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Certain correspondence of the Foreign Office and of the Hudson's Bay Company, copied from original documents,… Great Britain. Foreign Office 1899

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Department,'.oi theTkiSihor
Office op Chief Astronomer
November, 1899
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Department op the Interior
Office of Chief Astronomer
November, 1899
1899  PAET I.
Journal 721,
page 224.
55 Devonshire Street
Portland Place
26th  Novo:   1823.
TnVBarrow, Esqr.
&c. &c.
Dear Sir,—The interest taken by you in every branch of science connected with the Maritime welfare of this Country and above all the manner
in which you have promoted the Progress of Arctic Geography, and the
attempts to discover a North West Passage have encouraged me to lay
before you a plan for the prosecution of an Expedition over land to the
mouth of the Mc'Kenzie's River and thence along the Shore to the North
Western extremity of America.
I am well aware that the sympathy excited in the British Public by the
sufferings of those engaged in the late Journey to the Mouth of the Copper
Mine River and the humane repugnance of the British Government to a
like fate, even though they them selves might be ready to encounter it will
occasion many to startle at the mention of another Land Expedition.
I trust however to shew satisfactorily that in the proposed course similar
dangers are not to be apprehended, while the objects to be attained are
important at once to the Naval Character and to the Commercial Interests
of Great Britain.
On the former occasion the party left England without any previous
notice Either to the Traders residing in those parts of America or the
Indians, and without any preparation for its approach.
The Expedition and its objects were alike strange to those among whom
it came, and they not knowing in what estimation to regard either, it had
to fight its way step by step against increasing ebstacles while the animosity
then existing between the Hudson's Bay and the North West Company
rendered any assistance received from the one, a Source of Suspicion, and
Jealousy in the other.
From this cause originated the injurious reports spread by Mr. Weeks, to
which, may be mainly attributed the neglect and reluctance of the Copper
Indians, and many of the disasters which ensued.
Notwithstanding these disadvantages and the Labour attending the
obstructed navigation of the Copper Mine River, the difficulties encountered
during the voyage to the Sea and along the Coast were only such as Courage and Prudence could surmount, and it was not till its return across the
Barren lands, that the Expedition experienced the horrors of Famine or
indeed any serious inconvenience. It had then to march through the most
dreary and desolate part of North America, where the want, of fuel and
Herbage renders the animals few in number, and the Indians rare and precarious visitors.
Nevertheless the party would probably have been able to procure subsistence but for a sudden and premature Winter which caused every living
thing immediately to migrate to the South. The nature and resources of
the Country are now much better understood, the Rival Companies have
united, the Directors here are desirous of the prosecution of the inquiry;
and its Agents abroad will be prepared by their order to assist and respect
those who may be appointed.
The navigation of the McKenzie's River is free from Ice at an early
period of the Summer and impeded only by one Rapid of any Consequence.
The posts in its vicinity are better supplied with Food, and continued a HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
considerable distance down the River; while the former Expedition has
established friendly relations with some of the Indian Tribes who frequent
that quarter.
The Country to the westward is also much less barren than that passed
on the former occasion. From the report of the Indians Trees are found on
the banks of the River to within a short distance from the Sea; and Fuel
is supplied by the drift wood on the shore—The climate is likewise less
severe the Soil more productive and both Men and Animal? more abundant ; the Esquimaux also frequent this Coast and the experience of travellers has generally shown them to be a most peaceful and friendly People.
I have no doubt that through the means of an Interpreter who can be
procured from the Hudson's Bay Company a Communication may be opened
with them productive both of Information and Assistance. I would therefore propose that the Directors of the Combined Companys under the
Auspices and Instructions of His Majesty's Government should send out
Advices to their Agents in America this Season by way of Canada of the
approach of the Expedition; this Agent should be directed to provide
deposits of Provisions at every Post along the route from Canada to their
last Station on the McKenzie's River; he should also cause a Winter habitation for the party to be constructed and stored with everything needful
at whatever place might be appointed : the means of transport should be
prepared at every Post and a party of Indian hunters held in readiness at
the Winter Establishment.
The Expedition consisting of two officers and twelve British Seamen or
Marines (in the selection of whom good marks men and Mechanics must be
preferred) should then leave England by the same route in the February
following, that in the beginning of 1825 and in consequence of these previous arrangements might easily reach the neighbourhood of the Sea during
the Summer of that year, and Winter at the proposed habitation. I would
suggest the Western extremity of the Great Bear Lake, as a convenient
Spot from the abundance of Fish and the friendly disposition of the Hook
and other Indian Chiefs while the distance from the direct course is so
trifling and the Ice in the Stream which connects the Lake and River breaks
up so Early that there can be no doubt of its being able to regain its course
before the latter becomes navigable.
It might perhaps be desirable that the Commander of the Expedition
should Winter as near as possible to the Sea, for the purpose of obtaining
the earliest intelligence of changes in the Ice and of opening communications with the Indians and Esquimaux to the North ward ; but the point
already mentioned appears to me the most advisable Station for the bulk of
the Party.
The Ice in the McKenzies River usually breaks up about the 10th of June
and in the following Summer (1826) the Expedition in two Boats or Canoes
attended by such others as might be necessary either for protection or to
assist in Transport as far as th'e mouth of the River should be prepared
immediately to follow it to the Sea and to take the earliest opportunity of
proceeding to the Westward receiving on board at the last moment all the
supplies they could carry.
It might perhaps be even possible to provide deposits of provisions aloDg
a part of the Coast so as still to delay any encroachment on their store. It
may be here well to notice that the boats proposed to be used should be sent
out from England by the next Hudson's Bay Ship to York Factory and forwarded by the Company's servants to Fort Chipawyan in readiness jj Canoes
should likewise be provided in ease of accident to the Boats and as a further
resource a means of building a Boat from the wood on the banks of the
McKenzies River should be also sent. Should the Season be ordinarily
favorable the shore not very much indented nor jutting out very far to the HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
Northward (which last does not appear probable) it is plain that the Expedition would easily reach Icy Cape in the course of the same Summer, in the
Autumn of which a Ship might be directed to meet it at Kotzebues Sound
or any known part on the mainland of America northward of it, to bring
the Party home, or furnish it with supplies for their return by Land. It
may be matter of consideration whether it would not be well in co-operation
with the Expedition to cause a survey to be made of the Coast between the
McKenzies and Copper Mine Rivers as well as from Repulse Bay to Point
Turn again.
The objects to be attained by the proposed Expedition are evidently the
determination of the Northern shores of America in a clearer and more
decisive manner than may probably ever be accomplished in those latitudes
by vessels, owing to the number of Islands and the difficulty of distinguishing between a Strait and an Inlet.
The Commercial and Political advantages to be ensured is the preservation of that portion of the Country which is most rich in animals from the
encroachments of Russia and the preventing the Establishment of another
at some period perhaps a hostile Power on any part of the Northern Continent of America. I may perhaps be permitted to add my opinion that it
belongs to the high character which Great Britain has always maintained
not to allow herself to be anticipated by any other Nation in an object for
which she ha.8 thought it worth her while to contend.
Should it be objected that the Expedition intended, to sail in the Spring
under the order of Captn. Parry will if successful render the proposed
Land Journey unnecessary, I would observe that even supposing him to be
favoured with a Season as auspicious as that under which he explored
Lancaster Sound it is scarcely to be expected that he can attain a much
greater degree of Western Longitude than the mouth of McKenzies River,
before the close of the second Summer in which case the Party intended to
track the shore would be able to start a month or six weeks sooner than
the Sea would be navigable for larger vessels, while from the course- sug-
gested to be pursued by Captn. Parry it is possible that the passage if
accomplished may be made in a higher latitude so as still to leave the Coast
open to the Investigation of Russia. '
With regard to Captn. Kotzebue I have little fear that he.would be able
to forestal an Expedition sent out in the manner and at the time which I
have suggested.
The previous voyage to Behring's Straits will occupy one year. He is
then directed (if his instructions correspond with as has been reported) in
the first instance to re-survey a part of his former discoveries and should he
succeed during the summer of 1825 in doubling Icy Cape, it is not likely
that he can afterwards in the same season make much progress to the Eastward. In 1826 the observation made with regard to Captn. Parry applies
with equal force to him.
The land party would be able to set out at least a month or six weeks
before his ship could be clear of the Ice, and should it only succeed in reaching the Longitude where the Rocky Mountains approach the Sea before it
is met by the Russians of which I think little doubt can be entertained a
considerable Track, and that the most valuable would still be secured to the
British Government and its Fur Trading Company.
It is plain from the letters from Admiral Krusenstern addressed to you
which Captn. Parry has shewn me, that the exertions of Russia are directed
to the increase of the Fur Trade and the extension of her Dominions in the
Northern part of America, but I am gratified to perceive that with great
liberality of sentiment he recommends to you the course which I have proposed. HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE. i
I have only to add that if any Expedition should be decided on, I beg to
offer myself for employment on that service.
I have,
(Signed)        JOHN FRANKLIN.
Vol. 721,
p. 239.
Downing Street,
21st October, 1824.
J. H. Pelly, Esqr.
Sir,—I am directed by Lord Bathurst to transmit to you the Copy of a
letter from Mr. Commissioner Barclay on the subject of the probable course
of the Boundary Line under the 7th Article of the Treaty of Ghent and
suggesting with the view of obviating the difficulties which present themselves that the Boundary directed by the Treaty of Ghent, to be established
should not be surveyed beyond the point where it shall intersect the 49th
parallel, and that from such point of intersection the said parallel, shall
form the Boundary Line according to the Treaty of 1818 and I am to request that you will favor me with any observations which the Hudsons Bay
Company may be desirous of offering on the suggestions proposed by Mr.
I am,
Your most obedient,
humble servant,
(Signed)        R. WILMOT HORTON.
Journal 721,
p. 240.
Hudson's Bay House,
the 30th October 1824.
The Right honble
Earl Bathurst.
My Lord,—I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of Mr. Horton's
letter of the 21st Instant addressed to Mr. Pelly transmitting copy of a
dispatch from Mr. Commissioner Barclay on the subject of the probable
Boundary Line with the United States of America under the Treaty of
Ghent, and requesting such observations as the Hudson's ; Bay Company
may be desirous of offering on the suggestion made by Mr. Barclay —
In compliance with this request I have to observe that if the Boundary
Line which Mr. Barclay supposes will be claimed by the American Commissioner were to be acceded to, the Communication between one considerable portion of the Hudson's Bay Company's Territories and the remainder,
and the communication of the greater portion of these Territories and of
the whole of His Majesty's other Indian Territory with Canada would be
entirely cut off—
This Communication is necessary for the conveyance of Merchandize and
intelligence to and from the Company's trading Stations and to tha inhabitants of the increasing Settlement at the Red river, and if this supposed HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
Boundary Line was to be fixed, the American Government would possess
the Power of establishing Custom houses and levying duties on the British
Trade which would have to cross their Territory. It is therefore of the
most essential importance to the Trade of the Hudson's Bay Company and
to British interests, that this claim, if made, should not be acceded to on
the part of Great Britain.
With reference to the great body of the Waters of the Lake of the
Woods, or to the middle of the Lake ascertained by the intersection of
Lines drawn through its extreme length and breadth, the Rat-portage is
rather the N.E. than the N.W. point; but I may be permitted to observe
that wherever the N.W. point of the Lake may be the Line directed by
the Convention of 1818 to be drawn from that point South to the 49th
parallel of North Latitude is inconsistent and irreconcileable with the
middle of the Water Communication, being the Boundary Line fixed by
the Treaties of 1783 and 1814, the question ought therefore to be determined with reference to the Spirit of these Treaties and to the practical
and ' legitimate interests of the two Nations.—The spirit of these Treaties
is evident, that the Water Communication to the Lake of the Woods should
be the boundary and be common to both Nations and the Convention of
"1818 having fixed the 49th parallel of Northern Latitude to be the Northern
Bounda.ry of the United States to the Westward of that Lake the American
Government can have no object in making the claim supposed by Mr.
Barclay, but that of obtaining the power of interrupting or oppressing the
Trade of British subjects between different parts of the British Dominions
I have therefore respectfully to submit on the part of the Hudson's Bay
Company that this claim ought not under any Circumstances to be admitted
by His Majesty's Government and I have only to add, that the Interest
and Convenience of the Company would be duly provided for by the
adoption of the suggestion of Mr. Barclay that the Boundary line should
not be surveyed beyond the point where it shall intersect the 49th Parallel
of Northern Latitude, and that from such point of Intersection the said
Parallel shall form the Boundary Line according to the Treaty of 1818. I
take this opportunity of calling Your Lordship's attention to a part of this
subject which may possibly have escaped the attention of the Commissioners
but which is of Mutual Importance to the subjects of both Nations.
Though the route in question along the boundary Line is merely a Water
Communication, yet wherever there are Rapids or Falls or other interruptions to the Navigation and in Places where a considerable detour of a
River or long Promontory in a Lake can be cut off by making a portage or
transmit across the land, the boats and Canoes and their Cargoes are
transported across the Land and again launched. These, portages from
natural causes can in many instances be made on one shore only, it would
therefore be extremely desirable to stipulate for the mutual free passages
of such portages, otherwise either Government, as the case may be will
have the power of interrupting the Communication and of oppressing the
Trade of the subjects of the other Nation. I return enclosed the copy of
the Dispatch and the plan of the Lake of the Woods and
I have the honour to be, my Lord,
Your Lordships obedient humble Servt.
Journal 721, HUDSON'S  BAY HOUSE,
p. 243. London, 24th Npvr. 1824.
To the Rt. Honble. George Canning,
&c, &c, &c.
Sir,—On the 21st October, Mr. Horton by direction of Lord Bathurst
transmitted to me a copy of a letter from Mr. Commissioner Barclay to you
on the subject of the probable course of the Boundary line under the 7th
Article of the Treaty of Ghent, and requesting that I would favour him
with any observations which the Hudson's Bay Company may be desirous
of offering on the suggestion proposed to Mr. Barclay.
In my absence from town Mr. Garry replied thereto on the 30th October.
On the 5th Instant I had an interview with Mr. Horton from whom I
understood that the consideration of the subject would be referred to you
with a recommendation that you should have a conference with the Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company thereon.
I have since given it much consideration and it appears to me that the
2nd Article of the Treaty of 1818 is clear as to the Boundary. It states
that if the North Western point of the Lake of the Woods is not in the
49th Parallel of Northern Latitude, which it is not, then that a line drawn
from the said point due North or South, as the case may be until the said
Line shall intersect the said Parallel of North Latitude and from the
point of such intersection due West along and with the said Parallel shall be
the line of Demarcation between the territories of the United States and those
of His Majesty, " and that the said Line shall form the Northern Boundary
of the said Territory of the United States and the southern boundary of
the Territories of ' His Britannic Majesty' from the Lake of the Woods to
the Stony Mountains", consequently that the Americans cannot lay claim to
any territory to the North of the line of 49° from the point of intersection,
I have to observe that the part marked " " is not in Mr. Barclay's
letter but is in a printed copy in my possession.
It therefore appears if I am right in my conclusions that the North
Western point contended for by the American Commissioners would be the
most desirable one as it would give Great Britain the Islands on the Lake
and Territory: the two lines which Mr. Barclay supposes will be claimed
by them for America. The 7th Article of the Treaty of Ghent to which
he alludes does not fix any line but only authorizes the Commissioners to
fix and determine according to the true Intent of the Treaty of Peace of
1783, that part of the Boundary which extends from the Water Communication between Lake Huron and Lake Superior to the most North Western
point of the Lake of the Woods.
V Reference must therefore be had to the Treaty of 1783, the 2nd Article
of which states, that from the most North Western point of the Lake of
Woods on a due West course to the river Mississippi thence by a line to be
drawn along the middle of the said River Mississippi, until it shall intersect
the Northermost part of the 31° of Northern Latitude shall be the Boundary.
This Line being very different from that of 1808, the latter Treaty of course
supersedes it, and is the one on which I presume the Commissioners must
I have the honour to be,
Your Most obedient
humble servant,
J. H P., Govt. i
Journal 721,
p. 249.
Rt. Honble. Geo: Canning,
&c, &c, &c.
Mr. Pelly presents his compliments to Mr. Secretary Canning, and in
reference to two letters of the 24th and 25th November last which he, Mr.
P. wrote him, will feel obliged if he will inform him whether the Boundary
line at the Lake of the Woods has been settled or whether any arrangement has been made or whether any arrangement has been made with the
American Minister respecting the Furs. Mr. Pelly's reason for troubling
Mr. Secretary Canning at this time is that the Hudson's Bay Company's
ships for the Season will be despatched next week.
Hudson's Bay House,
May 25th, 1825.
Journal 721,
p. 250.
Foreign Office,
May 27th, 1825.
Sir,—I am directed by Mr. Secretary Canning to acknowledge the
receipt of ycur letter of the 25th Instant, requesting to be informed whether
the boundary line at the Lake of the Woods has been settled, and whether
any arrangement has been made with the American Minister respecting
the furs taken from an American Party by the Indians on the Missouri.
With regard to the first part I am to acquaint you that Dr. Tjarks has
proceeded to America for the purpose of making previous to any decision
on the part of the Commissioners, a more minute and scientific Survey of
the Lake of the Woods, which service it is expected he will complete by
the end of the present Season. With regard to the second point I am to
inform you ; that your letter of the 25th November was referred to Mr.
Addington, His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Washington on the 11th
December last, but no answer has yet been received from that Gentleman
as to the effect of the explanation he was instructed to make to the
American Government on the subject.
I am, sir,
Your most obedient servant
(Signed)    JOSEPH PLANTA.
John H. Pelly, Esqr.,
&c, &c, &c.
Journal 721,
p. 255.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 9th December, 1825.
The Right Honble.
George Canning,
&c, &c, &c.
Sir,—With reference to the several communications which I have had
the honor of having with you on the subject of the Country situated on the
North West Coast of America and to the West of the Rocky Mountains I
have now the honor of requesting your attention to the following circumstances, which it may be of importance to consider in any negotiation for
settling the Boundaries with the United States to the West of the Rocky
Mountains. 10
I need not remind you that Captn. Cook in 1778 explored the Coast
from Cape Gregory in Lat: 43-£ to Lat 70° and that Spain by the Convention 28th October 1790 aoandoned all particular claim beyond what she at
that time held in actual settlement and that consequeutly the United
States cannot have any claim under their purchase of Bousiana from Spain.
In 1778 Captains Gray and Kendrick (in command of the Columbia and
Washington) were fitted out at Boston for a trading voyage on that Coast,
and are supposed to have been the first Americans who engaged in that
Trade but they did not enter the River Columbia, and it is well known
that British Subjects have been carrying on a Trade on that Coast previous
to the voyages of Captains Gray and Kendrick. The River Columbia was
not explored until 1792 when Lt. Broughton entered it in the Chatham
and anchored at Red Patch, about 12 miles inland from Cape Disappointment, he then proceeded with the Cutter and Launch up the River as far
as far as Vancouver's Point. Vancouver in Vol : 2, page 66 says
"previously to his (Mr. Broughton's) departure however he formally
took possession of the Rivtr and the Country in its vicinity in His
Britannic Majesty's name having every reason to believe that the subjects
of no other civilized Nation or State had ever entered this River before ;
in this opinion he was confirmed by Mr. Gray's sketch in which it does not
appear that Mr. Gray either saw or was within five Leagues of its
According to Lt. Broughton's observations Vancouver's Point is situated
in Lat: 45° 27' and Long : 237° 50' computed to be about 100 miles from
the mouth of the River.
