splendidly in his debt when largely from his journals, he rewrote i n book form the story of his travels and adventures over a l l those years.^ Curious that the man who appeared to fear the Indians the most, who delayed and changed the direction of his traverse of the Rockies^  7  because of unfriendly contact with the Pgagan Indians, was the one, even to a greater degree than Hearne, to sympathize with them. Hearne associates with one Indian, Matohabbee, but Thompson relates to the Indian race as a whole. His narrative is replete with anecdotes of the Indian's bravery, selflessness, religion, ethics and social customs as a worthy foe, he fears, but honours them. Often the amateur scientist-naturalist Thompson comes into conflict with the Indian superstitions or traditional beliefs.  Basically  ^^Richard Glover, editor, David Thompson's Narrative 178U-1812, _„(Toronto, The Champlain Society, 1962), p. lxv. Masson, p. 2+ln.  79  self-taught, Thompson's embryonic scientific nature rebels against the pantheism of the Indians, but his science seems weak in comparison to their certainty and more than once he succumbs, as he must do as he absorbs their l i f e .  One dramatic instance of his surrender occured  when Thompson and some natives were estimating the numbers of deer in an annual migration which took two days to pass York Factory.  Though  there was no quarrel over numbers, the purpose of the migration was broached: ...They said, You that look at the Stars t e l l us the cause of the regular march of this herd of Deer. I replied 'instinct' ...Oh Oh, then you think this herd of Deer rushes forward over deep swamps, in which some perished, the others ran over them; down steep banks to break their necks; swam across deep Rivers, where the strong drowned the weak; went a long way through the woods where they had nothing to eat merely to take care of themselves. You white people, you look like wise men and talk like fools... Do you not perceive this great herd was under the direction of their Manito. I have sometimes thought instinct'to be a word invented by the learned to cover up their ignorance.3^ The Indian's victory is a subtle one and based not only on Thompson's imperfect scientific training, but also on his fascination with the Indian philosophy. There is in Thompson a remarkably ingenuous character which allows him to describe fondly the most minute natural phenomena, 'I shall therefore only give those traits of them which naturalists do not, or have not noticed i n their descriptions',39 r to express faultlessly his fear of 0  3°David Thompson's Narrative, ed. J . B. Tyrell, p. 101 - 2.  39ibid, p. 68.  80  inexplicable phenomena as he would any other: As we were about to r i s e , a b r i l l i a n t light rose over the east of the Lake, i t was a Meteor of globular form, and appeared larger than the Moon, which was then highj i t seemed to come direct toward us, lowering as i t came, th'n within three hundred yards of us, i t struck the river ice, with a sound of a mass of j e l l y , was dashed into innumerable luminous pieces and instantly expired... the next morning we went to see the marks this meteor had made on the ice, but could not discover than a single particle was marked.. This naive attitude toward nature and the Indian allows him to record the most incidental, but often revealing, details of the country he passes through. His is a rationalist's mind coupled with a romantic and idealistic nature, and the conflict which ensues could explain the indecision which apparently plagued him at times when force and direction were needed. His vision of the white man in America is that of the exploiter, the romantic notion of an ideal wilderness ruined by the hand of civilized man.  At times his philosophy assumes a symbolic bent and, like the  Indians, he sees man battling Nature for ascendancy, a constant striving for survival.  Perhaps, though, Thompson sees Man and Nature locked more  in a rationjlistic state of balance or golden mean than in a battle for ascendancy.  The beaver becomes the symbol of Nature for Thompson: as  long as i t thrives and maintains its level Nature is secure and ascendant: Man was Lord of a l l the dry land and a l l that was on i t . The other race was the Beaver, they were safe from every animal but Man and the Wolverine** .. .Thus a l l the low lands were in possession of the 1  {+°Ibid, p. 118. ^considering the loathing the Indians f e l t toward this animal, the association with Man is particularly damning.  81 Beaver..• the dry land with the dominions of Man contracted, everywhere he was hemmed i n by water without the power of preventing i t . . . they (the Indians) procured from the French Axes, Chisels, Knives, Spears and other articles of iron... Thus.armed the houses of the .Beavers were pierced through.... and their Borrows l a i d dry. . r Such deliberate rhetoric i s rare i n Thompson's narrative, but i t expresses well his impatience with man i n conflict with nature, but also points out who Thompson feels is the real culprit - the European. Constantly Thompson sympathizes with the natives. He succumbs to their philosophy, he admires their courage and social code, and deplores the white man's destruction of their purity and innocence by diseas e^3 and greed.  