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Peace River. A canoe voyage from Hudson's Bay to Pacific, by the late Sir George Simpson (governor, Hon.… McDonald, Archibald, 1790-1853 1872

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Array  THE UNIVERSITY OF
BRITISH  COLUMBIA
LIBRARY
This book is a
gift
from
liefen and
ThiCiv *Atzrigg   PEACE   RIVER
CANOE   VOYAGE
HUDSON'S BAY TO  PACIFIC,
BY THE LATE
SIR   GEORGE   SIMPSON;
{Governor, Son. Hudson's Bay Company.)
IJV 1828.
JOURNAL
KOf the late Chief Factor, Archibald McDonald, (Hon. Hud&onte
Bay Company), who accompanied him.
EDITED, WITH NOTES,
BY
MALCOLM     MoLEOD.
BARRISTER, ETC..
OTTAWA:
Published by J. DTJRIE & SON.
MONTREAL: Dawson Br©s.   TORONTO : Adam Stevenson & Co.
1872.
1 * 3 3 7  PREFACE.
fThe object of the present brochure, at this juncture, is to direct attention—by an account of a canoe voyage through the region—to the fact
that beyondih&t " Belt" of supposed limited fertility, which is implied in
the term "Fertile Belt," there is, in our North West, an area, continuous
in every direction and. easily accessible to its utmost limits, containing over
three hundred millions of acres of wheat and pasture lands, with forests of
finest timber, and the largest known coal and bitumen, and also probably
richest gold areas in the world—a land teeming with animal and vegetable life, extending to the very Arctic Circle, and owing its wealth in
that respect to exceptional causes. I refer to that area—comprised entirely
of Silurian and Devonian systems—watered by the great Athabasca,
Peace, and McKenzie Rivers,  with their countless affluents.
Another fact, to which, I think it necessary to direct attention is, that
the great and beautiful and fertile Plateau of Middle and even of much
of Northern British Columbia, is not too high, nor too cold, nor objectionable on any score for settlement, especially to Canadians accustomed
to contend with frost and snow in the measure to be there found.
. This subject is comparatively untouched, because unknown, by publicists, and I flatter myself that my fellow Canadians will appreciate such
a country for them, inasmuch as they can best deal with it. In the opened, and still further opening gold fields in and about that upper region,
there is, and there must ever be, from its comparative isolation, an excellent local market for the farmer : and, moreover, the coast, with ics large
population and its mining as well as fishing industries, would furnish a
large and good market. Thirdly,—and it is to this particular fact, as a present objective point,
that I would respectfully call attention :
The lowest, easiest and best Pass of the Rocky Mountains-, in fact the
only one which presents—say by such a Territorial Trunk Road, as Mr.
Fleming in his Memorial to the Imperial and Canadian Governments,
proposed in 1863—a practical gateway to the Pacific Slope, to the waggon
of the settler, is the Peace River Pass, and which is less—I make it—
.than eighteen hundred feet above the sea.
Governor Simpson in his bark canoe—the very one he had, a few days
^before, embarked in at York Factory, Hudson's Bay—paddled through
* it, on its from a quarter to half a mile in breadth of lacrustine watercourse, with all the ease of a " paddle on a quiet lake."
The Journal I now give, with accompanying explanatory notes, is the
account of that remarkable trip. I call it a Journal, but evidently it
was a mere memorandum, for private keeing, of facts and incidents along
the way, and was never intended for publication.
The Widow and legal representatives of my lamented friend the late
Chief Factor A. McDonald have, with a public spirit which commends
itself, allowed me the use of his " Notes," as he calls them—They are now
given as called for—That they are so crudely given is my fault; and I
have but to trust to the generosity of those who may honor the little
work with a reading, pleading as my excuse, that the call on me for the
effort was only the other day made, and that it has only been at snatched
moments from engrossing business duties, and at odd hours in the night,
. that I have been able thus, with running pen, to throw off these hurried
pages, to meet what seems a pressing call and enquiry.
M. M.
"'- -Asylmer, County of Ottawa,
May, 1872.
P.S. The words within brackets, in the narrative, are by the Editor, in. explanation. JUMMWW
8H
ADDENDUM.
Since these pages were put in press, I have had the pleasure of reading'
the Honorable Mr. Langevin's exhaustive and very valuable Report of
British Columbia. It touches on all subjects in or about the country,
and he has drawn information, evidently, from every possible source at
his command, and of course, he has done so with that care which is due
to the character of his work.
In the mass and multiplicity of subjects on which the information is
given, I am glad to be able to say, that in no instance has any statement
of mine, nor even any estimate4on the few rude materials I had to work
on, viz., old fur trade reports, and personal incidents of nemy half a
century ago, been contradicted, or shown to be, in the slightest degree,
untrue or wrong. In other words, speaking from totally different stand
points, we but corroborate each other.
There is one point, however, on which, I feel, that I ought to have
spoken more fully, and as to which, my partial reticence may cause a
wrong impression.    It is as to the climate of the country.
On this head, I have confined my remarks to the region covered,
through a course of years, by the Harmon Journal, cited in one or more
of my notes in Appendix. The observations, there, indicate a climate of almost average Canadian severity. Such, I believe, is the case in that upper,
yea, I may say uppermost region of British Columbia, namely, the great
plateau extending northwards from the upper great bend of the Fraser, f
i
VU ADDENDUM.
South of that—say between Cariboo and Kamloops—the winter is
certainly much milder. ! From a letter in my possession from the officer
(one George McDougall) in charge of Fort Alexander (the most northerly
post then in that area) letter dated 8th March, 1828, I believe that it
was unusual for the Lakes to remain frozen to that date, and that the
continuance of snow and ice there to that time marked the winter as one
of unusual severity : at the same time however, the letter says, that the
horses had, in the open, " stood it out well," and were in good condition.
The letter was addressed to my father. Amongst my father's papers, I
*Mnd also, that on 17th February, 1826, the route being then free of snow,
^ne started, with horses, to travel over hundreds of miles of mountain trail
to the mouth of the Okanagan.
My own personal recollections as to Kamloops and the country about
it, associate it with heat and sunshine, and scarcely, if at all, with snow
, or bad weather.
There is also another subject on which I could only make a general
statement, and that, only conjecturally, I may say, for my information
on the subject (a private letter to myself) was not such as I could well
use, without special permission. It is as to the new gold mining district,
known as the Omenica Mines (gold and silver) and in which is " German-
sen Creek," whereof a report, of some length and importance, is given
in Mr. Langevin's work. Germansen Creek is within a couple of days'
paddle, (so I estimate) of the Peace River Pass. Sir George, in his canoe,
might have floated into it, and even beyond, but how far, I cannot say.
From the Pass to the head of steamboat navigation on the Skeena, is only
about 350 miles altogether, and the route is, I believe, comparatively easy.
Mr. Fleming's Canadian Pacific Railway Survey Report.
Since beginning to correct the proof sheets of this pamphlet, I have
been favored with a copy of Mr. Fleming's " Progress Report of Canadian Pacific Railway Survey."
I am glad to see that it does not clash with any statement of mine»as
to altitude, distance, or physical features of route in question, nor, in
fact, as to anything I have ever written on the subject. But it is not to
say this, that I would allude to it, but to give my humble testimony to
the special character of some of the service done in that work. I allude
to the great feat—for that is what it really is—of Mr. R. McLennan
and his party in penetrating the wood choked, boggy, and glacier covered
mountain fastnesses of the head waters of the North Thompson.   It is a ADDENDUM. vH.
region which has hitherto been impenetrable, even, I believe, to the
Indian. I see, amongst my father's reports to the Governor and Council
of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1823, when he was in charge of the
Thompson's River District, which embraced the region in question, that
up to that time his predecessors—and among them were men of keen
intelligence and great energy, and especially Chief Factor Peter Skene
Ogden (brother of the late Charles Ogden, Attorney General of Lower
Canada, and afterwards Chief Justice of the Isle of Man)—had failed in
every effort to even enter that region, for trade. My father had a plan
for the purpose, which appeared likely to succeed, if tried, but as i&i
involved some risk and cost it had first to be approved by the authorities,
and there,_I believe, the matter dropt.
McLennan did well, but the work at this hinging point for railway
route to the Pacific, lias yet to be completed by a survey of the few miles,
about fifteen only, I believe, between Albreda Lake (where a winter ,
party is at work) and the Quesnel watershed. [Note by Editor. The
survey has been since completed, and a practicable route there, for railway, found as I predicted in my letter seven of the " Britannicus " Series
of 1869, defining a practicable Pacific Railway Route.]
As to the other " difficult part" of the route, viz., that north of Lake
Superior, I, in common with all Hudson's Bay people, always knew that
a railroad along the north shore of Lake Superior was impossible, but
rthat some distance back, say 150 or 160 miles, and the further back the
better, there is, along the plateau " height of land " which is the rim of
the great basin (silurian) of Hudson's Bay, fine level ground for a
railway.
I, some time ago, pointed to the north end of Long Lake, which is a
little north of Nipegon, as an objective point. At the same time, I presume, that as the survey has to be an exhaustive one, the impossibility of
certain lines of route, such as the one to touch the north shore of Lake
Superior, and the cne across the Rocky Mountains by the Howse
Pass, and thence through the " Eagle Pass " of the " Snowy Mountains"
to the Shuswhap Lakes of the Thompson, has to be determined. As to
what has been done on the survey for our Pacific Railway, there can, in
reason, be but one opinion, viz., that it has been conceived and ordered
throughout, in its immense and novel detail, with consummate skill, and
.urged with unparalleled energy on the part of all engaged, and the
Government and its staff in the work deserve all credit. What the
Americans took about ten years to do, we, with really greater difficulties
to cope with, have done—and well done, so far—in ten months, or less! ADDENDUM.
But it is not only a railroad to the Pacific that we want, but, more
still, perhaps, or at least equally so, a Roadway for Immigrant Waggons
—large household waggons that will carry, at one lift, a farmer's whole
" belongings," from the Railway Car at Pembina or Winnipeg, to Pacific
Omenica, through the Peace River Pass. At every halting place, at
every step, in that truly golden way—a stretch of almost continuously
level sward fifteen hundred miles in length—nature, all bountiful, has,
in a manner, strewed her manna, and abundance is there, all along, for
man, and for the animals that serve him. I say waggons, but the
hjndestructible " Red River Cart" might answer at the start. In any
case, a regular Transport Service, with European agencies for " through
tickets " (clinching in Europe for Canada) would have to be organized,
and for a large and general immigration, a subsidized chartered body,
under direct Governmental superintendence, if not control, working at
certain fixed rates, and under effectual guarantee of fidelity to the service
as one of public moment, suggests itself. For the present, I forbear
from saying any more on this subject, satisfied that there are other minds
more potential, working in the direction indicated.
M.M. 'sayeSQiSSy
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OF
Canoe Yoyage from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific.
BT THE LATE
SIR GEORGE SIMPSON,
Governor of the Honorable Hudson1 s Bay Company.
Journal of the late Archibald McDonald, Esquire, Chief Factor,
Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, who accompanied him.
York Factory, (a)
Hudson's Bay, a.d. 1828.
Saturday, 12th July.—At one a.m. the crews of two "Light Canoes,"(6)
consisting of nine men each, were in motion, carrying the provisions and
baggage to the water side ; and in a few minntes after, the Governor in
Chief,(c) Doctor Hamlyn and myself, were accompanied down to our craft
by fourteen commissioned gentlemen(c£) and about as many clerks. After
something more than the usually cordial shake of the hand from all present, we embarked with three cheers under a salute of seven guns from
the Garrison, and against a strong tide, were soon round. the first point .
by the free use of the paddle and one of its accompanying u voyageur "
airs.
Our baggage and stores consist of
2 " Cassettes." (e) 2 Kegs Spirits, (e)
1 Paper Trunk. 2    „      Porter.
1 Case.(e) 1 Tinnet Beef.
2 Baskets, (e) 1 Bag, fine pemican.
1 Bag, Bread. 2 Bags, pemican for men.
1 Bag, Biscuit. 2 Tents.
our three beds,(e) the mess cooking utensils, the usual " agres "(e) for the
canoes, besides the men's own "pactons."(e)
{a) See Appendix I. (6) See Appendix II. (c) See Appendix III,
{d) See Appendix IV. (e) See Appendix V. 2 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
Breakfasted on Twenty Mile Island at eight. Took luncheon two
points above Pennycataway River at one o'clock. Weather clear and
warm. A few mosquitoes in evening. Encamped at the mouth of Steel
River precisely at eight. The arrangement of the march has been handed
over to us by the Governor. Doctor and myself, each night in turn, watch
time, that we may start exactly at two in the morning, (a) Men to have
drams four times a day. Governor wrote a note to Mr. McTavish by two
Indians drifting with fresh sturgeon for the use of the Fort, from whom
we got one.    In the afternoon met two Athabasca loaded canoes.
Sunday, 13th.—Within a few minutes of two, the call was given, and
precisely at the hour, were under weigh. With very little exception the
men, the whole of the day and yesterday, "on the Line."(b) The beach is
fine and dry, but water remarkably low. Breakfast at eight, dinner at
one, which last stoppage merely occupies from eight to ten minutes, that
the men may swallow a mouthful of pemican, while the servant cuts off
a slice of cold something with a glass of wine, to which the Governor
invites one of his fellow travellers to partake of, as we move along and
spend the remainder of the day on board his own canoe; the obher makes
a very good shift to eat and drink something of the kind alone. About
this time to-day we got Colin Fraser to give us a few of his favorite
strathspeys on the bagpipes, that went off very well to the ear of a Highlander, bnt as yet makes but a poor accordance with either the pole or
the paddle. TMs decent young man is lately from the Highlands, and
on this voyage, accompanies the Governor in the double capacity of piper
and assistant servant, &c. In the afternoon, met the boats from English
.River, put ashore at eight, in a very good encampment, near the Sugar
Loaf Bank.    Country hereabouts all on fire.
Monday, 14-th.—Under weigh exactly at two.   Breakfast at Half-way
Creek.   Arrived at Rock(c) at half-past three in the afternoon.   Had a v
peep at the Rock, an old establishment with'its gardens.   Encamped late
at the upper end of still water.   Met three Athabasca boats about noon.
Tuesday, 15th.—Shortly after leaving camp this morning, we passed a
number of Indian families, living here the best way they can, till their
husbands return from a trip to Norway House with goods.
In course of the day, while going up Hill River, spoke JUEsp&rance
with two boats, Joe Bird with two, and Joe Cook two, all for Red
River, (d)   From the foreman took two kegs of spirits for the use of our
(») See Aprendix VI.       (6) See Appendix VII.       (c) See Appendix VIII.
(d) See Appendix IX. HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
party. Entered Swampy Lake at four, and encamped at Second Carrying
place. Reached Jack River at the usual hour for camping. [Note by Ed.
This is not the "Jack," i.e. Pike River, mentioned further on, but one
called " Jack Tent River " by Thompson, and flows eastward, while the
other, near whose mouth is Norway House, comes from the S.E. and
strikes Winnipeg waters.]
Wednesday, 16th.—Commenced the passage of Knee Lake this morning
at half-past three. Were abreast of the old depot at six. The small canoe
dropping greatly behind* after rounding the Knee, the crews exchanged
canoes by way of trial. The Governor's men with much ado, pushed the
small canoe ahead. A gust of wind, accompanied with rain and lightening, put us ashore, where we remained for two hours. Arrived at Trout
Fall by eight, and met the " White Governor [a soubriquet of the man at
the head of the boat brigade] and a party here. They took twenty-seven days
to Jack River (Norway House), and this is their ninth day downwards.
Their cargo is robes (buffalo), and a few packs of "rats." Governor Simpson bespoke two Indians to go down to meet L'Esperance, and replace
two disabled men in his boats.
Thursday, 17th.—Got off half-an-hour later than usual, in consequence
of the shoal water and numerous bad stones in this river. The Governor's
canoe touched some time after starting, whereupon we had to put ashore
and gum canoe ; about an hour after, our canoe struck, and it was with
great difficulty we gained the shore dry. The Governor pushed on, and
we remained for the space of two and a half hours, sewing in two large
pieces. Came up with the other canoe opposite Nine Mile Island at half-
past ten. Each of us en passant took a little flour at Oxford House for
the men, and exchanged the York Factory pemican, which was very bad
indeed, for better. Got to Wippimpanish at half-past five. Head wind
on the Lake.   Encamped late near Windy Lake.
The experiment of yesterday having proved that the Governor's canoe
was not only better manned, but also a better going craft, he exchanged
two good hands for two inferior ones, and throughout the whole of this
day's journey, the two canoes seem to go much alike.
Friday, 18th.—Did not start before half-past two. Got to Hill Portage
at half-past five, left at six, and reached the White Fall a quarter before
ten, when we made rather a late breakfast. Dried our tents, &c, here.
Left the upper end a little before noon, and arrived at the Painted Stone
(a) by three o'clock.   The water was low at Aitchemanus. (b)    Encamped
(a) See Appendix X.
(o) See Appendix XI. PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
f
ml'1' -
I
late below the upper beaver dam. This has been a very warm day, and
we found no mosquitoes in this acknowledged nursery for them. The
Governor shot a few ducks during the day.
Saturday, 19th.—We had thunder, with heavy showers of rain, last
night and this morning, which is the first weather of the kind since we
commenced the journey. The water being secured at one of the dams, we
carrie 1 canoes and all. Breakfast at nine o'clock at the mouth of Black
Water Creek. Sailed up Sea River.(a) Changed, [i.e. changed dress for
arrival at port,] and dined above the portage. As we waft along under
easy sail, the men with a clean change and mounting new feathers, the
Highland bagpipes in the Governor's canoe, was echoed by the bugle
in mine; then these were laid aside, on nearer approach to port, to give
free scope to the vocal organs of about eighteen Canadians (French) to
chant one of those voyageur airs peculiar to them, and always so perfectly
rendered. Our entry to Jack River House(6) (Norway House) about
seven p.m., was certainly more imposing than anything hitherto seen in
this part of the Indian country. Immediately on landing, His Excellency
was preceded by the piper from the water to the Fort, while we were
received with all welcome by Messrs. Chief Trader McLeod and Dease, (c)
Mr. Robert Clouston, and a whole host of ladies.
We here got some little things arranged for the voyage. The Governor
was occupied in writing the whole of the evening.
NORWAY  HOUSE.
Sunday 20th.—Blowing fresh last night and this morning, with occasional showers of rain. Did not start before eleven a.m. Took in the
following stores here, viz.:—23J lbs. cheese, 13 lbs. hyson tea, 1 lb.
mustard, 84 lbs. ham, 4 one gallon kegs port wine, 3 one gallon kegs of
'madeira, 21 lbs. butter, 2 casks biscuit, (fine and common) each 56 lbs.,
1 keg port wine, 1 keg spirits for the men, and left the two borrowed
from L'Esperance's boats on the 15th. The canoes, between them, had
two bags pemican, two bags flour, and a keg of pork from the Governor's stores, besides a few little necessaries for the use of the canoes.
Strong headwind in the Play Green Lake(cZ). Arrived at Warren's
Point at four p.m., but cannot commence the " Big Lake." [Winnipeg],
Monday, 21st.—Weather moderate.    Got under weigh about four a.m.
(a) See Appendix XII.
(c) See Appendix XIV,
(&) See Appendix XIII.
{d) See Appendix XV,
«* HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC. 54
There was a little wind, rather ahead all day ; still we got the length of
the first Limestone Point.
Tuesday, 22nd.—Wind continued ahead. Got to mouth of river
[Saskatchewan] for breakfast by nine. Got everything to the upper end
of the Grand Rapid (a) by about three p.m., where we remained about an
hour, drying everything we had, which had undergone a complete soaking for the space of two hours' incessant rain, while ascending the rapid.
Traded a few pieces fresh sturgeon from the Freeman (b) for a little
tobacco, besides a note to one of them, Thomas, for pork. Mounted the
Upper Rapids. Got over Cross Lake, and encamped at the head of
Cross Lake Rapid.
Wednesday, 23rd.—Made a start about the usual time. Weather fine.
Passed the Detroit by five. Breakfasted on a long Point of Cedars in
Bourbon Lake at eight. Commenced the traverse (c) without loss of time,
and were fortunate enough to gain the shore in the next narrows before a
thunderstorm with rain came on which obliged us to put ashore, unload,
and go under cover (d) for an hour and a half. Clearing up towards three
o'clock, we resumed the journey ; crossed the lower Muddy Lake, and
encamped on Z'Isle de Festins. Doctor Hamlyn, who complained a
little yesterday evening, had been very unwell the whole of this day,
proceeding from a bowel complaint. Left our frying pan in last night's
encampment.
Thursday, 24-th.—A couple of hours after leaving the encampment,
we discovered ourselves Out of the proper channel, and with the view of
gaining it, penetrated more than a mile across, through reeds and long
grass, (e) until we reached the Upper Muddy Lake, over which we had to
drag the canoes a considerable distance before we got into the regular
lead of the water. My canoe was a little crushed, over a stump in this
lake, and had to be gummed, at the breakfast hour on Vile dJEpinette.
Encamped early at the upper end of L'lle d'Fpinette, where we had
some difficulty to unload.
Friday, 25th.—The last, is the only dry night (/") we have had since
leaving Norway House, yet it does not appear to presage settled weather.
The whole of this forenoon has been nothing but showers and peals of
thunder. Stopped on shore at the Passe for a moment when we got a
few " gold eyes," [a kind of fresh herring about a foot long, with bright
iris, large and yellow—Indian name, Nacaish,] and some pieces of dried
(a) See Appendix XVI.       (&) See Appendix XVII.       (c) See Appendix XVIII.
{d) See Appendix XIX.       (e) See Appendix XX. (/) See Appendix XXI. 6 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
meat from Constant, for which we gave him a note on Mr. Leith, to
settle with him. At dinner time one of the Governor's men submitted
to the operation of having a tooth drawn by Dr. Hamlyn, which was
soon done. Put up about two leagues below the Barridre, on a small
patch of dry ground, which is rather a rare comfort in this part of the _
country.    Shot three or four pigeons and as many ducks.
Saturday, 26th.—Got under weigh by two o'clock. Came about six or
seven leagues and breakfasted, which is about the same distance to Cumberland House. Blowing fresh on the Lake, and shipped water before we
gained the shore, which we did at half-past two. Remained here, drying
baggage, for the rest of the day.
Sunday, 27th.—Here [Cumberland House] (a) took in, for the trip,
each canoe a bag of common- pemican, and for the mess, a bag of dried
meat (50 lbs.,) and 80 buffalo tongues, besides old and new potatoes,
eggs, candles, and 4 gallons of spirits for the men. Got under weigh at
half-past three, with fair weather, and a touch up of a favorite song
chorused by both canoes. Breakfasted on one of the islands. Here the
guide (b) expressed a desire to have a better division of the men in favor
of his own canoe, upon which, the Governor, in fairness to both, directed
that they should be called out one by one by the two former, which was
done, but ultimately placed both canoes nearly as they stood before the
change made on the 17th. Entered Riviere Maligne about noon. On
Rat Portage passed two Indian lodges from Rat country; offered us a
little dried meat which we declined, but gave them a dram and a little
tobacco. Encamped on Sturgeon Rock below Beaver Lake. Water
tolerably good in this river.
Monday, 28th.—Didnotstart beforethree. Entered Beaver Lake atfive.
Fine clear weather. Breakfasted on one of the islands. Commenced
Portage de Pins at half-past ten. Reached Carp Portage at five o'clock ;
made the Birch Portage and several strong rapids before we got to
another stretch of still water, where we put up a little before eight. Had
much thunder, and, now and then, tremendous heavy showers of rain.
Saw a few Indians along the banks of the river, to whom we spoke en
passant.
Tuesday, 29th.—Made an early start, being in good water, and before
six got over the Island and Pine Portages, Lake Heron, which took us
two hours.   Breakfasted in the Detroit at eight.    In two hours more we
i) See Appendix XXII.        (6) See Appendix XXIII. Hudson's bay to the pacific. /
crossed Pelican Lake. From eleven to twelve made the three short
portages, and after making Portage des Bois in a very heavy shower of
rain, we dined while gumming at the upper end. The Lake of this name
took us seven hours.    Encamped late, near bye Portage.
Wednesday, 30th.—Being close to the first portage, we did not start
before daylight. Breakfasted at the head of the first grand rapid in
English River (a) or Churchill waters, into which we fell after making
the portage this morning. Lost one of our paddles in the Barril Portage,
half way between Portage des lies and the Rapid River carrying places.
Dined at one. Saw a number of black bears here, but they made for'the
woods. Picked a good many ripe raspberries, currants and gooseberries
on the portages to-day. Showers of rain all day. Arrived at Rapid River
by four o'clock, where we remained nearly an hour for Mr. Heron, who
embarked with us for Athabasca. Here we took 45 lbs. fine pemican,
and a few pieces of dried meat. Got up little Discharge in good time,
and encamped at about three leagues from the Rapid River House.
Thursday, 31st.—Got under weigh at three o'clock. Made the Mountain Portage early, and before breakfast passed the Pine and other
Rapids. In the forenoon, made the " Devil's Portage," at the head of
which, my canoe had to be gummed, which caused a detention of half an
hour. After dinner we made a number of hauling places before coming
to Trout Portage, in one of which the Governor's canoe took a sheer, and
was nearly being dashed against the rock. At half-past seven o'clock
encamped upon a green hill about half way across the Lake. [Probably
on one side of the lake.] The piper gave us a few marches before supper.
This is admitted to have been a hard day's work. Thermometer in shade"
at noon, 70°.    Mr. Heron took his turn to watch last night.
Tuesday, 1st August.—Started at half past two o'clock, and got to
Portage de H , [possibly Portage de Halliers, Thicket Portage.]  Lac
Mitte oVOws took us to three p.m., and made Portage Femme. Pine
Lake took us an hour ; crossed that portage also. Head wind in Lac de
Souris. Put up on the sandy point, a fine dry encampment, where we
picked up a good many berries.
Saturday, 2nd.—Made an early move to-day. Got over Serpent
Rapid, Sandy Lake, Grassy River, Rapide Milieu and Rapid Croche. A
hard day's work. Governor shot a pelican, (b) a few ducks, and a couple
of geese.    Our second keg of spirits from York Factory was done.
{a) See Appendix XXTV.       (b) See Appendix XXV. 8 PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
Sunday, 3rd.—Got under weigh about the usual hour. Crossed Lake
Primeau, breakfasted at the head of Portage des Pins. Here the men
were found to be entirely out of provisions, having of their own accord
[Sic in M.S. but of course it must have been inadvertently, that the men—
of a class, characteristically and necessarily careful in such matters of life
and death in those wilds, so dropt their "prog" on the way] left at Rapid
River half of the pemican provided to each canoe. After a sharp lecture
upon their imprudent conduct, and an assurance from them never to be
guilty of so much indifference to their own absolute wants again, some
dried meat of our own was served out for the day. At half-past one, got
to head of Portage de Souris, [or Source, it is impossible to make out
some of the names in French in the M.S.] Got over the Shaggunnu by
five o'clock j day excessively warm. Encamped at Point de Gervais near
the Straits.
Monday, 4th.—Breakfasted and changed at Point au Sable. Arrived at
Fort (a) of Isle a la Crosse by eleven a.m. where we found Mr.
Deschambeault and the family of Mr. Chief Factor Charles. Remained for
the day arranging our canoes, &c. Cadotte not yet returned from Portage
La Loche, though it is now seventeen days since he passed on : last year
he was here on his way back by the first.
The Governor writing letters for the lower country. Here we take in
the following provisions, viz.:
2 Casks fine Biscuits, each 56 lbs. 10 lbs. Shot.
1 Keg Madeira Wine. 1 lb. Gun Powder.
10 lbs. Hyson Tea. 4 lbs. Ball.
3 Bags com. pemican, each 85 lbs \ doz. Gun. Worms.
70 lbs. fine          „ 12 Flints.
165 lbs. Dried Meat. 2 lbs. Twist Tobacco.
40 lbs. Flour, common, for men. 20 lbs. Gum.
3 Skins Lodge Leather. 40 pairs Shoes.
A large bark Canoe, to be returned.
Will also form a third Canoe here on account of the low water in River
La Loche.
Tuesday, 5th.—Got under weigh at half-past three a.m. with unusual
glee in the three canoes. Just as we were putting ashore for breakfast,
Cadotte cast up with his three boats from the Portage with 157 packs(6)
and 3 kegs Castorum, the returns of the McKenzie's River District for
outfit 1827.
(a) See Appendix XXVI.      (6) See Appendix XXVII. HUDSON S BAY TO THE .PACIFIC.
After being two days there, Mr. Chief Factor Smith (Edward) arrived
on the 26th ultimo, remained with him (Cadotte) five days, getting the
packs across, and left on the evening of the 31st. He believes Mr. Smith
would have been able to leave the other end of the Portage yesterday.
Dined at the narrows of Lac du Bamf at three. Head wind all day.
Encamped at a point N. W. of the old Fort, it being too late to attempt a
large traverse to the east shore, and there being every appearance of bad
weather.
Wednesday, 6th.—It was not yet two o'clock this morning when we
made a move against a strong head wind, which towards day-light increased to a gale, with heavy rain, and which rendered our landing on-one
of the points within a few leagues of the river La Loche, a matter of some
difficulty. Breakfasted early, and waited for a moderation in the weather
till about ten, when we again took to our canoes and gained the river by
noon. Were at the Forks of Pembina River at half-past three. Commenced McLeod's Portage near five o'clock, and reached the upper end all safe
before eight. Fine weather in the afternoon. Killed a few rabbits along
the banks of the river. Water remarkably low.
Thursday, 7th.—Cold frosty(a) morning. Water still the same until
we got to the Lake about two p.m. where we left the Isle a la Crosse
canoe, and a note for Mr. Stuart, (b) Sailed across the Lake, about
half-way met fifteen or twenty Chipweyan Indians with their wives
and families in as many canoes. Ten of them joined us in the evening at
the second Pose [resting place in a Jong portage, from the French word
reposer to rest] close to the little creek, and will give us a lift on this
portage of twelve miles(c) to-morrow. They say that Mr. Smith left the
other end three days ago.
Friday, 8th,—About four o'clock a.m. macje a start. The eight "bouts'
(i.e. men of the ends including steersmen and bowsmen, called " boots"
from the French word bout, end) carrying the canoes, and the other five
men of each of the canoes (only two canoes seem to have been carried
over) with the assistance of the ten Indians in carrying the loading,'were
able to remove everything in one haul (trip, " voyage " is the usual term)
by a succession of "poses" of 500 to 600 yards each.(d) We reached the
south shore of Little Lake by nine, where we breakfasted. This Lake is
about two miles in circumference, and is two thirds of the distance. We
crossed it with canoes and baggage about eleven, and the last one-third
(a) See Appendix XXVIII. (6) See Appendix XXIX.
(c) .See Appendix XXX. (d) See Appendix XXXI. 10
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
took us till two p.m. but the canoes and Indians did not arrive before
four. We gummed for three quarters of an hour, and again embarked.
Made the whole of the Mud Portage by seven, and encamped, that the
men may enjoy two or three extra glasses of spirits to-night, which they
would have had in making the portage had we had no Indians about us.
Before parting with the latter, we settled with them in the most satisfactory m'anner (to them). First, the Governor addressed them at some
length on their good behaviour since they have become reduced to one
trading house, (a) the good policy of continuing so, the propriety ©f discontinuing the use of spirituous liquors, (b) and ended in pointing out to
them the expediency of nursing the beaver in their lands. After giving
each, as a matter of great indulgence, a glass of weak rum, they got notes
on Mr. Chief Factor Charles at Isle a la Crosse for a fathom of tobacco,
&c. This has been a fine dry day, and not too warm. [No wonder—
It was a cold frosty morning the day before!] Delightful prospect (c)
down this river. [Clear Water River, one of the numerous sources of
the many branched great McKenzie, River].
Saturday, 9th.—Did not start the men before four, in consequence of
the fatigues of yesterday. Were under weigh at a quarter <to five. Got
over Portage de Pins and La Bonne Rapide before seven. Breakfasted
at the head of a cascade, where we Carried a few pieces for three-quarters
of a mile. Dined in the usual way as we dropped down. Water low in
this place. Passed the mouth of Pembina uEiiver at half-paat five. Encamped late, within a couple of leagues of the big Athabasca River, (d)
Killed a cat, [Note by Ed.—Lynx probably, for there are no cats, eo nomine,
in that quarter, but there is a rocky mountain cat, an animal with a fearful yell, called Pichon by the French Canadians, whose habitat is considered as confined to the Rocky Mountains, four hundred miles off, and to
their slope and plains where wooded, at the foot of the mountains. The
animal is about the size of an ordinary sized dog, fawn colored, and spotted like a panther—hence also called panther cat. However, it is possible that the animal, of wandering habit like all felines, may have got
thus far in search of food.] This is the only quadrxiped(e) we have seen
since the bears in English River.
Sunday, 10th.—Head wind. Thunderstorm with flashes of lightning
and tremendous fall of rain throughout the night. The water being
shoal, we did not start before four o'clock.   Arrived at the Grand River
(a) See Appendix XXXH.     (b) See Appendix XXXIII.   (c) See Appendix XXXIV.
[d) See Appendix XXXV.      (e) See Appendix XXXVI. HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PA7CIFIC.
[Grande Rivi&re] Athabasca, which we found " good water/* Fine
runs along the river. Passed Red River and the Little5 Hills opposite at
half-past ten o'clock. Passed the Bituminous Springs (a) on right, about
noon, and reached Pierre au Calumet (pipe stone), on left hand at two
o'clock. Had the pleasure of passing this afternoon on board with the
Governor. About four o'clock a heavy dark cloud in the south-west indicated the approach of a storm which, in a few minutes, poured down
upon us in hail stones of at least the size of a small-pistol ball, and continued for about twenty-five minutes. The evening wet, cold, and chilly.
Encamped on Poplar Point. Large strata of Pit Coal (b) all along
either side of the River. Not an Indian on this communication, and
strange to say, not even the appearance of an animal.
Monday, 11th.—Started after three. Breakfasted at eight, about
nine miles above H Embarras, which we passed at half-past ten, leaving
the old fort of Mr. Ross nearly opposite on the right hand. At one
o'clock, White. Fish Creek on the right. Did not enter Athabasca
Lake (c) before five. Crossed with the poles. Strong head wind.