In 1793 Sir Alexr. McKenzie crossed the Rocky Mountains and reached
the coast about Lat: 52£ and soon after that time the North West Compy
of Montreal established trading Posts in the Country West of the Rocky
Mountains on the head waters of the North Branch of the Columbia
among the Flathead and Coutpnais Tribes, and continued gradually to
explore the country and extend their Trade towards the Coast down the
Columbia as well as to the Northward.
Capts. Lewis and Clarke in the command of an expedition fitted out by
the American Government, ascended the Missouri crossed the Rocky
Mountains, descended the South branch of the Columbia called in "Arrow-
smith's map " I Lewis's River" and which falls into the main or North
Branch in Lat: 46° 15': they proceeded to the mouth of the River and
passed the winter 1805-6 at Young's Bay, on the South side of the River,
at this period, the British fur traders had pushed their trading post nearer
to the junction of the Lewis's River with the North Branch of the
Columbia River. In 1809 an Association composed of British and
American subjects was formed in New York for the purpose of carrying on
the fur Trade on the North West Coast under the Firm of the Pacific Fur
Company. They fitted out two expeditions one by land and the other by
Sea for the Columbia where they arrived in 1810 and established themselves on the South side of the River, naming their Settlement " Astoria "
after their principal partner Mr. Astor of New York. The North West
Compy. of Montreal however continued to extend their Trade with the
Natives and in 1813 established themselves on the Coast within a few yards
of the American settlement of Astoria.
The Americans had remained at Astoria and from time to time sent
parties into the Interior, but. had not made much progress in establishing
themselves in tne Country, when in 1813 they sold their buildings at
Astoria (which was afterwards named " Fort George ") with the whole of
their stock in Trade in the Country to the North West Company as per
Bill of Sale (Copy of which is annexed) and abandoned the Country.
Since that time no American Trader has appeared nor has any settlement
been formed by any others than the British Fur Traders.
Upon reference to the above circumstances and to the dates of the
transaction it does not appear that the Americans can establish any just
claim to the Country on the Columbia or to the Northward of it, and that
on the grounds of first discovery, priority and continued occupation and
actual possession Great Britain alone can establish a legitimate Title. In
1818, Captain Hickey of H.M.S. Blossom accompanied by Mr. J. P. Pre-
vost, Agent for the United States Government arrived at the Columbia
and delivered to Mr. James Keith of the North West Company then in
charge of Fort George a letter from Earl Bathurst dated 27th January,
1818, Captain Hickey also produced instructions from Captain Sherreff of
H.M.S. Andromache, and in consequence Mr. Prevost took formal possession
of the Settlement as his acknowledgement. Copies of these documents are
annexed but I think it right to observe that the Settlement and whatever
had been previously occupied in that Country by American subjects had
been acquired by the North West Company by purchase for a valuable consideration and not by Capture.
By the Convention 20th October 1818 between Great Britain and
America the Trade of the Country to the West of the Rocky Mountains is
left open to the Subjects of both Nations for ten years without prejudice to
the claim of either Nation; but no American subjects have as yet availed
themselves of this privilege. The British Fur Traders however have never
withdrawn from the Country, since they first entered it, on the contrary
they have gradually and at much risk and expense increased their Settlements which now amount to thirteen in number (besides temporary Stations
which are occasionally changed) and extend over a Country exceeding
fifteen degrees of Latitude say from Lat: 45 to North of Lat: 60.
In the year 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company made an arrangement
with the North West Company of Montreal by which they acquired possession of all the trading Posts and Stock of that association and now
under their Royal Charter and His Majesty's License the whole Indian
Trade of British America to the North West of Canada is carried on by
the Hudson's Bay Company. In order to acquire more correct information
respecting the Country on the West of the Rocky Mountains and for the
purpose of carrying into effect some measures connected with extending our
Trade on the North West Coast, Governor Simpson was directed to proceed thither last season and after an arduous and fatiguing journey he accomplished an extensive survey of the Company's Trading establishments and
is now in London. He will remain here until the beginning of February, ; t 2
and will attend any appointment that you may be pleased to make should
you wish to be possessed of any further information respecting that
Country. Whilst at Fort George, Governor Simpson fitted Out an Expedition under the direction of an intelligent officer Mr. Chief Trader McMillan for the purpose of exploring the Coast to the Northward.
In the course of his survey he discovered the entrance of Fraser's River
between Capes Roberts and Gray in about Lat: 49° 15'.
The mouth of this River was not discovered by Vancouver nor by the
Subjects of any civilized Nation until Mr. McMil'lian visited it last Winter,
but the upper part of the River and down to within 20 mil js of the Sea
was explored by Messrs. Fraser and Stewart, partners of the North West
Company in '■•he year 1808. I annex extracts from Mr. McMillan's report \
and as this Country appears to be rich in Fur bearing Animals we have it \
in contemplation to form permanent Establishments therein next Summer,
to push our discoveries to the Northward both in Land and on the Coast,
and to embark a considerable Capital in endeavouring to secure to Great
Britain the benefits arising from an exchange of British Manufactures for
the produce of that Country with its numerous inhabitants.
In compliance with a wish expressed by you at our last interview
Governor Simpson when at Columbia abandoned Fort George on the South 12
side of the River and formed a new Establishment on the North side about
75 miles from the mouth of the River at a place called by Lt. Broughton
Belle vue point. Governor Simpson named the new Establishment " Fort
Vancouver " in order to identify our Claim to the Soil and trade with Lt.
Broughton's discovery and Survey.
He considers the soil and Climate of this Place to be so well adapted for
Agricultural pursuits, that in the course of two or three years it may be
made to produce sufficient Grain and Animal Provisions to meet not only
the demands of our own Trade but to almost to any extent that may be
required for other purposes, and he considers the Possession of this Place
and a right to the navigation of the River Columbia to be quite necessary
to our carrying on to advantage not only the Trade of the upper parts of
the Columbia River but also that of the Country interior from the mouth
of Fraser's River and the Coasting Trade all of which can be provisioned
from this Place. Under existing circumstances I respectfully submit to
your considerntion whether it might not be advisable to endeavour to
arrange a Boundary line between Great Britain and the United States in
that country to the West of the Rocky Mountains, more especially as the
attention of Congress has been called to the Subject, and in an American
map lately published the Line of Lat: 49 is continued from the Rocky
Mountains to the Sea Coast, and the Country to the South of that Line is
described to be United States Territory, which at some future period might
be made use of by the American Government. This Line would deprive
Great Britain of a valuable Country now occupied and traded by the Hudson's Bay Company, and would occasion many practical inconveniences in
carrying on the Trade of the Country which would be left to us.
But as I have already stated it does not appear that the Americans can
establish a just claim to any part of the country either to the South or
North of the Columbia River, and as the free navigation of that River is
necessary to our carrying on the Trade I have endeavoured to fix on a
Boundary which would answer the views of the Hudson's Bay Company,
without pushing the claims of Great Britain to their full extent.
I iiave therefore to suggest that starting from Lat: 49 at the Rocky
Mountains the Line ought to be continued Southward along the height of
Land to the Piace, where Lewis and Clarke crossed the Mountains, said to
be in Lat: 46° 42v thence Westerly along the Lewis's River until it falls
into the Columbia and thence to the Sea, leaving the navigation of both
these rivers free to the Subjects of both Nations. This line would leave to
America the Trade and Possession of an extensive and valuable Country
and would furnish fewer opportunities of collision between the Traders of
the two Nations, than any other Line that could be suggested.
I send herewith a map on which the Line which I have taken the liberty
of suggesting is colored and on which the trading Posts now occupied by
the Hudson's Bay Company are marked.
I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, sir,
Your most obt. humb. Serv.
J. H. P., Govt.
list of papers inclosed.
1. Bill of Sale, Pacific Fur Company to North-west Company.
2. Letter from Earl Bathurst dated 27th Janary, 1818. Instructions
from Captn. Sheriff of H.M.S. Andromache. Mr. I. P. Prevost acknowledgement of Possession.
3. Extract from Mr. McMillans Report of Voyage and Survey from
Columbia to Frasers River 1826.
British Museum,
17th February,
Dear Sir,—The very great attention and kindness you have shown to
our institution have induced me to be bold and to ask you to add to your
former favors by enquiring if you could kindly procure for the British
Museum a collection of skins of any of the following animals which are fit
for stuffing. We are now re-arranging the collection of Mammalia and
shall in a very short time have more space for their exhibition than any
other Museum in Europe and therefore shall be enabled to exhibit to the
best advantage any specimen we may be so fortunate to procure.
I am, dear sir, your Obedt. servant,
(Signed)    J. EDWARD GRAY,
Keeper of the Zoological Collection
Sir J. H. Pelly, Bart.
<fec. &c, &c.
The Reindeer or Caribou from the Factory a Male Female and young
would be desirable.
The smaller Northern Reindeer from the Great Slave Lake a male,
female and young.
The woodland Caribou from Lake Superior and Cumberland House.
Any of the species of deer from the West side of the Columbian River.
It is very desirable the horns should be preserved with the skins—
The prong horned Antelope or Carbree from Charlton Island male,
female and young.
The Rocky Mountain Goat from the Columbian River.
The American Black Bear and the cinamon coloured variety.
The barren ground Bear from Post Enterprise called also—
The White Bear of the Barren Lands.
The Grisly Bear.
The American Badger.
The American Wolverine.
The Canadian Otter.
The Canadian Lynx.
The Bay Lynx from the Columbia River.
The Prairie Hare of the Fur Traders.
The American Bison.
It is desirable that a specimen of the old and young animals should be
procured of each of the kind and if there is any difference in their colour
or appearance during the Summer and Winter a specimen exhibiting these
directions for skinning quadrupeds, &c.
The Animals should be carefully skinned the skin should then be
rubbed with burnt alum or wood-ashes. The skull and bones of the legs
and feet should be left in the skin, the flesh that may be about
them being taken off and the bones rubbed with a little burnt alum or
wood ashes and then surrounded with-a small quantity of tow or dry moss
before they are returned into the skin. The skins should be well dried
before they are packed, and it is desirable that they should be surrounded 14
with moss, paper or some articles to prevent the part of the skin or the
different skins rubbing against each other, and injuring the hair, the horns,
feet and other hard parts should be wrapped around with moss or paper to
prevent their chopping the skin.
When the animal has horns it is better to leave them attached to the
skull, but then to remove the flesh from the head it is necessary that a cut
should be made below the chin, but if more convenient the horns may be
sawed from the skull below the skull leaving them attached to the skin
and when the flesh has been removed the skull may be replaced in the skin.
The fleshy parts as the nose or feet are sometimes attacked by insects
they then should be washed with spirits of turpentine. Some persons employ
arsenic or arsenical soap to rub the inside of the skins, especially the parts
about the heads, but wood ashes and burnt alum do very well, especially in
cold climates and the danger of using arsenic is avoided.
The use of corrosive sublimate should always be avoided as it rots the
skin and makes it come to pieces when the specimens are damped to set
them up.
I may observe that in addition to the specimens asked for any mice rats,
shrew mice, moles, lizards, snakes or any small quadrupeds or reptiles would
be acceptable they may either be skinned or placed in rum or strong spirits
of any kind a cut being first made in the side of the body to admit the
spirits to the intestines. It is supposed that there are many kinds that have
not hitherto been brought to Europe though they are common when found
and are confounded with the common European kinds; but upon comparison
and minute inspection they prove distinct.
Keeper of the Zoological Collection
British Museum.
30th March, 1842.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 31st March, 1842.
Duncan Finlayson, Esqr.
&c. <fcc. &c.
Red River Settlement.
Sir,—The Governor & Committee being desirous to render every assist
ance to Science have directed me to forward the annexed copy of a letter
dated 17th February from S. E. Gray, Keeper of the Zoological collection
of the British Museum with a copy of directions for skinning quadrupeds &
I am to request that you will issue instructions to the gentlemen in charge
of the various districts to comply with the desire of Mr. Gray as far as lies
in their power.
I am, sir,
Your very Obedt.
(Signed)    WILL'M. SMITH.
Peel's River.
June 22nd, 1842..
John Lee Lewes, Esq.,
Dear Sir,—I have much pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your
favor of the 1st inst. from Fort Good Hope likewise copy of your letter
under date 17th February last from Ft. Simpson. The Beavers of the
Winter Express I am truly grieved to say have not reached this Establishment & no doubt have perished on their route either from starvation or
having lost themselves. The Beavers of the spring letters Mr. McKenzie &
Walls having failed in their endeavours to get up to Fort Good Hope I
immediately on their return despatched Frances Boucher with an Indian to
acquaint you with the state of affairs at this place. The season being so far
advanced when Boucher left here 7th May that he experienced a great deal
of difficulty before he reached Fort Good Hope 2nd June the very day you
took your departure from it & altho he followed the Boat as far as Blue
Fish River without success he was obliged to return to the Fort where he
left the letters Inventory, & Men's Winter advances in charge of St. Amand
who will no doubt forward them to you by the Summer conveyance Boucher
and the Indian arrived here in safety on the 19th Inst, having to hunt for
his support all the way down. In my communications of the 24th April &
7th May I had stated our scarceity of Provisions at that season and the
privations which generally prevailed among the natives during the latter
end of the Winter & Spring which prevented them from giving any assistance consequently we are without any provisions for the ensuing Winter
except about 500 lb dry meat collected since the opening of the navigation.
Any quantity however small of provisions including dry meat & pemecan
you can spare us will be most acceptable. The Rat Indians who went to the
Beaver Country last Winter did not succeed in their enterprise principally
from having suffered incredible hardships & privations some of the party
died from want & the others were reduced to the necessity of eating most
of the Beaver skins to keep them alive, this unforseen circumstance has
entirely blighted my fine prospects of good Returns which will fall greatly
short of last year both in number & value of Packs. Having detained the
leader of the Rat Indians here since the beginning of May in expectations
of learning your decision respecting the expedition across the Western
Rocky Mountains The determination of Mr. McKenzie to go out and the
unfortunate fate of the two men in March would of itself prove a sufficient
obstacle in the way of prosecuting this desirable object.
Nevertheless I have resolved on accompanying the Indian to-morrow
with only two men & a kind of Interpreter. I have every hope of success at
least of reaching the rendezvous of the strange tribe from whom the Rat
Indians procure the Beaver. Should all go well I expect to be back in sufficient time to accompany the Returns to Good Hope in August. Mr. McKenzie will leave this about the 5 th of next month for the upper posts <&
will deliver you the Requisition for Outfit 43 as also the private orders of
Inland men.    Having nothing else to add worthy your notice,
I remain, dear sir,
Your obedt. servant,
(Signed)   JOHN BELL. 16
Copy 9th Paragraph of the Governor and Committee's Despatch of the 80th
March 181fi to Duncan Finlayson Esqre & the Council of the Northern
It gives us satisfaction to learn that an accession of trade may be expected in the McKenzie's River District by the Establishments of Posts in
the country recently explored by Mr. Campbell which is represented as
being rich in fur bearing animals and with abundant means of living. The
loss of life in this District has been very great, which we much deplore and
we must impress upon you the necessity of instructions being issued to
guard as much as possible against similar accidents.
Application has been made by the relatives of William Mowat & three
of the men that perished with him viz. James Loutett, William Merriman,
& William Robertson—natives of Orkney, respecting the balances left by
these persons in the Company's hands which however cannot be settled
until information is received whether the parties have made Testamentary
dispositions of their property or left families in the Bay.
In order to enable us to close the Aces of deceased Servants as soon as
possible we desire that search be always made immediately after their death
to ascertain if a will has been left, which should be sent to England,without
delay information should at the same time be transmitted, if the parties
have left a family stating their names and ages.
John Lee Lewes Esqr.
&c.       <fec.
Fort Simpson,
24th June, 1842.
Dear Sir,—Immediately after your departure on the 21st I began to
collect the various supplies you left me for Frances Lake after you told me
that you had delivered all the voyage to the Guide who also himself
told me that the Main Lines, Lodges and oil cloths were secure in the house
garret. I was perfectly at ease on that subject, but when in the course of
the evening you left us, but one of the Main Lines could be found after a
diligent search all over the Fort you may easily guess my perplexity, this
was a most vexatious disappointment the more so that I could only supply
the deficiency of such an absolutely necessary article but by splicing the
Bow & Stem lines & replacing them with such pieces of old halyards &c as
I could find. I cannot comprehend what has become of the original line
which Frances affirms was lying in the garret, its fate is a mystery I cannot
unravel. The same day Isbister had the misfortune to have his foot run up
by an old rusty nail in the pit saw which had laid him perfectly useless &
on but one leg for God knows how long ; but being a good man which the
duty I have to perform much requires, I will take him on in the hopes of
his recovery in every other respect I could not wish to be better equipped
and provided than by your kindness I am, & nothing but the high water in
this unnatural river will prevent our making a prosperous campaigne of it.
Agreeably to your request I herewith beg to hand you an Indent for
additional supplies in Fall on account of Frances Lake of which you are
aware I cannot at present form but a very imperfect estimation of what HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
may or may not be required to meet the demand of Trade & I beg therefore
that you will have the goodness to forward such supplies as you may yourself consider expedient & please also forward a Moose Skin with each Winters private order in case what trade we can effect in that Article.
The water having fallen a little I expect to leave here to-morrow morning
Meantime having nothing further worthy your notice—I have the honor
to be with the greatest respect
Dear Sir,
Your most ob'edt. Humble Servt.,
(signed)    ROBERT CAMPBELL.
P.S.—Having dogs but for two sleighs only to take up with me at present & as we shall at a new Establishment have to get everything home on
sleighs, exclusive of this we have to open a road & forward various supplies
on snow to the banks of the river discovered on the West side of the
Mountains, for the operation in contemplation ensuing season which of
course must be all done by dogs & from the importance of this duty & the
absolute necessity there is to have good sleighs of Dogs for carrying on
plans of operation into effect & that I am fully convinced you are most
desirous to give me every aid in your power in everything that can facilitate the desirable end that I am certain that I have only to remind you
that I want Dogs & hope it will meet your convenience to forward with
the Outfit in August at least two good trains of dogs, as for procuring dogs
in that quarter is out of the question there is no such thing to be expected.
(signed)    ROBERT CAMPBELL.
Fort Simpson,
26 th June,
John Lee Lewes, Esq.,
&c., &c, (fee.
My Dear Sir,—I was to have taken my departure from hence yesterday
morning but heavy rain all day together with the yet then high state of
the water detained me. The Water has now sufficiently subsided for commencing my Voyage and G. W. I'll be on the water betimes tomorrow.
I have nothing at present to communicate, were I richer in paper than I
am nor have I any other apology for troubling you this season, but merely
that I cannot think of leaving this quarter without indulging in the pleasure it affords me to address you a few lines & unburden my bosom of the
deep obligation under which you have laid me for the innumerable marks
of condescending kindness by which you have been pleased to notice me
together with the zeal and willingness with which you have entered into
the spirit of my present Enterprise & the very liberal manner in which you
have equipped me for carrying it in all its parts into execution. As regards
what depended upon you I could not wish to be better provided for that
purpose nor did I indeed expect wd be half so well and amply outfitted,
this I know I owe altogether to your kindness of which though extremely
sensible I am inadequate to express the sense of the obligation of which 11
shall however cherish a grateful remembrance to my latest day I am aware
that you feel a deep interest in the success & prosperity of the undertaking CORRESPONDENCE.
and of that undertaken which stimulates me the more to exert to the
utmost to meet your views & rest assured I will use my best insofar as my
humble abilities will carry me through & nothing will be more gratifying to
my feelings than that my success be such as meet your approbation. And
with sincere wishes & hopes that you will again return from the Portage to
preside over us, a situation you have filled with so much credit to yourself,
interest to the general concern & so entirely to our satisfaction particularly
to your humble servant. And permit me to assure you that wherever you
may go you will ever carry with you my sincerest & affectionate best wishes
for your health, prosperity & happiness. God grant they may with his
blessing ever follow you.