Thompson has been described as an individual too often  'beatified-*^ by Canadian biographers, but i t cannot be denied that he had qualities antithetical to many Canadian explorers, and i t i s paradoxical that he should be representing a company noted for i t s excesses i n pursuing the trade.  It may have been those unpleasant  excesses that drove Thompson to his association with the Indians - the ungodly, rum-bearing fur traders who were his associates were hardly comparable to the notion of the natural savage that Thompson maintained: Their walk i s erect, light and easy, and may be said to be graceful. When on the plains i n company with white men, the erect walk of the  U2  198-9.  Tyrell, p. ^ % e x t morning at the dawn of day, we attacked the Tents, and with our sharp f l a t daggars and knives cut through the tents and entered for the fight; but^our war whoop was instantly stopt, our eyes were appalled with terror; there was no one to fight but the dead and the dying, each a mass of corruption, (related to Thompson by some Plains Indians), Tyrell, p. 336-7. Glover, p. x i i .  Indian is shown to great advantage. The Indian with his arms folded i n his robe seems to glide over the ground; and the white people seldom i n an erect posture, their bodies swayed from right to l e f t , and some with their arms, as i f to saw a passage i n the air. I have often been vexed at the comparison.^5 Thompson's apparent vacillation which resulted i n his arrival at the mouth of the Columbia River i n time to witness the construction of Astor's trading post was doubtless a great disappointment to the North West Company as i t was to Thompson. But a few years later the company remedied the default when i t bought Fort Astoria, and Thompson's maps remained to appease the partners and impress later geographers like Tyrell.  But Thompson's greatest achievement, the intimate record of  a savage land and people, continues to breathe l i f e into an often maligned historical figure. Tyrell, p. 350.  83  5. Samuel Hearne - The Captive Explorer. Mr. Norton was an Indian; he was born at Prince of Wales's Fort, but had been in England nine years, and considering the small sum that had been expended on his education, he had made some progress in literature. At his return to Hudson's Bay he entered into a l l the abominable vices of his countrymen. He kept for his own use five or six of the finest Indian g i r l s . . . took every means in his power to prevent any European from having intercourse with the women of the country... and showed more respect to one of their dogs, than he ever did to his f i r s t officer. Hearne's years as a sailor aboard the frigate Bideford during the Seven Years War inured him to privation, which stood him i n good stead during his stint to the Coppermine River; but i t could never prepare him for the profligate half-breed Moses Morton, governor of Prince of Wales Fort.  Son of a former governor and a Southern Indian mother, a  tribe that Hearne rates as 'the most debauched wretches under the Sun'/*  7  Norton was a certain antidote to Hearne's remaining at the f o r t .  Although  Hearne was posted at Prince of Wales Fort specifically to undertake an expedition to the area that had yielded some interesting samples of copper, and incidently to relieve the pressure of company c r i t i c s , he was probably not expected to exhibit much i n i t i a t i v e .  However, faced  with a lieutenancy under Norton, Hearne chose the uncertainty of the wilderness to the certain hell of so notorious a superior. Without this explanation i t would be d i f f i c u l t to account for the alacrity of Hearne's repeated attempts to reach the Coppermine River. Hearne's f i r s t voyage carried him only a few hundred miles west of ^Samuel Hearne, A Journey to the Northern Ocean, edited Richard Glover, (Toronto, 1 9 5 b ) , P« 3 ? « k Ibid, p. 8 1 . 7  8k  Hudson.Bay, and with the desertion of his guide, the conjurer Chawchinahaw, and the Indian hunters, he was to return to the f o r t with his two unhappy European comrades barely a month after his departure.  