Changed [i.e. dressed for arrival in proper tri&i] on Coal Island, and arrived at Fort Chippawian (d) [Chipewyan] by seven, where we found
Mr. William McGillivray. Mr. Smith arrived here from the portage
with his three boats two days ago. The Indians were much pleased to
see their old trader, Mr. Simpson, once more among them. It is just a
month since we left York Factory, (e)    New, but very small potatoes.
Tuesday, 12th.—Boisterous weather during the whole of last night
and to-day. Men could do nothing to their canoes. Mine remains here,
and we take another in its stead of rather a larger size. Mr. Smith
leaves this in a couple of days for McE^cnzie's River. The present system of transport between that part of the interior and York Factory is
an admirable one. Mr. Smith went down from the Forks or Fort
Simpson to Fort Good Hope, with two boats for the returns in the latter
end of May. Left it on his way back on the fourth of June. En passant
took in the packs of Mr. Brisebois at Fort Norman. Got back to Fort
Simpson on the 17th, where he took in the furs of the place and those of
Mr. McPherson procured up the south branch at Fort de Liards, and
made a final start on the 19th, with the whole returns of that district in
. three boats—say 160 packs exclusive of twenty-five that remain inland
for want of means to carry them out.    Mr. Smith arrived at Slave Lake
(a) See Appendix XXXVII.  (6) See Appendix XXXVHI. (c) See Appendix XXXIX.
{d) See Appendix XLi (e) See Appen<Jix XLI.
PI 12
PEAOE RIVER 3   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
[Great Slave Lake] on the 3rd of July, and at Fort Chipwayan [so in
M. S.]—reached Portage La Loche on the 26th, where Cadotte with
three boats and the outfit from York Factory, had been, two days previous. He was eight days on the portage, and of course, returned from
this end on the 4th of August.
Wednesday, 13th.—Weather much changed. Making every preparation to start to-morrow. The Governor closed his public correspondence
for the season this side of the Rocky Mountains, (a) among which is a
Chief Factor's Commission to Mr. Peter Warren Dease (b). All the
Chipwayans are within reach of the Fort, and came in to-day and had
an audience with the Governor. Mr. James Heron was introduced to
them as the successor of Mr. William McGillivray, who accompanies us
to-morrow for the west side of the mountains, family and all. All the
buildings about this place are in a state of decay. Gardens not very
extensive.
Note of sundries received at Fort Chipwyan :—
4 Ba^s Pemican, 40 lbs. Gum,
10 lbs. Grease, 21 lbs. Dried Meat,      20 lbs. Grease for ditto,
7 quarts Salt,
5 lbs. Tobacco,
5 lbs. Beaver Shot.
1J lbs. Gunpowder,
1J lbs. Gun Flints,
2 Large Axes in use,
1 Flat File, (12 inches)
5 Rusty Clasp Knives,
12 Dressed Skins, [to make]
74 Pairs Tndian Shoes.
All on account of general expenses. Northern Department.
The following are charged to the Columbia Department for supplies to
men as per account :—12 lbs tobacco, &c.
Thursday, 14th.—Constant rain again the whole of this forenoon, and
could not start before half-past twelve. Mr. McGillivray embarks with
the Doctor, and I have the honor of taking a place with the Governor in
his canoe. Our departure from Fort Chipwyan—the grand emporium of
the North in days of yore—was as imposing as the firing of guns, heavy
cheers from master and men on the rocks, and the waving of flags, and
songs in abundance on our part could make it. Left at two, on our
right, English Island, where- Mr. Peter Fidler formerly built, and whose
chimnies still stand. At three o'clock entered the small river whose
current at present is with us. Dined. The evening threatening a
violent storm, to make the best of it, we encamped early at the end of
the portage that leads to the House [Fort] in winter.
(a) See Appendix XJLJI.        {b) See Appendix XLni, Hudson's bay to the pacific.
13
Friday, 15th.—Watch was again regularly kept. Got under weigh at
three. Fell into Peace River in an hour after, and which of course, we
now ascend. Breakfasted a little below Point Providence. [The names
of places in the manuscript are sometimes difficult to make out ; this is
one.] Beach muddy and dirty, and of which, I understand, we shall
have abundance before we reach Dunvegan. I believe that it was from
this point that most of the party sent down fiom the falls [Mountain
Fall] by Mr. Clarke [late chief Factor, John Clarke, of Montreal,]
perished in 1815, on their way down io Fort Wedderburn. Weather
pretty fine to-day. A solitary swan, the only game in the course of this
day's march, passed us. It received eight or ten shots from us, but to
no purpose. Encamped on Isle de Pldtre. [So called, probably, from the
plastery nature of the soil.]
Saturday, 16th.-—Made a move at two. Breakfasted on a small island
where Mr. John George McTavish was taken by the ice in the fall of
1818. Jack Fish Creek on our right at noon. John's house nearly
opposite. Saw two or three flocks of geese, but killed none. Two Cree
families encamped on the island below Grande Marie. Gave us
nothing.
Sunday, 17th.—Soon after starting, came to another camp of Crees of
ten or twelve lodges; they had nothing but a few scraps of very indifferent meat, which we paid for three-fold in tobacco. Breakfasted above
Mr. McTavish's House. Light showers all day. Could distinctly see
the Cariboo Mountains at a distance, to our right (a). Killed a couple of
young geese. Early to-night, the Northern Lights have been seen to very
great advantage. Often a complete arch from east to west, of the most
brilliant columns sprang up, and as often dispersed (b).
Monday, 18th.—Breakfasted below Cariboo River, which we left on
our right about noon. At three, passed Wolf Point. A few minutes
before we arrived at the Falls, left Red River on our left. Made portage
at six, and at the upper carrying place, arrived with canoes, baggage and
all, not before eight, where we found the recent encampment of Beaver
Indians. The Fall [called the Mountain Fall, and also Grand Falls] is
a grand sheet of water, about half a mile across, and perhaps ten or fifteen
feet high (c).    Last of men's rum finished to-day.
Tuesday, 19th.—Breakfasted opposite Loon River, below the " Eng"
[English f] old house built by Halcro. Three hours after that, passed
Colville  House,  then Mr. Clarke's Point, and after that, about four
• {a) See Appendix XLIV,       (b) See Appendix XLV,        (c) See Appendix XLVI. 14
PEACE RIVER:   CAM0K,V0YAGE ERQM
o'clock, Boyer's River, Upper Cariboo River, and Old Fort Liard, all in
succession on our right. Encamped early on a fine high bank. In the
course of the day the foreman of the second canoe was called to account
for not keeping up with the other, which seems to have had the effect of
spurring them on the remainder of the day. This, besides another, is the
only fine day throughout we have had since leaving Norway House.
Wednesday, 20th.—~Started early. Breakfasted above big Pointe de
Roche, and dined near the little point of the same name, near old Fort de
Tremble.   At the C by six ; Long Island, which is half way to the
House, about eight; and did not arrive at Fort Vermilion (a) before
ten, where we found Mr. Paul Fraser and two men, and here also we got
a sumptuous supper of hot moose steaks and potatoes.
Thursday, 21st.—Remain here all day, which gives the men an opportunity of refreshing themselves. This is by far, the finest day but one,
since we left Norway House. In addition to which, we have had the good
chance to find the greatest part of a fresh moose here, which, with the
acquisition of potatoes affords them (the men) a delicious meal. Sent the
interpreter and a young half-b^eed up the river to the Fort hunters requesting that they may have an animal or two for us to-morrow evening.
In the afternoon, three of the Beaver Indians came in and were amused
at everything they saw about us, the doctor's percussion gun, and our
various musical instruments. They seem to have good gardens here, in
potatoes and barley.
Friday, 22nd.—Did not start before six a.m. Left the Keg Creek on
our right by ten ; Iroquois and Goose Rivers at eleven and twelve.
Dined below Wolverine Point, and soon after fell in with the canoes
sent to the hunters yesterday, who informed us that up to that time
nothing had been killed, but that in all probability we should find them
with something towards evening, higher up. Accordingly, by seven
o'clock, on point.Hangard a VEau [shed or outhouse on the water,] we
found the two with a moose, (b) which our men soon carried from the
woods. Encamped. The hunters were well rewarded by notes on the
Fort and a little tobacco from ourselves.
Saturday, 23rd.—-Were under weigh early. Breakfasted at L'Isle de
Landrie. Dined at L'Isle de Perche, and encamped two miles above
Battle River.   Constant showers since we left the Fort.   Men feast well.
Sunday, 24$"^—Breakfasted below old Fort feu a cheval, [Fort fire
on horseback is unintelligible, but so it is written, and the editor has no
(«) See Appendix XLVII.       (6) See Appendix XLVIH. Hudson's bay to the pacific. 15
means of finding what is meant; none of the maps at his command
shew it, and he has the very best, including that made by the celebrated
Arrowsmith—prince of map makers—for the Hudson's Bay Company
out of plans, maps, and reports, &c, furnished by the Company itself]
Here, in former days, Messrs. Clarke and Black had a recontre. Put
ashore on a dirty gravelly beech below He de Campement, and at this moment (eleven p.m.) the torrent of rain, with wind and lightening, is
tremendous.
- Monday, 25th.—Stormy morning, did not start before four. Breakfasted at Cadotte's River. Encamped at the Spring Islands, near Mr.
Colin Campbell's House, early, that ourselves and men may make things
a little comfortable and strong after the ducking of last night and this
morning. The River in this part seems imbedded in sand-stone rock,
which shows on both sides ; the sandstone here and there emitting large
columns of black earth(a) in [on] the hills from above the margin of the
rock. [The description is given in the ipsissima verba of the M.S. in case
the phenomenon, one so strange, yet not unaccountable, should be misrepresented by an alteration of terms or construction of sentence.]
Tuesday, 26th.—Made a move about three. Breakfasted a little below
the lost St.  Mary's House, which is nearly opposite Riviere le C	
We all walked along the beach for some distance, from Mr. Robertson's,
St. Mary's, which we passed at eleven a.m., and which is diiectly facing
Clarke's original St. Mary's at the mouth of Smoky River, (b) Dined at
an old Fort of Mr. David Thompson's, and encamped at the Six Islands
with a freeman called Bastonais, who gave us a little bear's meat and
berries. This is a delightful country, that we have passed through today, (c) Passed through crops of berries, "poires " or sascutum berries (d)
all along the bank of the river.
Wednesday, 27th.—Started early so as to arrive at the Fcrt to-night,
in which object we were much assisted by the unusual fine weather, but
the breaking of one of our canoes retarded us some time. Saw a couple
of bears at a distance. Towards evening the appearance of half-a-dozen
horses convinced us we were near Dunvegan, (e) which we accordingly
reached at sunset, and took Mr. Campbell by surprise.
Thursday, 28th.—We remain here for the day, allowing the men to
recruit: but unfortunate it is, that there is at this moment no fresh
meat at the place, and that we can only make up for the deficiency, in
(a) See Appendix XLIX.       (6) See Appendix L.       (c) See Appendix LI,
(d) See Appendix LII.      (e) See Appendix LIU PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE tfROM
good dried meat for them. But as animals are very numerous in the
neighbourhood, the Indian hunters were dispatched this morning to make
what havoc they can amongst them. The two men of the Fort, with the
assistance of our own, made thirteen bags of pemican, enough with
what we had on hand, to start with on our voyage, and we trust at the
same time to the success of the hunters for a little more. We mean to
start to-morrow.
This establishment was abandoned in the fall of 1824, in consequence
of the death(a) of Mr. Guy Hughes and four men at St. Johns in the fall
of 1823, and Fort Yermilion alone was kept in Peace River. A certain
end by this measure being gained. Dunvegan was re-established by Mr.
Campbell.
The Fort was found perfectly entire, and the'Beaver Indians have ever
since evinced the. most friendly and submissive disposition. Indeed from
the commencement of this unfortunate affair, the Indians of the two lower
establishments could not strictly be charged with any share in the massacre at St. John's. Many are the opinions, and indeed many of them
very opposite, relative to this melancholy subject. Whoever were the
perpetrators, and however substantial the proof against any of them, such
it is, that three or four of the St. John's Indians have kept aloof ever
since; frequenting the country along the edge of mountains between the
head waters of the River de Liard, and the mouth of Finlay's Branch.
Upon such an occasion as this, it could not be supposed that the Governor would pass through the country without adverting to those outrages,
and recommending proper conduct in future on the part of all the Indians
of this quarter. This was done in due form through La Fleur, the Interpreter, to as many of them (seven or eight) as were present this evening.
The frolics of old, from liquor, were in like manner alluded to, and in
particular that which led to the death of an Indian at this place some
years ago. They appeared much pleased with what is said to them. The
sound of the bugle, the bagpipes, Highland Piper in full dress, the
musical suuff box, &c., excited in them emotions of admiration and wonder. They got a little tobacco, and a very weak drop of rum and water
with sugar.
Friday, 29th.—-The hunters returned late last night with a moose, but
being leas than the quantity expected, we take an additional two bales
of meat.   Our whole supplies here are as follows, viz :
{a) See Appendix LIV, HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
17
7 Dressed Skins, including one
for Cords.
72 lbs. Dried Meat, rations for
Men.
2 Parchment Skins, as wrappers.
1 Canoe Awl.
1 Moose Deer—fresh meat.
12 Skins per order of Governor
50 Pairs Indian Shoes.
10 Bags common pemican.
3   „    fine with berries.
1 quart gunpowder and 100 balls.
7 bales dried meat, each 85 lbs.
including  1 to  Gentlemen, of
only 80 lbs.
39 lbs. Grease, exclusive of 4 lbs.
for gum.
Had an early breakfast, and after taking leave of the new Chief Trader,
(for Mr. Campbell was one of the batch of this season,) we took our
departure in three canoes; the third canoe we bring the length of the
portage, finding that we would be too much encumbered in the two
canoes. Saw several bears in the course of the day, and we also
fancied we saw the buffalo. Killed nothing. Raining most of the afternoon.   Encamped early below the islands without name.
Saturday, 30th.—Made an early start.. Strong current(a) all day.
Weather very fine. Great appearance of Beaver. Saw several lodges in
main river. Bears numerous along the hills, one crossed the river before
us, but gained the shore before we could be at him. Breakfasted in front
of a hill on main river, to which it is said, the Red Deer is peculiar in
this quarter.   Encamped at La Greve near the river.
Sunday, 31st.—Breakfasted on Pemican Island, and dined about 500
yards below Fort d-Epinette; near the same distance above it, the same
side, is Riviere d'Epvnette (Pine River) a stream of some size. Encamped
within a short distance of Mr. Yale's House on the left hand. Did not
land at St. John's were the people were murdered. Saw the houses and a
cross(6) or two on the beach. About five o'clock spoke two Indians of
the beaver tribe, with their families, from whom we obtained some berries and a little bear's meat: a third Indian belongs to the band, and
according to the information of the others was out hunting to-day, but
we apprehend that to be a " fitch," and that he made it a point to be off
with himself as we landed, being in some degree involved in the mystery
attending the murder. His name is Sancho. He was much enraged at
Mr. Black for taking away one of his wives a few days prior to the sanguinary deed; was present when the Indians fired at Messrs. Black and
Henry's canoes going off from St. John's, and. is, at all events, the brother
(a) See Appendix LV.        (6) See Appendix LVI, 18
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
of two Indians that have not been seen since, and are universally
charged as the murderers. Those we saw, seemed good Indians. For
the meat they gave us, they had notes on the Fort.
Monday, September 1st.—Started at half-pas^t three. At five passed
the Grande Fourche which we had on the left. Breakfasted below the
Red Stone Rock, on the same side. Doctor and myself ashore to-day, and
had much misery.    River D on right.    Riviere la Petite Tete, on
same side at five. Camped at seven. Current strong. Fine dry day. Saw
many beaver lodges in the morning. Through the night they [beaver]
were working and plunging in the river. Our canoe from Dunvegan goes
very indifferently.
Tuesday, 2nd.—Thick morning. Fired, but to no purpose, at four
red deer this morning. Left another Grande Fourche on the right.
Breakfasted one point above Riviere Maligne. Dined on He de Pierre.
Soon after had a glance of the Rocky Mountains (a) a few leagues off.
Current not so strong to-day. Arrived at the portage at five. [N. B.—
First portage, save that only other one from the mouth of Peace River,
viz. : that at the Grand Falls of " ten or fifteen feet" fall, already
reported.] Immediately, eight men with the two canoes proceeded by
water, and with the remaining ten we made the first pose of the portage
with something like forty pieces. Encamped on the first fine level above
the water, and have the old Mountain House right opposite on the
south side. Near where we landed, the rocks in several places, poured
out spouts of water as if coming from the mouth of a gun.
Wednesday, 3rd.—By four, the canoes were under weigh. Reached the
top of the last high bank and breakfasted at eleven. About a mile of the
worst road in Christendom. After midday, resumed the journey, and
with unspeakable misery to the poor men got to a small swamp, a little
more than another mile. Ourselves, however, with the necessary baggage, pushed on to a little clear stream ahead, not quite half a mile, and
encamped late. No people having passed this way for the last three
years, and, of course, no clearance made in a road that at best must be
an infamous one, presented a horrible appearance to-day, and whatever
be the fate of the canoes and men by water, I think, of the two evils,
they have chosen the least; in fact, without considerable labour, the way
would be impracticable for passing the canoes. [Id est, for passing canoes
overland.J    A large moose buck passed us in the woods this morning.
(a) See Appendix LVII. ^Hudson's bay to the pacific.
Thursday, 4th.—Returned early to men left behind last night, and got
all on to Little Creek by eight, without further delay to them than in
taking a good draught of water. Carried on very well, on tolerably
clear ground, till we came to another watering place called La VaceUe,
[probably La VaisseUe], about four miles on, and breakfasted after midday,
although the whole property was not that length. As we were contriving how to get on to the next water, the best way we could, the canoe
men fortunately met us, which enabled all hands to effect the pose completely ; and here we are, within three short miles of the River. With
the exception of the first four hours to-day, the road was passable, but
many of our pieces were most awkward, such as our taureau [pemican in
bags] that were made almost round, and to mend the matter, in parchment skins, so that to keep one on the top of another was next to an
impossibility. [One on the top of another, for two pieces of 90 lbs., is
the ordinary portage load for each man.] It would appear that the canoe
men had a most miraculous escape yesterday. The guide's canoe, with
himself and three men, were within an ace of going to perdition over
one of the most formidable cascades they had to encounter. The navigation is excessively bad and hazardous. We have been very fortunate
in the weather of late.
' Friday, 5th.—Fine day again. Without encountering anything remarkable, we all arrived at the upper end of the portage by eight; the
road was good, and we had but three loads over and above the charge of
each man. The canoes requiring a complete overhauling, the men washing and mending their shirts and trowsers, and otherwise much in want
of a- little repose, the Governor has given the rest of the day for that
purpose, and he is himself writing a few letters ; one of them for Mr.
Hunt of St. Louis. In the afternoon we amused ourselves shooting at
marks, playing the flute, bag-pipes, <fcc. A half-breed of an Indian we
have had from the Fort returns to-morrow morning with the canoe from
the other end of the portage. In the course of the afternoon Doctor
Hamlyn and myself took a stroll down to the first cascades from here,
where the water has worked its way into the rock in a remarkable
degree, and the whole of the country above this barrier, as far as we
see, indicating a strong proof of the edge not giving way to the water
many centuries ago, and, of course, forming a higher fall than is the case
at present.
Saturday, 6th.—Made an early start, and commenced with the line,
which continued, except when we could not help it, till breakfast time, 20
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
Dined above what is called Pointe Greve de la Grande Prairie. [This is
the nearest dechiffrement that I can make of this, another unfortunate
French name. Some may say it is of no importance; but it is of importance, in that no traveller here may question our veracity and
fidelity. It is truth, not a mere " traveller's tale" we would give.] At
half-past four, fell in with two Indians of the Chicanee tribe, from which
we got a little dried meat. They had beaver, which they mean to trade
at Trout Lake. , This tribe is at variance with the Beaver Indians, and
do not like to visit the establishments of Peace River. Mr. Smith,
again, is for supplying them from a small house on the head waters of the
South branch of McKenzie's River. I believe at this moment some of
them visit another of the New Caledonia Posts on Conolly's or Bear's
Lake. They seem to deserve a house [trading house] somewhere, for
their country is rich in beaver. A fine encampment to-day, about two
leagues above the two rivers where we saw the Indians. Weather
pleasant.
Sunday, 7th.—Resumed our journey this morning a quarter before
four. Belair's River on our right at seven. Mounted the Grand Rapid
about nine, and breakfasted. Clear Water River on our left at eleven.
Round Island at one p. m. Hill's Gate in face of rock [or gate in * * * *
of rock—the writing is blurred and faded, and impossible to make out,]
on our right about five. Encamped at Bernard's River (named after our
guide in consequence of his falling in the river with the Governor this
evening) at half past six. [Note by Ed.—In disembarking from large
canoes, passengers have generally to be carried from the canoe to the
shore.] The mountains, this afternoon, assume a stupendous appearance.
(a) Snow on summit of several of them. Saw vestiges of Indians along
the river, and heard a shot in the afternoon.
Monday, 8th.—Started late. At another Grand Rapid by seven, and at
Finlay's Branch (b) twenty minutes after. There we saw twelve to fifteen
Indians, who seemed to have beaver, but have very little appearance of
good living. We gave them a little ammunition and tobacco. On enquiry
they told us they were not in the habit of visiting any part of the waters
of McKenzie's River, they being an immense distance off, (and yet there,
before their eyes, were " Waters of McKenzie's River.") Arrived at Little
Forks about eleven, and encamped on a fine dry beach on the right hand,
about the usual time.
{a) See Appendix LVHI,        (6) See Appendix LIX. HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACIFIC;
21
In the afternoon, met three more Indians that were at the house. (The
nearest trading post, " McLeod's Fort," *. e. McLeod's Fort on west side
of the R. Mts.) They left Mr. Tod and two men there yesterday.
Tuesday, 9th.—Fine day, breakfasted at nine.    At La Prairie by one,
River la M at three, and at the Grand Remou before sunset {Remou
backwater). Encamped about a league above.    Saw a number of geese in
this part of the river.
Wednesday, 10th.—Passed Pointe la Cache at seven a.m. Peace River
diminishing fast, (a) and entered Black Water Creek at three p.m. which
is very low indeed.    Encamped at entrance of Lac la Loche very lata
Thursday, 11th.—Started early. Lake took us half-an-hour this morning. Entered Little River by right hand branch, which is very shoal,
and the canoes in consequence, had to be handed over in many places.
Saw fresh tracks of two large reindeer. Killed a goose. Put ashore ;
changed, (i. e. dress), and breakfasted within 200 yards of the Fort, and
just before we entered Trout or McLeod's Lake. Of course we took Mr.
Tod unexpectedly. He and his two men were on short commons, their
fishery having been very uncertain throughout the summer. Baptist© 'la
Pierre dispatched with letters to Stuart's Lake about noon, and will, in all
probability, overtake an Indian that left this in the morning on same
message from Mr. Tod.
Friday, 12th.—Remained here all day, preparing lading. Got a few
remarkably small white fish (b) in a net this morning. No potatoes this
season. [Cultivation neglected, probably.] The Indians of this place
are twenty-six, exclusive of the Chicanees, and not counting those about
Finlay's Branch. Last year they gave about two thousand beaver, [a large
return for such a place—Ed.] and this season promise to do equally well.
[Here follows a report in all detail, of a case brought before His Excellency,
as Judge, of a case of assault by one man on another, under suspicion of
tampering with his wife. The verdict—for His Excellency seems also to
have been chosen as Jury—was, Scotice, "not proven," but with
a powerful recommendation to the accused [a la Lord Kenyon, who was,
of all Judges, the most severe in cases like this, of crirn con] not to try
that sort of thing again; and by way of " earnest," a small penalty was
imposed, to wit ten shillings, payable as solatium, under the benign doctrine of the Scotch Law, i.e. Law of New Caledonia, in such case made
and provided—which money was at once tendered, but was indignantly
(a) See Appendix LX,
(J) See Appendix LXI. 22 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
rejected; whereupon, says the report, " it was made over to another, to
buy liquor at the depot:"—on the principle, probably,—also Scotchy :—
" When neebours anger at a plea, *
And are as wud (angry) as wud can be,
It's ae the lawyer's cheapest fee,
To taste the barley bree."        Burns.
The  " beauty " of the Judgment, in its pre-eminence from the top of
the Rocky Mountains, whence delivered, was, that it pleased not either
party, and, not a little, frightened both out of their impropriety and evil
doing in their respective ways, and on all, had a most wholesome moral
effect. *
" Most rightful Judge !"
" Most learned Judge !!"
Shylock, Merchant of Venice.
" His worship "—winds up the report—" begged their attention, man and
all of them, to a proper and correct conduct."]
Saturday, 13th.—Having laid up in Mr. Tod's store, 9 bags of
pemican, a keg of sugar, a tinnet of ham and tongues, and a keg of
sundries, with two small bundles, the whole for the purpose of being sent
for by the people at Stuart's Lake as soon as possible, we made a move
at half-past five, every man with a piece, including the provisions, viz :—
1 keg Madeira Wine La Course.
1 bag Tongues Delorme.
1  Cassette, McD. and H Anawagon.
1 Paper Trunk, Governor Martin.
1 Cassette, Mr. McGillivray Larante.
1 bag Biscuit St. Denis.
1 Bed, Messrs. McD. «and H Houle.
1 keg Port Wine Lasard.
1 Cave (Travelling Case) M	
1 Piece (two tents) Charpentier.
1 Basket Hoog.
1 Pemican Desguilars.
1 Cassette, Governor Nicholas.
1 Bed Tomma.
1 Pemican Peter.
Clothes bag, dried meat, shoes, two skins.... Guide. Cooking kettle, tea
kettle, saucepan, gum....Piper. Guns, great coats, &c, &c, &c....Servant.
[The men go in couples to assist each other in taking off and putting onloads.] HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
23
Thus loaded, we cannot be expected to get on quickly, for the road is exceedingly bad, no transport of any consequence having gone on here for
the last three years, and no improvement or clearing away made on the road.
Arrived at first Lake before seven, and at second by half-past eight.
Breakfasted. Off again by eleven, and reached Long Lake about four
o'clock. Total distance, say eighteen miles. The last half of the way very
oad.   Plenty of water all along.   A fine day.
Sunday, 14th.—Moved off as soon as we could conveniently see. Long
Lake took us but an hour. To Round Lake another, and by eight we
arrived at the east end of Carp Lake. This year the road is good, however the ground we came over along the Lake till half-past nine a.m. was
very indifferent. To the traverse was equally bad. This took us three
hours on a very frail raft, which being effected in safety, all hands were
treated with a bumper of Port Wine, and we resumed the journey at
four. Met a Canadian and four Indians about five. Rode on another
hour, and encamped at a small lake on our right, in what is called the
Brule. [Burnt wood district.] Guilbault and the Indians proceed to
McLeod's Lake for loads to-morrow morning. Had a round on the bagpipes, to the great astonishment of the natives. Distance to-day fifteen
miles.
Monday, 15th.—Before we parted from Guilbault and followers this
morning, we gave about 25 lbs. pemican to put into cache until their
return, as their provisions from the Fort are not adequate to the journey.
Arrived at River La Cache in one hour and a half, and at Half-way Creek
in about the same time. Came but a short way further, and breakfasted
at the edge of a small lake to the left. Drizzly rain the whole afternoon,
but throughout the rest of the day increased to heavy showers, which
lasted until we encamped on a small prairie (of on Salmon River. Point of
the woods took us two hours, and from there to White River half as long
over very fine country. The rest of this day's work took us two hours
more, and we encamped at four p.m. drenched to the very skin, after
performing a journey of twenty miles.
Tuesday, 16th.—Did not start before six o'clock. Good walking in the
morning. Left Lac des Morts and another small one on the left hand,
and arrived at Carrier Lake to breakfast, expect a few that missed their
way, and followed a track that led them three miles' to the eastward at
Beaver Lake. They joined us in the course of the forenoon. While wait-
(a) See Appendix LXII. 24
peace river:  canoe voyage from
ing for them there, two men—Indians—met us from the Fort. They, of
course, continued their route to McLeod's Lake. An hour after resuming
our journey after breakfast, we bent our course to the right, to avoid the
very bad road along a bay in Carrier Lake, [whose outlet debouches near
Fort St. James,] and crossed a small inlet on a raft, which took us an
hour. Here we again met a Canadian and four Indians with two more
horses. They, in like manner, proceeded to McLeod's Lake, and will we
trust be able to carry everything. To-night we encamped within twelve
miles of the Fort, and have three or four Carriers about us. The bagpipes
pleased them to admiration, as well as the bugle, but it was the musical
box that excited their astonishment most, especially when it was made to
appear to be the Governor's Dog that performed the whole secret. Came
eighteen miles to-day.
Wednesday, 17th.—Morning cloudy, and appearance of rain. Our
horses not found till late. In the meantime, however, party with their
loads commenced their march. Overtook them by nine, and about an
hour after> at the last Lake, within a mile of the Fort, halted for breakfast, and changed [dress.]
The day, as yet, being fine, the flag was put up ; the piper in full
Highland costume; and every arrangement was made to arrive at Fort
St. James (a) in the most imposing manner we could, for the sake of the
Indians. Accordingly, when within about a thousand yards of the establishment, descending a gentle hill, a gun was fired, the bugle sounded,
and soon after, the piper commenced the celebrated march of the clans—\
" Si coma leum cogadh na shea," (Peace : or War, if you will it otherwise.) [Note by Ed.—Though in a sense, a Highlander (Rocky
Mountain) and the son of a Highlander in native .heath born, I must
confess myself unable to grapple such vernacular, and must beg pardon,
if in blundering, I offend. I have often heard my father say, that in the
multitude and variety of Indian languages, he had to deal with and in
the Columbia—and on the Pacific Slope, they are numerous and radically
varied as the " hundred and one" (fifty odd, I believe) tribes that live, or
lived there—he never found the Gaelic to fail him at a pinch, as a " universal language."] " The guide, with the British ensign, led the van,
followed by the, band ; then the Governor, on horseback, supported behind by Doctor Hamlyn and myself on our chargers, two deep ; twenty
men, with their burdens, next formed the line ; then one loaded horse,
(a) See Appendix LXIII. HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
25
and lastly, Mr. McGillivray [with his wife and light infantry] closed the
rear. During a brisk discharge of small arms and wall pieces from the
Fort, Mr. Douglas" [Note by Ed.—"Mr. Douglas," afterwards Sir
James Douglas, first Governor of British Columbia, to whom, very
largely, British tenure in those then bloody wilds is due. He was an
officer eminent for his skill, energy and daring, (and his compeers ranked
high in those qualities—for the " service" then, there, was one essentially
militant, and extremely perilous—I say then, but refer more particularly
to the ten years immediately preceding the date of this march to the time
of "Si coma leum cogadh, &c") The journals and letters in my possession, of my father and his numerous correspondents Chief Factors and
Chief Traders in charge of different trading districts throughout the
whole Pacific slope, from furthest north to the then American
boundary, 41* 47' North Lat. or about that, are full of accounts of fights
with Indians, and ever against fearful odds: I refer more particularly to
the years of 1822, 3, 4, 5, 6.] Proceeds the Journal—"Mr. Douglas met us
a short distance in advance, and in this order we made our entree into
the Capital of Western Caledonia. No sooner had we arrived, than the
rain which threatened us in the morning, now fell in torrents.
Mr. Connolly, [the late Chief Factor James Connolly, of Montreal,]
had not arrived, nor had any word been had of him since the 24th ultimo,
then but one day on this side of Kamloops. A letter was forthwith addressed to him by the Governor, and two men were kept standing at the
gate until the shower should be over, ready to start, with it down the
River, when, all of a sudden a canoe appears on the Lake, and in about
twenty minutes, we had the infinite satisfaction of receiving Mr. Connolly
on the beach, amidst a renewal of salutes from the Fort.
He lejt the Pacific on the 23rd of June,{a) and we left Hudson's Bay
on the 12th of July.
We are now on what may be called the Height(6) of Land which forms
this part of the Continent of America; and it is singular to remark, that
without any previous appointment, we should arrive here within two hours
of each of other, say at 2 and 4 p.m., and singular also is the coincidence
that the salmon, in its annual ascent for spawning, has just, last night,
made its appearance ! !
Thursday, 18th.—The fresh salmon at this place is not yet in sufficient
quantity to give all hands a good meal, and, of course, recourse is had to a
I
(a) See Appendix LXIV.
(&) See Appendix LXV, PEACE RIVER: A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
little remaining of that of last year, and the dried carp of last summer :
doleful fare to be sure !
In the course of the day, Mr. Yale, and the loaded canoes with the rest
of the outfit, arrived, having left one behind which was broken to pieces
in one of the rapids below this; the property will be sent for soon. Now
that Mr. Yale is here, it is decided, that as far as Alexandria, he is to
accompany Pierre La Course and three men that we send off to-morrow
for Thompson's River, to commence building a boat there immediately, to
take us down to Fort Langley. Wrote to Mr. Ermatinger, [late Chief
Factor Francis Ermatinger,] on this head, and in like manner to Mr.
McDougall, that the men might be furnished with horses, and pushed on
without an hour's delay.
Friday, 19th.—The quantity of Salmon yet caught is very inadequate
to the demands of the day. A few, say from 10 to 15, are taken in the
twenty-four hours in 4 or 5 nets belonging to the Fort, and perhaps as
many are got from the natives. Geese and rabbits are also procured at
this season, which reinforces the table not a little. Weather wet and
disagreeable ever since our arrival. Mr. Yale and the four men went off
this afternoon in two small canoes, and I may as well say, in canoes too
small. The Guide is directed to fall to and put the only two large bark
canoes here in the best possible condition to descend the river with to
Alexandria, where arrangements will be made for the march. We receive
Wocan, the Interpreter, and four additional men here, and can afford to
spend a few days longer on this" communication " than was originally intended, so as to give time to the boat builders at Thompson's River.
Saturday, 20th.—Weather still continues the same. The principal
Indians of the place have been sent for, and introduced to the Governor
as the Great Chief of the Country. After exhibiting before them our
various musical performances, &c, to their utter " amusement," an address
was made to them through Mr. Connolly and the Linguist, in which the
Governor laid great stress upon the conduct of the Carriers (a) of late.