Please have the goodness to tender my best respects to Mrs. Lewes & the
rest of your family Meantime I am proud to have the honor to be
With the greatest respect,
My Dear Sir,
Your mo : obedt. Humble Servt,
(signed)        ROBERT CAMPBELL.
p.S,—Please if it be possible send me a Map in Fall, the nature of the.
service I have to perform in discoveries, in that Unknown Wilds will render such an article very valuable to me from which I would be enabled to
make with some precision upon it my route courses of the rivers <fcc.
(signed)        ROBERT CAMPBELL.
Fort de Liard,
3rd July, 1842.
John Lee Lewes, Esquire,
&c, <&c., &c.
Dear Sir,—We reached here yesterday forenoon in b\ days from Fort
Simpson, but I am sorry I cannot add that we did so safe and sound, unfortunately on the third morning as the men were embarking Paul Boucher
(without exception my best man) fell from a high bank across the boat's
Gunwale his breast coming with all his weight upon the tracking pin which
so disabled & hurt him that he can neither embark or debark alone or without help that I seriously apprehend he will ever recover of it and in this
helpless state I could not think of taking him further on through such a country as I have to pass that I have with the advice and consent of Mr. Fisher
resolved to leave him under that Gentleman's care at this place, who to
supply this deficiency in my crew has been pleased to engage two Indian
lads who are to accompany me to Fort Halkett & return in fall. If Boucher
recovers I beg to request that he be forwarded in fall to winter at Frances
James Isbister has been from his sore foot unable to perform his duty all
the way up and notwithstanding he is now getting worse that I have late
this evening requested Mr. Fisher to exchange Morrison for him to which
he has consented and I beg to assure that it is the greatest repugnance I
have taken this step or I would any other without your full consent & approbation but was impossible either to foresee or guard against such casualties and misfortunes from which I humbly trust you will see the propriety
of my having adopted the measure in a case of necessity to enable me to
perform such a long & tedious journey before me and after reaching my HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
destination which must be now at a late period an establishment to erect
out of the wild forest to shield ourselves & our all from the Winter storms
for which I find myself now at best more lame than I could have wished,
hoped or expected. Morrison I will return in Fall & as I would wish to
have good and sturdy fellows for Winterers I wish it would meet your convenience to forward to the portage 2 or 3 good men equipped for wintering
in case they may be required in exchange. Donald Murray gives me but
little or no satisfaction nor do I think he ever will and I intend to send him
down with Morrison in hopes of exchange and if I may use the liberty to
suggest that you would be pleased to send the above compliment out of
the following list viz Sabistan Liard Lange Sahgs or Kipling or in fact any
you may consider more adequate or fit for that place. Lapierre & Des-
riviere's Contracts expire next June and both I believe bent to come down
if they do I shall be without a Canoe steersman for my next years excursion
& in that event be so good let me know in your next who is to act in that
capacity. I wish you could supply me on public or even private Acct with
a good Thermometer as well as a map both which I want more for public
service than private gratification. Having nothing further to communicate
at present (and would to God I had nothing at all)
I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Dear Sir,
Your most Obedient
Humble servant,
(signed)        ROBERT CAMPBELL.
Norway House, 9th July, 1842.
John Lee Lewes, Esq.,
McKenzies River,
Dear Sir,—I herewith enclose a copy of the 9th paragraph of the Governor and Committee's Despatch of the 30th March last to which I beg to
draw your attention and I have to request that the required information
relative to whether the deceased William Mowat, James Loutett, William
Merriman and William Robertson have made Testamentary dispositions of
their property; or left families in your District to Mr. Secretary Smith in
order to enable him to close as early as possible the Accounts of the above
unfortunate men. .
The Governor and Committee as well as the Council hope that you will with
your accustomed activity push the trade of McKenzies River into those
sections of that District which have hitherto been little known to us and
which have been represented to be rich in Beaver and other fur bearing
animals. From the means placed at your disposal we confidently hope
Frances Lake will be established this Summer, that Mr. Campbell has
descended the stream which he discovered two years ago since to a considerable distance and ascertained the nature of the country through
which it passes and if any accession of trade can be expected from it. Indeed we are sure that nothing will be wanting on your part to realize the
expectations of all interested & that by your wonted diligence you will
turn the means placed at your disposal to the best account.
We are sorry  to learn that Mr.  Campbell has suffered much from
the scarcity of food at Fort Halkett but we hope that better fare is in
i 9
1 80
store for him in the new   country to which his activity & enterprise gave
him access & in which we trust he will gain a permanent footing.
On the recommendation of Governor Simpson <fe as a mark of approbation of the zeal & perseverance he has shown in the trying & critical
situations in which he had been sometimes placed the Council has increased
his salary from £75 to £100 per annum from and after the 1st June, 1841
which you will be pleased to communicate to him.
Begging reference to the Minutes of Council herewith forwarded—
I am,—Dear Sir,
Your obedient Humble servant,
(signed)       DUNCAN FINLAYSON, C.F.
John Lee Lewes, Esquire
Dear Sir,—I beg leave to hand you the enclosed correspondence together with the list of mammalia required for the Zoological collection in
the British Museum and have to request the favor of your taking the
necessary steps to procure & prepare in the manner prescribed the skins of
such of these animals as can be conveniently got within your District.
I am,
Dear Sir,
Your Obedt. servant,
(signed)    DUNCAN FINLAYSON, C.F.
Fort Norman,
25th July,
John Lee Lewes, Esqr.
&c.        &c.        &c.
Fort Simpson.
Sir,—I beg leave to acquaint you that the affairs of this place still wear
a favourable aspect. The Indians expected daily in last Spring only made
their appearance during the latter end of the past and present month and
considering the difficulties they had they made pretty fair hunts in Furs
but none whatever in provisions.
I have according to your instructions gone in search, if an eligible situation could be found for an Establishment & I have found several places
secure from the intrusion of water but scarce of fuel.
Our buildings are in a progressive state, still do not come on too rapidly
for want of more hands. I beg however you will send us a few necessary
tools to finish the inside work with.
The only Cow we have had very unfortunately died all of a sudden a few
days ago & I sincerely hope you will send us another along with the Outfit.
The frequent heavy heavy rains this season has kept the river in a continual state of excitement and caused our fishery to be very unproductive.
Our crops likewise are but slow in growth & I think will be nothing at all.
I herewith enclose you a list of Furs, Indent, Inventory and private
Orders.   .
Your most Obedt.
To the Governor,
Chief Factors
Portage la Loche,
Julv 29th, 1842.
and Chief Traders :—
Gentlemen,—After experiencing the usual delays of a summer voyage
in this Oountry from strong head winds and heavy rains on the 21st inst.
I arrived safely with the McKenzies River Brigade of four Boats at this
Portage and the Brigade from Norway House arrived here only to-day, the
cargoes brought by these Boats to outward appearances seem to be in anything but good order. Having intimated per Winter Express my wish of
availing myself of my right of Furlough this summer to Mr. C. F.
Finlayson and requesting of that gentleman to officially nominate my successor to the charge of McKenzies River District finding that this could not
be complied with I shall most cheerfully return from hence to assume the
duties entrusted to me for the last two Outfits. Such being the case I shall
lay before you a detailed statement of facts & information as connected
with the state and results of affairs of my important charge for the last
Outfit and which I sincerly trust will give you satisfaction and prove altho'
sorely and hardly pressed throughout a long and dreary Winter the utmost
has been done for the interest of the Company in the way of collecting
Furs the total amount of the Outgoing Returns for /4l amounts to
£11,164.4.8.—Remaining inland at Peel's River £611.12.8 making a total of
£11,775. 17.4, which by comparative statement of the preceding year shews
an amelioration of better than £1,200 in addition to the Outlying Returns
for /41 also 18 Packs valued at £1,672,10 belonging to Outfit /40 which
remained inland last year. When I addressed you in March last I anticipated far handsomer Returns than this, disasters of a severe nature after
that date occurred to prevent my hopes being realized which the following
statement will unfold.
On the 26th May last with the boats I proceeded to the lower Posts, on
my arrival at Fort Norman I found that Post nearly in ruins, caused by
the breaking up of the River Ice which had nearly carried it away, the
water of the River rose up to the Arches of the Chimneys in the houses.
Stockading levelled with the ground and heavy masses of ice blockading the
inside of the Fort, no serious loss however either to person or property was
sustained Mr. McBeath had very judiciously taken his precautions in
time by having his old boat in the woods laden with his packs and the
remainder of the property he had in charge his live stock and families were
on an eminence some two or three miles distant from the Establishment.
The waters having subsided he returned to his post and found everything
in the way of buildings in a most distressing state. Chimnies down, flooring all torn from their resters and the shells of the houses tottering on
their foundations, this is now the fourth time that that post has suffered
from the breaking up of the River. I therefore beg to suggest the propriety of its removal to a more secure site. The safest & most advantageous spot after a two days examination which I made is near the Forks
of the Bears River where if the permission is granted I should propose the
establishing a new post in lieu of the present dangerous one. Your commands on this head I shall most anxiously await, in the meantime I have
to inform you that in consideration of the ruinous state of the buildings I
have left a man more with Mr. McBeath this summer than the Minutes of
Council authorizes, so as to enable him to carry on the ncessary repairs
required to make the old buildings habitable before the setting in of the
Winter.    The result of the Trade at that post for the past Outfit is equal 22
to the returns of the proceeding year, and would if the state of the season
which was a very cold & late one in the lower McKenzie had not prevented
his best hunters from coming in with their spring hunts far exceeded it.
The management of the post of Fort Norman under Mr. McBeath for the
last two years has given me entire satisfaction & I beg leave to recommend
him to your notice as a careful good servant who has the interest of his
employers much at heart.
On leaving Fort Norman I proceeded to Fort Good Hope where I found
Mr. C. T. Fisher in a fort as silent as the many recent graves that surround
it, the usual joyous sound of many native voices that used to welcome the
arrival of the upper Craft were heard no longer, famine the most dire had
assailed them after Mr. Fisher left his charge to seek help at Fort Norman
—enclosed is a copy of Mr. Fisher's Report on the melancholy circumstance
to me which in his own words will explain the sad state of that post such
misery and want having prevailed sweeping off I may say all the best Fur
Hunters of the Establishment, nothing was or could be done after
December last at that place in the way of making Packs and our prospects
for the future from there is blighted,—A post without Indians for such it
is at present will never pay the expense of keeping it up, you will therefore
please transmit your orders regarding it for Outfit /42 it will be kept up
but on a very reduced scale both in men and goods. I am sorry and most
uneasy that I cannot give you any Spring intelligence from Mr. Bell at
Peel's River. From Fort Simpson in February last I sent off Despatches
to Mr. Bell as I did the preceding year desiring him to forward to Fort
Good Hope upon the last Ice bis latest news. Inventory, Men's Winter
Advances, &c. &c. the two men sent left Fort Good Hope of the 18th
March, having 48 lbs. provisions between them which at 2 lbs. per day
each wouuld take them twelve days ample time if well employed to perform
the trip, whether thece two men have perished " En Route" and thus
deprived Mr. Bell of the Despatches forwarded time alone can tell. Mr.
Hector McKenzie was to have been out from Peel's River in the last ice
for the purpose of taking his passage to Norway House by the Summer
Crafts, he having intimated his intention of quitting the service at the
close of last Outfit; during the course of the ensuing season measures will
be taken to afford him a passage next spring.
Oubbuck the Esquimeaux Interpreter last summer according to my
instructions was taken from Peel's River to be in readiness at Slave Lake
to accompany new expeditions that might have been in contemplation, he
was the last winter at a reduced salary from £25 to 19. and as I have not
learnt from Mr. C. T. Bell whether he requires him again or not I have
detained him till I hear from that Gentleman.
On the day of my return to Fort Simpson with the returns of the Lower
Posts Messrs. Brisbois & Campbell arrived from their respective charges of
Fort de Liard & Fort Halkett. The returns of the former post is somewhat better than last year & that of the latter post much about the same;
at Fort de Liard our returns were greatly injured by the ever prevailing
misfortune of McKenzie's River " Starvation " no less than thirty-five men
(first rate Hunters) women & children perishing miserably from famine
Mr. Brisbois & family are here thus far En Route towards Canada as he is
quitting the service in conformity to the information he gave of so doing
last summer & I beg leave to note that during the two years he has served
under me I have every cause to be satisfied with his able management of
Fort de Liard. Returns it is true have not come up to some former years
this originated from causes which he had no control over. Indians annually
perishing from want of food unpropitious seasons for hunting are the sole
cause of the falling off of that post. Mr. Campbell at Fort Halkett got
over the close of the past season without suffering material privation, and I HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
have now to report for information that I left that Gentleman at Fort
Simpson waiting the falling off of the heavy Summer flush of water of the
River de Liard to proceed to establish a new Post at Frances Lake, he is
to proceed in two small boats made expressly for the purpose manned by
10 of our very best men & four Indians and as amply found in all necessaries,
particularly so in provisions & fishing tackles—My instructions to Mr.
Campbell for his future guidance you will learn by the enclosed letter to
that Gentleman which will explain and point out the cause of my deviating
from the number of men as appointed by Council & I fondly trust that
from the known activity of Mr. Campbell both for perseverance and steady
pursuing the object in view that he will successfully establish this new post
& that by his next summers trip of Discovery he will open a further field
for our enterprise & profit.
Closing the Returns of Fort Simpson for the past Outfit shews an increase
on that of last year but not so satisfactory as I would have wished, towards
spring & the best time for Marten hunting the Fort Simpson Indians had
their share of the general scarceity & want of food tho' none died of famine,
scarceity of Reindeer from one end to the other of McKenzie's River has
been the cause of so much distress, caused the Indians state by the uncommon mildness of the past winter which always, when such happens keeps the
deer far north & in the open barren grounds—having now closed the statement of affairs of the several Posts up to the time of my departure for Fort
Simpson, the next point to draw your attention is the Summer arrangements of the same.
To wit—Peels River as last accounts allowing the two Express men to be
Mr. C. T. Bell, Hector McKenzie A. p M & 9 men
Fort Good Hope.    No manager 2 men
Fort Norman Mr. McBeath & 2 men
Fort Simpson—Mr. Alexr Christie junr & 3 men including Oub
buck the Esquimeaux.
Fort de Liard—Mr. C. T. Fisher & 2 men
Fort Halkett, Mr. Pambran & 1 man
Post of Frances Lake and trip of Discovery to the Westward
summer /43 Mr. R. Campbell & 10 men.
The winter managers of the several posts will be unless any unforeseen
circumstance has transpired to alter my present plans as they stand stated
above. Mr. Alex. Christie Junr. I propose placing at Fort Good Hope
for the Winter, this young Gentleman past the last Winter with me & gave
perfect satisfaction, he is a smart, active, powerful young man & will I feel
assured do justice to a more important charge that Good Hope is likely to
be for the future. He has intimated his intention of retiring from the service next summer—I also beg leave while on the topic of retiring officers to
state that Mr. C. F. Fisher has intimated his intention of retiring from the
Fur Trade at the close of Outfit /42, his written resignation I have forwarded under cover to Governor Simpson. Hector McKenzie also goes one
showing a withdrawal of no less than 3 officers from the District, if these
annual chopping & changing of officers is beneficial to my charge I leave
you Gentlemen to judge, as it would ill become me individually to give my
opinion on such a delicate subject and to all your better judgments I must
leave the decision of the number of officers kind of officers to be sent in
next summer for filling up the vacancies that will take place.
Either Mr. Hardisty or young Pruden will be sent to join Mr. C. T. Bell
at Peels River ensuing Autumn as our assistance to that Gentleman & to be
sent out next Spring with a small party on a trip of Discovery across the
Mountains to the westward from whence the Peels River Beaver come.
Mr. Campbell at Frances Lake is still without an assistant & must remain 24
so until your pleasures are further made known to me on that subject.
Of the 6 recruits sent pr Portage la Loche Boats I have detained 4 to
replace the same number going out,—only one of these four has his time
out & is quitting the service vizt McDonald our Boat builder & it is more
than passing strange that after the early notice I gave of this mans determination of quitting the service at the end of his time, that another in his
capacity has not been sent on. Boats we must have for the business of the
District and no one to make them. Bruce the Guide it is true is a Boat
Builder, but he is not so engaged & to induce him to add this to his other
duties a consideration in the way of Gratuities would be expected, but as I
have not your sanction for making him the offer, I shall not do it.
Two of the men going out are Invalids unfit for service viz Norman
McPhail severely afflicted with the gravel <fe James Spence native from Red
River last season, a stiffness in his knee joint with a leg of incurable ulcerous running sores has rendered him unfit for duty ever since last January.
The fourth man going out is Murdoch Marten a recruit of the last seasons
importation quite unfit to perform a man's duty from sheer bodily weakness
and should be sent back from whence he came as a useless burden on the
31st. The Cargoes brought here by Lesperance have this evening nearly
all reached the half way stage of the Portage & I beg leave to inform you,
Cargoes in such a bad condition I never saw delivered anywhere. Cases
smashed, kettles loose & scattered with holes knocked in their bottoms.
Powder kegs without ends, many wanting a great part of their original contents Indeed want of care en route by the crews is manifest almost upon
every piece of property the bad quality of the powder kegs is certainly
most disgraceful & a day will arrive when some sad accident will occur to
prove that better must be had ; the loss we annually sustain ere such frail
& flimsy kegs can reach their destination is of a most serious nature to us
by lessening our quantum of the most valuable and essential article that is
sent to the McKenzie, not a time are the boats unloaded but loose powder
is to be seen all over the flooring, an accidental spark among which would
be instant destruction to Boats and Crews. Independent of the careless
and bad state that the cargoes have been delivered to me, I have further to
complain of dishonesty among the crews. A bale of Irish twist tobacco
was opened En Route and the greater proportion of it stolen honest and
careful men in future would be preferable to such a set of scamps, and I
have also further to draw your attention to a circumstance which calls again
for your interference. Some few years ago strict orders were if I mistake
not issued preventing the crews of the Portage la Loche Brigade, embarrassing the boats with Flour & Butter from Red River to sell at this Portage the two preceding summers nothing of the kind to my knowledge took
place; this summer the custom has again been renewed & quantities both
of Flour & Butter have as a matter of course met with a ready and high
priced market from the men of McKenzie's River. The number of recruits
to be sent in next summer to relieve those leaving the District I must leave
to your decision, fourteen of them have their times up at the close of Outfit 42, part of these I make no doubt may be induced to renew their contracts but the number I cannot at present take upon myself to say.
Our Blacksmith for certain is fully bent upon going next season it will
therefore be absolutely necessary to have one to replace him for the District
cannot be without one—and I beg leave to request of Mr. C. F. Finlayson to
provide us one by engaging a young man of the name of LaCate he is one
of the crew of the Portage Boats this summer I have sounded him on the
subject & he will I think consent to enter the service at Inland Blacksmiths wages £24 per annum on a three years contract. Again I beg leave
to draw your attention to the circumstance of our having no Boat Carpenter HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
in the District & I most anxiously beg that an efficient one may be sent us
for our business absolutely requires a man of that trade.