Then, undaunted, or not wishing to remain with Norton,  he struck out again within two months of his previous f a i l u r e . The second expedition was hardly more auspicious, though he had learnt from the f i r s t and he took no encumbering Europeans. Thus he had his f i r s t move toward integration and psychological captivity by the Indians. Though unencumbered by Europeans, he was not yet free of European inexperience and inappropriate equipment: ...what considerably increased the handicap was... the coarseness of our lodging... the tent we had with us was not only too large and unfit for barren ground service, where no poles were to be got, but we were obliged to cut i t up for shoes...ko On his f i n a l and successful t r i p with the guide Matonabbee, he learned to prepare his tent poles before entering the barren ground, and with the numerous Indian women that Matonabbee insisted attend them, there was never a shortage of footwear, packhorses or warmth for long winter n i g h t s ^ Meantime he was at the mercy of Norton's ineffectual guides for he did not meet the fabled Matonabbee u n t i l September of 1770 as he was returning to the f o r t after breaking his quadrant. Then, ^Hearne, p. U^Matonabbee can carry, our tents,  19. on women, 'Women were made f o r labour; one of them or haul, as much as two men can do. They also pitch make and mend our clothing, keep us warm at night...',  85  mysteriously appearing from the west at a point when Hearne was being deserted by his Indians, the 'stranger' Matonabbee proceeded to enliven Hearne's travels by his company and encouragement. So much so that Hearne's i n i t i a l impression, 'the courteos behaviour of the stranger struck me very sensibly','' contains an epithet that Europeans would 0  hardly associate with the savage. SubtXfely the Indian l i f e , and specifically this Indian chief, was absorbing Hearne. Mantonabbee, always free with his advice, diagnosed the reason for Hearne's repeated failure in terms that Hearne could appreciate and second - the misconduct, of his guides and, principally, the lack of women. The latter concept was antithetical to the views of Governor Norton, but by the time Hearne was prepared for his third venture, Matonabbee and his ideas had gained ascendancy. Scarcely two weeks after returning to the fort, after an arduous seven-month journey, Hearne commences his third and f i n a l voyage. The t r i p took eighteen months and twenty-three days and during that time Hearne had no intercourse with a European. From the time of departure Hearne follows closely the dictates of a later Arctic explorer, Steffanson, by allowing himself to be dictated to by the Indians and their experience with the country.  Soon "he appears to have no authority, at least he does  not assert himself as might an explorer like Mackenzie: On the nineteenth, we pursued our course in the North West quarter; and, after leaving the above-mentioned creek, with empty bellies, t e l l the twenty-seventh... i t was the twenty-seventh before the  5  °Ibid, p. 3U.  meat was brought to the tents. Here the Indians proposed to continue one day, under the pretence of repairing their sledges and snow shoes; but from the l i t t l e attention they^to those repairs, I was led to think that the want of food was the chief thing that detained them, as they never ceased eating the whole day. 51 Thus with some humour Hearne describes his capitulation, and soon after he shows his dependence upon Matonabbee's judgement when the party spends two weeks impounding deer before attempting to traverse the barren ground. The release of his responsibilities allows Hearne's sensitive powers of observation to roam not only over the natural l i f e that he contacts, which he records with the thoroughness of Thompson, but also to direct i t to the Indians themselves. The Northern Indians strike him as the finest he knows, and his sympathies l i e with neglected women, f i r s t humourously: Ask a Northern Indian, what i s beauty? he w i l l answer, a broad f l a t face, small eyes, high cheek-bones, three or four broad black lines a-cross each cheek, a low- forehead, a large broad chin, a clumsy hook-nose, a tawny hide, and breasts hanging down to the belt. 52 but individually with much f e e l i n g : The instant, however, the poor woman was delivered, which was not u n t i l she had suffered a l l the pains usually f e l t on those occasions for nearly fifty-two hours, the signal was made f o r moving when the poor creature took her infant on her back and set out with the rest of the company; and although another person had the humanity to haul the sledge for her, (for one day only)," she was obliged to carry a considerable load beside her l i t t l e charge, and was frequently obliged to wade knee-deep i n water and wet snow. 53 ^Hearne, p. 1*3. 5lHearne, p. 56-7 • T b i d , p. 58.  53  87  His r e a l sympathies, however, remain with Matonabbee whose n o b i l i t y and s e n s i t i v i t y makes him an easy mark, despite his exalted t r i b a l p o s i t i o n , for warriors stronger or less responsible than himself. Throughout the t r i p Matonabbee i s dogged by problems involving his eight wives: the youngest and most comely elopes, and another i s f o r c i b l y taken from him. that Hearne notes,  In the l a t t e r instance he i s so disconsolate  'he took t h i s affront so much to heart, e s p e c i a l l y  as i t was offered i n my presence, that he almost determined not to proceed any further . - ^ Hearne' s reaction i s predictable f o r he has 1  placed a l l his hopes upon t h i s guide.  