The affair of Fort George 5 or 6 years ago, is in the recollection of every
one in the Country, and which passed unnoticed till this summer, when
one of the murderers visited the village, of this place, and was destroyed
by Mr. Douglas and six men, on the spot. [There is a little obscurity here,
but I cannot clear it up. I take it that it means that Mr. Douglas with
six men, walked into the village or camp of the Indians harbouring the
(a) See Appendix LXVX HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
27
culprit, and then and there " did justice" in the premises. Mr. Douglas
was just the man to do so righteous a deed, and with those similarly situated throughout the country, it was the regular practice of the day,
to meet all exigencies of a case, at all personal risk.]
The event excited great consternation in some, 'and indignation in
others. The Indians to whom he was on a visit [the " village must have
been some little distance off,] thought it incumbent upon them, in self
defence, to claim for the relations of the deceased, some property for them
in indemnication for their loss, and accordingly they all assembled, and
made a clandestine entry into the Fort, and insisted upon getting a
blanket.
The death [murder] of Duncan Livingston, one of the Interpreters,
is another affair that created violent feelings amongst the Whites this
season. In April last, while he and another man were on their way to
the Babine [Country North] beyond the portage, he, from some motive or
other, was murdered by Indians of Simpson's River in the most brutal
manner. Wacon, the Interpreter of this place, shot one of them,~and
another has been killed by the natives themselves since. The Governor
could not do less than deprecate such proceedings. He represented to
them how helpless their condition would be at this moment were he and
all his people to enter upon hostilities against them. That a partial
example had been already made of the guilty parties, but that the next
time the Whites should be compelled to imbrue their hands in the
blood of Indians, it would be a general sweep ; that the innocent would
go with the guilty, and that their fate would become deplorable indeed.
The war on the sea coast (a) this season was also represented to them in
the most formidable light. [Mr. McDouald had a sharp touch of that
afterwards]—and that it was hard to say when we would stop; never, in
any case, until the Indians gave the most unqualified proof of their good
conduct in future. [Note by Ed.—The Governor—the late Sir George
Simpson—was, though not tall, say. about five feet seven at most, of
rather imposing mien, stout, well knit frame, and of great expanse and
fulness of chest, and with an eye brightly blue, and ever a blaze in
peace or war, and with an address which ever combined the suaviter in
modo, et fortiter in imperio. His was, indeed, on such an occasion, an
address to strike awe on his hearers. During the forty years that he
ruled the great British North American wild, with all its untamed savag-
{a) Bee Appendix LXVII, PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
ism, and conducted —for he ever regulated every detail of the trade—the
affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company, he proved himself the " proper
man in the proper place," and few indeed, if any, there could have been
found to fill it so well. He entered into the work when all was chaos.
That was in 1821-2, immediately after the final struggle of the two great
Fur Companies, viz. : the Hudson's Bay Co., and the old North West
Co., and even in 1828, the year of the present expedition, the" war"
that for years had been carried on from Lake Winnipeg to the Pacific
and Artie sea-boards, between these two Companies, involving the red
man, had not quite died out, beyond the Rocky Mountains, in so far as
the Indians there were concerned. There had been, in the quiet shades
of Fenchurch street, London, a coalition of the giants contestant, but it
took time to bring it home to the minds of those rudest natives, about
and beyond the Mountain. Hence the need of the present great trip
across the continent. A most important mission ; and one essentially of
peace. I must apologize for the length of this note, and hope that its
pertinence to the fact now touched on in narration, will sufficiently
excuse it.]
The chief that headed the party which entered the fort in the summer
was pointed at with marked contempt, and it was only Mr. Douglas's intercession and forgiveness that saved him from further indignities. At
the close of the harangue, the chief had a glass of rum, a little tobacco,
and a shake of the hand from the Great Chief, after which the piper played
them the song of peace [the Gaelic name is not given, but of course, from
the very soul of the strain, and all Indians have a " soul for music," the
song must have been profoundly appreciated.] They dispersed, to
appearance quite sensible of all that was said to them.
Letters arrived from Eraser's Lake in the afternoon. The salmon is there
in great abundance. [Note by Editor—Near bye, is a lake which has its outlet to the ocean by Simpson's River, which is much shorter, say by two thirds,
than the Fraser River from Fort James to its mouth, some five degrees
south. Sea fish on this summit plateau is a striking fact, and would
seem to indicate not only accessibility to ocean for railway from the east,
but even a special facility, but of this more anon.] Mr. McDonsll was
to come himself, but it would seem that a relative of the Indian that
was killed here, immediately preceded them, [Mr. McDonell and a man
of his fort, probably,] and on the first opportunity fired a gun at Mr.
McDonell, which carried a couple of balls within a few feet of him, and
in consequence he cannot leave his fort in charge of one man now. HUDSON^ BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
29
Sunday, 21st.—Raining still. No word of our canoes from McLeod's
Lake. Two of the fort men proceed there to-day with four horses, and a
small assortment of goods. Letters arrived from the Babine, and Mr.
Pambrun, in like manner, gives a hopeful account in those streams. Our
men commenced repairing the canoes.
Monday, 22nd.—Late last night, Guilbault, and the four carriers that
accompanied him, arrived with their loads, as did also, in tbe course of
this forenoon, the two that followed him on the 16th, but Roy and
party cannot be expected for a day or two yet, in consequence of their
being out of provisions, and one of the Indians coming on ahead light for
some, and who immediately returned. All hands after the canoes.
There is difficulty in finding bark to suit our purpose. Rations to men,
twenty eight small white fish, or two small salmon, or fourteen dried
carp when there is no dried salmon of last season ; of the latter, they
generally get four per day. [Note by Ed. This, I believe, is far above
the average, fifteen pounds of white fish, equal, say to twenty pounds of
carp, and to ten pounds of salmon, being, throughout the Company's
country, the ordinary " fish ration," but then, it is to be borne in mind,
it is, to use an American term to the point, fish " straight." The meat
ration is " 31bs pemican."
Tuesday, 23rd.—Canoes finished. Weather continues fine. Intended to be off early to-morrow morning had Roy and party arrived tonight. Mr. McDonell came in to-day, accompanied by an Indian boy.
This is a gentleman I have not seen since 1803 ; he has been rather unfortunate in the Fur Trade, and his health and constitution are much
impaired now in New Caledonia. He has the permission of the Governor to leave this side [of the Rocky Mountains] in the spring, and has
also the assurance of a more comfortable berth on the east side.
Wednesday, 24th.—Fine clear day. Roy and party arrived at noon,
and in twenty-five minutes after we were off, with the usual compliments
of the garrison. To the river took us fifteen minutes. Here the Carriers
of the Fort are settled, and have very extensive barriers for taking the
salmon in the very entrance of the lake, but the quantity taken as yet
is very limited indeed, and great apprehensions are entertained of a year
of scarcity again to New Caledonia.    Made eight leagues to-day.
Thursday, 25th.—Started before daylight. In still water till five.
Breakfasted at head of rapids eight miles above the Small Forks, which
is formed by the junction of Fraser's River. On the very point formed
by the two rivers, a chevreuil deer [roebuck] was about taking the water I
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
for the east shore.    We bore down upon him immediately, and as he was
retracing his steps up the bank, he received a general discharge of ball,
buckshot, and beaver shot, which brought him down a few yards in the
woods.    We landed at a camp on the opposite shore for fresh salmon,
which we got, and, to our surprise, the greater part of a moose buck just
killed.    Left Forks at twelve.    Encamped at six, about an hour's march
above the main Forks.      [Note by Ed.—The other " Forks," the " Small
Forks " first alluded to, are on the western prong of the Fraser, while
the lower " Forks "—about, I estimate, forty miles lower—are at the
junction of the Eastern Branch with the Western Branch.    The Eastern
Branch is, in fact, as generally recognized, the main stream, and has its
source near Yellow Head Pass, as indicated in my Letter No. 7 of the
series (signed Britannicus), in June, 1869, in the Ottawa Times, under
the heading, " The Canadian Pacific Railway, an Imperial Necessity."
The Western Branch, probably the smaller and shorter of the two, ha3
its source in Fraser's Lake,  or rather a small lake, a little, say about
twenty-five miles north of Fraser's Lake, within about a hundred miles,
in air line, from Pacific  slope,   near   "Naas  Harbour."    From   the
plateau, i.e., of Fraser's Lake, and its surrounding lakelets, two main
streams to ocean, offer way, viz., Salmon River,  and a large  branch
of Simpson's River.    Their descent, from a height say of about two thousand feet, must, of course, be very rapid, but from the fact that Salmon
are caught in their upper waters, as appears from the letter of Pambrun
above reported, (and Pambrun, in the course of trade and communication
thereabouts, at that time, must, I assume, have been on this same plateau),
they are, to that height, evidently salmon streams, with no intervening
fall beyond the limit of highest salmon leap, viz., fourteen  feet.    The
only other ports in those latitudes, down to the mouth of the Columbia,
were at the foot of our great Western rock slope, or revetment wall,  viz:
Fort Langley, at the mouth of the Fraser, and shortly afterwards, Fort
Simpson, in Observatory Inlet.    The sole communication in the trade
of these   coast posts, was by   the Company's schooner's, and  shortly
afterwards by their service steamers.    The trade on the coast was confined to the coast tribes, those at the foot of the wall, and had no communication with the inland trade, which was conducted by the old route
from Fort Vancouver on Columbia River, vid the Columbia, Okanagan,
Kamloops, and Fort St. James.    .The coast range  was, no doubt, a
formidable physical obstruction, but had it been desirable for trade to
surmount or penetrate it, by some one or more of its 'gorges, the Com- HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACTFlOv
SI
pany would have done so, but it was their policy of keeping the trade
back, off the touch of American opposition on the coast, that, I believe,
was the real wall—Chinese wall—of separation. But to proceed with the
journaL] Indians here and there along the river, with verveux [sweep
nets] at each lodge.    Fine navigation all day.
Friday, 26th.—-Thick morning. At Forks by five. A few minutes
before, left ruins of Fort George on our right. This branch, which, properly speaking, is the continuation of the Fraser's River, receives Salmon
River about twenty-five or thirty miles above this. It is navigable to
TUe Jaune's CacJie, as our communication with the Saskatchewan with
the Leather, is this way (a). Breakfasted ten miles above West Road
River, which we made at half-past eleven. This stream, though celebrated in the travels of Sir A. McKenzie, from the circumstance of his following it up, when he started off to the sea, has hardly a drop of water in it.
Passed River de Liards (on left) at four, and a few minutes after, the
the " Clayey " Pyramids, on each side. Quesnel River half-past five, also
on left.    Encamped three miles lower down.
Saturday, 27th,—Breakfasted at second point above the house. At
House by ten. [Note by Ed.—This place, " House," is Fort Alexandria,
as appears by letter, now before me, dated " Fort Alexandria, Western
Caledonia, 8th March, 1828," from "Geo. McDougaU," theri'in charge,
and addressed to my father. The incident is a small one, but under the'
circunstances, is, I think, worth mentioning. Mr. McDouaall's letter
contains much of interest as to the country, and states amongst other
noteworthy things, that the scarcity of salmon the year previous* was unprecedented (he was then at Fort St. James,) where he arrived in November, from my grandfather's (Pruden's) Post (viz, Fort Carlton on the
Saskatchewan). The statement in the letter ihat he left Carlton on 20th
August, and arrived at Fort St. James, in November, shows that he
could not have gone by the very " long about route by the Columbia,"
but by the Yellow Head Pass, a line of route forming the shortest side of
a triangle, and by all means the easiest, as appears from the fact of his
sending, shortly before that, by the same route, his sick brother James
(powerless in limb) to the East side for medical aid, and who returned by
the same route, meeting the Caledonian party at Cranberry Lake.] The
two McDougallsare here, besides Mr. Yale, who, with his party, arrived
on the 22nd.    They started.in a few hours afcer, with each a horse   and
(a) See Appendix LXVIII. 32
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
must be at Kamloops to-morrow. Had everything prepared by four, and
made a start .shortly after. There are four of ourselves, five men besides
Indians, and five loaded horses. Came about four miles, and encamped
on second little stream from Fort. Mr. Yale and fourteen men leave
this to-morrow in two bark canoes to the Forks of Thompson's River,
where we trust to meet them in twelve days. Salmon again appear
scarce in this part of the country.
Sunday, 28th,—Had our horses collected early, and were on the move
a little before six. Passed the last of the two steep [word omitted here]
about eight. In a few minutes the canoes hove in sight, put ashore, and
breakfasted with us at half past eight, at what is called " Head of Rapids j"
distance from House twenty miles. Governor very unwell. He embarked with Mr. Yale, to accompany him to the division of the roads,
three or four leagues lower down. Here we left the river at two.
Encamped at four on Current River, which falls into the main stream
within two miles of first small Lake. Athna Chief with us : he came
from "Le Barge" since Yale passed.
Monday, 29th,—Gregoire, who came with us to last nights' encampment
returned in the morning with a few spare horses we had, from the Fort.
The Athna Chief had a note for a small present from Mr. McDougall.
Started at six. Passed two little rivers during the morning, and breakfasted on main stream at eleven. Resumed the journey at one, when we
immediately crossed, and re-crossed in an hour after. Continued on
North side. Another little river at two. A Lake, half a mile, at three.
Encamped at four within a league of Long Lake. Governor still unwell.
Road very good indeed.    Killed a few ducks.
Tuesday, 30th,—Off this morning at five, having the horses in camp
before daylight. Reached end of Lake at eight. Crossed to south in
fifteen minutes. Came to an ordinary encampment on small river
running from a Lake about half a mile round, but did not stop ; continued
for an hour longer, main river vanished. Breakfasted at Salt Lake, which
afforded ourselves and horses but shocking bad water. Near this place
had a chase after a large grizzly bear which soon took to the woods.
Point of the woods took us an hour, and in another we arrived at a large
stream which flowed to the left. Crossed it immediately at beaver dam
about one o'clock, and continued on North bank for three hours, which
brought us to another lake, a mile of which we made this evening, and
encamped before a heavy shower came on. The river we came along to
day has all the appearance of beaver, fresh. Dams are all over it.
Course, for the last two and a half days S.E.    Governor much better. HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
S3
eight. Breakfast at half-past nine on main river. Off again about noon.
Came to another Lake at two. Encamped at the other end at half-past
four. In woods whole of afternoon. Tom killed a goose. While struggling with his horse, Doctor Hamlyn had his gun entangled, and his shot
accidently went off without doing any harm to those before him.
Thursday, 2nd.—Wind and rain during night. Started at usual time.
First half of road, good, along a chain of small lakes, but the last part
was hilly and rocky. Came to a small Lake half a mile long, and breakfasted. The lakes to-day seem still water. The afternoon journey was a
gradual ascent on what is called the Mountain. Here also passed several
small ponds and a number ef swamps, that must be "very bad going" in
spring and very soft weather.   Encamped at height on a little M	
between two little lakes. Governor quite recovered. Journey very
pleasant. [This must be the height of land between North River and
Fraser. Ed.]
Friday, 3rd.—Started at six. Began to descend about eight, continued so for a whole hour coming down to the first small stream at foot,
which we crossed, and in an hour more got to the traverse of North
River. Here we found Lolew, the Kamloops Interpreter, who left a
canoe and two men from the Fort a little below this, early in the morning. Laprade arrived with the canoe about noon. In about an hour
after, the horses, alone, and most of the men, crossed, and continued the
journey on the other side over a piece of very bad road : ourselves with
three men and the baggage embarked at three, after an harangue with
the few Indians there, and got to the proposed encampment in two hours,
where the land party joined us soon after. Cinnitza, the Chief, stopped
with us, and had an order for a small present at the Fort. Our course
in this river is south, and will be so, it is said, until we arrive at Kamloops.    River pretty large, and no strong rapid.
Saturday, 4th.—Horses could not be collected early. Governor and
three men in canoe again this morning ; rest of us accompany the Horse
Brigade. At Barrier Tillage by eight. Crossed two rivers in succession
soon after. Got to the Stockades about eleven, When the whole expedition
again breakfasted, surrounded by the Indians of the Barrier, who
are anxious to see the Governor, who made them a speech, and sealed it
with a foot of tobacco to each, the Chief getting a more liberal supply.
• The road thus far to-day, is not bad, and to the House, is uncommonly
fine.   At the Pines we all took horse, and with our flag flying formed a 34
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
)
respectable cavalcade. Did not arrive at the House [Kamloops](a) before
dusk. Pipes played, and much firing on both sides. Courtapolle and a
few Indians at the House. Much to our satisfaction, we find our boat is
finished, and which was begun only six days ago. Mr. Ermatinger and
four men here.   Mr. Dears and six men at Fraser's River for Salmon.
Sunday, 5th.—The Governor expressing a desire to see Nicholas, a man
was sent for him. We await the return of the bearer till twelve o'clock.
Mr, Ermatinger is to be continued here for the season. Mr. Dears arrived late from Fraser's River, but the men will not be here for a couple
of days. He says Mr. Yale and the canoes passed on in safety, the day
before he got there, and that he did not see him. A good deal of salmon
at the bridge.   Indians about, anxious to see the Governor.
Monday, 6th.—Laprade arrived about noon, but did not see Nicholas,
he being out hunting. The Indians, immediately after, were directed to
assemble in their own Hall, [Hall, as in all main posts, appropriated to
Indians,] and there, the Governor, in due form, attended by all the Gentlemen present, met them. He, of course addressed them, and at some
length, adverted to the propriety of behaving well among themselves, and
exhorted them never to be guilty of theft, murder, or of any inhuman
deed towards the Whites. To strengthen this argument he produced,
read, and translated to them two letters sent by the Indian Boys at the
Red River Settlement Missionary School to their parents at Spokan, and
the Kootanais Country [places immediately South and S.E. of Kamloops,
in the Columbia Country.]
The Shuswhaps listened to the contents with apparent interest, and of
course promised to behave themselves accordingly. Lolew is engaged for
three years as Interpreter: He and two " bouts " accompany us from here.
Boat iit the water at four. Soon after, embarked in full puff, leaving
Courtapolle, Tranquille and the others small presents according to their
rank and good behaviour.
We are now sixteen in all. Blowing very fresh indeed, and only came
to the entrance of the Lake [seven miles below Fort.] Horses are sent
from this place to meet us at the Coutamine from 20th to 25th, in case
we do not go round by the Souud [Puget Sound.] For the same reason
letters are sent to Fort Colville, Walla Walla and Vancouver [AJ1 these
are chief posts on the Columbia River, the lowest—- Vancouver—being
about ninety miles from the mouth of the Columbia, and being the Port
(a) See Appendix LXIX HUDSON S BAY TO; THE PACIFIC.
35
of Entry, for the whole trade on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.]
Tuesday, 7th.—Having the Lake [Kamloops Lake, Thompson's River]
before us, we started this morning as early as four, and did not reach the
other end [estimated at from 15 to 17 miles] before a quarter to eight,
notwithstanding that it was a perfect calm, and that we had twelve paddle's in the boat. At the breakfasting place, remained an hour and a half
with Indians. Ran a number of minor rapids before we got to La Riviere
Bonaparte by one p.m. A little below passed a dangerous one, then three
dalles [natural slides] which were perfectly smooth, and below which was
Rapide de la Grosse Roche, which ought to have been taken on the left
side, as we took in much water by running close to the rock on the right
hand. This we ran at a quarter before two. In half-an-hour made Point
Observation, or Wood Point, and in succession Rapide Croche, and Long
Rapid at a quarter to four. To Coutamine River Forks took us another
half-an-hour. McDonald's Encampment at a quarter to five, and in fifteen
minutes more, put ashore for the night. It is in this neighbourhood that
the Indian suspected of killing two of our horses lives. We have a search
for him. He disappeared, and we are as well pleased. His name is
Babiard.
Wednesday, 8th.—Off at six aim. Three strong rapids to Nicumine :
ran all without examination by seven. Visited all the rest for about a mile
which comprehended four principal ones : the second and last very dangerous indeed. In the latter we were nearly swamped, for in three swells
we were full to the thafts, and the* danger was increased by the unavoidable necessity of running over a strong whirlpool while the boat was in this
unmanageable state. Left this place at eight, and in another hour, after
running the worst places, arrived at the Grand Forks, where we were
much gratified to find Mr. Yale and our people quite safe and well. This
meeting is rendered still more interesting, from the circumstance of
BOTH PARTIES DESCENDING RIVERS THAT WERE NEVER BAN   BEFORE.   [That
is to say, dangerous parts not run before,] and that were always considered
next to impossible.
The Indians that were assembled around the camp in such a novel
scene being addressed, and the necessary arrangements for the prosecution
of our own voyage being made, we started at one p.m. The Governor
took his own canoe with eight men. A gale of wind that commenced
three days ago seemed to increase this afternoon, consequently our progress was slow and hazardous. Although none of the rapids from the Forks
to this place [McDonald's Dalles] are bad, yet we found them dangerous, 36
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
and did not perform the distance—4 miles below the Forks,—before five
o'clock. The boat went down the dalles, but the canoes not daring to
follow, was brought up again on the line, and here we are for the night
in a very bad encampment. The Indians hereabouts are about the usual
number. Their salmon fishery must be over, for not one is there to be
seen on their stages now. One [blank in M.S. accompanies us to -the
sea : he has been there already. Here, in like manner, were made anxi-
our enquiries after villains that shot three of the Kamloops "horses, when
Mr. Ermatinger and party were here for salmon ten days ago.
Thursday, 9th.—Weather moderate. Off at six, when we could well
see in the dalles. Governor embarked in the boat with me, and Mr.
Yale took his place in the canoe. Were soon in a long rapid, with a
small stream from the mountains on the right hand, at foot.
Good run to Allitza River on the same side, which we passed at eight
leaving the other about half way. Strong whirlpools below, which forced
Bernard to return and descend on the opposite side (the right.) From
this place, where we were detained three quarters of an hour, we had a
good run over a current of great velocity to the Sandy River, which we
made about nine, and breakfasted. Gumming, and running dalles till
twelve.
This is a bad piece of navigation. Here also, we took on board Latzie,
one of the Coutamine Chiefs. Five hundred yards lower down made use
of our lines,, and at the foot of the same cascade, on right hand, carried
the cauoes, and here were detained repairing, gumming, &c, for two
hours. The boat ran the portage part of the river, but required great
skill and vigilance. Many Indians about us here, but they behaved well.
The boat had a peep at the next place before the canoes came on. This
place we call the Gate Dalles. Very good going down, but should aline
be required to ascend, it will be a task of some difficulty to pass it on
either side. First rapid of another nature at three : then a smooth piece
of a few miles before we came to Mr. Yale's^ver, which has also a strong
rapid at its mouth, and to get down, the guide was induced to land the
passengers and two men out of each canoe. There was some delay before
they could ford the river. Left this place at four, and in twenty minutes
arrived at the head of the Fall. Examined it minutely. Boat undertook
to run right down mid-channel: did so, keeping rather in eddy to the
right, and did not ship more than we had on one or two occasions already
* experienced. No passengers and only eight men were in the boat. The
canoes crossed to the west side, and made a portage over a good sandy HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
ST
beach of about two hundred yards. Not an Indian there. After a detention of about three quarters of an hour, we again pushed on, and at a
quarter past five, encamped in a small sandy bay on the west side, surrounded by detached rocks for fifty or sixty paces back, behind which, on
both sides of the river rose mountains almost perpendicular, and of incredible height, well clothed in the lower part with Pine, Fir, and Cedar
trees. A number of the natives soon gathered about us, and continued
to arrive from below throughout the night, with large flambeaux to direct
their steps.
They were perfectly quiet and inoffensive. Our two Indians from the
Coutamines or Forks, smoked with them till midnight, although the
strangers did not seem passionately fond of the Virginian plant.
Our course to-day is about south. The river made no great bends, but
owing to occasional delays, and being often in strong eddies and whirlpools, our distance cannot be estimated at more than fifty miles. At least
half tlie distance, the river is deeply imbedded in the solid rock, and the
other half is of bold rapids, with, however, plenty of water all over. The
mountains in no part of this day's work, recede from the very edge of the
Water.
The natives seem to use but few canoes, for in places we have observed,
that instead of gaining access by them to a particular stand near the
water's edge to watch the salmon, they contrive by many ladders to
descend from a considerable height, and return by the same hazardous
communication with the fish. Foot paths, if any, are very imperfect,
and I believe, that when they do travel from tribe to tribe, they scramble
on along the rocks and face of the mountains at some distance, the best
way they can.
Friday, 10th.—The river nyio part of thisv day's work was more than
a hundred and twenty paces, and often not quite half that in width. In
getting our boat and canoes in the water this morning, it was remarked
that the river had risen three feet during the night. The little rain we
had could not have been the cause of this.(a) Started at broad day-light,
and in twenty-five minutes came to head of Simpson's Falls, where the
river is choked up by a most solid rock of about half an acre in extent.
Examined it along the west shore, but conceived the run on that side
extremely dangerous, and owing to the immense rocks all over, to carry
was impossible.   The East lead was then determined upon, crossed, and 38
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
run without landing on that side, by the Guide who rushed on with his
bark canoe, and a safe arrival below was effected, but not without much
risk in the whirlpools against the enemy [the rocks] that hung over us. (a)
The boat followed, but did not suffer by the eddies so much, as it did by
being swallowed into the swell of the Fall, out of which the utmost power
of twelve paddles could not keep it. The second canoe having the advantage of being behind, came on with greater precaution. A few hundred
yards below this, we came to the next and last run, which was steep but
uniform. Then the river began evidently to assume a different form. The
water was settled, the beach flatter, and vegetation more profuse.
At eight passed a large camp on right, which could only have been
abandoned a few weeks before. tBehind it sprang up a lofty, rocky Mountain in the shape of a cone, and being the last on that side, we celebrated
it by the name of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Continued our descent till half-
past nine, and landed for breakfast, which did not detain us forty minutes,
treating our people with some of the taureau we had at Dunvegan. None
of the small rivers to the left attracted our particular notice.
At a quarter to two, passed the mouth of " Lilliwhit " River, [now
Harrison's,] a stream of some size, as is indicated where Mr. F. Ermatinger arrived on its banks, a day's journey west of second Peselive Lake in
August, 1827, and as appears in his report to me on the subject,
"Thompson's R. Correspondence 1827-28." Another River, half-a-league
below, on opposite shore, which comes from the neigbourhood of Mount
Baker, rich in beavei' according to our Guide's account. At half-past
three o'clock, met the tide from the pacifc ocean. Work's river on
right at five. Head of McMillan's Island at seven, and arrived at Fort
Langley(5) precisely at eight, where we found Mr. McMillan himself,
Messrs. Manson and Annance, and twenty men. [Note by Ed. I have
Mr. McMillan's private letter to my father, dated from Fort Langley,
January 21st 1828, reporting the cutting by him, on 1st August, 1827,
of the " first stick for the Fort." He mentions Messrs Manson, Barnston,
and Annance as being with him.]
Saturday, 11th.—This Establishment was begun in the early part
of August, 1827, with the above complement of people and the assistance of the schooner Cudboro, and as many more during the space of six
weeks. The Fort is 135 feet by 120, with two good bastions, and a gallery
of four feet wide all round.   A building [blank in MS.] feet long, of three
(a) See Appendix LXXI.        (6) See Appendix LXXII. HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
39
compartments for the men, a small log house of two compartments, in which
the gentlemen themselves now reside, and a store of about [blank in MS.]
feet are now occupied, besides which there are two other buildings, one a good
dwelling house, with an excellent cellar and a spacious garret, a couple of
well finished chimnies are up, and the whole inside now ready for wainscoting and partitioning, four large windows in front, one in each end, and
one with a corresponding door in the back. The other is a low building
with only two square rooms and a fire place in each, and a kitchen adjoining made of slab. The out door work consists of three fields, each planted
with thirty bushels of potatoes, and look well. The provision shed, exclusive of table stores, is furnished with three thousand dried salmon,
sixteen tierces salted ditto, thirty-six cwt. flour, two cwt. grease, and
thirty bushels salt.
I am thus particular with the Establishment of Fort Langley, as it is my
own lot to succeed the present "Bourgeois " [officer in charge,] who forthwith accompanies the Governor in Chief-to the Columbia, and thence in
Spring to York Factory, and perhaps Montreal. The complement of
men is reduced to seventeen, and Mr. Yale 'takes the place of Mr.
Manson.
Here of course ends my Journal of the voyage. The Governor is furnished with a copy of it.
APPENDIX.
Note L
York Factory, according to Thompson, "Astronomer to the North
West Company," and who surveyed the country from Hudson's Bay to
Pacific, is in Latitude 57°. V N. and Longtitude 92° 36' W. ot Greenwich, and which by comparison with other observations of that " objective
point," is evidently as correct as we require, viz., as a definite starting point
of measure of the route we propose to follow from Hudson's Bay to the
Pacific. The Lat. and Long, given in the Navigation Tables. [I am citing from that Standard work, " Norie's Navigation]'^ are respectively
N. L. 57° 0'3". Long. W. of G. 92p 26' the difference probably being owing
to the fact that the Sea Point at the mouth of Haye's River is four or five
miles east of York Factory, and that, perhaps, the southern point of the
River's mouth was taken for observation on the Coast.
York Factory, or " York " as it is put in some of the older maps, has .40
PEACE RIVER*. CANOE VOYAGE FROM
a history. In times past, [viz., from 1697, immediately after the treaty of
Ryswick to 1713,] it, as Fort Bourbon, gave fierce battle to the "Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's
Bay," [the Charter name of the Hudson's Bay Company,] and incarnadined those Artie Waters in a strife that was brought to a close only
by the Treaty of Utrectv in 1713; under which, the French " ceded" the
whole coast, and Hudson's Bay, to the English, and who, of course, have
held it ever since.
In the autumn of 1830, on my way to take ship passage to London, it
was my good luck (for the present nonce) to see it, and then—only two
years after the Canoe voyage of Governor Simpson—it was, I believe, just
as it was when he started thence on his " flying trip across the continent;"
in which, we now propose to follow him.
It is long since I saw York Factory, but still I remember it pretty
clearly. Emergingfrom the sombre woods of the world in which I had ever
lived, and after the long and dreary crawling boat voyage of many days
through the gloomy wilds of rock, swamp, and dark waters, we had just
gone over from Norway House, the, to me, new thing, with its tinned
roofs, shining in brighest ray, burst in the distance on my unaccustomed
gaze, like a city of burnished siver :—beautiful exceedingly!—a St. Petersburg of America, but with its St. Isaac's (that matchless dome !), of silver,
instead of duller gold : the back ground and framing, was illimitable
swamp ; and towards the furthest east, water,—the calm, dead, summer
sea—sky bound. It was a striking sight, but not to be compared with
the grandeur (sublimity would be the proper teftn, for there is ever
something elevating in the sight of large masses of ice,) of what I saw in
the ice world of Hudson's Straits, a little further on.
York Factory is situated some miles from the mouth of Haye's River,
on the North side, and ships cannot approach within ten or fifteen miles
of it, or even more, according to their draught, so flat and shallow is the
shore,—western shore—of Hudson's Bay; and it is so throughout, the
same difficulty existing at Moose Factory, six degrees further south, as
well as at the mouths of all the rivers that side of the Bay. Hudson's
Bay is in fact, a huge " Sea Mud Pool."
Mr. McDonald in his Journal, speaks of the " Garrison " of the place.
It was, of course, in mere persiflage of the moment he used the term.
There had been, however, not very long before that, during the North
West troubles, a large force there, sometimes amounting to "ninety men;"
I say " ninety," for I have read the statement from a reliable source. HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
41
These were there not to defend the Factory however, but to be sent forward as soon as possible, to the interior, where all the fighting was going
on; but in York Factory, and which was merely fenced, and not picketed
or palisaded, like a Fort with a wooden wall, fifteen feet high or more,
and had no enemy to fear, the only vestige of a garrison was the mounted
Artillery, four handsome eighteen or twenty-four pounders, on the high
bank in front of the Factory, or Company's storing place. Gun firing is,
(or was during my time there) a favorite mode of salute throughout the
whole North, and therefore, I thoroughly believe the statement as to the
parting cannon shots, for good luck, so joyously referred to in the Journal.
The ''fourteen commissioned gentlemen" then being, there was a specialty,
which will, hereafter, in a note on another subject, be explained.
Note H.
" Light Canoes "—specially made and adapted for speediest travel. I
saw those, the very ones spoken of, at Norway House, on their passage up.
The Governor's was the most beautiful thing of the kind I ever saw ;
beautiful in its " lines " of faultless fineness, and in its form and every
feature; the bow, a magnificent curve of bark, gaudily but tastefully
painted, that would have made a Roman rostrum of old hide its diminished head. The paddles painted red with vermilion, were made to
match, and the whole thing in its kind, was of faultless grace and
beauty—beauty in the sense of graceful and perfect fitness to its end.
This class of canoe is, [or rather was, for I am speaking of times now
somewhat old,] generally known under the name of " North Canoes,"
from the fact, that on the arrival of the largest kind of canoes used in
the trade, viz., those which used to be dispatched [and that until very
lately] from Lachine, on first open water, to Fort William, Lake Superior,
and which were called " Ganots du Maitre," had to be exchanged, or
left behind for smaller craft, half the size, and such as could be portaged
from that point upwards. The Canot du M. was of six fathoms, measured
within, and the C. du Nord about four, more or less. The ordinary crew
for the former was sixteen or eighteen, and for the latter eight or nine.
The larger could stand any storm in Lakes Huron and Superior, but it
was ever the habit of voyage to avoid the encounter as much as possible.
Their ordinary load was one hundred and twenty pieces of ninety pounds
each, say five tons, with men, and passengers' baggage. They always
carried passengers, say from four to eight or even more in case of children. I never heard of such a canoe being wrecked, or upset, or swamped;
6 42
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
they swam like ducks. If overtaken, as was often the case, in a long
traverse from point to point, or across large bays in the big Lakes, the
heavy "parla" [red canvas oilcloth] used to be thrown over the goods as
a storm deck, and then, skilled strength and pluck, with the trusty bark,
did the work. The average rate on still and calm water was from five to
six miles per hour, but the Governor's rate was always a little more.
Ninety miles a day was his average on some routes, i.e., down stream.
In a small canoe with three men, I have myself, done 98 miles, [distance
scaled,] in twenty-four hours, including six portages, and three hours for
sleep. The Governor, I have no doubt, has often beaten that, for he ever
had the best of canoe-men, Iroquois, and any extra " Canadians " who
could keep up with them in quickness of stroke, [60 a minute at times,]
and otherwise be up to their mark in the work.
Note III.