I have to report for your information that not a native of the Chipewy
tribe who are here collected this summer (their numbers are very few) have
carried a piece of property for any man belonging to McKenzies River ; old
Cardinal with his family are here & have 34 pack horses among them these
have assisted the people without any hindrance on my part.
August 2nd. The outgoing Returns for McKenzies River have been
delivered to Lesperance <fc he will be " En Route " to-morrow for F & I
beg leave to state that the packs have been delivered to him in the best
possible condition dry sound & well packed <fc and in like manner I trust
they will be handed at Factory. Lesperance has been well warned to be
careful of his valuable cargoes " En Route " he has promised to be so & I
hope he will keep his promise.
The day after tomorrow I expect also to be once more En Route for Fort
Simpson & having nothing further worthy of drawing your attention—I
beg leave to -remain,
Your Obedt. Servant,
(Signed)   JOHN LEE LEWES.
C. F.
H. H. B. Company.
Fort Simpson,
November 17th, 1842.
To the
Chief Factors
& Chief Traders.
Gentlemen,—I feel deeply grieved that the opening paragraph of my present communication must be to lay before you a statement of the melancholy
fate of two of the Company's servants attached to this District last year
"John Spence & Murdoch Morrison. " My letter to you from Portage La
Loche last July would have informed you that these two men were
dispatched to Peel's River with our Winter Express from Fort Good Hope
on the 18th March last and up to the date of my departure from that Post
1st June last no intelligence had been heard from them. Despatches received
from Good Hope last Septr. has at last unfolded the fate of these poor men,
and a more frightful one I believe not to be on record in all our dealings
and intercourse with the North American tribes. Whites have often been
sacrificed by the Natives throughout the country from a spirit of revenge,
retaliation or wantonness but never did a white man receive his death-blow!
from the hands of Indian Murderers purposely to afford such murderers a'
horrid meal on the bodies of their fallen Victims as was the case in the
present instance. By what has come to our knowledge of this melancholy
circumstance it appears that during the second night after the two men
had left Good Hope that they were while asleep in their encampments
knocked on the head by a party of starving Cannibal Indians, immediately
cut to pieces and devoured, report stated that four women were the perpetrators of this dreadful deed, they are still living and at large in the vicinity
of Good Hope, it is further reported of these four women that previous to
the murder of our two men they had killed and eaten all their husbands
and children except one of the latter a little boy who was last Sept in life- HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
with its mother. Are these women, Gentlemen to be punished if I can get
a hold on them? Your instructions regarding them I shall expect to receive
pr first opportunity till then restraint of their persons only will be put
in force against them, that is if any of them should fall into our hands
before I receive your definite orders of what is to be done with them. I
beg that what orders you may deem it advisable to issue regarding them
may be full and explicit, in the meantime I shall refrain from entering
further on this unpleasant circumstance and draw your attention to the
general state of the Company's affairs in this District up to the last dates.
It was not till the 25th August last that I reached this in perfect safety
with the Brigade from Portage La Loche and which was fourteen days
later than each of the two preceding years, my long detention at Portage
La Loche waiting the arrival of Lesperance and a series of strong head
winds were the cause of my late arrival here which if the autumn had
proved as unpropitious as those of '40 and '41 were, our business for the far
off Posts would have been attended with much difficulty, and to that of
Frances Lake in particular in all probability the Boat taking supplies there
would have been set fast in the drifting ice in the river. The weather I am
happy to say throughout the Fall has been fine and mild in the extreme no
Ice to be seen drifting down stream till the 21st Oct which fortunate cir-
'cumstance I am happy to say enabled our distant voyages to be performed
in perfect safety that is, those to the old established posts. Whether the
one to Frances Lake terminated under Frances Whitford's guidance as
successfully as all the others I have yet to learn, but more of that quarter
in its proper place. Each year that I have accompanied the Brigade to
Portage La Loche I have found myself there before Lesperance and owing
to the long detention there lash year we suffered some privations—our stock
of provisions running short, to guard against similar detentions in future I
beg to recommend that the Brigade from Norway House leave that depot
not later than the 10th June for if either have to wait at the Portage for
the other, better them than us, they are always well provisioned and have
nets to fish in Lac La Loche and without inconvenience to themselves can
afford to wait a few days, not so with us, our provisions from Athabasca is
on a scale for making our trip promptly to and from the Portage—consequently if we meet with detentions | En Route " our men suffer the pangs
of hunger  which to a hard working voyager is anything but agreeable.
Immediately after my arrival here no time was lost in making up the
several outfits for the different posts and giving the servants their annual
advances, so soon as this part of my duty was performed the crafts left for
their several destinations, the last of them on the morning of the 3rd
September. The Winter arrangements for the several posts then had taken
place viz.:—
Frances Lake :—Mr. Robert Campbell and ten men, including Guide and
Fort Halkett:—Mr. Pambran and three men.
Fort de Liard :—Mr. C. T. Fisher and six men.
Peel's River :—Mr. C. T. Bell, James Prudens, seven men and an apprentice boy a son of Frances Hoole engaged last Spring on a seven years Contract and sent to Peel's River from whence I have desired Mr. C. T. Bell to
send him with the Loucheux Chief for two or three years so as to perfect
himself in the language of that tribe that he may hereafter act as Interpreter for the Post of Peel's River.
Fort Good Hope :—Mr. Alex. Christie and three men.
Fort Norman :—Mr. Adam McBeath and four men.
Fort Simpson :—Mr. C. F. Lewes, Mr. William Hardesty and nineteen
men, part of these men wintered at the  Big Island Fishery after having HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
Eleven of these belong to
In addition to the
performed the trip to the Long  Portage west branch river, our provision
store being too low to admit of keeping them all here.
Mr. Hector McKenzie apprentice Pt. Master I found at this place on my
arrival, he had arrived but a few days before me from Peel's River, and as
it was then too late for forwarding him to Red River in the regular Summer crafts he passes the present Winter at the Big Island Fishery in charge
of that station, his salary for the current year must be left to your decision.
On the 30th September last I received despatches from the lower posts,
Mr. C. T. Bell was at Good Hope when Mr. Christie, junr, reached that
post and I am sorry to say that the information received from Mr. Bell
regarding his charge and future prospects is not of so high and satisfactory
a nature as would be wished. The Natives of his post were partakers of
the general scarcity of food last season the consequence of which has been
a great falling off in the article of Beaver, the total returns last year were
1200 odd, this year of what is at present stored at Good Hope only 600, a
few more may be added to this ere Spring but not in sufficient numbers I
suspect to make it tally with the past outfit the total number of packs
brought by Mr. Bell to Good Hope are 51
outfit /41 and the other 40 to the current season
decrease in the Beaver returns from that post a general scarcity of provisions at it is likewise to be much regretted, by Mr. Hector McKenzie.
Mr. Bell wrote to me stating the picture of his future prospects for passing
the long and dreary Winter and that unless he received assistance in the
way of provisions he dreaded fatal results towards himself and those under
his command before ensuing spring. To aid him as I would have wished
Was out of my power. The total failure I may say throughout the District
both last Spring and Summer in the provision trade rendered such
impossible not two thousand had been collected during Summer among all
the posts and what was made in this essential commodity was only at Forts
Simpson and Norman, not an ounce was available from any of the other
posts towards our general disbursements, nevertheless low as I- found myself for meeting all the heavy demands from this place j Mr. Bell, come
what may had to be assisted, and he was so to the utmost of my power,
from this he received 1400 lb. of dry meat and Pemeean and from Fort
Norman 100 lb. of the former making in all 1900 lb., on receiving this at
Good Hope he writes that with that supply sent he thinks he will be able
to pass the ensuing winter if not in absolute plenty at least so as to keep
body and soul together.
lad undertaken a trip of discovery to the
his Ii
will put you in
Mr. Bell during last summer
West side of the Mountains but owing to the desertion of his Indian guide
it was a failure.    The following paragraph of his letter
possession of all that is interesting to learn on ihat head.
In my communication of 22nd last June previous to my departure on a
voyage accross the Western Mountains I entertained sanguine hopes of
being able to reach the large River mentioned by the Musquash Indians
which flows through the country inhabited by a tribe of the Musquash
Indians more remote than themselves. The desertion of my guides & the
difficulty of procuring provisions defeated my expectations, the distance
from the Peel to cross a long chain of mountains will I fear be an insurmountable barrier in the way of extending the trade to that part of the
country. We took 4 days of difficult travelling to reach a small river
which descends between the Mountains in a S. W. course, this stream is
fordable where I fell upon it but like all the Rivers which rise in the
Mountains, it is fed by innumerable rivulets which greatly contribute to
augment its waters and renders it of sufficient depth for small boats. I
attempted to carry a small canoe accross the Mountains but owing to the
badness of the road the men were obliged to abandon it, on arriving at the 28
river I felt the want of a canoe to navigate it <& the two men & two Indians
that accompanied me soon made a raft with which we decended three days
the current being hardly perceptible, our progress was consequently slow,
in the evening of the third day we happened to find three small Indian
canoes on the Beach two of these we tied together with cords & embarking
two men in each, the third with one man in it preceded us for the purpose
of killing game for our daily wants. We now proceeded more expeditiously
with our frail vessels which the least wind and ripple threatened to overwhelm ; after having travelled 4 days we arrived at a Camp of Rat Indians
which they apparently abandoned a few days' before. My guide whose relations they were proposed to go and see them at a short distance in land
for the purpose of obtaining some dry fish for our voyage, promising to
come back early next morning which he never intended to fulfil; but took
the precaution of sending another in his place, at first I was highly pleased
with this substitute being an experienced man and seemed well acquainted
with the river to which we were bound. The second day after we set out
with this new guide I was much surprised on hearing him declare that he
would proceed no further with us alleging the distance to reach the large
river, 1 so anxiously wished to see, to be so great that we should be overtaken by the cold before we could be able to come back in the Fall and
that for want of clothing he was not prepared for such a long journey. I
remonstrated with him in vain on the impropriety of his conduct but no
persuasion could induce him to change his mind. I then had no alternative but to return, being apprehensive had I persevered in reaching the
object of my wish without a guide I might probably return too late to
forward the Returns to Fort Good Hope & having left nobody at the Fort
to do it in my absence. The route to return by the river being long and
winding the Indian guided us home across the country of the Musquash ;
Indians and we arrived at the Fort on the 24th July after an absence of
32 days. In my voyage down the River I observed the scarcity of wood
and have not seen one place where large timber fit for building could be
found. From this imperfect sketch you will be better able to judge of the
practicability of establishing a post beyond the Western Mountains. From
Good Hope 11th Sept. he wiites : "By the arrival of Mr. Christie here
yesterday I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor under date the
31st ulto accompanying the outfit for Peel's River a few pieces of which
got wet on the passage down in consequence of the leaking of the boat. I
am truly pleased to see the quantity of Pemecan and dry meat you have
forwarded by this conveyance which will render us great service & I sincerely trust will be the means of enabling me to pass the approaching long
winter without want. I arrived at this place on the 30th ulto after a
favourable and expeditious passage of 7 days. The returns amounting to
51 packs were stored here in perfect good order, I am truly distressed to
acquaint you with the unfortunate fate of the two Express men who were
cruelly murdered by the Indians of this Post three days journey below the
Establishment and their bodies have no doubt been eaten by their murderers. It is reported that a widow with her family who committed this
horrid crime and when the fact of her being the murderer is clearly ascertained and proved against her an exemplary punishment ought to be
inflicted on the cannibals.
Next Summer either Mr. Bell or Mr. J. S. Pruden will again make the
attempt to penetrate to the Westward for the purpose of exploring that
unknown part of the country.
The Post of Good Hope was under the charge last Summer of one of the
common men Buonaventure St. Amand the dreadful misfortune of last
season has left so few Indians that but little could be expected from the
few that do survive.    Mr. Christie, junior, writes that a few furs were in HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
store when he arrived but not a mouthful of dry Provisions but notwithstanding his then scarcity his hopes for the future were somewhat sanguine
of procuring some for a few Indians had been in and report that the Rein
Deer were flocking from the Coast to the Interior.
The Summer report from Fort Norman is as satisfactory as can be
wished for the provisicn trade excepted which only yielded 800 pounds, 500
of which was sent to Mr. Bell, but I am not apprehensive that any scarcity
of food for Winter Consumption will take place at that Post. Mr. A.
McBeath has the Bear's Lake at hand for yielding a supply of fish, the able
manner in which he last year availed himself of this reserve proved of the
greatest benefit not only to those immediately under him but to his
neighbours likewise this year he has followed the same plan by boating his
fish home and will I trust procure plenty for passing the present winter.
In another part of this letter I stated that the last Craft left this with
outfits on the 3rd September these were two boats for the long Portage
West Branch River having on board the Outfits of Forts Halkett and de
Liard and additional supplied for Frances Lake on account of the current
year, and likewise an outfit for Frances Lake for Outfit /43 to lay in depot
at Fort Halkett till next Summer where Mr. Campbell if he requires it
early can send for it on the 20th September. Bapte. Bruce who was guide
and had charge of these two boats arrived safe at the Portage and there he
' found Mr. Pambran & Whitford the latter from Frs. Lake with one small
boat sent according to my instructions by Mr. Campbell to take up the
additional Outfit and servants advances. Whitford left the Portage on the
following morning after Bruces arrival for Frances Lake since then I have
received no tidings from that place. Bruce returned from the Portage on
the 25th September when I received letters from Messrs. Campbell and
Pambran. The following paragraphs from that of Mr. Campbell's will put
you in possession of all that that gentleman reports regarding the new
establishment forming under his management. Agreeably to your instructions Whitford with a boat and slender crew will leave here Monday next
(5th) to meet those sent from Fort Simpson with the Outfit at "Portage de
Diable " which with such velocity of current in their favour I hope they
will reach by the tenth.
I would willingly transmit to you by the same conveyance the various
informations you requested regarding the natives, &c, but I had not the
pleasure yet of seeing any exclusive of those composing my own party, one
family and of my old acquaintance is all that I saw since I left Fort de
Liard and in lieu of any other news I will give you the outline of our
voyage up which was the most toilsome that can possibly be conceived
rendered particularly so from the unusual circumstance of the water having
kept uncommonly high the whole summer, till indeed after our arrival here,
the current everywhere strong and in many places one continuation of
rapids and but little beach to afford tracking that the people were completely exhausted especially the Indian part of the crew which were so
much overcome with fatigue that they were not worth being named as
From Fort de Liard (which we left on the 4th July) we were till the
18th reaching the Portage being some days water bound other whole days
half of the crew were a head with the Oxes while the rest were towing on
the boats. At the Portage we could not attempt to pass the Boats by
Water consequently we had to make a road across that Mountain of three
miles long and launch the Boats and Cargoes across which with our mutual
and collected strength put forth took us till the close of the 23rd to
accomplish it by which time we were all as fatigued as fatigue could
possibly make us. 30
We reached Fort Halkett on the 25th where we found Hoole well and
the result of his summer management as satisfactory as could be expected.
Susseaume I gave in exchange for Hoole and made over the charge of the
place to Mr. Pambran and left it early on the 27th and after toiling in the
usual way against strong current and without any delay except a few
hours with Indians at the Forks of the Deases and West Branch we
reached here at last on the 13th August, a voyage of 49 days including
delays and of a continuation of toils and difficulties which I hope now no
future successor will have to experience.
The little house we built here in /40 we fitted up and it serves at present
as a temporary store for our goods, the other buildings were immediately
commenced but from the circumstance of building wood being so scarce and
far to carry on men's shoulders, so few good axemem among the party,
with this, the attending to Fisheries and getting of the various materials
for and making of small canoes &c that we are getting on but rather
tardy, however a house of 42 feet inside by 17 & 9 Ft. Posts a store of 30
by 20 and 10 ft posts is up and logged except the roofing and the frame of
Men's House of 30 by 16 ft is rendered on the spot ready to be erected.
The site is a very fine one on the Forks of the Lake directly opposite the
mouth of the River about 3 miles distant on a beautiful " Cottian " at the
Foot of Simpson's Tower. But upon the whole when so many necessary
things are done & a doing I cannot complain of the progress we have made
in so short a time but now that our party must break up some for the
Portage others soori to attend regularly to the Fisheries the building will
as a matter of course go on but at a small pace and what has also retarded
us greatly is that the only good builder I have here Old Lapierre has been
for half the time I have been here laid up so very ill that his life was
despared of but he has now so far recovered that he is at his work again,
that you may see that with every expedition we can use Winter will be
upon us before we can possibly have any shelter ready to protect us from
its severity but if we have provisions I do not despare of our being snugly
housed before Christmas. Our Fishery with 9 Nets constantly in the
water is not sufficiently productive to support the Establishment, with their
whole produce the meat of 2 Reindeer we have also spent 21 bags of
Pemecan since our arrival here. The day we arrived we got 6 nets set
without delay and almost immediately after they produced 49 fine fish and
the next morning 61 this promising well for the beginning but we did not
get so many in any day since & what is singular they regularly diminish
after the first night a net is set till none at all is got till changed to some
other place but as yet we had but little time to look about us there being so
much to do and so little time for it. Rennie our Fisherman at least the
intended one will I am afraid be of little service this season. He cannot
go yet into a fishing canoe & this lake is a terrible place for wind that had
we boats for that purpose it would be a god-send- to us, as indeed something of that kind we must soon have there being no bark in this quarter
fit for Canoe making. Regarding our hunters they went off in different
directions as soon after our arrival as they got canoes made (a no easy task
here) & since then I have not beard of them. I have also sent off my
former Guide in quest of Indians but I have but little hopes of seeing any
or but few this season & for the reason I mentioned to you in June viz their
disappointment last year which no doubt has caused the death of some by
privations for want of the supplies in ammunition &c they expected • others
again have drawn off to barter for supplies with the different tribes they
are accustomed to meet for that purpose and with this the shocking
massacre committed by them of this quarter on a Tribe residing on the
River I was on across the Mountains has made them move for fear of
retaliation, retreated from their own lands, this is the Indian Report & how
far it may be true time only can tell. It was also said many caches of furs
were made in this vicinity two of those shown me coming up by the above
mentioned Lac we found with the contents all taken off. We however got
one accidently near the House when 7 parcels were found containing in all
81 large Beaver, 14 small, 69 Martens 23 Rats 1 Otter 2 Cross Foxes 1
kid 2 Wolvereens 1 lb Castorum and 6 excellent Mooseskins all in perfect
condition and which is now in store waiting the claimant call to be paid
the above with 30 Beaver skins more is all that I have yet."
Next summer's campaign of Mr. Campbell I trust will open to us a
further and wide field for our enterprise to work upon as I do not expect
to hear from Mr. Campbell befor next June, no further information regarding the new post of the country he is in can reach you before next Summer
pr return of the Portage Brigade to Norway House.
The first information received from Mr. Pambran was anything but of a
pleasing nature. He had passed a miserable summer at Fort Halkett for
want of food and no prospect when he wrote unless the Fall Fishery
proved successful of bettering his situation. No dry provisions was made
in the summer indeed there are no natives now attached to that miserable
post but a single one with his family who cannot be expected to give much
assistance in such a poor part of the country for large animals, the few
Indians that were there last year have followed Mr. Campbell to Frances
Lake consequently a post without the means of hunting the country can be
of no profit to us. I should therefore propose its abandonment next season
provided however that it can bo so with perfect safety to the party of
Frances Lake & any others that may hereafter have to be established still
further to the westward and this point can only be determined after
intelligence reaches this from Mr. Campbell next Autumn. Your instructions next season as a matter of course will be attended to whether for its
abandonment or otherwise. On the 12th ult. two of the three men
appointed to Winter at Fort Halkett very unexpectedly made their appearance at this place. The Fall Fishery has proved unproductive and Mr.