The argument Hearne uses to  encourage..Matonabbee i s notably opposite to Mackenzie's t a c t i c s with his English C h i e f ; for Hearne, i n terms reminiscent of Radisson's use of symbolism, appeals to Matonabbee's honour.  He assures him 'not only  of the future esteem of the present Governor of Prince of Wales F o r t ,  55 but also of that of a l l his successors as long as he l i v e d . . . ' .  The  e f f e c t i s spontaneous, Matonabbee orders the party to move on immediately although i t was then l a t e afternoon.  Perhaps the psychology Hearne  used would not have influenced the E n g l i s h C h i e f , but then Mackenzie never achieved the degree of integration of Radisson or Hearne, so could not have appealed on so b l a t a n t l y a personal note, Hearne, the. consummate story t e l l e r , builds his narrative not only toward the goal of his explorations, but p a r a l l e l s his quest with the goal of his guide - the destruction of the Eskimo encampment at the  Silbid, p. 71.  - - Hearne, p . 72. ?  3  mouth of the Coppermine River. As the party approaches the river i t s numbers increase, as does i t s certainty i n executing i t s design and, as Tanner was caught up i n the s p i r i t of innumerable profitless war parties, so Matonabbee's party increases u n t i l i t far outnumbers any resistance the Eskimos might muster. Hearne's reaction i n i t i a l l y i s to condemn the Indian's design, but by that point the success of his venture i s so t i e d to the Indians that his hesitancy i s interpreted as cowardice and his own design i s jeopardized. Dramatically he acquiesces, again r e a l i z i n g the unique and dangerous position he holds: I never afterwards ventured to interfere with any of their war-plans. Indeed, when IIcame to consider seriously, I saw evidently i t was the highest f o l l y f o r an individual l i k e me, and i n my situation, to attempt to turn the current of a national prejudice... 56 V i r t u a l l y a captive of the Indians by this time.  Hearne i s  forced not only to condone the inevitable massacre of the Eskimos, but he, l i k e the captive Radisson and Tanner, takes an active part, i f largely a defensive one, i n the attack. ...I determined to accompany them, t e l l i n g them at the same time, that I would not have any hand i n the murder they were about to commit, unless I found i t necessary for my own safety. The Indians were not displeased at this proposal; one of them immediately fixed me a spear, and another lent me a broad bayonet. Hearne minutely describes the preparations for the attack, both the ^ i b i d , p. 75. - 'Hearne, p. °8 J  89  physical and superstitious, and his own trepidation.  The actual  battle, as expected, i s a farce. The sleeping Eskimos are quickly massacred as they flee their tents, and though both Thompson and Tanner recount more numerically impressive massacres, Hearne's involvement i s so personal and the effect so r e a l that his description tranjbends the involvement he so assiduously had rejected e a r l i e r .  The  climax of the battle description, the murder of a young Eskimo g i r l who seeks his protection, i s a powerful symbol of Hearne's g u i l t over his approbation of the massacre. ... when the f i r s t spear was stuck into her side she f e l l down at my feet, and twisted around my legs, so that i t was with d i f f i c u l t y that I could disengage myself from her dying grasps., even at this..hour I cannot r e f l e c t on the transactions of that horrid day without shedding tears .5° The afterma.th with i t s profusion of naked dead bodies provides Hearne's Indians with an opportunity for some amateur anthropological observations on the differences between their victims and themselves. Their disgusting examinations and. remarks provoke Hearne into observing with calculated humour that 'however favourable the opportunity... had there actually been as much difference between them as there i s said to be between the Hottentots and those of Europe, i t would not have been i n my power to mark the d i s t i n c t i o n . ^ ^ Hearne's epilogue to the Indians' cruelty 1  is less severe, but so pathetic and f i n a l as to maintain the l e v e l of the description of the earlier butchery. ^ I b i d , p. 99-100. 5%earne, p. 103. 8  An old and blind Eskimo woman,  90  oblivious to what had passed a few hundred yards away, was fishing by a waterfall then, turning to greet her supposed r e l a t i v e , was instead »transfixed to the ground i n a few seconds, and butchered i n a most savage manner'.^ Hearne remained only long enough to take a few soundings of the r i v e r , observe the ocean to which i t flowed and which he determined was impassable, and to claim the area formally on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, Appropriately he named the spot Bloody F a l l , and years later Franklin rediscovered the spot by the profusion of bones and skulls which s t i l l marked the area a century l a t e r .  