" Governor in Chief.*' Governor in Chief for the Hudson's Bay Territories. There was a Governor of Assiniboia, Red River Settlement, which
office however, was ostensibly confined to the administration of Government—such as it was—in the Settlement, but had nothing to do with the
Trade proper. This designation of attribute and duty however, does not
apply in all strictness to the earlier Governors of Assiniboia, who were
generally, if not invariably so for a time, Chief Factors in the service of the
Company. The supreme Governor was the one of the London Board; but
for the regulation of the trade, the working of its machinery, a Governor
was appointed by the Governor, and Committee of Directory in London,
for their Territories, who, with a Council of " Commissioned Officers,"
meeting at a central point, which was Norway House, at the head of Lake
Winipeg, was the only constituted body for conducting the business in
the Territory, aud it was only as the head of this body, and with certain
special power in eundo, that Mr. Simpson, [afterwards Sir George,] was
at this time Governor in Chief.
Note IV.
" Commissioned Gentlemen." Chief Factors and Chief Traders and
successors to the original Chief Factors and Chief Traders, all partners,
under the Deed Poll of 1821, on the coalition of the two contestant
Companies, the Hudson's Bay, and North West. Forty out of the hund-
dred sharesof the whole concern were specially reserved for such partners,
whose contribution was in skill and work done.   They received " com-
I
*m Hudson's bay to the pacific.
43
missions" from £he London  Board, and were hence called  " commissioned gentlemen."
They were now in York Factory, assembled from their different, and
some of them from very distant posts, in Council. Norway House—the
old Norway House, had recently been burnt, and not being yet rebuilt, the
Council had met in the meantime at York Factory. My father was then
building up the new Norway House, and had all ready for the Council
next year, where they met, and have ever since used it as the business
capital of their whole country.
Note V.
| Cassettes." Trunks made of best and well seasoned pine, and made
as strong and light as dovetailing, grooving, iron binding, and good workmanship can make them. The stuff throughout, is three quarters of an
inch thick. The dimensions are two feet four inches in length, and one
foot four inches in width and depth, and beveled on top to the extent of
nearly an inch, leaving the sides about fifteen inches and a quarter deep,
of this depth, the cover [made to fit closely to a lap in the body of the
box] takes from four to three and a quarter inches. Of the " Cassettes "
used in the country, this is the largest size, and the smallest does not
vary more than an inch, in any way. They are well painted, and are
proof against any accident but fire.
" Case." Travelling Case, a multum inparvor with compartments "for
everything" that'man may need on the voyage for his table and camping,
save the main stores and bedding. Every compartment is well lined with
some soft stuff; good baize generally. The liquor bottle department particularly, containing precious " medicinal" for the numerous and inevitable accidents on the voyage or journey, is generally most carefully
looked to in the packing. In the multiplicity of utilities in " the Case "
the traditional " pin " is there, and almost, also, the " anchor."
" Baskets." Also with compartments, and suitable tin cases, for meats,
sugar, and other groceries; those for meats being invariable finely perforated on the top. Here also, that indispensable—the frying pan, which
by the way, should be made with a good strong hinge—has its place, to
wit on the top of the contents. The basket is made of strong willow, and
amongst Hudson's Bay people, is strong enough for any service or accident.
" Kegs Spirits." For the " men," are generally of five gallons, if I remember aright; the " spirits " are tbe " best of rum—genuine Jamaica,"
in fact, every thing the Company, its officers, men, and customers get, is
of the very best quality, and the Indian, in trading, knows tbe fact.   The 44
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
I
common Indian gun of the country, is made with special excellence for
use, on special order of the Company, and for both services, shot and ball,
and for trueness and general service in the North American Wild, there
is no gun like it.
" Beds." Oil skin, buffalo, and blankets.
" Agres" 'also spelt Agrets, is the'voyageur word for "Outfit," and is
applied also to equipment of canoes <fec.—rigging is our word for it.
" Pactons." Pacton is the French-Canadian word for bundle, and in
the North, is appHed more particularly to a bundle tied up in a manner
to be easily carried on the back. The carrying-strap—a most important
instrument in that world of portages, is very carefully made, as failure
in it is ever, or rather would (for I never knew one to fail) ever be a
Kttle disastrous. It is made of a strong piece of stiff tanned leather,
about four inches wide at the broadest part, and about eighteen inches in
length, to this are strongly sewed strips of equally strong leather about
ten feet long, and from two inches to half an inch, tapering, in breadth.
The best " doUiers " are made with the broad part, and two or three feet
of the string part, all of one piece, and the rest of finer leather for tieing.
Note VI.
" Two o'clock in the-morning."
" Star lev6." (Contraction, very contracted, of (Test Vhmre a se lever) as
the voyageurs call it. And poor fellows, they are always ready, and
cheerily jump up to their work, and out of their heavy and so well earned
sleep of four, or at most five solid hours in the twenty-four. They know
nothing of an "eight hours" movement, and dont dream of it: eighteen
hours is their labour time, and that of the hardest.
Two o'clock is the usual starting hour in Summer in those " Highei"
Latitudes," and from eight to ten the camping one, and yet the work is
the very hardest that any men anywhere undergo; and the pleasure of it
is, that there is never, or at least very rarely, any push, and certainly no
Legreeism in it.
Note VII.
" On the Line" Line by which the canoe is hauled up stream, when
the current is too strong for paddles or poles. From this point upwards,
the current of Haye's river is, if I remember aright, much swifter than it
is about a nundred miles and more further up, where, however, it is more
broken. In feet, at this part on the slope Silurian of the Hudson's Bay
Basin-rim, the descent is as that of a dalles, A descent of over three feet
per mile in the river flow generally requires the line. Hudson's bay to the pacific. 45
Note VIII.
" Rock." There are a number of portages in pretty close succession a
little above this, if I remember aright, and at one of them, the boats also
have to be hauled over. There is a regular roadway for the purpose,
with round sticks a few feet apart, for rolling the boats on. A couple of
crews can haul over one of them in a trice. They are called " five ton
boats," and look large enough to be that; and moreover, they are, necessarily, very strongly built.
Note IX.
11 Red River Settlement,'1 at this time, drew all the supplies by this
route. And what little it did export, such as tallow, had all to go that
way. The Settlement must have had immense internal resources, a
country rich enough to feed and clothe itself, to survive such isolation.
My father, with two men, constituted the whole settlement on ilie spot,
during one winter, when the Colony was dispersed by the enemy. Out of
the debris, they gathered seed enough to start cultivation the next spring.
Note X.
" Painted Stone." " Portage de la Roche Peinturee," is at or near the
" height of land " on this route. The actual " height of 4land " here,' as
everywhere else that I have seen, read, or heard of, of the great Lauren-
tian Range, or Ranges from Labrador to Athabasca, a distance of over
two thousand miles, is ever a flat, or nattish. I have found it so, above
three hundred miles almost directly north of this (Ottawa City) where I
measured it, as best I could, as an amateur in that way, for it was sport
alone that drew me there. However, with the means at hand, viz., a good
thermometer (for ascertaining heights by the "boilingpoint,") and with
other instruments, and besides that, by careful measurement of the heights
of all falls, cascades, and principal rapids on the way, viz., the St. Maurice
River, to a point (Weymontachingue) about two hundred miles from its
mouth, (that was before the river was scaled by Mr. Bignall, of Quebec,
but I determined the point by careful astronomical observation,)
and further, by careful observation of the general character of the current,
I arrived at an estimate which would place the height in that meridian,
at nearly one thousand feet. From that point I canoed up the main
stream, till I came to a flat which I was told (and which seemed to me
likely) extended to the Hudson's Bay waters*
1 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
From the head of the waters on the Hayes' River route, flowing into
that river, to Sea River, which is outflow of Winipeg Water, is but a
step, and that, over a flat, as is shewn by the Journal before us. I allow
ten feet, (an excess I believe) for the difference of level between where
Mr. McDonald reports, having struck " Black Water Creek," and its
mouth, on Sea River. From that point to Norway House, is a distance
of about forty miles, with a considerable current to be stemmed part of
the way : I know it personally, for I saw it constantly during the four
years I was there. Allow for that, a descent from the Winipeg level, of
say, 5 feet, and we have the "height of land" very little above the level of
Lake Winipeg. The level of Lake Winipeg (from 628 to 630 feet) as
determined by a number of authorities.—See blue book,passim—is about
the same as that of Lake Superior, and is probably assignable to the same
cataclysm. A few miles below Black Water Creek, viz., about 70 miles,
to judge from the map, (Arrowsmith's) before me, the "height" actually
runs under water, viz., at where Winipeg, under the name of Nelson
River, dashes on to the sea. From that point, the height slowly rises till
at or near the Methy Portage, on the route to Athabasca, it again
(mlminates with the same marked feature of flatness—a flat of several
miles there and about there. Of the " height" there, we will speak
when we come to that part of the route, as the route itself, in this canoe
voyage is our chief index on this point.
Note XL
Aitchemanus.—I have given the word precisely as I find it written
in the journal. My idea is that it is an Indianization of the term Each
man his own way, which I find applied to it in Thompson's Report.
What gave rise to the name was the fact, that when the precious and
ever trusty beavers that used, with their dam works, to keep open this highway on the " height" of land, were killed, (a ruthless deed, for they had
ever been cherished, and tamed in a way,) the dam or dams gave way,
so that several driblets of water courses, and sometimes scarcely any at all
were left, and to make a way, it was necessary to " stop-block " all the
water-courses save one, and in that manner, each man had to make his
own way. Sometimes, it would seem, as in the present instance, all the
water-courses were stop-blocked—probably to gather water for the boats.
In the present instance, the season being a remarkably dry one, as appears
from the journal, and the water short, it was necessary to carry all—
canoes and all—over, instead of making, as was usual, a " demi-portage/ Hudson's bay to the pacific. 47
viz., carrying in whole or in part, the freight, and floating the canoe or
boat.
Note XII.
" Sailed up Sea River."— This is the last stage of the route from York
Factory to Norway House. Let us Survey it as best we can. The recent
expeditions from England under the Imperial Authorities, under the conduct of Captain Palliser and others, may have given details on this subject,
but they happen not to be within my immediate reach, and, in any case,
for all practical purposes at present, the report, thoroughly reliable, of
Mr. David Thompson, " Gtographe de la Compagnie du Nord Ouest," as
he was styled in the books of the time, is " authority " that cannot be
questioned. Mr. Thompson was an intimate and esteemed friend, and
known to me as one incapable of a misstatement, and was a man of most
conscientious carefulness in all things, and no less so, of course, in his profession, to which he was passionately devoted. He did more for a correct
mapping of our great North and North-West from Hudson's Bay to the
Pacific than all others put together. It would be well to have his valuable field notes, now in the keeping, I believe, of some one of our Departments of Dominion Government, printed at public expence, for they are
now, from age and character of hand-writing, fast fading out of sight.
As to \the particular part in question now before us, I happen to have a
report, printed in an old brochure in French, and which being rare, and
of some possible value in the present juncture of general enquiry as to
those so long and studiously "darkened" regions—"darkened" from the
world's eye of enterprising intelligence—I shall give it in full:—
[Translation.]
Measurement oj the Distance and of the Stations between  York Factory
and the Colony of Lord Selkirk: by David Thompson, Astronomer and
Surveyor of the North West Company.
York Factory is situated in latitude 57° 1' N., and longitude 92° 36'
W. The rivers are freed from ice in the latter part of May or beginning
of June ; yet the banks remain covered, with ice' and snow till towards
the middle of June, at which time the navigation is at length really open.
Snow begins to fall about the middle of September, and by the twentieth
there is generally ice and snow along the river edge and banks. No
canoe can arrive at Rod River, starting from York Factory, later than
from the 1st to the 16th of September. The canoes or boats, &c, which
navigate (" qui navigue") from York Factory to Red River, do not
ascend Nelson River, but Hayes' River, on which the factory is estab- 48
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE, VOYAGE FROM
lished.    [Note by Editor,—the Nelson River route had been abandoned,
and also the Churchill River one, both being too difficult.]
Geographical
Miles.
River Hayes [from York Factory.]         52
For about eight miles one can ascend this river aided by the
tide, but all the rest is very   strong current (courant vio-
lant,) which requires haulage by the line.
Main River.—Canoes from the South; is also called Nipegon
Steel River; it only admits of haulage         27
Hill River,—Very strong current, and haulage necessary to
the first Fall         32
From Fall to the upper part of the river         30
This distance is but a succession of banks of sand, impetuous
currents, broken rocks, cropping up to water level (a fleur
d'eau); it lequires twelve portages, independently of partial
discharges and disembarkments at several places.
Lake Swampy (Lacde la Savanne)  7
Jack Tent River (Rivwre aux Brochets).—With much current,
and five pOrtages         10
Knee Lake (so called perhaps from its form, or from its shallowness)          47
Trout   River.—With   current   at several places  (plusieurs
cowans), and two portages         13
Holy Lac (Le Saint Lac.) [Note by Ed.—Certainly well
named, a beautiful large sheet of water, with a bordering of
comparatively low shore, and with no heights in view; like
a summit lake.    Oxford House is finely situated on it.]...        30
Several small streams ("Ruisseaux," ) and small lakes with five
portages         50
Each away man's brook. [Note by Ed.—It is so, in English,
given in English in the French report.] There are there,
ten beaver dams, which are carefully kept up. In dry seasons, the way being as dry as a threshing floor, it is necessary
that voyagers wait until the streamlet (" Ruisseau,") to be
navigated, be filled by the return of the waters          28
Hare Lake (Lac au LievreJ discharges itself into the "Sas-
katchewina" or Saskatchiwine  7
River Saskatchewina or Saskatchiwine.    [Note by Ed.—I give
[the name precisely as given in the Report.    The Cree name HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
. is. Kisiskatchewan (swift current) and in the old books and
papers is written Siskatchewan.]    Continual portage  35
Play Green Lake         14
Lake Trempy—[Note by Ed—Winipeg]—distance measured
on the east side, which is shorter than the west       300
Red River to the Forks.    [Note by Ed.—Forks by junction of
the Assiniboine River.]         40
FromY. F. to Forks R. R ~       725
Note by Ed.    Deducting the last three distances stated, for
Norway House is between Y. F. and Play Green Lake, say     357
49l
We have as the distance from York   Factory to Norway
House       368
These being geographical miles, we have the distance at, say, 430
in statute miles.
Norway House is in latitude 54° N. and longitude 98° 10'W. as determined by the several observations by competent scientific men who have
passed there, the gateway or wicket of the north, and final starting point
of some of the Arctic Expeditions. The distance in air line between these
determined points is about, and scarcely, 250 statute miles, and even the
higher of the above figures, viz., 430 would give a liberal allowance for
divergence. All of that distance, save, probably fifty miles, is seaward-
slope, and allowing an average ascent of a foot and a half to the mile,
(which is above the general river average of pente, the world over), we
have an indication of height of source—height of land—corresponding
with what we have already advanced on that head.
Note XIII.
" Jack River House "—but ever since known as Norway House, and,
in fact Mr. McDonald elsewhere in his journal refers to it generally, if
not always, under its proper name, Norway House. The old Norway
House, which was situated somewhere else, at the head of Lake Winnipeg,
had been burnt, as before stated, and a new Norway House, with an
extent of buildings adequate to its position as the seat of government of
the whole north, from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific and the Arctic Ocean,
had just been built—a two year's good job—at, or near "Jack River."
My grandfather (maternal) Chief Factor Pruden commenced it, and my
father built the most of it, and finished it, when in charge of that district,
(the Norway House District) and it was just completed, when the arrival,
7 50 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
now narrated, occurred. The " House " is as large as an ordinary sized
village. Built somewhat like a fort, but with only a comparatively slight
projection at the ends in the front facing the river, in place of the
" bastions " of the regular forts. The inclosiug wall was a huge board-
looking picket fence, perfectly close, from twelve to fifteen feet high, and
formed a square of about a 150 yards on a side, with two gates, one in
front, and the other in rear. This enclosure contained two large stores or
warehouses, each about sixty feet in length, one on each side on entering,
and in the middle of the square, was the main row of buildings Over 200
feet in length, and comprising the dwelling of the officer in charge, a
large hall forty or fifty feet long, for the great general council, and a number
of spare rooms for members attending council, and for the Governor, there
was a special house, if I remember aright, there was also a building for
clerks,and the kitchen (a large affair) and other buildings, offices, workshop,
the whole on the same scale—all these were in the " bounds,"—beyond,
in rear, and on one side, at some distance, a quarter of a nrle or so,
were the men's houses, two long buildings, sub-divided for families. Boat
building formed no small part of the work of the place, and that also,
had its little building yard and place. Such was Norway House, in its
fresh new face, as I saw it made, and left it, over forty years ago. On
it, or much of it, as on all things, I have no doubt, that Time has passed
his effacing finger," for those were the golden, specially golden, times of
the great Fur Monopoly of British America North, and all was gladness
in the hall there, then. I thus give, at some length, this sketch of a
Hudson's Bay Trading Station, Ab uno, omne disce—mutatis mutandis.
On the Saskatchewan, amongst the fierce Indians of the Plains, and
on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, the trade, in those times, but
more especially for some years before that, was ever at the cannon's
mouth, and in the case of my grandfather Pruden at Carlton, (which he
built) and was then the chief place of trade with the plain Indians, it had,
ex necessitate, to be carried on at and through the little wicket at the
gate, flanked and guarded by the bastions with their dreaded " wall pieces "
loaded and ready. Men there, then, carried their lives in their hand, and
life, nowhere in the North, was a sinecure.
The situation of Norway House is, if not romantic, one to please the
eye rather than to repel. It rests, snugly under the shelter of a high lock
towards the east and north, and in fact under sheltering eminences, not
high however, all around, the country about, being, what is called, a
" rolling one " instead of a hilly one. In front of the " Fort,"—for I must
give it some name more intelligible than " house,"—and fully twenty feet HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
51
down the bank, is a small bay, on the right of which (facing northward)
is a small rock hill, about eighty feet high, with a spur which narrows
the channel to about a couple of hundred yards in width, and where the
current (Sea River) seaward, is from three to four miles an hour, at that
particular part, and for about 400 yards, the course below that immediately below, becoming lacustrine.
The country around is principally of rock, in knolls, swamp
well covered with pine, spruce, and cedar (possibly), and there is considerable dry ground for such latitude and meridian. The trees, chiefly,
are pine, good and of different kinds, spruce, and birch, white and red
or black even, if I remember aright. There was, at any rate, a good
birch "sugary" in the neighbourhood, but of which, of course, no
sugar came, but most unexceptionable " syrup," and "it went as well."
There may have been maple, probably was, viz. the northern kind. The
trees are of " fairly large size," a log " seventeen inches in the " but," the
smaller " but," being not an impossibility, or rather, was, for it was of
the virgin forest, there, I speak.
The staple (food) of the place is fish—sturgeon, royal, of full one hundred
pounds now and then, I believe, and " Jacks " (pike), and that " life "
of the Laurentide country, the ever delicious, never cloying, and ever
cherished, beautiful whitefish of our far northern lakes. Not only the
establishment (a couple of hundred mouths on an average), but all the
brigades, from the Rocky Mountains, McKenzie's River and Red River
and York Factory, on their arrival there, where they had to remain
a little while, were fed there on fish, and it sufficed them.
Note XIV.
u Chief Trader McLeod, and Dease."—John McLeod, "senior," (my
father), and Peter Warren Dease, afterwards Chief Factor, and for whose
most efficient services in conducting the management of the then last
Franklin land expedition, and that known as " Dease and Simpson's," and
which completed the survey of our Arctic coast from the McKenzie westward, and also added much to our line of discovery on the east, from the
Coppermine R. eastward and northward, was offered a knighthood by
the British Government, but with that modesty which was part of his
noble nature, he refused it. I knew him well. I have his autographed
copy—his own—of the report of that most perfect, or one of the most
perfect, in its working and results, of Arctic expeditions, and the least
costly. The zeal and thorough knowledge of every necessary detail in
material and working, on the part of the Governor for the Territories, 1
52 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
viz., Governor Simpson, and the " happiness " of his choice in selecting
Mr. Thomas Simpson (a relative), a gentleman of high educational attainments as well as of great natural ability, contributed, no doubt, much to
the success of the undertaking, but it was unquestionably mainly due to
the special qualities of the two officers at the head of it, and who carried
it out throughout.
I shall have occasion hereafter to cite a passage or two from the report,
as best authority, in certain explanation or information called for by the
argument involved in this writing. I say report of the work, but it is
really only Mr. Thomas Simpson's admirable journal. Conscientious,
intelligent and painstaking, his statements as to astronomical observations,
taken by himself, and other matters bearing on our subject, are
thoroughly reliable.
In the crowd on the bank, so graphically described by Mr. McDonald
in his journal, standing beside my dear old father, (a sturdy Highlander,
snuff box in hand, and with countenance beaming in conscious pride of
his work well done, viz., the " Capital " just built—the New Norway
" House, behind him), I (a little fellow yet in his units), was a " gazing
spectator," intensely interested, and to this day, I remember the scene as
if it now flashed before my eyes.
On the signal hill of rock, from a tall Norway Pine shaft, floated the
w grand old Flag." From the " hollow rocks "—the world of rocks—all
around us, awoke the wild echoes, by " the bugle," " set flying." Then
the grand thunder—squirrl of " the bag pipes," with their " Campbell's
are coming, hourray! hourray!" or some such " music of our mountain
land," loud droned out to the very vault of heaven. And then—as a
cadenza of soothing, gladdening, exquisite charm—the deep and soft and
so joyously toned voices of those full throated voyageurs, timed with a
stroke—so quick—of gHttering paddle blade, singing with such heart
their "La Claire Fontaine" or some such loved air of their native land—
our own land, let us say.
All this music, in the rapid, in the deep rocky gorge, mellowed by the
waters, and a little by distance, entranced us, in a sense, for, for a while,
we could but listen—the canoes, from our position in the bay, being out
of sight—but when the Governor's canoe, with its grand high prow,
rounded, and brightly painted, flashed out of the dark rock " at the
point," into our full view, and gracefully turned into the little "port" at
our feet, the heart seemed to swell with admiration and delight at the sight.
Never; never, had anything so grand and splendid, and delightful withal,
been seen in those primitive wilds! and the little world there, especially on HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
53
that "bank" that day, was one which, in its unsullied purity of natural
taste for the beautiful in nature, and in simple art, could appreciate
and enjoy such a scene.
Note XV.
"Play Green Lake,"—Is so called from the accumulation (borne down
by Saskatchewan current) of a green, brightly green, water weed on
certain parts of it, and more particularly at its entrance, or rather at the
entrance into it, of Lake Winipeg, at a point which, I presume, is the
one referred to in the journal as " Warren's Point," and which, I believe,
is also called "Mossy Point." But this is mere conjecture on my part.
Pacho—the ch being sounded as the same letters or gh in the Scotch word
loch or lough—is the Indian (Cree) word for the weed. Hence the name
Winnipi-Pacho, the big water with the green weed.
This green weed, which to the eye is as scum, abounds in those waters,
and, I am told, gives name or significance to our " Winipeg." I spell
the word with one n, though perhaps, strictly, according to the vernacular, there should be two. Brevity is the order of this day of
shortness and electric quickness, and though sadly failing in the effort
(for my schooling is a little old), I shall, kind reader, try my petit possible
in that way, at least hereafter.
The lake is one of the most beautiful I ever saw; full of bare rocky
islets, from which I have seen gull's eggs of every size, from pigeon to
turkey, brought to Norway House in small canoe loads.
Note XVI.
" Grand Rapid."—This " Grand Rapid," at the mouth of the Saskatchewan, is so fully and thoroughly, in all its bearings, described and discussed in blue book, that I shan't enter on the subject. I feel, however,
disposed to take this opportunity, of a word about our great and most
interesting Saskatchewan. The name is written very variously. In
some of the oldest accounts of it, I find the name spelt Siskatchewan, and
if I mistake not, it will be, or would be found so in the old papers (if
they could be got at), of the Hudson's Bay Company. Thompson, in his
report above cited, writes it Saskatchewina, which, I believe, is the true
Indian pronunciation.
As to what is, or should be the Saskatchewan, I hold that it has as much
right to recognition throughout its whole length and grandeur, in its course
from the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the Sea, as the St. Lawrence
or other lacustrine stream of this continent.    In fact, more so, for there r
o4 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
is, we may say, no " Big " Lake to break its course, for from the mouth of
the river at the foot of its Grand Rapid, to the head of the Lake is but a
short distance (about ninety miles probably) without a single stream to
intermingle its waters, and from thence to thence to the sea it is, in fact
almost wholly, Saskatchewan water. From Norway House downwards,
Thompson refers to the current as Saskatchewina (the swift rivei). I am
aware, from maps, and accounts, such as that most abounding repertory
" Dobbs' Hudson's Bay," (a copy of which I happen to possess) that the
so called " Nelson R." in its course from Lake Winipeg, or Play Green
Lake, draws largely from the N. W. by streams debouching into Split
Lake, but still the accretion is altogether too small to change the proper
name of the main stream. As well, might we call the St. Lawrence,
something else, because the Ottawa strikes into it at Bout de L'lle, below
Montreal. This would make our Saskatchewan at least two thousand
miles in length.
Note XVII.
"Freeman." Name applied to men who have left the Company's service. There are no " slaves "—slaves in any sense—in the country, and
there never were, nor, in fact, could be; but some distinctive appellation
was necessary to distinguish those in the country, in the service of the
Company, from those who were not, and hence the name. No offence
was meant in its application, and as to those to whom it was applied, it
bore the import of honourable service faithfully done and finished.
Note XVIII.
" Traverse." Crossing by water. In navigating lakes of any considerable size, it is necessary for canoes to be careful in the long reaches,
and hence it is that in large Lakes, such as Winipeg, quiet moonlight
nights, and early morn, are preferred for the long " traverses." Winipeg
is, I believe, the windyest Lake in the world, and the winds, especially the
"Northers," are of terrific force.
Note XIX.
The custom is for canoes to stop, in case of heavy rain, and to go under
cover.    A heavy oil cloth or two, is always at hand ready, for the purpose.    The men, as well as the goods and luggage, are ever carefully
looked after.
Note XX.
" Through reeds and long grass."    This part of the Saskatchewan,
viz. : from some distance below Cumberland House to the head of the HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
Grand Rapid below Cedar Lake is a vast flat of fast accumulating alluvium, the precious earth cream of the great Saskatchewan basin. When
the water is high, as it is in June, when the mountain winter snows
come, liquid, down, there is not a foot of land to be found in a day's
paddle and sometimes more, and then, any hard jutting piece of limestone rock is a luxury.
Note XXI.
" One dry night, since leaving Norway House." Before that, from
Hudson's Bay (the wettest part of North America) to Norway House it
was all dry weather, so that the very mosquitoes were dried up, to the
death. The rain-fall in the Hudson's Bay Basin is very much greater,
certainly, than that of the Saskatchewan from Lake Winipeg, westward.
I have not the hyetal tables of the regions in question at hand to show
the fact, but they are accessible to the general reader, and are, moreover,
if I mistake not, in our own blue book of 1856-7-8.
Note XXII.
" Cumberland- House." As well determined by the numerous observations of explorers passing that further wicket or doorway to the north, as
well as to the west, is in Latitude 53Q 57', and Longitude 102° 21' W.
and is distant about 190 (one hundred and ninety) miles from Lake
Winipeg. It was once a post of considerable importance, in the time
of the " old troubles" there, (over fifty years ago), when this and the
adjoining the English River District—a fur garden, then—was crowded
with the rival traders. Even yet, the post is rich in rats; the country
around being an inexhaustible habitat of that most indomitable and
conservative of our ferai.
Note   XXIII.
" The Guide." Governor, or no governor on board, is ever master,
absolute, of the march. As a class, they are certainly the most trustworthy of men. The present canoe voyage from Hudson's Bay to
Pacific, and on waters through real gorges, canyons, with rapids, dalles,
cascades, " chiltes, falls, &c, and that without a single accident, to life,
limb, or property, and without the loss of pin's worth, save a ten cent
paddle on a portage, proves their quality. He was, generally, some
steel framed, steady and electric eyed Iroquois of Caughnawaga, or, as I
believe in this case, was, some old French Canadian voyageur, wise, exceedingly, in his own way,, and endowed, one would think, with special 56 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
insj^incts for his duty. In canoe, he takes the post of honor, i,e. of
danger and trust, the bow. Between him and his precious- charge, every
nasty ripping rock, or sunken stick in the way, the shallow way—for
going up stream they have ever to hug the shore—there is nought but
the thin birch bark, and its slender lining. He must needs, therefore,
watch every inch of the way. On the other hand, when running a
bad rapid, or, more fearful still, a chute with its whirlpools, what a
world of lightning calculations and electric force of thought, must fill
and flash from that brain and unmoved head, which with its long
ebon hair, flashes hurtling in its plunge, like a meteor, through the
mists of boiling waters ! On such occasions not a word is said, the
steersman, the biggest giant of the lot, takes his " cue " from a sign from
the bow's man, generally imperceptible to others not trained to the
mystery, and at it they go, as one heart, one mind, quickly, strongly,
but ever (and in this the native shows almost a speciality), with a
reserve of physical power and nervous energy equal to the occasion.
" Stoic," he, never loses his presence of mind. 'Tis he runs our steamboats down the fiercest rapids.
Note XXIV.
" English River or Churchill Waters."—The portage into this "system"
of waters is the " Frog Portage," which is marked in most of the maps,
and which is stated at being only 370 (three hundred and seventy yards)
and not to be of any special steepness. The upper, or Beaver River,
portion of this Churchill River watershed, intermediate between, and in
fact, at flood, overflowing into the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie Red
River " systems," is a fine country for a settlement. The soil is good and
strong, well wooded, and even heavily, with " magnificent pines," as weil
as other valuable timber, and is in the " Belt"—" Fertile Belt," that our
latest reporters in blue book speak of. That is true, but I hope to show
before long, that in giving their " Fertile Belt,',' they dont go far enough
north and west.
Note XXV.
" Pelican Tortage."—Simpson (Thomas) of Dease and Simpson, in his
" Narrative " (page 84 of the book a posthumous one), thus speaks of the
Pelicans. " A considerable part of the 5th (June) was occupied by the
Pelican Portage, and that of the Drowned," [Note by Ed. This must
have been about 130 miles north of Fort Chipewyan, on the Mackenzie
River.]  " The desert-bird, he goes on to say, frequents the first in prodi- HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
57
" gious numbers, and the rocky islands, a mile out of the stream, were
" crowded with their white ranks, reposing after their morning's fishing."
Note XXVI.
" Fort de Vile a la Crosse."—This is an important post. Its position
is given with great precision, by Simpson, according to observations taken
by him in the coarse of his remarkable winter journey on foot all the
way from Red River Settlement to Fort Chipewyan, via Fort Carlton, a
distance of " 1277 miles," as given (most truthfully I believe) by him. He
thus speaks of it:
"The Fort" is neat and compact, the surrrounding country low, and
swampy. The fishery in the Lake close at hand, yields a constant supply
of fresh and wholesome food, summer and winter ; the little farm is productive, and the few domestic cattle maintained, were in excellent condition." The Longitude of the place, deduced from three sets of lunar
distances, with stars on either side of the moon, was 107°. 54'. 30" W.
differing only six seconds from that found by Sir John Franklin in 1825.
The Latitude is not given in the published narrative, but in Bishop
Tache's Sketch of the North West, I find it given at 55°. 25'. an 1 of
course he has taken it from authorities ; it agrees sufficiently near with
Arrowsmith to be depended on. I am thus particular as to this point,
because from it to Fort Chipewyan has ever been, to all scientific research
as well as to commercial travel to the Arctic overland, the one route followed summer and winter, and the route as to distance, measured and
checked in every way, and ascertained with every possible certainty, short
of actual trigonometrical survey, is known almost as the " measured
mile." Simpson gives it at 371 miles (statute), and he walked every inch
of the way with snow shoes, making the road for his men and dogs every
step of the way, in heaviest snow, in mid-winter, in the short space of
ten days, an average of 38 miles a day, when and where, 25 miles would
have been good work. On his return from his remarkable Arctic feats,
which occupied two seasons, he exceeded that.
Note XXVII.
" Packs."—" Packs " are packs, most tightly made by screw presses,
strong enough to make say five hundred mink skins into a bundle, two
feet in length, one foot nine inches in width, and about fifteen inches in
depth.   On this, however, I speak with some degree of vagueness, for in 1mm
58 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
the first place, I was never in the Fur Trade, and secondly, it is nearly a
third of a century, since I was in a Fur Post, even casually.
The " pack " differs a little in size and form, according to nature of
pelt, skin, or fur, so that a pack of buffalo robes would be larger much
than one of mink, or such like small fur. Weight, the standard " piece "
of 90 lbs. for carrying, is the measure of make.
The McKenzie's River District has ever been a very valuable one, if
not the most valuable in quantity, and that, from the fact of there being
no opposition, and of its immense extent, reaching even to far Youcan,
where as on the North Pole of its new masters, now possibly float the
" stars and stripes " of the United States of America. At least they
claim it under the Alaska purchase, but whether they should get it,
without a recognition of that general principle of law, one of obvious
equity, of paying for improvements, and further without a recognition
of our droit de retention until such payment, is a question of some
interest, especially at this juncture. The Youcan outlay by the Hudson's Bay Company, would cover much.
Note XXVIII.
" Cold Frosty Morning."—On the 7th of August, in the heart of the
" Dog Days," is certainly something to make one shudder or sigh, as
the case may be, for such clime. For a summer trip, if possible ever by
rail, commend me to Methy Portage, were the refreshing nerve bracing
breezes of the pure, grand, and strengthening, farthest North, without
a stop or a break from their ice world, may refreshingly kiss and fan in
summer breath the toil worn, or more pitiable still, the care worn brow
of Southern humanity.
The fact is, that this is the summit spot, between the Arctic basin on
the one hand, and a basin which is almost Arctic on the other—for the
waters of the Churchill " system " are but snow just melted from the
heights of the Rocky Mountains—and, in part also eastward from this
spot, from the " Barren Grounds," of the naked Laurentian Primary, of
those leafless, bladeless wilds.
From the brow of this height, the noithern end of Methy Portage, let
us step down, down to those dancing sparkling waters, where first
they stop as it were, in their haste to their home back in the north. A
thousand feet above the sea they say, is the height of this " pass " from
Oeean to Ocean. I believe it, and therefore believe, that even in the
"dog days " it is cold, there, at times of a morning. HUDSON*S BAY TO THE PACIFIC. 59
Note XXIX.