Pambran has sent these two men down, remaining with him only one man
and with this reduced establishment he writes he does not think he will be
able to remain long after them, want of food will make him. and the man
with him desert the place to seek the needful either here or at Fort de
Liard. The Post of Fort de Liard last Summer produced little or nothing
either in the way of furs or provisions. Mr. C. T. Fisher states that of the
latter the Indians had made some quantities, but that the severe lessons of
former years had taught them to provide for the future by hording the
principal part of what they procured to meet their own wants during the
present Winter the consequence of their having carried' this plan into
execption is an empty provision store at Fort de Liard by last news from
there the 6th Inst I learn that the fisheries have yielded about 12000 Fish
with this supply and some meat which may be expected from the Fort
Hunters will kill during the season I do not expect to hear of any privations at that post this season.
The business of this post last summer under the charge of Mr. A. Christie
junr. was entirely to my satisfaction about 15 Packs of Furs were collected
and but a small quantify of provisons, the various duties of the Establishment had been ably conducted & on my return I found everything in a
thriving and prosperous state; our farm which is now of 7£ acres extent
yielded 360 Bushells of potatoes & Barley I think when it is threshed out
will yield 60 or 70 bushels, the Wheat sown did not come to maturity the
season here is too short for its doing so. Next summer I expect to have
under the plough 12 acres and I request of Mr. C. F. Dun : Finlayson by
the portage boats of next season to forward two Casks of the best seed
peas from R. R. Settlement for the purpose of cultivation here and at Fort 32
de Liard. I think they will have a successful crop, if they do they will
with barley meal tend much to assist in our summer voyages at a future
Our Fall Fishery I am happy to say has proved more fortunate than
either of the two preceding years 13,400 have been stored here without
accident to man or craft the Autumn was so uncommonly fine and mild
that the last trip from the Big Island reached this so late as the 22nd October without a particle of Ice to be seen all along the McKenzie from Slave
Lake. This stock of Fish with our potatoes will put us over the Winter
months without any privations.
I beg leave to note for the information of Mr. C. T. Campbell of Athabasca that the usual quantity of provisions annually supplied from that
District for provisioning our Brigade will be expected to be forthcoming next
summer in the same proportion as formerly at Forts Chipewyan & Resolution and any additional supplies as the above either of dry meat or Pemecan
that Mr. C. T. Campbell can supply us with will be most acceptable, the
larger the quantities of each the more acceptable it will prove in the present dearth of provisions within this District at present there is nothing
on our hands to meet the great disbursements next summer nor can I say
that my hopes are very sanguine of procuring in large quantities among
ourselves consequently any assistance that the Gentleman in charge of
Athabasca District can render us will be of the greatest importance. Five
or six Kegs of butter will also be required for the use of this District from
Athabasca next summer.
In reply to a paragraph of Mr. C. F. Finlayson's letter to me bearing
date 9th July last on the subject of Testamentary Documents being left by
the late Willm. Mowat. J. Loutit Wm. Merriman and Willm. Robertson I
beg leave to state that nothing of the kind was found among the personal
property left by each individual nor am I aware that any " will " was ever
made by any of the unfortunates, none to my knowledge or belief is extant
withing this District & for your further imformation I beg to state that
none of these men left any family ties or connections within the M.K.R.
I beg leave to draw your attention to the' circumstance of Mr. C. T.
Fisher and Mr. H. McKenzie Ap. Poll, leaving the District next summer,
Mr. A. Christie junr. previous to his leaving this to take charge of the Post
of Good Hope consented to remain for another year consequently his services will be available till /44 when it is his wish of leaving the service &
proceeding to Norway House by the Summer Craft of that season two gentlemen will be required by the portage boats next summer to fill up the
vacancies occasioned by the retirements of Messrs. Fisher & Mckenzie and
I beg leave to request that they may be gentlemen of some experience &
who can take charge of a post immediately on arrival, of young gentlemen
seconds we have at present sufficient—And I beg leave further to draw
your attention to the number of our servants whose times expire with the
current Outfit, seventeen of them are so situated more than 6 of these are
fully bent upon leaving the service next summer & as there are but 6
young hands wintering at Norway House intended to relieve retiring servants from this District I beg leave to recommend that the number be
made to 8 by the addition of two smart active young halfbreeds from Red
I beg leave to state for your information that unless any unforseen occurrences should take place between this and June next making it expedient
to alter my present plans, the Summer Arrangements of the officers for /43
will be as follows :—
Peels River Mr. C. T. Bell & Mr. Js. Pruden Ap. m.
Fort Good Hope — a common man
"    Norman      Mr. A McBeath P. M.
"    Simpson Willm. Hardisty Ap. M.
Fort de Liard — Mr. Alex Christie J un. Clerk
"    Halkett I   P. Pambran A.P.M.
"    Frances Lake"   Robt Campbell Clerk.
I have no assistance to send there next Summer, the number of summer
men will be in conformity to the Minutes of Council, Frances Lake excepted
& the number required for there I cannot determine till I hear from Mr.
Campbell next June.
November 25th 1842
Since writing the fore part of this letter the 17th Inst. I was much surprised and annoyed by the arrival here of three of the Frances Lake men
& hearing that a fourth Frances Whitford, Guide was at Fort Halkett, it
appears Mr. Campbell has been under 'the necessity of breaking up his
establishment for want of food the Fisheries have all proved unproductive,
I shall not here attempt to picture to you my feelings at this untoward
commencement of our affairs in the Westward, nor comment thereon further
than to say that it is now pretty manifest that none of these Mountain
Lakes tho' of a large size 'can be depended upon for yielding fish in sufficient
quantities throughout the year so as to prevent privations, the following
extracts, from Mr. Campbell's letter will lay before you all the information
that gentleman has transmitted to me regarding the new post under his
charge " Frances made a very expeditious voyage to & from the Portage,
but then long delay there has brought with it an endless series of evils in its
train which has disorganized my plans of operation & kept our buildings
altogether in the rear.
I cannot commence my letter with the usual phase of that it affords me
pleasure the very contrary is the case nothing but adverse and untoward
circumstances makes me trouble you at this early period, which in one word
is this, that my prospects of procuring food for the support of the Establishment over Winter is none of the most favourable. The fishery has hitherto
continued very unproductive, no improvement since you heard from me, first
nights trial has been the best yet though the Lake has been tried all over
with plenty of good nets, then produce falls short of the daily consumption
at this time which is generally the most favourable for fishing & what may
we expect in the dead of winter.
Rennie who was stationed at the furthest end of the Lake to little pur-
purpose, I sent off at the close of Sept. with Indians carrying canoe and
fishing agres across land to Finlayson's Lake. The report we heard of that
and several other lakes in the vicinity was truly flattering and since the
arrival of the boat and more hands I have been anxiously waiting (not in
idleness) for the arrival of an Indian with news, and Guide Frances with a
man or two there for attending the fishery and other operations I had in
contemplation, and it was only late last night that the Indian cast up, & I
am sorry to say with the sad news that no fish was taken in either fishing
lake or any other lake that was tried, thus my brilliant hopes failed before
they were bloomed. The Hunters likewise have done but little good. That
from the little knowledge and experience we have of the country & its
resources it would be risking too much to keep such a large Establishment 34
of men for Winter, with such gloomy prospects before, especially that once
the River sets fast I can have no retreat should matters come to the worst.
But had you followed up the plan upon which we parted (viz) to send a
sufficiency of provisions for rendering the Outfit here ("Here I beg leave to
note that Mr. Campbell is labouring under a very great error, our plans
alluded to I more than followed up, provisions were sent from here 450 lb
pemican or 5 Bags to the Portage de Diable as cargo expressly for victualling the crew of the Boat sent by Mr. Campbell to take up the remnant of
his Outfit &c the crew consisted of 7 men at 3 lbs-per day each man I had
sent for 21 days full rations and they were only 16 en route so that I had'
sent a bag of pemecan more than was necessary to take them back to
Frances Lake but it would appear that out of the 5 bags sent only 3 were
delivered to Whitford the Guide of the Boat at the Portage. Mr. Campbell consequently must have been misinformed, otherwise he would not have
stated what he has done in this last sentence :) " and could you spare it some
for next seasons operation, in case how matters would turn out—by this
having a little Depot say 2 or 3 bags pemecan at Fort Halkett, I would
have a safe retreat at any season, a bag of pemecan would be sufficient for
every two men from here to Fort Halkett and from thence to Fort de
Liard, a bag for every three men, were this the case I would stand it out to
the last extremity rather than break through our first arrangement, an
expedient which I have adopted with the greatest reluctance & which pains
me to the soul as it not only puts a stop to our present operations (which
were getting on nicely) but also deranges my intended plans for next season,
and it grieves me most of all, that any news but favourable would go from
Frances Lake to Head quarters—But from the aspect circumstances wear
with the unfavorable result of our personal experience here I would not be
justified in committing myself without the possibility of retreat to the
danger of our lives and Company's Interest. Fort Halkett without any provisions there is the same as if it did not exist at all. Regarding our buildings for the time we have been at them, we have advanced remarkably well;
I have now got an excellent set of men who are daily improving, and sorry
I am on that same account to break them up & I can assure you that since
the day of our arrival here that none of them have eaten their fish in idleness, to-day they have all been at work among snow mud and stones making
chimnies till about 1 P.M. after which our fur parcels were tied up and I
suppose soon after midnight they will be off. Did you not expressly tell me
that you wanted Frances next Spring I would not have sent him I am
apprehensive how the party without him would get on now or secure the
Boat at | Portage Brule." You know that he is the only confidential man
I have got & that no officer has been sent I know not how I can risk the
Fort into the hands of any other I have next season during my absence
as 1 am quite willing, determined to go on with my discovery voyage next
season, but you are not to expect any furs or perhaps news next Spring,
a circumstance to which I am glad you were pleased not to restrict me &
which if you did it would be impossible for me as will easily see from the
arrival of the beavers to carry it into execution, I have however forwarded the few furs I have to be ready for exportation and I have to be°-
you will be pleased to excuse the hurried manner in which they are tied up!
I do not wish to detain them longer for fear of the cold setting in suddenly. I will request Mr. Pambran to forward what few furs he may have
also & if from the state of the weather and other circumstances Frances will
not venture to take the canoe from Fort Halkett, there will be no other
alternative than that they take the boat from lower end of " Portage de
Diable" to Fort de Liard, then Mr. C. T. Fisher will forward them by°some
other craft. Be assured that it galls me sufficiently to have to give rise to
such complicated troubles, but I have no other alternative with any possible HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
safety that I could follow and after all God only knows how we are to get
over the Winter few as we are, but I am not discouraged yet and with the
help of a kind and gracious Providence I hope to get through with life &
safety & have some furs into the bargain; My prospects in that way are
better than on the provision line. We have however seen but few Indians,
but is now known here & report says we shall see plenty by & bye. Our
old enemies the Naharnies are said to be resolved to banish us the country.
I fear not their threats if I have provisions the only thing that has ever
given me trouble to be without.
The River I was on is said to be a very large river from the number of
Tributaries which swell it in its course to the Coast & also trading parties
are along the Coast whether Russians or Siberians crossing the Straits from
Asia I know not or what part of the Report can at all be relied upon, one
thing certain is that some goods are brought up from that quarter & it
would almost appear as if an opposition of some description did already
exist between the Coast trafficers, but I am going astray from my subject
on this supposition which I hope with the help of God to know personally
the particulars of by & bye.
I have to beg of you the favor that you will please have the goodness to
transmit to the Governor & Council my most sincere thanks & gratitude for
the advance that has been so unexpectedly added to my salary I cannot hope
to have merited such high marks of their approbation. I am exceedingly
proud of the confidence they repose in me & the important trust they are
pleased to commit to my charge from which I hope I need not say that I
am most desirous of giving satisfaction."
The furs sent by Mr. Campbell & now in store at Fort Halkett amount
£389 16 2.
If we are fortunate between this & June next to collect some quantity
of provisions in all probability I shall when I start for Portage la Loche
despatch a small Boat to Frances Lake with supplies and any provisions
that can be spared. By one of the extracts of Mr. Campbells letter, neither
information or packs from him are to be expected next spring consequently
the first news you will receive of him after this date will be by the Winter
express 43/44.
I am happy to state that the last information from Mr. Pambran notes a
favorable change had-taken place with him in the living way—after he had
sent off his two men as I before stated the fineness of the Autumn enabled
the only man with him to prosecute the fishing business to a very late
period, the consequence was that 1100 fine fish were taken, these with
rabbits, which are again becoming rather plentiful in that quarter will now
prevent the once threatened desertion of that post. By the last arrivals
nothing new or important had occurred at Fort de Liard of note Health
prevailed & they had abundance of Fish for passing the Winter.
Having pr. Winter Express of last year intimated my wish of availing
myself of my rotation of Furlough for /42 & this not being complied with
by Council ; I beg leave again to draw your attention to my being granted
leave of absence next Summer for one year—the plead of the 3rd Minute
of last Summer's Council I trust can no longer be set forth as a preventive
to this favor be granted me for the 7 years as stated by the 4th Minute of
Council /41 will then in my case be expired since I was in England last.
At this early period of the season nothing like a just estimate can be
found as to what the results of our Returns may be for the present Outfit.
Marten I am sorry to say do no appear to be so plentiful as last season;
Beaver we are restricted to a certain number & of Musquash tho' the best
in the country, thousands of them form but a vesy small sum in £ S. D.,
when they get to market, so that I will not venture in case of disappoint
ment to say I expect even equal to last.    Nevertheless for your information 36
I may here state the furs on hand at the Outposts up to the last dates July
& Sept. & what is here at the present moment shows an amelioration of two
or three Hundred pounds compared with the same period last year.
Collectively we have rather better than 80 packs valued at nearly £4000,
on account of the present Outfit /41 valued at £613 4. 4.
As it may be pleasing for you to learn of the healthiness of all within
this District & it is as pleasing to me to be able to state for your information that general health prevails both among the Company's servants &
natives & if all can but procure the needful in the way of food throughout
the Winter it will be a blessing equal to health itself & which has not been
the case for the last 2 years among us.
In conformity to the Minutes of Council I shall accompany the Brigade
to Portage la Loche next Summer when I trust I shall have the pleasure
of receiving your commands in reply to the many subjects herein laid before
you for consideration, & in the meantime I beg leave to subscribe myself,
Your obedt. servant,
(Signed.)    JOHN LEE LEWES,
C. F., H.M- B. Compy.
„#kXC-V^-~-S _
/-**> paet n
ii—1  11
Journal 721,
p. 261.
Mr. Henry Addington presents his compliments to Mr. Simpson, and
having received Mr. Secretary Canning's directions to communicate with
Mr. Simpson on the subject of the Columbia River and North West
Boundaries with a view to the final adjustment of those important questions
with the Government of the United States he is desirous of arranging an
interview with Mr. Simpson and in so doing wishes to consult Mr. Simpson's
convenience equally with his own.
He therefore requests that Mr. Simpson will have  the goodness to let
him know at what hour and day, and where it would be most convenient
to him to favour Mr. Addington with an interview.
191 Regents Street,
28th Decemb : 1825.
Mr. Simpson presents respectful compliments to Mr. Addington will have
much pleasure in communicating with and giving him all the information
he possesses in regard to the Columbia River and North West Boundary;
for which purpose Mr. Simpson will do himself the honour of waiting on
Mr. Addington when and where he may be pleased to appoint, Mr. Simpson's time being quite at Mr. Addingtons disposal.
Hudson's Bay House, 29th Deer. 1825.
Mr. Addington presents his compliments to Mr. Simpson, and requests
the favor of a visit from him agreeably to his proposal at one o'clock p.m.
to-morrow, if perfectly convenient to Mr. Simpson.
Thursday 29th December 1825.
191 Regent Street,
30th December, 1825.
Sir,—-I inclose herewith the set of queries on which I wish for more
particular information.
The answers to them may be as concise as is consistent with perfect
perspicuity. The more matter of fact they are, the better. That to query
IX. I wish to be as strictly conformable to fact and history as possible.
I am, Sir,
Your very obedt. humb: servt.,
P.S.—Be so good as to send your answer whenever it may be ready
addressed to me at the Foreign Office.
Mr. Henry Addington requests that Mr. Simpson will have the goodness
to send in the answers to Mr. A's queries (whenever they shall have been
finished at Mr. Simpson's entire leisure) addressed to him at his own
lodging which he has changed, instead of to the Foreign Office.
194 Regent Street, Jany 4th, 1826.
Mr. Simpson presents respectful Compliments to Mr. Addington, begs to
hand him answers to his list of Queries likewise a corrected chart of the
Country on both sides of the Rocky Mountains | should Mr. Addington
require further information on this important subject Mr. Simpson will do
himself the honor to wait upon him at any time he may appoint.
Hudson's Bay House, 5th Janry, 1826.
1. What is the nature of the soil, its capability of production, and general character
in the Vicinity of the Columbia and Lewis's
Rivers ?   What the climate ?
2. Are the natives on the Northern bank
of the Columbia warlike or pacific, inclined
or averse to intercourse with the whites ? Is
the Country between the Rocky Mountains
and the Columbia densely or thinly inhabited ?
3. Is there good hunting ground immediately on the northern bank of the Columbia ?
4. What, on a rough eaJculation are the
annual profits of Trade in the district of
Columbia and do they arise from the Northern or Southern portion of that district
The banks of the Columbia on both sides
the River from Capes Disappointment aind
Adams to the Cascade Portage a distance of
from 150 to 180 miles are covered with a
great variety of fine large timber consisting
of Pine of different kinds, of Cedar, Hemlock, Oak, Ash, Alder, Maple and Poplar
with many other kinds unknown to me. The
soil of the low grounds is alluvial and found
very productive, that of the high grounds a
rich black mould, chiefly composed of decayed vegetables. Some of the points formed
by the windings of the river are extensive
and beautiful with sufficient Timber for use
and ornament, and where the plough may be
used immediately and the point on which
the Company's Establishments of Port Vancouver is situated is from its extent and from
the fertility of its soil capable of producing
large quantities of grain of every kind of pasturing numerous herds of cattle and nutritious roots are so abundant that almost any
number of Hogs may be reared.
The climate delightfully temperate from
the month of April until the month of October, and from November until March rainy
with little or no Frost or Snow.
Prom the Cascade Portage to the entrance
of Lewis's River, the banks are sterile, the
Soil very Sandy producing Stinted Grass
and willows and little or no timber. The
Country in the vicinity of Lewis's River I
understand is level and generally fertile but
I cannot speak with certainty on this point
not having had an opportunity of visiting it
personally except at its junction with the
River Columbia.
The different Tribes on the banks of the
Columbia are generally bold and warlike as
regards each other and extremely jealous of
any encroachments on each others Territory
or privileges but peaceable and well disposed
towards the whites with whom they are very
anxious to maintain a friendly intercourse.
Occasional differences I understand took
place when we first entered the Country in
which some li ves were lost on both sides but
at present the best understanding exists between us and them. The Country is densely
inhabitated, on account of the great abundance of its resources in the way of living.
The hunting grounds immediately on the
Northern banks of the Columbia are nearly
exhausted in respect to fur-bearing animals
but the back Country is still productive and
Beaver are found in all the small Rivers and
The Trade of the Columbia district is yet
in its infancy and the Countries to the Northward and Southward produce about an equal
quantity of Purs amounting together in value
to between 30 and £40,000 pr. annum. 11
5. Have the Americans any Post or trapping parties on the Columbia or to the West
of the Rocky Mountains in that direction ?