The return to  Hudson Bay was uneventful though the route. Matonabbee chose took Hearne around Lake Athabaska which a few years later played so important a role i n the competition between the Hudson's Bay Company and i t s r i v a l s from Montreal. But by that time, the Northern Indians were as corrupt as the Southern Indians, and acceptance of the white man by the Indian had largely been despoiled by the wholesale introduction of rum. I t i s doubtful i f Hearne could have achieved the degree of integration that he d i d without the catalytic effect of Matonabbee, and doubtful too i f Hearne had any effect on the party of Indians that accompanied him; but the communion he developed with the individual Matonabbee i s very l i k e that of a contemporary captive, Alexander Henry and his protector, Wenniway. So great was the communion between these two men that when La Perouse captured Prince:of Wales Fort i n 1782 and 6 0  I b i d , p.103  91  Hearne, then governor, surrendered to the Franch commander and was carried off a prisoner, Matonabbee quietly hanged himself. Whether this f i n a l act by an Indian s t i l l in his prime of l i f e was through sorrow or shame for his white brother, Hearne notes that 'he i s the only Northern Indian who, that I ever heard, put an end to his existence'.^ Probably no Canadian explorer depended so much upon one Indian for the success of his venture, and probably also no Indian exists i n early Canadian journals with so dichotomic nature, so split between the ideals of the Indian and the white man, and yet so dedicated to the execution of the wishes of both races. It is impossible to conceive of the success of Hearne's last expedition without the degree to which Hearne allowed himself to be physically and psychologically captured by the Indians, and more specifically by his attachment to, and affection for, Matonabbee. Hearne's journal, as a consequence, i s the product of a strong sense of purpose and an inquistive s p i r i t , and a unique degree of integration into a voyage and into the only people who were a real part of the territory he covered.  6l  Hearne, p. 228  92 CHAPTER IV CONCLUSION A l l travel journals, whether of Initiation or Exploration, are dichotomic by their intrinsic nature - at once purposeful, direct and immediate; yet moving into realms of the archetype: the quest, self-preservation, alienation and search for identification.  Each  Explorer's journal, then, starts with either a scientific, geographic, or commercial purpose as each Captivity journal commences with the single theme of preservation; but both, depending upon the nature of the individual, develop to some degree toward universality, toward themes essential to the human situation.  Thus, the journal reflects  this s p i r i t of altercation, between immediacy and universality, between developing i t s scientific or commercial form or i t s a r t i s t i c form.  The more readable journals, those which transcend their immediate  and contemporary purpose, like Tanner's and Hearne's, unconsciously approach the genre of the novel, and thus can be judged both i n their actual and archetypal categories. Overt heroism may be accepted, even applauded, i n the literature of heroic ages, but i n more sober and rationalistic periods the reader distrusts this type of hero and his criticism is liable to be cynical and damning. Few Canadian journal writers could be accused of this type of self-sufficiency, i f anything they are only too aware of their own physical and psychological weaknesses.  Their heroism, then, i s the  identifiable kind: the essentially weak or very ordinary man forced by circumstances to endure and to exceed his own expectations.  In this  93  way, since the explorers know, and more or less accept, the privations of the Canadian wilderness, they would seem to suit the term hero more than the captive who only endure in ignorance, though paradoxically the latter journal often appears more heroic.  Either man, however, be  he explorer as Thompson or captive as Jewitt, i s identifiable by the reader, an enduring individual, bent upon self-preservation or completion of a task which demands his best qualities.  Heroism, then, becomes  admirable, personal and, ultimately real. But that racy individuality of phrase and diction is not the whole secret of the fascination which the language of the voyagers exerts. If one seek farther, one w i l l come i n the end, I suspect, to a trait which almost a l l the earlier travellers have in common. And this common feature of their language i s inseparable from the nature of their undertaking. It i s , i n a word, the way they have of clothing the very stuff and substance of romance i n the homely, direct and everyday terms of plain matter of fact. There was really l i t t l e else they could do. They sailed into regions of the fantastically new, and had words, for the most part, for accustomed things alone. And so the strange assumed perforce the guise of the familiar, and familiar terms took on enchanting connotations through their involuntary commerce with the strange. Cormack surveying Newfoundland's interior vainly looking for 'the cattle, the cottage, and the flocks'; or./Douglas describing the fearful lightning in the Blue Mountains of the West Coast are both attempting desperately to associate their novel experience with the familiar and the knowable. The feeling which they experience demands the utmost of their creative powers to describe, whether i t is natural phenomena or unexpected human communion as Henry's surprise i n being preserved by •John Livingstone Lowes, The Road to Xanadu, (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927), p. 313.  