"Mr. Stuart."—Chief Factor John Stuart, whose son (Donald) was a
fellow boarder of mine, at Dr. Boyd's, one of the Masters of the Edinburgh High School. I saw the old gentleman there, and had an opportunity of knowing his character, and it was one of thorough truthfulness.
Besides, in the present instance, in making the statement I am about to
refer to, there was no conceivable motive for the slightest variation from
truth. He was at the time of the voyage now under consideration, in charge
of the trading District known as that of " Lesser Slave Lake," and which
extended from Clear Water River or Methy Portage to the Leather Pass
(Passe de la GacliedelaTUeJaune) and the "Rocky Mountain Portage,"or
" Columbia Pass," or " Boat Encampment Pass," as the old Hudson's Bay
People called it in my day, when I crossed it. Tn extent it is about four
hundred miles from east to west, and two hundred from north to south,
say eighty thousand square miles, and is the vejy Eden of our north. It
is thoroughly permeated by numerous streams, such as the Athabasca,
McLeod, Pembina and Lesser Slave Lake Rivers, which afford navigaion
in every direction. Lesser Slave Lake, about 100 miles long and about 30
broad, at its broadest, lies about the middle of it, but rather towards the
north, approaching at its upper end, (where the chief trading post of the
District was, I believe, at this time, and may yet be for aught I know,)
a southern bend of the Peace Rivej, say within sixty miles of it. It was
from this point, say Lat. 55?. 40'. and«Long 117°. West, according to
Arrowsmith's map, that the letter I am about to cite, was written. The
The letter is one of a number collected from every trading district in the
whole field of the Company's trade from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and
from1 the American Lines, then 41° (forty-one) 47' N. Latitude on the
Pacific Slope, to the Arctic Ocean, and as a report for the Council, and for
use of all chief Factors and chief Traders (a business letter) was addressed
to Norway House.
The collection is of value, not only to the trade, but as a general report
as to everything affecting it, viz., climate, food resources, navigation and
general trade communication. A most perfect census also was taken,
reported and recorded of the whole country.
Of such is the following citation, and I give it because it is exceedingly
little we have of any information from that particular quarter, one out
of the ordinary lines of travel. In doing this, I violate no confidence or
accidental trust. The Company have moreover, no secret to be ashamed
of, and though they wisely and properly kept their affairs to themselves,  ' 60 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
in the present change of matters, it is in their interest as well as that of
the public that this information should go forth.
Letter of Chief Factor John Stuart.
'Lesser Slave Lake, 10th December, 1826.
" To the Governor, Chief Factors, and Chief Traders." [That was how
all those official reports were addressed.] " Notwithstanding the season is
so far advanced tliere is not a grain of snow upon the ground, and the
Lake is as free of Ice as in June." Free of Ice as in June ! and yet the
place is ten degrees north of this [Ottawa City,] and is almost within
sight of the Rocky Mountains. The statement, as to the climate
accords with Thompson's " April," [April, not May] " 28th, cold
blustry morning, came to Slave Lake, partly open and partly sound ice."
Amongst the packs of fur returns, he speaks of a number as being
" swans," i.e., skins with swan-down. The Country abounds with deer
and wood-buffalo, or at least did then, and I believe does so still. He
speaks also of the fine crops of barley and potatoes, raised at places much
higher up towards the head of the Saskatchewan, whither he had gone
on a visit.
Note XXX.
" Portage of twelve mUes."—This is by far the longest portage in the
whole Indian country, and by that, I mean the whole Hudson's Bay
Territories, andrthe Territories beyond. Fortunately it is a comparatively
level and easy one. I am under the impression that of late years the
Company have had animals, horses or oxen, to assist in the work, but I
cannot venture an assertion on that point. I find however, in Bishop
Tache's admirable brochure on the North West of America, a positive
statement to the efiect, that from the Saskatchewan, [probably opposite
Carlton House] there is a " Cart-road to Green Lake." [I was born
there.]
From this point to Carlton (Fort) [my Grandfather Pruden's old place,
and which he built,] is only about a hundred miles of fine, easy and well
wooded country. From there to Red Deer Lake close to the " Big
Athabasca, is, in vegetation in its singular force and nature, the rankest
part of America, North of the Torrid Zone." These are the very words,
applied by Sir George Simpson himself, if I mistake not: A region of
sulphur waters, bituminous springs, warmest limestone beds, and full of
life, animal and vegetable ; the veriest garden of our North West. HUDSON S BAY TO fHE PACIFIC.
6i
The Pine Forest, according to Simpson who tramped the whole route
in winter from Carlton to the Fort of Green Lake, begins at Latitude
N. 53° 30' commencing at " Fishing Lake," a little more than half way
towards Green Lake from Carlton. From Green Lake to Red Deer Lake
already mentioned is the shortest, easiest, and in every respect best route
to the Athabasca Region, and even to Athabasca Lake, and is moreover
the straightest route, almost in air line to Lesser Slave Lake, and is,
when the water is not at its lowest, the best and safest road to Jasper's
House, " head of boat navigation," and to the Yellow Head Pass, a four
day's march or less. A good waggon road from the Saskatchewan, from
the Forks or below " Cole's Rapids " or " Coal Rapids " as they are also
called, to the bend of the Athabasca, about thirty miles south west of
Red Deer Lake ought to be one oj the first public works in tliat region.
The road would not be three hundred miles in length, there are no large
rivers to cross, nor hills of any account to surmount', and it could be
made, I believe, for less, much less than a thousand dollars a mile, in
general average throughout, much of the route being through prairie.
Such a route would supersede the Methy Portage one, even for the
McKenzie River Trade.
Note XXXI.
" Poses of 500 to 600 yards each."—That is the distance between
each usual resting places—breathing spells for the voyageurs when " carrying" in the long portages. The ordinary load is 180 Ins. in two
" pieces," one tied like a " pacton," with the small long ends of the
" Collier," and which lower piece is made to fit into the small of the back
as it were, and to rest on the ilium, or " upper big back-bone " of the
hip. The second piece generally some bag shaped thing, or even a barrel
or a box is thrown on, and rests as in a hollow, long and convenient on the
back between the shoulder blades. The broad part of the Collier is put
across the brow, the neck is slightly bent, at the angle of most resistance
by the neck and spinal column, the legs as well as the body are slightly
bent, but just enough for spring, and off, so loaded and trimmed, starts
the man at a bound, short but quick, and which even on rough ground
up hill or level, he keeps up at a rate on an average of five miles an hour.
The littlest men do that easily and I never saw nor heard of one who would
touch less than the standard " 180". The disgrace would be killing, and
the rivalry, ever lively, of who will carry most, has called forth feats in
that way that would make the traditional " porter of Constantinople,"
hide his diminished head.  His "mark " if I remember aright was "600" &
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
(lbs. av.) Be that as it may, he could not, I am sure, carry " Le Grand
Canot," up a hill, and down, as our " bouts " do, nor "[do" Methy Portage
better than our men do or did.
Note XXXII.
" Reduced to one Trading House." During the struggle of the two
companies, N. W. & H. B., to secure and to monopolize the fur trade in
the country, their " system " was to have " posts " opposite each other,
and each would start new posts here and there wherever an opening for
trade presented itself. In other words, the trade was in a way brought
to every Indian's tent door, and he was served as a veritable " lord of
the land." The result may easily be imagined. And when on the
Coalition, there was a total change in this respect, the discontent
amongst the Natives was very marked, and even yet, at the period of
the voyage before us, that discontent had not entirely subsided.
\
Note XXXIII.
" The propriety of discontinuing the use of spiriiuous liquors." The
policy of the Hudson's Bay Company is, and has been, since they were
masters of the situation, worthy of all praise ; for it is undeniable, that
" liquor" is certainly the " most profitable article," i.e., immediately
profitable article of trade with the Indian. True, the company, as a corporation, with an existence future to look to, may be said to be not in
the position of an individual, in the country only for the time (short as
possible) to make money—his " pile "—by trade with the Red-skins, and
is not subject to the same temptation.
There is, of course, something in the argument—but, on the other
hand, there is to be said, viz. : That the Company—"a close
corporation," if you will, [I mean the old H. B. Co.] was
composed of men of high and far seeing intelligence, and from
the first effort in 1811, of Lord Selkirk, to settle the country,
must have seen, in a sense, those coming events which mark the present
hour in their field of work. Carpe diem, was not wholly their policy, at
least, where humanity to man, the duty of " brother's keeper," dictated,
in their good consciences, the " better course." At the time of the
Coalition, or rather in the " trade year" just before it, it is of record—
in so far as " record " of such a thing, and under the circumstances (very
special), was, or could be possible—that some way or other, at least fifty
thousand gallons of spirits were introduced, in that one year, amongst the
Indians, in, or for trade.    In the first year of the C "edition it was reduced HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
63
t© ten thousand gallons ; that was in 1821-2. In 1825, as I find by the
. Minutes of Council, at Norway House, for that year, trade in liquor was
discountenanced. These Minutes I have, viz., the copy of them, certified, which my father, as Chief Trader, in charge of Norway House District, shortly after that, had, and which had been left for him by his
immediate predecessor, my grandfather, Chief Factor Pruden. Such
Minutes are, it is true, an esoteric of the Company, and even although
not improperly possessed of them, I would not, in strict law and honor,
be justified in giving them or any part of them to the public ; still,
on this point, and in this matter, I have no qualms of conscience. It
would have been better for the good name of the Company, in some
respects, I think, if they had not been so esoteric, and had borne in mind
that there was such a thing, and power, as public opinion.
Extracts.
" Minute 108—Indians :—Industry to be encouraged, vice repressed,
and morality inculcated. Spirituous liquors to be gradually discontinued,
and ammunition.supplied even to those not possessed of means."
While I have this precious Minute book before me, let me cite one or
two more of some relative bearing.
" No. 137. Charles Lafreniere fined .£20 ; for charitable purposes."
And under the head "Religious Improvement," I find the following:
" No. 138. Divine Service to be read Sundays.
„    139. Religious books to be furnished.
„    140. Immoral habits to be checked.    Opposites to be encouraged.
„    141. Premiums for juvenile rivalry.
„    142. Women and children to be always addressed in English or
French.
„    143. Parents to instruct their children in ABC.
„    144. Officers and clerks in charge of Districts and Posts to take
measures to carry these several moral resolves into effect.
„    107. Missionary Society :—Native children leaving their parents
to become attached to this institution, to be supplied in
goods not exceeding £3, on account of the Society.
" No. 90. Catholic Mission at R. R. recommended for an allowance
of .£50 per annum with a supply of luxuries, &c.    [The " luxuries " were
a little tea, sugar, &c]
That was when the company was poor, and had not yet recovered from
its troubles.    Since then, the company, and its Chief Factors, and Chief E
64 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE^ FROM
Traders have covered the vast field with Mission Stations, and the most
thorough missionary "teaching in the world. One gentleman alone, Chief
Factor Leith, if I remember well, gave ten thousand pounds sterling, to the
great cause ; but while many of the company, who spent their lives in the
service of the Indians, have given freely of their gold to the missionary
cause, it is no doubt to the noble zeal and effective teaching of the Roman
Catholic Clergy, ever welcome at every post, as brothers of the Cross in
a common cause, that the christian civilization of the North American
Indian is mostly due. I am a Protestant, as my father was, but we can
bear no other testimony on this point. The priest and the trader have
in this case, gone hand in hand; and commerce has, in truth, in this
instance, been hand-maid to religion. For schooling and schools in proportion to population, Red River Settlement has nothing to be ashamed of.
Note XXXIV.
" Delightful prospect down tlds River."    Clear Water River.    " La
Petite Riviere Rabaskd," as the old voyageurs used to call it.    Eveiy ore
who has passed it, and has written thereof, has expressed admiration at
the beauties of the scene; and even Mr. McDonald, who, from his journal, •
seems to have too studiously,—too studiously for our taste at least,— .
closed his eyes to the living pictures along the way—seems to have been
affected here.    Captain Back's account of it, probably, is the finest and
best that we have, but I am sorry to say I hav'nt it, and never read it,
but have merely seen marked allusion to it.    Bishop Tache, in his work
already cited on some other point, thus refers to it.     " This delightful
" little stream, rising to the east of Methy Portage, has, up to the pre-
" sent time, and in spite of the difficulties of navigation, enjoyed almost
" the exclusive privilege of supplying a route to Athabasca-McKenzie.
" On descending from the heights of Methy Portage, one takes boat on
"this little river, which, in order ,to keep the traveller in the midst of the
" beauties it presents to his view, places obstructions in the way, neces-
" sitating the portages of White Mud, the Pines, Big Stone, the Nurse
" and the Cascades.    The river is not navigable by other boats than
" those of the country, and even then, the navigation is not easy."    I
copy verbatim from the admirable translation by Captain Cameron, R. A.,
of the Bishop's masterly sketch.
Mr. Simpson's account of this interesting spot is also worthy of reference. And first, as to his approach to it from Lac de V He a la Crosse.
" Early in the afternoon " [This was on the third day of his winter march
from the post of Lac de V He d la Crossef and which post, Bishop Tache Hudson's bay to the pacific. 65
says, (if I remember aright) is 120 miles from Methy Portage or River;
a statement which is confirmed by Simpson's itinerary.] " We reached—
says Simpson's narrative, " Methye Lake, near the middle of which, on
"a long projecting point, we emcamped among firs of great size."
* * * " After I had ascertained the latitude, 5 6° 28' 48 5 N. we
" quitted our snug quarters at three a.m. of the 24th." I make the citation as marking, very reliably evidently, the precise latitude of this
" Long Point," with its " Firs." " Scarcely had we started when the
" weather became overcast and snowy ; but we took our course by com-
" pass, across the remaining section of the lake, to the celebrated portage
" la Loche. The snow was very deep throughout this formidable barrier,
" and the white hares, which had been strangers to us since leaving Lac
" la Crosse, now often leaped across our path." From the hills on the
north side, a thousand feet in height, we obtained iliat noble view of the
" Clear Water River, which lias been drawn with so much truth and beauty
" bj Sir George Back; though ilie dark day, and the livery of winter,
" were unfavourable to our full enjoyment of tlie prospect. Launching
" down the steep and slippery descents, we turned off to the left, and
" halted for breakfast on the bank of a streamlet flowing into Clear
" Water Biver, distant fourteen miles from the creek which the boats
" enter at the end of this long carrying place." * * '•' One of the
" pines, under shelter of which we took up our night's lodgings, mea-
" sured three yards in girth, at five feet from the ground,"
" This is a fine country for the chase, and so little frequented in
" winter, that it may be regarded as an extensive preserve. We saw
" three moose deer on the top of one of the hills ; and their tracks, and
" those of the wood-buffalo, were numerous in every direction. The
" valley of the river is entirely sheltered from the inclement north and
" north-west winds, but its exposure to the. east usually rendered the
" snow deep and soft, as we found to our cost." Next day, " Just before
" breakfasting we saw, on the northern hills, a large moose and a band
" of five wood-buffaloes sunning their fat sides—a sight sufficient to
" make the mouths of pemican eaters water; but they were beyond
" our reach, and taking the alarm, quickly disappeared. The declivities
" of the hills seemed, as we passed along, completely chequered with the
" tracks ef these and smaller animals."
Such being the winter view, what must the summer one have been !
I have read, somowhere, but where I cannot tell—a description of the
" matchless scene," in its summer garb.   A valley deep, and wide anon—
a velvet lawn, three miles wide, stretching westward thirty .miles or
9 66 PEACE river:   a canoe VOYAGE FROM
more, in one view, with lofty sheltering hills on either side, clad to their
top, with trees of varied northern kind—a beauteous sylvan blazonry—
while in the vale below, viewed from its lofty source, first dashes forth this
Brook of the north, plunging from rock to rock, then hurrying down
" with man^ a silvery break water " or " slipping between the ridges," till
at length, with many a curve and graceful " wind about," with water crys-
tally clear, and glittering in golden western ray, it gladdens all the vale—
flowing on " to join the brimming river," and thence to the far, far,
shining, thirsting sea.
In the neighborhood of this summit source, is another, of marked feature, viz., Lake Wollaston, large, full of islands, with a shore line of
probably about three hundred miles, and from which (a great flat) flows
water into two different river systems, viz., that of McKenzie's River
(Arctic), and that of Churchill River (Atlantic).
Note XXXV.
"Big Athabasca River." In contiadistinction to the "Little Athabasca,"
(Clear Water River) just referred to, in the preceding note. The " Big
Athabasca," or Athabasca River proper, draws from the glaciers of Mount
Brown, the highest Peak (16,600 feet) of the Rocky Mountains, and also
from a much lower height called the Miette, not far from the Leather or
Yellow Head Pass. I have seen, but remember not the glaciers that
feed this noble river, having passed and repassed them in very early life
and once with " thirty feet" of snow after mid April, under foot in the
pass (Athabasca Pass), the highway, then, of the Hudson's Bay Company,
to the Columbia. The summit water of the Pass is common, to two
oceans, the Pacific (by the Columbia River), and the Artie, by the Atha-
baska and McKenzie River, and which in fact, are one, the Athabasca
being, though probably not the longest, yet probably the fullest tributary
to the main trunk known as the McKenzie; and which, by the geographers, (in doubt probably as to whether the Peace River, or the
Athabasca was entitled to be the " Main ") has been shortened off at
Lake Athabasca.
Whether quantity, or length constitute the "trunk" of a river is a
thing I have not yet learned, and so far as I know is still quite a question, e. g., the Nile, and the Niger.
The extended length of the great Athabasca is put at a little under a
thousand miles, and of Peace River with its Finlay Branch, at a little
over that. Hudson's bay to the pacific.
67
Note XXXVI.
" Only quadruped we have seen" And yet according to Simpson, and
that in winter, the valley was full of animal life, i.e., all kinds known
to the region—from rabbits to wood-buffaloes. At this particular part,
where the " cat was shot", Mr. Simpson speaks of the Lynxes being
remarkably abundant, revelling in hare, in their favorite haunts there.
The fact is, that the noise of travellers, especially in large parties,
drives off allferm, into covert, except a bear now and then, when too
busy at work, a-berrying or fishing about along shore for grub; but even
bruin (not the " grizzly") is very apt to scuttle off at first sight (not
sound perhaps) of a stranger.
Note XXXVII.
"Passed the Bituminous Springs." These Northern bituminous springs
are reported on from an area of over a hundred thousand square miles
between the primary rocks of the Laurentian system, and the foot of the
Rocky Mountains and even some distance up their slope. Whatever be
the quality or special property of this surcharge of our teeming earth in
this area, it is observed by all travellers that it does no harm to any
thing, not even to the trees at whose roots it comes oozing out in all its
apparent nastiness. Sir John Richardson (says Mr. Russell in his authoritative work on our North West), reports that "it seems rather to
increase than impair the fertility of the soil." " Striking oil" would
seem to be rather an easy process in such grounds. It would be worth
trying.
Note XXXVIII.
"Large Strata of Pit Coal." This, no doubt, is the seam of coal "eight
feet in thickness " which, at this place, Dr. Hector speaks of. It is not
" pit coal," in the ordinary sense, not, at least, in quality, but in appearance. Its quality, and economic value is not yet determined, but there
is no doubt that it burns well, although, it is said, it leaves much ash.
On the Athabasca, and McLeod Rivers, nearer the Mountain where the
rivers have worn themselves deeper channels in their soft bed of earth,
gravel, mud, and sandstone, to the limestone, strata fifteen feet are exhibited in the river bank. At Fort Edmonton, I understand that it has
been used, and probably still is, for blacksmith work. On the whole, I
consider our coal measures of immense value, and I say so, not from my
own observation, but from the gathered observations of those, who well
knew coal in its varied application in their home-country (Britain), and r
68
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
who had tried the thing, and found it, as Mr. McDonald stamps it,
" good as pit coal," i. e.., pit coal of Scotland, say of Mid Lothian, where
there are kinds, such as the " Diamond," unsurpassed in the world for
excellence and general utility. If it was that or some other good Scotch
coal, that was in Mr. McDonald's mind, when he applied the term, it
certainly must be valuable, or, at least, have appeared so to him. This
subject of coal in our North West is of such importance to us, that I
feel tempted to gather, and give in as succint and clear a form as the
subject will admit of, a number of the reports we have on it, from the
Saskatchewan to near the Artie Sea Coast, and westward to Vancouver's
and " Queen Charlotte. Island," or Islands, from which latter place it
has been taken, in considerable quantity of late—so I have read in the
newspapers, and I think the account probably true—and thatthe quality
(a superior kind of anthracite, I understood, but hesitate to accept the
statement as to kind) was so good as to command a very high (almost
incredibly high) price, viz. $20 (twenty dollars) per ton, in San Francisco, where, the Vancouver coal (Nanaimo, not anthracite) was ruling at
only " $12.50 the ton," or about that; the best English coal fetching
there, then* $20 the ton. For the present however,—leaving the subject
to others to deal with—it will suffice perhaps to give an extract from
Mr. Fleming's (Sandford Fleming's) invaluable compendium as to our
North West resources, under head "^Memorial of the People of Red
River to the British and Canadian Governments, with remarks on the
Colonization of British North America, and the establishment of a Great
Territorial Road from Canada to British Columbia,"—published in 1863.
Page 21.—"Geology and Mineral Wealth of the Territory." "From
" the shores of Lake Superior to the eastern banks of Lake Winnipeg,
" the geological formation is that of the crystalline rocks, a system which
" is not generally favorable to agriculture, although here and there, many
" fertile spots are to be found. This comparatively sterile region extends
" northward to the Arctic Sea; Lake Athabaska, and Great Slave Lake
" being situated on its most westerly limit."
So much in introduction. " To the westward of these lakes and
" Winnipeg,"—he goes on to say—" and between them nearly to the
" Rocky Mountains, the whole territory is of the silurian and devonian
" formations, both eminently favorable to agriculture, the former prevail-
" ing throughout the fertile peninsula of Upper Canada. At its base,
" the silurian deposits range a thousand miles from east to west, and ex-
" tend about five hundred miles to the northward, where the devonian
" system commences and continues to .^e Arctic Sea.    It is part of the HUDSON^ BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
69
#i territory through which the Saskatchewan and McKenzie rivers flow,
" which is highly praised for its fertility of the prairie lands. About one
" hundred and fifty miles east of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Coal
" Bed commences, which gives our territory so important an advantage
" over that which lies to the south. So far as has been ascertained, it is
" over fifty miles in width." [Note by Ed.—On the Athabasca, McLeod
and Pembina rivers, in the line of travel between Edmonton and Jasper's
House, it is found in seams from " fifteen to twenty feet in thickness"
—that was at a point fully three hundred and fifty miles, in air line,
West, or rather S.W. of " Coal Island," at the mouth of the Athabasca,
and about a hundred miles less from the bituminous spring of Mr. McDonald and Dr. Hector, just referred to. The same breadth, say 350 miles
W.N.W. is indicated by most abundant " show " on the Peace river in its
upper reaches, " and extends," proceeds Mr. Fleming, " continuously
over sixteen degrees of latitude to the Arctic Ocean." [Four hundred
thousand square miles of coal area ! Not in one bed, however, but in
separate ones, as referred to by Mr. Fleming.]
" The lignite (or tertiary coal) formation is still more extensively de-
" veloped; and as the occurrence of coal in these high latitudes is a
" question of much interest, the result of Sir John Richardson's obser-
" vations and enquiries on the subject, to which he has given much
" attention, are here briefly stated.
" At the junction of McKenzie and Bear Lake River, the formation
" is best exposed > it there consists of a series of beds, the thickest of
" which exceed three yards, separated by layers of gravel and sand, alter-
" nating with a fine grained friable sandstone, and sometimes with thick
" beds of clay, the interposing layer being often dark, from the dissemin-
" ation of bituminous matter. The coal, when recently extracted from
" the bed, is massive, and most generally shows the woody structure dis-
" tinctly. Different beds, and even different parts of the same bed, when
" when traced to the distance of a few hundred yards, present examples
"of * fibrous brown coal,' ' earth coal,' ' conchoidal brown coal,' and
" * trapezoidal brown coal.' Some beds have the external character of a
" compact bitumen, but they generally exhibit on the cross fracture con-
" centric layers, although from their jet like composition, the nature of
" the.woody fibres cannot be detected by the microscope. Some pieces
" have a strong resemblance to charcoal in structure, color and lustre.
" From the readiness with which the coal takes fire spontaneously, the
" beds are destroyed as they become exposed to the atmosphere, and
" the bank is constantly crumbling down, so  that it is only when 70
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
" the debris has been washed away by the river that good sections are
" exposed."
The Simpson Narrative also speaks of the burning coal on the banks
of the McKenzie, at Bear River. " Formations similar to that found on
" McKenzie River," continues Mr. Fleming, " extend southward along
" the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, as far as the Saskat-
" chewan River. Sir John Richardson gives a detailed account of the
" various localities between these two points in which beds of coal have,
" been exposed, all pointing to the existence of a vast coal field, skirting
" the base of the Rocky Mountains for a very great extent, and con-
" tinned probably far into the Arctic Sea, where, as is well known, Hgnite
" apparently of a similar character has recently been discovered by Capt.
" McClure, in the same general line with the localities above mentioned."
As to our Pacific Coal Measures, I have only this to remark, before
closing this note, that by a wonderful fitness of things to an end—how
often in this word of Providence we find it so !—we have, at the % harbor mouth," a£ every natural port on our Pacific coast, viz.: Esquimault,
Burrard's Inlet, Bentinck Arm, and Observatory Inlet, inexhaustible
coal, of the best kind, all ready to tumble into the ship's hold. I refer
more particularly, to the coal of Vancouver's and Queen Charlotte Islands.
L
Note XXXIX.
" Athabasca Lake," or " Lake of the Hills."—The " hills " are where
the great Laurentian primary, like a wall, bounds the, base of that vast
Silurian slope—that ancient sea-bottom of limestone—which, without a
break, and gently, almost imperceptibly gradual, extends far up the
eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, and at the " Passes," " Yellow
Head," and " Peace River," extends to the very summit of the height of
land between Atlantic and Arctic watershed on the one hand, and
Pacific on the other hand.
This picturesque and beautiful sheet of cold, clear, snow-fed crystal
water is about two hundred miles, but probably scarcely that, in length,
from east to west, and is about forty-five in width at the broadest part.
The level of the Lake above sea has not, so far as I know, been made
an object of special observation by any of the men of science who have
passed that way, with the exception, most probably, of Colonel Lefroy.
In the present juncture of " Question of Rocky Mountain Passes," it
would have been of some advantage to have had a well determined
starting point for measurement of Pacific passes in those latitudes, say
such a point as the west end of the Lake, or mouth of Peace River.   But HUDSONS BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
ft
I must, at the same time, admit that I have not read the reports of
Colonel Lefroy, or of other officers acting under the Imperial authorities
in survey of late years of the North West Territories, but merely a few
of their statements, here and there, indirectly, as given by others. In the
hurry, currente calamo, of this writing (for it has been suddenly called
forth only within the last few days, and the work can be done only at
moments stolen from pressing professional avocations, and altogether is
only about a ten days' " round of work " of a hundred hours or so.) I
am forced, with much regret, to draw my conclusions—unavoidably crude
in many instances—merely from that accidental personal knowledge,
and special garnered literature, viz., journals, reports, letters, &c, of
relatives and friends in the Hudson's Bay Company's service, throughout
their whole vast field of operations, which accident has thrown in my
way, and which I happen to command. With this special knowledge,
and also that gener al knowledge which is to be gathered from even the
" popular books " of the day, and, let me add, a good deal of blue book,
I make bold, in the present discussion of Pacific Routes, to advance an
opinion. I did it before, under the nom de plume " Britannicus," in the
Ottawa Times, during Dominion Session, 1869, before the issue of Mr.
Rnssell's or Mr. Waddington's pamphlet (which latter I have not yet
#seen), and the acknowledgment, by the Press, of the "public service,"
on that occasion, has, it would seem, given food to vanity. But to
proceed—
The only statement that I have come across as to " level" is in Bishop
Tache's sketch (page 33), where he says : " It is a beautiful expanse of
"limpid water, measuring over 200 miles in length, at an elevation of
" about 600 feet above sea-level."
" About 600 feet" is, I think, a correct estimate—rather oyer, perhaps,
but, for present argument, fairly predicable.
Unfortunately, however, the " Sketch " excusably perhaps as a mere
sketch, does not give authorities for the statement. Perhaps there were
none. I assume, for the nonce, that there are none, and that we have to
make it out as best we can.    It is worth trying.
Firstly. We have evidence from abundant scientific report that, from
the mouth of McKenzie to that of the Mississippi, and also to that of the
St. Lawrence, there once—just before our era—rolled and flowed a
mighty glacial sea, whose traces, surface traces, (viz., sea-shells, of present
congeners on the Greenland coast, and ice grooves, and ice-borne boulder
deposits, all the way from Quebec to Norway House, and thence to the
shore of the Arctic Ocean) are to found at a uniform height of about 650 r
61
72 PEACE RIVER:    A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
feet above our present sea level. That between us and the North Pole
(or rather between the nearest dry land down here, and the Pole, for
Ottawa was then at " the bottom of the deep blue sea ") there was nought
of " land," save where the old Laurentian reared, in long iron-bound
coast, broken and fiorded like that of Norway, Greenland and British
Columbia, its rugged face of rock. From the outlet of Great Bear Lake,
thence to the hills of Lake Athabasca (its northern and eastern
bordering), thence to Lake Winnipeg (also its northern and eastern
bordering), thence along the north of Lakes Superior and Huron, and
thence to our ancient sea beaches (plain, bare and smooth as when
washed by the billow) on the Rigaud Mountain and other corresponding
heights, on the neighbouring Laurentian Range, we can, with marked
distinctness trace an ancient shore line; and at the foot of that
shore, the remnant pools—very large, if you will, but still, comparatively, pools—of that great ocean subsidence, which gave us the
Mountain of Montreal, with its Greenland sea shells at its top, just
about " 650 feet above the level of the sea." In this "650 feet level"
we find a remarkable identity in all these great lakes. Superior, Huron,
Michigan, and I might add Erie, are all well determined as to almost
identity of level. So is Winnipeg (630 feet). Now, from the Winipeg
level to Cumberland House, the rise on the Saskatchewan, as given by ,
Professor Hind, on careful " levelling,"-as he says, is as follows:—
" Grand Rapids " forty-three and-a-half feet, viz., the lower part fifteen
feet, and the upper part 28*58 feet (see page 78 of his Report, 1859,
giving the report of Mr. J ohn Fleming.) From the head of the rapid to
Cumberland House (which, though not actually on the Saskatchewan, is
only two miles from it, and on the same level there), the Saskatchewan,
as reported by Professor Hind, and as shown by Mr. McDonald's
Journal, and as shown, in fact, by every account we have of the route,
is, to the extent of nearly one-third, lacustrine, and the rest of very little
current. The distance from the head of the rapid is given at about 175
miles.
About eight inches to the mile would, I consider, be a liberal allowance for fall to that point. From that point to the lake add, the " forty-
three and-a-half feet," and we have about 160 feet as the height at
Cumberland House above Winnipeg Lake, of the water route we are
following.
From Methy Portage to Frog Portage there are, according to Bishop
Tach6 (expertem credite, for he has travelled the route, and that, with a
very closely observing intelligence, as appeal's-front his report), " 300 to HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
73
400 miles of Churchill River Waters, but only navigable   with  the
canoes in use."
Of this distance, there is, he says, " about 120 miles in which there is
no obstruction to navigation, namely, from the southern extremity of
L'lle a la Crosse Lake to the mouth of Methy River," (near the end, if
not at the end of the portage). The bad part, is bad indeed, according
to his description, full of cascades and rapids. Yet, we see those everlasting " four or five ton boats " of the Company regularly ascend them
and descend them without material difficulty. There does not seem to
be any " fall" of any height in the whole distance, but only " bad
cascades and rapids." Allowing for the 120 miles " so good," say 100
feet, and for the rest £50, we have 450 feet from this end of Methy
Portage to the head of Frog Portage. Frog Portage is, as stated in the
map, only 370 yards, and is, according to all accounts, level, in fact, at
high water in Spring, the waters flow over. From it to Cumberland
House is about 200 miles, much of it lake, and the rest of easy river
navigation. The Journal shows this—allow 200 feet of fall (pente) for
that. The total from Methy Portage to Cumberland House we then have
at 650 ; which being added to the 160 of Cumberland height above
Winipeg gives us. a grand total of 810, from Winipeg Lake to the
lower end of Methy Portage add ninety feet (a liberal estimate), for rise
of portage to its culmination at the " Laurentide " brink, overlooking
the " Clear Water," and we have 900 feet as the height of that height
above the Winipeg level. The Winipeg level, as that of Lakes
Superior, Huron and Michigan, so well known and indisputable—is
about 630 feet above the sea—we have, therefore, at this point, say Methy
Portage, a height of 1,530 feet above the level of the sea. Simpson, who
is ever scrupulously, and I may say, scientifically correct, calls the.
"towering height " "above" him, only " 1,400 " feet, and, of course, in
the fervour of the moment, he naturally gave the "highest possible
estimate." Perhaps he meant 1,400 above the immediate level beneath;
but it matters not. To the valley beneath is, by all, called a descent
great and sudden, but none, even to round a period, exceed the traditional
" 1,000 feet." I^et us, in all fairness again, call it 800, from the 1,530
aforesaid, and we have 730 remainder, i.e., to the river at our feet. But
there are still about 200 miles of river to descend, and for which nine
inches a mile of descent would be but fair allowance, say 150 feet, leaving, therefore, for height of level of the Lake (Athabasca) only 580 feet
{five hundred and eighty feet) above the sea.