6. Is the Country Northward of the Columbia favourable for Land and Water communication ?
7. Por what extent of Country does the
Columbia River furnish an outlet for Trade.
Specify this exactly and according to the
latest and most accurate accounts ?
8. What time is required for communication between Hudson's Bay (York Port) and
Fort Vancouver ?
9. Upon what foundation does the assertion rest that "British subjects had been
trading on the Coast in the vicinity of the
Columbia, prior to Gray's voyage thither in
N.B. Consult every authority within reach
on this point and state the fact if anywhere
positively ascertained, accompanied by date,
and specification of the point where such
persons opened an intercourse with the
The Americans have not had a Post on the
West side of the Rocky Mountains since the
year 1813 and I am not aware that they ever
had any Trapping parties on the West side
of the Mountains until last year when the
Hudson's Bay Company's Snake Country
Expedition fell in with five Americans who
had straggled across the sources of the
The Country to the Northward of the
Columbia is not favourable for water communication with the Coast on account of the
impetuosity of the current at particular
Seasons in the different rivers and frequent
chains of rapids and dangerous falls, and the
Communication with the Coast by Land is
quite impracticable on account of the mountainous character of the Country which is
covered with almost impenetrable forests.
The Columbia is the only navigable River
to the interior from the Coast we are acquainted with, it is therefore the only certain outlet for the Company's Trade west of
the Mountains comprehending that of thirteen Establishments now occupied:
Ft. Vancouver. '
Nez Perce. '
Fraser's Lake.
Okanagan. -
Ft. St. James.
ColTille House.
McLeod's Fort.
Flat Head.
Chilcotin    fi
Thompson's Fort.
13. Alexandria Fort.
I was last year occupied 84 days travelling
from York Fort, Hudson's Bay to the mouth
of the Columbia but I think the journey can
be performed in the height of the Season : in
a light canoe; unincumbered with baggage,
for the water communication and with good
horses for the journey by Land which may
be about Jth of the whole distance in 2
months or 65 days by a different route to
that which I took.
Both Meares' and Vancouver's "Voyages
confirm the assertion that " British subjects
had been trading on the coast in the vicinity
of the Columbia prior to Gray's voyage
thither in 1788 Vizt. In- Mear9s' observations on the probable existence of a North
West passage page 55 it is stated " that the
" Imperial Eagle Captn. Barclay sailed from
'' Europe beginning 1787 and not only arrived
'' at Nootka Sound in August but explored
" the Coast from Nootka to Wacananesh and
" so on to a Sound to which he gave his own
"name. The boat's crew was dispatched
"and discovered the extraordinary Straits of
" John de Fuca, and also the coast as far as
" Queenhythe " within 30 to 40 miles of the
Columbia River " when after the fatal catastrophe which happened to some of them, the
Ship quitted the Coast and proceeded to
China having performed the whole voyage in
twelve months." The followingnote appears
in Meares' Journal page 124 "The Imperial
" Eagle was a Ship employed to collect Purs
"on the Coast of America, in 1787, in the
"course of this business the Captain dis-
" patched his long boat from King George's
" Sound on a trading expedition as far as 47°
" North. She then anchored abreast of a
"river, the shallowness at whose entrance
" prevented the long boat from getting into
"it." A small boat however, which was
" attached to the other was sent up the
" River with Mr. Millar an officer of the Im-
"perial Eagle, another young Gentleman
" and four Seamen.   They continued rowing !—
" till they came to a village where they were
'' supposed to have been seized and murdered
" by the Natives, as their clothes were found
" afterwards stained with blood."
By Meares'Journal pages 163 to 168 it appears that on the 5th July 1788 he traded
with Natives of Cape Shoalwater in about
Lat: 46, 47 N. and on the 6th he named
" Cape Disappointment" calling the mouth
of the Columbia Deception Bay making it
by an indifferent observation in Lat 46. 10
Lon: 235 34. In page 219 same Journal
(17th Septr. 1788) it is stated that Mr. Gray-
in the Washington joined him at Nootka
Sound, that vessel had sailed in company
with the Columbia from Boston in August
1787, they separated in a gale of wind in Lat
59 South and had not seen each other up to
that time. Mr. Gray informed Meares that
he had put into a Harbour on the coast of
New Albion where he got on shore, and was
in danger of being lost on the Bar, was attacked by the Natives and had one man
killed and one of his officers wounded. The
harbour could only admit vessels of a very
small size and must lie somewhere near Cape
Lookout; Meares in page 220 further says
that he (the Master of the Washington)
" appeared to be very sanguine in the superior advantages which his Country Men
" from New England might reap from this
"track of Trade, and was big with mighty
"Projects in which we understand he was
"protected by the American Congress." It
therefore appears evident that up to this
period, Gray knew nothing of the Columbia
and that the Americans were total strangers
to the Country and Trade of the North West
Coast altogether.
Vancouver's Voyages Volume 2 page 53
April 1792 states that the River Mr. Gray
mentioned should from the situation he assigned to it, have existed in the Bay, South
of Cape Disappointment. Mr. Gray stated
that he had been several days attempting to
enter it and at leangth he was unable to
effect it in consequence of a strong outset.
Page 388 same Work October 1792 Vancouver prepares to examine the Coast of
New Albion and particularly a River and
Harbour discovered by Mr. Gray in the (Ship)
Columbia between the 46th and 47th degrees
of North latitude of which Senr. Quadra had
given him a Sketch,
Vol: 3 page 124 Decbr. 1792 " The Discovery of this River we are given to understand is claimed by the Spaniards who call
it Entrada de Ceta after the Commander of
the Vessel who is said to be its first discoverer, but who never entered it, he" places it
in 46° North Latitude : it is the same opening that Mr. Gray stated to us in the Spring
(1792) he had been nine days off the former
year (1791) but could not get in in consequence of the out setting current. That in
the course of the late Summer (1792) he had
however entered the River, or rather the
Sound and had named it after the Ship, he
then commanded (Columbia).
The extent, Mr. Gray became acquainted
with on that occasion, is no further than I
have called Gray's Bay (15 miles from the
mouth of the River) not more than 15 miles
from Cape Disappointment, though accord-
ng to Gray's sketch it measures 36 miles. HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
10. What comparison does Fraser's River
bear in magnitude and capacity for the purposes of Trade with the Columbia. Is the
Native population on its banks dense or not
—well disposed, or not—warlike or pacific ?
11. Could the Fur produce to the North
of Fraser's river and West of the Rocky
Mountains be conveniently transported by
means of this river for shipment to other
Countries ?
By his calculation its entrance lies in Latj
46° 10, Ion: 237° 18 differing materially in
these respects from our observations ". From'
these extracts it will appear that Lieut::
Meares of the R.N. was the first who discovered the entrance of the Columbia in July
1788 naming the head Land of the Northern
entrance of the River Cape Disappointment-
which it still bears, and that Captn. Barclay
of the Imperial Eagle had previously traded
in the vicinity of the River and at about half
a degree to the North ward lost a boat's crew
in the year 1787.
Gray's Bay is situated on the North side-
of the Sound about half way between Cape
Disappointment and the mouth of the River
whieh he appears never to have entered as-
Vancouver's Voyages Vol 3 page 109 says-
Previously to his departure however- he-
formally took possession of the River and
the Country in its vicinity in His Britannic Majesty's name having every reason
to believe that the Subjects of no other
civilized Nation or State had ever entered
this River before; in this opinion he was-
confirmed by Mr. Gray's sketch in which.
it does not appear that Mr. Gray either
saw or was within five leaugues of  its-
These extracts and remarks will I trust
satisfactorily answer query 9.
Fraser's river is not so large as the Columbia and not to be compared with it for the
purposes of Trade, the depth of water found
at its entrance was about 3 fathoms: and
banks are generally high and steep, covered
with Timber and such places as are sufficiently low and clear for the site of an Establishment bear marks of having been over
flown in the Seasons of high water.
About 70 miles from its entrance the navigation is interrupted by Rapids and Falls seas to render it nearly impossible, and according to the best information, I have been able
to collect, the backs of the river about 150
miles up form precipices where the towing
line cannot be used, and the Current so impetuous at certain Seasons as to render it
impossible to use either the setting Pole or
Paddle, Canoes being the only craft that can
attempt to stem the current at any Season.
The Natives treated our party with civility
and seemed anxious that we should settle
among them. They assemble from the back
Country to the banks of the River in great
numbers during the fishing season (From
April until October) when the population is
very great, and at all Seasons the Country
may be said to be densely peopled, and their
character much the same as that of those inhabiting the banks of the Columbia, I should
not however consider it safe to form an Establishment there, with a smaller force than 60
to 70 men and officers, until we are better
acquainted with them.
From all the information I have been able
to collect respecting Fraser's River, it is not
my opinion that it affords a communication
by which the interior Country can be supplied from the Coast or that it can be
depended on as an outlet for the returns of
the interior. I will further altho' unasked
take the liberty of giving it as my opinion,
that if the navigation of the Columbia is not HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY CORRESPONDENCE.
free to the Hudson's Bay Company, and that
the territory to the Northward is not secured
to them, they must abandon and curtail their
Trade in some parts and probably be constrained to relinquish it on the West side of
the Rocky Mountains altogether.
(Signed)      Geo. Simpson
London, 31st December, 1825.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 25th July, 1826.
Journal 722     To the Right Honourable,
P- 3- Wm. Huskisson.
Dear Sir,—I have annexed to your queries such answers as the records to which I refer afford: I think that there is sufficient proof that
the Traders of the N. W. Company had established Posts on the Columbia
long before the establishment at Astoria in 1811. Harmon distinctly states
that they were established in 1806, the American Fur Company was only
formed in 1810 and were erecting their Fort in August 1811 when Thomson
went there from one of the North West Company's posts in the Interior.
Lewis and Clarke had been down the Columbia in 1805 and returned in
1806 the natives on their route had many European articles but McKenzie
had crossed the mountains and proceeded to the sea in 1793 and Thompson
further south in 1802 at which time he was I understand on one of the
tributary streams of the Columbia. From Meares' Memorial it appears
that certain merchants under the immediate protection of the East India
Company fitted out ships in the year 1786, and traded with the natives between the Lat. of 60 and 45. 30, and obtained from the Chief of the District
surrounding Port Cox and Port Effingham in Lat. 45 and 49, promiseof free
and exclusive trade with leave to build on the land, and purchased from
another a tract of land.
I likewise inclose for your information copy of a statement relative to the
Columbia River and Territories connected therewith drawn up in 1815 at
the request of Sir Gordon Drummond. It was sent me in 1822 by Mr.
. Simon McGillivray ; if there is any other information that you require I shall
be happy to furnish it as far as I am able and shall feel obliged if you will
allow me an audience any morning either this or the following week except
I am, Dear sir,
Your faithful & obedt. servt.
State the date (the year if possible) when
any party or individuals belonging to the
Northern or Hudson's Bay Company first
had a station in or near to the Columbia or
to any of its Tributary Streams and the
proof on which such statement rests.
The first year that any party belonging to
the North West Company had a station on
or near to the Columbia was in 1806. Harmon
an American by birth who was a clerk in the
North West Company's service and afterwards a partner published a Journal of voyages and travels commencing April 1800 and
ending August 1819 says in page 282 "That
the country West of the Rocky Mountains
with which I am acquainted has ever since
the North West Company first made an
Establishment there, which was in 1806 gone
by the name of New Caledonia " and in page
220 he states "Monday April 6th. Six
Indians have arrived from Fraser's Lake
who delivered to me a letter written by Mr.
David Thompson which is dated August
28th 1811 at Yek-koy-ope Falls on the
Columbia River. It informs me that this
Gentleman accompanied by seven Canadians
descended the Columbia River to the place
where it entered the Pacific Ocean where
they arrived on the 16th July. There they
found a number of people employed in building a Fort for a company of Americans who
denominate themselves the Pacific Fur Company : he aJso writes that Mr. Alexander
McKay* and others have proceeded Northward in the vessel that brought them there
on a coasting trade.' Mr. Thompson after
having remained seven days with the American people set out on his return to his
establishments which are near the source of
the Columbia River." From this it would appear that Mr. Thompson hearing at his Establishment higher up the Columbia of the
unexpected arrival of the Americans at the
mouth of the River went-down to reconnoitre
their proceedings, was with them when they
were erecting their Fort and then returned
to his own Posts which had been established
after his first visit to the Country from the
East of the Mountains in 1803, herewith is
sent a copy of Harmon's work and in pages
194, 196, 218, 224, 228, 237, 239, 240, 242, 245,
246. will be found remarks relating to the
•Mr. Alexander MoKay has been in the service of the North West Company for several
years, was a British subject and was engaged by the Pacific Pur Company from the knowledge
which he had acquired of the trade while in the service of the North West Company. There were
also Duncan MoDougall, Donald McKenzie, David Stuart and several other British subjects who
had ail been previously in the service of the North West Company attached to the crew and party
sent out in the Tonquin and who built the American Fort on the South bank of the'Columbia River.
2. When was the name of McGillivray
given to the River now bearing that name ?
Was its course or any considerable part of it
explored by any person of that name being a
subject of His Majesty in the service of the
Company and was there any settlement or
station formed by him or others acting with
him on that River and about what time ?
3. Did McKenzie explore and what parts
of the Columbia or its Tributary Branches:
in what year and was he then in the service
of the Company ?
In 1803 when Mr. Duncan McGillivray
who died in 1807 set out on an Expedition
with David Thompson from the North West
Co's post in Saskatchewan River to cross the
Rocky Mountains to explore the country and
with a view to establish Trading posts, Mr.
McGillivray was taken ill and obliged to remain behind. Mr. Thompson proceeded
with the Expedition crossed the upper part
of the Columbia and called the first River he
reached McGillivray the next after himself.
McGillivray and Thompson were both partners in the North West Company. They
traded with the Natives but formed no
Establishment at that time.
Sir Alexander McKenzie did not explore
any part of the Columbia or its tributary
branches he proceeded from the Athapescow
district by Peace river crossed the Mountains
and travelled to the Pacific far to the Northward both of the Columbia and Thompson
4. In what year was the first English ship
sent to the Columbia for the purpose of collecting Furs and carrying supplies to the
Company's Agents and trading with the
Natives on the Columbia River ? Has a ship
been sent every year since the first ?      .     •«/■
3Vt_ \ oJU~
Rivers, this was in the year 1793 at which
time he was a partner in the North West
The Isj&aTodd which sailed from England
in 1813 and arrived at the Columbia River
in April 1814; was the first ship that took
any Produce of the North West Company's
trade collected on the West side of the
Rocky Mountains and carried it to China
from whence she brought a eargoe of tea to
England for account of the East India Company : all that had been collected in former
years having been sent by the Interior to
Canada but as early as 1786 the East India
Compy had vessels on the Coast and purchased Land of the Natives as related by
Meares in his Memorial see States papers
annual Register 1790 page 287. The Isaac
Todd took at the same time all that had ever
been collected by the American Fur Company at the Establishment of Astoria. The
Americans arrived in the Columbia as before
observed Summer 1811, the Furs that were
collected the following Winter, they were
not able to send away the ship that was to
have conveyed them having been destroyed
by the Natives on the coast and the whole
of the Crew massacred. No ship arrived in
1812 and in the fall of 1813 it was that the
North West Company purchased of the
American Traders all they had collected the
preeeeding two years therefore no American
ship ever took away, or have the Americans
ever taken any produce of their Trade from
the Country and when they established
themselves in 1811 on the South side of the
River, they had no Establishment on the
North side, and from the terms of the Treaty
for the purchase" it appears that they had
one subsequently on Thompson River but
abandoned it when they left the Country
and they have never been there since.
In 183 the Schooner Columbia was sent
out which arrived at Fort George in the
Spring of 18i5(-and having delivered her
supplies proceeded with skins to Canton from
whence she returned to the Sandwich Islands
and to the Columbia river in order to carry
the skins of the following season to Canton.
The supplies sent from England in 1815
and which reached Fort George in the
Spring of 1816 were sent in the Bjag_Qolonel
A]lgn which vessel returned from the Columbia to England.
All these were British vessels belonging to
and fitted out by the Agents of the North
West Company with supplies, for their
Traders at the Columbia River.
The outfits of these vessels having been
found expensive and unproductive in consequence of the restriction of British subjects
from trading in China except under License
from the East India Company which Company refused to permit the Agents of the
North West Company to carry away tea in
return for the skins sold by them at Canton
whilst American ships and Traders not being
under similar restrictions had the benefit of
freight for the whole voyage to China and
back. Under these circumstances in the
year 1815 an arrangement was made with a
house at Boston under which the supplies of
British manufactures required for the establishments at the Columbia were sent from
England to Boston from whence a ship was HUDSON'S BA Y COMPANY
■    ^^
5. How many Posts and settlements has
the Company now on or near the Banks of
the Columbia or its Tributary Branches;
when as nearly as can be ascertained were
they first formed and how many are North
and how many are South of the Rivers or of
its Branches ?
6. When the Company was formed of
which Mr. Astor was the head, of how many
partners did it consist, how many of that
Company were citizens of Great Britain and
how many citizens of the United States ?
7. Had the Company any charter of incorporation or other instrument of special
recognition from the State of New York or
any other authority in the United States ?
dispatched to convey them to the Columbia
to take the skins from the Columbia to Canton and to carry the proceeds of their sale in
Teas and other produce of China from Canton to Boston where the American house retained a certain proportion of the net proceeds as a compensation for the freight.
In this manner annual supplies were sent
to the Columbia River in each year from
1816 to 1820 and in 1821 the Establishments
were transferred to the Hudson's Bay Company since which time the proceeds have
been brought by British ships to England.
The Company have now six settlements
on the Columbia and its Tributary Branches
exclusive of Fort George and thirteen settlements in the whole on the North side cf the
River in New Caledonia. The Company
have none on the south side but parties nave
been fitted out from Fort George to hunt the
Country on that side.
Formed in 1810 after Lewis and Clarke's
return, do not know their number but several
of them were British subjects and had been
in the service of the North West Company.
Can not say if they had a
poration, but believe they
by the State of New York.
charter of incor-
were recognized
Vol. 722
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 24th Octr.,
The Right Honble.
Viscount Palmerston.
My Lord,—I have the honor to acquaint Your Lordship for the information of His Majesty's Government, that by advices just received from
Chief Factor McLoughlin the officer in charge of all the Hudson's Bay
Company's affairs on the North West Coast of America, an expedition was
fitted out and despatched in the month of May 1834, agreeably to instructions previously issued by the Board of Direction at which I preside as
Governor of the Company, to form a trading establishment within the
British Territories, at a distance from the Ocean extending ten Marine
leagues up the Stikine River in about Latitude 56° 40'. Your Lordship is
aware that a Convention was entered into between His Late Majesty George
4th and the Emperor of Russia signed at St. Petersburg 28th Febry. 1825
which determined the line of demarcation between the British and Russian
Territories on the North West Coast of America and I have now to complain of an infraction of the terms of that Convention, to the very serious
injury of the Commerce of the Hudson's Bay Company, by Baron Wrangell,
Post Captain in the Emperors Navy and principal superintendent of the
Russian American Fur Company's affairs on the North West Coast, who
opposed an armed force to our expedition, and thereby prevented the
objects for which it was outfitted being carried into effect.