9k  an unknown Indian, or Hearne's reaction to the Eskimo g i r l dying at his feet.  Again, these are essentially average men reacting to  completely novel happenings, and their attempts to describe them in terms familiar to their age helps give the journals their authentic and immediate s p i r i t .  The expression of novelty may not always be  successful, often, in fact, i t seems forced and ludicrous, but the demands of literary expression upon the man who lacks a facile ability to express himself is as poignant to the reader as the act i t s e l f . The Canadian journal writers, representing consciously or unconsciously many quite antithetical literary traditions have this ability in common, they do indeed marvelously clothe 'the stuff and substance of romance  1  in 'everyday terms of plain matter of fact'. The Canadian experience as reflected by the journal writers i s not unique, the qualities demanded of the explorer or captive are as common to the Elizabethan voyagers or to Richard Burton as to Alexander Mackenzie. But perhaps the Canadian explorer and captive are identifiable, or at least separable, by the s p i r i t of their experience.  At least this  may be true of the truly successful Canadian journal writers, those who integrated with the land and the people.  There must be a unique spirit  in the writings of these men, perhaps not overtly a Canadian s p i r i t , but an awareness of time and place which in some way i s identifiable as Canadian. The country, s o i l and climate in which we l i v e , have always a powerful effect upon the state of society, and the movements and comforts of every individual,he must conform himself to the  9$  circumstances under which he is placed, and as such we and conducted ourselves i n t h i s extreme cold climate.  lived  To i d e n t i f y Thompson's experience s o l e l y as Canadian would be an i n j u s t i c e t o the journal, and yet his experience i s not  unrelated  to the awareness of place that l a t e r Canadian novelists have attempted to express. Perhaps the most tenuous task would be to assess these journal w r i t e r s , t o determine some hierarchy of perfection once the f o r perfection has been established.  criteria  However, for combination of  immediacy and u n i v e r s a l i t y , of experience:, and a r t i s t i c r e l a t i o n of events, awareness of s e l f , integration, and s p i r i t of conscious purpose, Samuel Hearne of a l l the Canadian explorers  and captives comes the  closest i n his journal to duplicating the success of his forbears  i n t h i s genre.  Thompson, Narrative, ed. J . B. T y r e l l , p.  12  Elizabethan  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Burton, Richard F.,Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah,ed.Isabel Burton,New York:Dover Publications Inc.,1961;. Cormack,W.E.,"Narrative of a Journey Across the Island Newfoundland i n 1822" i n Howley,James P.,The Beothucks or Red Indians,Cambridge;Cambridge University Press,1915. Darwin, Charles, The Voyage of the Beagle,ed. Leonard Engel,New York: Doubleday and Company,Inc.1962. David Thompson's Narrative of his Explorations i n North America 1781;-l8l2, ed.J.B.Tyrell,Toronto:The Champlain Society,1916. David Thompson's Narrative...etc.,ed, Richard Glover,Toronto:The Champlain Society,1962. Douglas,David,Journal Kept by....1823-27,London:Royal  Horticultural Society,19lU.  Hearne, Samuel, A Journey to the Northern Ocean,ed. Richard Glover,Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited,1958. Henry, Alexander, Travels and Adventures,ed. James Bain,Toronto: ' George N.Morang and Company,Ltd.,1901• Jewitt,John R.,Narration of the Adventures...,New York:l8l5. The Kelsey Papers,ed.Arthur Doughty & Chester Martin,Ottawa:The Public "  Archives of Canada and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland,1929.  Lowes,John L.,The Road to Xanadu,New York:Houghton M i f f l i n Company,1927. Mackenzie,Alexander,Voyages from Montreal...1789 and 1793,London:1801. Masson,L.R.,Les Bourgeois de l a Compagnie du Nord-0uest,2 vols., New York,Antiquarian Press Ltd.,1960. Radisson,Pierre Espirit,The Explorations of Pierre E s p i r i t Radisson, ed.Arthur Adams,Minneapolis,Minnesota,Ross and Haines,Inc.,1961. Stefansson,Vilhjalmur,The Friendly Arctic,New York:The Macmillan Company, 191*3. Tanner,John,A Narrative of the Captivity...,ed.Edwin James,Minneapolis,Minn.: Ross and Haines,Inc.,1956.  


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