But, secondly, to measure it from another direction,
10 74 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
From Lake Athabasca-—say Fort Chipewyan, the point whence issues
the McKenzie—to the Arctic Ocean is a course of very slow river flow,
and much of it, lake, without a single " fall," and with only four rapids—
and they not of any markedly great descent, nor long, viz., the
" Cassette," " Mountain," " Pelican," and that of " The Drowned," all
between Arthabasca and Great Slave Lake. The distance by the river
may be a thousand miles, say twelve hundred, the ordinary voyages, by
those fair measures of travel, the ever present " four or five ton boat" of
the North, and also the recorded time and incidents of the expeditionary
passages over that old highway to the Arctic, indicating that as a fair predicate of length. In air-line it is about 700 statute miles, as established by
well-determined points, viz., Fort Chipewyan, latitude 58°. 42'. 38". N.,
Longitude 111° 18' 22" W., according to Simpson, who seems to have made
his observations with great care, and is in perfect accord—so I would
gather from his narrative—with Sir John Franklin;—the other point
being " Shingle Point," at the mouth of the McKenzie, precisely on the
" 69° " parallel of north latitude. The Longitude is not given, but
according to map, is about 136° W. The Simpson expedition was thirty-
nine days (from 1st June to 9th July) on the route between these points,
but was detained twelve days by ice on Great Slave Lake, and four or
five days by stoppages at posts, making arrangements for winter quarters
on Great Bear Lake, and by adverse winds too strong for their boats,
though descending the river. I give these details, as elements for
estimate. The estimate I make, is an average of six inches of river fall
per mile from Lake Athabasca to the Ocean, say 1,200 miles, which
gives us just 600 feet for level height of that sheet.
Thirdly ; The only other stated height in this region, and it is one of
which there might be less doubt than as to the true meaning of Simpson's
] ,400 feet, is that of the old and ever important post, known as " Fort
Liard," in latitude 59° 40' N., or about that, and longitude 121? 40' W.,
or about that, in a direction west, or almost due west from the northern
side of the lake, and about 300 miles nearer the Rocky Mountains, from
which, according to Russell (page 35), it is distant only " fifty miles."
According to the same authority—and we cannot have higher than Mr.
Russell, because he speaks ever from authentic'record—the height of that
spot is only " 400 or 500 feet above the sea." If it be so, then Lake Athabasca must be considerably less, if there be slope eastwards from the Rocky
Mountaids. There are also geologic and geographic facts of particular
bearing on the point, which I might adduce in the argument, but I have
said enough I think.    No one can reasonably object to " 600," at least, HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
75
as a " bench mark " here, for our clime over the Rocky Mountains, vid
Peace River.
Note XL.
" Fort Chipewyan " (pronounced Tchippiwyan), is, according to Simpson's
itinerary, "371 miles from He a la Crosse." It was, in the times of the
old North-West Company's sway in that region, a very important post,
an " emporium," as Mr. McDonald truly reports of it. But " times had
changed ". with it, evidently. Simpson, preparing for his expedition,
building boats, &c., spent all February, March, April and May there.
" May," says he, " like April, was a fine month; but, till near its close,
" there was little sultry weather." Swallows appeared about the houses
on the 19th, and, during the whole month the geese (four kinds he names,
viz., the Snow, Canada, Laughing and Hutchin's-the first, most numerous)
" on their northward migration, afforded the Camp food, and the fort
" sportsmen amusement." * * * " On the 11th we had smart thundcr-
" storms." " Owing to the general (meaning unusual, I presume,)
" coolness of the season, and the low state of the waters, the ice lingered
" on the lake until the 22nd." " All attempts to raise produce among
" rocks at Fort Chipewyan have proved abortive, even potatoes being
" brought down from Peace River." " On the 23rd, the Peace River
" boats reached English Island, and their cargoes were carried by land to
" the establishment, a distance of two miles." On account of the lake-
ice, of course. These little entries tell their own tale, and they are notes
worth noting on the way.
Note XLI.
" Just a month since we left York Factory."
Considering the character of the route, forty miles a day, stoppages
included, would be a fair average.    This would give about 1,200 miles
as  the  distance  of Fort Chipewyan from York Factory, vid Methy
Portage.
Note XLII.
" TJie Governor closed his public correspondence."
Governor Simpson had a remarkable administrative ability, to which
he bent an industry which did the work of two or three other ordinary men.
I see in the "Cassette " full of these old Hudson's Bay papers now before
me, that his " private" correspondence with the " gentlemen" in the
trade, as the phrase used to be, was no inconsiderable work.    He, at one ft
76 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
time, so overtaxed himself in thai; way, as to become partially blind, and
in 1840, when in London, used to make me his reader to him of an
evening. Most kindly, he tried to get me to enter the service, but this
animal would not.
Note XLIII.
Chief Factor's Commission to Mr. Peter Warren Dease.—Mr. Dease
was at the head of the Franklin Expedition of 1825-6-7, in conducting
it in all its working, details, commissariat, &c, leaving the higher work
of taking observations and making notes by the way, free and uutram-
meled, to Sir John Franklin. He did his Work well; and according to
what has ever been a rule with the company in such case, Mr. Dease was
at once promoted from his Chief Tradership to a Chief Factorship, which
is a " double share," and entails no extrawork. A good thing, for those
who could get it.
Tt was for like service on the subsequent expedition (that of "Dease
and Sinpson,") of 1837-8-9, which completed the survey of our north
coast from Franklin's furthest, west of the McKenzie, and also for much
new discovery on the east side, and north of the Coppermine River,
that knighthood, we have already alluded to, was offered to Mr. Dease.
On his refusal of the honor, the Imperial Government offered him a pension of a hundred pounds sterling. On his retirement in 1841—2, he
settled in the immediate neighborhood of Montreal, where even among
the other old tall Nor-Westers that used then to walk the streets of their
old emporium, Mr. Dease, tall, straight and strong, and of noble mien,
towered above the rest. He was of a class, great and grand, in many
respects, but they are gone, as warriors, of old, and we ihis younger generation at least, are reaping the fruits of their conquest. The story is too
long for this note.
Note XL1V.
Cariboo Mountain at a distance to our right.—I don't know where to
find a description of this range of hills, for the word " mountain " is a
very indefinite term, and conveys no more measure of height or size than
a " piece of chalk." In Arrowsmjth's, which, as I have said before, is to
be thoroughly relied on, at least the one before me, one made expressly for
the Company, or, at least, on the face of it, dedicated, by permission, to them,
and " containing " as stated on the face of it, " the best information
" which the Company's documents, (placed at his command), furnished."
In this most reliable map, I find a very weH marked and regular range HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
77
of hills laid down from near where the Peace River " forks," at the pass
in the Mountains, to the McKenzie River at Mountain Portage, about 120
miles by river course, say 100 miles in air-line, nearly due north of Fort
Chipewyan. The range runs at an average distance of from thirty to fifty
miles from this part of the river, where occurs the most northerly bend in
it, and is as a wall stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Laurentian rock, on the eastern side of the McKenzie, at Mountain Portage.
Be the hills or " mountains " high or low, they undoubtedly have a most
beneficial effect in sheltering the " happy valley " from rude Boreas. I
say valley, for on reference to the map, and also to other accounts of the
topography of that region, I find that from this very point spoken of in
the Journal, there is another a range of hills, the " Deer Mountains," low in
the lower part of the slope between the Rocky Mts and Athabasca Lake,
but gradually increasing in height, until at Lesser Slave Lake, (the northwest end of which, the range seems to overlap), it attains a height of "800
ft." or about that above the Lake. From that north-west end to the Yellow
Head Pass, the ridge, " low swelling"—for that is what it seems to fall off
to—is distinct enough to form the established boundary in that direction,
between the Lesser Slave District and that of Peace River, as laid out
by the Company for their work. The Peace River trading district extends from this boundary, which terminates at the Yellow Head Pass, to a
point about 500 miles north along the ridge of the Rocky Mountains,
thence eastward about 200 miles towards the McKenzie River along a
river from the Rocky Mts. called Nahanie, and passing about 100 miles
north of Fort Liard, thence traversing the Cariboo Mts, and Peace River
about twenty miles above the Falls hereinafter mentioned, up Loon River,
or the river discharging from Loon Lake, about thirty miles below Fort
Vermilion, and thence to the Yellow Head Pass, following the height
of land, (the southern range of the valley aforesaid,) between the waters
flowing into the Peace River—such as the large Smoky River and its
tributaries—and the waters—the multitude of hill streams—that pour
into Lesser Slave Lake.
The lower District on the Peace River is the one known as the Athabasca District.
These are natural boundaries, and would answer well for any purpose
of territorial division. They have been disturbed, however, by the
Imperial Act, 29 and 30 Victoria, chap. 67, defining, or rather giving in
its new constitution, boundaries to British Columbia. By that Act, the
eastern boundary is laid down thus :—" And to the East, from the
boundary of the United States, northwards by the Rocky Mountains, 78 PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
and the one hundred and twentieth meridian of West Longitude." This
Meridian is five degrees east of the Rocky Mountains at the northern
boundary of this District, and bisects it transversely. Why the old
boundary, viz.: the Rocky Mountains, was not retained, I cannot conceive, unless (as would almost seem to be the case) our Imperial Legislators assumed that the Rocky Mountains and the 120° West Longitude
were identical, or nearly so. They are not, but vary fully fifteen degrees
at the northern boundary (Arctic Shore) of British Columbia; the result
of which is, that the lower three or four hundred miles of McKenzie's
River now belong to British Columbia. For once, at least, the Hudson's
Bay Company seem to have been asleep when they allowed, without
protest, such interference with their possessory rights. The new boundary
gives British Columbia the Peace River Pass and nearly one hundred
miles east of it.
I give the boundaries of this most interesting District with some
particularity, because they have been originally laid down with that, I
may say, consummate wisdom which marks, or marked at the time in
question, those old merchant adventurers of the North—the North-West
Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. The North-West were
undoubtedly the first on this field, and to their memory is due the "pas"
of precedence. These boundaries as a principle, were geographical, and
adopted with the view of most* easy concentration for local trade, and
in subservience, in some measure, to tribal habitats.
There is also this specialty to call for remark in this direction. The
Upper Peace River district, and immediately beyond, on the Pacific, is
even already known and worked as a gold region, and even already
government, with its assigned local limits, and local administrations may
be necessary. The people pouring in there from the comparatively
exhausted gold fields of California and Cariboo, are entitled to that protection of law and order, which I fear is not to be found there at
present. The first difficulty to cope with,—and it is a most formidable
one,—in those parts of British Columbia, is the Indian one. The Indian
must be bought or killed, else lie will kill. I make the remark here,
although it may not be strictly in place, nor fitting for the work more
immediately in hand.
Note XLV.
" Northern Lights."    The familiar sight requires no explanation.    As
to the mooted point, however, of audibleness, I find a strange diversity
of opinion, of experience rather, as reported by friends of the far North.
L HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
79
I have seen these lights myself in our " higher latitudes," and, of course,
wondered with open eye and ear at the phenomenon,—the dance of " The
mystic North Men." To me—though of good ear—it was ever silent.
On the other hand there are some—credible thoroughly—who, conscientiously, declare that they have heard the sound, as of the rustling
of silk. Electric, it may, possibly, have made small thunder, to their
finer sense, or imagination.
Note XLVI.
" Grand Falls," ten or fifteen feet high." These are the only " Falls"
in the whole course of the river from beyond the other side of the Rocky
Mountains, and the only place throughout the whole of it, at which, a
canoe had to be taken out of the water, in so far as appears from Mr.
McDonald's narrative, or any account of the route that I ever came
across, or read, or heard*allusion to. These "Falls" are about 220 miles
from the mouth of Peace River.
Note XLVII.
" Fort Vermilion." About 320 miles from the mouth of Peace River
is, or at least used to be, a post of considerable importance in the trade,
but not the chief post, Dunvegan, higher up, being the Qheflieu of the
district. " Mr. Paul Fraser," a clerk in the service, was then in charge,
as appears from Mr. McDonald's journal. Amongst my father's old
papers, I find one, on some point of business, from this same Paul
Fraser, dated 1st May, 1827, the year before the present voyage, addressed
to my father as officer in charge at Norway House. I refer to it merely
to show that the mail boat, or canoe, or in other words the craft with
the precious " returns " for the whole district, which must have started
from Dunvegan (250 miles up stream) four or five days or more before,
passed here as early as 1st May, when, of course, the river must have
been perfectly clear of ice.
Note XLVIII.
" Found, the two with a moose." Killed just at the spot, the distant
camping place, where wanted. All the accounts of the abundance of
Moose, (Elk, as Sir Alexander McKenzie calls them,) different kinds of
deer, and wood buffalo, throw " Gordon Cumming's Africa," into shade.
Hear Sir Alexander on the theme ! Speaking from a spot about eighty
miles above where Fort Verniilion now is, but on the south or west side
of the river, he says, under date 1793, 10th May :—" At this time, the 80
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
" buffaloes were attended with their young ones that were frisking
" around them; and it appeared that the elks would soon exhibit the
" same enlivening circumstance. The whole country displayed an exhu-
" berant verdure ; the trees that bear a blossom were advancing fast to
" that delightful appearance, and the velvet rind of their branches
" reflecting the oblique rays of a rising or setting sun, added a splendid
" gaiety to the scene which no expressions of mine are qualified to des-
" cribe."
And further on, from a spot on the same side, at a bend of the river
where the first " McLeod's Fort," of Peace River was built, about fifty
miles below Dunvegan, the illustrious traveller discourseth thus, about
the same date of course :—
" Here the ground rises at intervals to a considerable height, and
"stretching inwards" (i.e., towards the south-east, in the direction of
Lesser Slave Lake and the Athabasca River) " at every interval or
" pause in the rise there is a very gently ascending space or lawn with
" abrupt precipices, to the summit of the whole, or at least as far as the
" eye could distinguish. This magnificent theatre of nature has all the
" decorations which the trees and animals of the country can afford it;
" groves of poplars in every shape vary the scene, and their intervals
" are enlivened with vast herds of elks and buffaloes, the former choosing
"the steeps and uplands, and the latter preferring the plains." See
Journal, p. 155.
Another scene is described as being like a " cattle yard."
Further on in his journal, Mr. McDonald speaks of thirteen bags of
pemican, besides four bales of ditto or meat being made out of one day's
slaughter of the animals about the Fort, i.e., moose, buffaloes, &c.; each
bag and bale weighs 90 lbs, and it may be imagined what killing there
must have been. Mr. McDonald, like Sir Alexander McKenzie, was a
fur trader, and wisely prosecuted his calling for his own concern, and not,
by his calling " travellers' tales " over true, to bring interlopers into the
country to spoil the business.
Note XLIX.
" Large columns of black earth." Oozing out of the sandstone, no
doubt a bituminous mixture of some economic value, if intelligently
applied—but how, or for what purpose, save as a soit of paint, or boat,
or roof, or wood pitching for preservation, I cannoi> say. There is this,
however, to be said of it, that possibly it might be available for making
into briquette, an artificial fuel of coal-dust and something else, pressed, HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
81
and dried, and now used largely in the Austrian, Belgian, and French
railways. A similar compound has lately been submitted by one Loyseau
to the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia. The briquette has been
found to evaporate seven times its weight of water, and has been found
to be the cheapest of fuel for railways, in Europe.
This "black earth." is most probably highly bituminous. In any
case it is worth testing. The phenomenon here is interesting, as showing the extent of this bituminous area, or area of bitumen, the other
exhibit of it, last alluded to, being that at or near the mouth of the Pembina on the Athabasca, fully three hundred miles in western air line
from this spot.
Note L.
"Smoky River."—A large tributary, with itself many tributaries carrying the waters of the large area between Peace River, and the Deer
Mountains; running from the west end of Lesser Slave Lake, and the
Yellow Head Pass. The distance from Dunvegan, or mouth of Smoky.
River, to the Yellow Head Pass, S.W., and following the general course
of that stream, is, in air line,—and the route by road would not be ten
per cent more,—about 150 miles, but the difference in level, or height above
sea, I estimate at about 2,000 feet:—Of this more anon. I mention these
distances and features, in view of a territorial grand trunk road, with
branches, in this direction.
Note LI.
" Delightful country that we have passed through to day."—It was, or
rather would have been, " delightful" throughout, all along, had the
the travellers been on the high bank of the river, instead of in the bottom
of its trough, very deep trough. Here, where they stopped for dinner, viz.,
at an " Old house of Mr. David Thompson," and where the "Freeman "
Bastonais was living en Seigneur, they were in the open, and could then,
as Sir Alexander McKenzie, at the same spot did, get a view of the
delightful country all around.
Note LII.
" Poires," or " Sascutum berries."—" Saskerum," is the word in the
M.S., but, to my ear and memory, it should be Sass-kootum/ with the
accent on the first syallable. The "Voire," so called from its elongated
oval shape, somewhat like a pear save in having no smaller e:;d It is,
when in full growth, fully half an inch in length, and half that in diameter, and is small seeded ; in fact, a North American raisin, luscious,
wholesome, and much used as an article of food. It is put in the finer preparations of Pemican. Such Pemican is sans par eil as a "preserved meat."
11 82
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
It is said that wherever these poires grow, wheat will grow, and grow
well. The alluvial flat? at and towards the mouth of Peace River, from
the Falls to the Lake, and rich gravelly loams above, up as far as Dunvegan, or at least up to the plains thereabout, I look upon as good wheat-
field, in fact, superior wheat ground. In this connection it is worthy of
note, that at the Paris Exhibition of 1867, it was a far Northern wheat,
viz., that of John Meldrum, of Pontiac, the extreme North Western
County of the Province of Qnebec, that took the second prize for wheat.
Mr. Meldrum (an intelligent Scotch farmer aud miller) described to me
the soil on which he grew it, and it corresponds with that which, I take
it, is to be found in the Peace River Country, over the most of its extent—
It was a Scotch, or more particularly, a Fifeshire wheat, that Mr. Meldrum,
got the award for—The award was actually made to him for this wheat,
but by mistake he got the diploma for " cereals," which Sir William
Logan, an exhibitor of " cereals," (a collection), should have got, according
to award, and Sir William got the one for the " wheat," which Mr.
Meldrum, was entitled to.—Mr. Meldrum did not exhibit anything but
wheat, and could not therefore, properly get the prize for " cereals " i.e.
collection of cereals. I mention these particulars, to bring out an important fact, and at the same time, to meet any doubt on the subject.
Pontiac, in climate, corresponds with that of the lower and middle part
of Peace River. At Fort Liard, on, or very near the 60th parallel of
N latitude nearly 4° N. of Dunvegan, and only about a hundred miles west
of its meridian, " barley and oats yield good crops, and in favorable
seasons, wheat ripens well." So says Sir John Richardson. (See Russell,
page 18).
Note LIII.
Dunvegan.—Is on the most southern bend of the Peace River, say
about 150 miles, in a straight line, from the ridge line of the Rocky
Mountains. Its latitude is given by Thompson, at 56° 08, and by
Colonel Lefroy at 56°. 06. N. The height above sea of this interesting
place is a subject on which it is impossible to come to an absolute conclusion. Thompson puts it at one thousand feet, Lefroy, at nine hundred and ten feet, and Richardson at seven hundred and eighty feet;
Russell gives all this in his pages 75 and 81, and then in page 74, he says,
"Colonel Lefroy gives 1,600 (one thousand six hundred) feet as the
elevation of the country about Dunvegan above the sea." If " 1,600,"
be not a misprint for 1,000, and if he means not the hills or rising
ground immediately back of Dunvegan, viz, the lower slopes of the
Deer  Mountains, I cannot reconcile the statements, and in fact, in HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
any way, I cannot reconcile the statements. But there is another statement which still more involves the matter, he says—"The general elevation of the country, however, still continues to increase, and at Dunvegan
it is six hundred feet above the bed of the stream ; yet even at this point,
except in approaching the deep gorges, through which the tributaries of
Peace River join its waters, there is little or no indication of an elevated
country ; the Rocky Mountains are not visible, and no range of hills meets
the eye." Add to this, the fact already recorded by Russell, page 35,
and already alluded to in a preceeding note, that Fort Liard, about a
hundred miles nearer the Rocky Mountains, only fifty miles from them,
is under five hundred feet above the sea. This matter of altitude according to these varying statements is certainly, to me, at least, a puzzle.
But its solution is not of such pressing. moment as the ascertainment, so
far as may be possible, of the height of t/is Peace River Pass, through the
Rocky Mountains : to that I shall, liereaiter, more particularly address
myself, in my present writing.
On the question of climate, I give the following :
Table of mean temperatures in the North-west Territory and Canadian
Provinces compared.
Months.
Dunvegan,Peace River, Alt.
1,000 ft. above the sea.
Lat.   56*08' N.,    Long.
117°13' W.   Obs. by D.
Thompson, 1803.
Toronto, Alt. 340 feet above
the sea.   Lat. 43°401 N.,
Long. 79°22^ West.   Obs.
by Professor Hind.
Mo
Fahr.
37 6
64
63
60
55
40
Eahr.
41 2
51 5
61
66 3
65 7
57 4
45
Fahr.
37 9
51 6
63 1
67 5
65 9
57 6
44 6
Fahr.
Mav	
48
T           	
July	
62 3
August	
63 7
57
47
54 87
62 50
55 44
64 33
53 45
65 50
53 18
Mean
of three summer months
60 76
14 6
-4
22 5
36 1
27
24 8
30 2
34 1
17 7
11 7
14 8
25 1
39 3
25 7
24 3
March	
29
of the year	
Mean
Mean
8 42
35 51
28 36
44 16
20 68
40 99 *|
28 66
42 69 84
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
As to the period of cultivation (from April to October) it is a fact worth
noting, that Dunvegan, Toronto and Quebec, according to these tables, do
not vaiy more than about half a degree in mean temperature, and that
as to Halifax, the difference is 1^69—not far from two degree,—in favor
of Dunvegan. As to the winter cold of Dunvegan, its steadiness and
dryness are, for both man and beast, better than that of any other place
in the Dominion, save Manitoba, perhaps.
At the same time Dunvegan is nearly thirteen degrees of latitude
North of Toronto, and is, moreover, far inland, and high, while our Queen
City of the Lakes, low sitting, on her 349 feet above sea, has, as mighty
reservoirs of heat about her, Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron, to warm
her with their steamy vapours, when the frost gets very severe. Dunvegan
(so called after the cold, bleak, rock built castle of the McLeods of Skye),
has no such winter wrapper, save what vapours it may get from over
the Mountain; vapours whose laws of action, most probably, Would account for the singularity, according to the thermometrical register, of the
January and February decrease of cold, from the four below zero of December. Possibly there may have been error in transcription of registry.
In original entry, I know there could not have been ; for, as I have before
said or intimated, Mr. Thompson, to my personal knowledge (for I knew
him intimately), was too scrupulously and habitually correct in such
matter of professional duty, to make any such mistake.
Speaking on this subject of climate, at this spot, he says : " Only twice
| in the month of May, 1803, on the 2nd and 14th, did the thermometer,
" at 5 a.m., fall to 30°, and only twice was it as low at that hour, and
" that, never after the fourteenth of that month. Frost did not occur
" in the fall till the 27th September." "It freezes," says Mr. Russell,
" much later in May, in Canada ) and at Montreal for seven years out of
" the last nine, the first frost occurred between 24th August and 16th
" September."
In this statement as to Montreal, Mr. Fiussell does not give his authority, nor state the time, the year or years, he refers to, but that does not
matter.    The Montreal tables are accessible to all.
Mr. McKenzie says of the country, about a hundred miles above Dunvegan : " Some parts offer beautiful seenery, in some degree similar to
" that which we passed on the second day of our voyage," [indicating remarkable equality throughout the Peace River valley, to the very
Mountains], •" and equally enlivened with elk and buffalo, which were
" feeding in great numbers."
"A little further," (I am quoting from Russell), " twelve miles above
SS! Hudson's bay To the pacific. 85
Sinew River, close to the Rocky Mountains," he says : "The land above
" where we camped spreads into an extensive plain, and stretches on to a
" high ridge, which in some parts presents a face of rock, but is principally
" covered with verdure, and varied with the poplar and white birch tree.
" The country is so crowded with animals as to have the appearance in
" some places of a stall yard, from the state of the ground, and the quan-
" tity of dung that is scattered over it.    The soil is black and light."
Two days journey, by the river, above this, where the country is wooded heavily, Mr. McKenzie speaks, in crossing a portage, of the forest being of spruce and birch, and the largest poplars he had ever seen. Further on, he speaks of "travelling through heavy woods of spruce, red pine,
" cypress, poplar, white birch and willow, and through tall pine woods.
" Soil light, and of a dusty color, over gravelly clay. The river, still from
" Jf.00 to 800 yards wide, diminishing to 200 where confined. It is here
" passing through ilie Rocky Mountains, which do not rise apparently
" more than 1,500 feet above their base—bare of wood in the upper
" parts, wooded at the base. The bed of the river is limestone, and tlie
" Mountains solid masses of the same."
On the 27th May, the trees, towards the bases, were, he says, putting
forth their haves. Towards the Forks of the Findlay and South Branch
—which was that taken by the canoes, to McLeod's Lake, as stated in
Mr. McDonald's journal—he (McKenzie) speaks of the Mountains being
covered with wood.
Such is the spring, early May, picture of the interesting scene. The
fact is, as appears from the description of the canoe route as given in
Mr. McDonald's journal in approaching the Forks, and of them, and past
them, where there is not a word about current, or difficulties of any kind,
but only of "fine dry beaches," " prairies," &c.; and also from Sir .Alex.
McKenzie's description of that part, of the route, where he speaks of
heavy woods, and travelling through tall pine woods, the very heart of _
the Pass itself is a pine, and comparatively level woodland and prairie, in
varied form, but ever pleasing.
Note LIV.
" Death of Mr. Hughes and four men at St. Johns."—From an attack
by Beaver Indians (" a warlike race,") in revenge for " wife lifting "
(so charged at least), on the part of the person in charge of the post at
the time, a Mr. Black, and who, I have understood from my father, was
some time after, in the country of the Nez Perces, of the Columbia, shot
dead, in his own room, by some unseen hand, from behind.    The \ 'murder r
86 PEACE RIVER:     CANOE VOYAGE FROM
at St. Johns," as the occasion was called, seems, from the correspondence
(now before me) from all the posts around within a radius of three hundred
miles, to have created much alarm, and considerable disturbance of the
trade. The " Beaver Indians," ever well fed, and a mountain race, are
of a character of much force, and naturally of much spirit. Masters of
the country they are, and have ever been; and their motto may have been,
like those who built Dunvegan, of a reading to make the " Black Actx' a
dangerous one. I am not aware that the Sabine experiment—if ever
really done—was ever repeated there, or any where else, in the Company's
realms, after that.
Note LY.
" Strong Current."—This is the first mention of strong current, or even
" current" in the whole route from the mouth of this great river, so well,
in this respect, called Peace River. I forget, at this moment, the Indian
name, but I remember that the word means peace or stillness. Still, considering the slope from the pass in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca, say twelve hundred feet, or an average of about one foot six inches
to the mile, (a predicate beyond, I believe, the actual fact), and the fact
that there are no lakes nor lacustrine enlargements on the way, but one
continuous river flow, with but one break, viz., the Falls, there must
be considerable current part of the way, say from the Pass to Dunvegan.
In the lower part it seems to be more like a large canal, than a river of
the mountains. A Nile like current. The points made each day by the
canoes indicate this. To Fort Yermillion, about 320 miles from mouth
of Peace River, took them only six days, less two hours, of paddling, and
a short portage at the Falls. From Fort Yermillion to Dunvegan is, according to the best calculation I can make—for accounts all differ—
about 250 miles. The time taken was six. days. So far, therefore, the
current seems to have been a very gentle one throughout, but, of course,
slightly increasing in the upper courses of the river. And the question
here arises. How can that be so gentle a one, when Dunvegan is, as reported, so many feet, (1,600 according to Colonel Lefroy), above the sea.
The explanation can be best given by citation from Russell, page 74 :
" He says," i.e., Colonel Lefroy, Whom the author is referring to, " the
stream is more rapid above Fore Yermillion than below it, and that the
depth of the bed of the river below the surrounding country, increases
with great uniformity upwards. About sixty miles above Fort Yermillion,
where it has cut through alternating sandstone and limestone cliffs to a
bed of shale, it flows at a depth of 200 feet below their summits.    Then Hudson's bay to the pacific. 87
giving the very words of Colonel Lefroy's report, he says, " The general
" elevation of the country, however, still continues to incVease, and at
•' D unvegan it is six hundred feet above the bed of the stream." See extract
already given in Note LIII. As to the size and character of the river at
different parts, it will be found in the following extract from the same
authoritative quarter: "At low water the Peace River does not exceed
" a quarter of a mile in breadth below the falls: at the falls it is four hundred
yards." [Mr. McDonald, it will be remembered, calls it half a mile, but,
of course, he did not, like Colonel Lefroy, measure it. " Its width up to
" the Rocky Mountains continues much the same, sometimes attaining
" eight hundred yards.    It has much less descent than tlie Saskatchewan."
As to the river and its banks, below the Falls, McKenzie says :—" The
" country in general is low from the entrance of the river to the Falls,
" and with the exception of a few open parts covered with grass, it is
" clothed with wood. Where the banks are very low the soil is good,
" being composed of the sediment of the river and putrified leaves and
" vegetables. Where they are more elevated, they display a face of
" yellowish clay, mixed with small stones. On a line with the Falls, and
" on either side of the river, there are said to be very extensive plains
" which afford pasture to numerous herds of buffaloes." I give all this
to shew that the country there is low and flat, and current therefore
slow.
" From the Falls,"—this fine painter of Nature goes on to say—" the
" banks of the river are in general lofty, except at low woody points,
" accidentally formed in the manner I have mentioned : they also dis-
" played in all their broken parts a face of clay, intermixed with stones.
" In some places there likewise appeared a black mould."
I give, to avoid mutilation, these extracts in full, although they contain
more than is necessary for the argument more immediately in hand.
The Current, therefore, so far from Fort Vermillion to the mouth of the
river, seems to be the gentlest possible for a river.
There are two or three rapids, mere currents between narrowing
banks, besides the Falls or one Fall aforesaid, but so slight that the
McDonald Journal does not speak of them.
The present point of " Strong Current" is reached early on the day
after leaving Dunvegan, say 40 miles above it.
From the entries in the journal on the following day, it does not appear
that they were that day, troubled with " strong current" or current
worth mentioning. On the fourth day, the entry is " current
strong," and yet this day, it would  appear from the numerous beaver I
PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
lodges seen on the way, that the river was not so bad; and in fact all
day and all night, as they heard from the plunging of the beaver—it was
beaver-flat, l^eaver country there. On the day, after that, without any
further reference to current, save that it was not so strong, they arrived
at the Portage at .5 p.m. But this Portage, be it remarked, is not of
the canoes, which still keep to the river, and in so far as appears from
the Journal, never left water till carried from McLeod's- Lake, far on
the other side of the Rocky Mountains, to the Fraser River at Fort St.
James. The Portage was a long one of nine and a half, or say ten miles,
to relieve the canoes, while they made a " horse-shoe " circuit of about 35
(thirty-five) miles as I estimate it.
The canoes accomplished the thirty-five miles, or even perhaps more,
of bend in two days or less, and therefore there could not have been very
much more difficulty than the average strong current.. Moreover, in
starting at the lower end of the portage, the only ascent, so far as appears
from the Journal, was to the top of the bank of the river, and from that
to the head of the portage all seems to have been level. My allowance,
6 feet per mile for rise at this bend, is, I really believe, in excess. On the
following day there does not seem to'have tbeon any " strong current."
On the day after that (7th September, exactly one month after the " cold,
frosty morning" of Methy Portage, the height of land there), after
" mounting the Grand Rapids," they actually, in canoe and with paddle,
went through tlie Peace River Gap of tlie Rocky Mountains, skimming tlie
waters, stated by McKenzie to be here from 400 to 800 yards wide
—lacustrine—on the west side of the Mountains, crossing the ridge, with
paddle—" a la nage." So much for the " strong current, " in so far as it
had to be traced all the way, as an element of measure of height and
length of course.
As to current as a measure of height, I would here give the following
extract from Russell again, because he is the author most in hand, and
accessible to general readers.
Page 74.—" At low water the Peace River does not exceed a quarter
of a mile in breadth below the Falls. At the Falls it is 400 yards. Its
width up to the Rocky Mountains thus continues much the same, sometimes attaining 800 yards. It has much less current than the Saskatchewan. ' As to the current of the Saskatchewan, we find in page G4.
" Captain Blackiston gives the average descent of the Saskatchewan
from Edmonton to Lake Winnipeg at one foot four inches to the mile.
To the foot of Cedar Lake it would be one foot three inches, the same as
the descent of the Rhine from Strasbourg to the sea." HUDSON'S BAY TO THE PACIFIC
89
'/ Above this (the Rapids at or above the Forks) for the distance of
280 miles further up, to Edmonton, the ascent per mile is very much less
than in the lower part of the river. It is estimated by Mr. Thompson,
who surveyed it, as being from six to nine inches per mile, and for a
hundred and eighty miles further up, to Edmonton, at two feet a mile,
less than half the rate of the Rhone from Avignon to the sea. From
Edmonton to within forty-three miles of Rocky Mountain House.
Thompson states the ascent to be four feet per mile." My table
of relative heights and distances will show how I apply these
measures.
Note LYI.
" A cross or two on tlie beach."—It has ever been the custom in the
North, to mark all Christian burials with a cross on some conspicuous
point near where the dead lie buried by the shore, or where death from
drowning or otherwise occurred. In such cases there is no question
of creed. The brotherhood of peril in those wilds makes all of one creed
in such matters. When, in the " stilly silence" of the woods—that
solemnity which ever, in some degree and varied aspect, strikes the
human heart when moving in the primeval grandeurs of nature—those
speaking monuments of our humanity suddenly catch the eye, they
touch indeed the heart of common sympathy; for, ever, it was some
fine, brave fellow in the battle of life, and, perhaps, in the effort to save
his fellows in peril, or working hard, that died there.
Note LYII.
" Had a glance of tlie Rocky Mountains."—The point-view point, viz.,
from the lower end of the portage, spoken of in the Journal, is about
seventy-five miles from the " Forks " of the Finlay branch (canoed in
less than two days), and which Forks are beyond—considerably beyond,
I take it—the ridge line of the Rocky Mountains, both these streams
being entirely on the west or Pacific side of the Rocky Mountains. The
gap in the mountains is, I have somewhere read, one of about " ninety
miles," but that, evidently, is an exaggeration. I infer, from the Journal,
that it is at least some miles in width, the very stream flowing through
it, being, at the line of pass, from " 400 to 800 yards wide," as Sir
Alexander McKenzie says, and with fine dry beaches and prairies, as Mr.
McDonald reports.
12 PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
Note LYIII.
" The mountains, this afternoon, assume a stupendous appearance, sno-w on
summit of several of them."—The " snow line," i.e., line of perpetual snow
in this latitude. This latitude I place at 56° 18' N.— a mere predicate,
however, for I am not aware of any observation having been made to
determine this interesting spot. Possibly, Thompson may have done so.