In so doing the Russian Fur Company have violated the 6th Article of
the Convention, which provides that the Subjects of His Britannic Majesty,
from whatever quarter they may arrive, shall forever enjoy the right of
navigating, freely, and without any hinderance whatever, all the Rivers and
Streams, which in their course towards the Pacific Ocean may cross the line 12
of demarcation, upon the line of Coast described in Article 3rd of that
Convention. They have thereby moreover violated the 7th Article of the
said Convention, which provides that for the space of ten years from the
signature of that Convention the vessels of the two Powers, or those
belonging to their respective subjects shall mutually be at liberty to frequent,
without any hinderance whatever, all the inland seas, gulphs, havens and
creeks on the coast, mentioned in Article 3rd for the purpose of fishing and
trading with the Natives, in as much as the ten years had not expired when
Baron Wrangell prevented our entering the Stikine River, And I have
further to complain of a violation of the 11 th Article of the said Convention, inasmuch as the officers of the Russian Fur Company, under the
authority of Baron Wrangell did oppose an armed force to our expedition,
and thereby forcibly prevented our entering the River and carrying the
objects of which it was outfitted into effect, thereby subjecting the Hudson's
Bay Company to a considerable pecuniary loss (expenses incurred in outfitting the expedition) independant of the injury which our commerce in
that quarter has sustained, by being thus lowered in the estimation of the
Natives, who have, ever since our distinguished navigators, Cook, and
Vancouver visited that coast, identified our interests as British subjects
with those of the Government by whom they were employed.
Herewith, I have the honor to transmit for Your Lordship's information
in confirmation of the foregoing statements.
No. 1. Extract from Chief Factor McLoughlin's Dispatch (dated) Fort
Vancouver, Cola. River 14th March, 1835.
No. 2. Extract from Chief Trader Ogden's Journal of the proceedings of
the expedition under his command for the purpose of ascending the Stikine
No. 3. Copy of correspondence between Chief Trader Ogden and Baron
Wrangell and other officers of the Russ : Amrn. Fur Coy :
No. 4. Estimate of expenses incurred by the Hudson's Bay Company in
an attempt to erect an establishment at Stikine, amounting to £22,150
10 11 Stg,
I have now to request your Lordship will be pleased to afford me an
early personal interview, in order to lay the Case more fully before you,
with a view to obtaining indemnification for the very serious injury, we
have sustained by the recent violation of the Convention, and protection,
in the intended prosecution of our valuable trade in that quarter for the
I have the honour to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient
humble servant,
Vol. 722,
p. 30.
Foreign Office,
13th Novr.,
To J. H. Pelly, Esq.,
&C. &C. &C.
Sir,—I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to acknowledge the receipt of
your letter of the 24th ulto. complaining of the interference of the Russian
Authorities on the North West Coast of America with an Expedition fitted
out by the Hudson's Bay Company with a view of forming a settlement ten
leagues up the " Stikine River " and I am to acquaint you that copies of u
Vol. 722,
p. 31.
the papers transmitted by you will be forwarded to His Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburg who will receive suitable instructions upon the
I am,
Your most obedt. humble servt.,
(signed)       W. FOX STRANGWAYS.
Foreign Office,
Jany 6th, 1836.
J. H. Pelly, Esqr.
&c.      &c.      &c.
Sir,—With reference to your letter of the 24th October of last year
complaining of the interference of the Russian Authorities with the Expedition of the Hudson's Bay Company to the Stikine River on the North
West Coast of America I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to acquaint
you that His Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburgh upon receiving instructions from this Department lost no time in bringing the question under
the consideration of the Russian Government.
In reply to Lord Durham's representations Count Nesselrode has stated
that he had received no official information upon the subject but declared
that he would institute an immediate inquiry adding at the same time that
any violation of the Treaty would be a matter of great regret to the Emperor and should be redressed if it had occurred.
Lord Durham expresses his confidence that should the representations of
the Hudson's Bay Company prove uncontradicted the acts of the Russian
Authorities in North America will not only be disavowed but censured.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedt. humble servt.,
(signed)        J. BACKHOUSE.
Jou.nal 722.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 14th Janry.,
The Right Honble.
Viscount Palmerston,
&c.      &c.      &c.
My Lord,—I have the honor to acknowledge Mr. Backhouse's letter of
the 6th inst: acquainting me by Your Lordship's direction that His
Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, upon receiving instructions from
the Foreign Office lost no time in bringing the question " of the interference of the Russian Authorities with the expedition of the Hudson's Bay
Company to the Stikine River on the North West Coast of America " under the consideration of the Russian Government. Finding there was
little" probability of Your Lordship receiving a reply to your communication to His Majestys Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, conveying my complaint, on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, in sufficient time to
forward instructions to be founded thereon to the Company's officers on
the North West Coast, by the overland express, which I acquainted your
Lordship would leave this Country via New York, by the Packet Ship of 14
the 11th ulto. it was determined that one of the Company's ships should be
fitted out for the North West Coast, so as to sail from hence about the
latter end of the present month in order to convey definite instructions on
the subject, as it is of the utmost importance to the interests of the Company that their officers should know as early as possible how to act, in the
event of the Russian Fur Company continuing to obstruct them in the
exercise of a trade, secured to them, as British subjects by a solemn
I cannot therefore conceal my disappointment that the sentiments of the
Russian Government, on this question, have not been conveyed in a more
formal shape, accompanied by specific instructions to Baron Wrangell to
refrain from hostile proceedings or any infraction of the Treaty, as in the
absence of such instructions I am apprehensive, some serious collision may
take place between the people of the Hudson's Bay Company and those of
the Russian Fur Company if the latter shall continue the aggressions
already complained of.
The early departure of the Company's Ship for the North West Coast,
which cannot be delayed, renders it impossible to hear from Russia in reply
to any further representation, Your Lordship might think proper to make
on this subject in sufficient time to be forwarded by that conveyance but in
the absence thereof, a communication from the Russian Ambassador at this
Court addressed to Baron Wrangell, conveying the sentiments of his Government on this subject, might be the means of preventing the Officers of
the Russian fur Company from further obstruction and of interference with
the rightful trade of the Hudson's Bay Company as British subjects, which
if persisted in must inevitably lead to serious differences. I have therefore
to request Your Lordship, will be pleased to inform me, whether you can
furnish me with any document, shewing the feeling of the Russian Government on this subject to be forwarded by the Company's ship to the Russian
Authorities, on the North West Coast of America.
The Hudson's Bay Company's officers will be instructed to endeavour to
avoid any collision with the Russian Fur Company—but as the aggression
of the latter has been so far successful for the time, it is to be apprehended
they may be induced to interfere still further with our right of trade unless
restrained by some intimation from their own Government. With reference to that part of Mr. Backhouse's letter in which he says:—
" Lord Durham expresses his confidence that should the representations
"of the Hudson's Bay Company prove uncontradicted, the acts of the
" Russian authorities in North America will not only be disavowed but
" censured." I beg to observe that accompanying the letter, I had the
honor of addressing your Lordship under date 24th October 1835 I furnished you with copies of the proclamation and letters of Baron Wrangel,
which if admitted to be true copies unquestionably confirm the representations made by the Hudson's Bay Company, and that I have the original
proclamation and correspondence of Baron Wrangell, to produce to your
Lordship if required, which certainly cannot admit of contradiction I avail
myself of this opportunity to remind your Lordship, that the conditions of
the 7th and 8th Articles of the Convention between His Late Majesty and
the Emperor of Russia respecting the free navigation for the purposes of
fishing, and trading with the Natives in all the inland Seas, Gulphs, havens
and Creeks on the Coast mentioned in Article 3rd, and of Commerce at the
Port of Sitka and New Archangel being for a term of ten years only
expired (but subsequently to the hostile obstruction by Baron Wrangell)
early in the year 1835, and that by the last Message of the President of
the^ United States of America, it appears instructions have been given to
their Minister at St. Petersburgh, to negotiate a renewal of it on behalf of
I trust that in the event of an extension of the term of ten years being
granted to the United States of America or to any other Power, Your
Lordship will insist on a like extension on behalf of Great Britain, as provided by the 8th Article of the Treaty.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,
J. H. PELLY, Govt.
Hudson Bay
Journal, Vol.
722, p. 38.
Foreign Office,
Jany. 28th 1836.
J. H. Pelly, Esqr.
(fee. (fee. (fee.
Sir,—I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to acquaint you that His
Lordship had already prepared instructions to be sent to His Majesty's
Ambassador at St. Petersburgh founded upon your letter of the 14th inst.
respecting the conduct of the Russian Authorities on the North West
Coast of America when His Lordship received a despatch from Lord
Durham enclosing the answer of the Russian Government to the representation which His Excellency had already made to them in consequence of
your letter to this Department dated 24th of last October. The Russian
Government disavow the construction which their authorities have put
upon the stipulations of the Treaty of 1825 and they promise to convey to
those authorities without delay His Imperial Majesty's disapprobation of
their proceedings together with such further instructions as shall be
necessary to prevent the recurrence of a similar cause of complaint. With
respect to the charge that offensive language had been used by the Russian
Authorities in their communication with the Officers of the Hudson's Bay
Company the Russian Government allege it to be unfounded, and they
ascribe the misapprehension on this point to the incompetency of the persons
employed as interpreters between the parties. They deny the fact of a
menace having been used by the Russian Officers in warning off the Expedition from the River Stikine and allege that all that was intended on
the occasion was to acquaint the persons in charge of the Expedition, that
if they persisted on entering the River they would be acting without the
consent and permission of the Russian Authorities.
Lord Palmerston desires me to call your particular attention to this part
of the Russian answer as the Russian Government appear disposed to rely
upon it as their justification for declining to accede to the demand of compensation made by His Majesty's Ambassador. They declare that the
British Expedition was not prevented from proceeding by any unsur-
mountable obstacle or by any actual danger but rather by an excess of caution on the part of the persons in charge of it and they accordingly maintain that those persons and not the Russian Authorities are responsible to
the Company for any losses which may have been sustained on the occasion.
I am, sir,
Your most obed humble servt.,
(signed)   J. BACKHOUSE. 16
Vol. 722,
p. 40.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 4th Feby, 1836.
The Right Honble.
Viscount Palmerston
&c. &c. &c.
My Lord,—I have the honor to acknowledge Mr. Backhouse's letter of
the 28th ulto ; intimating that in reply to a representation made by Lord
Durham to the Russian Government in consequence of my letter to Your
Lordship of 24th October the Russian Government " disavow the construction which their authorities (on the North West Coast of America) have
put upon the stipulations of the Treaty of 1825 " and that " they promise
to convey to those authorities without delay His Imperial Majesty's
disapprobation of their proceedings together with such further instructions as shall be necessary to prevent a recurrence of a similar cause of
complaint" which is highly satisfactory.
Mr. Backhouse's letter further says " with respect to the charge that
offensive language had been used by the Russian Authorities in their
communications with the Hudson's Bay Company the Russian Government allege it to be unfounded and they ascribe the misapprehension on
this point to the incompetency of the persons employed as interpreters
between the parties. They deny the fact of a menace having been used
by the Russian Officers in warning off the Expedition from the Stikine
River and allege that all that was intended on the occasion was to
acquaint the persons in charge of the expedition that if they persisted on
entering the River they would be acting without the consent and permission of the Russian Authorities and they declare that the British
Expedition was not prevented by any insurmountable obstacle or by any
actual danger but rather by an excess of caution on the part of the
persons in charge of it, and they accordingly maintain that those persons,
and not the Russian Authorities are responsible to the Company for any
losses which may have been sustained on the occasion'"
With reference to those allegations I have only to observe that the documents vizt, Extracts from the report of Mr. Ogden the Gentn. in charge of
the Hudson's Bay Company's expedition; the Proclamation of Baron
Wrangell dated 15/27th May 1834—the letters from Mr. Ogden to the
Superintendent of the Russian establishment of the 18th June 1834 and
to Baron Wrangell of the 20th June and 30th Septr; the letter from A.
Etoling to Mr. Ogden 14/26 June, the translations of the Papers No, 4 & 6
signed by captn. Zarembo and letter from Baron Wrangell dated 19th
Septr. 1834, copies of which I have the honor to transmit to Your Lordship herewith, bear ample evidence on the face of them that threatening
language and menaces were used by the Russian Authorities towards the
Hudson's Bay Company and the fact that two Russian Armed Vessels as
stated in Baron Wrangell's Proclamation, were stationed in the Straits
together with the intimation of Captn. Zarembo, the Commandant contained in Paper No. 6 " I neither allow to enter the River Stikine in consequence of the instructions received from the Chief Director Baron Wrangell" shew that hostile and forcible measures were resorted to by the
Russian Authorities to prevent the Hudson's Bay Company from availing
themselves of the Rights secured to them by the Convention. On an attentive perusal of those documents I think Your Lordship cannot fail to observe
that they confirm all I have advanced on hehalf of the Hudson's Bay Company in regard to the conduct of Baron Wrangell and the Russian Author- n
ities on the North West Coast and that if Mr. Ogden had resorted to
forcible measures in the fact of these hostile demonstrations in conducting
the expedition under his command to their destination he would have
been acting in disobedience to and in Contravention of the 11th Article of
the Treaty. I have therefore on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company
respectfully to submit to Your Lordship that as the Russian Government
disavow the construction which their authorities have put on the stipulal
tions of the Treaty calling forth the disapprobation of his Imperia-
Majesty and that as the loss which the Hudson's Bay Company has sustained was occasioned by that misconstruction and the hostile attitude
assumed by the Russian Authorities arising from such misconstruction it is
fitting that the Hudson's Bay Company should be indemnified by those
authorities and I trust Your Lordship will take the necessary steps to
obtain indemnification for the Hudson's Bay Company accordingly.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient humble servt.,
J. H. PELLY, Govt.
Papers forwarded.
Copy of P. S. Ogden's report of transactions at Stikine 188Jf.—
No. 1. Copy of Proclamation of Baron Wrangell dated New Archangel
May 15/27 1834
2. "     of P. S. Ogden's  letter  to   Superintendent  of  the  Russian
Establishments June 18th 1834.
3. "     of P. S. Ogden's letter to Baron Wrangell 20th 1824.
4. "     of Translation (by A Fles) of Declaration of Captn. Sarembo
&c June 18th 1834.
5. I    of Letter from A Etoling to P. S. Ogden June 14/26th 1834.
6. "    of Translation (by A Fles) of Declaration of Capt. Sarembo
June 10th 1834.
7. "     of Letter from Baron Wrangell to P. S. Ogden Sept 19th 1834.
8. "     of Do        P.   S.   Ogden  (in reply)   to  Baron Wrangell
Sept. 30th 1834.
Copy Draft Declaratn. of Captn. Alexr. Duncan as to the proceedings and
opposition of the Russian Government to the Govt, and Coy. of
Hudson's Bay erecting an Establishment at Stikine River on the
2V.   W. Coast of America.
T. Crosse.
City of London (to wit) I Alexander Duncan of Salmon Lane in the
parish of Limehouse—in the Coy. of Midd'x, a Captn. in the Service of the
honble. the Govr. & Company of Adventurers of England trading into
Hudson's Bay Do solemnly and sincerely Declare that in the month of
August 1833 I was Master and Commander of the Vancouver Schooner
belongg. to the sd. Govr & Coy. the crew of w'ch consisted of myself and 3
officers & 12 men & wch sd. Schooner was then lying in the Harbour of
Nasse on the North West Coast of America And I further Declare that in
the month of August 1833 I sailed with the sd. Schooner with the sd. officers & crew on board from Nasse af'sd in company with the Brig Lama of
jr & a party of 'Canadian Servants then in the Service & Employ
Governor & Compv. to 'Stikine Sound on the N. W. Coast of
145 tons also belonging to the sd. Govr. & Compy. & commanded by Captn.
McNeil & w'ch sd. Brig had then on board Mr. Peter Skeene Ogden a
Chief Trader
of the sd. Governor & iJompy.
America for the purpose of going up that River and ascertaining if there
was a proper Situation there to erect a trading Establishment on behalf of
the sd. Govr. & Compy. and I do further Declare that having arrived at
the Entrance of the sd. River Stikine I quitted the said Schooner Vancou-
'ver & proceeded with the sd. Peter Skeene Ogden & part of the Crew in 2
Boats up the course of the sd. River & having found a spot which appeared
[ proper for the purpose of a trading Establishment we landed & took poss'on
j & shaved the Bark off the side of a Spruce Fir Tree on w'ch by the orders
j of myself and the sd. Peter S. Ogden was mark'd with a knife the Lrs.
I H. H. B. C." cut on the side of the sd. Tree after which, & takg. some
refreshment, we return'd to the Boat & dropp'd about 7 miles down the sd.
River where he this Declarant and the sd. P. S. Ogden & the crew of the
sd. Boat landed & encamped for the night. And I do further also solemnly
•& sincerely Declare that at about 4 o'clock on the following morning I this
Declarant and the sd. P. S. Ogden and the sd. Crew reimbark'd & came
down about 8 miles further to a Village on the Bank of the sd. River
Stikine where one "Seix" the principal Chief of the Stikine Tribe resided
& who having given invitation to us to land this Declarant & the sd. P. S.
Ogden went ashore and stated to the sd. Chief that we had selected a
trading Establishmt. for the sd. Govr. & Compy. of Hudson's Bay withwch
informatn. the sd. Chief appear'd so pleas'd that he thereupon presented
me, this Declarant & the sd. Peter Skeene Ogden each with a Beaver Robe
And I do further Declare that myself and the sd. P. S. Ogden then returned
to the sd. Schooner & Brig follow'd by the sd. Chief Seix & his people who
brought with them a number of Beaver & other skins wch they traded for
Powder Blankets (fe-or. goods and I also fun. Declare that afr. completing
the trade at Stikine Sound as afsd both vessels proceeded to Henega and
other Trading Stations on that Coast & returned to Nasse afsd in the month
of Octr. follg. And I further Declare that the sd. P. S. Ogden remd. at
Nasse afsd a few days only, during wch he was engaged in arranging the
business of that Establishment after which he embark'd on board the sd.
Brig Lama also belonging to the jd. Govr. & Coy. for Columbia River on
the sd. N. W, Coast of America leaving Mr. James Birnie a Clerk 'in the
service of the said Govr. & Coy. & also the said Canadian Servants who
had accompanied the said P. S. Ogden on board the Brig Lama as aforesd.
at that place. And I also further Declare that I afterwards proceeded
with the sd. Schooner Vancouver to various places on the sd. Western Coast
of North America & on the 21st of the sd. month of Octr. 1833 I put into
Tumgasse Harbour to Winter & continued there until the month of February 1834 during which time the sd. "Seix" the Chief of the Stikine Tribe
as before mentd. came to the said last nd. Harbour & informed me this
- declarant that-since I had seen-the sd. Chief up the Stikine River the pre-
_ ceding summer the Russians had during the winter come down from Sitka
with a Body of about 80 men & had erected an Establishment at Point
jj Highfield a little to the S.E. of Stikine Sound aforesaid which informn.
\I immediately thereupon communicated to the sd. P. S. Ogden
who was then at port Vancouver by means of the sd. Govr. &
Coys. Schooner Cadboro which had brot. up supplies for the sd. Govr &
Coys, different establishments on that coast. And I also further declare
that a few days afterwards the sd. Schooner Vancouver put to sea for the
purpose of returning to Nasse aforesd. but she was 'unforttmately wrecked
about 100 miles from that place & the sd. Schooner cVher Cargo & Stores
wholly lost & on the 4th day of March 188*4 >with great'difliculty I reached 11
the Shore & proceeded along the Coast to Nasse aforesd. where I continued
with the sd. officers & Crew of the sd. Schooner until the 15th day of June
then next following. And I also further declare that on the 9th day of the sd.
month of June 1834 the sd. Govr. & Coys. Brig Dryad commanded by Chas.