The nearest determined point is Dunvegan, given at 56° 6', (by Colonel
Lefroy.) The next nearest is that of Cape Ommaney, the extreme
southern point of King George III. Island, which is given in the navigation tables, (Norie's), at 56° 10'. The extreme northern point of Queen
Charlotte Island, or rather an islet at the N. point called Langara Island,
is also a relative point for estimate. Langara, called also North Island,
is stated at 54° 20' N. I give these points here, for I may have occasion
hereafter to allude to them, at least to the latter, in relation to another
branch of this subject of passage to the Pacific.
The longitude of this River Pass of the Range, I put at 122° 20' W.,
about ninety miles within British Columbia. As to what is the precise
" snow line " at any particul?" latitude, there is no absolute rule, but
merely a general one. This is well illustrated by observations on this
subject on and about the Himmalaya Range, as given by Humboldt in
his work, "Aspects of Nature." See note 10 in his annotations and additions, near end of note. " From the data hitherto collected," he says,
giving amongst others the observations of Captain Gerard—" It would
" follow that w,e may take the lower limit of perpetual snow on the
" nortliem side of the Himalaya at about 16,600 feet, (English feet);
whilst on the southern declivity, the snow line sinks to about " 13,000
feet." The italicization is my own. The remarkable phenomenon is
accounted for by the immense radiation of the vast Thibetian Plain. We
have a " Thibetian Plain " also, in those latitudes and meridians, and it,
no doubt, has, in some measure, the same effect. But besides that, the
Northern Himalaya slope is comparatively sunless," while our Himalaya
is blessed with the Phoebus kiss, full half the live long day. On the
other side of the range also, the border, broad, is plateau, in character very
like the Thibetian Plain of open meadow, and only partially wooded, and
of considerable radiating force. But besides that, and more effectually
and indisputably, is the melting agency of those warm vapours which the
course and dash of the great Pacific Gulf Stream, that boundless, un-
fathomed, but well known great " Black River " of the Japanese record,
which, from the Torrid Zone, sweeping northwards along their eastern Hudson's bay to the pacific. 91
coasts, dashes through the Aleutian Archipelago, and bathes our northwestern coasts with a heat force which it is hard for us of the east to
estimate. From the authority at my elbow, (Humboldt, and there is no
higher in his way), let me give an instance in exemplification. In his
Note 18, he gives a comparative table of mean annual temperature :—
Sitka.—L&t. 57° 3'; Long. 136° 16'W.
Mean temp., 45° 5', viz., Winter, 33° 4; Summer, 53°, Fahr.
"Fort George."—(Mouth of Columbia.)    Lat. 47°> 18', long. 122° 58.
Mean (fahr.) 50° 3, Winter 37° 9, Summer 60°.
Geneva.—Lat. 46° 12, (Alt 1,298 E. f), mean 49° 8, Winter 33° 6,
summer 63° 5.
Fort SneUing.—Say now St. Paul, Mississippi.    Lat. 44° 53, mean Winter temp., 15° 9 Fahr.
Halifax.—Mean temp. 43° o, viz., Winter 24° 2, Summer 63°.
Paris.—Mean temp. 31° 6, Winter 3° 8, Summer 64° 6.
New York.—Mean temp. 52° 5, Winter 32° 2 Summer 73°.
Gottenburg.—Lat. 57° 41, Mean 46° 4, Winter 31° 5, Summer 62^ 4.
I give these figures to indicate, by comparison, what our British Columbia coast climate is, and to show that on the west side of the Rocky
Mountains in the parallels in question, as well as the East there are
natural causes for raising*—and raising not a little—our snow line, at the
view point Mr. McDonald speaks from. According to ordinary rule the
" snow line " at 56° 18, or even 57°, should be about 4,000 feet or even
less. I would be inclined to put it at 4,500, a maximum, especially as
they appeared " stupendous " to Mr. McDonald's eyes ', and I know he
was truth itself, as well as honor, and not given to exaggeration in any
thing, and certainly not in depicting nature. A Highlander, bred and
born himself (a McDonald of Glencoe—a name he gave to his place in
Canada), he knew well what a mountain was, and would never have called
mountains " stupendous," unless they really were so as ho saw them then
and there, and with his practiced eye, measured them from his foot. The
foot in the pass was low, the objective snow summit was high, hence the
" stupendous." Ben Nevis, (near Glencoe), of Scotland is, if I remember aright, something approaching 5,000 feet in height, and yet though,
almost touching the 57° of N. L., he always doffs his winter cap. Mr.
McDonald, nor no Scotchman worthy the name, would call any thing
much less, a " stupendous mountain."
Still, it cannot well be assumed that the Mountains so seen were of
exceeding great height. At some distance from the mouth of the
McKenzie   River, at a point about 64® N.L. where the River, in its PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
westerly trending strikes the foot of the Rocky Mountains, a spot referred
to by Sir Alexander McKenzie, as "the hill by the river side," and which
being easy, he' ascended, the Rocky Mountains have run down to hills,
snowless even within the Arctic Circle during the brief Arctic summer.
On the other hand, to the south of the Peace River Pass, the ridge rises,
-till at the Athabasca Pass, in the Peaks of Mts. Brown and Hooker, about
300 miles South, it caluminates at a height of over sixteen thousand feet,
the Pass there, being, as I thought, probably about 10,000 feet, but
which has since been generally stated—on what authority I know not—
at 7,000 feet above the sea. Intermediate, occurs the Yellow Head Pass,
ascertained by measurement to be only 3,760 feet above the sea. No
heights about this Pass except one, estimated at 7,000 feet, have been
measured, so far as I am aware, although in the present survey for a
Canadian Pacific Railway, there may have been something done in that
way. The Yellow Head Pass is only about a hundred miles north of the
Athabasca one. From the Yellow Head to the Peace River is a distance
of about two hundred miles. The slope all along is most marked, and it
extends till lost in that Arctic Coast, about 70° N. L., in which so flat
is the land and immediate sea bed, that as Simpson( Thomas) reports, they
had at places to keep three or four miles off shore to find water enough,
say two feet or so, for their little light coasting boats. But it is not only
the Ridge that thus slopes, but its bases do so, from the " Missouri
Plateau," some four thousand feet above the sea, to the flats of the Polar
Oblate. This apicial height, transverse to the Rocky Ridge, was I take
it, the ideal 49° N.L.—our American boundary of 1818. It gave us all the
Northern Slope. There was in that, a recognition of the geographical
fact, that there was such a slop 3, and such definite natural aoundary.
Since 1818 the whole field, our's as well as the American, has been
been traversed in different directions, in instrumental survey, sufficiently
at least to prove the correctness of such geodesy.
Not incompatible with it, but in perfect accord, do we find the fact,
that on that slope, at this lower point, the Peace River Pass, a navigable
water course, five hundred miles nearer the flattened Arctic—has lowered to less than eighteen hundred feet above tlie sea.
" Less " than eighteen hundred feet above the sea ! It will be asked,
Yes, I say so, and say so on facts, which, as best was possible within my
limited means and power, I have endeavoured to bring out, and in a way
array, to prove (in so far as is possible at present) the " astounding fact,"
that we have such grand and golden gateway to the land Columbus
sought, but reached not. Hudson's bay to the pacific. 93
The figures are these :—
Beet.
Lake Athabasca, above Sea ,     600
„ „ to Dunvegan     310
Rocky Mountain House above Dunvegan, say 140 rn^es
with rise of 3 feet per mile         420
Head of Portage from Rocky Mtn. House, say 35 miles
by river, at 6 feet per mile     210
Pass  (Ridge Line at River, say 70 miles from Head of
Portage), at 3feetperm:ie     210
Total height of Pass above the sea  1,750
From such a point—one so low—those " hoary summits " (not old in
story yet however,) snow-capped in September, may have well
appeared somewhat "stupendous" even to our friend from Ben
Nevis, and still be not over 4,000 feet or so. Sir Alexander McKenzie
estimated (guessed) the mountain summit here in view, at 1,500 feet
from the river. That does not disprove what is advanced as to
the height of the Pass : and as snow on 7th September is quite possible
on such height in that high latitnde, as a month—exactly a month
before that—at about the same height at Methy Portage, the " cold frosty
morning " occurred, there is no reason to believe that 1,500 feet or even
double that above the river, there, is within "snow line" i.e., line of
perpetual snow of that locality.
But further—This subject of " snow-line," and the great question of—
to use a Germanism—Rocky-Mountain-Snow-Railway-Difficulty, suggests an observation or two from me, from the special knowledge and
sources of knowledge I happen to have on the subject.
The Athabasca Pass already alluded to, and which was used in my
time in that region, viz., 1822 to 1826, was considered impassable even
ia^July, on account of the snow. I went through it in early November,
however. In my father's journal* of his journey from Kamloops
(Thompson River) to Fort Yancouver (Columbia River), and thence to
Edmonton across the Mountain,! find from special entry (a memo.) initthat
he was to make special enquiry of one, " Jacques Finlay " as to the possibility of crossing the mountain by the Rocky Mountain Portage in
July. What the difficulty was, is not stated, but from the fact that the
main difficulty at the time my father passed that way was snow, I
presume that that was the difficulty. On this subject, his journal runs
thus ;—" 1826,  March   20th.—Started from Yancouver"   \i. e.   Fort P^VCE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
Yancouver on the Columbia River, and about 90 miles from its mouth,
and the^ being the depot for the whole Pacific trade of the Company ;
from this point he started] "with the express for the east side" [i.e. east
of the Rocky Mountains.] * * * "Left Spokan 17 th April, and
" arrived at the Rocky Mountains on the 27th. Put the boat, &c, ' i
" security and started on the 28th, but the snow was so deep that we
" were obliged to cut our leather trousers" [Note.—The long journeys on
horseback necessitated leather trousers] " to make snow-shoes of. We
" arrived on the east side the mountains on the 5th of May. Came to
" Edmonton on the 17th."
There was, as appeared by the tree-tops, I have heard my father say,
about "thirty feet of snow " under foot in the Pass then.
Before getting up to where the boat " was put in security "—a place
called " Boat Encampment" by the Hudson's Bay people—there was
considerable difficulty to the navigation on account of the snow, and
much complaint especially from the difficulty, from that cause, of getting
grass for the precious first calves which were then being taken by him to
upper country of the Columbia, and as to which I may here remark en
passant, he received the most favorable accounts some three years after,
as appears by letter to him now before me. He had great difficulty in
saving them, on the way, from the hungry clutches of the Indians at the
portages, who wanted to make game of the dear things. Sir James
Douglas may remember the occasion, for he also, from a simultaneous
attack, had a narrow escape, when, according to my father's journal,
" he owed his life to Douglas' quickness in taking off the cover of his
gun, and the help of a gun muzzle or two from one or two others in
the party.i' Douglas caught the first fellow of the attacking band in
the act of drawing his bow, with arrow, at my father, behind his back.
Arriving at Okanagan (Fort Okanagan), on the Columbia, about
360 miles south of the latitude of the mouth of Fraser's River, and not
half way from the sea to the Rocky Mountains, my father's entry in his
journal is thus :—
" 1826, April, Thursday 6th.—I never saw so much snow at this
" season of the year at this place."
" April, Sunday 23.—Started before daylight. Did not go far before
" we found the Lake covered with ice from side to side. Broke our way
" through with axe and poles."
" Monday, 24.—Snow and ice pending over the water edge along the
" river which makes it difficult for the men to haul upon the line."
[The Columbia here, and, in fact throughout the whole one thousand HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
95
miles, at least, of the fearful voyage from Fort Yancouver to " Boat
Encampment," especially at this season of the year, runs with all the
force of a mill sluice. It is nearly all "Dalles" (sluices) with falls,cascades,
bad rapids, whirlpools, chutes, and every variety of water danger, and
many are drowned in the river every year.]
" Tuesday, 25th.—Hard frost late night. The ice is still in the bays
" along the river.
" Wednesday, 26th.—Weather very cold. Six feet of Snow along the
water edge." [Fortunately ! the calves had been left in good and greener
pastures at Fort Colville (about half way up) far below.] " Breakfasted
" below the Crooked Rapid. The men we have with us who used to pass
" here in Spring, say they never saw so much snow as there is this year.
" The ice is yet as it was in winter in some places. The river we passed
" over to-day had, at places, on its edge, ice and snow 10 feet hi<*h. "
" Thursday, 27th.—Hard frost last night. Arrived at Portage about
" noon, and put the following articles in cache, &c.
This was the head of their navigation. " Boat Encampment," and the
" Portage " was the mountain just before them, and fearfully steep with
its from ten to thirty feet of snow.
The next Pass is the Yellow Head, or " Tete Jaune Cache" Pass.
That, also, has its " snow difficulty," as some of our family and a Mrs.
Ross, snow stopped in November in passage across the Mountain,
(for women could not then travel, though the men and myself did), had
occasion to know, the winter they spent at Jasper's House—True the
House—a very small concern I believe—was snowed up to the very roof,
if not beyond, but all survived the difficulty, and found it to be not much
of a difficulty, for life at least. It (the Yellow Head Pass) is travelled
in winter. Spring soon burst the snow bond with immense power, and in
June, the Pass, beautifully flower spangled, was passable to all.
The next Pass is that of the Peace River. There, in mid-May, Sir
Alexander McKenz;e passed, and then, not only was there not a vestige
of snow, nor much, if any worth mentioning, on the "stupendous heights"
of his fellow Mac of the Mountain Land. In some Journal—but so many
years ago seen, 1 cannot remember—at some post near there—probably Mc
Leod's Fort, which is the nearest, but is on the western side of the
Mountains—I have read that on the " 6th April," the " Spring birds were
singing about the Post," and Spring fully set in. The 10th May record
of McKenzie, as to the flush of the sweet early green of the foliage, and
bursting of blossom, confirms—from our experience, in Canada, of such
law of arboreal development—the . 6th   of April record, or jotting of
Hi PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
memoiy. It was possible : that is enough. We too have spring birds—
birds singing early sometimes, and the winter there, or at the next Post at
least, as I shall further on shew, is no longer than our's, but the contrary.
There is in fact no snow difficulty whatever at the Peace River Pass, not
not even in mid-Winter, the threslwld is ever clear as that of an open gate-
1way, ever clean swept by every wind of Jieaoen. It is the most magnificent gateway between the two " worlds" of this earth, and bears the
isotherm of strongest human development. A great Territorial Road
(with branches) direct to it, and there striking the centre of a gold
region probably the richest in the world, would fast people the whole
intervening ocean of wheat field.
Note LIX.
" Finlay's Branch.—" Finlay's Branch " is, in fact, the main stream. It
is nearly three hundred miles in length, or at least its source is, I estimate,
about that distance by river course from the Pass. It winds round a huge
peak at its source—a Peak, in a system of Peaks, it would appear, from
which the following rivers, as from a common centre take their rise, viz.
That great River called Riviere aux Liards, and also Mountain River,
debouching into the McKenzie at Fort Simpson, after a course of about
800 miles: Secondly, the Skeena or Simpson's River, running westward
into the Pacific, at the head of Observatory Inlet. It borders, in part of
its course, the south eastern boundary of Alaska. The reports of gold
on the Skeena are of the most glowing character. Tfyey are likely to be
true j for " Queen Charlotte Island " near its mouth, has been long, for
more than fifty years, well known as rich in gold—only, the indomitable
" Natives " were ever in the way, and are so still, I believe. The river is
reported navigable for light boats a good many miles up, but I have no
authentic information on this point, as the trade, at the time I speak of,
and whose record is before me, was not conducted there along that way.
Fort Connolly is on a Lake (Lake Connolly) where issues this important
water-way, and yet that Post used to be furnished by goods dragged up
stream, and carried overland, all the way from Yancouver near the
mouth of the Columbia, via Okanagan, Kamloops, Fort Alexandria, Fort
£5t. James.
Since writing the above, I have  learnt that  steamboat navigation,
up this river, is established for nearly one hundred miles.
Note LX.
" Peace River diminishing fast."—In Arrowsmith's map already
alluded to, I find the stream which flows from the South, past McLeod's Hudson's bay to the pacific. 97
Lake, within about ten or twelve miles of it, and with which it communicates by the " little creek " spoken of in the Journal entries for 11th
September, is called " Peace River." In the map, the Finlay Branch,
from a direction N.N.W. and the so-called Peace River from a direction
S.S.W. meet at a point which I take to be just beyond the line of ridge
of the Rocky Mountains, for it was in approaching this spot of junction
that Mr. McDonald, in the " afternoon " of the 7th, speaks of the Mountains " assuming a stupendous appearance," and as to the following morning the entry is thus : " Started late. At another grand rapid by seven,
" and at Finlay's Branch twenty minutes after." It may therefore be
fairly assumed, that on the evening of the 7th, the voyagers camped on
or very near to the ridge line of the Mountains, in the very heart and
centre of the Pass. From that point, they followed the Southern prong
of the very open fork of the great river, leaving it, at say, abouut 120
miles from the Finlay Forks. From this point to the very source of the
. said Peace River, a little Lake about 75 miles S.E. from mouth of Black
Water Creek, and further up on the Western Slope of the Mountain,, the
surface stratum is, I believe, Silurian. Three hundred and seventeen yards
from this source of the Peace River, springs a small branch of Fraser's
River, striking, after a course S.E. and then S.W« the main stream about
120 miles W.N.W. of the Yellow Head Pass.
Note IjXI.
" Remarkably small white fish."—That is, " remarkably small" in comparison with those which Mr. McDonald had seen on the east side of the
mountain, along the waters from there to Hudson's Bay, which is the
white fish region proper, and where, in fact, it is the staff of life. It is
unquestionably the finest fish, and best food for man in the world. I
have seen it of every shape and size from Canada (inclusive), to the Arctic y
waters, and at certain places, not only ex necessitate but ever, with unpalled
gastronomy, lived on it. Its peculiarity is its fineness of fibre, and
gout, sui generis, and in the further northern lakes especially, its creamy
looking and most delicately tasted fat or fattiness. A five or six pound
fish, in good season—say late in the fall, roasted, and in roasting laved
(" basted ") in its own melting of fat, which is allowed to penetrate all
parts of the fish by cross cutting, (" barring"), the sides at about an inch
a part, is the most delicious thing to eat I know of. The operation of
cooking this dish for an Apicius, worthy of Attehawmeg, as performed in
the North, is simply by suspension, per caput, with a cord or string that
wont burn too easily—a strip of bark will do—before or beside the fire.
13 peace river: a canoe voyage from
I have tried the fish in his favorite waters with the fly ■ using, besides
different trout flies, a white fly in imitation of the little white moth which
the fish were said to feed on, and which, in whitefish lakes, as well as in
lakes not characteristically so, I saw was greedily taken by some fish or
other, but ever gently and without slightest show above water. All said
that it was the white fish that was so fond of this white fly. An old
whipper of " Scottish streams," (and I hav.e ever prided myself on
my " cast"—in that way at least), I felt pretty confident of taking a rise
out of my friends :—I say friends, for the Attehawmeg is a thing of the
" Good Spirit," and is no one's enemy. It was vain—ever vain—at all
hours of night and day, and in all weathers, and in all shades of light,
and darkness even, I never got a bite. It is, in fact, a " vegetable eating i fish, but it is certainly reported by writers who never were in the
whitefish country, or at least not long enough to know its habit, to take not
only bait, but even " stail bait" on set lines, and also at times the fly."
As to the bait taking, I know this much, I have often fished with bait—
and all kinds; living, stale; spinning and set; and that, in lakes where
whitefish abounded, but never got one.
Ichthyologically described, the Whitefish, Attehawmeg, in Indian, Cree);
Latin Coregonus Albus, is of the " order " Malacopterygu Abdominalis ;
Family, Salmonidece ; Genus, Coregonus. As to species, we have three
or four stated. I have seen them of different sizes, from half a pound to ten
pounds and over. I know of no difference of species, but know they differ
much in size according to water—the coldest having the best and largest.
Note LXII.
"Encamped on a smallprairie."—According to all accounts—and I have
them direct from persons long living in the country, and one of them
at least, born in it—the general features of the country in those latitudes,
from the Rocky Mountains to near the coast, is a plateau of " open
prairies, lakes, and extensive meadows." I am citing from a report
from a friend and correspondent there, and which report, for public ends,
was formally given by him to the then Governor of British Columbia,
Sir James Douglas, and which was subsequently embodied in a printed
pamphlet. There is wood also on this plateau. As Mr. McDonald's
Journal here shows, when he speaks of a certain " point of the woods,"
" over very fine country."
Note LXIII.
"Fort St. James."—Is situated in about 54° 25' N. lat. and 123° 307
W. long. • distant in a direction W., say 30° S., eighty-three miles from Hudson's bay to the pacific. 99
McLeod's Fort, according to the itinerary of Mr. McDonald, and about 150
miles in air line, south-west from the Peace River Pass, and is about the
same distance from Pacific water at the head of Gardner's Inlet, wherein
falls Gardner's River, a celebrated salmon stream, having its source quite
close bye.
In the Trade, Fort St. James was the principal depot for the whole country
north of the Forks of the Fraser, (Forks some Httle distance south, as stated
in the Journal), up to the Russian (now American) boundary, and including
the "Babine Country "—a highland of water issue to two oceans, viz., Artie
and Pacific * to the former by the Peace River and Riviere aux Liards,
and to the other, by the Skeena, or Simpson River, and Salmon River—
not the little " Salmon River " mentioned in the Journal as crossed on
the march, and which falls into the Fraser nor the Salmon River, (so
named on the map), which strikes the Pacific a little south of Observatory
Inlet.
I refer to all these (salmon) streams as being, probably, possible highways
for man as well as for the salmon which are found in their source lakes,
on the very plateau, now marched on. No salmon has ever been seen or
known to top, in its leap, fourteen feet in any British Atlantic stream.
Possibly the " Ekewan," (hereafter described), of our Pacific, may, in his
special lithe and strength, do more, but certainly not more than a foot or
two. These facts are measures, approximate at least, in the question or
problem of feasibilities for railway or roadway of some kind from this
same plateau to the ocean. In other words the grade of the salmon way
is, it may be rudely assumed, a measure of feasibily for any road for travel
or traffic, and for railway, under ordinary conditions. I express this
opinion without the slightest pretention to being any authority on the
subject, for I am not a civil engineer; and I say thus much, merely to give
my reasons for giving such details in connection with this account of a
canoe voyage, and salmon ways.
Note LXIY.
" He " (Chief Factor Connolly) " left the Pacific on tlie 23red oj June,
" and we left Hudson's Bay on the 12th July"—" We are on now what
" may be called the height of land which forms this* part of the continents
" of America; and it is singular to remark, that without any previous
" appointment, we should arrive here within two hours of each other, &c."
Yery remarkable certainly, is the coincidence, " and singular also," adds
Mr. McDonald, " is the coincidence, that the salmon in its annual ascent
" for spawning has just, last night, made its appearance."    Fort St. James I
PEACE RIVER:    A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
(marked in most maps) is about 150 (one hundred and fifty) miles, (as I
said before, under a different head) in air line from Pacific tide water,
and in an air line about 1,200 (twelve hundred) miles from Atlantic
waters at York Factory.
In the routes travelled by the respective parties, the disparity in length
is not so great, being respectively about 1,500 miles and about 2,500
miles. Governor Simpson was, as I have before said, ever the fastest of
travellers in the North, and the whole of his " empire " was at his command, and bent to the work. Mr. Connolly, from the very fact of being
selected for the task, (one ever most arduous, and dangerous to even life,
then) of conducting the " brigade of supplies " into the country, from
Yancouver to this point, and perhaps to Fort Connolly, shows that he
must have been a man of great energy, and no " lagger by the way." I
knew Mr. Connelly well, and so did many, still surviving, of his friends in
Montreal, where, on his retirement, he lived a few years. For his present
journey, he, also, had the full resources of the Hudson's Bay Company at
his command. We have seen how Governor Simpson, in his flying bark,
got along. With Mr. Connolly it was a little different. I know it well.
For four years my father being in charge of the Thompson's River District,
had to go every year to Fort Yoncouver, and thence bring up, in boats,
and on horseback the trade supplies for the whole of the country between
the Rocky mountains and the Pacific from the Columbia River to the
Russian boundary, and far beyond. The manner of transport was by boats
to Okanagan, horses in bands of from 2 to 300 from there to Kamloops, and
thence to Fort Alexandria by horse also, thence by canoe to Fort St.
*James. The most arduous part of the route was the voyage up the Columbia. The "horse" part also, was very arduous especially from Okanagan
to Kamloops, the whole distance from Fort Yancouver to that pointj
\being about a 1,000 miles, The Okanagan valley, of immense length,
over 300 miles probably is a beautiful pasture country, and is supposed
by some to have been at one time the bed of the Columbia River ; (an
error from bad geography.) From it to Kamloops the track skirts, or
I should say skirted—for I am speaking of more than forty years ago—the
eastern base of that huge coast range which the Fraser gorge (canyon)
penetrates, and through which range also, the.Columbia works its devious
way, with many a "dalle" andfiercce cascade, a frightful navigation,
especially in those numerous whirlpools which no skill nor pOWer of
paddle at times could cope with, and to which the bold adventurers
had ever and anon to give tribute of life.
On the Thompson River plains, all was plain sailing, but still the Hudson's bay to the pacific. loi
journey was hard and wearisome, for there were mountains in the way.
Thus it was, that Mr. Connolly could only take three steps, as it were, to
the other's five.
But here the question naturally arises, Why this long round-about
from near the mouth of the Columbia, when the mouth of the Fraser is so
much nearer, and when, moreover, within about 150 miles, there is tidewater, the Pacific 1 There was then a special reason for that, but we shall
touch on it more fully hereafter on arrival at the coast.
Note LXY.
"Height of land which forms this part of the continent of Amorica.
This is an important statement. It was uttered, and entered in the
immediate presence of men who were the most competent, from personal
knowledge and experience, and especially Mr. Connolly, (a leading chief
of that Western trade) most competent, I say, to form an opinion as to the
geography of the Country. Of course, it was not meant, that the spot
where Fort St. James was built, and which is at the southern or lower
end of a very long lake, probably forty or fifty miles long, was absolutely
the highest spot, but that the plateau—a summit one—on which it is, is
the highest land or region in that part of this continent. Both Mr. Douglas
(Sir James) and Mr. Connolly, men who had travelled the country
thoroughly, from extreme to extreme I may say, and Governor Simpson
(Sir George) who also knew the Country—for he had been, it would seem,
an "old trader in the adjoining Peace River District,"—heard, and perhaps themselves made, the statement: besides that, I find by my father's
papers, that during at least four years before 1828, Mr. McDonald was
one of the Clerks in charge of some of the Posts in the Thompson's River
District, and in fact took my father's place at Kamloops, as Chief Trader
in charge in 1826, when my father left on leave of absence, [which he
enjoyed, by the way, by proceeding to the very arduous task of building
and completing Norway House.]
The charge included the whole area of Thompson's River District, a
map of which was made by Mr. McDonald himself, with much detail and
wonderful correctness, as has been since found. The extent of the
District at that time, before the Coast District, and New Caledonia
District were portioned off, was from the Columbia River to the Arctic
Ocean, and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific and Russian boun-
[ dary, in the North West of which boundary, beyond the narrow strip,
(from 10 to 30 miles in width) ending at 56 .40'—Mount St. Elias (over
17,000 feet in height) is a mark and corner stone, the line running thence PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
to the eastern point of Beaufort Bay, on the Arctic Shore, along the
meridian of lt}l .30' W. In this large field there were several posts; in
fact it was, in every respect, the largest, and most important district in
the whole vast area of the trade of the Company, no other district, (save
York Factory, with its special staff,) having more than three Clerks,
besides the Chief Factor or Chief Trader in charge, while this one had, in
1826, as I find by minutes of Council at Norway House, no less than
eleven. At the head of this list is Mr. McDonald, and it was—it is reasonable to assume—from his special knowledge of the Country, that he was
selected by the Governor to be his guide as well as companion. His
opinion, therefore, as well as that of the others just mentioned, is entitled
to special credit in such matter. And yet we know, from the very Journal
now before us, that the boasted " height of land " could have been no
higher—certainly not an hundred feet higher—than the Peace River
Pass.    The proof is in this :
From McLeod's Fort, which as before remarked, is on the west side of
the Rocky Mounains, to Fort St. James, is for the greater part of the
way, a down hill march. The itinerary indicates this ; for on the second
day after leaving McLeod's Fort, they came not only on little lakes
(indicative of a low rolling, flattish region) which they could, and did circumambulate, but on waters which they had to cross on rafts. Had these
been mountain or rapid streams on that height, there would have been no
need nor use for " rafts." One of the crossings in that way, viz., the one
that took them " three hours " was certainly that of a lake. They crossed
one unmistakeable river however, viz., that Salmon River which taking its
rise a little east of Stuart's Lake, flows into the Fraser River, in a general direction S.S.E. interposing its valley and watershed between Mc
Leod's Fort and Fort St. James, The watershed on that particular part
^.of the march, seems therefore to have been Southerly, with a slight trending to the East, and yet a few hours before that, before reaching the rim
of the McLeod Lake basin, a basin whose inflow is from the west and
south, the " lay of the land " was quite different. There could be no
better evidence of the general flatness of the region, than such diversity
of water-flow. In the account of the march, there is no mention of any
ascent or descent, until the triumphal entry down that memorable Hill,
into the Fort at its base. The Country marched over, and that by men
carrying big canoes—a most trying load, on acclivity or declivity—was in
fact, as appears by the " good time " made in the " portage," plain, smooth,
level, and easy for march as a parade ground. As to the height of McLeod's
Fort above that of the Pass, I judge it from the Canoe course—as so per- Hudson's bay to the pacific. 103
fectly and graphically given in the journal—about 150 feet.
Starting from McLeod's Lake (which is fed by rivulets from the west
and south, as before said, from a mere gentle uprise of the plateau, culminating about twenty miles from the lake) the march must have been
on an up-slope ; but so gentle as not to call for remark, and the journal"*
speaks as if all were smooth and level. In fact from the Rocky Mountain Ridge—Silurian to the very top—to the surf-beaten cliffs of the
" Coast Range," so called, is a plateau of little variation from a perfect
level, and of just sufficient " roll " or swell here and there, to give current
to the abounding waters from the clouds, and to irrigate more beneficially,
by a thousand rills as it were, the whole thirsty plain, with its lovely
alternate of meadow, wood and prarie, and to fill its fish teeming lakes.
The height of Fort St. James above the sea, I put at 1,800 feet, say
fifty feet higher than the Pass. Measured from the Pacific level, three
feet per mile (true measure I believe) to the six hundred miles or about
that of Fraser River from Tide to Fort St. James, also gives precisely that
height. For detail, see Itinerary. Between the Pass therefore, and the
Pacific, there is a higher height, but on the most careful calculation I can
make, it does not exceed 150 feet, due west, or nearly so, to the head of
Gardner's R. or Salmon R. (West): or in a line more northerly, say
direct to Naas Harbour, Observatory Inlet, a maximum of 200 feet
above the Pass.
Before leaving this interesting spot, the most northerly of " British
Capitals," it may be well to answer, as best we can, the reasonable enquiry—What is the climate of that place and country? What, its resources for human existance, or happiness?. My answer is—That remains
to be, not found, but ascertained in their measure:—Such resources exist
there largely. The native there—a guage, in some decree, of economic
value of a country—is no weakling of the genus Iwmo, but a sturdy, •■•
" bumptious " sort of fellow ; not unlike the Waganda, and other such
high living peoples of the Nile Upper Plateaux that Speke, in his book,
speaks of. Of the Northern part of British Columbia we—disgracefully
—know little or nothing, save enough, perhaps, to make us feel, (I hope
so at least, and it is this makes me now, hurriedly, write) that we should
know more. Surely, it is not, that the men of the South of British Columbia, who hold present rule, are afraid to open to public view, the grand
middle and North of the magnificent .country in their trust! The present
Session of our Dominion Parliament; the drift of political influence on
this head, may, &c.—But of that, more anon. To come back, however to
this point of our knowledge of Northern British Columbia.   On it, I dont f
PEACE RIVER:    A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
know exactly what to say :—I feel a little strongly on the subject, and the
direction of that feeling is adverse to those, who by their fair effort, nearer
home, have in some measure, won commendation. " To whip a willing
horse," is ever cruel, and I, for one—thank God—can never do it. Well
done, good and faithful! should ever come ready to the lips. There is no
ur, like, encougagement of that kind. Well! as to this point, I repeat, I
dont know what to say, and shall for the nonce, borrow the words of the
" Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works in British Columbia," in his
report of 1867 or about then, an as given us by Harvey (page 7.) They
run thus ; " By Jar the greater part of the Colony is in fact entirely unexplored." But. let me give the whole sentence from Harvey's admirable
compilation—" Besides the valley of the lower Fraser, and the fine valley
" of the Chilcotin (the Chilcotin traverses the middle of British Columbia.)
" The bulk of the land available for agricultural or pastoral purposes is
" probably situated on the high plateau between the Cascades and the
" foot of the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, but owing to the
broken character " [but that does not apply to our present higher latitude
at Fort St. James] " of its surface, and the heavy growth of forest trees
" and underbrush, the task of exploration is difficult, and the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works reports that ' by far the greater part of
this Colony is, entirely unexplored'." That " Chief Commissioner," if I
mistake not, is now the Governor, or Lieutenant Governor rather, of British
Columbia. Surely, he is to be believed !. But looking for some " Chief
Commissioner," of some older and more enlightened time—more enlightened as to the subject in hand—I find one worthy of equal credit—T
mean old Chief Factor Harmon—Daniel Williams Harmon, whose name
in the list of Chief Factors and Chief Traders, I find, beside those of my
grandfather and father in the original Deed Poll of Coalition of the two
Fur Companies, by which, as before stated the old N. W. Co., became
merged in the H. B.—Mr Harmon, a pious " Green Mountain Boy,"
schooled in Yermont, took service in the North, and doing well and
bravely his work, was, it would seem, promoted to the charge of the
higher plateau now under consideration, and which he retained for several
years. He, on retirement, published his journals, and the frequency of
reference, to his work is evidence of its merit. I never saw it, but in a
book popular and easily accessible, called " Frank Forester's Fish and
Fishing," by H. W. Herbert, in a Supplement including a chapter—a capital one—on " The Salmon of the Pacific Waters "—I find a long extract
of the Journal kept by Mr. Harmon, for several years, while in charge at
Fort St. James.   I cannot well divide it, and as every subject touched on "1
Hudson's bay to the pacific. 105
in it, is of interest, I give the whole extract, or at least Such parts as have
a direct or immediately relative bearing on our theme.