Kipling master & which sd. Brig this declarant says he understood had been
fitted out at Fort Vancouver afsd for the purpose of proceeding to Stikine
River to erect a trading Establishment up that river on behalf of the said
Govr. & Coy. arrived at Nasse aforesd. with a complement of 3 officers & 16
men & having also on board the sd. Chief Trader P. S. Ogden & a party of
2 officers & 27 men under his command & who were as this declarn. then
understood proceeding to the Stikine River aforesaid for the purpose of
erecting a trading establishment there on behalf of the sd. Govr. & Coy : as
before mentd. And I also further declare that it having to my knowledge
been previously arranged that the sd. Schooner Vancouver had she not been
lost was to have accompanied the said Brig Dryad on the sd. Expedition
to the Stikine River as aforesd. he this declart. with two of his officers and
Crew embarked on board the sd. Brig Dryad together with the said James
Birnie the Clerk and 11 men whom the sd. P. S: Ogden had left at Nass as
before stated and I also further solemly declare that the persons then on
board the sd. Brig Dryad consisted of 4 officers Viz: the sd. P. S. Ogden
Chief Trader Alexr Caulfield Anderson & James Birnie Clerks, Wm. Fraser
Tolmie Surgeon & 38 men belonging to the sd. Govr. & Compy. Land Service & 4 officers vizt. the sd. Chas Kipling Mr., this declart. Geo. Langley
& Wm. Heath & 26 men belongg. to the said Govr. & Coys. Shipping &
comprising in the whole a party of 8 officers & 62 men whose names are
respectively as this Declarant believes respectively & correctly stated in the
Schedule or list hereunto anexed & also having on board a considerable
quantity of Stores & provision & also a consble. quantity of trading goods
intended for the purpose of the said intended settlement up Stikine River
aforesd. And I do further solemnly declare that the sd. Brig Dryad then
under the command of the said Chas. Kipling as afsd. sailed from Nass afsd.
on the 15th day of June 1834 then having on board the sd Chas. Kipling
this Declart. & the sd. Geo. Langley & Wm. Heath & the sd. crew of 26
Seamen as before mentd. & also having on board the said Brig the sd. P. S.
Ogden Chief Trader the sd. Alexr Cauldfied Anderson & Jas. Birnie Clerks
& Wm^Fr^ser^Tolmie the Surgeon togr with thesoYSS men under the com-
mandToftEe sd. P. 13. Ogden as before mentd. & also havg. on boad the said
Stores & provisions & also the sd. Goods intended for the purposes of the
sd. Settlement. And I do further declare that the sd. Brig Dryad with the
sd. sevl. persons & Stores & Goods as aforesd. on board as before mentd
came in sight of Point Highfield a little to the South Eastward of Stikine
Sound on the N. W. Coast of America on the 18th day of June 1834 when
it was found that the Russians had erected an Establishment there in the
course of the preceding Winter as commund. to this Declart. by the sd.
Seix the Chief of the Stikine Tribe as before mentd. And I further declare
that shortly after the sd. Brig came in sight of Point Highfield as aforesd.
the sd. Brig was boarded by a Russian officer who handed to the said P. S. ■
Ogden a paper purporting to be a Proclamation signed by Baron Wrangell
& also a paper in English containing several enquiries as to the name and
tonnage & No. of Guns in the Brig & the object of her voyage to which the
sd. Chas. Kipling wrote replies which were handed to the said Russian
officer who soon afterwards departed. And I further declare that shortly
afterwards & when about to bring the sd. Brig too she she was boarded by
a second Boat in which was a Russian officer who with the assistance of an
Indian Interpreter stated that the Dryad must not cas'1; anchor but depart
forthwith & that the Russians would use force if the Dryad attempted to
proceed up the River in consequence~Of~wnich a Note was addressed by the
ii—2* 20
said P. S. Ogden to the Russian Commandg. Officer & forwarded by the sd.
Boat And I also further declare that on the followg. day the 19th day of
June I this declart. & the above named Wm. F. Tolmie by the desire of the
sd. P. S. Ogden proceeded to the sd. Russian Establishment on the Stikine
River & went on board the sd. Russian Brig which was lying alongside of
it and apparently armed with about 14 guns & full of men & on being intro-
Iduced to Captn. Zarembo who command the said Russian Brig he gave me
/to understand that his instr'ons were not to allow any strangers to go up
Stikine River for the purposes of Trade & that he would not permit the
Dryad to do so without an order from Baron Wrangell the Commandant of
all the Russian Establishments in the Pacific. And I also further declare
that about the middle of the sd. lastmd. day the sd. Captain
Zarembo dispatched a Boat to Sitka and by that conveyce. the sd-
P. S. Ogden also wrote and addressed a letter to the sd. Baron Wrangell &
on the 29th day of the sd. Month of June the Boat returned from Sitka
with a reply to the sd. P. S. Ogden's letter which reply was from Lieut.
Etoling of the Russian Navy who was stated to be the officer in charge of
Sitka during the absence of Baron Wrangell in which said reply the said
Lieut. Etoling declined to countermd. the orders issued to the sd. Captn.
Zarembo as aforesd. And this declart. furr. declares that in consequence
\ thereof " a consultn. was held with the Officers of the Land Service & the
officers of the sd. Brig Dryad as to the course to be adopted when in con-
j seqcei of the threats of the sd. Russian officers & also of the Indians under
j their Influence it was unanimosly resolved not to attempt to proceed up
the sd. River Stikine but to abandon the Expedition altogether. And I
further declare that in the afternoon of the sd. lastmd. day the said Brig
Dryad weighed Anchor & quitted the said River Stikine & returned to the
Southward thereby abandoning the sd. intended expedition which was
attended with .very consble. loss to the sd. Govr. & Coy. not only with
reference to the expense which this declt. knows the sd. Govr. & Coy. had
incurred in fitting out-& providing the said expedn. but also by the loss of
the profits and advantages which this Declarant says he verily believes the
sd. Govr. & Coy. would have made had they not been prevented by the
hostile interference and threats of the sd. Russian Officers from proceeding
up the said Stikine River & erecting a trading establishment there as
intended by them as before mentd. And I make this solemn declaration
conscientiously believing the same to be true & by virtue of the provisions
of an act made and passed in the 6th year of the reign of His present
Majesty intituled an act to repeal an act of the Present Session of Parliament intituled an Act for the more effectual Abolition of oaths & affirmations taken and made in various departments of the State & to substitute
Declarations in lieu thereof & for the more entire suppression of voluntary
& extra judicial oaths and Affidavits & to make other provision for the
abolition of unnecessary oaths.
This Declaration was made at the Mansion House, London, this seventeenth day of November, 1836.
Before me,
Aldn. 11
Hudson Bay
Vol. 722,
p. 58.
Copy of Letter from George Simpson Esqr. to J. H. Pelly Esqr.
London, 29th Nov., 1836.
Sir,—Agreeably to your verbal instructions when I had the honor of
attending the Board of Direction at the Hudson's Bay House on my arrival
from North America a few days ago to report further on the claims of the
Hudson's Bay Company in reference to the obstructions presented by the
Russian Authorities on the North West Coast of America to the Expedition
fitted out by the Company for the purpose of forming a trading establishment on the banks of the Stikine River in the year 1834 : I have with
much attention examined the accounts of expenses on which those claims
are founded.
The different items of expense charged in those accounts were incurred
by the Hudson's Bay Company in the object of attempting to establish a
settlement on the Stikine River and I have no hesitation in saying that the
pecuniary loss sustained by the Company in consequence of being prevented
by the Russian Authorities from carrying that object into effect far exceeds
the amount claimed ; as thereby the Company have been deprived of the
benefit of a valuable branch of trade which they would otherwise have
enjoyed but of which the Russian Fur Company have had the undisturbed
possession and advantages ever since that period. With reference to the
accounts themselves it is quite impossible at this distance of time and place
and without access to the Books and opportunity of communicating personally with Mr. McLoughlin the Gentleman in charge of the Company's
affairs on the North West Coast, the Accountants and other persons that
were employed on that expedition to go into a close investigation of the
different items or to give further information than is contained in the
affidavits of Mr. Smith the Secretary to the Company Capts. Kipling and
Duncan and of Mr. Joseph Arnold, Ship Broker of this city.
As Principal representative however of the Company in North America
and President of the Councils in the country from whom all general instructions emanate, in reference to the views and wishes of the Board " of Direction " in England at which you preside : I beg to state for the information
of whom it may concern that '' shipping officers, servants, goods and provisions, were provided for the express purpose of extending the Company's
Trade on the North West Coast by establishing Posts on the Stikine River;
the expenses connected with which, amounted I firmly believe to a sum
exceeding that charged in those accts. and which would not have been
incurred had not such extension of trade been contemplated and attempted.
But as it might be a difficult matter to establish these facts to the satisfaction of the Russian Government, without the production of detailed and
formerly authenticated accounts and oral evidence of many persons now
resident in various parts of North America and in order to terminate this
long disputed claim and to save the time and trouble that would be
occasioned by a close investigation of the accounts I beg leave on behalf of
the Compys Council Boards and Chief Factors and Chief Traders in North
America whose services are paid by sharing in the profits of the business to
suggest that a compromise of the claim be proposed thro' His Majesty's
Government: but should the Russian Government object to this adjustment of the claim I have to recommend that Chief Factor McLoughlin and
the principal accountant at Fort Vancouver Columbia River from whence
the   Expedition Was outfitted be summoned to England without delay 22
in  order  to  substantiate  the whole account as it  stands  altho'   it will
necessarily be attended with much expense, inconvenience and loss of time.
With much respect,
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your very obedt. servt.,
(Signed) GEO. SIMPSON.
Papers forwarded.
No. 1 Copy Letter from Geo. Simpson to J. H. Pelly, Esqr., 29th Nov., 1836.
No. 2 Declaration of Wm. Smith, Secy, to the H. B. C. 17th Nov., 1836.
No. 3 " Capt. Charles Kipling in service of
No. 4 I Capt. Alex. Duncan " "
No. 5 | Joseph Arnold of Clements Lane, Ship Owner, 18th
Novr., 1836.
And list of Officers (fee. and Statement of Expenses (No. 3 and 4) of Papers
sent 2nd March and returned 20th July.
Vol. 722, Hudson's Bay House,
pp.54. ' London, 10th Deer., 1836.
The Rt. Honble. Viscount Palmerston,
&c. &c. &c.
My Lord,—I have the honour to acknowledge Mr. Backhouse's letter of
the 26th March conveying Your Lordship's instructions to acquaint me
that the statement enclosed in my lettter of the 2nd March in reference to
the claims of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Russian Government for
damages sustained by the former in consequence of the obstructions presented by the Russian authorities on the North West Coast to the formation of a trading establishment within the British Territories on the banks
of the Stikine River in the year 1834 "does not appear sufficiently authen-
" ticated or in proper form to be communicated to the Russian Government
" and further conveying Your Lordship's opinion that the proper and
" necessary vouchers should be produced together with the best evidence
" which the nature of the case will admit of to prove the actual and bona
I fide loss sustained by the Hudson's Bay Company in consequence of the
" unjust interference of the Russian authorities and that explanation should
" be afforded whether the individuals who are stated to have been engaged
| for the period of three years have not or could not have been employed
" upon other services by the Hudson's Bay Company during a part at
" least of that period."
I have deferred replying to that communication until the return of Mr.
Simpson the Company's Principal representative in North America, from
Hudson's Bay in expectation that that Gentleman might be able to furnish
further information required by Your Lordship.
On Mr. Simpson's return to this country the whole of the papers were
accordingly laid before him for his further report which will appear in the
accompanying letter of the 29th ult. addressed to me as Governor of the
Company. By that report Your Lordship will observe that Mr. Simpson
distinctly avers that the different items of expense charged in those accounts  were incurred by  the Hudson's Bay Company in the object of ii
attempting to establish a Settlement on the Stikine River and that the
pecuniary loss sustained by the Company in consequence of being prevented by the Russian Authorities from carrying that object into effect,
far exceeds the amount claimed! as thereby the Company have beent dfir,
prived of the benefit of a valuable branch of trade which they would
have enjoyed but of which the Russian Fur Company have had the undisturbed possession and advantages ever since that period. With reference
to the accounts themselves Mr. Simpson says " it it quite impossible at this
| distance of time and place and without access to the Books and opportu-
" nity of communicating personally with Mr. McLoughlin the Gentleman
" in charge of the Company's affairs on the North West Coast, the account-
" ants and other persons, that were employed on the expedition, to go into
" a close investigation of the different items nor to give further information
" than is contained in the accompanying affidavits of Mr. Smith the Secre-
" tary to the Company Capts. Kipling and Duncan and Mr. Joseph
" Arnold, Ship Broker of this City." But he further avers that shipping
officers, servants, goods and provisions were provided for the express purpose of extending the Compys. trade on the North West Coast by establishing Posts on the Stikine River; the expenses connected with which
amounted he firmly believes to a sum exceeding that charged in those
accts. and which would not have been incurred had such extension of trade
not been contemplated and attempted. But as it might be a difficult
matter to establish these facts to the satisfaction of the Russian Government without the production of detailed and formally authenticated accounts and oral evidences of many persons now resident in various parts of
North America, and in order to terminate this long disputed claim, and to
save the time and trouble that would be occupied by a close investigation
of the accts. Mr. Simpson on behalf of the Company's Council Boards in
North America, at which he presides and on behalf of the chief
Factors, and chief Traders who have an interest in the Concern and
whose services are remunerated by a portion of the profits of the business suggests that a compromise of the claim be proposed thro' His
Majesty's Government: but should the Russian Government object to this
mode of adjustment, he recommends that Chief Factor McLoughlin, the
Gentleman superintending the Company's affairs on the North West Coast,
and the principal accountant at Fort Vancouver, Columbia River, from
whence the expedition was outfitted be summoned to England in order to
substantiate the whole account as it stands although it would necessarily
be attended with much expense, inconvenience and loss of time.
These suggestions having been duly considered and approved I beg leave
to request that Your Lordship will be pleased to propose such an adjustment of the claim to the Russian Government and if that Government
shew a disposition to entertain it in a fair and equitable principle the
Hudson's Bay Company will consider what offer of liberal compromise
they can make so as to bring this long pending question to a close; but
should the Russian Government decline this mode of adjustment, I shall
take measures as suggested by Mr. Simpson, to substantiate the whole
account as it stands. Meantime the accounts, which were sent back to
me for further explanation are herewith returned, accompanied by affidavits in support of them.
I have the honor to be, My Lord,
Your very obdt. humble servt.
J. H. PELLY, Govr. 24
Vol. 722,
pp. 67.
Hudson's Bay House,
London, 10th Feby.,
The Right Honble.
Lord Glenelg, &c, &c, &c.
"Before the union of the rival Companies in 1821, the trade on the North
West Coast of America from the Mexican frontier to Behring Straits was
nearly or wholly enjoyed by American and Russian subjects. Some efforts
had been made at enormous cost and sacrifices by the North West Company to compete with the Americans the history of which is recorded in a
popular work lately published by Mr. Washington Irving under the title of
Astoria; but these efforts were both costly and unsuccessful, and the North
West Company were on the point of being compelled to abandon the trade.
The Russian Establishments at Norfolk Sound, and at other places on
the Coast even so far South as the Coast of California, and American
expeditions, subsequent to the peace, from Boston New York and other
parts of the United States, had obtained a monopoly of the Coast trade.
In the face of these disadvantages the Hudson's Bay Company felt it their
duty to attempt to regain the trade, and to re-establish British influence in
the countries adjoining the Coast and to the mouth of the River Columbia
within the limits of the last Convention entered into with the Court of
Russia, and they have succeeded after a severe and expensive competition
in establishing their settlements and obtaining a decided superiority if
not an exclusive enjoyment of the trade the Americans having almost
withdrawn from the Coast.
In the course of the last year they had occasion to appeal to His Majesty's
Government for protection and indemnity for a serious act of aggression
and violence on the part of an armed Russian force on the Coast, which
impeded their operations and occasioned them a loss to the extent
of upwards of Twenty Thousand Pounds. The Russian Government has
hitherto only consented to disavow the act of its officer and to give instructions prohibiting further obstruction to the expeditions of the Company
within the trading limits agreed upon in the convention; and the Company
now wait with the firmest reliance on the further efforts of the Government
for an indemnity for their great loss.
Beyond the difficulties arising from an active competition with the
Americans, and the violent and oppressive proceedings on the part of the
Russians, the Company had have to contend with other serious obstacles
both on the Coast and in the interior from a savage and formidable native
population whose habits of intoxication and other vices encouraged by the
competition havebeen to a great degree restrained by the temperate and
vigorous conduct of their traders. Great loss of property and in some
cases loss of life have been incurred by savage and murderous attacks on
their hunting parties and establishments, and order has only been .restored
and peace maintained by the employment at great expense of considerable
force and by the exercise on the part of their servants of the utmost temper, patience and perseverance.
The Company now occupy the Country between the Rocky Mountains
and the Pacific by ^^ix-permanen t establishments on the Coast, sixteen in
the interior country besides several migratory and hunting parties, and they
maintain a marine of six armed vessels one of them a steam vessel on the
Coast. Their principal establishment and depot for the trade of the
Coast and Interior is situated ninety miles from the Pacific on the Northern n
banks of the Columbia River and called Vancouver in honour of that celebrated navigator : in the neighbourhood they have large pasture and grain
farms, affording most abundantly every species of agricultural produce, and
maintaining large herds of stock of every description: these have been gradually established, and it is the intention of the Company still further not only
to augment and increase them, to establish and export trade in wool—
tallow, hides and other agricultural productTbut to encourage the settlement
of their retired servants and other emigrants under their protection. The
soil, climate and other circumstances of the Country are as much, if not
more adapted to agricultural pursuits, than any other spot in America, and
with care and protection the British dominion may not only be preserved in
this country which it has been so much the wish of Russia and America to
occupy to the exclusion of British subjects; but British interests and British influence may be maintained as paramout in this interesting part of the ,
Coast of the Pacific, Great exertions have also been made, and much expense incurred by the Company in exploring and taking possession of the
interior country between the Russian maritime limits and the Frozen Ocean
altho' little has yet been done in forming permanent establishments in consequence of the obstruction of the late expedition by the Russians. They have
also at considerable cost and some inconvenience not only afforded every
assistance to the expeditions fitted out by the Government for exploring the
Coast of the Polar sea but in the last season the Council in the Interior under
the sanction and by the advice of the Board over which I preside to anticipate the intentions of Russia and the United States have undertaken to fit out
an expedition composed of their own officers and servants, at the sole expense
of the Company to complete the surveys left unfinished by Sir John Franklin, Captn. Beechy and Captn. Back. The Company entertain the most
sanguine expectations that the result of this expedition will be the complete
survey of the coasts of the Polar Sea, not hitherto visited by European
Navigators and that they will secure for England the reputation of having
effected this work and the other advantages anticipated from previous
expeditions undertaken at such expense and risk of life to the nation."
I have the honor to be,
My Lord, Your Lordship's obedt. humble servt.,
J. H. PELLY, Govr.
Journal 722,    Copy of letter from the Earl of Durham to  Count Nesselrode, dated St.
PP-186- Petersburgh.
5/17th February 1837.
Sir,—I have the honour to transmit to Your Excellency an official Note,
with several enclosures on the subject of the claim of the Hu