Page 27, " 1811, May 11—Stuart's Lake. The ice in the lake broke
up this afternoon. 22nd—We now take Trout in the lake, with set lines
and hooks, in considerable numbers, but they are not of a good kind. It
is perhaps a little remarkable, that Pike or Pickerel have never been
found in any of the lakes and rivers on the west side of the Rocky Mountains."
<< August 2. It is impossible at this season to take fish out of this lake
or river. Unless the Salmon from the sea soon make their appearance, our
condition will be deplorable.— 10th. Sent all our people to a small lake
about twelve miles off, out of which the natives take small fish, much resembling Salmon in shape and flavour, but not more than six inches long.
[Note by Ed. These are probably the young fry, technically called
" Pink," or, more probably still, the " Smolt" (more advanced young) of
the Salmon]. " They are said to be very palatable.—22nd. One of the
natives has caught a Salmon, which is joyful intelligence to us all, for we
expect in a few days to have abundance. These fish visit, to a greater
or less extent, all the rivers in this region, and form the principal dependence of the inhabitants as their means of subsistence, &c.
" September, 2nd.—We have now the common salmon in abundance.
They weigh from five to seven pounds. There are also a few of a larger
kind, which will weigh sixty or seventy pounds." [Note by Ed. This is
by far the largest average of salmon size in the world. The largest fish
r have heard or read of, as caught in the St. Lawrence Gulf Waters, was
one of 40 lbs. caught with the " fly." Query. Who was the lucky fellow ?
In several editions of Walton, mention is made of one that weighed
seventy pounds : Pennant has noticed one of seventy-four pounds; but
the largest known, in the record of British or Atlantic waters, is the r
noble dame—the queen of the sea—a female salmon of eighty-three pounds
bought and sold by Mr. Groves, Fishmonger, Bond Street, London, in
1821. This fish is described as being very thick, and of fine color, in flesh,
and of excellent quality. It would be interesting to know if the Pacific
could beat that. For my part, I never saw a Scotch salmon—and tens of
thousands have I seen—that would run over 25 lbs. and in our little Canadian back lakes, have myself caught trout much larger.] Says Mr.
Harmon, continuing his entries for this day— ' Both of them are very
good when just taken out of the water; but when dried, as they are by
the Indians here by the heat of the sun, or in the smoke of a fire, they
are not very palatable. When salted they are excellent. As soon as the
14 \
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
salmon come into Stuart's Lake, they go in search of the rivers and
brooks that fall into it, and these streams they ascend so far as there, is
water to enable them to swim ; and when they can proceed no further,
they remain there and die. None were ever seen to descend these streams.
They are found dead in such numbers, in some places, as to infect the
atmosphere with a terrible stench for a considerable distance round."
" October, 21st.—We have now in our store twenty-five thousand
salmon. Four in a day are allowed to each man. I have sent some of
our people to take White Fish, Attihawmeg."
" November, 16th.— Our fishermen have returned to the Fort, and inform me they have taken seven thonsand White Fish. They weigh from
three to four pounds, and were taken in nine nets of sixty fathoms each.
17th.   The lake froze over in the night."
" 1812. January, 20th.—I have returnd from visiting five villages of
the Nateotains." [Note b'y Ed. Tribe between Fraser's Lake and crest of
the Cascade Range, at the head of'the Salmon River, which strikes, at
Hopkin's Point, the head of the northern arm (Douglas Channel or Canal)
of Gardner's Inlet.] " built on a lake of that name, which gives origin to
a river that falls into Gardner's Inlet. They contain about two thousand
inhabitants, who subsist principally on Salmon and other small fish, and
are well made and robust.
The Salmon of Lake Nateotain have small scales, while those of Stuart's
Lake have none." [Note by Ed. The only solution of the apparent
anomaly is that the Nateotain, or Nuteotum as I have seen it elsewhere
spelt, salmon is a different kind, probably the powerful Ekewan—of
which more anon, which had taken the short cut from the sea to the
height, via the Salmon River.]
" May, 23rd.—Stuart's Lake.—This morning the natives caught a
Sturgeon that would weigh about 250 pounds. We frequently see much
larger ones, which we cannot take for want of nets sufficiently strong to
hold them." [Note by Ed. They harpoon them in the lower Columbia,
where they attain a length of fifteen feet, and weight of nine hundred
pounds. Their favorite food there is that most oily of fish the "delicious"
smelt called Oulachan:
" August 15th.—Salmon begins to come up the river. Few Salmon
came up Stuart's River this fall, but we procured a sufficient quantity at
Frazer's Lake and Stillas. These Lakes discharge their waters in Fraser's
River, which is about fifty rods wide, and has a pretty strong current.
The natives pass the greater part of the summer on a chain of small lakes,
where they procure excellent White Fish, Trout and Carp; but towards Hudson's bay to the pacific. 107
the latter part of August, they return to the banks of the river, in order '
to take dry salmon for their subsistence during the succeeding winter.
[Note by Ed. Salmon fare is the hardest I know of on the teeth, as it
wears down the whole tooth, enamel and all, and in fact in that way, not
to speak of its pro-dyspeptic properties, it shortens life ; it is death to
eat it, as well as life]
" 1813. August 12th."—Salmon arrived.
" 1814. August 5th."—Salmon begin to come up the river. They are
generally taken in considerable numbers until the latter part of September. For a month they come up in multitudes, and we can take any numbers we please."
" September 20th.—We have had but few Salmon this year. It is only
every second year that they are numerous, the reason of which I am unable to assign."
"1815. August, 13th.—Frazer's Lake. Salmon begins to come up the
river, which lights up joy in the countenances both of ourselves and the
natives, for we had become nearly destitute of provisions."
" 1816. September 9th.—Salmon begin to come up this river." i
[Note by Ed. The variation of date of arrival is to be accounted for
in some measure at least, by the state of the waters in the main stream,
its force and height of flood, some places being impassible until the highest waters make back water enough at the falls to enable the fish to get
over. It is in that way that on the Columbia, the Salmon get over the
Kettle Falls, which at low water are at least twenty feet high, a height
far beyond the leap of even a Columbia Salmon. What other cause of
variation there may be I cannot say. Salmon like other migratory animals are said to have a sixth sense, to guide them in their erratic course
of life, and there is no reason to suppose that those of the Pacific are
wanting in it.
" 1817. August 6th. Stuart's Lake.—Salmon arrived. In the month of
of June, we took out of this lake twenty-one sturgeon, that were from
eight to twelve feet in length. One of them measured twelve feet two
inches from its extreme points, four feet eleven inches round the middle,
and would weigh from five hundred and fifty to six hundred pounds."
In the above extracts I purposely cover several years. On the coast,
there is an immense variety of fish, including Cod, (fine, large and abundant,) herring, halibut, haddock, pilchard, whiting, sturgeon, oulachan,
oysters, &c.
The staple of the country is—or was then—Salmon. This ever most
interesting of water-game is worth a little description even in these hur- 108
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
ried pages. It is not every man that can catch a Salmon, and fewer still
That catching with his hook, can "land" "him," but every body can
eat of him, and he is an " institution."
There is no'part of the world where they more abound than in northern Pacific Streams, and though Sir John Richardson in his immortal
**work on North American Animal Life, has given a list, and full ichthyol-
ogical description of the Salmonidoz of the Pacific Waters, I feel assured
that we don't know half enough about them. My old friend Mr. McDonald was always enthusiastic (like a true Highlander) on the subject,
but he went strongly for "pot," and most ardently for "salting," secundum artem, and not killing " the thing " by smoking, and it was to his
importunity and enforcement, that at his Post—Fort Langley—-which
commanded in trade, a vast extent of sea line, the business of salting for
market was entered into by the Company, if I mistake not.
The different kinds given by Richardson, and Dr. Gairdner (who was
in H. B. Co's Service in the Columbia) are the following: 1. A small
kind called Quannich, averaging about three or four pounds. Abundant
in both Columbia and Fraser. 2. The Queachts, a little larger. 3. The
OTsuppitch, average, say ten pounds. 4. The Quinnat, the main Salmon of
the country, averaging from ten to fifteen pounds, and running to forty.
5. The noble Ekewan, the largest and most formidably mouthed Salmo
•—a veritable Salmo Ferox—we have any account of. His average is
thirty pounds, but he runs up to double that.
Salmon and Sturgeon.—" Albany Beef."—such were the pi&ces de
resistance, with entre-mets of small Attihawmeg and Carp, at the "St.
James " of those times in New Caledonia ! But was there no meat, no
beef, mutton, venison, fowl, meat of some kind or other to be had, it may
be asked ? No, none whatever, save a chance duck or two, or rarer still
va deer. As to beef raising there was no possibility i/ien of taking beef
stock to the place, as everything, not to the manor born, had to be carried
by man and horse fifteen hundred miles in the heat of summer. It was
not till 1826, that even in middle Columbia, the first calves were introduced, and hard work, yea hard sheer fighting my father had to take them
there, as Sir James Douglas, (then a Clerk in the H. B. Co's Service,)
who was With him, and was the means, by his watchfulness and quickness
with his gun, of saving my father from the treacherous arrows of the Indi- >
ans on one of the portages, may remember, and git was not till about ten -
years after that that my father with other Hudson's Bay people went into
the Puget Sound Agricultural Association, throwing in freely his £500 Stg.
subscription, just because lie knew the country was one' calling for the Hudson's bay to the pacific.
109
experiment of stock raising and farming. Quickly, the supply exceeded
the demand, and the cattle were left to run wild, it is said. This was
on the lower ground—the coast. On the higher grounds, now under
consideration, the same exuberance of vegetation is not to be found, but
for grazing, it is not a whit inferior. There is grass enough in the plateaux of British Columbia, to raise beef for all England, and tallow for all
Russia, and it is just the country for Canadian farmers, who know—ever
know how to grapple the " snow difficulty " in their own or any other
country. Harmon says it was "May 11th " when the ice broke up in
Stuart's Lake. That is no later than with us in similar lakes, still lakes
and not large river-lakes, ever with a current. The winter at Fort St.
James, is, I take it, no worse for farming or grazing, than that of
Ontario in the average, with probably no more snow, and entailing little
or no housing of cattle, perhaps. In fact it is reported that the snow
varies in average depth, there, only from six to eighteen inches, and
covers the ground only from January to March. It may be so in some
seasons, I have no doubt. On the same winter line of climate on the
east side, say the country immediately north of the Saskatchewan to the
Athabasca valley, inclusive, the cattle and horses winter out in the open,
and get fat, and even further north to the Peace River, and to the north
of it, hundreds of miles in that low forest land which extends contin-
ousljfive hundred miles north of Dunvegan and to the very summits of
the hills of the Clear Water Yalley—Methy Portage—the wood-buffaloes
can, in midwinter, " sun," as Simpson describes the sight, " their fat
sides," and show then and there, beef to make any beef eater's, or more
exquisite stiH, any buffalo-meat eater's teeth water. A fine country truly,
and very Canadian!   At Fort Liard, Lat. 60°, beef is raised, and salted.
Note LXYI.
Carriers." Whence the origin of the name, I know not, unless it be
from the fact that they were much employed by the Hudson's Bay Company,
and also by the North-West Company in Carrying, in their Country,
where horses were scarce, and navigation was much limited, and other means
of transport were wanting. Like many others of these Western tribes of
the Pacific Slope, this tribe bears in its physical and mental constitution,
and in its customs, marked evidences of its Asiatic origin - To the ethnologist there can be no more interesting field than British Columbia, and
what more, until 15th June, 1846, (date of Oregon Treaty, if I remember
right) was the Columbia of Britain—The whole is a scattered Babel of
Tongues, to be accounted for, only by the probability, that they were ac- 110
PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
vincidental, and detached castaways from the many lands on the other, side
■—Mother Asia—and thence, were hither borne by the winds and the great
" Gulf Stream," of the Pacific. The subject is of much interest, and as
" two thirds" according to the statement of Sir George Simpson,  before
^■the Common's Committee of 1857, of the Indian population of British
North America is on the west side of the Rocky Mountains—and it is the
. most unruly in the British Empire—it is one which will soon, yea at once,
does, call for serious consideration and prompt and energetic action; and the
motion in the Commons, of Mr. Wallace, the Member for Yancouver's
Island, on the subject on the 19th host., (April) is well timed, and much
called for. As to who, or what are our brethern of-those far, old wilds,
we have very much, in fact, the Public concerned, and even the Government itself, has very much to learn, and the sooner it is learnt the better.
Those sturdy fellows of our western coast, are, in limb, and heart, in
strength and bravery, like very Britons, and will not be driven. They'll
kill, or fighting, die first in the defence of their homes—Even to this day
they have held, what is probably one of the richest spots on earth,
Queen Charlotte Island, against all comers, Her Majesty's Battle Ships
included. One agent alone they succumb to, viz, the deadly "fire-water;"
plied as it is with murderous energy, and in a manner and to a degree
which calls most loudly for prevention on the part of the Government.
But to return to our " Carriers," the best explanation of them I have
come across is Mr. Thomas Simpson's Narrative, already, so often alluded
to. He does so, in giving the origin and affinities of certain tribes in
the lower McKenzie River region, traversed by him-^-He thus speaks of
then:
" The Esquimaux inhabiting all the Arctic shores of America have
doubtless originally spread from Greenland, which was peopled from
Northern Europe, but their neighbours, the Loucheux, of McKenzie
*River" [Note by Ed. A people comparatively tall, athletic and of
finer physiognomy than the Esquimaux,] " have a clear tradition that
that their ancestors migrated from the westward, and crossed an arm of
the sea. The language of the latter is entirely different from that of the
other known tribes who possess the vast region to the northward of a
line drawn from Churchill or Hudson's Bay, across the Rocky Mountains,
to New Caledonia. These, comprending the Chipewyans, the Copper
Indians, the Beaver Indians of Peace River, the Dog-ribs, the Hare
Indians of McKenzie River and Great Bear Lake, the Thecanies,Nahanies,
and Dahadinnehs of the Mountains, and the Carriers of New Caledonia,
all speak dialects of the same original tongue.    Next to them succeed the HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
Ill
Crees, speaking another distinct language, and occupying another great
section of the continent, extending from Lesser Slave Lake through the
woody country on the north side of the Saskatchewan River, by Lake
Winnipeg to York Factory, and from thence round the shores of Hudson's
and James' Bays. South of the fiftieth parallel, the circles of affinity con--
tract, but are still easily traced. The Carriers of New Caledonia, like
the people of Hindostan, used, till lately, to burn their dead; a ceremony
in which the widow of the deceased, though not sacrificed as in the latter
country, was compelled to continue beating with her hands upon the
breast of the corpse while it slowly consumed on the funeral pile, in which
cruel duty she was often severely scorched."
Such is the text of Simpson, and evidently from the context, he had
carefully and with much admiration, read on the subject, " that eloquent
and philosophical historian " (as he calls him) " Dr. Robertson," " who,"
he remarks, "has all but demonstrated that America was first peopled from
Asia by Behring's Strait—The only work on Ethnology which I have read
throughout is " Pickering's Races of Men," but it is bare, and scarcely
throws any light on this subject of North American Races, and I am
ashamed to say, I have not read Professor Wilson's standard work on the
subject—My own gatherings of information, the remembered familiar words
of those who spent many years amongst those different peoples, have given
me some little food for thought—thought that finds but confirmation in
the authorities just referred to. Amongst these facts, 1 may mention the
striking one of identification of Jewish Customs, such as a feast of their's,
corresponding somewhat with that of the Pentecost of the Jews, and also the
habit of circumcision ; and more striking still is the Shuswhap law—most
rigidly followed—ot the duty of a brother to take, " to wife," the widow
of a deceased brother. Any interference in such case is " death," as worse
than murder, the latter being compensable while the other is not, but is
a mortal offence. The Lex talionis also, among the tribes generally, may
be considered as something more than mere natural law. I cannot at
present affirm that cremation is, or was, amongst these tribes confined to the Carriers, but certainly Sutteeism, in the sacrifice to the dead
by the widow, in modified degrees, and varying in manner according
to exigencies of habitat and habit of life, is to be found not only among
the Pacific Coast or Slope tribes, but even among several on this side of
the Mountains, such as the Chipewyans, and Montagnais. There was
also that inhuman custom, traceable I think to Rajpootana in mid-Hin-
dostan, where, for ought I know it may exist to this day, of casting
female infants to the limbo of nonentity, as too good, or too bad (as the
"Vj
I
/ PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
case may be in the dark maternal mind) to live. But it is not only in
the hotter part of India that that hideous custom obtained, but in the
furthest North, amongst the Tribes, other than the Esquimaux, frequenting the Arctic seaboard between the McKenzie River and Behring's
Straits. The Hudson's Bay Company have, wherever they have established themselves, abolished these and such like habits, and in this they
show what power, for good, they have won amongst those rude tribes.
Even cremation and the modified sutteeism of the Carriers (a, mercurial
and " touchy " race) has felt their pruning hand. " Instead of being
burnt, the New Caledonian widow (till the custom was abolished by the
Company) was obliged to serve, as a slave, the relatives of her deceased
husband for a term of one, two, or three years, during which she wore
round her neck a small bag containing part of the bones or ashes of her
former husband; at the end of the allotted term a feast was made, and
she was declared#at liberty to cast off her weeds and wed again." (Note
to page 160 of Simpson's Narrative—Thomas Simpson's.)
Note LXvTX
" Tlie War on the Sea Coast."—It was always " war" on that sea coast.
From the taking and destruction of the Tontine, a ship of some 350 tons
if I remember right, by the natives of this dread sea coast, who at the
same time murdered her crew, save one, many years before 1828, [I think
it was about 1813] there had been, in fact, chronic war with the natives
thus far, viz., in that they resisted every attempt at settlement, even for
trade alone, amongst them. The Sea fed them, clothed them, and gave
them all they needed, and they did not care much for trade. Still a running trade with schooners, and at last a steamer, the brave little Beaver
with her indomitable engineer Moore—all honor to his name as the
vproto-pioneer of steam propulsion in the Pacific !—was ever kept up by
the Hudson's Bay Company, and that at a heavy loss for some years.
They had to do so, else the Americans, who had got a footing in this
coasting trade, could never have been driven off, and they would in that
case, have secured that "fact actual, of actual possesion," which Mr. Daniel
Webster, as Secretary of State, in arriving at the Treaty of 1846, so
earnestly sought to establish, in order to wrench from us the whole of our
Pacific Dominion.
It was a single intelligent mind, Lord Loughborough, that in 1824-5,
when the Russian claim was advanced, saved us any Pacific coast at all.
So the story runs. As to the Oregon Treaty, that was, we now feel, a
tremendous blunder; and the only consolation in it is, that it might have Hudson's bay to the pacific. 113
been worse.   San Juan we should have, and it is to be regretted in that, ■■>
instance, that for once at least, the supremacy of British law, as sceptred
in the constable's baton—for we British were in actual possession of the
farm there at the time, and had ever been so by the right of first settlement—was lowered to the bayonets of General Harney—to a Foreign^
Power! !
Note LXYIII.
" Tite Jaune's Cache."—" Our communication with the Saskatchawin,
With the leather, is in this way." Hence called also, and in fact, by the
Hudson's Bay Co's people, is generally called The Leather'Pass. The
communication is easy enough for light loads, and even invalids have
been" sent by that way to the East, as being the easiest course. The
leather alluded to, is that required, and that very largely, for the
carrying service throughout the Columbia and Thompson's River and
New Caledonia Districts.
The Columbia route from the east over " Rocky Mountain Portage," or
Athabasca Pass, did not admit of any loads, and nothing but the lightest
of baggage was possible. All the goods and freight came by sea round
Cape Horn to the Columbia. Three ships were kept on that service.
Leather, i. e, the dressed moose and deer skin, being scarce on the west
side of the Mountain, had to be brought from the east side, where it was
abundant.
The distance of the Pass from this point in the itinerary, viz.,
the mouth of Stuart's River, is about 250 miles by the River, which from
the Cache (about half way) takes a decidedly northerly course, flanking
the Bald Mountains of Cariboo. The descent of the Fraser to the Cache
is that of a Mountain torrent, and to this point has a fall, probably of
two thousand feet from its lake in the Pass.
Note LXIX.
" Kamloops."—In my father's reports, journals, papers and letters, the
hame is always spelt Kameloops. The name is not in the journal of Mr.
McDonald, at least where it reports arrival at " the House," and if it
Were necessary to show that those old notes by the way were never made
nor intended for publication, there could be no better internal evidence
of the fact, than the manner of them. It may have been noted, that at
several places along the way—and these important, such as Cumberland
House, House de Vile a la Crosse, and even Norway House, the capital
of the Hudson's Bay Company's Dominions, which he, in the jaunty
humour of the moment on arrival, calls " Jack River House," because it
15 114
PEACE RIVER:   A CANOE VOYAGE FROM
"--■ is close to Jack River, Mr. McDonald merely alludes to the place, as a
man would, in passing his own house on the way. "Arrived at the
house." What house ? says the stranger—Our house of course, and the
only house there or within hundreds of miles of it, says Mr. McDonald,
Bpeaking as one of the Company of proprietors.
So here at Kamloops, where Mr. McDonald was at home, in a sense—
for, as I have before intimated, he in 1826, succeeded my father here—
the entry "arrive at the house" without naming it, is, under the circumstances, quite a natural expression, and in its place, quite intelligible to
to me at least.
Kamloops was always the " capital" of the Thompson's River District.
My father was in charge of the District from 1822 to 1826, and a troublesome and most arduous, as well as perilous charge it was, as his reports,
or drafts of reports, and his correspondence to and fro—now before me
show. 1 remember the old compact and well palisaded Fort, and the
" stockades " a little distance off, large enough for three or four hundred
horses, for the horse brigades for transport of " goods in " and " returns
out" for the District, and for New Caledonia., generally numbered about
two hundred and fifty horses. A beautiful sight was that horse brigade,
with no broken hacks in the train, but every animal in his full beauty of
form and color, and all so tractable !—more tractable than anything I know
of in civilized life. The Arab and his steed. It is in such life, that this
splendid gift of nature to man, is best appreciated. One carried me, riding
alone, and guiding with but child hand, over the Rocky Mountain Portage.
The Country about Kamloops is hard to describe clearly to those who
have not crossed the Mountain. A region, it is, of peculiarly grassed
sand plain, with rocks generally black or dark to the eye, of every form
and size, and with that ruggedness and sharpness of " cut," which their
V origin (volcanic) gave them, and which the weathering of time has not yet
rounded off—an Arabia Petrea verdurized—such to my memory of over
forty-five years ago, is the great Shuswhap Plain about Kamloops and
along the track southwards. It extends a great way back, fully three
degrees east of Kamloops, according to the M.S. hand map of that region;
to the north, including the " great Shuswhap Lake," it extends almost a
degree of Latitude, and towards the south to the Okanagan Country; the
western limit being that inter-range of Mountains—that other inner wall
of defence or offence—known as the " Snow Range," and whose fierce
heights or huge abruptions at the sources of the North Thompson and
North River, on the proposed line of Railway through the Yellow Head
Pass are likely to give much, but it is to be hoped not fruitless trouble. Hudson's bay to the pacific, 115
If there be a block in the way to a Pacific Railway in that parallel of
latitude, it will be found there, a stretch of some forty or fifty miles from
the Cache to the immediate northern watershed of Quesnel Lake.  Further
but very much further south, there are I believe, one or two known passes, for I see in the hand map made by Mr. McDonald, of that country,~
marks of Indian trails from the Shuswhap Lakes to the Columbia, at or
near the Upper Dalles, and also from one of the lower Okanagan Lakes
to the Columbia River, at Kettle Falls.   The " little Dalles," near which
is the now celebrated Eagle Pass, which Mr. Moberly (Walter, I presume)
has the honor of having lately discovered, is I believe a considerable distance, I cannot estimate how many miles further down (S) the Columbia
than the Upper Dalles, and over two hundred and fifty above the Kettle
Falls. [In the Columbia River—so crooked and irregular, it is difficult to
estimate distance.]    In that parallel, and two degrees north of it, the
Rocky Mountains are not in ridge, but are massed, with Peaks, a congeries
of vastest Rocky Mountains, a hundred and twenty miles in width, from
ten thousand to 16,000 (sixteen thousand) feet in height.   It is folly to
speak of a railway through such a region.   If a Pass through the Rocky
Mountains, and the " Snow Range," can be found with any degree of
directness from the East into the Shuswhap prairie flat—no finer road bed
for railway—good and well!—for as to the 25 miles of Frasers's River .
Can(y)on, and the 75 miles of other hard " navigation," in or on the lower
Thompson, and below the Forks, surely the Locomotive—a terre—can ,
follow the birch canoe !   We are bound td make  the  shortest  road
possible from sea to sea. I have my own opinion as to the proper Pacific
Terminus, but that is not the point or aim of this present writing.
Giving the Journal in hand for public information, at this juncture, that
in all I profess to do at present.   As to the Railway, it is, I feel assured
in good hands.
According to my father's old reports of this Fort, it would seem that
there were seven tribes that traded at it, viz., 1. The " Shew-shapps."
2. The Cou-ta-mine. 3. The Si-mi-la-ca-meachs. 4. The Okanagan.
5. The Stat-lam-chu. 6. The Spa-ehil-quah. 7. The Shin-poo. The
character and other particulars of each is given. They agreed but in one
thing, viz., to disagree amongst each other, and as all, except the Shin-
. poos (of the north branch of the Thompson) are, or were then " most
insolent to strangers when in small parties," and quarrelsome, lazy, and
bad in every way, it was difficult, exceedingly, to get along with them.
There is no doubt but that on the whole, the Columbian Native is a most
intractable animal, with the exception, let me say, of our lively, chatty
friends the Carriers, and the gentle Shuswhaps.   As to the Shin-poos, a
n L
116
PEACE RIVER:    CANOE VOYAGE FROM
mountain race, a remnant of the " Snare Indians," my father in his report
says, that there were but few of them (about 60 families] and that they
did not come very regularly to the Fort.
In connection with the question of road ways through the mountains,
Rocky and Snow Ranges—in the southern latitudes of British Columbia,
it may be not out of place to remark, that even in my father's time in
that region, there was a very strong impression in his mind at least (and
he from his wanderings, sometimes with but a single Kayoose — a knightly
race then in those wilds—throughout the whole country round about, was
in a position best to j udge in such matter) that a much more direct
course could be found for communication between Kamloops and Rocky
Mountain Portage, than that round the south east vi& Okanagan—one
more direct even than the most northerly of the Indian trails towards
the Columbia, marked in the hand sketch map already alluded to, and
even further north considerably, say from fifty to a hundred miles north
of Mr. Moberley's " Eagle Pass," and so far nearer, if" not actually on
the parallel of the " Rocky Mountain Portage." And further, he seemed
to think that a little further north, Passes through both ranges might be
found. I happen to have the draft of his report made to the Governor
and Council, as to the tribes in his district, in Spring, 1823. On this
point, I make the following extract from it. " This Tribe " (the Shin-
poo) " inhabits the north branch of Fhompsons River. They are good
beaver hunters, and go sometimes to*and even east of tlie Rocky Mountains " " I had in view "—he goes on to say—" to have one or two
" men to accompany them all summer, so as to endeavour to
" meet the Gentlemen " (that is to say the Express and Passengers
" coming in by Rocky Mountain Portage) " coming to the Columbia
" next fall, at the little House " (which I believe was at the east end of
" the Portage) " which would be by far a nearer and more practicable
" way of obtaining a knowledge of the country about the heads of the
" Thompson and N. Branch, than by sending from the east side, as Mr.
" Annance was, last summer : the Tribe not having come to the Fort
" this Spring, prevents my sending with them."
Mr. Annance, an Officer (Chief Clerk) of special ability for such work,
had been, I take it, sent in from the East, viz., by the Leather Pass, to
explore the country about the " heads of Thompson's R. and the North
Branch—and which Milton and Cheadle so boldly did. This is the
country, viz., that between the Athabasca Pass and the Leather Head
Pass, which I believe, repelled even Doctor Hector, who is said to have
been the most energetic of the Imperial Band of Rocky Mountain explorers, sent out about thirteeen years ago. &%3?$ HUDSON S BAY TO THE PACIFIC.
117
I have no knowledge of   Hie result of our Pacific Railway Survey
in that quarter.   I hope it has succeeded, or will so.
Note LXX.
" The River had risen three feet during the night.   The little rain we
had could not have been the cause of this."
Probably Mr. McDonald did not make due allowance for the very
narrow escape which they, as well as the united waters of the two great .'
rivers (Fraser and Thompson's) then and there were having.
I have Heard and read of a rise of twenty feet in an incredibly short
time, in some of the narrow gorges of this Fraser Can(y)on.
Note LXXI.
Leaping Simpson's Falls, under overhanging cliffs of the narrowest gorge
of Frusers Canyon.    A Terrific Plunge !
The feat was bold : without compare: and we may, in vain ransack
all' record, ancient or modern, of brave travel, to match the simple,
graphic, thrilling story before us. There is evidently, no coloring in the
statement; the whole preamble of that Journal leads to the irresistible
contusion, that every word there is true, true. Sir George Simpson was
one of those men who know not fear. Mr. McDonald, though less demonstrative, and ever a Gentleman of utmost suavity, and grace of spirit
as well as of form and " moving," not cnly, like Sir George, knew
not fear and cared not for danger where duty led, but would almost court
it. The nearest parallel to this feat that I have read of, is the running
of Escape Rapid in the Coppermine River, by Dease and Simpson, along
with the debacle of the early Spring flood. After describing the work of
dragging their boats (24 feet keel, 6 feet beam, light and strong of Athabasca Lake timber,) from Great Bear Lake, over many miles of hilly rocker
and accompanying the ice in its breaking np and passage down stream,
until they were stopped by the state of the flood, at a certain bad place,
the narrative continues (page 257) " Tired of delay, we resolved to start
at all hazards an the 25th, and pushed out at eight in the morning.
From Sir John Franklin's description of the lower part of the
Coppermine, we anticipated a day of danger and excitement, nor
were we disappointed. Franklin made his descent on the 15th July,
when the river had fallen to its summer level, but we were swept down
by the spring flood, now at its very height. The swollen and tumultuous
stream was still strewed with loose ice, while the inaccessible banks were
piled up with ponderous fragments.     The day was bright and lovely, as 3rf#J
118 PEACE RIVER:   CANOE VOYAGE FROM
we shot down rapid after rapid ; in many of which we had to pull for
our lives, to keep out of the suction of the precipices, along whose base
the breakers raged and foamed with overwhelming fury.
Shortly before noon we came in sight of Escape Rapid of Franklin,
and a glance of the over hanging-cliffs told us that there was no alter-
native but to run down with full cargo. In an instant we were in the
vortex ; and before we were aware, my boat was borne towards an isolated rock, which the boiling surge almost concealed. To clear it on the
outside was no longer possible; our only chance of safety was to run
between it and the lofty eastern cliff. The word was passed, and every
breath was hushed. A stream which dashed down upon us over the brow
of the precipice more than a hundred feet in height, mingled with the
spray that whirled upwards from the rapid, forming a terrific shower
bath. The Pass was about eight feet wide, and the error of a single foot on
either side,, would have been instant destruction. As guided by Sinclair's
consummate skill, the boat shot safely through those jaws of death, an
involuntary cheer arose. Our next impulse was to turn round to view
the fate of our comrades behind. They had profited by the peril we
incurred, and kept without the treacherous rock in time. The waves
were there higher, and for a while we lost sight of our friends. When
they emerged, the first object visible was the bow-man disgorging part of
an intrusive wave which he had swallowed, and looked half drowned.
Mr. Dease afterwards told me that the spray, which completely enveloped
them, formed a gorgeous rainbow around the boat."
Bold, no doubt, and well done! But that was with a boat, and the
•water was merely a " rapid," and foreknown, and not an unknown fall,
with back lick enough to swamp a boat, and certainly a canoe.
Note LXXH.
" Fort Langley."—Was the first Sea Port, and Sea Fort, in what is
now British Columbia. It had just been begun, and Mr. McDonald completed it.
According to a census, most elaborately made, and a perfect thing of
its kind, (and I may say so, as an old Census Commissioner), it would
seem that the natives round about there, were very numerous. My estimate
from the figures was, roughly, over 50,000 for the whole country, having
at the same time the reported numbers from some of the interior Posts
to guide me in the estimate. They have diminished much since. The
next, and in fact only other Sea coast Establishment in those parages,
save Yictoria, (which was an after work) was the establishment of Fort F
Hudson's bay to the pacific. 119
Simpson, in Observatory Inlet, near the Russian Boundary. Fort Simpson, as appears from letters from that quarter in my possession, was
established in fear and trembling ; so " wicked " were the Indians there,
as elsewhere an the coast they had ever been.
However, Captain Simpson who had charge of the Cudboro, (the Company's trading Schooner there) did his part so well, as to get a footing
without fighting for it, and started a Fort.
These two EstabUshments, regularly and strongly served by the
Schooner, and after that by the steamer Beaver, and for a while by both,
soon drove off American opposition, and in that fact, besides the inland
enterprise of the Company, was the conquest, for Britain, of the British
Columbia of to-day.
As to the lower, if not more valuable Columbia, Fort Georg*e at the
mouth of the Columbia, and, on its abandonment Fort Yancouver, established ninety miles further up, dominated the whole country to the west
and south—the whole watershed of the Columbia—yea even California
to San Francisco, then under our trade and hand. That we have lost all
that magnificent land —a seat for Empire—is a thing of the past.
Regretful! But instructive in this; viz., That knowing now in some measure, the value of what we have lost—have thrown away—we should hold
well what we have left unto us. To sell inheritance for a mess of potage
is certainly no British duty ; and if by accident, it has been done once,
we feel assured it will never be so again. Our's be it now, but to realize
the mythic prophecy of our Boadicea's ancient Bard, when with " burning
words he spoke "—
" Then, the progeny that springs,
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command."
'4 mmfBmma
J
I
ow This
for i
topraph is made
rch purposes only
and noi for reproduction
without the consent of the
ronvrkht owner.
Acknowledgement must be
given to the
METROPOLITAN TORONTO LIBRARY BOMB
the source of this copy      

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